The Klipsch Forte is back, and badder than ever

Klipsch Forte III

It’s been 21 long years since Klipsch sold a speaker under the Forte moniker, but the fan-favorite floor-standing Forte has been relaunched as the Klipsch Forte III. Rocking a classic look that is little changed from the original Forte, the audio engineers from Hope, Arkansas have nonetheless managed to make some subtle but significant enhancements to the new Forte III, imbuing it with a new soul.

Die-hard Forte fans will notice the biggest difference right away: The built-in riser base is now shorter, giving the speakers a sleeker appearance without reducing the quality of the connection to the floor. Overall dimensions remain almost exactly the same, at 16.5 x 36 x 13 inches, just a hair taller and deeper than the Forte II.

Sound is still produced through a 3-way set of drivers, plus the signature, rear-firing 15-inch passive radiator, but the components themselves have been treated to the latest tech. The midrange and tweeter used the distinctive horn-loaded design of the original Forte speakers, but the drivers are now titanium diaphragm compression units, while the shape of the midrange horn has been updated for better performance.

Strangely, even though Klipsch claims that the new speakers have larger voice coils, peak power handling has been reduced from 500 watts to 400 watts, and range has been reduced from 32Hz – 20 KHz to 38Hz – 20 KHz. And yet, the weight of these units has actually increased from the Forte II, tipping the scales at a hefty 72 lbs, as compared to the previous model’s slightly more svelte 67 lbs.

Perhaps part of the weight gain is the result of Klipsch’s liberal use of wood veneers on the Forte III — with no less than four options — including American walnut, natural cherry, black ash, and distressed oak. The company also puts a heavy emphasis on the way each speaker pair is produced in the factory. Its website describes the hand-made attention to detail, including the matching of both interior and exterior material, for a truly custom look. Speaking of custom, if what you really want is a speaker set that sounds great and gives you bragging rights, Klipsch is offering two very limited editions of the Forte III: California Black Walnut, and Matte Black. Only 70 pairs will be made of each.

Despite creating these speakers as matched pairs, pricing on them is quoted individually. The regular woods are $1,800 per speaker, while the limited editions may cost as much as $2,349 each (though we’ve spotted them on Amazon for $2,000).