Horn Speakers

After owning many different systems over the past 20 yrs or so, I’m coming to the realization that what I like most (at least right now) is lifelike dynamics, the kind that will make you jump.

I owned Maggies for several years. I love their big open sound, but missed the “punch” of dynamic speakers. About 3 yrs ago I went to Vandersteen’s, currently 3A’s. They still have that open sound and do offer some “punch”, not a ton, but some. Going to Nuforce amps gave the Vandies a little more kick, but I’m still missing the lifelike dynamics that I’ve heard with some horn speakers. The problem is, the horn speakers I’ve heard are a bit shouty & harsh.

My question, is there a reasonably priced horn speaker that offers the dynamics I’m missing, with a smoother, more refined sound? Used speakers are fine, I’m open to doing some mods (cross-overs, damping, etc) budget is $1500 +/-.
get klipsch heresy's...they're 'classics', and unlike many horn loaded speakers, they don't honk, and are lively as all getout...in corners, they will do bass better than many horn designs as well.
Are the Heresy's better than the Forte's or Cornwall's? Are there certain models/years that are more desirable than others?
Cornwalls blow away the heresys. Much bigger and more money...
Have you considered electrostatics like Soundlabs? They may be out of your budget?
I owned Martin-Logans at one time. Don't know how they compare to the Soundlabs, but I liked the Maggies better than the Logans.
I would be interested in some horns too but the ones I have heard (low end Klipsch) were horrible. I always see the older Klipsch recommended for rock but isn't there something with a little better WAF that sounds as good for rock music that would offer the same dynamics? Doesn't seem to be.
Klipsch reference series are good, look at older Cornwalls, heresy or belle klipsch. May be prone to hum since they are so efficient.
If you have two good corners in your room, I would recommend trying for a local pair of Khorns. Otherwise, a pair of Belle Klipsches could be had for your price range.

There are many good discussions and expert advices on Klipsch forum:


Good luck.
At a $1500 budget, your choices are very limited. You may want to keep your present speakers and add a high end self powered subwoofer with a crossover point set at the low frequencies that you are missing, perhaps 100 or 80 Hertz. Also add an L-pad to control the volume of the subwoofer to keep it at the same level as the other speakers. You will also need a three resistor circuit to convert stereo from the two channels into one mono circuit just for the subwoofer. Let me know if you are interested in this gadget. Or you can check out the Klipsch website and go to their forum. Ask about the "mini box" that Paul Klipsch designed for this purpose.

You will have to spend from $10,000 to $20,000 if you want a quality horn speaker system with a high end amp and source that will avoid the harsh sound you don't want; and that's just for used equipment. Good luck!
ecruz...the heresys are pretty much the cornwall's equal in a small to medium room.....havent compare to a forte in years, but the forte plays deeper than both.all are keepers for sure....
As per my post in your other thread. My recomendation would either be the Omega superhemps or the Druids. These speakers are not 10,000.00 horns and they have their limitations. But ,they do pretty good and they're not bright or shouty. Add a fast sub and you'll love them.
I own a pair of Altec 604-8g (Model 17's) that sound to me what you describe you are looking for. The 17s are designed for nearfield listening and can be bought in your price range. Excellent clairty, soundstage and dynamics. They don't do much over 14hz and drop off pretty sharply at 40hz. For more info a google search using Altec 604 will give you alot more info.

Altec Model 19's if you have a larger room would fill the bill nicely. Again you should be able to get some within your price range.

These Altecs are high efficiency (100 db and up) and work very well with SET or PP tube amps. And there are lots of folks who drive them with SS amps too and enjoy them, although I prefer tubes with mine.

As far as the large heritage Klipsch, it seems there are quite a few heritage owners who replace the klipsh drivers and horns with Altec drivers in the heritage cabinets, but I will leave it up to you to research what is considered the best.

Great Plains Audio in Okla. City is owned by a long time (28 years) Altec employee and has all of the original Altec equiptment to service any problems with the drivers or horns for a very reasonable fee if they should need any attention.

Good luck in your search and I hope you find what trips your trigger. I did.
I don't have another thread.
Ecruz, you don't need to spend $10,000. The Cornwall's with a warm solid state, or even better, a 30 watt or so integrated tube amp, and you will be surprised at what they will do.

A step up is the LaScalla's, which IMO are better, but don't have the bass extension and normally require a crossover mod to sound their best.

I've not heard the new RF-83's, but they may be exactly what your looking for. Better WAF for sure. Many on the Klipsch forum seem to think they're a bit too mellow, but all say they still have the dynamics and punch Klipsch is known for.

I'm certainly anxious to hear a pair.
Sorry, my bad! Still try the speakers!


Some really great sounding Klipsch are well within your budget. You'll even have enough money left over to upgrade the xover networks. Consider the Chorus, Forte, and Legend series from Klipsch. None of them will run you over $1K. Another $250 to upgrade your xover networks and you'll be set.

Any particular series of Chorus or Forte?
I've owned many klipsch. The cabinet appearance has gone downhill on them over the years. If looks matter/WAF, keep you eyes set to older ones. If you compare the Cornwall to the Chorus, you will see and hear huge differences...
Are you saying the Cornwalls are better, or the Chorus are better?

I've looked in the A'gon Bluebook and they seem to be selling for similar prices.
After doing some research, it looks like Cornwalls are the more prefered of the two. Although it seems some people like the Forte's better.

I think it's pretty safe to say, that all (Cornwall, Chorus, Forte, etc.) are going to be a great choice. It just boils down to which one you like the best. Hearing each one or as many as you can would be the best situation to buy from.
its down to a bit of difference in the base...the klipsch house sound is pretty cool
I've owned many and heard them all. There's a reson the Cornwall's were resurrected by Klipsch and the Chorus, Fortes, etc. were not.

They're very good speakers that have a smaller foot print, which is what they were designed for, but Paul knew what he was doing we he used the big cabinets for the CW's.

I read that he disigned the Cornwall's to have bass performance on par with the K-horns, but in a cabinet that was easier to place, i.e. didin't require two good corners.

Obviously the CW's are my favorites. I'll admit the K-Horns and LaScalla's are more sensative, more detailed, etc., but they can also sound very sharp to my ear if the cross over's are not modified.

I always felt the CW's were much smoother and represent a good compromise.
I only got rid of my Hereseys to buy Cornwalls. I got rid of my Cornwalls to please my wife! I now have much smaller but almost as efficient Coincidents. In my opinion, if size matters, the Cornwalls are the best Klipsch out there. Hereseys take up as much space once on stands. Khorns, LaScala and Belle are HUGE and only marginally more efficient.

Also, the Corwalls are "old school" klpsch cabinet design with 3/4 plywood boxes. The whole company changes when they went to using mdf and cheaper materials for the horns. Now that HK has them, it's even worse.

Forte & Chorus are not from the original line-up. I'm very partial to the original klipsch.

Final note: My coincident speakers are almost as efficient, very tight and clean, smaller & prettier but made with veneer instead of plywood, have less bass and only lose out to klipsch when listening to horns/jazz or cranking at 125db!
KHorns or Lascalas. Its difficult to find the Khorns for 1500 but they are very good speakers. I have owned KG5.5, RF3, and now the Khorns. I guess I am a little partial to the klipsch line. The 5.5s are pretty good speakers with a good bass response and can be found on the used market for about 500 or less.
Try the Hornshoppe Horns. Don't let their size fool you. Talk to Ed (the maker) about them and he'll convince you to take the leap. I did and boy am I glad I did.