You don't mention any experimentation with tweaks and cabling, which might well be the solution you're seeking.
I've had vintage 1978 Belles (KHorns without the corners) for over 25 years, and have tried a large variety of equipment and cables over the years: AC cords, interconnects, and speaker cables. I use brass cones under the speaker cabinets to the floor. Cabling is the key to the achieving that spacial depth, despite a problematic living room. Also experiment with isolation shelving, cones, pods, footers, tube rolling, fine tuning tweaks, room treatments, line conditioning, which in the right combinations will get you there. This is assuming that your equipment is basically up to the task, which also may require some experimentation to find that special synergy.
Synergistic Research cabling is known for their neutrality and imaging. I'm presently interconnected with upper end Synergistics, also using their pricey AC cords, both with active shielding. Speaker cables are MIT's (because they must be quite long, so I have the networked) MH750 Magnums.
Every rig and listening room is different, as well as your sonic preferences. The best setup for me isn't the best for you; you'll have to try a variety of approaches in order to realize the full potential of your hardware, but that's the fun part. This is just some suggestions to get you started. Read these forums regularly and do some searches on the archives too. There is a virtual wealth of information here if you take the time to seek it out.
Thank you for your reply.
I have found that the biggest bang for my buck in sound changes are Loudspeakers, amplifiers, quality of recording, loudspeaker positioning, speaker cables, interconnects and lastly power cords-- in that order. I am not sure which component is the bottle neck. If I know for a fact that Klipschorns do image very well then I will keep looking, if not I will kick back and enjoy the music.
I do not know if my electronics are up to snuff- is my Onkyo reciever a good preamp- I am not sure. Is my MiniWatt amplifier a good tube amp- I am kinda sure. Are my cables good - I am very sure they are not as they are the home depot kind.
It is difficult for me to try different products to find my fit-- I still have four speakers, 2 recievers and some networking products which I have tried and not liked and the product provider is less than inclined to take it back.
But the suggestion is a very good one.
Do your speakers provide good imaging?
If the distance between K-Horns is too great, you may need a center speaker. I believe the Heresy was introduced for that purpose
Actually, the Cornwall was introduced in 1959 as a center channel for the Klipschorn; but, of course, gained rapid popularity as a stereo pair of loudspeakers on its own.
maybe the room needs a little treatment?
I have a pair in a room that enables me to have them snug in two corners.The toe-in created causes them to face in front
of my seating.They are also about 10 ft apart. They present a very nice sound stage.
I may be wrong but I am under the impression that imaging, at least in terms of 3-D soundstage is not the forte of the Klipschorn largely do to their corner location requirement?
I suspect Klipschorn performance in this regard may depend on what kind of imaging one is looking for? I also suspect the room is a major factor since placement options within a room for Klipschorn is limited.
If by imaging you mean more pinpoint location of recording elements between the speakers, then ICs and other tweaks might help.
It sounds to me like your placement is the problem. I had a pair set up properly (in corners)for years a long time ago with so-so ancillaries, and the imaging was fine. I don't understand how you are setting them up. You said that your room is 25x25, but the speakers are only 10 feet apart. How can that be? I'm thinking that your problem is related to positioning. Also, you may not like the look of a false corner, but corners are mandatory with these speakers, and if you can't or don't wish to use one, you probably should consider other speakers; perhaps Cornwalls.
Well, you don't have much flexability in positioning this speaker, to get stereo "Image" its all about acoustics and placement, and maybe more importantly in this case Position. Not only are you forced to put these in your available corners, but also the distance of those corners and where your seating position is normally is where it is and thats it. Not a ton of choice, this is why I believe ultimately many take K-horns and finally put false backs on them to simulate the corners which I guess you are doing as you say they are only 10 feet apart and its a 25 foot room?
Not everybody has the problem possibly, but obviously some of them do. It has way less to do with a magic cable, or source, or tube, or amp to correct this in most cases. Probably the only way to move this "Image" electrically without physically moving the speaker is to get the right crossovers that might open up and help the speaker more and I am not saying this will correct it, might just sound better. There is no right answer on that depending on the room and type of electronics used all add up to the ultimate results.
Room tuning could help if you can do it, I suggest some diffusors or something to try and break up the sound at the reflection points, but again this could be tuff if your dead in a corner somewhere with nowhere to place devices and treat it.
One is in the corner flush while the other has wall only on one side (no chance of getting a wall there and false corner likely will look bad).
I suspect your main problem with imaging is a result of the room asymmetry noted in the quote.
Room treatment may help, as may experimenting with placement of the speakers or other objects in the room. Even something as simple as a coffee table in between the speakers and the listener can screw up imaging. Experimenting with the toe-in of the speakers or listening chair position may also help.
