I have a pair of 1984 first gen KG4's (even though they are listed as starting production in 1985, the labels on the back say 1984). I never liked these speakers! They sounded very harsh and edgy, yet yielded a very good sound stage, but they just fatigued my ears. Five years ago I read on one of the Klipsch forums about Bob Crites having designed and contracted a fabricator to make a titanium replacement for the phenolic horn drivers showing scope readings of a virtually, very flat response on supposedly sounding much smoother and liquid. For about $50 I ordered the pair and swapped them in and everything that people were saying was true. Very smooth, open, and airy, but without the jagged harshness. It was like listening to a completely different speaker -- one I fell in love with and became my main speakers.
A couple of weeks ago, I read about the capacitors loosing their life around the 20 year mark and it hit me that the caps in my 1984 KG4's are now 31 years old. When back to Bob Crites' website and for $100 I could send him the original networks for a cap replacement, or for $200 I could receive new networks with all upgraded materials including new chokes, etc. -- I opted for the latter. I ended up removing all of the old “stacked-up” networks of this first gen that had everything glued up in a pile on the back of the input panel – turns out that the choke and transformer? (coiled bobbin) just popped off the plastic input back panel by prying a flat head underneath them and giving a little twist, removed the 3 screws, popped off the one cap that was glued, and cut the wires to the terminals.
Then new network board fits on the wood floor of the bottom of the cabinet attached with velcro. After I finished wiring the first cab, I decided to do an A/B comparison between your network and the original 31 year old network. I conducted a very good test condition by putting on a mono LP, The Kingston Trio, and threw the balance knob Left/Right to compare them back and forth… let me tell you something, it was a dramatic difference! The old network sounded like the banjo was being played underneath a quilt. So, even though the speaker cab with the new network sounded brighter, and more open and airy, I would say it wasn’t adding anything, but simply allowing what was naturally in the recording to come through, whereas, the 31 year old network was not allowing all the highs to pass through to the horn. When I listened to the speaker cab that still had the original network, it was a kin to turning the treble control about 3/4’s the way down. As far as the bass, I’m not sure if it’s in my head or not, but it sounded a little tighter – just as strong as before, but with a little less resonance.
Once again, Bob Crites has amazed me with his quality designs and engineering. I now have the ultimate KG4’s with Crites’ titanium horn drivers and upgraded, new networks! BTW, they are works of art just to look at (see before and after pics). And because the new networks are mounted on new cedar boards, they smell good too! I’ll never have to worry about moths in my speaker cabs
I'm sure all of you know about Bob's Klipsch upgrades and maintenance services, but just in case you don't: www.critesspeakers.com
Original 1984 network: New Bob Crites network: