The heritage series is what really put Klipsch on the map. Many Klipsch owners swear by them. Me I swear at them. My son started with kg 4.5's then moved to the klf20's and now the klf30's. They are very efficient but extremely forward in the mids. Some female vocals will drive even my son out of his room. He loves them because he refers to them as having concert levels in you house.
Is there anyone out there that upgraded from say maybe Dynaudio to Klipsch Cornwalls?
Sorry as a Dyn owner you have that backwards. Even my son will admit when he wants to hear what is really on a cd he comes to my house. I do have the C1 monitors and they don't get anywhere near as loud as his Klipsch but they are very transparent with a great sound stage and very neutral. Even the female vocals that will make my son run out of the room he can listen to here with no problem.
My suggestion would be to ask the dealer if you can take them home for a demo to be sure that is the type of sound you are looking for with your current electronics and room.
I'm not sure I can help. I'm not really sure what your question is but I'll give it a try. I'll address the quality issue first, yes Klipsch Heritage is a quality line and have very good durability. Some systems from the 40s are still in use with just some minor upgrades. Also being a horn design they work very well with tube equipment and are a good match for gear of this type.
Now the confusing part, you say you want to improve your sound stage. That implies better 3D sound with strong imaging and placing the sound into an exact space. The master of that kind of sound are panel speakers or perhaps moving up the line with B&W to the 800 series. But none of those work well with low power tube gear.
Having said that I wont be selling my Klipsch speakers anytime soon. If I live another 30 years, I'll still have them, they are a timeless design. I think you might want to listen to some examples first or define exactly what you are looking to do.
Klipsch has been around since the 1940's and specializes in making horn driven speakers that are highly efficient - can get very loud with very little power. I've been through a number of designs over the years, from LS35a's to Theil, Magnepan, Totem, Paradigm, Linn, B+W, and so on. To my ears, Klipsch speakers are capable of a musical realism that I don't get elsewhere. It's hard to explain, but instead of focusing on what the sound is like I focus on the music itself.
You can take a visit to the Klipsch forum at http://community.klipsch.com/forums/ and get a lot more information there. It's a very friendly forum. Good luck in your pursuit.
I've owned Heresy's and LaScalla's and I always thought they had the potential for great sound. Like with your setup, I ended up running them with "not so great" electronics and dumped them in search of a smoother sound. Horns have inherent strengths and weaknesses. One thing I have noticed about the big Heritage line speakers (LaScalla, Belle, Khorn) is they need the right sized room and the electronics. I have read quite a few SET reviewers that use the big Klipsch speakers and say they are in heaven. From my experience, a small, high quality tube amp and a good sized listening room would be a great match for Klipsch Heritage speakers. I ran the LaScallas with a Nakamichi PA7 for a while and I thought I got pretty good results but the midrange was not to my liking. I believe at least part of the problem was the room size. I spent some time on the Klipsch forums and there are many, many tweaks to alter the sound to fit an individuals taste. As my musical tastes transitioned from mostly hard rock/metal to alternative, and now blues, up tempo jazz and vocalists, my taste in speakers has changed as well. Not that Chicago on a pair of LaScallas isnt a great match but Nora Jones was another story. Again, this is in a smaller room with SS amplifiers. I can say in my hard rocking heyday; nothing and I mean nothing could compete with the LaScalla and a good 18 JBL pro sub.
A few months back, I got to spend a week with an old buddy who had a set of Cornwalls and a pair of rebuilt Dynaco tube amps. I was amazed at how much smoother his speakers sounded than my LaScallas did. It was dramatic but he had a large room and the amps had been maticulosly gone through. I finally sold my LaScalla's and bought a pair og Heresy's. I did better with the Heresy but again
my taste seemed to favor a monitor speaker with a soft dome tweeter. The Dynaudio C1 is my current favorite match to my Levinson23.5/Modwright SWL 9.0 combo. Since I cant quite afford the C1, I am running Proac D twos and I am very, very pleased. Getting back to the Klipsch; Bob Crites has done a lot to change the crossovers and upper end of the heritage line. From all that I have read it makes a big improvement and that seems logical the crossovers I was using in my LaScallas were almost 20 years old. Who knows what condition the caps were in? Ultimately, I am planning an addition to the house for music and movies the plan is to finally buy the Klipschhorns I have always wanted. That should tell you something. I still want back into the Heritage line. I would love to pick up a rebuilt HK Citation II or a Marantz 8b and let those babies sing. My advice it to look at your room size and dimensions then post of the Klipsch forum and see what people think. I would at least consider trying a small ARC, Cary or better yet a rebuilt Dynaco or HK tube amp and compare it to what you are currently using. You might just me amazed.
It seems somehow one dimensional to think of the Klipsch drivers as low technology and not address the technology of the horn itself. Using a tapered horn to match the impedance of the driver with that of the surrounding air is, IMHO, the highest of technologies, though certainly not a new one. Low tech to me is sticking the same drivers in the same box and pouring crushed up diamonds on your tweeter diaphragms and making your woofers out of the latest stuff that NASA sent up on the Space Shuttle.
None of that addesses the actual question. I moved to original Cornwalls and Fortes a couple of years ago from B&Ws, Maggies, etc. But I would never call the move an upgrade. It is simply a different set of strengths and weaknesses. Are you willing to accept box and horn colorations in the midrange and upper bass in exchange for a certain ease, scale and sense of touch? There are clearly people who are, and those who aren't, and that is why the views on the Heritage Klipsch are so polarizing.
