Are the Klipschorns mainly for Classical music ??


I recently purchased a pair of Klipschorns. I also purchased a pair of Cornwalls. It seems that the Cornwalls are crisp and clean and a shade boxy while the Klipschorns are a very open sound. I have found the Klipschorns to be very good for classical music and some Satriani and Eric Johnson. I find that classic rock leaves alot to be desired because the recordings seem to be less than what I expected. I would like to hear comments from Klipschorn owners as well as Cornwall owners......thanks
allsmiles
I find that classic rock leaves alot to be desired because the recordings seem to be less than what I expected
What amp/source are you running? And have you modified the speakers? It's a must, or they sound only so-so, IMO.
Carver M1.5t and I have not modified the Klipschorns. I have been looking in to new crossovers and possibly new tweeter horns
They`re dinosaurs. I question their suitability for any kind of music.
Notwithstanding Porziob's standard drop-a-turd-in-the-punchbowl response, you certainly could find an amplifier more suitable to the revealing sound of the Klipschorns. As far as SS is concerned, McIntosh is an excellent option. If you search the Klipsch forums, you'll find other suggestions. The K-horns also sound terrific with many tube amps. What source are you using? With a speaker as tell-all as the Klipschorn, a good CDP is a must for when the music gets busy. Otherwise, the digititis is enough to send you running.

Updating the crossovers will help dramatically. The Crites are a replica of the original (search bcrites on the Klipsch forum), and we used them for a year or more. We then purchased the heritage crossovers from dgwescott here on Audiogon, and this was the biggest upgrade we have yet made in our system. Other mods I would recommend are re-wiring with silver, and dampening the horns. The former will clean up the highs, and give you better definition, and the latter will eliminate the shout effect of the horns.

Also, good speaker cables make a big, big difference. A thin gauge will get you a thin sound with these speakers, and although some owners will suggest the Home Depot-esque cables, I found them to smear the sound quite dramatically. Bottom line is with the Klipschorns, the music will sound only as good as the upstream equipment & cables. And with the wrong ancillary gear, these speakers will sound poor with many types of music.

Best of luck.
I really don't think my amp is a problem. Classical music sounds great as well as some clean rock musicians. I am not an electrical engineer but I know what sounds good to my ears. I appreciate your recommendations. I have already emailed both of the people you talked about but have yet to make any decisions. I use 10 gauge speaker wire. How do I dampen the horns ?? I am sure I am not using the best cd player so I would be pleased with any suggestions you might have. I apprecaite any help you could give me.
You can dampen the horns with Dynamat, rope caulk, or the like. McMaster-Carr also sells a product that adheres well, and I believe a search on www.audioasylum.com in the hi-eff speakers section will get you the part number. Be advised that although the part is only $14 or so, the shipping is actually more, because it comes in a long box, and the sheet is fairly heavy.

