Where's Bob? he is the Klipschorn master here at audiogon any concerns you have he can help you solve- no BS either. ~Tim
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The EAD is a good choice. Since you are using them 50% for music, I would recommend tubes for those 2 channels. You don't need much power (but you already know that). A nice SET, or even a low wattage push-pull would sound great. Then get a 3 channel solid state to run the other channels for HT. K-horns are not the best at imaging or soundstage. They also lack deep bass, but above 30 Hz, they have more than enough. They make up for it in fullness, dynamics, and efficiency. They can recreate a full orchestra remarkably well. I've owned several pairs of older Klipsch models and really enjoyed all of them.
I have owned well over a half dozen sets of various Klipsch models ( mostly La Scala's and Heresy's ). Having modified all of these to various states of performance and being able to experience the differences along the way, i think that ALL Klipsch need a LOT of very basic modifications to sound their best. Getting rid of the "horniness" can be done relatively easily, making the speakers far more versatile and usable with a wide variety of electronics ( tube and / or SS ). If you simply damped the horn bodies to minimize ringing, replaced the factory wiring and loosely stuffed the woofer cavity with fiberglass, you'd be MILES ahead of a stock model. All of this sounds a LOT more complicated than it really is, especially given the way that Klipsch has constructed the crossover and how the wiring attaches. Most of it is simple labor with a very small amount of elbow grease. Sean
The K-horns are *very* room dependant in their performance in all regards. In the right room, the bass is phenomenal - in the wrong room, ick!
Keep in mind at all times, this was a speaker system designed and intended for *monophonic* reproduction - all there was at the time! So, getting them to image is all the more room dependant (see comments below, for options)
Klipsh used several midrange horns, imho the best of the lot was an earlyish one that was almost as deep as the cabinet and iirc was kind of a black molded up affair using some sort of heavy dead fiber boardish stuff...
You can safely and quickly move to replace the icky EV horn tweeter with some sort of SOTA version without any fear.IMHO, that's the weakest link...
Immediately change all the xover parts for modern good ones... use polypropylene caps and good quality air core coils...
The throat area of the bass horn can benefit from replacement with a much stiffer, heavier material. Corian comes to mind. I know one person who machined it out of 1/2" thick steel. And it did wonders for the bass in terms of clarity and tightness!
There is some question as to the proper throat size for the woofer (there were several woofers) and the original article in Speaker Builder was *wrong*, the follow up was more right... you can consider trying a more modern driver in the hole, and also recomputing the throat size and dimension...
The K-horn bass cabinet *should* be flush to at least two surfaces, usually the corner (3 surfaces) for proper loading. It is feasible to place the K-horns on their side and against the floor/wall
boundary, although the loading will be slightly inferior. In such a case it is "legal" to bring out the mid horn and tweeter for better placement in terms of dispersion and imaging.
The *good news* is that you can drive the thing with very low power, certainly for the mids and highs... I think you want a nice p-p 300B amp for that... For the lows you may or may not want a low DF amp, depending upon how the woofer you have actually sounds subjectively in the room - if it is a bit "woolly" then maybe a SS amp is in order - although you can mess with the horn by lifting it up off the floor a bit and change the loading slightly and the room coupling.
IF I got one to work in my room in terms of *bass* I think I would probably go out and equip myself with some really great and separately enclosed kick-ass horns and compression drivers for the mids and highs... the K-horns (especially the later ones) are nice entry level stuff in terms of horns, but not really smooth and nice as some other things that you can either build, scrounge or buy...
Hi Ed, & thanks Tim for the compliment.
I don't have a bunch to add that hasn't already been said here, but I'll gladly share my experiences. I've had my classic Belles for about 18 years now, but if there's any Klipsch guru's among us I'd say that Bear & Sean are certainly qualified.
I'll first mention that the Klipsch website is a good info. resource - check out the forums there by all means.
My own listening preferences have always leaned toward solid state amps, even for these high-sensitivity horns. In that regard, since you have the EAD pre/proc, may I suggest trying an EAD Powermaster amp. Appearance & build quality of EAD's equipment is top notch IMO. The Powermaster line is especially great because these amps switch all of their power to the front 2 channels when the surrounds aren't being driven.
I've always liked to have a lot of reserve power capability even though I don't often use it. A high solid state damping factor coupled with large power reserves adds up to greater woofer control & you can easily hear the difference. I definitely don't care for tubes with these horns because the high speaker sensitivity really shows up the tube-rush noises & microphonics. Not to mention the extreme waste heat & continual high maintenance expenses of glassware; but that's just my own admittedly prejudiced opinion. I've found that mosfet amps sound best with my horns; presently I'm running a big Accuphase 200w/ch amp & couldn't be happier.
The high sensitivity of these horns makes them very fast & revealing; if you input a compromised signal then these speakers will definitely let you know about it. OTOH when you input a clean quality signal then they really sing & present a high goosebump-factor.
I've found that MIT speaker cable works very well in this application; the MH750 line. My last upgrade was to MH750 Magnum biwire; incredible.
If you get into tweaks the first thing I suggest is to place brass cones between cabinets & floor. Placing 3 cones under these big heavy cabinets was not easy, but it was very worthwhile.
Some of the more elaborate mod's mentioned above are worth looking into later on. One tweak that I found on the Klipsch website was reference to the ALK crossovers. These units are really quite something; very high quality caps & coils, but the wiring isn't any better than what Klipsch used in the factory (yuck). Change out that wire if you ever get Al Klappenberger's crossovers (don't mention the wire-subject if you ever talk to Al - he's really touchy about that) then rewire the cabinets as well. Klipsch has finally learned to use better wire; at least they now put Monster Cable into their newer products. It's not the greatest but it's a far cry from their old zip-cord.
You can get really carried away with modding of these old classics, but I myself wouldn't go as far as some others have done. However the rule of mod's is to only change one thing at a time, then listen & break in thoroughly before changing anything else.
So there you have it: Klipsch's, mosfet solid state, MIT, some the things that many audiophiles just love to hate. Why this combo sounds so good together may not make any sense, but this is sweet synergy.
I just want to thank everyone that has taken the time to lend there opinion on such a great web site. I really enjoy visiting Audiogon and reading the threads especially when you post one of your own. I just think it's great that people actually take the time out of there busy schedules to post the information we crave. I also wanted to say that I called Klipsch and asked them about the pair that I had just purchased they don't have any labels with signatures but they do have the serial numbers stamped on them. They told me that some were made with no label? I also found out mine were made in 1982 not 1981. I purchased mine from the original owner and they were never modified all original drivers crossovers etc. Does anyone know when the Alnico magnets were last produced in the K-Horns?
Thanx To All!!!!!!!!!!!!!!