Having second thoughts on Khorns Need help

Hi all: I am starting a two-channel set-up starting with speakers,amp (tube or s.s.),also c.d. player direct to amp to be decided later. I had decided to go with Klipsch Khorns originally and have done research on the net for about 6 weeks now.
I am now having second thoughts, given the type of music I listen to, mostly rock and LOUD! I am a little concerned about whether the Khorns can produce the bass on this type of music to my liking! I will not be buying these for another 6 months,so I am open to other suggestions for speakers.
I am looking for floor standing full-range speakers that can fill a 12W x 24L x8H enclosed with tight,
chest-pounding bass on it's own, without a subwoofer. I listen to Van Halen,Dream Theater,Greenday,Led Zep,Sherryl Crowe, Colin James,Collective Soul,Metallica,etc. No classical,jazz or hip-hop!
I realize that some speakers sound better with certain types of music and the electronics,(source and amp), plus the room have an effect on how a speaker sounds! I guess what I am looking for(asking), is a pair of speakers that play "rock" well! I can go up to $6500 for a pair. Amp and source to be decided later, depending on the type of speakers! Interested in all comments!Thanks, Huck
Look at this recent thread.

Thiels sound very, very good at high volume with rock and roll; and all other types, too. They are also an excellent value on the used market. The model 3.5, 5, and 7 would be the ones for you to take a look at.

Main issue with thiels is their amplifier requirement; ie, difficult load. For optimal performance something along the lines of a powerful Accuphase, Levinson, Krell, Odyssey, or Clayton would be in order. I drove a pair of thiel cs 2.2 speakers with a Levinson 27.5 and never needed more power; room was about 70% of the size you are going to use. The Levinson sounded fabulous and, at under 2000 used, is a good investment. A Levinson 23.5 is rated at double the power and does not sell for much more than the 27.5.

A pair of Threshold SA110 monoblocks also would work well.

Another speaker manufacturer to consider is VMPS. They provide a wide range of models. The VMPW tower will rock your boat.

The Klipschorns, IF mounted correctly in corners with solid walls extending out on each side, will make good bass down to 40hz. Most rock and roll recordings don't go much further down than this. The Klipschorns can be played quite loud and will work well for rock. Hell, most of the speakers you listen to at live shows are industrial horns for the PA system.
I dont understand the fascination with klipsch..... there bright and sound like a PA. Why not Legacy, B&W or Triangles Celius...... Theses have great bass and sound more like music then Klipsch..... So look around and go listen and see for yourself......

Hi Huck,

For the low down on the K-horns take a few minutes and look at the Klipsch forum. Quite a few posts about those speakers.
Huck55-LOUD is when you can feel the bass hit your chest.
REALLY LOUD is when the air in the room moves your whole body and it feels like you are being compressed.If this is what you're after you can obtain it for less than $2,000.00.Buy a pair of Klipsch Cornwall's and two Definitve Technologies PF-15 subs.Remember to save some cash for the Digital hearing aids.
If you want to go without the subs here is my response to another members question.02-08-03:KLIPSCH KPT-MCM GRAND.You want LOUD here it is.
And as an added bonus to PERMANENT HEARING DAMAGE
you will receive realignment of your internal organs. Give them a call 1 800 KLIPSCH. I do own Khorns and power them with a McIntosh MC352 amp-email any questions you may have.Hope this helps.Max db's are 126.
If you want to go further south than 40Hz, you need a good sub. My suggestion would be a pair of LaScallas or even Cornwalls and a SVS sub. Get their top of the line one. About $3500.00. I can guarantee you--one hour at 95 db--youl crack your foundation.
Horns can be problematic at best, I would look into the Legacy Focus 20/20, for rock I would suggest these are one great value, I have always left my dads house impressed by what these can do and Collective Souls "December" made my neck hair stand, you owe it to yourself to audition these , another plus, the blow away KHORNS on appearance, really a awesome looking speaker with sound to match!
If I ever could tslk my dad into it I would love to hear the 20/20 with tubes ontop and solid state bass.
Huck if you really want *kick* then you need the dynamics which only horns can provide. The Khorn is a ruthlessly revealing & detailed speaker which doesn't render a marginal source kindly: ie: you hear what you're putting into them & if it's not a clean signal then you'll definitely hear it. Some call this a problem & it really is one: a problem with a poor front end. Use a quality mosfet solid state amp running at least 200 watts per channel, a quality active (not passive) solid state or a tube pre, and MIT speaker cables which work great with classic Klipsch designs. The preamp will give you better dynamics & control than if you drive an amp directly from your source: this has been repeatedly attested to by others & matches my own experience. You want loud? I have measured 125dB SPL in a similar sized room to yours using a 225w/ch Accuphase amp. Of course that level is unlistenable it's so loud; the idea is to have a lot of headroom for a complete;y clean signal at all realistic listening levels.
Klipsch speakers, I own 2004 La Scalas, do require a lot of thought into equipment, room size, and other things to get the best sound out of them. But once you set them up correctly(this is subjective to each person) they give the best performance from any speakers I have heard.