If you have a budget on a CD player, I'd recommend posting a separate thread or searching the archives. Personally, I've yet to hear a player under ~$1500 that effectively maintains the separation and tonal texture of the more layered/complex music, and in particular, multi-track electric guitar.
Before you start tearing the Khorns apart demo two items.
1.DAC
2.PS Audio P300 powerplant
Best of luck!
I am willing to invest in a better cd player. Can you give me some good examples of what I should look for ?? Also thank you for the information on dampening. I am feeling much like a novice and the prices on tube preamps and preamps are much more than I expected. I would like some suggestions om preamps and amps.
Boa2, after all those modifications to get a Klipschhorn to sound good, doesn't that say something about Klipschorn? Doesn't sound like you have a Klipshorn anymore. Kind of like an APL Denon 3910 don't you think? There's very little remotely left of the original 3910 sound. I'm sure you love your speakers, but spending (I don't know what they cost new) all that money for mediocre speakers, just to add a bunch of mods to make it sound good?
Is the DVD-3910 a worthwhile investment ???
I think it has as much to do with the cd engineering and recordings as much as the equipment you play it through. The Celtic Woman cd sounds fantastic. I still think many classic rock recordings were substandard ..... it just took the Klipschorns to bring it to my attention. Dark Side of the Moon sounds pretty good. Like before Satriani and Eric Johnson sound good on the Klipschorns. So far the Klipschorns have made me appreciate music I don't normaly listen to.
Boa2, after all those modifications to get a Klipschhorn to sound good, doesn't that say something about Klipschorn?
Indeed. It says that for less than the price of a pair of NOS 6922 tubes, you can take a 28-yr-old speaker from good to phenomenal.
Doesn't sound like you have a Klipshorn anymore.
Yes, we do still have them.
Kind of like an APL Denon 3910 don't you think?There's very little remotely left of the original 3910 sound.
You have a modded 3910 yourself. Did you pay extra for it to sound like the original? I sure hope not.
I'm sure you love your speakers, but spending (I don't know what they cost new) all that money for mediocre speakers, just to add a bunch of mods to make it sound good?
I've spent all of $2200 on the speakers, mods included. And I can count on one finger the only speaker I would consider replacing these with...and it was $58K. For that to even begin to make sense would require you to have actually heard them in a proper set up.
I give you that at $2200. A few mods and you got them to sound right. Are they worth $7k new, and you would still have to add the mods? Only one $58k speaker that would replace your big Ks?
I am very happy with my Carver equipment. I may go and listen to some tube preamps and amps to see if they are worth the investment. I will have another pair of Klipschorns by the end of the month. I am learning alot from all the Forum members and I honestly do appreciate each and everyone's help. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Are they worth $7k new, and you would still have to add the mods?
I think you're referring to the brand new K-horn. I happen to prefer the heritage model. Ours were built in 1978, and we purchased them from the original owner.
Only one $58k speaker that would replace your big Ks?
I'm amazed as much as anyone is, yes. And I go out and listen to 3-4 systems per month, and for the past several years, in fact. In people's homes, dealerships, audio shows, etc. Not with the intention of coming home a winner, but rather with the intention of finding our next speaker. Yet, nothing hits me in the gut like music through the K-horn. There is a sense of expansiveness to the music, and an absence of restriction in the midrange that I find lacking in many other speakers, no matter what else I like about them. The K-horns reproduce music at a life-like stature, so that all of the instruments have a presence that is commensurate with what you know them to be. But again, they are not simply plug 'n play. A few minor tweaks, however, and they are outstanding. Pair them with a good SET amp, and you'll hear the violin playing in the room with you.

Allsmiles, a good tube preamp will elevate your system to a whole new level. Definitely worth trying them. And again, if you would state a budget for a CDP, I'm sure people could help you with your choice.
My Klipschorns are also '78's from the original owner. The ones I am picking up later this month are '92's. I will be interested in seeing if there is a difference. I welcome any cd player suggestions as well as tube preamps and amps. Boa....listen to the Celtic Woman cd or any of their single cds by Chloe, Meav, Lisa, Orla and Mairead. Also Enya "Shepherd Moons" is a great cd. Celtic Music seems to do very well on my Klipschorns. Early Iron Butterfly was fair. The first Black Sabbath cd is pretty good. Bridge of Sighs was a let down and I love that cd. Eruption by Eddie Van Halen is great !!! I am still checking out old cds.
Boa2, have you ever compared the Khorns to Altec 604's? I love large horn speakers, but have never heard Khorns. Just curious and interested in your impression of the similarities and differences.
Boa2, regarding:

Notwithstanding Porziob's standard drop-a-turd-in-the-punchbowl response, you certainly could find an amplifier more suitable to the revealing sound of the Klipschorns.

