seeking ‘HORN’ ideas apart from Klipshc Lascalla


hello all!

Horns, and just now, the Klipsch Lascalla interests me and as a new purchased items, ala, $12K MSRP, are doable.

to gain a wider perspective what other avenues, choices, or options in competing brands could be suggested as alternative selections in the $8K to $15K new or used arena?

i’m aware adding sub (s) is a likely necessity with the Lascallas, and possibly many other such speakers..

power is up in the air and nothing yet is set to stone, but any speaker candidates will be used with tube or SS amps. Tubes predominately of course. albeit, not necessarily SET Flea wattage amps, e.g., 2a3, 300B, etc., though I’d not wish to rule out these types as a later down the road application .

I’ve heard only at shows sevewral brands and have not been thrilled by Avante gard Duos or uno’s especialy.

I have enjoyed immensely the Classic audio T1s but am having issues justifying their near $40K entry fee.

overall, i do enjoy the idea of the sheer impact and presence horns produce but feel from my brief listening experiences in show venues imaging often lacked yet contributed this attribute to room conditions and or the LP itself being perhaps too close.

truth be told, even cone speakers are not totally off the table as considerations, as some ‘hybrid’ bass powered systems appear to be quite easily driven;.

predominately, my main caveats here are size of units and the room dims. they will be set.

for a bit , room size will be 13.5ft x 21ft x 8.5ft and using the short wall.

albeit the current room dims will increase, it is not yet known to what extent, though the desire is to land in a larger, but not huge dedicated listening room. likely a tad wider one in any event

secondly, given present room dims, it seems to me placing speakers in there which are taller than about 4ft or so, is going to be excessive…. ?

lastly, imaging is usually a pet peve of mine. the better the imaging the more involved the presentation seems to be IMO. certainly imaging is not the whole shooting match and orgainics, speed, leading edge def, decay, lower register deliniation, and presence all play quite significant roles.

as I’m at the onset of putting together this outfit any suggestions are definitely appreciated in terms of speaker ideas other than the Lascalla per se.

alas, DIY, or kit options are off the table as assenbly is no longer something I’m comfortable doing..

as for power, consider what ever amps are involved, I’d probagbly use what ever quality amps whose outputs are 25wpc or greater, be it one chassis or two. the plan is to acquire more than one sort of power amp in topology and or output along the way.

huge thanks, .
blindjim
Have you maybe looked at the Zingalli range. my friend had a pair and they were very impressive. They are not fussy about amplification either.
Take a listen to the Cornwall IV if you can. To my ears, this speaker is as close to a pair of Khorns you can get and will fit better in most rooms. I am thoroughly enjoying mine.

Oz



DIY is the best way or find someone to build you a great horn system, off the shelf horn options are pretty pathetic things compared to whats going on in DIY 
@ blindjim, Find a good pair of jbl 4435 monitors. :-)
I have heard a lot of horn-based systems (mostly DIY or custom builds) and I own a "sort-of" horn system (compression driver and horn for midrange, twin 12" drivers in an Onken bass reflex cabinet, and a bullet tweeter).  The compression drivers are Western Electric 713b's  that were made around 1939.  I say it is a sort-of horn system because the bass cabinet is a variant of a bass reflex cabinet and are not supported by a horn.  Still, it has the attributes of a horn system, including a 99 db/w efficiency that allows use of low-powered amps (my favorite kind).

I agree with johnk that there are not that many off-the-shelf horn systems that sound really good.  I happen to be fortunate in that a local, Washington DC-area dealer, Deja Vu Audio, makes their own custom designed systems built around compression/horn midrange drivers, and for top models, compression field coil tweeters.