Are there speakers that sound overall better than my La Scalas or KHorns? No but I have not heard the thousands of speakers from all over the world. Some speakers I heard did not sound good to me but use a different preamp or amp and they might sound better or really good. Some speakers had excellent bass and midrange but the highs I did not like. Some bad midrange, muddy bass, no imaging, did not like the sound stage, vocals did not sound right, etc, etc. Someone else might listen to all the same speakers with me and have a different view on every speaker.

For me the La Scalas have the best overall sound to others they are bright and harsh. That is what's great about having so many choices in speakers and gear, you do have choices! There are probably better horn speakers than my La Scalas but I have not been able to hear them or they cost $15,000.

It is a very difficult proccess finding the "BEST SPEAKERS" for a person.

Do you live anywhere near a Klipsch forum member? Most people on the Klipsch forum would be willing to let you hear theirs.

Someone said Khorns sound like PA speakers well what do you see used by bands? Speakers with horns. A horn system with the wrong equipment can sound bright or harsh. For some people even with the "right" equipment Klipsch sounds harsh.

I have some music that is recorded excellent and it really sounds great on my system. I also have music that is recorded like cr@p and on my horn speakers it does not hide that fact, the KHOrns are the same.

If you buy new KHorns be prepared to spend time finding the right gear to get the best sound out of them. If you buy other speakers you may have the same problem.

Do you live anywhere near a Klipsch forum member? Most people on the Klipsch forum would be willing to let you hear theirs. If it is not a extreme trip go listen to them you may be spending $6500 so it would be worth a roadtrip. Take your music with you. But realize that if you really like the sound of their KHorns it is also because of the equipment and room. I'm Xman on the Klipsch forum I remember your post about wanting KHorns. Good luck with your search it is a tough decision!!


I have a pair of VMPS Supertowers/R's that I bought while I was still playing lots of loud rock. The lower section of these (are) the large VMPS subs...17hz is not a problem!

In your price range you could try these if you live on a farm and are not married.


all rock concerts use horns. i rest my case
"all rock concerts use horns. i rest my case"

Yes they do, and they sound very bad!, but...they get the job done in the SPL department and can be driven to those levels at low cost.

There's been some excellent advice already in this thread. I'd particularly highlight the contributions by JbsJbsl and Bob Bundus. I'd add/stress/reiterate the following:

The Khorns will go low only when properly placed in two adjacent corners as they were designed. Either that, or you must build false corners on them (not pretty IMO). Even then they're only going to give you an honest 40hz and there are plenty of speakers that will do better on their own in terms of bass. None of them will likely sound like a Khorn, as has been pointed out. Their sound is unique, and more often results in a love-em' or hate-em' response. As Bob points out they are extremely revealing of everything upstream and they'll take no prisinors there. A LaScala or Belle will have a similar character to them, but will not require the corners, but in turn will not go quite as low. If you are a bass-hound and want something that hits you in the chest, I would include a subwoofer in my budget for any one of these considerations. Matching the best upstream components is absolutely critical with these speakers and can make or break your investment. Also, none of the larger Klipsch Heritage line conform to your size requirements that you listed. In comparison they are quite large, the Khorns being the largest of the bunch and a formidable speaker indeed.

Two speakers I've heard in the past that do what it seems like you are asking, while both remaining relatively reasonable in price, are NHT 3.3's and the more current Gallo Reference 3's. Both require significant current to do their thing though.

Per the suggestions above, if you're stuck on Klipsch for some reason, go out and try to listen to a few set up well. Bring your own music to listen to.

Good luck!

Jay that was a really ummmm stupid point to make, all rock concerts sound like Ice Picks in your ear, if you want to recreate that..by all means do, but that statement in no way makes a case for horns, if anything it hurts (just like your ears at a concert)
Thanks to all that have replied! I really appreciate it! Thanks, Huck
Horns can be problematic at best
Surely, Paul Klipsch, Terry Cain, A Capella, Avantgarde, Oris, et al have done more than patented research to create what could be deemed a 'problem'.

