If you like the Klipschorn then it is great for you. I have listened to them and if I had to list my top 50 speakers they would not be on the list. Actually I would not buy them for any price, so maybe you are going insane, but if you're happy...
I have owned the older, "classic" Khorns from the late 60's or early 70's and I currently own the 2002 revision, in which the crossover and drivers were updated, including better wire. There is simply a "rightness' to them that few speakers can match. They are not perfect and can be beaten in any category by a number of great speakers, but taken on the whole, they just make music! I have never enjoyed my system more, and that's what really counts.
I feel the Klipschhorn is one of the best speakers, regardless of price. I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Klipsch in the mid 1980's. He was an innovative genius of speaker design. Very often people hear a vintage Klipsch speaker with less than ideal component matching. This is critical with any high sensitivity speaker, especially one that has 104db efficiency.
The speakers were designed to be placed in corners, hence the name cornerhorns. Call me insane but some day when I design my listening studio, it will be centered around the vintage Klipschorn.
It depends on what kind of music you are playing. If it's a symphony orchestra going full bore, a pair of Klipshorns will make your little monitors (that image so perfectly) sound like a toy.
Hey Eldartford.Full scale to be sure! But about the Jazz and blues lovers here. In the right room [read large] they can rock-out with the best of them. Dynamic as all get out with absolutely zero compression to boot!
Ecclectique...and there is nothing like a horn midrange/tweeter to reproduce a trumpet or trombone!
Absolutely love the Klipsch Heritage series, especially the Khorns and LaScala's, the latter of which I've had much more experience with. Have not heard the newer versions of the Heritage speakers, but certainly improved wiring is a plus. I think the AA crossover and metal horns are excellent though and see no reason to change either. They have spoiled me to the sound of diaphragm speakers, which now just sound like amplified music to my ears and in my systems. Klipsch horn speakers, combined well with tube amplification create a sound that is far more lifelike and atmospheric to my ears than any diaphragm speaker I've heard. To almost anyone who comes into my studio the effect is quite striking as it sounds very lifelike and musical. Just don't pair them off with SS amplification (IMO). Some electrostatics have been as engaging in a different way, but no diaphragm speakers have grabbed me that way. That said, I've not listened to many high-end diaphragms costing more than $4000 so keep that in mind when weighing my opinion. It therefore does not really address your question fully and I'd defer to those who've done more direct comparisons of more sophisticated diaphragm speakers (read: more expensive) to give you a more thorough answer there. I do agree with many here that the sound is quite satisfying and Paul Klipsch was most certainly a genius to think that speakers he designed over fifty years ago can still hold up against far more modern designs and are still being produced and sold today.
I just recently made a huge consession to my wife. I moved my SET/LaScala system that is listed as my home system here on A'gon over to my studio (where I actually listen more often, and is a much better listening space than the small room I use at home). I brought my more modest tube system home (Push/Pull KT88 Mini-Mites with Heresy's [same mid and tweet as the Khorn/LaScala]). The sound at home now was immediately compromised by the room, but remained quite engaging in spite of that. The older vintage Klipsch look was part of what my wife objected too, so I happily obliged by taking advantage of a sale that Underwood was having on the well-reviewed Soliloquy 5.3 floor standers. Gorgeous little speakers by the way. Installed them at home and have put around 200 hours on them of break-in time. They say they really need 400-500 to really open up. I can tell you that, after listening to horns and tubes for many years now, these speakers are still leaving me cold and unengaged combined with my system in my small room. Could be the break-in, the synergy, and or the room, but I can tell you they don't even hold a candle to the SET + Scala combination at my work system. They are even bested by the little Heresy's in the same system and room. Any suggestions would be most welcome to improve the sound, but off topic to this thread I guess. Once I really break these in I'll start another thread.
I've got a pair of Klipsch Chorus and I really love them. They may be a step (or half-step) down from the Klipschorns, but they beat many other speakers I've used (and I've used plenty!) including large, full range electrostatics and Magnepans. My pair image quite well.
Their main shortfalls lie in bass extension, and a slight emphasis somewhere in the lower highs. For the price, I don't think anything else comes close. If I were to list my top 50 favorite speakers, the Klipsch would surely be among the top ten, all parameters considered, and probably in the top 5 for their high fun factor.
My Audio Physics Virgos do some things as well, some not as well, and some things a little better... That's just the way it is with speakers until someone designs a speaker that's "perfect".
I agree with the previous poster who said that some folks don't like Klipsch because they probably heard them set up poorly, or with components that were not a good match.
Someday I'd like to put together a tube/Klipschorn system. Setting aside source, what's the minimum investment for tube amp and pre or integrated to drive the K-Horn well? Just curios, not intending to hijack here, but since so many k-horn fans are in the rooom....
They will sound natural and life like....if you feed them well, and give them a good room to work with. Don't do that, and you can have some awful results as others have stated.
At the same time, they aren't something you see in dealer networks everywhere. They are large. They need corners. They need space. These aren't things everyone has, and getting them for the majority of people that have them means that they've had them for years, or that they have bought them used.
I mention this simply because to get a pair new, they still aren't anywhere near budget speakers. The only listed price I occasionally see thrown around for a new pair is somewhere around $6k, and I have seen much higher prices for them mentioned for a new pair, though I don't know if that's for special models and releases.
