I finally had some time to report on SubFest. It was another enjoyable class/demo put on by Klipsch Chief Bonehead Roy Delgado and others. The first half day on Friday consisted of Roy talking about the idea behind the new subs based on the horn-loaded vented system first used in the KPT-1802-HLS cinema subwoofer and the Heritage Jubilee. If you are unaware, the horn-loaded vented system is unique in that both the driver and the ports in the woofer enclosure fire into the folder horn, stacking the efficiency advantages of both vented and horn-loaded system. He discussed what he learned from designing those products and what new things he learned designing these new subs. There was lots of Q&A. The others session that day was a historical look at Paul Klipsch’s quest for better bass when designing the original Klipschorn. This was presented by Klipsch Museum curator and general fountain of knowledge of all thing Klipsch, Jim Hunter. He went over what he found going though Paul’s letters with his “beta testers” who had the early units and reviewed what changes occurred because of those interactions. As a final capper to the day, we went over to the Klipsch Museum to hear something that no one has heard for decades, the original Klipschorn X-3 prototype with the original X-5 HF horn actually playing music. Museum members Iain Moore and Chris Hornbeck undertook a project over the last two years to restore it to operational condition. They found a compatible woofer (since the original is damaged and no one wanted to risk ruining it by attempting a repair) and got the Western Electric tweeter working. They also used Paul’s original plans for the tube amplifier that he used with the prototype and created a functional replica. Jim demoed it for us. While the HF only goes out to about 8 kHz, the speaker sounded surprisingly good. That evening we had a meal of steak fajitas and BBQ chicken at the Klipsch Museum Visitors Centers, featuring Roy’s secret fajita sauce.
The second day was introductions to each of the four new sub models and demo sessions of each in the Klipsch lab listening room with Roy’s demo material. There were also alternating sessions to provide an opportunity for the attendees to listen to the Heritage Jubilee after an introduction by Klipsch Heritage Brand Ambassador Mike Dyer. In the morning we heard the two smaller subs, the “small” sub paired with the Sixes and the “medium” sub paired with the Nines. In the afternoon we heard the two larger subs, the “large” sub and the “extra-large” sub, both paired with La Scala. (If you are wondering why the front of La Scala top-hats are blacked out in the large and extra-large setup photos, let’s just say we got a tease of some upcoming things that we are not allowed to discuss or show at this time. There may be another Chief Bonehead class in the spring on this topic.)
Here are the preliminary stats on the new sub models. Since these are still under development, this information is obviously subject to change. Dimensions are approximate.
Small: 21”H x 32”W x 18”D, one 8” driver with one port, 27 Hz
Medium: 26”H x 37”W x 21”D, one 8” driver with multiple ports, 24 Hz
Large: 34”H x 42”W x 28”D, one 12” driver with multiple ports, 18 Hz
Extra-large: 47”H x 45”W x 30”D, two 12” drivers with multiple ports, 14-15 Hz
These are all active subs with DSP amps. There are plate amps built into the cabinet on the smaller three models. The extra-large may have the amp in a separate chassis.
I guess at this point I imagine you are wondering, how do they sound? Well, in a word, excellent. These subs don’t sound like the usual direct radiator subs. They have a clean, ultra-low distortion sound that’s similar to what I hear from the Heritage Jubilee bass bin. Obviously, as they get bigger, they get better and are capable of more output and deeper low extension. They definitely dig down to the lower frequency limits listed above with ease. The only time I heard anything I didn’t like was during the small sub demo. There were points where I thought the demo setup seemed to “struggle” on the challenging parts. Whether this was the sub itself, the Sixes running out of gas on the peaks, the demo volume just too high for this setup, or something else, I can’t say. I would have liked to have heard the small sub with more capable mains so that there wouldn’t be any question. Other than that, I can highly recommend these subs. The large or extra-large sub would be a great match for La Scala or Klipschorn. These will be great additions to the Heritage line.
There is no information on pricing at this point. Availability was discussed as maybe “spring”. However, given what happened with the Heritage Jubilee between the estimated dates and when they actually shipped, my guess would be that it will be longer than that.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this class possible. Another great event.
(Edit. I uploaded the pictures in a chronological order, but when I hit submit it shuffled them up. Anyone know how to prevent this?)