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'54 & '56 Khorns $1,550 Sold!

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EDITED 7/7/09 SOLD

EDITED 6/22/09 SALE PENDING

EDITED 6/18/09

A friend recently inherited two Klipschorns from her father who bought them new in 1954 (left) and 1956 (right). I've offered to help her sell them for a fair price to someone who'll appreciate them. She's now asking $1,550 for the pair. They're in suburban Detroit and must be collected by the buyer or the buyer's agent; they'll not be shipped. They'll not be separated. If someone wants only one, they can buy the pair, keep one and sell the other. If they don't find a good home through this forum, they'll be listed on Craig's List.

The photos (a zip file with all photos is attached) are identified as "left" referring to the 1954 speaker and "right" referring to the 1956 speaker. As the photos demonstrate, they're in decent cosmetic shape but they don't match. Remember, in 1954 stereo was not yet a reality so speakers were rarely purchased in pairs. That being said, her father bought the second one in 1956, still prior to the general availability of stereo.

All of the drivers are functioning. The left ('54) speaker has an EV T-35 that has apparently replaced the University tweeter (similar to that in the '56 speaker) that probably came with the speaker. The crossovers are original, i.e., they're crying for new capacitors, although there was no evidence of leakage. I didn't open the bass bins (which gave no evidence of ever being opened since built) to confirm the woofer manufacturers, which would probably be University or Stephens, as Eminence were not used in '54 or '56.

Please contact me, Neil, through the Forum via email or private message with questions or comments.

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Here is the 1956 (right) speaker.

EDIT: 07/05/12 The color issue with the avatar referred to below was resolved, somehow.

Now if I could just figure out how and why the car in my avatar went from red to blue, I'd be happy. If it had turned from Red Wings red to Penguins black or gold, I'd be really unhappy.

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That right speaker looks great, hope these find a home.

Man, it really blows my mind the PWK designed and built the KHORN before stereo was around. I would bet he knew it was coming and designed these to be used in pairs. I do wonder if that is documented anywhere, or if it's just my theory?

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I believe the first LP (monaural) was released in 1948, the same year that PWK made the first Khorn. The first stereo LPs were released in 1957 in extremely limited quantities.

I would be surprsed if PWK claimed any clairvoyance regarding the future of multi-channel music reproduction. Instead, he was always interested in accurately reproducing the sound of live music with as high a level of accuracy, i.e., in high fidelty, as possible under the state of the art.

Not until the fidelity of multi-channel recordings surpassed the fidelity of monaural recordnings would PWK have gravitated to stereo. I'm ceratin the prospect of selling two speakers, rather than just one, did not displease him.

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Just a heads up, not sure what the serials are on the speakers, but serial #1635 is on e-bay...on the off chance one of these is 1634 or 1636...one could always dream haha

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The serial # of the left ('54) speaker is 779.

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The right ('56) speaker has serial #1096. These photos are included in the zip file attached to the initial post.

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The following is in response to several emails received through this forum. It is posted here to provide general guidance to possibly interested parties.

Any shipping arrangements must be made by a serious buyer.

For example, I sold a pair of Cornwalls that were—I was told—headed to a Klipsch museum in Hope, AR, being set up by Mrs. Klipsch. Her agent contacted a local packaging and shipping store (like a UPS store) regarding the crating and shipping arrangements. All I did was deliver the speakers to the local business. After that, all expense, effort and risk were between the buyer, the buyer's chosen agent and the shipper. That business's website is: http://www.pakmailferndale.com/ I have no personal experience with that business and make no guarantee regarding their integrity or efficacy.

I doubt if that would cost the extra $500 one ostensibly interested party indicated a willingness to pay regarding shipping.

Delivery to the buyer or the buyer's agent will only take place only after cash is received or the funds are in the seller's bank account. Certified checks, money orders, etc. that purport to reflect an extra amount for shipping will not be accepted.

If all of the above seems too onerous, take comfort in the fact that I’ve conducted successful transactions with several of the more prolific posters on this forum. They’re known to me and I to them. If an unknown “buyer” is scared off by reasonable precautions, then I’m concerned about that “buyer."

Feel free to contact me through this forum via email or PM. If you already know my email address and or cell phone number—you know who you are—feel free to contact me directly.

Thank you for your interest in these classic speakers.

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The asking price has been reduced.