I have heard a really good, and reasonably priced, system that has the sonic attributes of a good horn system, but, it doesn't use conventional compression drivers or a typical horn waveguide.  The speakers I heard at a show that really impressed me are made by Charney Audio.  The use a full range driver firing forward, and the back of the driver fires into a quarter wave back-loaded horn cabinet.  This system has the immediacy and dynamics of a horn system with minimal horn coloration.  It is, like real horns, very efficient (around 100 db/w), but unlike most horn systems, it is quite compact in size.  It might be hard to audition, but, I think it is worth search for and giving it a try.

jim
Have you maybe looked at the Zingalli range.

blindjim> sorry. no. they are news to me. thanks much for the mention though.3

djones JBL 4367

blindjim> hmmm. appreciate it.


ozzy62ozzy621,035 posts
Take a listen to the Cornwall IV if you can. To my ears, this speaker is as close to a pair of Khorns you can get and will fit better in most rooms. I am thoroughly enjoying mine.

blindjim> I spoke with Klipsch last week and am still partially confused on the heritage line. I hear from one AVS youtube report these are at $15k MSRP…. from Klipsch it was said, $4K! as well, from another aVS youtube report at GTT Audio the Lascalla are said by ‘Bill’ to be $6K.

in fact from other youtube reports on Legacy Audio, their hybrids, aries, and ‘V’, it doesn’t take much to push these either.

I suppose, in all, I’m seeking squeakers that are easy to push and have that ‘grab ya’ efffect right off, and thereafter without leaving you worn out after a long session with them.

and thanks very much for the feedback.

johnkjohnk
DIY is the best way

blindjim> perhaps. its not a project I’m interested in presently. at any length your input is appreciated.
I would save my money and buy vintage klipsch la scalla. then mod them
the way you like to hear your music, are you going to hear 2k speakers all over the place, I have various klipsch models and I like them all!!! but I  also like different types of music too and each one sound different. the NEW heritage models from Klipsch is the same cabinet design but with a Eminence Outsourced driver, I'm not a fan of the Eminence driver because for me they sound lifeless (no impact or Dynamics) they use to be a car speaker supplier, but with the vintage Klipsch you may get a 16 OHM EV or a Stephens Trusonic or a University. ALL have a nice tone to them, but will save you a boat load of cash and with this being a hobby you get to play with your toys with upgrades (mods) have fun.

P.S  Don't forget that mask today, to stop the spread of COVID.
P.S Don't forget that mask today, to stop the spread of COVID.

I choose to stop the spread of fear.
You may want to look into the Tannoy Prestige GR range of speakers.  $15k will get you close to the Kensingtons.  Several ex Tannoy engineers have started their own company, Fyne Audio, which has received very good press.  There are not many dealers yet in the US, though.
I i know folks laugh.  But I really enjoy my JBL 590 studio monitors.  
JBL 4367s right size and very powerful package 
I have a pair of Klipschorns Model KC-BR with sequential serial numbers purchased 05/1980. Lightly used in a home. They have been listed on Audiogon. Located in Fresno, California. Let me know if you have some interest. 
Definitely check out Volti. 
As you are aware, there is a wide variety of horn speakers available. As ozzy62 suggested, how about a nice pair of Cornwalls?

As I have posted in other threads I'm currently running a pair of 2-way JBL L200T3s in my living room. There are essentially the home version of the 4425 monitor. Cheap ($800 on craigslist), in perfect condition and they sound great. My wife hates the baby butt cheeks horn flare (aka Dolly Partons) but I love them. Mate them with the right amp and they really sing. A very different sound than the Klipsch Heritage speakers but more to my taste.

I'm not suggesting that you look for a pair of L200T3s, but you could do worse. I am suggesting that there are a boat load of different horn speakers out there, including many brands and models you don't read about on Audiogon. Do a little research based on your musical and SQ preferences, your gear, your room and your budget.

Blindjim I am curious if you are blind? I recently lost 85% of the vision in my eyes due to a stroke and the optic nerve.  

If you were looking for horn speakers I would recommend you find my forum titled Horne speaker recommendations dated July 12, 2019.
  1. 149869-68132
    I received over 150 different responses to my thread.  It is worth the read if you have the time.

I spent a year prior to me losing my eyesight traveling the country trying to find Horne speakers that were of interest to me. I ended up ordering Viking acoustic grande voix speakers.  They are being custom made and painted as we speak. They are made in Santa Fe New Mexico and the owner David Counselll is a great guy and he has a variety of horn speakers in different price ranges. I would highly recommend you take a look at the Viking website and give David a call.  The Berlin line seems to fit your budget but maybe David has some deals.  I listened to Avantgarde, Klipsch, JBL, Charney, hORN Universum, hORN Symphony, Deja Vu and Pure Audio Project to name a few.  

