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Khorn Upgrade Thread

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I am planning to upgrade my unmolested 1978 Khorns in the next week or so.  I want to document the changes in a thread along with listening impressions. 

 

I'd like to use this thread for some suggestions from you Klipschites, then start a new thread for the actual changes.  I have some questions, then I'd like to listen to your ideas.  Comment on or critique anything you want.

 

Khorn side view s-l1600.jpg

 

I took out all the other speakers in the living room weeks ago to get used to the the Khorn sound in Stereo mode.  My other choice would be Pure Audio, meaning no audio processing by the Onk AVR. 

 

Onkyo TX-NR 717, bought in 2014.  The 717 has basic Audyssey, 3 listening positions.  It will set distances and trim level relative to reference, which usually means -12 db.  I have disabled Audyssey and set both L/R to 0 trim.  I could re-run Audyssey to get some baseline info. 

 

The Upgrade:  I will be getting some Crites A/4500 crossovers and I will pull the Type AA.  This means I can't use the stock K-77's.  I will using some SEOS 12" horns and Denovo DNA-360 compression drivers I already had from another project. 

 

This will not be the same as a standard Crites A/4500 with the usual CT-120 or CT-125 tweeters.  I don't want to change two variables at one time but I don't think I have much choice.  Your opinions?

 

 

IMG_4778.JPG

 

I would like to put the new horn on the tophat, then move it front to back to experiment with some time alignment. 

 

IMG_4776.JPG

 

And finally I was wanting to try putting some damping materials on the tophat to see if I could hear difference in reflection by using carpet, towel, maybe some foam sheets. 

 

Other suggestions? 

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Are you listening to them currently using the new "tweeter" along with the existing AA?

May be a good idea to get used to this combo before switching the crossover so you will only be changing one variable at a time.

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I'd recommend a separate small tube amp of some sort and use the preamp out if it has it bypassing all those extras. Or even a separate preamp.  I was an Onkyo/Integra rep for 9 years and had a full 7.2 system in my living room (all inwall and in ceiling speakers with 2 Sunfire subs) and still kept a separate 2 channel rig.  But that's just me. 

 

Had Khorns, too, but they were in my office system with an EL84 tube amp. Living room 2 channel rig was big Carver amp and Polk SDA's.

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1 minute ago, MookieStl said:

Are you listening to them currently using the new "tweeter" along with the existing AA?

No, and that's an excellent suggestion.

 

At one time I had one new tweeter hooked up, but I restored it to stock after listening to it for a week or so. I didn't hear much of a difference.  I think I'll take care of that right away.

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I have literally changed everything in my K-horn except the woofer.  I have tried to replace the pieces with items that the majority thought were the most favorable at the time and cost effective. 

 

You really only need one thing to take a K-horn to the next level.

 

Leave everything stock and buy a set of wood mids like V-tracs from Greg. Not putting down the 400's or 401's, but its the biggest single improvement and you still retain the stock network and the stock drivers.  

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45 minutes ago, avguytx said:

I'd recommend a separate small tube amp of some sort

Good suggestion, that would be an excellent test bed.  Unfortunately I don't have a tube amp.

 

I wanted to use the Onk AVR anyway because it is what I would most commonly use, even though by all accounts tubes offer a superior Klipsch listening experience.

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29 minutes ago, Max2 said:

I have literally changed everything in my K-horn except the woofer.  I have tried to replace the pieces with items that the majority thought were the most favorable at the time and cost effective. 

 

You really only need one thing to take a K-horn to the next level.

 

Leave everything stock and buy a set of wood mids like V-tracs from Greg. Not putting down the 400's or 401's, but its the biggest single improvement and you still retain the stock network and the stock drivers.  

 

I would like to hear more about your experience with the Vtracs.

 

Did you replace the K-55 with the BMS or just do the horn? I have seriously been looking at this mod for a couple years now. I am going to have some garage space open here in the next few months and am thinking about fully re-veneering and maybe doing horns while I am at it. 

