Pondering a pair of Klipsch La Scalas

There is a beautiful pair of "classic" La Scalas for sale in the classifieds (http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls.pl?spkrfull&1137595321). I have recently acquired a Mcintosh c28 pre-amp,2100 amp, mr77 tuner and I am looking for a good pair of speakers to match. The fact that these speakers are of the same vintage is asthetically pleasing. Does anybody have an opinion on how my system will sound thru them?
a classic combination. you're there...start celebrating
I owned a pair of these, but never owned any Mc gear at the same time. Klipsch and Mc were often sold together--they are a good match. However, most of the time you do not need the power of the Mc. You could easily drive the La Scala's with a 3 watt SET, which is what I would do if I still had mine.

If you have not heard the La Scalas, you should before you buy. They are extremely dynamic--one of the best in that regard. They will play louder than you want or your neighbors or pretty much anyone in the same zip code. However, their ability to do these things does give them limitations. They do not go that low in frequency response. They roll off quite a bit at 30 Hz. Klipsch rated them only to 35, but they are better than that. They are also somewhat soft in the top end. Lastly, they lack micro detail and imaging (or soundstaging).

What they do well--they do very well. If dynamics and the ability to play loud is your top priority these speakers are very hard to beat and I really doubt can be touched for their price. If do listen softly and listen for imaging and micro-dynamics, then I would not recommend these.
Check the www.klipsch.com forums. You will find that McIntosh gear works quite well with the vintage Klipsch, and in fact we just purchased an MC7200 (200W SS amp) to go with our Klipschorns. It sounds like the other end of the sonic spectrum--as it should--from the 4W SET amps we also use, but both are incredibly rewarding, and a good match for the speakers. Be advised that the La Scala's are actually rated to 53Hz (not 35). Consequently, if you want to fill out the bottom frequencies, count on getting a sub. We used an ACI Titan, and it blended in with the La Scala's so well that not a single listener ever suspected it was on. In my opinion, the modifications to the La Scala--damping the horns with Dynamat, re-wiring with silver, and upgrading to new crossovers--are essential in getting the most out of these speakers.
Best of luck!
klipsch & mac are a perfect combo,i really liked the sound of my klipsch & solid state mac rig's,ive owned all the mac gear you have & it will pair well with the lascala's,as boa2 suggested above silver wire will make a big difference,i never got around to rewiring my khorn's with silver wire but i did do a pair of cornwall's i had,you can use silicone caulking also to dampen the horn's without any damage as it will peel right off if you dont like the change or if you decide to resell them.

boa2, i see you updated your rig pic's to include the new mc7200,it look's great in your rig,how do you guy's like it so far?

Rives comments about the Klipsch's dynamics are almost an understatment. In the early 1990's, when I was in Japan teaching graduate courses at U.S. military bases, I worked part-time selling audio gear for the base exchange system. Among the brands that I sold were Klipsch and Adcom. We had a pair of LaScalas and also K-Horns being driven by a pair of Adcom 565 monoblocks. One of the evenings I was working, several Navy CPO's came in wanting to hear the Klipsch, and I demo'ed them by playing the final passages of the Telarc "1812 Overture". When the cannon shots fired at the end of the piece, the two guys nearly jumped out of their chairs, and within moments several employees and the floor manager came running into the demo room, thinking there had been an exposion of some kind. I had a good laugh, and ever since then, Klipsch has been synonymous in my mind with dynamic range.
Get em !!!

Some things I have noticed about the La Scala ...

Need a fair sized room

Can be a tiny bit bright

Low end can be a bit lacking (add a small sub)

My brother and I at one point had three pairs running in one house. I loved my La Scalas - I miss them often. I have no doubts I will run a Heritage set again in the future probably K-horns.

Like a lot of horn speakers I think they like room to breath - my brother ran a Nakamichi AV 10 receiver in a fairly big room and it would blow your mind. Steely Dan Aja was out demo CD and I think that’s as close as I have come to being totally blown away. Loud .. sure, but crystal clear and dead-on sharp. Anything with a horn section was just incredible. We ran a small sub with them that was turned down to add just a little low end punch.

