Big Speakers; Classic Sound

And you thought all speakers these days were small, plastic, and skinny. Well, most speakers are small, plastic, and skinny. Not so these classic beauties from Klipsch. The Icon W series are big and heavy, the way Paul Wilbur Klipsch meant speakers to be.

Housed in wood veneer cabinets (furniture-grade, as the marketing guys like to say) they come in espresso and Cabernet finishes (another bit of marketing there).

Of course, these speakers wouldn't have the Klipsch name on the outside unless they had horns on the inside. In particular, the family uses Klipsch's XT Tractrix horn-loaded technology, allowing a slimmer cabinet.

The flagship WF-35 is shown, but there's an entire family of Icon W speakers, suitable for both stereo and home-theater systems.

The Icon W series comprises five models. The WF-35 ($1,499/pair) and WF-34 ($1,199/pair) are floorstanding; the WB-14 ($599/pair) are bookshelves; the WC-24 ($499) is a center channel; the WS-24 ($749/pair) are surrounds. All of the speakers use a 1-inch titanium compression-driver tweeter, with an XT Tractrix horn. The WF-35 uses three 5.25-inch woofers, the WF-34 uses three 4.5-inch woofers, the WB-14 has one 4.5-inch woofer, and the WC-24 and WS-24 have two 4.5-inch woofers. A maxed-out system (WF-35, WC-24, WS-24) will run you $2,747, sans subwoofer. The speakers are sold in pairs, except for the center-channel, naturally.

Are classic, compression-driver speakers still cool? You bet they are. Their sound is still classic too. In a world of tiny satellites, these bulky Klipsch's are a good sign that audio still matters. The W, I assume, stands for Wilbur. -Ken C. Pohlmann