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How much are you talking, just ball park, for xrossovers, the woofers,  tweeters and whatever else you are contemplating?  Just roughly, not including going to tube preamp.

 

Travis

 

 

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22 minutes ago, holtrp said:

Did you replace the K-55 with the BMS or just do the horn? I have seriously been looking at this mod for a couple years now. I am going to have some garage space open here in the next few months and am thinking about fully re-veneering and maybe doing horns while I am at it. 

 

I see another upgrade thread in the works here.  B)

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My comments will probably make me sound like a bit of a wet blanket, but I would suggest changing very little.

 

First, I would keep the horns and drivers stock (assuming they are up to spec) and experiment with speaker / listening position placement, toe-in etc (even if you need to fabricate some false corner mock ups). Second, I would try some acoustic absorbers and bass traps (again, do some mock ups with Roxul insulation form Home Depot). 

These should provide  substantial improvements although some experimentation will be involved and this can be tedious. After that, and only after that, try some bi-amping with electronic crossovers. Now the serious experimentation, and homework, will begin. The beauty of DSP crossovers is that you can get the time-alignment and steep filters etc and play with those (you may want to buy or borrow a inexpensive measurement microphone for this). 

 

Please note this involves a commitment of time and effort, but the improvements are quite real. Also please note that no where in my recommendation are suggestions for fancy capacitors, fancy hardwood horns, fancy tube amplifiers, or fancy anything else. It is just plain and tedious experimentation and measurement (and not very sexy). 

 

Just my opinion and experience. Someone elses milage my vary ....

 

Good luck with it,

-Tom

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30 minutes ago, PrestonTom said:

After that, and only after that, try some bi-amping with electronic crossovers. Now the serious experimentation, and homework, will begin. The beauty of DSP crossovers is that you can get the time-alignment and steep filters etc and play with those (you may want to buy or borrow a inexpensive measurement microphone for this). 

 

Good luck with it,

-Tom

 

 

I can't believe it has been five years now; however, at the link below, there is a nice thread titled "I finally got around to triamping my K-horns" that was started by Greg Oshiro back on December 9, 2011. 

 

 

 

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On 1/6/2017 at 10:05 PM, dwilawyer said:

How much are you talking, just ball park, for xrossovers, the woofers,  tweeters and whatever else you are contemplating?  Just roughly, not including going to tube preamp. -Travis

I'm roughly at $408 out of pocket.  Some of the prices have gone up since I purchased these.

 

  • A/4500 Crossovers $180 pr used
  • Compression Drivers Denovo DNA-360 $160 pr new (similar to B&C 250, I think)
  • Denovo SEOS horn $68 pr new

 

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1 hour ago, holtrp said:

 

I would like to hear more about your experience with the Vtracs.

 

Did you replace the K-55 with the BMS or just do the horn? I have seriously been looking at this mod for a couple years now. I am going to have some garage space open here in the next few months and am thinking about fully re-veneering and maybe doing horns while I am at it. 

 

I ran the factory K55's with the V-tracs for a few months along with the K-77's and then went to the BMS mids and later to a Beyma tweeter.  Also tried 3 different networks.

 

 

If I could only have one mod with the K's, I would take the larger horns easily.   

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, PrestonTom said:

Just my opinion and experience. Someone elses milage my vary ....Good luck with it, -Tom

Thanks, Tom.

 

My crossovers are already 34 years old and I wanted to upDATE my caps.  At the same time if I could upGRADE for the same or a little more, I thought I might give that a try.

 

When an A/4500 XO became available I jumped on it, cost not a major factor.  I figured if I didn't like it, I could simply resell it and lose just a few bucks or break even.  If I liked it I could sell the Type AA XO's to defray the cost of the new XO so the upgrade would be $50 out of pocket.

 

I already had the compression drivers and SEOS horn from a previous project and it is MUCH more robust than the Klipsch K-77.

 

Mookie in St Louis just advised me to install the new horns for evaluation before the new XO got here.  I just finished doing that and did a 45 minute quick n' dirty evaluation.  I won't go into that here, except with a one-word review of the new tweeter/horns with that old, tired worn-out AA crossover; Wow.