As for amplification, I ended up ordering canary audio grand reference 300 B mono tubes with the C1800 pre-amp.  Good Luck with your search.

This will probably be the least popular reply but.....Have you looked at vintage Altec ? I do currently have a pair of A5s in my listening room. Now to be honest, I have $2000 crossovers (Altecs crossovers are beyond bad) 416 woofers from GPA at around $400 each, a pair of Altec 288 drivers for mids  at $1000 for the pair with new diaphragms, Altec 1505b horns at $1500 a pair, Faital pro super tweets at $500, Markus Klug multicellular tweeter horns at $700 a pair and custom double thickness birch cabinets laminated in Osage Orange that will be $3000 when complete so it’s about 9500 total. I drive them with a 3.5 watt 2A3 amplifier and my SVS PB16 ultra sub struggles to keep up with them. I’m building a GSG Devastator right now to help tackle the low end because they don’t do a lot below 80hz but geez they do vocals and piano like nothing on Earth. It’s worth researching if you have time. With Altec, I prefer the large format compression drivers to the small format, although I own both types.  Good luck
Check out the Rethm line.

www.rethm.com

I own the Saadhanas, and owned the Maarga in the past (they have recently been redesigned). IMO, best speakers I have heard for the price (and even some higher priced)





Hi. I have a pair of Bob Crites’s “cornscala” type C speakers (Now just called “crites speakers”. It’s a three way horn loaded behemoth of a speaker that Bob built himself. They come  in at under $2K and in the same size cabinet as the Cornwall speakers. He also offers these in parts for a diy option. These are a hybrid speaker combining the great bass of the Cornwall with the sweet miss and highs of the lascalls’s. The only negative is the leakers come unfinished (Baltic birch). I drive them with a Bob Latino ST-120 a PP KT88 amp inspired by the dynaco st-70. They sound absolutely amazing imho.
Why?  Horns distort sound.  They are for poles at football stadiums, not serious audio systems.

Try an A/B with a planer and see what you think on opera arias or jazz or pop music where the singer actually has talent and has taken singing lessons and has a recording engineer who knows how to record a voice.  (This does not seem to be a widely shared talent these days, unfortunately.)

Cheers!
Why? Horns distort sound. They are for poles at football stadiums, not serious audio systems.

Spoken like a true neophyte. Horns have probably the least distortion of any speaker design today. You may not like the sound of horns, and that's ok by me. But don't rant about "distortion". That just makes you sound very uninformed. 

Listen to big band jazz, blues or classic rock. A planar will NOT give you the dynamics nor the feel of live music like a well designed horn speaker. Hell, for that matter, listen to a good recording of the human voice. A planar won't give you the texture or the spatial cues that a person is standing in the room singing to you. Horns will do it. And they will give you excellent midrange tone too.

I have owned maggies in the past. They do what they do. They are open and airy and sound better than many box speakers. But dynamics DO exist in music and that is where most planars fall short.

Oz



@superstoked

I owned the Cornscala "C" version a few years ago. It was a lot of fun, but that cabinet has midbass resononances that are hard to overlook. That was ultimately why I got rid of them.

Oz


There are lots of suggestions for older designs.  If you really want to hear a horn sound as good as a horn can currently sound, check out the JBL M2s.  The list price puts them out of your range, but I have seen several ads for low milage used systems complete with amps and processing for right around 12K.  You needn't be married to the fan-cooled Crown iTechs they are normally bundled with, and crossovers and processing have even been replicated for  3rd party DSP.  I have three M2s (LCR) and they have changed not only what I think about horns, but have raised the bar for how good a speaker can sound.  Period.
So...check out the Avantgarde Zero TA XDs.  Above 500hz they are passive and at 104dB efficiency work brilliantly with any SET.  Below 500hz they each have a 500w powered bass module and DSP to optimize to your room.  
You need 5w to drive them to deafening levels.  Imaging is unreal.  Placement is quite flexible and they are reasonably attractive.  This is the entry point into what is an extraordinary line of horns.
I have a pair of these listed as demos out here now for $11,650.  List is $15,300.  They come with warranty or you can get a new pair but with shipping from Germany, that can sting a bit.  
Avantegarde Zero is on my list of speakers I want to hear someday.
Use Music Direct...return if you don’t like!  They have Klipsch and JBL.
@ ozzy62, Well said!. And what the poster said, about the JBL M2s is spot on. My jbl 4435 monitors do not  "DISTORT"  the sound. In fact they have the cleanest bass of any speakers that i have heard.! They reproduce cymbals like live music. IMHO  :-)


@blindjim --

A lot of options with horns/high efficiency speaker approach, many of them quite viable and with different strengths and weaknesses. All-horn or horn hybrid? Subs augmented? Passive or active configuration? Some DIY or not? From a certain perspective, for horns to be horns their best let ’em be big, but more on that later.
Though not small the La Scala’s are actually a fairly compact design for a horn speaker, all-horn at that, and yet they are very fine speakers. Give them a pair of horn subwoofers (likely DIY, sorry), and you’ve got yourself a very capable and versatile package with rather unique traits in the hifi-arena. Alternative all-horn mains could be Volti Audio Vittora’s or Simon Mears Audio Uccello’s.
Or how about speakers from the pro sector (seriously)? A pair of Danley Sound Labs SH50 Synergy horns; as a point source they image like crazy, with dynamics, refinement and coherency to boot. Very good in tight to moderately sized spaces being a point source. Add a pair of DSL TH50 tapped horn subs and you have pure, sonic dynamite in velvet gloves. Oh, yes - I dare you; this will put must high-end offerings costing a gazillion to shame, and yet the total cost here is likely no higher than $20K.
Further from the pro sector; pro cinema speakers, actively configured. Find them used, they’re big and mostly comprises 2 x 15" bass cabs with one or two horns on top. Don’t go and think they’re crude, loud-only speakers (though they’re not beauty queens, to some). Actively driven they’re a sonic delight, and just like the DSL option they’re the speaker equivalent of Daisy Cutters wrapped in satin (it’s not about loudness per se, but rather effortlessness of reproduction; headroom is your friend). Indeed, active config. gives them an edge, and with a pair of horn variant subs as well it’s a rather complete package (it’s what I use myself, actively driven). Why horn subs? Because they’re more refined, enveloping and smooth sounding compared to direct radiating subs. Oh, did I mention this may be the most cost effective solution of 'em all? And yet they easily hold their own.  
The latter options hones in on horn/hybrid/high efficiency speakers at their best: being BIG. Older RCA or WE all-horn options, also cinema speakers, are supposedly majestic and the real deal - inquire about them to poster @johnk. However, they take up some serious space and physically simply may not fit into your interiors.
Avantgarde’s to my mind are simply too expensive, sorry to be blunt about this. Above options are cheaper and better, IMHO.
The Charney Audio Companion with Voxativ AC2.6 or AER DB 1, 2 or 3 drivers will fit your room and budget. Not sure where you live but if you can get to Somerset NJ for a demo it will be well worth your time.

Good luck,

Chris
http://charneyaudio.com/
@ossie62 Thank you for your comment. Rather than a neophyte, I am a former shop owner who listened to horns and every other type of speaker available, including electrostatics of every manufacturer, planers, boxes, and even some hybrid designs of all of these reproduction formats in my shop for LONG periods of time with many different pieces of electronic gear. Now, that was a while ago, but physics do not change much over the years, especially those involved in playback of recorded music.

THEN, when we set up instruments in the shop and played them to hear the differences between live music and recordings, we learned even more.

Finally, one of my many bands that I played in recorded in a studio, and THAT was a learning experience if I ever had one in this field.

Recording engineers and the equipment they use have a lot to do with the sound you get on playback. Obviously, the room you listen in has a significant influence on the quality of your listening as well.

What we found was that even though horns were loud, they clearly distorted human voices and SOME instruments when listened to with well-recorded music--we liked the Lincoln Mayorga direct-to-disc vinyl in those days, which have some issues, but were better than 99% of what was out there.

If you put the two side-by-side and listen to a variety of music genres with pretty good equipment, you will probably discover what we did. Planers are not perfect, but they DO reproduce what you feed them as accurately as a reproduction device can. A live violin or female voice will be helpful as well in hearing the differences if you can arrange that like we did.

Having typed that, some people LIKE the horn sound, and more power to them. We sold you what YOU liked and put the money in the bank; it is called business,

But after years of listening and playing and going to live concerts of every genre in many venues, we found that the most accurate and pleasing reproduction for long-term listening was had through planers, with all their "faults" that you point out and I disagree with, but that is what makes audio so much fun!

Cheers!
JBL 4367s sound amazing. I mostly listen to rock, hard rock and heavy metal but I love the speakers so much I will put on Jazz, country or some classical just to hear how amazing it sounds coming through these speakers. they are very detailed, dynamic, realistic and have amazing tight bass. I have the Goldenear Tritons in my room and they sound great in their own right but not in the same league as the JBL’s, which are so much bigger and badder sounding. On some songs played very loudly with SS gear, the horns can get a little sharp sounding and I’ve had good luck with a Bob Carver 275 tube amp which tames it a bit. 
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mapman
Definitely check out Volti.

blindjim> I heard one of the line up last year at the fla audio show pushed by outlaw powwer though it was all analog. no digital input. missed them this year but think I will be able to check him out again in the not too distant future as I’ve gotta ….get to TN soon for a personal matter.


br3098921 posts
I am suggesting that there are a boat load of different horn speakers out there, including many brands and models you don't read about on Audiogon. Do a little research based on your musical and SQ preferences, your gear, your room and your budget.

blinjim> a lot? If that is not an under statement of the first order I dont know what one is. definitely got that. thanks for the input!


@willgolf>
Blindjim I am curious if you are blind? I recently lost 85% of the vision in my eyes due to a stroke and the optic nerve.


blindjim> yeah. not ‘black out’ blind though. I can still percieve light OK in one eye, not so good in the other.

I got an infection during a deployment to the Middle east while serving in the USN back in the early ’70s. it was not well administered and set in place a long steady degredation of my sight to the point of being now legally blind. its been 40 years or so since I’ve driven. longer since I’ve been able to read print unassisted.

>>If you were looking for horn speakers I would recommend you find my forum titled Horne speaker recommendations

blindjim> yep. saw that one a day or so ago. very nice.

>>I ended up ordering Viking acoustic grande voix speakers.
As for amplification, I ended up ordering canary audio grand reference 300 B mono

blindjim> it may change but I’m thinking to nab a nice integrated tube amp, ala VAC 70ia, or a pr of tube monos to use with my Thor line stage then start figuring what ever is brought in early can be resold or kept as a trickle down outcome if needs be or used simply as achange of pace arrangement.


mapman
@dave_b
Use Music Direct...return if you don’t like! They have Klipsch and JBL.

blindjim> did not know”?! if push comes to shove and I have to eat shipping, well, ew’ll see. thanks much!


@phusis
A lot of opptions with horns/high efficiency speaker approach, many of them quite viable and with different strengths and weaknesses.

blindjim>
thanks very much.
yes indeed. I see this notion could be lengthy just getting a basic understanding, not to menntion any real world listening exp. whoa.
Volti Audio, definitely worth a very hard look and listen.
Post removed 
I have diy Volti modded Klipsch cornerhorns, took me a weekend, 
Volti mods cost more than the K-horns (purchased used from a gentleman in Houston, had to dissemble them & walk them down an outside spiral staircase from 2nd floor)- ‘70’s vintage.
Well worth every penny.
Checkout, 
https://josephcrowe.com/

