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Mighty McIntosh

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  1. Maybe someday I'll have a bigger room, but for now the Klipschorns sing (or bellow) just fine: the sound quality is excellent if (probably) far from ideal, better for some kinds of music (Melody Gardot sounded like she was five feet from me). All I want now is for my ears not to be boxed by trumpets and violins. Those high-midrange frequencies are still causing pain and fatigue. I tried wrapping one of the squawkers with rope caulk (Mortite). I figured this would be a cheap experiment. And it was a quick one. Totally deadened the midrange, which sounded like it was being smothered by a pillow. Completely canceled all sonic air and space, and didn't help the upper midrange hyper-resonance one bit. Removed it immediately. So, I think the next intervention up is something that many have already recommended: adding sound absorption to the room. Two things have deterred me from pursuing this: Unlike rope caulk, sound panels are expensive. It therefore makes sense to experiment with materials at hand before committing to a purchase -- as recommended, for example by D Jenson: "You may want to experiment with blankets and rugs to see if you find improvements. If you like what you hear, you can get 'real' treatments." -- But I find myself utterly stupefied: How can I place blankets and rugs over the early reflection points on my walls and ceilings? How have others done homemade tests of sound absorption on their walls and ceilings? For room treatments, D Jenson mentioned Auralex, which would appear to cost hundreds of dollars. Are there other more economical yet effective possibilities? Any guidance will be much appreciated.
  2. Read somewhere in here—something like, the Khorns were efficient enough for 4 ohms, and to try that first.
  3. FIXED IT. Remember when, in the OP, I wrote: Well, today I switched to the 8 ohm taps, just to see if it would change the sound. Oh, my God. Totally different. I hadn't realized until listening at 8 ohms that I haven't been hearing what I'm accustomed to hearing from the McIntosh amp—the gravitas, the Luke Cage–like punch, the darkly romantic almost sinister, Wuthering Heights–like tonality surrounding the bell-clear details. It's all back, and more so. The Khorns play the McIntosh 240's qualities more gloriously than ever before. As of this writing, I've been listening, enrapt, for hours. All the detail, the high resolution that I'd had with the Heresies is now coming out of the Klipschorns with even more presence. The bass, midrange and treble frequencies sound much better integrated, smoother. (Thanks to the new Crites' AA crossovers, I suspect.) The midrange is still pushy and brassy, but now this sounds like a characteristic of the speakers rather than like something is broken. I've picked up the cues having to do with taming the mids: I use the Amarra player, and also have Amarra's EQ module. With some experimenting I arrived at these settings: The -2.5 Db reduction centered on 1995 Hz takes out much of the brassiness, while the increases at 4000, 6250 & 8000 Hz serve to restore specific frequencies at which I have some hearing loss. (With the Heresies and Music Hall Marimbas I typically set these freqs 2-3 times higher: 3 Db, 4 Db, and 2 Db, respectively.) It would still be nice to reduce what sounds like over-resonance in the mids and highs. My reading in this forum suggests trying wrapping the horns (e.g. with Noico Sound Deadener). Interested in your thoughts on this. Your collective thoughts so far have helped initiate me into the Realm of Klipschorn. Thank you.
  4. I've been saying harsh "top end," but I've forgotten how subjectively "high" pitched the upper reaches of the midrange sound. On ALK's "Super X" web page, I found this graph: ...And based on this, I listened to a 2kHz tone on YouTube, to see if that was near the frequency that was hurting my ears. It very well might be: 2kHz was more "top end" than I expected. (I am still clinging to the ridiculous notion that my hearing is 20-20k, a fantasy which I attribute to the psychological fear of growing old and dying.) I will test this hypothesis more carefully by playing various tones through the Khorns to see at what frequencies they sound most bothersome. One question I have about a potential ALK upgrade is, would I send ALK the new crossovers that I just bought from Bob Crites, or would I send the old crossovers? The ALK upgrade... And my question about whether I can try the k52k driver in the Khorn's k400 squawker horn still stands.
  5. Alas, I finally opened the back of one of the Heresies, which I got in the early '80s, and the squawker driver is a k52k. Can I attach that to the Khorn without blowing something up?
  6. Good logic. The squawker magnet on the other speaker (the one I didn't photograph from the rear) is even rustier. I will check in with Bob about this. The MC240 was serviced by Mike Urban at his Vintage HiFi Museum. Specifically: And Mike's partner-in-tubes, Bob Pienkowski, serviced the Counterpoint pre-amp at the same time. Nevertheless I like the idea of testing the Khorns with a different amp, which I have -- another tube amp (a good quality modern one) that I bought from the Vintage HiFi Museum.