Our brain localizes sound objects in space by analyzing the differences in sound between the left and right ears. Transient arrival time is involved, as well as the relative loss of high frequency response to the ear in the "shadow", and below about 1,500 Hz, the phase differential between the left and right ears is noticeable.
If the fundamentals of speaker placement and room acoustics are not basically correct, it is very tough to make up that distance with equipment changes or tweaks.
I've had the K's, and yes imaging is a problem. They have the so called 'sweet spot' problem. So, unless you find it in the room you have, they will not image since you cannot move the K's. My solution was a center channel, a Belle and a pre-amp that had a center channel blend that fed the Belle. No longer have the K's since I lost the room for them. As others have said, they are a great speaker, but with the right room. Lastly, I fell for K, in its mono days when imaging was not an issue. Enjoy the music.
There is no way 10' is too far apart for Klipshorns.
Blueacara, Since your Klipschorns have a built-in toe angle it is important that you are sitting at the proper distance from the speakers. Try adjusting your listening position so the speakers are crossing at your knees +/-.
I stand corrected. It was the Cornwall. I have seen single Cornwall's for sale on Audiogon.
I pushed the klipschorns to both corners (and ended up closing off a door) and they are now situated about 15 ft apart and the sound crosses my knees- kind of. It is better imaging- at least the sound is now coming from the wall inbetween the speakers. No holographic imaging still.
I am now looking towards closing off the back- although I might loose wall reinforcement of bass.
I was looking towards different tweaks as well- has anyone used 47lab cable kit?
Not sure I am up for tube rolling just yet-not sure which tube fits my amp.
The sound is good enough that I don't mind loss of imaging a lot.
Bob_Bundes-- do you have good imaging with your belles?
Thanks a lot for your replies guys.
Khons will image just great if properly set up. I have had them 21 apart and they imaged fine.
Your set up will not affect the imaging only affect the bass because their not booth tight into corners
Most of your imaging takes place in the upper frequencies their are some things I would like you to check.
1st is your source a good 2 channel stereo source
2cnd is the polarity from amp to both speakers correct
3rd put you ear to each tweeter make sure they are working
4rth compare each speaker and see if all the drivers are the same polarity and terminals match at the barrier strip.
5th Is it time for new crossovers?
Being that you are using a tube amp the imaging should be vivid and holographic Because Khorns are in corners does not affect their imaging but it does affect their depth of sound stage. When I had mine set up you could picture the orchestra instruments and singers in their prospective places.
" 2cnd is the polarity from amp to both speakers correct
3rd put you ear to each tweeter make sure they are working
4rth compare each speaker and see if all the drivers are the same polarity and terminals match at the barrier strip. "
How do I find out if the polarity is right from amp and how do I check if all drivers are same polarity?
How do I know if it is time for new crossovers?
I am sounding very newbie probably because I have a lot to learn- do enlighten me.
Have you tried the Onkyo by itself instead of using it as a preamp? There is always the possibility you have a bad match between the Onkyo and your amp.
The Onkyo has a high noise floor and sounds brittle, harsh, like a bad solid state from 1980s. It works out well with much less sensitive speakers. The pre- amp section is also not the greatest-not super quite & I suspect the DAC is not the best. I don't have any other significantly better DAC to compare it to. Most of my sources have HDMI out. There is no stereo preamp with HDMI in.
Honestly, you sound like you are where I was in the late 80's. If you are a serious audiophile, I suggest you develop a comprehensive plan. Start by auditioning any and all the components you might consider. 3D imaging require all components functioning as one. This is what audiophiles strive for, and it does not come easy.
Blueacara, I find it hard to believe your Onkyo receive has a high noise floor and sounds brittle. What is your source and cables?
My sources are Apple TV, PS3, Mac Mini, Airport Express.
I have owned several pairs of Klipsch over the years including Khorns, Belles, Cornwalls (stiill have a pair), Heresy. My dad had stores on the west coast and was a Klipsch dealer. That said, I love the sound of a nice set of K-horns, there is nothing like them. Yet, I could never get them to paint a sonic picture like todays imaging champs. I can play the Cornwalls and get the nightclub sound but I can't get the speakers to disappear or to float the images of the vocalist or soloist.
Klipsch corner horns are very dependent on room geometry. You can wind up with a sonic gap due to room width. That's the beauty of smaller monitor type
speakers, you can place them where needed for best sound, you are limited to the corners with the K-horn.
If you are looking for image quality, tonal purity, proper soundstage you may need to look at other solutions. Having two sets of speakers for different needs works out well for me. However I play my Merlins 95% of the time.
By the way Klipsch published a notebook titled "Audio Papers, Paul W. Klipsch". The notebook does address your very question and offers solutions.
