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Tony L

La Scala crossover upgrade options

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Right, from lurker to poster....

A few months ago I landed a pair of 1993 La Scalas:

12248697534_31a270ed52_o.jpg

They are at this point entirely stock and have K55M mids, K401 plastic mid-horns and AL-3 crossovers. I'm currently driving them with a Quad 303 power amp and a passive pre. I've also got a pair of BK XLS400DF 12” infinite baffle subs hooked up, I've got them crossing-over very low so they really only fill below about 60Hz or so.

The reason for this post is I'm looking to either refresh or replace the crossovers and I'm somewhat baffled by the options available and as to which are considered good with the various versions of the La Scala.

I have the opportunity to try an ALK Universal, which I fully intend to do within a month or so, so I'll be able to see how that compares to my no doubt rather tired pair of AL-3s. What this won't tell me is how either crossover compares to Bob Crites' Type As or Type A/4500 with CT125 tweeters, which also really interest me (I like simple!). I'm also confused as to how swappable the different generations of crossovers are, e.g. is the nice simple-looking Type A a good match given I have ceramic magnet K55M drivers and plastic mid horns? How would it sound different to the AL-3s?

Some context: I'm not a high-volume listener at all, i.e. I'm interested in what sounds the most natural, open and clear at 75-80db or so at the listening seat - I'm certainly not looking to blow the windows out. For the forceable future I'll be running them with the solid state Quad 303 as this system is my office / TV rig, so is in use most of the day (I work from home) and I don't want to be burning tubes for that length of time. I do have quite a nice tube amp (a 1961 Leak Stereo 20) but it is not really viable in this context. The Quad does sound rather tube-like with a nice easy-going nature and it's not over-damped, grainy or bright in the slightest.

So far I'm enjoying the Klipsch as-is, my only real criticism is a bit of a ring / prominence in the upper-bass / lower-mid that seems to be coming from the bass-bin. I'm curious to establish if this is the crossover or the cab walls singing along. Swapping in the ALK Universals will probably tell me a lot here.

Anyway apologies for overly-long first post. My questions are really:

  • How good or bad is the AL-3 in the grand scheme of La Scala crossovers?
  • Can I use a Crites Type A or Type A/4500 with my ceramic K55Ms, and if so does it sound good?
  • What are the basic sonic traits of the AL-3 vs. Type A vs. ALK Universals?

I've searched the archive but found little in the way of folk actually describing the subjective characteristics of these crossover options, how they compare and in which contexts they are applicable.

Many thanks,

Tony.

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Next time I upgrade to "newer" crossovers, I will buy both but only install one, fire that bad boy system up, and either it moves me or not.

You came to the right place asking the right questions, prepare yourself to get slammed with info overload, the guys and gal's here on this forum are wizards.

Welcome to the Cult by the way........

Edited by minermark
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Welcome. I can't comment on the ALK crossovers (too expensive for me), but can highly recommend the A/4500 with the Crites tweeters. Have done that to all my big horns (3 La Scalas, 2 Klipschorns) with excellent results.

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Right, from lurker to poster....

A few months ago I landed a pair of 1993 La Scalas:

12248697534_31a270ed52_o.jpg

They are at this point entirely stock and have K55M mids, K401 plastic mid-horns and AL-3 crossovers. I'm currently driving them with a Quad 303 power amp and a passive pre. I've also got a pair of BK XLS400DF 12” infinite baffle subs hooked up, I've got them crossing-over very low so they really only fill below about 60Hz or so.

The reason for this post is I'm looking to either refresh or replace the crossovers and I'm somewhat baffled by the options available and as to which are considered good with the various versions of the La Scala.

I have the opportunity to try an ALK Universal, which I fully intend to do within a month or so, so I'll be able to see how that compares to my no doubt rather tired pair of AL-3s. What this won't tell me is how either crossover compares to Bob Crites' Type As or Type A/4500 with CT125 tweeters, which also really interest me (I like simple!). I'm also confused as to how swappable the different generations of crossovers are, e.g. is the nice simple-looking Type A a good match given I have ceramic magnet K55M drivers and plastic mid horns? How would it sound different to the AL-3s?

Some context: I'm not a high-volume listener at all, i.e. I'm interested in what sounds the most natural, open and clear at 75-80db or so at the listening seat - I'm certainly not looking to blow the windows out. For the forceable future I'll be running them with the solid state Quad 303 as this system is my office / TV rig, so is in use most of the day (I work from home) and I don't want to be burning tubes for that length of time. I do have quite a nice tube amp (a 1961 Leak Stereo 20) but it is not really viable in this context. The Quad does sound rather tube-like with a nice easy-going nature and it's not over-damped, grainy or bright in the slightest.