He has some incredible horn designs, and can do full custom work.
I take nothing away from what many are suggesting here, including the new Cornwall IVs, but, the Lascalas, are a very fine speaker.... a design that has proven itself, for many years, from a great engineer ( P W Klipsch ), and now, the latest, with refinement from Roy Delgado. The horn bass, is very musical. A design, similarly used by Volti Audio ( Vittora, and Simon Mears ( Ucello ). There are simple tweaks and modifications, that can turn these into world class performers ( if buying used ). What many people do not realize, the Lascalas are extremely coherent, as they are full range horns, with the driver configuration placing the dog house ( woofer horn section ), mid horn and treble horn, within close proximity, to each other. This matters, from your listening seat. Khorns, even the new ones, require corners, and dictate your listening seat ( they are great when all of this can be optimized, with some corner wall treatment , and this, is too involved a conversation, for this thread ). Many horn speakers are hybrids, meaning, a mid / treble horn, and a bass reflex / transmission line design, for the bass. Some are coherent, and some are not, imo. DIY horn speakers that I have heard, in most cases, had great dynamics, but lacked this coherence I am speaking of, and many of these, would do better, when the listening seat is much further away from the speakers, again, imo. And then, there are some mid / treble horn combos, that place my ears " inside the horn ", basically, needing some greater distance, because the horns are just too big, for a standard listening room. The Lascala works great in every room. Matching them to a pair of bass extenders ( subwoofers, from 50- 80 hz down ), simply requires very fast units, to keep up with the dog houses. Anyway, if you would like more information from me, you are welcome to PM me. Of course, try and listen, to whatever you can, before making your final choice. I am likely being very vague, but.............Enjoy ! and stay safe !
Oh, btw, take what richopp has to say, with a grain of salt. Well designed horns have the least amount of distortion of most speakers, have dynamics that cannot be duplicated by panels or others, and, he is biased towards Maggies ( which is fine for him ), but not for everyone. 
I'd like to weigh in on the need for sub addition to the Klipsch LaScala. Everyone says the Lascala needs a sub, and looking at the specs and roll off under 50db it SEEMS to be a absolute necessity. However, my experience has been pretty standard by following the status quo by adding one sub, two subs, bigger, better, watts up... quality up... etc. Sunfire, Velodyne, Monitor Audio, Polk...(Nothing helped).Then I switched two things which changed everything....first a transition to tube amplifier (Raven Nighthawk), and replaced speaker cables and interconnects with all Tellurium Q  Black II. Just before this upgrade my Sunfire HR12 sub died so I pulled it out for repair. HOWEVER, after those enhancements (tubes and cables) the bass has been shocking and deep and natural and sufficient. I sincerely believe MOST of the opinion that LaScalas are bass weak can be largely overcome by these improvements. (Also, I highly recommend the Tellurium Q systems disk. It really wakes up the LaScalas. I have a theory that an extremely long break in for LaScalas explains rabid user loyality after years of use while new LaScalas often leave reviewers wondering what gives with
accolades by the Klipsch fan base. I get it.)  
DIY is not as daunting as it sounds most large commercial horns will need some set anyway. A dual 15" bass- large formate compression midrange with a matching tweeter. Best if dual 15" are horn-loaded but ported is OK. Simple network or DSP  if you must. I just set up a friend with a dual community leviathan with extensions and one of the best made multicell systems all new drivers shipped for only $11k I used some of the best transducers and electrical parts known to man, it's not so hard and what you get in the end far exceeds any audiophile offering and its cheap parts and poor hamstrung designs. Join horn forums why not learn while you get your next speaker? buying teaches you and gets you very little. If you can turn a screw you can build a horn.

@blindjim  Didn't I meet you this last February in our room at the Tampa audio show? We were playing the Classic Audio Loudspeakers, one of two models- the Hartsfield reproduction, which is 16 ohms and about 105dB, or the T-1 which is 16 ohms but goes down to 20Hz. Seems to me we had a brief conversation after your listening session there. I hope you are well!
@allears4u. All good ! The bass quality on the Lascala is superb. But, " for me ", they need that last bit of bottom, and it depends on the music listened to. I run mine full range ( many tweaks and mods ), and run my subs starting at just below 50 hz, with as fine adjustment as possible, and to me, it is a smooth transition, which again, is quite coherent. John K...I have no doubts about what you say, but I have seen and heard many DIY horns ( likely not yours ) that are just too big...not in size, although large, but, in presentation. 
Altec 19. Awesome 2 ways. 

Just my two cents. I purchased khorns in 1982. They got tiring. I read about Volti Audio klipschorn upgrades. Had doubts. Called a fellow named Dan Kapeller in Cheyenne Wyoming. He said he was going to dispose of his khorns until he installed the upgrades. I ordered the upgrades, installed them, and OHMIGOD! Over the moon! Nirvana. Are now Volti horns. Made of wood. Just like original 1947 khorns. Best bet is to find a set of khorns gutted out for little as possible. Expensive enough. Update is $4700 with you installing. Would pit them against ANYTHING! Run with 10 watt set amps. If interested, send email to [email protected] Can start there. William