I have a pair of 2002 Klipschorns and have switched back and forth between them and Martin Logans, Thiels, Audiostatics, Magnepans, Piegas and even 35k Impact Airfoils. I can say without hesitation that the Klipschorns are THE most enjoyable speaker I have ever owned. With the right equipment (Wavelength Cardinals, for example) they are as lifelike and natural as ANYTHING out there. Those who bash Klipschorns simply have not heard them set-up under optimal conditions.I am also speaking of the newer model with updated crossover and wiring. An old pair with cheap wiring and posts, etc. will necessarily be limited by such factors. This 50+ year old design is still one of the best around!
You already know how I feel Bigjoe, and I've posted those sentiments to a few of the threads I've answered on this subject. I do believe you are quite correct about the setup and the gear you are using them with. I've heard them sound utterly unlistenable if set up to their disadvatage with SS gear. Then again, there seems to be a large group of supporters like yourself and others using Vintage Klipsch speakers along with SS and having very pleasing results, so go figure. Sean has made some interesting comments about improving the cabinets with bracing to get better sound, and, as you know there are many folks out there tweaking them in other ways. My LaScala SET system seems to impress most folks, audiophile and non alike, who come and listen to it. I think it has remarkable clarity and holographic presence. I think folks who are used to a more conventional 'rounder, softer' sounding speaker (those are my non-audiophile terms), could find the vintage Klipsch sound a bit to stark and harsh at times. I'll be curious too to hear some responses to this thread. I think the longevity of the technology and design of Paul W. Klipsch is truly remarkable in a world of technology that is changing at the speed of light. Same goes for Peter Walker and Quad. These brilliant pioneers designed products that still to this day, some 50 years after they were conceived of, still sound quite wonderful when settup right. Can they be outdone......are they the best? Yes and no, respectively. Certainly tecnology now offers all kinds of advantages in computer-enhanced engineering and design. Materials and components also have changed benefiting from the same. Klipsch, the company, took a turn in the opposite direction, IMO, when Paul sold the company to his relatives many years ago, and now their offerings cater more to midfi and entry level to compete with the likes of Bose. Quad certainly seems to have used the advances in technology to build on it's original foundation and raise the bar. I wish Klipsch had gone that direction. Instead the only two remaining designs of Paul's they still sell, the Khorn and LaScala (don't know if the "Jubilee" ever made it for public sale), remain relatively unchanged, and reportedly still sound damn good. Still, for not a whole lot of money you can have a very rewarding system using old technology that doesn't give up much for it's age, and you can find it right here in the used market, or at a pawn shop or garage sale going for bargain prices and offering a very satisfying voice to a thoughfully put-together system.
I owned Heresey's and La Scalas. I loved them. But my tastes changed. They never had the detail and micro dynamics I wanted. Thus I moved to something that did--almost the opposite end of the spectrum--Electrostatics (great imaging, great micro-dynamics, but not as overall dynamic--and certainly not efficient). Anyway, I still think the older Klipsch are fabulous speakers--but they currently are not the right speaker for me, and perhaps you have come to the same conclusion.
I have built a vintage system with the Ported Industrial Heresey's, a Scott 340B receiver, and a Sony 5520 automatic turnrable. Although this system isn't as dynamic as my "big rig," the midrange when listening to jazz keeps me involved for hours. This combination keeps me wondering why I spent so much money buying all the newer gear.
Anyone who bashes Klipsch does not value the dynamics they provide as much as those who love klipsch. Dynamics is the most important factor in speakers second only to tone. Some value tone so much as to not care about dynamics at all- to each their own. Some value dynamics at the expense of tone- you cant have both in most cases. There is an inverse relationship to the two. Klipsch=great dynamics and ok tone which in just fine for many people. On the other side of the world is Quad=great tone and poor dynamics. Also fine for many people. if people would understand this trade-off and buy a couple of speakers to cover this divergance they would be a lot more happy instead of buying one and bashing the other concept.
The new Klipschorns possess amazing dynamics and GREAT tonality. These are not your grandfather's Khorns!
Joe: If you don't mind me asking, can you tips that you received be found on the web? If so, can you point us t them?
Marco: All "classic" Klipsch models need major surgery if you really want to hear what the drivers can do. These are speakers that were VERY much built to a price-point. The fundamentals are there, but the execution is quite lacking.
Dave: you can have dynamics and tone so long as you have enough power and your speakers don't go into compression at a rapid rate : ) Sean
Sean- Yes, we've had this discussion before in another thread, which is one I think worthy of Joe reading. That's why I pointed out your suggestion regarding cabinet bracing and to search for some of your input on the subject. Also the wiring harness could stand much improvement (replacement), the seal of the cabinets on some models as well as drivers to cabinet seals on enclosed models. I've found that dampening the horns on the larger models (Khorn, Belle, LaScala) also helps. Built to a pricepoint? Absolutely. There aren't that many products that most folks can afford that are not built to a pricepoint. What's your point there? The few that aren't are not affordable. I can't think of an exception - can you suggest one? Regardless of their build they have been very rewarding speakers for me to own and listen to the music I love through. I have no doubt they would be to many others, in spite of what may be considered flaws by some. I do wish that the company had pursued further development and refinement of Paul's designs instead of focusing more on mass-market products.