So far I'm enjoying the Klipsch as-is, my only real criticism is a bit of a ring / prominence in the upper-bass / lower-mid that seems to be coming from the bass-bin. I'm curious to establish if this is the crossover or the cab walls singing along. Swapping in the ALK Universals will probably tell me a lot here.

Anyway apologies for overly-long first post. My questions are really:

  • How good or bad is the AL-3 in the grand scheme of La Scala crossovers?
  • Can I use a Crites Type A or Type A/4500 with my ceramic K55Ms, and if so does it sound good?
  • What are the basic sonic traits of the AL-3 vs. Type A vs. ALK Universals?

I've searched the archive but found little in the way of folk actually describing the subjective characteristics of these crossover options, how they compare and in which contexts they are applicable.

Many thanks,

Tony.

Crossovers can be a matter of taste what you like someone else may not. General rule if you play your music loud go with a higher slope network if not the basic A is liked by many.

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I would recommend the 4500 crossover or crossover mod from Bob but that means getting a new tweeter to handle the crossover point. Or you could just replace tha caps and enjoy the way it is since they are 1990s not that old yet my K-horns are 1972 so yours are young an Horny....hehehe Ricik

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Thanks for the welcome and comments. The Bob Crites Type A/4500 crossover and tweeters really appeal as I've also got a pair of Heresys (very late Mk 1s with the plastic mid-horn) and I fitted one of Bob's E2 cap kits with great effect - it really improved them a lot (they are sounding really nice on the end of a fifty quid T-Amp upstairs). Obviously I could do that to the AL-3s, but they just seem so complex compared to the Type A, and they have all that tweeter protection stuff etc that I'll never need as I don't play loud enough to damage anything. I also like the idea of keeping the AL-3s stock so I've got them if I ever sell the speakers in the future whilst going for a simpler and more purist audiophile approach from scratch as an alternate - a pair of built Type As isn't actually that much more cash than a AL-3 rebuild kit! I'd pay the $90 not to have to do it myself to be honest!

The thing I don't yet understand is how different my La Scalas with their K55Ms and plastic mid horns are from say a mid-70s pair that would have shipped with Atlas drivers and Type As. In other words were the AL-3s developed because the Type As no longer worked in this context?

I get the impression from reading this place that the AL-3 is the best of the AL series of crossovers, but I also get the impression that it's still looked at as being inferior to a Type A, which obviously makes me interested in the latter. Is there anyone here running Bob's Type A or Type A/4500 with K55Ms and K401s? Anyone gone from AL-3s to Bob's Type As? If so what did you think?

Edited by Tony L

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Guest " "

buying the lascala's was the easy part....the hard part is the "upgrade" temptation vs "restoration" requirements. spend a nickel to restore vs spend a dime to upgrade. then , if you decide to upgrade...which is "gooder", the klipsch upgrade, third party upgrades, DIY upgrades. so many choices, so little time.

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In other words were the AL-3s developed because the Type As no longer worked in this context?

Type A late 60's thru early 70's.

TypeA_zpsc134fd38.jpg

Type AL-3 1989 thru 2001 to keep up with driver changes.

TypeAL-3_zpsc36e6b9a.gif

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Guest David H
Welcome. I can't comment on the ALK crossovers (too expensive for me),

The Universal crossover from ALK is $320, and worth every penny.

It is also now available in several different configurations all with adjustable taps via autoformer and fixed LPad.

400-4000, 400-5000 and 400-6000 my preference is the 400-6000 with my Fastrac.

This crossover is also available in a Cornscala-wall version 600-6000

ALK's also available 600-4000 ,600-5000

Now the ALK Universal covers all Klipsch heritage models from Heresy to the Mighty KHorns.

Dave

Edited by GotHover
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The AK/AL series of crossovers were designed to be used with the K-55-M mid-driver (Electrovoice). The Type A and Type AA were simpler filters designed by PWK to be used with the K-55-V (Atlas). The K-55-M has about 1.5dB of elevated output through most of its useable range. The difference on the surface seems minuscule, but when used with a Type A or Type AA, which are a little hot to begin with ... It can be a bit much. I normally knock 3dB off of the A and/or AA when they are used with the K-55-M -- but not always -- it depends on several factors (room size, listening distance from loudspeakers, average listening levels, music type/recording quality).

Many are using Bob's Type A and his A/4500 with the K-55-M without issue or complaint. Some have an issue but it's an easy fix.