  7. Thank you all for your responses -- very helpful, particularly suggestion to contact Bob Crites, and the link to https://www.gikacoustics.com/early-reflection-points/. The caps were indeed "done." I have replaced the crossovers (Crites, type AA). Much better just doing that. Below I will paste in my listening notes of each individual speaker with the old crossovers; most of those problems are now gone. I have yet to do a second extensive listening test, but the one thing I'm still noticing is over-resonant ear-piercing highs, especially on violins and flutes, less so on piano (I listen mostly to classical). The speakers are still not sealed in the corners. Pipe insulation arrived just today, and radiator will be removed next Friday. I'm wondering how improvement in low freq might affect high freqs. My current suspect List for piercing HF: Exaggerated highs due to bass frequencies not yet being optimized with corner-sealing; i.e. highs might improve by default when bass is more focused? Room problems: low ceiling, early reflections Unwrapped squawkers & tweeters Possible reverb with Mc240 Amp? Other suspect(s) that I don't know about yet, but you might? After I get the Khorns properly in their corners, what do you think would make the most/easiest progress toward alleviating piercing violin highs? Here are my listening notes for the Khorns with old crossovers. Like I said, most of the following problems have vanished with the replacements from Bob Crites.
  8. UPDATE as of August 1, 2020 — WHAT'S WORKED SO FAR: I have replaced both crossovers, care of Bob Crites. Instant improvement, but still didn't sound right. Then I switched from the 4 ohm taps to the 8 ohm, which changed the sound utterly (see my June 27th post). I have just ordered some sound absorption panels for the ceiling (12 square feet, to start), and some Nicetown Sound Absorbing Curtains (the ones with inner felt lining). I'll report on the effectiveness of these after I install and test them. ___________________ [ORIGINAL POST:] I have been given a pair of 1976 Khorns by my father. I can tell that they will sound out of this world, especially (I hope) paired with my McIntosh 240 (also from dad, 45 years ago). But initially, upon setting them up, the high and possibly the middle frequencies are washy, messy, and shrill -- painful to hear (at least at loud-but-not-harmful volume). The Khorns are replacing my Heresies, which had none of these problems with the same configuration (same components and inputs). I've done a little reading on this forum, particularly here: and here: ...and these posts have helped me suspect a few issues with my set up. (Also, see pics.) My room is small: 15'x10', with a 7'-6" ceiling and four windows. No option to change rooms. ("SWMBO" and I have a small house, causing me almost to say No, thank you, to the offer of free Khorns. Then I slapped myself and said, Yes, thank you, O mighty father; I will make it work.) There are plenty of reflective surfaces: hardwood floor, plaster walls, windows, a few hanging framed (mix of glass and plexiglass) posters. There is hardly any unobstructed wall space. Can't help this, as this is my home office, and I work in it professionally (nowadays full-time). The Mc240 is right next to the right Khorn (with restricted options to move it). Next to the Mc240 is the tube preamp, a Counterpoint SA 3.1 (actually paid my own money for it, used). I don't understand any of the technical specifications that Chris A cites in his discussion on different amps with Khorns. I do understand what a reverb effect is. But details elude me: Is the Mc240 Class A or Class Z? High or low output impedance? Is its "first watt power" more than, less than, or equal to 1 watt?... If the "Com" speaker terminal on the Mc240 (manual says "Com" = Common) corresponds to the black Khorn terminal, then I got the polarities right. I am currently using the 4 ohm terminals, and haven't yet tried 8 or 16. As you can see in one of the photos, the left Khorn is currently cornered between a wall to the left, and a steam radiator to the right (you can see it peeking out). I will remedy this by removing the radiator. I also plan on sealing the Khorns into their corners with closed-cell foam. Funds are limited. High effectiveness-value-to-lowest-cost ratio needed. I would love some suggestions. My goals are modest. I'm already happy with the bass extension, and I can tell that if I remove the radiator, it will deepen, and I have faith that sealing the corners will tighten the bass. If I can eliminate the audible distortion and get as much detail as the Heresies gave, I will be ecstatic. I've read about remedies such as wrapping the upper horns in (something...?), and/or adding sound diffusing or absorbing panels in specific places, that can help clean up the sound, but I don't know what materials these remedies would involve. I'm handy with a screwdriver and wire strippers, but my skills end there. (I've dabbled with hammer and nails, and even used a staple gun once!) Good karma in advance to any who can give aid to this worthy cause.
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