I used Klipsch for about 12 years. They are great rock n roll speakers. I made the mistake of stopping in the local Tweeter and hearing a pair of Vienna Acoutics Beethoven's.
Try something else and see what you think. If your happy with the Klipsch,you save a ton of cash.
I had old K-horns, my own designs and Maggies.
I miss the midbass and the slam of the K-horns, they can be harsh sounding, it's not a tube or SS, it an amp quality issue.
The great tube vs SS debate to me still comes down to this:
A used $600 SS amp will sound poorly compared to a used $600 tube unit on a lot of speakers, those that tend to etch detail, (read bright).
However, with great amps (SS or toob), either way the issue is moot.
The K-horns need the X/O not tweaked but completely re-worked. Also damp the horns with foam, expandable type in the can, but (wax the horns first with Turtle wax, just in case you ever need to get them out. A nice layer, allowed to dry works fine, don't buff as with a car finish.
The K-horns still outside of the Avengardes, have the most realistic dynamics of any speaker I know of, the Ave's are in a whole nother league.
Tubes at budget amp prices work well, but a really good SS unit is also an excellent mate. Find a smalled used Levinson, which is a tad dark sounding, plug it in and forgedaboutit.
Perhaps the most realistic music reproduction I have ever heard was an excellent recording of Sousa marches played through a pair of Khorns, using excellect electronics in a dedicated room. The Tubas would flap your trouser legs, and the trumpets blazed forth from the midrange horn driver.
And this from a Maggie fan!
Read what ole J. Gordon himself had to say about Klipsch in the current stereophile.
Biggest audio mistake I made was selling my 4 JBL L200's when I left the quad revolution. They still make me Horny!!!!
As long as your enjoying them, that's what counts.
I only got rid of my cornwalls and heresys to make the wife happy. Took up way too much real estate.
Honestly though, you need a seriously massive room to get good imaging out of them.
sean,the tips that i got came from jax2 in a previous thread,my khorns were never an issue,man do they sound good,
the cornwalls were a pain in the ass to get to sound like anything,they sounded almost flat so i took marcos advice & concentrated on the xovers & after i swapped the xovers the sound was 100% better,not just better but true with complete seperation.
loontoon,i believe that you are correct about the amps.
to me the tube vs ss issue is purely a matter of the quality of your amps, i have ran tubes with great success but i have also had great results with ss due to the fact that my amps are a great match,im 1 of the die hard mcintosh fans, everybody has their own opinion on great amps
& as mcintosh has always been good to me i stick with it.
eldartford,your description of the khorns you heard took the words out of my mouth,i run the khorns & cornwalls in quad & the total sound that im getting now has flabergasted
me,i have never heard anything sound so true to life,last evening i listened to miles davis bitches brew which is my favorite album & even after hearing it thousands of times i was floored during miles runs the voodoo down.
the reason i wrote this thread was beacuse my gear far out classes or far out spends(which ever you prefer)my speakers
& when i couldnt get the sound i wanted i thought i needed to change speakers but now that im in love with the sound again i have lost the urge to get into another quest for perfection,i wanted to hear some other peoples experiences with klipsch just to make sure that in my moment of glory i wasnt hearing things that werent there,at this point im gonna stick with my current rig & speakers & just listen while im happy with everything as its been a long time scence i sat & listened without finding fault in somthing in my system.
thanks to all with special thanks to jax2,regards, mike.
My experience from having sold Klipsch's over the last 10 years, as well as owning them, is that "they got potential"...I'll say that. The pressence and sensitivity of these horn speakers offers a "you are there" feeling and effortlessness to the sound that "has something" indeed.
I've gotten excellent sonic results simply using cheeper SB series Klipsch's with tube gear in the past. On other occasions, with most standard midfi and even higher end SS gear, I've not gotten such great results often!..but depended.
What I'm saying is that I really wish the Klipsh's I've encountered/dealt with were more refined and musical sounding, like many of the ultra high end speakers I've also sold over the years(Wilson,Thiel,Magnapan,etc, etc)!
What I've noticed, as mostly budget parts with Klipsch's is "harshness, lack of refinement, often foreward even bright sound (although most of the midfi klipsch's aren't bright, just ragged and plain sounding, if just warm tonally).
I've heard so many times people mention "crossover upgrades" for Klipsch's(at least higher end K's). I would very very very much like to know more about this! Does it work?..with what specific Klipsch's??? Also, where do you get the crossover upgrades?
My wishes over the years has indeed been some way to improve the Klipsch's. Or at least that Klipsch would come out with some more refined higher end offerings! Still, I've gottend good results tinkering with their budget line...often prefering it to anything else they've made.
The older higher end line (K-horns, Lascala's, etc, whatever) I've never heard sound good yet, but I can tell the potential!
What I like about horns is their dynamic ease, relative detail, pressence, authority, and focus! AS a passive design, horn speakers from Klipsch can do wonders as passive counterparts to a good HT system at the very least!...dynamic, dynamic, dynamic!..and very involving, upfront, and surefooted sounding, if not just plain fun!
Many of the standard high end speakers just are too laid back, in-efficient, polite, and weak sounding for HT dubties, in all but the smallest of room settings, with perfect acoustics! Horns just have some excellent advantages!(like Avantgarde's...which drop off like a rock wshen you listen "off-axis"!..really the sound just goes away!...making seating critical for enjoyment).