You're welcome to come over, Huck55. Of course, horns aren't for everyone. But if you don't leave here feeling like Lars Ulrich (Metallica) or Danny Carey (Tool) have rocked you silly, I'd be surprised. I played rock drums professionally for over a decade. The K-horns can shake the house without a sub. Promise.
NHT 3.3 speakers.
Biggest amplifier you can afford (Parasound HCA-1500)
$300 NAD, Rotel, Sony CD player
$600 NAD, Rotel, Adcom, Parasound preamplifier

Dynamic as heck.

Good luck!
I should say in adding to my previous comments that if I was listening exclusively to hard rock music, I'd likely opt for a 50-100W Hybrid amp and a box speaker, like Silverline, Soliloquy, VMPS, Tyler, etc. They are not as uber-revealing as the horns, and will consequently dampen the typically washy mids/highs that multi-track guitar recordings can sound like when fully exposed. Just my opinion, of course.

You have a good budget. If you can, listen to as many options as you can, and your decision will become easy.
2 speakers I really want to hear, ok well 3:

So I am not bashing horns, I just want to hear some done right and like them, YMMV
for 6500 i would invest in an avantgarde uno ,way way better than a khorn in my experience ,had khorn for few months ,no low bass

You can buy used Khorns for 2000 on ebay and get the crossovers updated by BEC, a member of the Klipsch forum, for a couple of hundred. For the price they are unbeatable. I have Cornwalls, 15" woofer, rated to 35 hz, but believe me they rock the house at ear numbing levels ( 100 db/watt sensitiviy at 1 meter )with 80 tube watts driving them. The K horns are 104 db. Unbelivallbe dynamics and that is what rock is all about.

Name another speaker that's been in production for almost 60 years. That says something.


" I dont understand the fascination with klipsch..... there bright and sound like a PA. Why not Legacy, B&W or Triangles Celius...... Theses have great bass and sound more like music then Klipsch..... So look around and go listen and see for yourself.."

because they sound like they come out of a box, a KHorn fills the room, no box visible.

the man wants to 'rock' and 'rock loud'. he's concerned khorns will not deliver the bass. they will of course. as far as 'ice picks' go, most of the rock shows i have attended(inside and outside) in the last 10 years have sounded pretty darn good. khorns also excel with jazz at low and high volume levels. look, at home i have listened to gradients, heresys,castles,jbls and advents now for several years, and find them all worthy of all types of music. when 'rockers' stop over they always want to hear my system with the heresys. for nearly three years i lived with a pair of belles and found them spectacular for pretty much everything except classical.as far as other non klipsch horn designs go, other than some vintage jbl products, i'm not a believer. richard lloyd, charles lloyd buck dharma, bb king, les mcann, the rolling stones, through duos or solos....i'll pass....strictly for acoustic-female-warble-lounge-jazz of the in-store demo variety. just to be fair, some rock shows i have gone to did sound like 'ice picks'. they can't all be pleasant. after all, it is rock and roll....
I own La Scalas a different beast no corner neeed but the exact same drivers and 104db efficiency. I also own a variety of other speakers. Klipsch bass will not be in your face except for the fortes and such unless you feed them big power. The woofers are 15" most of the efficiency is in the mid range horn. I have heard them play with 3 watt amps. Trust me the really won't move untill you put a true (Class A 100 watts or Mac 200wpc for example.) power amp on them. If you like you bass clean and fairly reserved get the Klipsch with ordinary amps otherwise get different speakers you sound like a guy who would like a sub. I grew up on Hereseys which I still have and keep the big klipsch around when I want an effortless Rock out but bass is not their strength. If you want warmer loud bass I would seriously consider the Fortes and still get the klipsch volume. Forget about warm musical speakers when your trying to play Bad to the bone or life is a highway. The klipsch will blow your hair back with the right amps. If you like looser bass and big sound take your pick Montanas,VPMS, Legacy, but they all do that woo-woo thing.
Avantgarde for hard rock music...DEFINITELY test that theory with an audition first! I've heard the Uno's and Duo's both, and wouldn't consider either for your needs.
Don't forget, if you do end up going with a K-horn, there are several modifications that are crucial:
Updated or Rebuilt crossovers
Dampen the horns with Dynamat, or the like (horn shout be gone!)