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Tri amp K Horns, or other speakers?


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Have Mac 30's running K Horns. Have heard of Bi-amping, but has anyone ever Tri-amped. Or have opinions on it. Don't get me wrong, I like the MC 30's with the K Horns, but am wondering.

I have Fisher 400 25watt tubes, the Mac MC30's 30watt tubes, and for SS, Marantz 2325 (125 watt) or Sansui 9090 110watt, and 9090DB 125 watt that could be used for the base.

Opinions, Taunts, or any comments welcome. [6]


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I'v done it, It opened up a whole new horizon and fantastic sound,

with me it all started out in an effort to get Tubes on the top and a solid state Amp for bass

First impressions where that I couldn't get the different amp's characters in sound to blend,

plus I believe the tube amp

had some kind of phasing over the frequency that caused a problem blending with the ss amp within the crossover region.

so I went fully solid state tri amp, but could not hear any benefit in tri amping with active cross vs the passive cross (typa AA) that I was imitating electronically.

Things dramatically improved and justified the effort when I applied proper time alignment, changed slopes and EQ'd

A fantastic side element is that with a digital cross over, I could plug in and out different drivers tweeters and horns to play around and have everything work together.

I experimented 2 way vs 3 way

I can experiment with different slopes and crossover Freq. by pressing a few knobs.

I'm soon about to quadamped as I'm adding a sub woofer into the mix.

Keep in mind When you EQ a speaker, (especially bass boost) you are trading more non linear distortion (IM+HD) for the benefit of less linear distortion (better freq response)

and its fantastic to be able to tune your system by a flip of a button.

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The big question you need to ask yourself is if it's worth the trouble to properly set up such a system. Years ago a friend ran triamped with a custom bass bin for both channels each containing a pair of 15" Altec woofers (the bins were the size of refrigerators); those crossed over to Magnepans (I don't remember which ones offhand) which then crossed over to Janszen electrostatic tweeters. It took him a year (literally) to get the equalization just right. He ran full SS amplification with a total power per channel of a couple of kilowatts. Admittedly, the result was quite something to hear. The cannons in the Telarc recording of the 1812 overture made me feel as if I got kicked in the chest by a mule (almost as much fun as street racing in another friend's 1970 Z28 which turned the quarter mile in 12.8 seconds/108mph keeping me pinned to the seat!!!), and he loved it when pictures literally fell off of the walls which developed new cracks in the sheet rock from the abuse. So, if you have the inclination, and want to listen at ear shattering levels, perhaps it would be worth trying. I'm happy with my near field listening at low levels; but I'm just an old guy......................

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As I've studied my Khorns, I've come to the conclusion that there are a few "dirty secrets" that need addressing, so I'm considering some form of (at least) bi-amping.

My Khorns had a blown tweeter and old crossovers so I ordered new CT125's and the matching A/4500 crossovers from Bob Crites. That resolved the blown tweeter issue, and in agreement with Bob's design goals, keeps the midrange horn operating in it's optimum range.

Bass has been a bigger problem. Bob's design uses a first order low pass filter for bass, where Klipsch used a second order. As far as I can hear, the more gentle slope the Crites' crossover results in too much higher frequency content in the bass and a "muddy" or "woody" resonance. I switched back to the Klipsch second order filters for an improvement but in my opinion, the bass can still be improved, so at this point I'm considering using a crossover that allows higher slopes and going to bi amping.

The dirty secret I mentioned is driver phasing. When you "stretch out" the folded horn of the Khorn and compare the equivalent driver position with the positions of the mid and HF drivers, there is quite a bit of difference in driver positions. That means that sounds being produced in the overlap regions of the drivers are arriving a different times, which creates both phase distortion and room modes. It's pretty much impossible to create a phase-coherent version of the Khorn, so you're stuck with this problem. In my case, I've noticed the Khorn does have some serious issues with room modes, most likely caused by this problem coupled with the characteristics of horn projection.

One possible solution I've looked at is using a speaker management system like the Behringer DCX2496 Ultradrive Pro. This crossover allows triamping, but more importantly has full control over slopes and crossover points, and allows time delays to correct speaker phasing. I've hesitated because it will take a tremendous amount of effort to get the system set up and balanced as well as buying two more amps, and I'm not sure if the Khorns merit this much effort. Frankly, I like my JBL Summits just as much as the Khorns at this point and they don't have the problems that I'm experiencing with the Khorns.