These Khorns with non-metal non-resonant squawker horns were ahead of their time.

Make an offer and you might become the owner of two pieces of Klipsch history.

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If I only had the corners...

They would be worth a 6-8 hour drive each way rather than ship. Not many 50s K Horns to consider.

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I think I remember reading perhaps 30 years ago that Mr Klipsch was involved in doing stereophonic research during a tenure with a research arm of Bell Laboratories. Is that a correct recollection? If so, he just about had to have seen the "writing on the wall" and I imagine that stereo reproduction was not far in the background of his thinking.

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The goal of my friend and I is to get these speakers into the hands of someone who appreciates what they are and what they can be. We're not suggesting that they must be restored to original or that they should be modifed to modern specs. We just want to make sure that whoever buys them understands what they're getting. To that end, I've pasted below a portion of a response to a Forum member.

Do they need any upgrades? If I were going to use them, the answer is yes. Each Klipschophile's needs are different. I would restore them to their original operating condition by replacing the capacitors in the balancing networks. The '54 speaker would need another University tweeter to be returned to original. Alternatively, one could replace the University tweeter in the '56 speaker with an EV T-35 to match the "upgrade" that was made to the '54 speaker.

I sold an empty (no dirvers or balancing network) 50s vintage cabinet for $150 to a man in Belgium who is a collector of vintage juke boxes. He paid to have the cabinet shipped to Belgium and then restored. He purchased the components separately on eBay. The point is, these ancient examples are valued by collectors.

Some people would keep the bass bins and woofers, sell everything else and combine the bass units with modern networks, squawkers and tweeters. Others would keep everything original. Some people (my mother-in-law) are satisfied with a Bose wave machine. Others are never satisfied. To some these need nothing; to others they need too much. It's extremely subjective.

The attached photo shows the empty enclosure mentioned above that was shipped to Belgium.

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EDIT: 07/05/12

I was able to remove the artifacts from the above post, but I don't know how.

Does anyone know why the computer gibberish has inserted itself at the beginng of the above post? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I copied and pasted text from a private message.

In any case, I'm not able to edit it out, as it doesn't appear in the message when the "Edit" tab is clicked.

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Just beautiful.

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Regarding the extent to which PWK might have anticipated and then ultimately embraced stereo, I feel that High fidelity was always paramount to him. There are two aspects of this analysis that are brought to mind, especially today, Father's Day.

First, I can hear my late father telling me that a good monaural hi-fi (which he owned) was better than a bad stereo. I suspect PWK initially felt the same, although he had an economic interest in embracing 2-channel, the accurate reproduction of live music seemed to be his unwavering focus.

Second, in 1967, as a freshman at Michigan State University, I first heard a Zenith "Circle of Sound" stereo. To me, it proved my father's mantra to be wrong. That crappy stereo sounded better than my father's hi-fi. To some extent, the same phenomenon takes place today when comparing 2-channel to multi-channel. To many peoples' ears, a mediocre home theater in a box from Wal-Mart sounds better than an excellent 2-channel system, especially when watching explosion films.

If the goal is to recreate a live music performance, then an excellent multi-channel system will often outperform an excellent 2-channel sytem. PWK liked opera (hence naming La Scala after the world famous opera house) and symphonic music. While an excellent 2-channel system can recreate the intimacy of a small jazz club, it cannot recreate, as well, the size and ambience of a large concert hall.

An argument can be made that it depends on the source material. Several Forum members have expressed a preference for mono when playing vintage recordings that pre-date stereo. If the original recording was well produced and recorded in mono, playing it through 2, or more, channels is unlikely to enhance the listening experience. The same would apply to an excellent 2-channel recording played through a multi-channel system. I'm reminded of efforts to "colorize' classic black & white films. To me, it was a step backward.

On the other hand, do I want to watch Dark Knight in black & white on a CRT with mono or 2-channel sound? What do you think?

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Several people have expressed interest in the
Khorns. There's a mild bidding war among the offers below asking price
group, which is fine. I don't like it when Forum members attempt to
bid above the asking price to out-bid each other. That won't happen.
The first Forum member who agrees to the current asking price is the owner, irrespective of higher offers.

Alternatively, at such time as the current owner accepts an "offer" below the current asking price, higher offers will not be accepted, unless the then pending sale were to fall through.

They should be under new ownership soon.

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A sale is pending to a Forum member. Watch this space for further details.

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