As far as being stuck in time, that criticism is probably spot on, the Klipschorn being in production longer, by far, than any other loudspeaker. The earliest models dating to the mid 1940s. It is the horseshoe crab of speakers, outlasting so much "high technology" that is now relegated to the scrap bin. It is a speaker for the ages; but certainly not the speaker for everyone, or even most people.
Donjr, first - this is probably not the best place to research Klipsch Heritage speakers. Go to the High Efficiency Speaker forum on AA, or for a more biased point of view look to the Klipsch Community website.
I like vintage speaker designs such as the Klipsch Heritage, Altec Lansing and many others. I have owned (and still own) several Klipsch models. It is true that these vintage horns sound very different than bass reflex enclosures. I love the hyper detail of a good EL panel or ribbon speaker, but IMHO a good horn speaker is warmer, more musical and has better instrument texture than ELs or all cone speakers.
As you will see, Klipsch Heritage speakers come in a variety of sizes and prices. They all share a similar (if not quite the same) house sound. And despite what some might say, vintage horns can be quite versatile when it comes to room size. I am using a pair of Belles in an 11 x 13 room and they sound great.
If you want to see if Klipsch speakers will work for you, here's my suggestion for doing so on the cheap: look for a clean set of KG-4s. These can be usually be found for less then $200, and often for $100. While these are not Heritage speakers per se, they are very good for the price and will introduce you to the Klipsch sound for a minimal investment. Stick them right up against the back wall, adjust the width apart until the image snaps into focus. Use lamp cord if you like - more expensive cable won't make a noticeable difference (again, IMHO). If you like what you hear, you can sell them for what you paid for them and move up the line, or you can rebuild the crossovers for under $100 which will improve the midrange and high end clarity.
Klipsch is a love/hate proposition. The Heritage series was head an shoulders above most dynamic speakers 30-40 years ago. Transducers got so much better, now clean sound can be had without horns to keep diaphragm excursion low.
This doesn't mean I dont like Klipsch horn loaded speakers. I have some Forte IIs and they are very fun to listen to. High efficiency opens the door to a variety of amps that would fall flat with average efficiency speakers. The newer horn design "tractrix" addresses the baffler interface and reduces some of the negative horn effect. The Heritage series does not feature the tratrix horn design. I have read of an upgrade recommended by a Klipsch tech, changing mid the horn, but not the original driver on the Cornwall.
The perfect speaker would have no signature of it's own, just sound like music. I guess that could be said about any part of the chain, right down to the microphone recording the original event. It boils down to subjective preferences.
I own a Pair of Lascalas, which I have heavily modified to eliminate cabinet and horn resonances and vibrations. I have also built risers for them, which gets them to a better listening height and adds about 50 pounds of mass to each structure. I have left the crossovers and drivers stock, as I find them excellent. I do have them mated with a pair of sub woofers from 50 hz down. I listen from a seated position of 13-14 ft and have a room which allows them to breath. I have owned all sorts of speakers in my time and I can only tell you that nothing has made my feet tap the way they do with my set up. The system not only plays loud , but so easily plays loud vs soft passages, unlike most speakers, which I find congested. They are very coherent and smooth, and those artifacts of honkiness that some speak of, are non existent. Every recorded instrument, including those of male and female voice, is unaltered and pleasantly voiced. The presentation is quite life like. I get such a sound stage that it is amazing there are speakers there at all. Also quite amazing is the speed and attack of the musicianship (PRAT). I also want to add that I have been lucky to have finally found equipment (40 years doing this)to match them "for my ears". I cannot stress this enough. Speakers cannot be judged by themselves. System matching, room size/acoustics, tweaks and adjustments (all with time and patience) are critical in accomplishing this nirvana we are all looking (listening) to achieve. Good luck with your search.
The only "paper drivers" in most Klipsch Heritage are the woofers. The tweeters and squawkers have phenolic diaphragms. As for the paper woofer cones: they have no foam surrounds, so have excellent longevity. As for Heritage sound, for me it's the closest thing to live music I've heard (I own La Scala's and have owned Belles in the past). Other speakers I've owned are Spendor, Harbeth, older KEF. All those speakers were outstanding in their own way, but none had the realism and dynamics of my La Scala's and Belles. Sure they'll play loud, but they're most impressive at low volume, where you can still hear every detail of a recording. Some say Klipsch are fatiguing. So is live music if you listen long enough. I've never felt fatigued listening to my La Scala's, though I never listen longer than two hours. My advice would be similar to others: if you're interested in hearing them and can't audition, get a used pair. If you don't like them, they're easy to sell for what you paid, sometimes more.
I forgot to address one of your concerns in my last post. You say you want better soundstaging. Klipsch might not be your best bet in that case. Horns are very directional. If pointed directly at you, the soundstage is very good, but not great. My Spendors and Harbeths soundstaged incredibly well. But they lacked the clarity, dynanics, and resolution of my Klipsch's, especially at low levels. You ask what it is about the Heritage line. For me, it's their overall sonic realism. But that isn't everyone's most important critereon.
IME, the Klipsch do have an excellent soundstage. I own Cornwalls, and have heard the Belles and the K-horns. The horns are of course directional, but IMO this actually directs the vast majority of the sound where you want it to go, and therefore it can minimize some negative effects of the room acoustics. Of course, this also depends greatly on the room. I have never been disappointed with the Klipsch, even for full scale opera.
Donjr On another thread of yours you indicated you had a problem with the front left corner of your room. Klipsch, as most speakers, do not fair best in corners, IME (K horns excluded). I will say, properly set up, a pair of Klipsch heritage speakers (I am partial to the Lascala) will give you endless hours of musical enjoyment.