I really wish someone would give me "the whole low-down" on the Klipsch mod's and "upgrades" for the crossovers and such! Anyone?...
They DID improve the design. When Klipsch bought Mondial they had the Mondial designers re-vamp the Khorn and, I think, the other heritage speakers. New crossovers and drivers were installed along with a wiring upgrade. The result is spectacular.
Exertfluffer - If you'll look back on your previous identical question regarding where to find the crossover upgrades that you asked on another Klipsch thread you will find that I answered your question and provided the links to the ALK site, as well as a review of their products on Enjoy the Music site.
Jax2, could you point it out to me? Maybe I'm a little dense with link-searching, but I don't seem to find the thread/your response. Thx
Exertfluffer - You can find that thread and the links in my last response here
To find any previous contributions to forums you can use the link "My Page" then log-in if you have not, click on "Forums Threads" and it will give you a list of your threads within the past month. You can also click another link to get your complete history on that same page that comes up.
A True Klipsch Story. In my first year of college I went to a George Thoroughgood concert that was being held in a smallish venue, a couple hundred seats at most. On either side of the stage were two compact black speakers with a distinctive double scalloped front baffle. I said to my buddy, "What kind of pussyass speakers are these? I thought George was gonna tear the roof off this place." He smiled a knowing smile and said, "Just keep at least 15 feet away from those babies or you're gonna set your earwax on fire. Those are Klipsches and they can crank!" Well, George and the Destroyers did not disappoint. They were just great, and the Klipsches (La Scalas) were positively awesome. Tremendous clarity, limitless impact and absolutely present. I have seldom heard better concert sound, and they left an indelible impression.
In particular I wished to address your question about crossover upgrades. A bit of background...
I have a home theater setup using all Klipsch heritage speakers, Forte's L/R & surround, Academy center, KG2 rear (these are not heritage, never mind on these)...you get the idea.
Visiting the Klipsch website for over a year I realized that there was MUCH debate and conjecture regarding crossover upgrades, and I decided to investigate. Over the last few months I designed and manufactured a new, better quality crossover network using two cojoined PCBS, and components from manufacturers such as Madisound, Auiricap, Solen, Dayton, and Mills.
Just this past weekend I had the opportunity to install my networks into the front Forte's. Mind you, like most I was skeptical about the results. I listened to a variety of DVD's with different types of music in the soundtrack - jazz, orchestration, big band, rock.
My immediate response to the network swap out was one of:
a) Improved clarity - it was like "removing the hiss" from
a cassette tape; there was no more noise in the high end.
b) Better dynamics - the better S/N ratio allowed me to
bring up the volume about 5dB, without any of the
harshness I was accustomed to.
c) Sound stage - the sound stage deepened appreciably, so
much that it seemed to improve my unmodified speaker
(the center channel).
Conclusion: I DO believe in the merits of crossover upgrades, and in fact am planning to market these boards as kits or full assemblies. I very much enjoy my Klipsch speakers and did not believe I could improve on them, but I did.
I've posted this elsewhere, but one of the most entertaining sessions of the Acoustical Society of America I attended was a debate between Paul Klipsch and Edgar Villcher (of AR fame). At issue, of course, was a large speaker driven through small excursions vs. a small speaker driven through large excursions, and controlling distortions with large excursions. Klipsch said something like, I don't care if you push it with a broom handle, you still have to move the air.
I assume stereo reduced the popularity of corner loaded horns, given that an integral part of the design was incorporating the walls extending from the corner of a room as an extension of the horn. Not many rooms lend themselves to two horns placed in the corners.
It's too bad that Villchur and Klipsch didn't work together and solve their differences. We would have had a highly linear speaker that was phenomenally efficient with great dynamics.
I've got both "vintage" Klipsch and "vintage" AR's that are both highly modified. Using the OEM drivers, the AR's are far superior speakers. It is not even close, even though the AR's need gobs more power. If you build new cabinets for the Klipsch, as they should have been from the factory ( front mounted horns with larger bass chambers and radiused corners in the bass horn itself ), upgrade the tweeters to something that extends beyond 12 KHz without major break-up and "fix" the problems in the crossover and internal wiring, they are FAR superior to the factory designs. It is at that point that the playing field levels off and may actually favour the Klipsch. It is at this point that the Klipsch are no longer Klipsch though and have become a custom built product : ) Sean
Sean, you are referring to the K-horns I suppose? I'd be interested in any refs you have regarding these moifications... Cheers
I was refering to La Scala's primarily, but the comments apply to any of the "vintage" series Klipsch units in one way, shape or form. Obviously, the smaller non-horn woofer designed Heresy's and Cornwall's would have to be handled differently, but they too can be drastically improved.
All of my detailed Klipsch notes were lost in a computer crash. If you've got specific questions, i can remember quite a bit of it in my head. Drop me an email and i'll do what i can to "reproduce the data" : ) Sean
I can confirm first-hand just about all the points that Sean makes regarding the vintage Klipsch. My LaScala's have improved significantly with modifications Sean mentions. The only thing I have not done is rebuild the bass cabinet, and that is the only area I feel the speakers are currently lacking (bass currently takes a nose dive at 50hz). Here's my take on the improvements I've done:
Internal wiring harness: Replaced with DH Labs silver wires - a noticeable difference in clarity and detail. The stock harness is simple 16 ga. copper wires.