After I quit laughing and picked myself off the floor I read the rest of your responses, thanks!
My Klipschorns are also '78's from the original owner. The ones I am picking up later this month are '92's. I will be interested in seeing if there is a difference. I welcome any cd player suggestions as well as tube preamps and amps. Boa....listen to the Celtic Woman cd or any of their single cds by Chloe, Meav, Lisa, Orla and Mairead. Also Enya "Shepherd Moons" is a great cd. Celtic Music seems to do very well on my Klipschorns. Early Iron Butterfly was fair. The first Black Sabbath cd is pretty good. Bridge of Sighs was a let down and I love that cd. Eruption by Eddie Van Halen is great !!! I am still checking out old cds.
wwwrecords, the only Altec I've heard for much of an audition was the 1234, AKA the "portable" VOTT. With a pair of 3.5W SET amps in a large loft in San Francisco, they were spine chilling.

Thanks, Albertporter. Glad I could tickle you on an otherwise sedentary Sunday spent glued to the World Cup final.

Allsmiles, you'll want to search the archives or start a separate thread. First, however, you will want to peg a budget for your CDP purchase, as well as determine which formats it must be capable of playing.
Allsmiles,

The statement "you have not hear Klipsch until you've heard them with upgraded crossovers" is 110% dead on. I've heard my Klipsch KLF-20's and Klipsch Chorus II's with their original crossovers and then after I upgraded them. No doubt about it, completely transforms the speakers and takes them to an absolutely new level.

It took me two evenings per pair and it was the best time and money I have spent to date with my audio system.

You will also hear a dramatic improvement by upgrading the crossovers in those Carver speakers.

Mike
I have 1 pair of Klipschorns, 1 pair of KLF 30's, 1 pair of Cornwall II's, 1 pair of Chorus, 1 pair of Forte II's, 4 pair of KG 5.5's and 1 pair of KG's of which I forget the model number. The Forte II's impressed me greatly and the Cornwall II's sound like bigger Forte II's. The Cornwall II's are very impressive. The Klipschorns are the ultimate for me. They have an openess I am not used to. Vman71..which crossovers did you choose..Bob...Dean...ALK ?? Have you upgraded your tweeters or dampened your Klipschorns ?? Any more help is greatly appreciated.
Allsmiles,
I don't know if you've checked at Al Klappenberger's site, but if you click on the left hand side, he has upgrade kits for the Klipschorn. Click on "Klipsch", and then "Squawker Horn Upgrades". Dean says that this upgrade kit is the ticket to greater refinement and smoothness in the mids/highs. At $800, it seems a bargain, and it will definitely be our next move with the K-horns.
Yes....Boa2...I have checked out that site and I will give it a second look....thank you
Allsmiles,

I upgraded the crossover networks myself. I was a crypto tech in the Air Force for 10 years and in electronics school, had to learn how to troubleshoot down to the component level. The crossover networks are fairly simple, they just are made with 2 cent parts/pieces of junk.

I just replace the capacitors, resistors and inductors. This yields a tremendous jump in performance across the entire frequency spectrum. My upgrade is the same as Dean G. The approach is simple and is focused on getting the most impact from the most offensive/inferior parts. Keeps costs very effective and reasonable.

I have replaced the diaphrams in my KLF-20's and will do the same to the Chorus II's very soon. I replaced them with the titanium versions. I will also get around to one day dampening the horns.

Mike
I was downstairs this afternoon listening to some Vivaldi and noticed where Yngwie Malmsteen got some of his music. My heart is still with classic rock, hard rock, and metal but I have to admit Classical is great on the Klipschorns. I definitely MUST be getting older !!!!
I just finished listening to Bread Anthology....it was superb on the Klipschorns !!!
Greetings Allsmiles
Boa definitely knows what he's talking about: the Heritage Klipsch's are so sensitive & revealing that many listeners don't like what they're hearing only due the poor quality of signal being input! These speakers are particular: if anything upstream is amiss then you are going to hear it. OTOH their dynamics are unbeatable IMO.