I can get Altecs to image ;)
Thanks for all the replies and since then I have been on a quest. I have several things to report.
1. Conrad johnson MV60se--fabulous sound, very tubey, wall of music, cradles you to sleep and as close to nirvana as I have come. Great soundstaging (perhaps not as good as well set up Anthony gallo). Significant hum-just could not make it go away. Always associated with HDMI. Worst was connection with TV.
2. Mcintosh MC275- less tubey than CJ but still good sounding. Best imaging and truely hi fi like music with MMG magnepan. All the imaging that I have heard in the past. Not the last word in music with Khorns. Same hum problem
3.Onix sp3- can listen to it for about 1 hour... have to turn off after that. No sound stage, no other significant improvement over T-amp
4.Glow one amp- no sound stage, nothing special, listening fatigue after about couple of hours.
5.T-amp--likely the 2nd best in the group next to CJ. Provides some imaging but has a metallic texture which I cannot get rid of.
6. MiniWatt amp- not very different from less expensive Onix and Glow amp. Quicker sound but not enough body. Different sound than T amp but not better.
So the cheapest and one of the costlier tube amp seem to be the best match with higher powered amp leading to ground loop hum.
This is a bummer. I really like the speaker but not enough to go around auditioning amps one after another. I like music more.
Perhaps it is just best to buy Mcintosh and pair it with magnepan MMG.
The other amps I am looking at are Quicksilver, First Watt F5 but I hate to have the house clutter up with unusable electronics.
So this is where I am in my search of tube like wall of sound from Klipschorn.
AES(Cary) Superamp with a Bruce Moore or AES 3 preamp. Also, the Mesa Baron in triode is superb with above preamps.
New ALK cossovers with Auricaps made a difference.
Obviously the Khorns have to be in the corner, seating position in the crosshairs.
I have not had the opportunity to audition Cary amp yet. Perhaps in a few months.
I listened to First watt F5 and it is very interesting amp.
Let us consider a hypothesis- the amp that induces us to listen to more music is the best amp. Under those conditions the amp that produces listening fatigue quickest is the one that we do not want.
First Watt F5 does not produce significant listening fatigue but when matched with my receiver it did not invite me to listen either. With bad recordings (which make up most of my listening) it made me not want to listen to music. With good recording I listened for as long as I wanted without any fatigue but it did not relax or soothe me at all. I changed the receiver to help change the sound but the amplifier has a distinct signature which is not greatly changed by the pre amp. Perhaps a preamp which is distinctly tubey will help.
So was this a good amp--I do not know. I am not as unequivocal as most magazines are in praising it. Its distinct sound is of immediacy- i.e. you feel slightly closer to music and not perceive it as presentation of music. With newer music that is a good thing, with older recordings it makes it unlistenable.
CJ presented the music and made is very listenable but also was coloured- I love colour I think.
I started out wanting sound staging- i have found everything else.
Next step is DIY speaker cables and improved interconnects.
Then Quicksilver amps.
Blue - I have KHorns in a small room, 13' x 12'. I've never been able to get any speakers to image well in there (Maggies, Logans, Dahlis, Paradigms...), and the KHorns are no exception.
The KHorns normally cross about 3' in front of me, and like that the music sounds pinned to the back wall, very 2D.
I unscrewed the tophat from the bass bin, left the bass bin snug into the wall, and toed the tops out so they cross about 1' in front of me. This pulls the music into the room much more, sounds much more 3D and better to me. Imaging is about as good (or as bad) as other speakers (my room geometry pretty much sucks). You might want to give that a try.
I have a CDP and a SE 2A3 amp, for what that's worth.
Sebrof, I found that Tannoy dual concentrics image very well in small rooms compared to most speakers, you may want to give them a try.
Perhaps one day.
Thanks for your replies.
Sebrof- How do the Khorns look with the tophats unscrewed and moved forward? I feel your pain though.
I have never heard the tannoys but I wonder if this horn thing is getting a bit much for my ears- it is very fatiguing. Especially when I keep moving back and forth between amps.
These are the most dynamic speakers I have ever owned, but they are corner horns. I had a room that was too long from corner to corner and never got a reasonable sound stage. I even tried a center speaker, but that proved difficult and expensive.
In my present room I might be able to get by with them in the corners and sitting as far from them as they are apart, but I will not try them again.
Sebrof- How do the Khorns look with the tophats unscrewed and moved forward? I feel your pain though.
The tops are only unscrewed and slightly twisted towards the listener so that the corner that normally sits against the front wall is about 4 - 6" from it. This made a big improvement. They look fine, ALMOST like they were meant to be a 2-part speaker.
And no pain, I really like them. As good as or better than any speakers I've owned. When I got a suitable amp it made all the difference (Low power single ended).