Klipsch Reference R-41M vs. Wharfedale Denton 85th

Klipsch Reference R-41M Bookshelf Speakers Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
$150 $1000
Dimensions (H × W × D)
11.30” × 5.75” × 7.90”
287mm × 146mm × 201mm
13.44” × 9.44” × 11.94”
341mm × 240mm × 303mm
Power Type
Passive Passive
Frequency Response
68-21,000 Hz 45-20,000 Hz
ASR Score
2.8 n/a
ASR Score w/Subwoofer
5.7 n/a

Key Takeaways

TLDR Summary: In the realm of compact speakers, the Klipsch Reference R-41M and Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary editions resonate with audiophiles for distinct reasons. The R-41M offers the Klipsch signature dynamic range and a penchant for detail with its Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter, ideal for those craving clarity and impact in a small package. Conversely, the Denton 85th Anniversary speakers exude vintage charm and warmth, featuring a rich midrange that harkens back to classic British hi-fi with a lush soundstage. Both claim their own loyal following, but listeners' preferences for sonic character and aesthetic will guide the ultimate choice.

Speaker Comparison

When it comes to bookshelf speakers, the market offers a plethora of choices to suit every audiophile's taste and room size. Today, I'm putting two compelling contenders in the ring: the Klipsch Reference R-41M and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Edition. The former hails from an American brand with a storied history in efficient, horn-loaded speaker designs, while the latter comes from one of Britain’s most venerable loudspeaker companies, known for its refined and warm sound signature.

Design and Build

The Klipsch Reference R-41M sports a sleek, modern design with a black wood grain vinyl finish that's pleasant to the eye but decidedly utilitarian. The hallmark of the R-41M is the Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter, a Klipsch signature that aims to improve high-frequency response and dispersion. On the other hand, the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary speaker exudes a classic charm with its mahogany veneer finish and traditional cloth grille. This time-honored aesthetic pays homage to the original Denton, celebrating the brand's 85-year legacy in audio excellence.

Klipsch Reference R-41M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-41M arrow (at Amazon.com)

Sound Quality - Highs and Mids

Here's where things get interesting. The Klipsch R-41M, with its 1-inch aluminum tweeter coupled with a 90x90 square Tractrix Horn, delivers a sparkling top-end with an aggressive edge that can be thrilling on well-recorded material. Vocal clarity and instrumental separation are commendable for speakers at this price point. Meanwhile, Wharfedale's Denton aims for a more relaxed treble presentation, courtesy of its soft dome tweeter which imparts a smoother and more forgiving sound. The midrange is where the Denton truly shines, offering a lush, full-bodied character that makes it a perfect match for acoustic genres and vocal-heavy tracks.

Sound Quality - Bass and Overall Balance

The R-41M's bass response is punchy and tight, thanks to its 4-inch copper-spun IMG woofer. While it won't shake the room like larger models, it strikes a good balance for its size, bringing enough dynamism to the table without overwhelming the midrange. Conversely, the Wharfedale Denton spells nostalgia not just in looks but also in its warm and rounded bass, courtesy of its larger 6.5-inch woven Kevlar cone woofer. It extends deeper and resonates with a sense of weight and authority, albeit with a gentler attack than the Klipsch. The overall balance of the Dentons is tilted towards warmth and richness, making them well-suited to systems and tastes that favor a more laid-back listening experience.

Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th arrow (at Amazon.com)

Both the Klipsch R-41M and the Wharfedale Denton 85th have their own respective strengths when it comes to soundstage and imaging. The Klipsch's horn technology aids in presenting a broad and lively soundstage with pinpoint imaging, allowing each instrument and sound effect to occupy its own space. The Denton's take on soundstage is more about depth and creating a three-dimensional listening experience that envelops the listener, which is quite impressive for speakers of this size.

Compatibility and Placement

The Klipsch R-41M's high sensitivity rating of 90dB makes it an easy match for low-powered amplifiers, but it's also dynamic enough to benefit from more powerful gear. Its compact size and front-firing port allow for more flexible placement options, including close wall proximity. The Denton 85th, however, is a bit more demanding in terms of amplification and will shine with a quality receiver or integrated amp that can provide a bit of current. These speakers are also a bit larger and may require some breathing room from the walls to sound their best, due to their rear-firing port design.

Ultimately, the choice between the Klipsch Reference R-41M and the Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Edition boils down to personal preference and the specific sonic character one is seeking. The Klipsch offers excitement and impact, suited for those who crave detail and energy. The Wharfedale, on the contrary, is for the listener who prioritizes warmth, richness, and a smooth listening experience. Both sets of bookshelf speakers command respect in their own right, and either choice would be a worthy addition to a discerning audiophile's collection.

Check Current Prices:

Klipsch Reference R-41M Bookshelf Speakers
Klipsch Reference R-41M Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Bookshelf Speakers

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Disclaimer: the speaker data listed on this website are correct to the best of our knowledge, but we do not guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please double-check any measurements with the manufacturer before making a final purchasing decision.