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Everything posted by PrestonTom

  1. Hello David, So you are about to start the journey.... Good for you! Actually K-Horns do come up on eBay on a regular basis. But there is little you can do about the shipping problem. Each cabinet weighs about 160lbs and, as you saw, they are big! You may need to rent/borrow a truck. The price you mentioned is certainly realistic. However you might be pleasantly surprised and find some much cheaper. I know I was able to get mine for about half price due to the size and also since the market is rather limited (not everyone can put these in their home or have an accomodating girl friend). As such, deals do happen. One strategy is to place a "want to buy" in Audiogon in hopes that someone wants to sell theirs but has been put off by the hassle. It is worth a shot. The biggest issue on determining the value is their CONDITION (cosmetic predominatly, since the drivers are fairly robust) and also LOCATION (once you factor in the cost & effort for deleivery). Some will quibble about the version of the mid range driver (K-55 V vs M) and the crossover (A vs AA for the older models). However, those issues can be remedied and are not major problems (given the big picture: you are about to get a fantastic system). Also, in my opinion, do not spend a great deal of worry about which amp and pre-amp etc to use - with one caveat, they need to be quiet components since the cabinets WILL reveal any hiss and distortion. However, they do not require much power. What you would need to worry about is whether your room is sufficiently large and has a pair of corners to place the cabinets into. If two corners are not available, then you would need to construct a "false corner". These are not always unattractive and can be simple to construct. There are many threads about this issue. Speaker placement is a big deal, a much bigger deal than the other components (if they are quiet). Good luck and let us know how your journey goes -Tom
  2. Another difference (and I am not sure when it was introduced) is the use of rubber "flanges and gaskets" to help seal the K-Horns into the corners. There are a number of posts describing some fairly simple homemade versions using pipe foam. I tried this on my 1982's and the result was noticeable and pleasing. Good luck, -Tom
  3. Okay, okay, okay ... I just got sucked into this argument also. I am firm believer in the simple, additive three-channel approach. It does require some fine tuning however. The center channel sould not be turned up much. All you are trying to do is give a bit more "firmness" to the center of the image. When the left and right are far apart, then the stereophonic center (phantom image) can be a bit weak. It is difficult to describe so I need to resort to words like "firm and weak". A second advantage is that it will widen the sweet spot so your chair does not need to be in the exact middle. A third advantage was perviously noted in the reference to Snow et al's demonstations (the Bell Lab work) in that the image has more depth. A fourth advantage is that the center channel can (but not always) smooth out some the ups & downs in the frequency respones due to room acoustics (delay and add, comb filtering). I think when folks are disatisfied with the setup, it may be because they have the center turned up too much. This is where the fine tuning comes in. Some adjustment may be required in placing the center speaker also. Do give it a try, even it is with a mock up (cheap speaker and amp). This will at give an approximation of the effect. If it is appealing, then do a proper job of it with a better speaker cabinet. Good Luck, -Tom
  4. I have also listened to my K-Horns along a 12 ft wall. The sound was fine. Remember however that ideally you would want the listening chair to be only about 6-8ft from the wall so that the cabinets and listener form a 90 deg angle (you are at the tangent from the face of the cabinet). This is an ideal (since the response is flatest when you are on axis). It appears that most folks violate this placement, anyhow. The K-Horns really do sound wonderful. Let us know how it goes. -Tom
  5. Neil, I have also been intrigued by the idea of single driver systems. I am glad to see that you are carrying through on this stuff. I assume that you already know that there are a bunch of websites with pertinent info. If not, try a google search. I know you will find it very helpful. Keep us informed. I agree that is amazing how a proper cabinet/design can bring out the best in a modestly priced transducer. I suspect you are having a blast learning about this stuff also. Good luck, -Tom
  6. I have to confess that I was confused not PAULN. Of course 50 watts to 5 watts is a 10 db drop and hence "half as loud". My mistake, my brain was elsewhere. -Tom