Swapped out the stock tweeter with Fane 5020 - this made a HUGE difference in the upper register bringing out details I'd never heard on these speakers before, making the entire range sounded more coherent, and musical. These tweeters required padding down as their 110db sensitivity is too hot as-is. Of the modifications I've done, this one certainly made the most significant difference to me.
Replaced stock AA crossover with ALK's crossover. Here's where I'd take some exception to this as a 'rule' for guaranteed improvement. In my much smaller listening room at home I preferred the 'softer' and more dimensional sound of the stock AA crossovers. Though the ALK's exhibited more clarity and focus, and were imediately recognizable as an audible difference, I still liked the AA's better in this space. I tried all different settings with the ALK's and swapped back and forth for many days and sessions. I ended up sticking with the AA's as they just sounded more dimensional and natural to me. It reminded me of the difference between a 'tubey' sound and an SS sound, the later being the ALK. Later I moved my LaScala's to a much larger listening room (my work space) where they had room to breath. Here in this space the ALK's won hands down delivering both laser focus, clarity and the width and breadth of soundstage they seemed not to in the smaller space. I think perhaps there was some element of 'fatigue' in the smaller space that just doesn't occur in the larger one with the ALK's. The soundstage seemed to equal that of the AA's in the larger space, whereas in the smaller space the AA's seemed to provide a wider and deeper stage. I'll leave that one to Sean to try to explain as I was baffled.
I have no doubt the bass could be improved as well, and the cabinet is merely adequate in construction (as far as speaker cabinets are concerned) and stands for much improvement in reinforcement to assist in this realm.
Still, the clarity, the transparency and the speed of these speakers in my system, to my ears, has kept me spoiled in a sense as everything else I listen to falls short somehow. Granted, this is only a personal preference, and I certainly have not heard all there is to hear.
Anyway, good advice by Sean!
We traded a few posts & emails a month or two ago as I was trying to improve the sound of my Chorus I's. Since then the SS equipment is gone and replaced with all tube from the CDP through power. Tubes made a BIG improvement in the sound of the Chorus speakers, but I still suffered from listening fatigue. Like you, I think it has a lot to do with the relatively small room (13.5 x 18 x 8). For the time being I've jumped into a nice pair of Snell's that are very easy to listen to, sound great, and quite different from the Klipsch Chorus. But...I haven't given up on the Chorus I's yet.
Any specific suggestions to improve the Chorus I's? For the time being they are out of my system & available for some surgery. I have no plans to get rid of them in the foreseeable future as they would probably be a good option to try out with a SET system of some sort. It sounds like they might be ripe for some tweaking...
Hey Fishboat - The closest experience I have with the Chorus speakers is with their smaler cousins, the Fortes. These speakers use the Tractrix horns and forward firing bass drivers, so are quite different from my LaScalas. I did enjoy the Fortes as great speakers for rockin' out. In a smaller room I wonder if the Chorus aren't giving you problems with bass-loading the room? They do put out a significant low end if they are anything like the Fortes. You may try fiddling with speaker position and room treatments to address that. Doesn't have to be proprietary treatments, you can use things like curtains, rugs and plants to help. The 'fatigue' I mentioned only happened with the ALK crossovers in a smaller room and had more to do with the mids and highs than the bass. Your Chorus speakers produced significantly lower bass than my Scalas do. As far as 'surgery' on the speakers themselves, without any direct experience I'd be at a loss to give you specific advice. From experience with many other Klipsch products of that era and earlier I'd guess swapping out the wiring harness with better wires and reinforcing the cabinets would be at the top of my list of where to start. But honestly I'd try addressing the room first if listening fatigue is the problem. As you know, I certainly do prefer tubes to SS with the vintage Klipsch products so I'm not at all surprised that step was, as you say, a significant improvement.
I think Klipsch got a bad rap from what is mentioned above. (Improper System Matching)In the audiophile community you will see brows wrinkle when Klipsch Speakers are brought up. Most of these opinions were formed hearing Klipsch speakers hooked up up to an Adcom Stack in a hi fi store or hearing a pair of Heresey Pros in a club being played ear bleedingly LOUD. I always hear people say, yea, those Klipsch sure are BRIGHT!
When paired with a tube amp and the right setup, they can sound great!
The fatigue for me is the mid to top end of things. The horns seem to be in my face too much. The bass in the Fortes are lower than the Chorus, even though the Chorus runs a 15 inch woofer. The Chorus-I rolls off around 45 Hz(the Fortes go down to 32Hz). Actually the bass on the Chorus isn't that "big" unless their backs are against the wall & even then not large by any means. Chorus I specs
I have played around with speaker placement & again this helped, but didn't eliminate the in your face aspect ("shouting" at me?) The room is fairly dead I think as it's carpeted and has too much (soon to go) over-stuffed furniture in it. I haven't done any room treatments yet as I'm just researching such things now. 3/4's of one wall is open above a half-wall to the kitchen. For comparison's sake...the Chorus were terrific on a very narrow slice of music styles (strings/harp/acoustics & female vocals) ..your El Cant De La Sibil La sounds wonderful...huge dynamics..however as soon as I switch to jazz..well..the speakers get shut down. Compare this to the Snells and, while the sound has a different 'feel' to it, all types of music sound very good & non-fatiguing. Soundstage & imaging has definitely improved..a lot...the speakers completely disappear. Bass is much better. Cymballs are smooth & shimmer...not 'loud' (as they were with the Chorus, even at lower volumes). All this with the Snells in the same room, basically the same position as the Chorus were (~5 feet off the back wall & ~3 feet off the side walls), and my listening position in the same place....though I've moved things around to sort of come back to where I started.
