Performance Testing and Comparison
We set the Forte IV and Forte III up in our listening room to test the Forte IV and how it compares to the Forte III. We did an asymmetrical set up so each speaker would be the same distance apart and in our rectangular room would be just a mirror image on distances from the side walls.
We pulled them off the wall about 25” and used a tape measure to get them exactly the same for both models. To power them we used a McIntosh stack consisting of their MT5 turntable, C-49 preamp, MC152, and MCD350 CD Player.
It is always important when comparing things to perfectly match levels, which was a cinch with these two as they are identical in sensitivity.
We decided to make this an all-analog comparison and pulled out some classic records from years gone by, which of course plays right into the legacy behind the Forte. For our testing, we listened to one of our all-time favorites the Getz/Gilberto with The Girl from Ipanema, the Amanda McBroom Dreaming Album, a very old Direct-Disk of the Neophonic String band, and finally the Persuasions No Frills album.
You probably noticed a focus on midrange here, which is where we expected to hear most of the improvements in the new Forte IV. First, it is totally clear the Forte IV is an evolution of the Forte III. The sound profile between the two is similar, but the differences we heard were pretty big to our ears.
On the Getz/Gilberto we heard a big difference in just how much more effortless the voices and saxophone sounded on the Forte IV. When we flipped back to the Forte III, they almost sounded strained.
The title cut Dreaming was even bigger. Her voice floated in space and sounded very natural on the Forte IV, and when we switched back and forth to the Forte III, we felt her voice had almost a coloration to it. We actually had to do a double-take and pull the grills off to make sure the horn itself was not different on the two as it sounded like we were hearing some horn resonance on the Forte III in comparison. Our theory is the new midrange driver and steeper crossover slopes are a much better match to the horn itself.
Next up were the Persuasions, who are an acapella group, and we heard the same differences in the midrange improvement but even more so with multiple voices going on.
On every single cut we had tried up to this point, the stereo image was also wider, deeper, and more precise in space on the Forte IV. But when we switched to the next album, that difference became huge.
The Neophonic String Band is a great old bluegrass record. On the Forte IV, everything was perfectly in space, spread out very well. When we switched back to the Forte III, it was like the image just went back into the two speakers.
Needless to say, we were very impressed with the new Forte IV. We did not even cover here how both models have great bass impact and have such a high sensitivity, you can run them with a very small amp.
We have to give Klipsch some kudos for taking a speaker that was already really good and making it much better in our opinion.