  7. I am confused by what PAULN is trying to communicate with that table of values. Watts are physical measure of power. Loudness is perceptual atrribute that is certainly a function of power. But the relation that is listed is not a good description of the function that relates loudness to power. I must have missed what you were thinking on this. -Tom
  8. Hello Bruce, This is a difficult circumstance for Barbara and you. I suspect the both of you may become overwhelmed by this. Please try and stay positive. Melanoma can be beaten! My thoughts are certainly for a speedy and full reovery. All my best, -Tom
  9. Gene, It sounds like a nice big room that you have for listening. Go for it! Being on-axis is best, which in your case would be 14 ft back (give or take). However, there will be a "hole in the middle" in terms of imaging. Since there is a wood stove in the middle, I will suggest using a false corner and move one of the speakers toward the center and then add a center speaker to the side of the stove. This is sounding like a lot of money & effort... However, the center speaker need not be as high in quality as the sides (the K-Horns). The center is additive (left plus right ch) and it does not need to be turned up much in volume. Since it does not need much gain, you do not need to go overboard and try to get a Belle or a La Scala (if it is not a problem then go overboard by all means). I have had success with a Heresy cabinet (yes, I would prefer a Belle but that is not feasible at this point in time). Remember that the lower octaves will have plenty of energy from the 2 K-Horns. The center cabinet is "just filling in the hole" and making the phantom center a bit more stable and anchored. It is difficult trying to define the percept with words. In my case, before I built the modified false corner (which does need to be unattractive). I jury-rigged a bookcase and sheet of plywood to mimic the false corner and borrowed a Vandersteen 2c (not much bass output but a decent midrange)as a mock center channel (I used a second amp and constructed a center channel box with a variable pot - there are various diagrams available). This was followed by listening with and without the center (at various degrees of attentuation and with various recordings). It does make a difference in providing the sterophonic image with a more solid panaorama. There is also a bit of depth provided - why this happens is worth another conversation. Since the effect does not require much gain for the center, the center speaker does not have to be on par with the K-Horns (yes, it is a compromise). Anyhow, I have now totally re-arraged your living room, upset your wife, manipulated you into getting another amp and spaeker. I guess my work is done. Seriously, do try the mock up to see if it helps - even it is just a radio shack speaker for a temporary center. This will give you first hand experience with what "the hole in middle" sounds like and it will give you an approximate idea of how it can be cured. If you like the result then by all means go ahead and do a proper job of it. Please let us know how this adventure goes and what your impresions are. Good Luck, -Tom
  10. James, Happy Birthday. Many good things can happen when you are 15 - enjoy! Take care, -Tom
  11. Triode, Congratulations on the K-Horns. I believe that setting both of them into corners will improve the sound. This is based on various "experiments" that I have performed in my living room over the past years. I appreciate your observations that a single one in the corner is sufficient in some respects, but there are some other attributes you might want to listen for also. Yes, you are correct to note that the lowest frequencies have a very very long wavelengths. As such, the directionality is not always well defined. As others have noted this is why a single sub-woofer can be sufficient. In addition to the directionality, the very low frequencies may (or may not) have a more uniform amplitude respsonse if both cabinets were in corners. The mids may also be affected. Here is my thinking: at this end of the spectrum the amplitude response is dictated by not only what the cabinet can deleiver but ALSO the room acoustics (the amp etc are typically not the limiting factors). The contribution due to standing waves will be dominant. To remind yourself of this, simply play a continuous low frequency or very low frequency tone through the Kilpsch. Now walk around room. Depending on how low the frequency (in other words how long the wavelength) you will notice spots in the rom that may vary by as much as 10-15 dB at frequencies as high as 500 Hz (an ocatve above middle C on the piano or abour 4 times the voicing fundamental of a male voice). At lower frequencies, the variation can be around 20 dB. This is an approximation since I don't know the specifics of your enviroment. If you don't have a