I picked up the Snell E-IV's as I got a good price on them & they were local. A friend has the CV Snells & they're very easy to listen to while sounding very good. With the new equipment I 'needed' something to listen to so I took a flyer on the E IV's. The Snells are not the end of the road by any means, but at least I have a nice-sounding and listenable system until I figure out what's next.
I may be looking for a different house before long. I figured I keep the Chorus as one never knows what type of room I'll get into & how they will sound. Naturally, if I can work through any well-found tweaks on them in the mean time, so much the better.
Fishboat - sounds like the Snell's are a better match overall for your system/room as it stands now. I don't have any experience with Snells, so can't comment beyond that as far as comparisons go. I would've thought the Chorus put out more bass than the Forte's from their larger size. Don't they also have the passive woofer firing to the rear (as do the Fortes)? The Fortes would not be my choice for the music I love most (acoustic, vocals, strings, small-scale classical arrangements). The larger Klipsch speakers that Paul designed have a more 'refined' sound to my ear, which comes out mostly in the midrange. The newer designs using the Tractrix horn and large, forward-firing woofers are more of a rockin' out speaker IMO, and I've moved on from that kind of music to where it is only a very small portion of what I enjoy. I believe their current designs use similar architecture, the few of those I've heard have not impressed me at all. Again, no direct experience with the Chorus to share. Perhaps Sean can be of some help here (?).
My experiences with anything but the "vintage" Klipsch models is less than enthusiastic and even the "vintage" models need a LOT of help in my opinion.
The main things that the "vintage" models have going for them is that they are very simple designs that utilize sealed cabinets, which are almost "fool proof" in terms of working with. The newer models utilize lower grade parts in the crossovers and you have to deal with the various bass alignments used in a vented design.
As a side note, the older models weren't so much "bright" as they were "ringy" due to the metal horns resonating like mad. The newer models ARE "bright" and the plastic horn bodies tend to have a very specific albeit "forward" upper midrange sound to them. On top of that, the passive radiators are tuned to produce a large peak in the bass, which reduces transient response and definition. In effect, you end up with a speaker that is bloated on the bottom, thick in the warmth region, forward in the mids and piercing in the treble. In effect, you ended up with a Klipsch speaker that sounded more like a Cerwin-Vega. Both are LOUDspeakers that can rock & roll, but lack any type of finesse and refinement. When driven hard, these newer speakers just sound flat out "abrasive" to me. How do you fix this? It's called a LOT of work.
Probably the easiest things to do that are completely reversible would be to buy a bag or two of polyester fiberfil at your local Wal-Mart ( $2 per bag ) and play with the amount of stuffing in each cabinet. By varying the density of stuffing within the cabinet, you can fine tune the bass response to your liking. Just make sure that any stuffing that you add to the box does NOT interfere with the movement of any of the drivers.
The next thing to do would be to cover the baffle area surrounding the horns with felt. You can pick up enough felt and some "temporary double sided hem tape" at your local fabric shop for about $10. Not only will this help to tame the peaky response of the upper mids and treble region, imaging should improve. You might end up losing a bit of the "snap" or "jump factor" on horns and / or cymbals, so experiment with how much felt you use.
Personally, i would probably felt the entire baffle on these myself, but others may find this to sound TOO subdued. I know that at least one guy posted over on AA that Heresy's as modified as i suggested ended up sounding "dark" to him. Then again, he was used to years and years worth of "ringing" in his system and going to a more natural, less resonant presentation may have sounded "flat & dull" to him. That's why i said start with the simple and easily reversible stuff for now and see how you like the initial results.
As to the ALK crossovers, i've never used them but i have seen them. They make use of Solen cap's, which are not bad so long as you keep the leads as short as possible and damp them where they enter the body of the cap. Something along the lines of "blu-tak" or "fun-tak" can work wonders here. If you don't do this, the caps will ring and sound bright. The cap bodies themselves are so lightweight that the solid core metal leads become microphonic, causing the cap body to resonate. By damping the leads where they enter the body of the cap, you damp & decouple any ringing that the lead picks up before it can excite the body of the cap. If you doubt this, hold a Solen ( or other similar cap ) at he far end of one lead with your fingertips and "flick" the other lead with your finger. You won't believe how much and how long the cap vibrates once you "flick" the leg. Nor will you believe how loud the leg rings. In this respect, the original Klipsch's used paper in oil caps, which are somewhat self-damping to begin with. In this respect, the stock caps aren't bad in the older models and may sound more natural than newer caps that are poorly implimented.