I'm running a Levinson 23.5 now and Paradigm Signature S4's with a 12" Seismic sub - a hell of a lot more money and I can’t come close to doing what that little receiver did for volume and dynamics. I love my setup now but I wish I would have run tubes through the La Scalas just once. I don’t think I would have looked back.

I have heard time and time again Mac gear is a GREAT match and I believe it. If you like Jazz ... Blues ... Rock - I challenge you to try them and NOT love em.
I think Rives may be thinking of Khorns, and not LaScala's when he is giving the lower end of their range at 35hz. I've had two pairs of La Scala's and measured both and their response dropped off severely below 50hz...this in three different spaces of varying sizesl, and two different meters.

I'd agree with the advice Boa2 gives on mods and may even add a few items, that may improve the stock LaScala's:

1. Replace stock wiring with better stuff. I like silver too.

2. Replace Crossovers with ALK's (I actuaully did like the AA crossover better in a smaller space though).

3. Dampen Mid Horn with Dynamat or the PartsExpress cheaper alternative.

4. Replace stock K77 tweeter with a more refined tweeter. I've been using a Fane tweeter, but that requires some tweaking. I believe there is a Beyma tweeter that is a drop-in replacement and reportadly an improvement (I think it is a CP-25. I can tell you the difference between the K77 and Fane was profound with the Fane revealing detail and clarity that just wasn't there with the K77.

5. Reinforce the bass cabinets. I have not done this yet, but I do believe the stock reflex bass cabinet (the lower section of the Scala's) could use some structural reinforcement (they are certainly not 'dead' when you rap on them). There's a gentleman who does modify LaScala's who designed and built a simple insert that looks stock that tightens up the cabinet sigificantly by binding up the folded section of the horn cabinet to the sides. This is the next thing I'd like to do to my LaScalas. If you are considering any Klipsch speakers you may also want to check the chat over at the Klipsch forum.

6. If you are into bass, look elsewhere, or plan to get a (very fast) sub as Howard mentioned. These speakers do not do low end. They do the mids like nobody's business and they are faster than all get-out (how fast is all get-out anyway?). Very dynamic indeed. If you want bass, go with a Khorn if you have the corners, or a Belle Klipsch if not.

Sorry, never heard them with McInGear. I was just at Howard's (Boa2) place (visiting on a business trip down south) and heard his rig with his Wright 3.5 watt SET amps and his Khorns (same drivers, but very different cabinet), and they sound wonderful (though he needs to push his couch back a few feet - or get that barber's chair you were talking about Howard! Maybe Gina can learn to use a straight razor and give you a shave while your listening). I didn't get to hear the Mac attack with the Klipsch, but will look forward to it on my trip back north when I stop by again and hopefully have a bit more time.

The SET + Klipsch combination is killer! Even bone stock it's still impressive, but get on those improvements and you'll end up wanting them to have your children. Amazing how such vintage technology is so enduring in it's achievements.

boa2, i see you updated your rig pic's to include the new mc7200,it look's great in your rig,how do you guy's like it so far?
Like it? Mike, we LOVE the McIntosh amp. It is the perfect addition to our system. We can leave it on all the time (as soon as we get our jumper leads for the speaker screws), so music is always at the ready. The sound is actually better than we'd hoped it would be. Talk about cojones. I was listening to Primus the other day, and thought the bass drum was going to disrupt my heartbeat. Thanks again for the recommendation. There's something about that amp that makes me feel like I've arrived. And my wife is ga-ga over it.

Boa here. From one sssssssssnake to another, I'd recommend finding yerself a pair of Klipschorns. There are no additional mods required, and for the price of a pair of La Scala's + a good sub, you'll have the K-horns, and the bass wallop they pack. Also, despite the fact that they are larger, they tuck into the corners, and take up far less space in the room. Just an idea.