Your Carver is simply not high enough quality equipment for this job. I've tested these horns with many amps (Carver included) and most of them sounded just OK; not that great. I've had excellent results with a large Luxman (mosfet) amp, great results with Accuphase (mosfet), very decent with McCormack, decent with Classe, marginal with McIntosh, awful with Adcom. It's not just the equipment quality, it's all about synergy with your hardware & cabling too. Finding the right match for everything can be difficult & time consuming, but the rewards are highly worthwhile.

Mosfet amps work best for me here; I don't care for tubes & have found that the white noise "tube-rush" of such equipment is quite objectionable with horns due to their ultra sensitivity. While I've always perferred solid state sound, YMMV of course.
However a Golden Tube Audio SEP-2 pre driving that McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe amp sounded magical.

For your CD source, due to limited experience I can only recommend what I'm using now (EAD U2000 MKII) which is a very smooth analog-ish presentation. I'm thinking about auditioning a Cary 303-300 or 306, as a possible upgrade.

To realize their true available potential, you must use quality cabling: interconnects, speaker cable, line conditioning (for line-noise glare reduction), AC cords, dedicated power line & a quality AC outlet.
I've only tried a handful of different brand speaker cables; my best results so far are with MIT mid-to-upper line product.

One last admission: I'm not much of a classics fan either, but they really sound great via Klipsch's; Telarcs & Mobile Fidelity's especially. However my music collection is mainly classic rock + jazz. And of course, poorly recorded material comes across exactly as such: - you get out what you're putting in.
Bob...thank you very much for your input. I welcome all suggestions. I feel as if I have entered a different world. I have to admit all this is very scary to me. I had no idea owning Klipschorns would be so complex. I am new to this world of audiophiles. Apparently I have been satisfied with mediocrity.
I go out and listen to 3-4 systems per month, and for the past several years, in fact. In people's homes, dealerships, audio shows, etc. Not with the intention of coming home a winner, but rather with the intention of finding our next speaker.

Boa2, I'm confused. You obviously love your speakers, yet you spend a good deal of time searching for your next speaker. Please explain.
Carver is not good with these speakers/honestly not many speakers from my experience with them, even the new sunfire stuff... Go mcintosh, way more money but just like replacing the whole system in this case. Then you will hear Rock and roll like you have not before.
Boa2, I'm confused. You obviously love your speakers, yet you spend a good deal of time searching for your next speaker. Please explain.
Sorry for the confusion, Ohhwy61. First, I like hearing different systems. Second, I do in fact love our speakers. Third, my hope is to be living in a larger space before too long, with enough room for two systems. We'll keep the K-horns with a pair of SET amps for active listening, and a SS amp/tube preamp set up for a hard-drive system that we can leave on all the time, and listen to all day. With such a system in mind, I've been out listening to many different speakers...not to replace the K-horns, but to broaden the spectrum, as it were.

Hope that clarifies things.
Boa2, thanks for the kind explanation. I know from other posts that you love your tweaked Klipschs, so I thought it was a little odd that you might be actively looking for a replacement. Best of luck with the quest for the new living quarters, but prepare to be surprised with what will actually works best in any new space. Fitting old systems into new spaces can be a humbling experience.
Fitting old systems into new spaces can be a humbling experience.
I'm sure you're absolutely right. I'm hoping that as much as we like the sound of our system in our current poorly designed, cheaply constructed, smallish, second-floor listening room, that we'll experience a foot up in the acoustical department with an amelioration of these shortcomings. We'll see what happens when the time comes.
Undertow....why do my speakers WITH the Carver M1.5t sound great with Dark Side of the Moon....Black Sabbath 1.......Eddie Van Halen "Eruption"......Joe Satriani......Eric Johnson.......I still think it is the cd engineering and recording that is a limiting factor NOT my Carver amp. If some cds sound great and others sounds pathetic, I am sure it has to be the cd that IS the problem...that is just common sense. If NO cds sounded good then I would believe you. I still think Carver rules !!!!
If some cds sound great and others sounds pathetic, I am sure it has to be the cd that IS the problem...that is just common sense.
Allsmiles, I was under the same impression until we upgraded the CDP, cables, and found an amp/preamp combo that mated so well with the Klipschorn that literally every CD in our 1500+ CD collection sounds rich, musical, and full. Sure, you can hear that some are not as well produced as others, but none sound less than good. And we play everything from jazz vocalists to heavy metal.