meter, you can ballpark the measure by remembering that 10 dB change in the physical measure is about a "doubling" in the subjective respose of "loudness" . That is, does it sound "twice as loud" or "half as loud". I have digressed... My point is that the standing waves can be minimized by adding a second speaker (in the corner). Unless you are unlucky, the standing waves from each cabinet (source) will not cancel and add at the same locations. The net efect will be that the sound (amplitude) may be a bit more uniform across location and frequency. You will probably also notice that the mids are bit better in the stability of their imaging also. Since each cabinet will have a similar geometry in back and to the side, so the 2nd and 3rd reflections are more similar. Again I am making some assumptions about the geometry and environment. The imaging on the mids will also be driven by whether you are listneing on axis (at a 45 deg angle to each cabinet). Yes the position of the listneing chair is important also. One partial solution is to build a false corner or a even "half" a false corner. Others (including me) have posted & commented on various designs. Some can be fairly simple and acceptible (although surprising my girlfriend with flowers also helped). You might even want to approximate the corner prior to actual construction. I did this with a spare bookcase and a sheet of plywood. This will approximate the result and give you a better idea if you want to pursue the construction. I guess my point is that it is just not the punch at the lowest frequencies that will be improved. Good luck and if you pursue the "experiments" let us know your observations. -Tom
  12. Congratualtions on the new speakers. Enjoy them! Yeah, you should probably surprise your wife with flowers also - she is being very accomodating. -Tom
  13. There may be a couple of "80%" solutions that would not be very expensive. The frequencies you're discussing have very long wavelengths -very long. And No - a La Scala is not going to have the same low bass response as a K-Horn. The cabinet and geometry will not support that. Trying to get an equalizer or crossover to force the low frequencies out is certainly going accentuate distortion and other problems. So much for the neagtive. On the positive side, a La Scala does have a pretty good bass response (let's not get greedy here). Some of the problems you may be having could relate to whether the bass you are hearing is smooth or not. Remember the wavelengths! Why not sample various locations for both the speaker and the listening chair. This will not get rid of the room acoustic-deficiencies; however, it may minimize some of them. The next step could be doing some research on Room Acoustics 101. Bass traps and foam (or even furniture, carpet/ pads, drapes) could help. No .... it won't lower the cabinet's response to very low frequency input. However, it could smooth out the response that you do have. Certainly it could rid of some "boominess" if that is a problem. I know acoustics are not the sexy solutions (not like amps and other neat stuff). However, it should certainly be part of the solution. certainly it will help with other parts of the spectrum also. As a note of caution, this can be tricky stuff, so please educate yourself ahead of time, since the various treatments and traps can get expensive (or at least upset the heck out of your girlfriend). Good luck, -Tom
  14. Regarding the original question: Yes, it pretty much is hype. Certainly do something regarding protecting the circuit. But that is not a big dollar item. If you want to improve the sound of your system, then spend an afternoon rearranging furniture, adjusting drapes, adding an area rug (or removing one), extra padding under a carpet, opening/closing doors to adjacent rooms, toeing in/out speakers, re-locating your listening chair etc. These will provide noticeable changes, Serioulsy the biggest probelm will be in determing which changes are actually improvements in sound rather that just a change in the sound. -Tom
  15. In fact, is the analog filter in the path? My understanding was that by oversampling, the aliased frequencies are now shifted upwards and a anti-aliasing filter is now uneccessary or a very gentle one can be used (since the limited bandwidth of the speaker and our ears will in effect filter the aliased image). Regarding the phase shift, this is a non-issue. The phase shift introduced by a filter (esp if it is a gentle or single pole filter) is small. Given that the phase shifts are near the corner frequency of the filter, a phase shift at a such a high frequency is certainly inaudible (trust me on this one). -Tom
  16. I actually go a further step. I do not even use a preamp. I have a Adcom straight line controller - sometimes called a passive preamp (basically some switches and a pad & can only be used on line level sources). I like to keep very little in the signal path. -Tom