Marco, you nailed it. Tonight, I leaned into the back wall while sitting on my raised drum stool, and voila, the music came together like never before. Clarity, focus, balance, I was entranced. Maybe it's time for some demolition. I could take out the wall itself. Do you think the landlady will mind?
Howard - She'll get over it when she hears the improved soundstage. I'll bring the demoltion bar and Sawzall!

I'll heartily second Howard's recomendation for Khorns over LaScala's if you have the corners/space to make'em work (and if you don't I can always lend you a demolition bar). They're everything the LaScala is, and a whole lot of well-integrated bass, for a good swift kick in the low-end. Not quite as tight and clean as the mids (but that'd be a tall order given how fast those horns are), but it's there in spades and integrates quite well in spite of it.

Wow this gives me too much to think about... Space is definite ly a consideration. I was a little worried about how to tuck the La Scalas into the room, much less the K horns. Is there a smaller package that will deliver equal quality?
Marco, good to see (hear) you're back.

warren :)h
If you want a smaller Klipsch package, though they are still fairly big at 100 pounds each, I would reccommend listening to a pair of Klipsch Epics CF3's. They have impactful tight bass below 30Hz are 100dB efficient and can hit like a concert monitor if you crank them. They are a lot of fun!

" Wow this gives me too much to think about... Space is definite ly a consideration. I was a little worried about how to tuck the La Scalas into the room, much less the K horns. Is there a smaller package that will deliver equal quality?
Snakenuckles "

I have the original Fortes and Cornwalls. Both are great speakers. The Fortes are used with a Cary SLI-80 and the Cornwalls with Wright Sound Labs 2A3 set amps.

The Fortes are smaller but go lower ( 30hz vs 35hz). I like the Cornwalls more, they have a bigger soundstage and better mids and highs. I updated the crossovers in the Cornwalls and dampened the midhorns with roap caulking.

I've listened to a lot of highend speakers and thus far have found nothing I like better.

A lot of info is available on the Klipsch 2 channel forums

good listening


I owned a pair with McIntosh amps. First, you better have a BIG ROOM. They blew me out of a 18' x 25' room. Secondly, they are bright. These were initially designed as PA speakers. I believe they are more industrial than home use IMHO. I think there are better choices in the Klipsch line for music, those being Chorus or Cornwall for starters. I like Klipsch, but couldn't get the La Scalas out the door fast enough. They now reside in a renovated movie theater where they are better suited.
The Klipschorns actually take up less room than any of the smaller models. We're using them in a room approximately 15' square, and we are hardly blown out of the room when running either the 4W SET or 200W SS amps. Yes, these speakers can be heinously bright if you don't do the mods, or pair them up with the wrong amp, use a mediocre source, and don't treat the room acoustically. The worst offender for us in terms of brightness and tonal abrasion (like that term?) was the stock internal wiring. When I went to silver, the high frequencies becaume much cleaner. No more smearing of the piano or sax. Man, that was giving me a headache!

How big is your room, Snakenuckles? And what CD player/TT are you using? Also, are you prepared to follow my lead into the land of $1500 speaker cables and interconnects? Because if you're gonna go this route, you've got to feed your little MacKlipsches only the best nutrition. Only kidding, here. Put your wallet back, Snake. Go on, put it away.

Marco, since attenuating the horn up a couple of notches, I look forward to getting your take on the midrange now. Be prepared to have your ears tickled. Close your eyes, and you won't be able to tell if it's the vocalist, or maybe just a frisky Jack Russell who thinks of his tongue as a Q-tip. And do bring the Sawzall....along with a big dumpster. We must get rid of any evidence.
Interesting follow ups. Still, I believe there are better Klipsch speakers for pure music reproduction. That is unless you want to re-create bar room type sound levels and can tolerate the razor blade highs. Review the history of the LaScala and you'll see why the design isn't home friendly IMHO. Yes, tubes, cables(over rated to me) do have effects. Yes there are tweaks to these too. Still, look into Chorus, Cornwalls, even Fortes(way under rated) for musical balance.
heresys and cornwalls are nice , but the lascala will be fine even in a medium room
I have a fellow from the Klipsch forum custom making me a pair....heh heh heh. I do not have corners, so I am using 1 or 2 15" woofers, ALK custom wood midrange, JBL tweeter, all drivers are Klipsch Alnico. Deano from the forum is building the crossovers, all internal wire will be highend, with cardas binding posts, they should be about 102Db. Sure hope they come out right.