The ALK's also make use of Solen Litz wound coils which are of a stranded design. Personally, i think that stranded wire is typically a step backwards in performance from a well chosen solid wire or a foil conductor. This is strictly a matter of personal preference though and some would debate the viability and cost effectiveness of other approaches.
As a side note, Audio Xpress had a recent article about the ElectroVoice T35 tweeters as used in the vintage Klipsch models. In this article, they show graphs and response curves of this tweeter, demonstrating how limited in bandwidth it really was and that it had a noticeable peak at appr 11 - 12 KHz falling off rapidly above that.
The author of the article ended up replacing his T35's as found in his K-Horns with some JBL's and the differences were like night and day according to what was published. I would not doubt that Marco's Fane swap provided much the same type of results. Personally, I'm using some $6 tweeters that are easily superior to the EV's in every way, shape and form. Only problem is, these $6 tweeters are now discontinued :( Sean
PS... You guys aren't helping me any. I'm trying to stay off of the forums and get some other things done!!!
Ah, yes, Sean's post (thanks Sean) reminded me of the one modification I did leave out: The outside of my metal horn is covered in dampening material purchased at PartsExpress. This is the stuff they use to dampen the inside of the doors of automobiles. Dynamat is the more expensive version of a the similar stuff. Works wonders on the 'ringing' horn syndrome he Sean mentions.
There is a forum section over at Klipsch.com
where much of this stuff is discussed ad nauseum. A source of some good information (as well as misinformation just as any Internet source) if you care to sift through the archives. There is another tweeter made by a Spanish manufacturer that has very close curves and sensitivity to the stock EV T35/Klipsch K77. Many folks over there have been delighted with this as a drop-in replacement. Can't recall the brand, but a quick search over there oughta find it. I believe AlK also endorses this particular tweater, and certainly the potential for improvement, in posts on that site.
Of course little of this applies to your Chorus speakers since they do not use the same tweeter and the tractrix horns are plastic. I'd have to agree about sealing the cabinets better. I did that on my Heresy's by replacing the back with thicker MDF and adding sealent around the perimiter of all the drivers. It made an audible improvement in the bass response and tightness. I think in your case the cabinet only has the driver openings to improve the seal. You can purchase a caulking material to seal around the drivers better as an option to felt. Again, PartsExpress, or any speaker-building supply should have this stuff and it is cheap.
Sean, thanks for the tip on dampening the Solens. I'll give that a try, although I am delighted with the sound of my speakers right now. The only place I'd like to improve them is in the bass region. I did seal up the box at the bottom better, and around the bass driver. I've been toying with the idea of building a forward-firing bass cabinet and creating an arrangement more like the Oris and Avantegarde. Still, since I'm not really a bass freak it may be a long time before I do this. It is certainly not a glaring fault.
Fishboat- in addition to Sean's good advice, search the forums over at Klipsch to see if you can come up with more Chorus-specific advice.
Marco: Take the top off of your La Scala's, pull the horns & crossovers and then open up the woofer chamber. In the long run, you're going to leave this open and seal the rear of the horn chamber that used to be open. You may have to do some fabrication in terms of a partial plate where the original woofer hatch was, but this drastically increases the bass chamber volume. That tiny bass chamber is what raises the resonant frequency of the driver, limiting bass extension.
Once all that is done, fill what is now the shared bass / horn chamber with fiberglass. This will also increase apparent box volume AND damp the vibration of the horn bodies even further. Altering the amount and type of fiberglass used will change the Q of the system, but 2 lbs per cubic foot is typically a good place to start with any sealed and stuffed design. Don't forget to take into account the internal volume lost from the horn bodies and crossover boards when trying to factor the actual weight to use.
You might find that you like slightly less than 2 lbs per cubic foot, which is easy to deal with. I think that i ended up with about 1.7 lbs per cubic foot or so when all was said and done. At 2 lbs, the chamber is absolutely crammed full to the point of over-flowing. At 1.7 lbs, it is still VERY full, but not billowing out quite as badly.
The end result is that you lower the resonance of the system by appr 12 - 15 Hz, which is quite a bit. The Q is lowered from appr .85 down to appr .57 or so, which is a phenomenal gain. This reduces the peak at resonance for more control AND at the same time, improves transient response. The peak at impedance is also reduced, increasing power transfer from the amp to the woofer where it needs it the most. In many other attempts to increase bass extension via increasing the Q, "speed", "control" and "definition" are sacrificed, but not with this approach. Low Q with a good design is a "win, win, win" situation.
Due to the lower peak at resonance via the reduced Q, the bass is also now more extended. That is, you can either get greater apparent bass with less control ( like a vented design or the stock Klipsch high Q design ) or more control and greater extension ( like a "good" low Q sealed design ). We are opting for the latter, which is what i've always promoted in previous posts. This ends up giving us appr +4 to +5 dB's at 30 Hz compared to the stock La Scala.
While reducing the resonant frequency by 12 - 15 Hz definitely improves bass extension, that added +4.5 dB's REALLY improves bass solidity and "thunder". We've now got REAL deep bass without near as much "false" upper bass and the "snap" of the bass has been improved.
To sum things up, you end up with a completely different speaker that is far superior in every respect. Greater bass extension, improved transient response and more bass "weight" without introducing gobs more distortion or losing impact or definition. The really cool thing about this is that everything is 100% reversible with no signs of external cosmetic modifications if done properly.