It's difficult to describe the difference in sound between loudspeakers. Describing the difference in sound resulting from a crossover change is even more difficult. Sometimes it's just necessary to hear them.

Based on all of the information you provided, I think you should stay with the Type A. If you can solder and read a schematic, I can put together a kit for you with the parts required to build a pair of battery biased/charge coupled Type As. You can read about this method on the last four pages of my Crossover Roadshow thread in the 2-Channel section. You can also have yourself put on the list to try my entry level version of the Super AA.

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Welcome. I can't comment on the ALK crossovers (too expensive for me),

The Universal crossover from ALK is $320, and worth every penny.

I am sure it is. However, as I said it was out of MY price range at the time. And besides, I was happy with the results achieved with the A4500 which cost just over $200 for a pair.

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... It can be a bit much. I normally knock 3dB off of the A and/or AA when they are used with the K-55-M -- but not always -- it depends on several factors (room size, listening distance from loudspeakers, average listening levels, music type/recording quality).

How is this accomplished? Seriously, I almost burned my fingers this weekend they were so hot LOL.

If you want to put together a battery style DIY kit for the AA's (Cornscala version) I'd be happy to guinea pig it for you. I'd gladly pay all parts and supply you with all the questions you'd typically run into with this type of product :D You could then pre answer all the stupid questions in your instructions and avoid a lot of time consumption in the future.

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... It can be a bit much. I normally knock 3dB off of the A and/or AA when they are used with the K-55-M -- but not always -- it depends on several factors (room size, listening distance from loudspeakers, average listening levels, music type/recording quality).

How is this accomplished? Seriously, I almost burned my fingers this weekend they were so hot LOL.

If you want to put together a battery style DIY kit for the AA's (Cornscala version) I'd be happy to guinea pig it for you. I'd gladly pay all parts and supply you with all the questions you'd typically run into with this type of product :D You could then pre answer all the stupid questions in your instructions and avoid a lot of time consumption in the future.

Morning CE......LMFAO, great post and count me in for that "Kit" also.

Edited by minermark

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Thanks for the welcome and comments. The Bob Crites Type A/4500 crossover and tweeters really appeal as I've also got a pair of Heresys (very late Mk 1s with the plastic mid-horn) and I fitted one of Bob's E2 cap kits with great effect - it really improved them a lot (they are sounding really nice on the end of a fifty quid T-Amp upstairs). Obviously I could do that to the AL-3s, but they just seem so complex compared to the Type A, and they have all that tweeter protection stuff etc that I'll never need as I don't play loud enough to damage anything. I also like the idea of keeping the AL-3s stock so I've got them if I ever sell the speakers in the future whilst going for a simpler and more purist audiophile approach from scratch as an alternate - a pair of built Type As isn't actually that much more cash than a AL-3 rebuild kit! I'd pay the $90 not to have to do it myself to be honest!

The thing I don't yet understand is how different my La Scalas with their K55Ms and plastic mid horns are from say a mid-70s pair that would have shipped with Atlas drivers and Type As. In other words were the AL-3s developed because the Type As no longer worked in this context?

I get the impression from reading this place that the AL-3 is the best of the AL series of crossovers, but I also get the impression that it's still looked at as being inferior to a Type A, which obviously makes me interested in the latter. Is there anyone here running Bob's Type A or Type A/4500 with K55Ms and K401s? Anyone gone from AL-3s to Bob's Type As? If so what did you think?

Iv got a set of Bob's AL-3s installed in the scallas for about a month, replaced the originals, well worth the upgrade, heard the 'Real" difference after about a 20 hour off and on run time pumping high wattage. Whenever I mess with networks I don't even care to really listen to what they are doing until a good burn in time has passed, must be something I was taught by old school........

Edited by minermark

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Posted 8 minutes ago DeanG, on 17 Feb 2014 - 01:18 AM, said: ... It can be a bit much. I normally knock 3dB off of the A and/or AA when they are used with the K-55-M -- but not always -- it depends on several factors (room size, listening distance from loudspeakers, average listening levels, music type/recording quality). How is this accomplished? Seriously, I almost burned my fingers this weekend they were so hot LOL.

The next step down (3dB) with the T2A is to wire it Heresy E type. Input cap to autoformer changes to 3.25 uF.

TypeE_zpseed050d6.jpg

Have you considered an L-pad?

I have not considered an L pad. I just got them up and running this weekend.

Are you saying to put the squaker input to tap 2?

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I have Fastrac horns so the crossover point would be changed vs stock I'm assuming?

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