  17. Gee, I found another one. It's from a a classified in Connecticut. I have no idea why it so inexpensive, but it is a very recent listing. -Tom ---------------------------- Luxman, am/fm tuner/amp, Model R3045, great condition, asking $70 OBO. (203) 856-9899 or (203) 374-9463 . Fairfield
  18. I always liked the Luxman equipment also. If it's any help (and I don't think you were looking for a receiver) try this link http://www.robertsav.com/usedequip.html It's medium size stereo store that has a number of used/consignment items. I have dealt with these folks before and they have always been fair and reasonable. Good luck, -Tom
  19. Good Luck on your project! Let me chime in and merely echo what other have already said. If you are going a for a darkish stain then by all means use a conditioner ahead of time. Otherwise it will definitely be quite splotchy (some woods including birch are like this). Even with a lighter stain, doing this on the edges (where there is open grain & ply) will help quite a bit. Using some birch ply from Home Depot (to experiment with) is also an excellent suggestion. In my personal experience, I have always had good luck with the Watco danish oils (they are pigmented to various shades). They are fairly forgiving, especially if you are not trying to achieve a dark color. As usual reading the instructions, taking your time, and using a sanding block(esp at the edges) are all key ingredients. Good luck -Tom
  20. I wanted to echo what Dr Who said regarding room treatments "... the results will be far more drastic than say the difference between a $50 cd player and a $1000 one. I really am surprised that more people don't go about treating their rooms." With all the energy and money spent on cables and exotic tweaks, a much bigger bang will be provided by even some farily simple things. 1) spend an afternoon moving the speakers around and finding the right spot 2) pull the chair out/away from the rear wall 3) try listneing with a couple of pices of furniture moved in or out of the room 4) open or close a door opening into the adjacent room 5) try opening or closing the drapes 6) try removing or adding an area rug (or extra padding underneath). 7) there are others I expect you will hear noticeable changes (perhaps clearly better ones). If this experiment works (and it is without cost). Then go the next step and spend some time with a review article and learn a bit about "room acoustics 101" The strategy is not very sexy (not like getting some exotc capacitors or speaker cable that is outrageously over priced and dubious in its possible effects), however adding drapes, carpets, carpet pads moving furniture or putting art up on the walls will have a big impact. The next step would then be the kinds of acoustic treatments discussed (bass traps, foam products, etc). The reason I suggest the baby steps first, is that room acoustics is a bit tricky. My suggestions are no cost (and critically listening to music is fun also). Most of us do not have perfectly rectangular rooms without windows and doors and covered with the materials that we know the sound absorption coefficients for. Consequently, modelling and predicting is tricky business. I will stop preaching now. It just that I get bothered when various folks spend and inordinate amount of time and money on low impact (in some cases no impact) choices for improving the sound. Speakers are part of a system. The other major peice of the system is the room. I guess I just get grumpy as I get older, -Tom
  21. Fantastic project! Very inspiring also. Thank you for photographing all the details. Enjoy them, -Tom
  22. That is a very interesting photo essay. I am always intrigued by these high efficiency systems. Could you tell us more about about the design issues and theory. I suspect you were tempted to add a tweeter at some point. My compliments on your work! -Tom
  23. Rob, There are all sorts of options. Since there is some directionality on the high mid and high frequency driver, being on axis is advsable (that is, you are sitting at the the apex of a 90 deg angle). One option is to build a false corner(s) and toe the cabinets inward. However, I would NOT suggest toeing in the cabinets by not having them snug in a corner. Depending whether it is a "B" or "C" model you might be able to toe in the top section independent of the bottom section. Whether this has an odd or unacceptable look about it depends on the beholder (no doubt you wife or girlfriend will be ready with a strong opinion however). The K-Horns really do sound wonderful, but they sound best when propoerly placed in the corners. -Tom
  24. Fantastic! Those are an absolute trip! You are inspiring me to take on some new projects. Enjoy, -Tom
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