Outside of doing this and the basic horn damping / crossover mods / wiring changes / removal of the screens within the horn throats, one has to get into doing MAJOR bass horn modifications to go to the next level of performance.
It is my opinion that it is easier to build new cabinets from scratch than it is to try and modify the existing bass horn for improved performance. While doing that, one could factor in front mounted horns for reduced diffraction as compared to the factory rear mounted design. They could also build a larger ( taller ) low frequency section, improving the extension due to having a larger horn mouth without eating up more cubic floor space. Radiusing the bends inside the bass horns is a huge benefit, minimizing standing waves ( muddy lower midrange / upper bass ) even further.
Some of the muddiness in the lower mid / upper bass can be reduced in the stock design by bracing the outer cabinet walls to the "V" of the bass chamber, but this may introduce introduce non-reversible cosmetic changes to the cabinet. If done tastefully though, you can't tell that the braces aren't stock and the sonic benefits far outweigh the small cosmetic drawbacks. One can temporarily do something like this by carefully wedging a form fitting piece of wood between the "V" and the outer walls without permanently attaching it. The use of felt between the contacting areas will minimize the potential for any scratches to take place. To be honest here, and that's what this thread is about, most of the vintage Klipsch cabinets are poorly built and designed from a performance standpoint. From a mass production standpoint, they are engineering marvels. Sean
PS.... Some of the facts & figures quoted are strictly ballpark. Due to the tolerances on the mass produced drivers that Klipsch used, each woofer will respond just a hair differently than others. Following the basic guidelines as listed above though will DEFINITELY improve the performance of the system on the whole, regardless of the absolute accuracy of any individual spec's quoted.
PPS...Much of what i learned about Klipsch's came from personal experimentation. Another great source that really helped me, on La Scala's in particular, is Dennis Kleitsch. You can find some of his posts at AA in the "high efficiency" Asylum and at the Klipsch forums under the name of djk ( all small letters if doing a search by author ). Dennis is truly a wizard when working with these and other horn loaded speakers.
Thanks for the thoughts. All the discussion about modding LaScalas makes me wish I still had mine, but they've been gone nye-twenty years now. I'm guessing Marco is pondering his LaScalas at this point ("...I love what I have....but what if.... :-)
Sean's descriptions come pretty close to what I heard in my recent setup & thus my interest in any tweaks. I'll drop into the Klipsch site for some hints & weigh my options. With regard to the Chorus at least, it does sound as if the potential for significant improvement is limited. If/when I get into a new place I may take a "stock or block" approach....either they sound good (in a new room with a little treatment) in a stock form or they go on the block. It's not like these things are family hierlooms... :-)
Just to add to the discussion, there is a man named Bob Crites who can be found both on the Klipsch forums as well as selling replacement Klipsch crossovers (and other parts) on eBay. Bob has fabricated a cabinet and custom crossover for a speaker he calls the 'Cornscala'. Excuse me if this has already been covered somewhere in these threads.
With this speaker setup, you can either use the existing tweeter and horn from a La Scala, or buy them from him. The woofer is also forward, like that of the Cornwall. A friend of mine has just ordered the kit, so I haven't yet had the chance to hear it. I believe that you can get the cabinet, all of the drivers, and the crossover for under $1000. You end up with the mids of the La Scala and bass response down to 30Hz, and Bob claims that they sound pretty darn good.
It just never ends...
Please report back with some thoughts after they're up and running.
Happily, Fishboat. I'll have to take a drive
up to Tahoe and get a listen when he has them
assembled. He will be using them with both a Cary
300B SEI and a Yamamoto 45 SET amp. He also has a factory
modded Audio Aero Capitole MKII. Darn nice system, really. I'll let you know when I get a chance to hear them.
Have a great weekend!
Boa: Do you have a website for this product? Sean
Here's a link to one of Bob's creations. You can write him, and he will send photos with an explanation of the process. I don't think he has a web site, but I'm not certain about that.
I use his crossovers on my La Scala's, and they sound tonally like the originals, but the mids/highs project notably better.
Thanks for the info Howard. Sean
I had a dealer who had a pair of Cornwalls he said he could not sell...really! So I told him to bring in a Jolida JD1000 el34 100wpc tube integrated to mate with it. He sold the system within a week. Just about any of the old K's were...are great. I know small is in, but reality is that cabinet volume does work well when properly engineered.
I've been enjoying the above discourse regarding Klipsh tweaks; I also lost all of my PC files in that regard, so this review is a nice catchup.
One very basic issue that hasn't yet been mentioned is the installation of cones/spikes. Spiking the cabinets to my concrete floor provided the typical improvements that most speakers exhibit from spiking: especially notable were improvements in overall clarity & bass definition of my Belles. I have the BBC MKII threaded brass cones.
I am no audiophile expert - but i do care immeasurably for music and strive to present it in its most natural form within my dancespace. I am considering purchasing a pair of Khorns for use in a 10m square room - concrete floor and walls - the space is a dance space and high volume is essential...clarity taking precedence over bass extension.
I would be very grateful to anyone who could confirm that these are the same model Klipsch that David Mancuso & Alex Rosner used at the legendary 'Loft' in NYC during the 70s/80s.