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In answer for T.H.E. Droid,

DCX2496 is a swiss army knife for audio, and for me it spells freedom.

I'm running khorns in a 10x14 room, basically a disaster if not used with EQ in this room,

adding acoustic paneling and going tri amp simply bumped everything into the next level and there is no going back

You can plug in a Mic into the DCX and it will automatically measure and set the different time delays required. and then you can tweak from that point

basically when time aligned, the sound kind of "jells" in front of the speaker

With AA crossover, some mid freq. seem to emanate from the bass bin and rear walls which simply spoils things and seems out of place,

In my room, The K401 sounded like a resonant pipe on its bottom end, and shrill on top, the K77 sounded tizzy.

I went through several incarnations included an altec511b horn with k55 to replace the k401, (now Im back with the k401 which I feel suits the k55 for a reason).

My current system is as follows: PC plays digital signal into optic tosslink spdif, this goes into a DEQ2496 which I use for room correction, RTA display for measurements ,

(although the pc with REW software can also do this and much more),the DEQ is also used for night listening by compressing the dynamic range, its also used to add salt & pepper iow tone control if desired. the signal path continues purely digital on the AES\EBU link into the DCX for crossing over,

In the DCX, I also use a the dynamic EQ, unlike static EQ, this is used to automatically only add more bass below a certain input level threshold with a soft knee, this compensates for the ears lack of sensitivity for bass below a certain spl. its great for classical music during those low passages so they don't sound so lean, it also helps to "turn it down" and still think your at loud levels.

Instead of K77, Im using a titanium tweeter from Selenium, crossed over at about 2Khz, as I feel the k401 is not so good above 1-2Khz, (this is subjective mind you)

I use Butterworth 18db filter slopes,

properly EQ'd, the khorns are flat from 32Hz on up, plenty of bass, dynamics, plenty of everything really, no more ghosts from the bass bin, no more pipe sound, no shrill but it took a while to get there

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I'd say we are at a crossroads in digital correction, where right now the best sound might be single amps for each driver, but as technology moves forward a more than adequate level of correction may be possible using a single amp and factory or other crossovers.

OTOH as the cost of quality amplifier channels drops an amp for each driver may become a more practical option vs crossover component costs.

Sure will make for a mess of speaker wires though.

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If classic corner “Khorn does have some serious issues with room modes,” it may be because the position of both the listener and conventional cone speakers can be adjusted within the room to minimize the effect of bass sucking modes.

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Droid If classic corner “Khorn does have some serious issues with room modes,” it may be because the position of both the listener and conventional cone speakers can be adjusted within the room to minimize the effect of bass sucking modes.

Yes, I think that's a very valid point. I know with my Summits, I've moved them around a bit and now they sit about a foot from the wall and five feet in from the corners. No such option on the Khorns unless I build side sheets for them, also not an option. I know the Khorns can sound much better, and I'm not giving up on them yet.

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In answer for T.H.E. Droid,

DCX2496 is a swiss army knife for audio, and for me it spells freedom.

Glad to hear someone has tried it with Khorns, that gives me a bit more confidence that it will work. Now I just need two more amps.....

I need 2 more amps like I need 2 more wives. The info is good. Have enough receivers and amps to swap around. If I had another wife or more to swap around I think I'd be in big trouble. No analog, digital or anything else would save me.

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John, if you want to mess around with it....and if you want to try an active crossover, I have an extra EV DX38

Although it is a 2-in, 4 out unit, you can use it to experiment by programming all the outputs to respond to one input.

Meaning, you could take a single Khorn, keep it passive. Take the other Khorn, plumb your signal into the Dx38 and then have up to four channels of output available.

You could have an output channel for the K77, K55, K33 and have another channel left over!

hmm...as I think about it, you could take that left over channel, program it to a mono, full signal and then route IT back to your other Khorn so that 100% would be controlled by the Dx.

Food for thought. This is a second Dx that is not being used. If you'd cover shipping, I'd send it out to you for a month or two of experiments and send it back when you're done. I used it in TN when I pulled the MWM stack outside and here in Jacksonville.....sitting in a 2-bd apartment, I'm not finding much use for the MWM's.


PM me if interested.

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