Is this the entrance to my rabbit-hole?

I own a pair of vintage Klipschorns, '73 model. About 10 years ago I replaced the crossover boards with a pair of Bob Crite built ones. They had served me very well.

I use a variety of low powered valve amps with my favourite all rounder being a Miniwatt. Don't laugh! The ease with which this little beauty controls the K'horns is astonishing and it sounds fantastic to my ears.

Prior to the World seemingly going mad, a gent lent me (with a view to possibly buying them) a set of active cross-overs that he had built himself, based on a well known design. He had replaced these, on his highly modified later model K"horns, with a time phased MiniDSP set up which sounded pretty good to my ears.

Anyway, I connected them and played around with them for weeks until finally settling on a mid-range setting I was "happy" with. They have been in constant use for about 12-18 months after a few swithches back and forth with the originals early on in the piece.

I won't bore you with the theory of how they work nor how and why they are supposed to improve one's listening experience

Whilst they sounded pretty good, they never sounded quite right and I was constantly thinking that I would eventually have to do some more fiddling and possibly get into the whole mini DSP scene to fix the percieved short-comings in my sound.

I even had an old Luxman 308 refurbished and brought it into play as I thought I might be able to tame some issues with it's tone controls. Turns out that I could but still, it never sounded quite right.

Last week after again agreeing with "she who must be obeyed" that we had too much stuff, I relented and began to rationalise my situation. The active crossovers had been left on top of the "Khorns so that I could adjust them as necessary and there they had stayed for months, knowing that she disliked seeing them there gathering dust.

As I had not yet bought them, I decided to connect my original passive crossovers and finally make a choice on one set or the other. Keeping the actives would see them installed inside the top hat and out of sight.

To say that I was very surprised at the result would be an understatement.

The music just seemed to gel. Track after track of very familiar tunes had my toes tapping by the 2nd song.

The speakers sounded like they were working in synergy, together and as a pair. Where before they sounded like 3 separate speakers in each corner of the room, now they sounded like each speaker cabinet was working seamlessly as one, and as a pair, well the imaging improved in all directions and the music was just........alive.

The last few nights listening has me convinced that I don't need the extra cost and hassle of the supposed improvements I might gain.

Where would I go if I still wasn't happy? On and on, down and down that rabbit hole that we've all probably stared into at certain times.

Lesson learnt. Stop chasing the rabbits. Enjoy the music.


OP thanks for posting 

I have the Speakerlab SK versions and I would like to upgrade them but they just sound so right and I don't want to screw it up.  I've looked at the Volti,  ALK and Crites sites for an upgrade path and I'm unable to pull the trigger (rabbits... trigger) on anything but I still hear the rabbits calling. 

I'm a female vocals guy ,that's my priority.

What can I expect with and upgrade and what's the best way to get more intimate, more real,  more involved? 

  • The consensus seems to be shallow slope crossover points.
  • What do I gain by gain with a 2 inch midrange, tractrix horn... what do I lose?
  • I'm running subs so bass isn't the problem but I heard pair of Tannoys and you could hear the wood of the bass.  I don't get that but is that something you just loose with the folded horn cabinet?





I did the full Volti/Khorn upgrade package with my 1990's Khorns about 3 years ago. About $4,600 cost for all the new components.  EVERY component is removed from the cabinets, and replaced with much better parts.

Completely changed the sound of the Khorns !  My wife and I were standing in awe at first listening to our "new" Khorns.  Wish we'd have done it ten years earlier.

I believe the majority of the improvement in sound is a result of the Volti wooden mid-horns, new 2" German drivers, better-grade horn/tweeter assembly, and the new 15" bass drivers.  The Volti crossovers are very cool, and can easily be "tuned" to your taste.  Nice plus is that Greg is but a phone call away, in case you have a question, mid-project.

Point of all that, re the OP, is that I believe crossovers can only do so much, and that MUCH greater improvement can be had by replacing the horns & drivers.  Cost more, for sure, but since you are going down the hole....... quote SNS,

"My Klipschorns are the last loudspeakers I will own, sense of live performers in room unsurpassed in my experience."

My feelings exactly.

Russ69 - only one set connected.

SNS- that's pretty much what my wife said. Trust Paul.

The Pre 8 catches my eye and mind, but resting assured that the $ involved are beyond my simple means.  Spouse has already decided that most of the audio appliances I have make up a third member of the household.... ;)