Number one, if you like the Carver, then by all means stick with it. On the other hand, I don't believe that lousy sounding CDs can automatically be attributed to a truth-telling system. In other words, how can you determine that the shortcomings you are hearing are due to the recording, and not to the inability of the amplifier or CDP to flesh out certain recordings? I'm of the opinion that if you feed a full-range speaker what it likes, the system can suitably cover all of the musical genres. Naturally, some recordings are better supported by a 400W amp than a 4W amp, but it all comes down to personal choice. That said, the combination of SS, a modest CDP, and an undampened K-horn will only exacerbate the worst of the 1980s recordings...and don't forget that Bon Jovi and Def Leppard will chew right through any audiophile system. :-)
Okay Boa2 I respect your opinion. I will search for the answers through some new equipment and modifications to the Klipschorns. I think that if you are taking the time to try and help me the least I can do is give it a chance. Would you suggest a new cd player first or the Klipschorns modifications first ?? I will be getting my second pair of Klipschorns hopefully on the 25th and I will be interested in seeing if there is any difference in them with my current equipment. I don't really have many budget restraints except for my owm thriftiness which could be a problem. Boa2 I don't care much for Bon Jovi. I think Ritchie is a good guitar player but I think the band as a whole are a bunch of wimps. I prefer something like Warrior "Fighting for the Earth" or Savatage "Hall of the Mountain King". Hard rock and Metal are my favorites ever since Blue Cheer "Vincebus Eruptum" got into my soul.
allsmiles,
did the CD's you found to sound poor also sound that way on other speakers you have had? Or are you perhaps comparing them to records you used to play from back in the "stoner" days. I usually found the rock music I enjoyed alot on records, sounded flat and uninvolving when I heard it on a CD. I think the early transfers were poor. Even today, I wonder when I buy a CD whether it will be a good transfer or not. especially when I want some older album I used to listen to, and there is like 6 remakes of it and many compilations to choose from. I have Klipsch speakers, though not the ones you have and I love mine. One way I use to tell if a disc is poor is to listen to it on a decent pair of headphones. It takes the room, amps, cabling, and the speakers out the mix. If it still sounds like crap, it probably is.


