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Wooden Boats


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Many years ago, Peter Egan, an essayist for Road & Track, Cycle World, and other magazines, wrote a piece that I believe was called "Wooden Boats". Essentially, he noted that all the new bikes, cars, etc, could do everything "better" than the older machines. Yet, he and many others, found themselves going back to older gear because of the sense of craft, and the fact that someone actually, physically, was involved in the device's creation. He recalled the little wooden sailboat In which he learned to sail on White Bear Lake, in MInnesota. the fragrance of the wet canvas life jackets, the look of the varnished wood...

As a newbie here, I'm finding this same sensibility seems to be prevalent among many forum members. Looking at members' gear lists, it seems like folks have an analog (vinyl/tube/Heritage) "wooden boat" world, and a digital (very high end HT) world. I maintain an interest in both as well, though perhaps not to the extreme of some others here. This 2-channel forum reminds me that I'm not alone in enjoying the "wooden boats" in life. Our big ol' Klipsch speakers can take us to some great places in a style that can not be matched by the latest-and-greatest, "perfect sound forever" aural vehicles. I'm so glad Klipsch continues to offer these gems to us. I'm glad one can get under the hood and mess around with them. I'm grateful I can stop listening to the gear, and just listen to the music!

Thanks Klipsch!

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There's a different feeling to owning La Scalas and Belles than you get with other speakers. They make me think of motorcycles, in that their workings are visible, the crossovers and mid and high drivers, anyway, so they don't seem like "black boxes" in the original sense, a closed container that does its work in an unexplained manner. They invite, or at least don't discourage, you to pick up some tools and personalize them, and hearing the improvements you can bring about is very rewarding and adds to the enjoyment of listening to them.

As well, the vintage aspect doesn't mean compromised performance, in the way that old bikes and cars, for example, don't perform like the current very reliable and much better-handling models. Even old Heritage speakers can still sound state-of-the-art, something an old Triumph or Cadillac won't do. We get Klipsch speakers because they sound great, not because they remind us of our younger years, although that can be a small factor in some cases.

Seeing the parts and learning about how to optimize, update, or improve them is not an experience I've had with any other speakers, and it makes them seem more personal than the usual "monkey coffin" speakers. If you make some successful changes to them, the feeling grows a bit more. They're not appliances anymore, they're buddies, in a way. Sometimes at the end of a listening day, I give one of the speakers a pat on its top and say "Good job, guys! See you tomorrow!"

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I find the sound from a fully horn loaded speaker IE: KHorn, Belle, La Scala) is the best sounding type speaker I have ever heard. Some small percentage is about nostalgia too I guess, but there is no denying the awesome sound reproduction of these speakers. You see, I really believe my 35yr old speakers are superior! No wooden boats here.

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IMHO you are pretty much spot on with your comments. We spend thousands to go back in time and defeat compression and digital. Personally- I hate IPODS- MP-3- Digital cameras-package HT setups and technology in general. We jumped through these hoops in the audio world and guess what??? The old stuff sounds better. What good ia a 20 k set of new tech speakers if it takes 3 million watts to run them and they sound like garbage at anything less that 120 db? I argee with JL that the old horn technology is the greatest. I love my stack of SS amps for HT . For this application they do an excellent job. But you gotta go old school for 2 ch IMHO.

Nice thread

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Wooden boats are a maintenance nightmare. Stereo gear is nothing by comparison.

Who cares, really? I love wooden boats and the thoughts expressed by the OP. They are organic, and almost alive. They draw you in and you become one with them. It doesn't get any better than that. It doesn't matter if its a huge diesel trawler or a Herreshof 12 1/2. The grace and elegance is overpowering.
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Here's mine... built 5 years ago with my Dad and brothers.

Sometimes there is nothing wrong mixing high tech with old tech. The advanced epoxy preserves and strengthens this cedar strip to an extent not really possible before and yet gives you full warmth and view of the beautiful wood beneath... and this 17 footer only weighs in a little over 70 lbs! Certainly stronger than any cheap aluminum or plastic canoe but the local rocky creeks will certainly make you cringe at the thought of those 6 layers of spar varnish scraping bottom.

You folks keep proving to me that I am in the right place! While I love the wooden boats analogy I don't think I'll try to mix tubes and water anytime soon! Some creative mind here could probably find a way if they wanted, I'm sure.

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Not sure if this will "play. But when I saw the title of this post I recalled a party a number of years ago - before I was married- and a pal and I entered a house we surveyed the room and he looked at me and said " geez, these women look like they came over on wooden boats" It still makes me laugh!

Josh

BTW

the old tube gear cannot hold a candle to the modern designs. I base this on owning a pair of Pcats and having heard a number of VRDs. Vintage Macs Marantz, Eico, Scott, or Fisher are nice but really dont compare.

Josh

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Not sure if this will "play. But when I saw the title of this post I recalled a party a number of years ago - before I was married- and a pal and I entered a house we surveyed the room and he looked at me and said " geez, these women look like they came over on wooden boats" It still makes me laugh!

Josh

BTW

the old tube gear cannot hold a candle to the modern designs. I base this on owning a pair of Pcats and having heard a number of VRDs. Vintage Macs Marantz, Eico, Scott, or Fisher are nice but really dont compare.

Josh

Same is true with vintage tube preamps. Having owned a C22 Mac and others - they cannot compare to the BBX, Peach, Merlin, Cary's etc etc. Again its not even close. IMHO

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It is all a matter of cost- you can pick up the old tube gear at a reasonable cost- still murders the Solid state except for megabuck stuff seen on AG.

Not fair to compare a 500.00 old tube example to a set of VRDs or P cats- I have never heard a Vintage Marantz but i understand that certain ones kick butt. Thre was one on e- bay taht sold for 2800.00 recently- VRD money

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Wooden boats are a maintenance nightmare. Stereo gear is nothing by comparison.

Who cares, really? I love wooden boats and the thoughts expressed by the OP. They are organic, and almost alive. They draw you in and you become one with them. It doesn't get any better than that. It doesn't matter if its a huge diesel trawler or a Herreshof 12 1/2. The grace and elegance is overpowering.

The owner of the boat cares. That's why the 2 happiest days of an owner's life are when they buy the boat and then when they sell the boat.

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The owner of the boat cares. That's why the 2 happiest days of an owner's life are when they buy the boat and then when they sell the boat.

Boats... are a hole in the water you throw money into. [;)]
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I have a wooden boat owner that has kept me in rice and beans and speakers for some time now keeping his 1972 Grand Banks 50 afloat. Some folks just like restoring things. A wooden boat has a certain "feel" that cannot be duplicated in fiberglass, steel, or aluminum. Men have been going to sea in dead trees a lot longer than anything else!

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