I would also be very grateful to anyone willing to give me advice in terms of amplification: I am considering restoring a couple of giant Manley Monoblocs (i need to purchase the valves)
many thanks - Dominic (London)
I wrote to you in your other thread. I own La Scalas and Heresies and have been a Klipsch owner for 25 years. The best amplification is actually an amp that can move the big 15 inch folded horn woofer. So in despite the incredible SPLs you can get because of the powerful midrange horns with low power amps and I have heard them sound decent with 2A3 SETs, you really get your best sound if you give a wit about controling the bass, with fairly powerful SS amps. There have been several threads on this topic. Believe it or not Mac amps synergize well with these speakers ask Big Joe. I have used Mac and ARC SS amps with good results. Tubes would be fine but the impedance curve of those woofers with the old crossovers are tough on the tubes. (you can get modded x-overs which supposedly make it much easier to drive the woofer properly). Try it for yourself you'll see what I mean. In either case they are capable of being truly Loud Speakers.
Hi Bigjoe, I owned the Heresy's in the eighties, and while I liked the dynamic range and the bass, I never much cottoned to the midrange response or the timbre of the instruments or voice. I ran them with a CJ PV-5 tubed preamp and a carver amp at the time, and even after endlessly playing with placement and room treatment, they never "did it" for me.
After years with JBL's I now have Klipschors, Belles, Heresys and an Academy. I have been on the Klipsch forum for about 4 years now and have modded my system and K Horns. They are great speakers but you, as you know, need to have a good source and amplification, as well as crossovers.
I started with a Scott LK-48 tube amp. This worked very well. I added ALK's that I built myself. I also built "false corners" for the K Horns because "perfect corners" are hard to come by. I also switch back and forth between an AH! upsampled Tubed CD player (with Amperex PQ's) and a Toshiba 3950 transport and Benchmark DAC1.
I now use a Juicy Music Peach Preamp (with Amperex pinched waist tube) and have the K Horns Tri-amped with a Yamaha D2040 divider network and a QSC 1202 power amp for woofer and two Teac L700P's for the mids and tweeters. This budget amplification mates very well with the horns, especially with the tube preamp. No harshness, tons of detail and great imaging. I love when people come over and I put on some Neil Young accoustic and ask where the speaker is. They respond "behind the TV." The speakers really do dissappear.
The drivers in Klipsch are budget and I am seling the K Horns because mine are very rare (less than 6 pairs in tigerwood were made) and I don't want to hack them up. I am switching to factory built Speakerlab bass bins and woofers, JBL 2470 compression midrange drivers with Altec 511b horns, and JBL 2404 "baby cheek" tweeters with the same divider network and amps. This should be my "ultimate setup." I got a ton of help from the folks over at the Klipsch forum.
For you, I would suggest contacting Bob Crites and having a set of Type AA crossovers built. They are relatively cheap (under $300) and have tweeter protection. The ALK's are more expensive and complex, but present a constant load to the amp. Check out ALKENG.com. Dean G also makes some nice crossovers. In my experience, for the price of the more exotic crossovers, an active crossover and tri-amplification was the ticket. I have steep crossover slopes (24 db), time alignment (remember, the woofer horn is 16 feet long and the mid is two feet)and serious tuning capabilities (parametric EQ, digital and analog attenuation).
As far as amps, the Klipsch engineering staff uses QSC PLX amps in their labs. These are Class AB amps and are very affordable. The PLX 1202 can be had for $600 new and has 200 wpc from 20 to 20K at low THD (vs a 1khz test tone). This thing is just plain clean power that mates very well with horns. I used it with my ALK's and it just worked so well. For years everyone on the Klipsch Forum recommended tube amps, then after a few of us took the plunge on the QSC's, it is now divided between SS and Tubes, but everyone seems to recommend tube preamps, especialy Juicy Music products.
Crown has a K1 (I think) that is similar to the QSC's but has no colling fan if fan noise is an issue. In your case, I don't think fan noise is a problem. I replaced the fan with a low flow unit.
I'm not sure what your budget is, but Juicy Music makes some great preamps that mate well. They use no feedback and have great detail and clarity. The Merlin can be had for about $600 new. This is an unbelieveable deal. The Peach and Blueberry are both between $1,000 and $2,000 and are both great deals for the money.
I suggest going to the Klipsch Forum to learn more about these speakers and upgrades. If you want very loud and clarity, the K Horns will definately do it for you. The nice thing about them is that because teh drivers are short throw and compression drivers, they really do not wear out. The only parts that need to be replaced are the caps in the crossovers.
Where are you getting your k horns from? Like I said, mine are for sale and are very rare and beautiful with Tigerwood finish.
speakers can sound magical, but you need to achieve synergy of all components in the audio chain. With the wrong electronics, it can be a disaster. Trying out is the message, whether solid state or tube amps.
Well, they do need to be managed in the very least. I would guess that some of the success of the guys who make improved crossovers is warrranted. A couple of these modders have gone on to develop a better "Klipsch" altogether. I own 2 pair of Heresys, I should probably use the newly acquired set as experiment subjects. I would like a different bass response and for the midrange to be more recessed etc.A low power all class A power amp might be best.
Put acoustic foam in the cabinet to increase bass response and stuff a small bit in the throats of the mid horn to tame minds.