Shiva......."stoner" days ??? I got a great laugh out of that. Did I know you in a former life ?? Good question....they sound fine on my other speakers. I think the Forte II's I have are great speakers. The Cornwall II's are also superb. So.....I guess the upgrades for the Klipschorns IS a must. I will be glad to get my second pair of Klipschorns later this month and I will see if there is any difference. Thank you for taking the time to offer advice. I apprecaite it very much. One of my favotite cds is the Yardbirds Live at the Anderson Theater '68 featuring Jimmy Page. Sounds more like Led Zeppelin than Yardbirds and Jimmy is wailing on the guitar. I only have about 800-900 cds and many of them are classic rock.
The Klipschorn sprung to life as a mono speaker back around the time of my birth. The Klipsch factory is proud to claim that it continues to this day free of any substantial modification. In its day it was unexceptional relative to the offerings of JBL, Altec and Electrovoice.Today it is revered by a small coterie of cultists who have every reason to love it for its blaring and exaggerated presentation. I sold these speakers for a couple of years in the late 80s and even owned a vintage pair myself for a short time. They tend to be popular amongst former musicians. Those of you who are fond of them should really investigate the Peavey speakers.
Macrojack,
Your post is off topic, hypocritical, and like Warren's, clearly intended only as bait. Perhaps we cultists (read: former musicians) can move on with the topic at hand without any further interference from the ZU peanut gallery, huh?
Gee, I've always thought that while the big Klipsh's had enough bass, very good dynamics and could be run with quality low powed amps that could serve classical music well, they also didn't seem to be the best at demonstrating the superior recording techniques that provide excellent imaging in such a glorious sound stage. IMHO, horns tend portray a honkiness that is an anthema to the extreme efforts classical musicians apply to tone. All in all, I can't help but think the opppostie holds true, they're better suited to high volume, multi-miked rock music.
Boa2, that was unfair. There is no mod in this world that could get me to purchase or enjoy your Klipschorn. I cannot figure out your Klipschorn obsession for a minute. But Macrojack may have hit it on the head. You are a musician, right? That may be it. Bait you? Come on, speaking of staying on topic...still holding a resentment?
Boa2,
I'm on topic if Klipsch is the topic. Hypocritical? How? Bait. Nah -- if you think that, don't respond.
And speaking of topics, who mentioned ZU?
That porcelain vessel you are gleefully cavorting about is not a punch bowl -- it's a potty. Porziob was on target with his turd.
DAMNED, he called you a musician! That is a low low blow, particularly coming from an ex-hifi salesman. Boa2, if I were you, I'd get medieval on 'em and throw some 48 rules in there pimply faces. YEAH BOYZ!
Boa2, that was unfair.
If so, I apologize.
There is no mod in this world that could get me to purchase or enjoy your Klipschorn.
Personally, I'd have to hear a speaker first before drawing such a conclusion.
I cannot figure out your Klipschorn obsession for a minute.
Perhaps because it isn't an obsession.
Boa2, are you running for office? Circumlocution: you're a pro...lol..whatever...enjoy your babies...but remember who brought up the Z word..
All comments good and bad are welcome. I appreciate all the lively discussion. I will take all comments into consideration.Thank you all for participating in this thread. All advice is greatly appreciated.
Boa2, I would like to interject, although I hate how distastefull things get with the REAL hi-efficiency crowd.. One I would like to support my above comments about he mcintosh amp being a possible solution vs. the CARVER amp... Okay Carver may work well but mcintosh will work much better and probably eliminate MUCH doubt about the Klipsch ISSUE with
Allsmiles system and exact problem that he first explained.. Sunfire sounded great on mine with some Megadeth and fiona apple, both could be rock or hard rock but fell apart with ZERO depth on artists like Zeppelin or the beatles, very 2 Dimensional amps in my Case.. So I still support taking a Shot at a Mcintosh Klipsch combo might surprise you.. Now onto the "Other speaker" in question all of a sudden, well I can tell you MANY of the owners of the other Speakers in question were Originally KLIPSCH owners, growing up with SEVERAL of their horn systems, Myself owning K-Horns being replaced by the others and actually I just gave away my Cornwalls to a friend cause it was not worht the 500 I could sell to ship them.. I believe That experience with Former klipsch owners can be injected here, but we were kinda kicked out of the club when we moved from Hope arkansas to UTAH... But anyway K-Horns will give much a run for its money with a Mcintosh 6900 intergrated, with the added function of the 5 Band EQ I dare you not to make OZZY's WORST thinnest recording not sound good.. Just a suggestion.
Again, I apologize for causing a stir with my comment about the Zu peanut gallery. As Warrenh said, it was unfair, and indeed it was.

The principal issue here is the condamnation of a product that one has never heard. There is simply no reason for it, and such claims are categorically refuted upon the same grounds by many on this site, including those who have posted here. Most of us would not stand for an apples and oranges comparison of a product if the one referred to is a single iteration old, let alone one you've never heard at all. Upon what basis do you dismiss an unknown, especially when you yourself would defend against such conjecture? The bottom line is a Cornwall is not a Klipschorn, and a stock Klipschorn sounds nothing like a modded one. If you have no experience with the product or process being discussed, then your commentary is inapplicable at best, antagonistic at worst.

Again, sorry Warrenh. You're right, my comment was unfair, and I should have made my point in a more diplomatic manner.

Finally, thanks for the thread, Allsmiles. Please let us know how your experimentation settles.