music hall 25.2 cd/amp + klipschorns = :

i picked up a pair of 1994 klipschorns a little while back and have been running them off of my home theater amp, a onkyo tx sr-805, until i could find a dedicated amp and cd player for them. they are in a room that is 14 x 16 tucked nicely into the corners and have sounded AMAZING just powered off of the home theater onkyo. unbelievable bass and the midrange & treble are very clear and open. after reading a couple of reviews and looking into entry integrated amps and cd players i picked up a music hall a25.2 50 watt integrated amp as well as a music hall cd25.2 cd player. each of these has gotten very good reviews for their price range and so i was optimistic they would sound much better than the onkyo with the klipschorns. after hooking them up tonight and listening for awhile i have very mixed feelings. some of my initial impressions are that the music hall units are very well made and solid pieces. the amp puts out zero background noise which can sometimes be a problem with the sensitive khorns. the mids are very very impressive with clear separation of instruments. thats all quiet good, but on the downside the treble seems too bright for my taste. i wouldnt say its harsh, but when you turn up the volume much, sounds such as cymbals and female voices can best be described as having a sharp edge to them. added to that, the bass that i was used to with the onkyo seems to have disappeared and seems to now simply be mid bass. with no treble/bass controls on the music hall theres no way for me to adjust either of these issues. i am using the basic power cord and low end interconnects that came with the music hall pieces which i doubt help things, but im afraid of putting much more money into this combo if this is going to be its signature sound. i thought about adding a tube buffer to warm up the sound a bit but do not see that improving the lack of bass any. should i simply sell the music hall pieces and look at a tube amp that will not sound so edgy and have more bass or is it worth trying some decent interconnects, power cords, tube buffer first? any input appreciated
I had KHorns in a room a little smaller than yours (13 x 12) driven by a 2A3 SET. Much of what I heard was fantastic, especially in the midrange, voices and guitars sounded very real. I really liked the combo, but over the course of months I just couldn't shake the fact that there was an edge to the music. I tried to 'fix' it by using resistors in series with the tweeter and midrange, by sealing the bass bin to increase the bass relative to highs, by toeing out the tops. Nothing worked. I sounded great, but it seemed that there was a price to pay (that edge) for the realism and detail.
I'm not familiar with your receiver but it may be that the receiver simply muffled (not muffled, but can't think of a better word at the moment) the highs and supressed the edge you hear with the MH. IOW, the MH is letting you hear the KHorns good and bad.
I also have a Yamaha R-2000 receiver, and I didn't use it much but when it drove the KHorns there was less edge, but there was also less magic.
I think the KHorns can be great speakers in the right room with the right gear. My room was too small, yours may be as well.
I did have a MH 25.2 CDP for audition a few months ago and thought it was a fantastic unit for the price. But it was because of the edge we're talking about that I sent it back and got a Rega. Marginal improvement. I now have a pair of single driver speakers, and think that if I had these speakers when I auditioned the MH CDP I probably would have bought the MH.
I think the MH amp is the wrong choice for Khorns. A music hall Mambo is class A rated and will sound much better/warmer in this circumstance. The other option if you are sticking with MH is to get the amp modded. It will help tremendously.
Personally, I would either go class A amps or tubes with Khorns.
horns are so sensitive and revealing that they yield their input unforgivingly. Many blame the horns themselves, which is a significant misunderstanding. It's this simple: garbage in = garbage out.

You may not have a good equipment match for these speakers. Some tweaking experimentation may first be required in order to determine that. Quality interconnect cabling and AC cords are good places to start. Also speaker cables and AC line conditioning. Shelving, cones, footers, all the tweaks make a difference when driving horns. Different combinations work better than others: this is the phenomenon known as synergy. However due to the fact that the sonic signature was initially much more to your liking with the Onkyo, then perhaps the MH is not the better way to go. Tube buffer - I wouldn't waste that effort. Yes you must be willing to experiment extensively, but that's the fun.

Also consider your room as a part of the overall result.

My experineces with horns (incl Klipsch) have been most satisfying with solid state mosfet amplification. Accuphase works amazingly well for my setup and sonic preferences, which emphasise musicality over definition & detail.
"You may not have a good equipment match for these speakers"

im afraid this is more than likely correct. the more i listen to this combo the more i want to turn down the treble a click or two and turn up the bass 3 or 4 clicks. i love how the mid midrange has opened up and there is so much detail in the music, but the bottom end is simply gone vs what was present with the onkyo. i thought about trying better interconnects and power cords but i dont think those items will bridge the gap i have in mind. i suppose i will be selling these and pieces and looking for something else to better match these horns. its unfortunate because the music hall pieces were truly a bargain in price and appear to be very well made. thanks everyone for your input and im gonna do some more research into what others have had luck with that are using khorns.
you might want to check out the Klipsch Forums. Lots of people there with direct experience with all things Klipsch.
Before you give up on the MH pieces, I would experiment some with interconnects and power cords. On my Cambridge Audio office system, the difference in bass is "not subtle" as they say when using my Zebra Cable 10g power cable with upgraded furutech connectors. Same thing for my Cambridge CD with 14g Zebra Cable power cord with the same furutech connectors.

Interconnects are a little tougher. I would try some solid copper interconnects with copper connectors. I have a Zebra cable interconnect with upgraded (expensive) gold over copper connectors. This cable is very smooth but doesn't have the bass slam of my Zu cables. You may want to try a Kimber Hero or the Audioquest Black Mamba that Audio Advisor sells.

Speaker cable makes a big difference as well. My Zu Libtec is amazing but does have a little brightness on top. My first cables, biwire Zebra's are somooth but not as detailed or have as much bass weight as my Zu's. I have some Monster Reference Z3's that I picked for a steal. This is a surprisingly good cable that has good bass and relaxed and detailed highs. I have an extra set that I could part with for cheap.

Long story short, you can tune the MH gear with cables. It won't be as dramatic as a gear swap, but it may be worth the effort. Regardless, experimenting with cables will help you develop some preferences that will carry over to a fair degree if you decide to swap gear.


On second thought, maybe try some Mapleshade cables. Very reasonable and liberal return policy. Also pure copper with minimal dielectric. Should be pretty smooth.