I've owned LaScallas, Heresey, Cornwalls, and listened quite a bit to Belle Klipsch and KHorns. All of these were the original versions when Paul Klipsch was running the company. I think they sounded much better before he left the company. I think the tonal balance of the Belles was better than the LaScalas, but at the time I could not afford (or even find) a pair of Belles from the vintage I wanted. I have not heard the Heritage Series--which is supposedly the same design, but I'm pretty sure they have made driver changes and crossover changes--not always for the better (soundwise that is--maybe better for company margins). As to your question about the Cornwall. I liked them very much. Much better than the new Forte's and Chorus's. Bass performance was tighter, but did not go as low. The bass rolloff on the older series was about 35Hz. This was one of the reasons the dynamics and efficiency was so high. To sum it up: I think the Forte and Chorus were designed to please a larger market segment. It does more things and a mediocre level, but doesn't really excell at any one area. The older Klipsch excelled at efficiency and dynamics with very good tonal balance (except for the rolloff at the extremes). These benefits were at the expense of deep bass and imaging (they never could really develop a soundstage very well).
Hello: Back in the 70's I owned both the Cornwalls & the Belles. The Belle's are sonically very simular to the Lascala's (I believe they have the exact same drivers). To be quite honest I felt the Cornwall's were a much more musical speaker than the Belle's, even though they were much less expensive (although I would not classify any Klipsch speaker as musical). You should know the Belles are a terribly bright speaker (Cornwalls too, but not quite as bad). I only kept my Belles for about six month before I became hopelessly fatigued by them & decided to sell. Klipsch uses extremely cheap drivers & internal wiring, even in these relativly high priced speakers. They were good in their day, but for the money you could find a MUCH MUCH better transducer than Klipsch. If you do decide to go with Klipsch, tubes are a must (preferably a little SET) to take away some of that harsh bright presentation. I hate to be negative, but I just think for the money there is so much out there which is leagues above any of these Klipsch models. Don't roll over in your grave Paul. I met Paul Klipsch once. He was kind of a crazy old kook, but none the less a nice guy. You know the real smart type, but way out there if you know what I mean... Good Luck, Sagger
I'm a big Kilpsch fan, I once met Mr. PWK at a presentation he gave in St Louis. Yeah he was way out there, but a great guy IMO.
I couldn't fit the corner horns in my L.R. so I got the Belles & they were not exactly cheap. Unlike many designs, they do work well close to back walls (you don't have to crowd your living room - nice feature). Paul named the Belle after his wife, & she must look beautiful because these speakers sure are! I've also been told it's a dressed up LaScala.
I never compared real closely regarding MF / HF comparisons, but they have the same drivers so are likely quite similar. LF may behave somehwat differently, as the cabinet's architectures vary. They do use the same woofer, but again I've never compared carefully enough to say. I did like the Forte when I heard it 20 years ago but I went for the biggies instead. Back then they were still making the classic design with metal (Altec?) horns. I've been told that the Heritage design uses cheaper plastic horns & has other cost-reductions, but again I've not heard them to compare - sorry I'm trying to help you Ek, but I don't know all the facts.
Klipsch has many fans, & as many detractors; either you really like them or you really do not. They are definitely colored by resonances, but that tweakable to a great degree if you're a dedicated hobbyist as I am. The wire they used isn't very good & that's the first improvement you would want to make, but use copper not silver. I have tweaks info available & always like to hear from others regarding their tweaks too.
I don't completely agree re: "teribly bright" but yes they are bright & not easy to matchup well with just any equipment & cables. Sure they were built for SET's but I've had good results with SS mosfet amps. (My best sound was with an old Luxman M4000A mosfet, but they're unattainable now & mine's now broken for lack of 4 Toshiba 2SC2239 driver transistors.)
You do get great slam & dynamics with these beauties; also very revealing & certainly unforgiving. If you're pumping in 'bad sound' that's just what you'll get out. Input some good clean signal, & you'll love them.
The K'horn, LaScala and Belle for each series uses the same drivers. However the midrange horn is slightly shorter than the LaScala/K'horn and therefor there is a slight midrange difference.
Many feel the Cornwall was a great speaker and possibly for the majority of installs, the best of the original PWK designs. It was discontinued basically because its components had no commonality with any other of the speakers. I have owned a set of the Series II and sold them only to miss them all these years. I still have a set of Heresys and these with the right front end possibly are the best audio buy today.
I owned a pair of Heresy's way back in the 70's. Ialso owned a pair of Chorus's for about 6 months a couple of years ago. However, I know a Klipsch dealer fairly well and have heard the La Scala's, Belle's, and K-horns. The La Scala's and K-horns use the same length midrange horn, while the Belle's have a much shorter midrange horn. All use the same mid compression drivers however, assuming they are all of the same vintage. The Belle's go noticably deeper than the La Scala's, approx. 10 hz lower (the La Scala's really don't go below 50 hz), while the cornerhorns get down into the 30's. To my ear, I was never a great fan of the Belle's, as I thought them to be too harsh, maybe due to the short midrange horn (?). As to what type of amplification to use, I cannot offer a valid comment on SET as I have no personal experience with them, but logically they would seem to be a good choice. This I do know, however. If you want to go SS, try Macintosh. While not the most deailed or fast amp out there, they do a very good job of "taming" the horns. The best Mac amp out there IMHO, the Mac 2255, but hard to find. I do need to comment that I am really not a fan of horns or Macintosh equipment anymore, but if you like lots of sound with big impact or listen to mainly rock, then Klipsch speakers will knock your socks off. Hope this helped, if only a little bit.
whatever you decide on Klipsch-wise, you really should try to get a tube pre amp with them,youre ears willthank you down the road.I owned K horns ,la scala and heresy, and they all sounded SO much better with tubes. Good luck
I heard that Mr. Winoguy! Trying a Cary pre this weekend thanks for your input.
I tried another tube preamp ($2600 list) this weekend - same result as always: tube-rush noise, microphonics, ringing, yuck!
I currently own the Klipsch Belles. They sound incredible, but it is really about choosing the right gear. Tubes work great with these speakers as with all vintage Klipsch gear. I use an upgraded Counterpoint SA-12 with 6sn7 Sylvania bad boys. My preamp is a Counterpoint SA-3000 pre-amp. The right tubes are important because they make the speakers sound bright and fatiguing. The sound is quiet, dynamic and great detail. The right choice of tubes is important.
I'm a Klipsch fan (I have 2 pairs, one pair a factory custom) but I'm also an advanced audiophile and there are plenty of speakers that sound better than heritage Klipsch. Have you looked at the Reference or the Palladium series? Very nice sounding speakers and awesome with tube gear. The Palladiums are class A according to Stereophile but even my low line Reference series are still enchanting every time.
Bright in Klipsch? This must be a joke! Listened to La Scala and
Other Klipsch for many years and Never encountered bright.
And they are Musical! Much more than other more recent and pricy speakers for sure