Paul Klipsch passes away.

Paul Klipsch pioneered fine audio systems

May 06, 2002

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Paul W. Klipsch, an Indiana native who pioneered high-quality audio systems with the company he founded in Hope, Ark., died Sunday. He was 98.

Born in Elkhart, Ind., in 1904, Klipsch became enamored with audio as a boy after his mother moved the family phonograph into a corner and the sound improved, according to a company spokesman.

An engineer with patents in acoustics, ballistics and geophysics, Klipsch founded the company that bears his name in 1946.

The company is now headquartered in Indianapolis.

Klipsch created a corner, horn-loaded speaker design that is still in production. The sound moves from the speaker and uses the walls of the room to effectively extend the horn, creating a rich sound that can emulate an orchestral setting.

Klipsch was stationed at the Hope Proving Grounds during World War II. While in the Army there, he worked to refine the design of his folded corner woofer, the prototype of the "Klipschorn."

He settled in Hope, where, after the war, he bought a building at the old proving grounds and manufactured his first Klipschorn. The building is now the Klipsch Museum of Audio History, with the current manufacturing plant nearby.

Klipsch Audio Technologies makes specialty speakers for the home, including systems for computers and commercial outlets, such as cinemas and Hard Rock Cafe. The company makes other electronics-related products as well.

The son of a mechanical engineer, Klipsch built his first speaker at age 15, using a set of earphones and a mailing tube, a feat a company biography notes was accomplished a year before the first public radio broadcast. Klipsch went on to graduate from New Mexico State University (now home to the Klipsch School of Electrical & Computer Engineering) and received a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

In 1981, he received a Doctor of Laws from New Mexico State.

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Klipsch designed radios for General Electric Co. and later maintained electric locomotives in Chile for the company. After leaving Stanford, he worked in Texas as a geophysicist for an oil company. In the Army, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Klipsch patented his loudspeaker design in 1945.

Over the years, Klipsch received numerous honors, including his 1984 induction to the Audio Hall of Fame, and, in 1977, to the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame. The latter recognizes people whose work improved the human condition, and its roster includes Orville and Wilbur Wright, Thomas Edison and George Washington Carver.

Company spokesman Joshua Hall said Sunday that Klipsch had remained an important part of the firm.

"He was a tinkerer all his life," Hall said.

The company is now run by a cousin to the founder, Fred S. Klipsch.
from CEO Fred S. Klipsch

The world of audio has lost one of its last great legends. Our founder, Paul W. Klipsch, has passed away at the age of 98.

Last year, our company celebrated Paul’s birthday with him at the original Klipsch manufacturing facility in Hope, Arkansas. At the party, which was thrown by Paul’s wife, Valerie Klipsch, Paul talked about days gone by with company veterans (some of whom have been with Paul and the company for two and even three decades) and discussed the science of audio with a new, and rather awestruck, loudspeaker engineer.

Stories of Paul’s lasting wit and superior intellect were indeed true, which is what often made it difficult to accept the fact that he was 98 years old. And that is, in fact, the correct age despite rumors and Rolling Stone magazine articles that cite ranges from 90 to 103. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the myth, the lore, and the absolute truth about our legendary founder.

Paul’s indisputable genius and one-of-a-kind personality touched so many lives for so many years that there are now hundreds of stories about him being told and retold -- from the funny to the profound. On a personal note: my life is exponentially more full for having known him and for having the unique opportunity to be part of the company that Paul himself started way back in 1946.

It has been said, and I firmly believe it, that every time you listen to recorded music you’re hearing the passion, the genius and the legacy of Paul W. Klipsch. He was a verifiable genius who could have chosen any number of vocations, but the world sounds a lot better because he chose audio. And the integrity of Paul W. Klipsch was beyond reproach. He was a great man who always did the right thing in the right way.

In honor and in memory of our founder Paul W. Klipsch, Klipsch Audio Technologies has published the family's obituary on our web site ( Information is provided for those of you that want to make a special acknowledgement of the way in which Paul has had an impact on your life. On behalf of the company that was started and sustained by the incomparable mind and spirit of Paul W. Klipsch, I invite you to join us in celebrating his life and life’s work as we say goodbye to THE LEGEND IN SOUND.
Thank's to the previous two guy's who took time out of their day to write informative and insightful posts on Paul Klipsch and his passing.
And to you Paul for touching all our lives, whether within the audio community or outside of it, it's people like you who ultimately enriched all our lives, and who have helped make the world a better place to live in. Hope to see ya in Heaven Bud...
A true legend. He will be missed by all audiophiles.
Best to you Mr. Klipsch in the next life. You made this world a better place with your musical products.

God Bless You

My first real speakers where Hersey's got 20 + years of pleasure out of them.
Truly a great human that has enriched the lives of countless people with his love of audio.
I've always regarded Paul as such a genius in his own right, yet the guy was such a down-to-earth human good-ole' boy. When you talk with him in person / face to face, he's not the least bit arrogant or above-board, he typically acted pretty much like any one of us. When I first met him I didn't feel at all intimidated, although I really didn't know much about this hobby, especially at that level.
It was my first audition of PWK's legendary k-horn speaker that so strongly attracted me into the audiophile lifestyle - thank heavens for Mr. Klipsch & all of his primal contributions along the way.
There is only one way to commemorate his passing, and
that is at half mast. Stand back...

Thanks, Paul.
Prayers and memories are in my mind.......
When I was ten years old, my father, who had built his own tube amps and speakers, took me to a local audio store. I thought there was a live band playing, but was actually hearing the music being played through a pair of Klipschorns. My father pointed out "Those are Klipschorns, the best speaker ever made". Today, at 56 years old, I'm still listening to them. Thank you, Paul.