Add on the fact that they really need a subwoofer, and if you're aiming for the best (for you), that would probably mean a pricey amp/subwoofer/cable combination to supplement.
All of a sudden your total cost isn't exactly a small number.
There is plenty of wonderful stuff out there, whether its Klipsch or not, whether its horn loaded or not, but I will agree that in the right setups, Klipsch and some other horn loaded speakers provide something that I can only describe as engaging -- when you have that, your system and music sort of washes over you. Presentation is different, and there still may be plenty to critique, but the point is you don't care so much about what isn't so exact.
Rhum_runner - You will only need a few watts of tubed power. I noticed you presently have a 200 w/ch Mac at the heart of your system. Unfotunately, if you mate this with the K-horn, neither will perform well since the amp will never get above idle and drive the SPL to earbleeding levels. Quicksilver makes horn monoblocks for $1595 new. They are push-pull, 25 w/pc and match the k-horns perfectly. If you want to venture into SET amps, I'd recommend a George Wright 2A3 for $1430 new. Wright and Mike Sanders (Quicksilver) have similar design philosophies - simplicity, reliabilty, and affordability. Check out the Quicksilver and Wright Sound websites in the A'gon manufacturers listing.
$6k new? Holy crap, I had no idea they were that much!
Mootsdude gives an inexpensive formula for audio Nirvana. Klipsch + George Wright or Mike Sanders' gear in a good room = Heaven! Absolutely agree with two recommendations (s)he(?) gives. Sanders for Push/Pull and Wright for SET. Too bad Sanders doesn't like SET enough to build them! The stuff he does build is first rate and the customer service he gives is second to none. George Wright is a gentlemen of similar integrity in my estimation. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Good call on both IMO!
PS...$6k may be the new price for the current Khorn, but I've seen them (vintage) going for under $2k in great shape on the used market from folks just looking to get rid of them. They are not the easiest speakers to move around or ship at almost 200lbs each. Consequently there are deals to be had on them if you are patient. The point about having the proper room and space for them is a good one as well. They are built to be installed in the corners of one side of a room. The LaScala's and Belles use the same drivers, but do not require corners for optimum performance. Some folks actually build false corners around the Khorns. Not quite the same reinforcement as a real wall might offer.
Marco - I just picked up a pair of Quicksilver MiniMites and absolutely love them!! They are matched with the Heresys (1984). I've modded the speakers with Dynamat on the horns and Liquid Nails on all the seams and have clearly noticed an improvement. Do you have any recomendations for rewiring the speakers and maybe putting new binding posts on them? I still would like to tone down the high-end. Thanks.
Rhum_runner, you can get into the Klipsch sound with a pair of Chorus or Cornwalls for $500 to $800 on the used market. Add another $500 to $800 for a nice, used push-pull tube amp to drive them and you have the start of a great budget system. Just make sure the tube amp you get is very low in hum and noise as the Klipsch's high effiency will magnify any inherent noise in the amplification chain.
For those with more limited space, a set of Hereseys could be a good way to go -- perhaps mated to a subwoofer.
Mootsdude, thanks for the tip on the Quicksilver monoblocks. I may need to check those out.
Hey Mike - I've paired off my Mini-Mites with my vintage Heresy's from the late 70's (metal horns and K55V/K77M drivers). Dynamat on the inside, same on the horn bodies, 3/4 MDF back (replaced the stock back and terminals), window caulking around the rear seal and driver seals. For the interior wires I used DH Labs silver and it was a big improvement over stock both in the Heresy's and in the LaScala's I have in my other system. The MiniMite+Heresy combo is killer for the money you need to spend on it. Used MM's go for around $600-700, and a good set of vintage Heresy's are only around 300-500. Good deals on vintage Klipsch stuff comes around at garage sales and pawnshaps all the time too. I have not been crazy about the Mini-Mites paired off with the Scala's in either my home or at work. Just more punch and less finesse. My expectations with the Scala's are SET high (pun intended).
Plato - An excellent suggestion; I agree you can get a taste of the vintage Klipsch sound with Cornwalls or Heresy's....and a rockin-out version with Forte's or Chorus (though I found the Forte's a bit less refined, and heavier on the low-end than the others mentioned, yet a very enjoyable speaker for not a lot of money). I've owned two pairs of Forte II's, Heresys and LaScalas and have pretty extensive listening experience with all of those with several different systems, as well as directly comparing many permutations in my own systems, while throwing in several Klipshorns, a Belle and Chorus that did not belong to me in other systems. Though the smaller Klipsch give you a taste, and are impressive on their own merits for less money, if you can afford the money/patience, and do have the room, I would always go with the Scalas or Khorns above all others. They simply compound all the merits of the smaller speakers into a fuller yet refined and effortless expression of the music. The one type of speaker I really would like to compare them to, that I have yet to try is a good single-driver design like Terry Cain offers. I have a feeling I would enjoy that.
I have paired my 2002 Khorns with everything from Wavelength Cardinals w/ WE 300bs to 200 wpc McIntosh solid state. I agree with the posters who recommend tube power with them, but I have found that I get the best performance with a quality push-pull design, such as CJ or the new Mac 2102. Granted, they CERTAINLY do not need the power, but they still sound more robust on the bottom. The Mac 2102 and C2200 tube preamp are a great pairing with Klipschorns and, most importantly, are VERY quiet. Any noise in the system will be magnified exponentially by the Khorns.