OTOH, I agree about either the Khorn, Cornwall, Chorus, vs. the Lascala with subs.JMO
I'll chime in again on the Forte input here. I've had two pairs of Forte II's. Liked em' fine. Very efficient. Go down pretty low (lower than the Scala's). They occured to me as great speakers to rock out too, but would not be my choice for vocals, solo instrumental, and much of the music I do listen to. Much as I did like them I'd have to say they were not nearly as dynamic, fast, refined, and musical as the larger Klipsch Heritage speakers I've own and listened too. Still, yes, damn good little speakers, especially for the money. They didn't grab me the way the LaScalas, Khorns and Belle Klipsch have. Just one more opinion worth what you paid for it.

I haven't decided where to locate this system... I have too much real estate to cover. My family room at home is about 20'x20' with cathedral ceilings, but my wife will probably object to huge speakers, although the ones advertised look like pretty nice pieces of furniture. What about a pair of JBL studio monitors from about the same era?
I would recommend that you also look at th Klipsch Legend series: KLF-20 and KLF-30 (not the KLF-10). Much smaller footprint and just a hell of a speaker. I have the 20's for HT and Klipsch Chorus II's for 2 channel. Both are really great speakers.

I have the Chorus II's matched with a Plinius 8100 integrated amp (for SS listening) and an Eico hf-81 integrated amp (for tube listening). The KLF-20's I have are matched with Sunfire gear.

All of these combinations sound outstanding. Klipsch doesn't work well with Krell and Adcom.

Like the others have said, if you want Klipsch speakers, the upgrades are absolutely a must.

We used to use LaScalas as my fraternity house party room speakers. It was by far, the best sounding PA on campus. We would also put them outside during day parties and it was amazing how loud they could play yet still sound good. They were physically indestructable as there were no exposed cones to get damaged when stray softballs or other things would bang into them. People would dance on top of them, you name it. I loved those things.
Let me suggest something in the Reference line. The RF-7 specifically. I owned the KLF series and these are superior IMHO. The internal construction in the KLF series wasn't the best(I had internal braces come loose at the glue joints). The RF-7 is impressive. I talked to a Klipsch tech recently, a new line is due for the new year.

in your last post you mentioned your family room having cathedral ceilings & from my experience with them in one of our last home's they will suck the bass right out of most speakers,if you plan on putting the rig in that room you should also think about running stereo sub's or getting speaker's that have a bass response down to 20hz & like to be placed close to wall's to add bass response.

your ceiling's shed a new light on the lascala picture & based on that i would reccomend that you look at other speaker's that are capable of heavy bass.

Alright, I guess my final question today is: Do you think the La Scalas advertised for $1500 are worth the money?
Alright, I guess my final question today is: Do you think the La Scalas advertised for $1500 are worth the money?

That's really a question for you. In terms of the market for them, because of their age, it swings widely in two directions, and I'd say $1500 was on the steep side. They are typically available stock for around $900-1200 on average in good shape. I've heard stories of folks getting them at garage sales for unmentionably cheap prices. The best of those stories was actually of a pair of vintage Khorns in one-owner/mint shape. One of the subs on our renovation runs a demolition and hauling business. Upon seeing my LaScala's he asked what they were worth. I told him and asked him why. Someone had hired him to clear out the contents of a garage, which included a deceased spouses pair of Khorns (the original owner). He pointed out they might be worth something to the woman, who told him she didn't want to hassle with them, that they'd been taking up too much space and were too difficult to move, and she just wanted them taken to the dump. He did take the rest of the stuff to the dump, but kept the Khorns.

For $1500, or just a little more, you could get a pair of Khorns in good shape if you are patient.

In answer to your other question about JBL's; NO, they are two entirely different speakers with very different drivers, and will sound and respond entirely different from one and other. The suggestion someone to listen to a pair of Klipsch before buying was a good one. They have a very distinctive sound and character. You may not like it. Some folks don't. I also haven't heard them sound very good with SS gear, though again, some folks say they like'em very much that way. I look forward to hearing Howard's McIntosh combo.

I just sent this to snakenuckles, as he is a short drive from them. I wish I was:

"I just sent this to snakenuckles, as he is a short drive from them. I wish I was:
Boa2 (System | Threads | Answers)"


Buy them now.

Thank you Larry... I sent an email to the listing on Craiglist. i will let you know when I hear back. My system actually does not have a home as yet. I may put it in our home that has the Cathedral living room, or maybe in the basement (15x15'x8'h) I will probably first set it up in my office with a pair of speakers in there and run a couple speakers out in the shop(nothing fancy)...
I sent an email to the listing on Craiglist
Snake, be sure and include the 's' after CRAIG in Craigslist, unless you happen to be in the market for XXX audio.
Snake, be sure and include the 's' after CRAIG in Craigslist, unless you happen to be in the market for XXX audio.

And you would know this because...?

...because I type too fast...
Mcintosh solid state & Klipsch Heritage go very well together-like peanut butter & jelly. I own a 1977 pair of Cornwalls in birch with a light cherry finish, 1983 pair of Cornwalls in oiled walnut & a 1989 pair of Industrial La Scalas in raw birch.

I own several systems. Two SET-deHavilland Aries
845 monoblock amps, deHavilland Verve 6SN7 tube preamp currently hooked up to my 1983 Cornwalls. Welborne Labs Moondog 2A3 monoblock amps, Welborne Labs Reveille 6SN7 tube preamp hooked up to my 1977 Cornwalls. My 1989 La Scalas are on injured reserve, need to send the midrange driver to Bob Crites to have the diaphram replaced. Have run the La Scalas with the Welborne Labs system
and the Llano Poenix/Mcintosh system.

I own a Mcintosh ss system-MC7150 autoformer amp, C38 preamp, MCD 7009 cd player, MR 77 tuner. Have run the Mcintosh system with my Cornwalls. My
Lubbock, Texas made Llano Phoenix CAS 300/VA2 mosfet/tube hybrid amp with VA2 voltage section- uses 6SN7, 12SN7 & 6SL7 tubes. The Llano amp is also hooked up to the Mac C38 preamp. The Llano amp sounds good to my ears with both Cornwalls & La Scalas. Dynamics up the wazoo with the Llano amp-the bass king of all my amps & 300 watts x 2 is way overkill for Klipsch Heritage speakers.
Currently have my Mcintosh MC7150 amp hooked up to a 1980 pair of Henry Kloss New Advents. And my Llano Phoenix amp is hooked up to a pair of 1991 pair of JBL LX55 speakers-3 way speaker the same size as the Advent. 10 inch woofer, 5 inch midrange, 1 inch pure titanium tweeter. The JBL LX series was right below the JBL L series-JBL L100t, JBL L80t etc.

Klipsch Heritage can sound excellent with either
solid state or tubes. SET sounds best to my ears. But the solid state I have used sounds very good to my ears. Have not tried a tube push pull amp with my Klipsch. Over at the Klipsch Forum people can get a fuedin' like the Hatfields & McCoys over SET vs PP tube amps with Klipsch Heritage
speakers. I would love to own a pair of the big daddy Klipschorns but alas I don't have the proper corners or room for false corners. Upgraded crossovers from Bob Crites, Deang and Al
K over at the Klipsch forum improve sonics further. Some people love the sound of Klipsch Heritage like I do. And others don't care for the sonics. Best to listen before a purchase if possible. They are large speakers and shipping is not cheap. Must be packed properly to prevent shipping damage. I was lucky enough to find the 1977 Cornwalls in San Antonio. The 1983 Cornwalls in Houston. And the 1989 La Scalas in Rockport.
Was able to visually inspect and listen to each pair of speakers prior to purchase.