 

I mean WOW!!!  :o

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What do I mean by "wow."

+++

Mookie suggested I plug in the new SEOS horns to reduce variables for when I swap out for the new A/4500.  I had swapped one side before and even though you can instantly hear more acoustical energy from the SEOS I didn't feel much difference from stock, although admittedly I didn't push it.

 

The unmolested Khorns sound has some characteristics I didn't care for.  I will talk about this in terms of music, specifically horns and drums/cymbals.

 

In all cases the Khorns sounded like there was too much reverb.  It was like listening to someone talking in a cave with the echo.  The lower mid-range was boomy and muddy, the upper mid-range sounded congested like the instruments were being played far away.  These are the specific problems I wanted to address.

 

Now I've swapped tweeters to the Mookie directed change and put the SEOS horns on top, and further back by at least a foot.  With both tweeters now changed, I could hear a dramatic change in the sound characteristics.  Much of the reverb was gone.  The sound cone was not as wide but was now taller, and much more articulate.

 

IMG_4791.JPG

 

I got out my favorite drum corps Blu-ray which I've heard a hundred times.  This time, I cranked it up, probably to near reference.  Wow.

 

I am still getting some muddy sound on the bottom, but the 16 tubas are now more pronounced.  The 24 trumpets which were somewhat dull now had incredible clarity which translates to excitement in listening.  I still felt like I was missing some 18 mellophone punch and 24 baritone/euphonioum punch, but accuracy was good.  Horn impacts were huge and as good as I've ever heard them.

 

Drums especially snares were punchy and live sounding, much more than before.  Rim shots would take your ears off.  Dynamics were great, cymbals were crisp and clear. 

+++

 

Making this single change along with moving placement of the tweeters back from the front edge was overall a huge surprise in listening as I had written the 34 year-old AA crossovers as dull and worn out. 

 

Apparently not.

 

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Is there anything to raising the tweeter vertically 6"- 10" so its not sitting directly on a reflective surface?

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That tweeter is 108db/w. The K-77 is 105dB/w. When you get your new networks, that thing is going to be screaming at you. You will need to attenuate, and you need to cover the top panels of the Klipschorns with something non-reflective. 

 

If you don't have good corners, where they aren't far enough apart to get an optimal listening angle, then I second Tom's recommendation for false corners (or finish the backs). 

 

I've never heard triamped Klipschorns, so I have no opinion on that - but will say that even modestly priced tube gear sounds infinitely better than HT receivers. 

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Well, it sounds like you have started down the path.

I would still consider the experiments on the listening and speaker geometry along with some room treatments. Do simple, quick and dirty mockups. Then if you like the improvements, go ahead and later on worry about the cosmetics in trying to hide the treatments.

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13 hours ago, wvu80 said:

I am planning to upgrade my unmolested 1978 Khorns in the next week or so.  I want to document the changes in a thread along with listening impressions. 

 

I'd like to use this thread for some suggestions from you Klipschites, then start a new thread for the actual changes.  I have some questions, then I'd like to listen to your ideas.  Comment on or critique anything you want.

 

Khorn side view s-l1600.jpg

 

I took out all the other speakers in the living room weeks ago to get used to the the Khorn sound in Stereo mode.  My other choice would be Pure Audio, meaning no audio processing by the Onk AVR.  Which mode do you suggest?

 

Onkyo TX-NR 717, bought in 2014.  The 717 has basic Audyssey, 3 listening positions.  It will set distances and trim level relative to reference, which usually means -12 db.  I have disabled Audyssey and set both L/R to 0 trim.  I could re-run Audyssey to get some baseline info.  What do you guys think?

 

The Upgrade:  I will be getting some A/4500 crossovers and I will pull the Type AA.  This means I can't use the stock K-77's.  I will using some SEOS 12" horns and DNA-360 compression drivers I already had from another project. 

 

This will not be the same as a standard Crites A/4500 with the usual CT-120 or CT-125 tweeters.  I don't want to change two variables at one time but I don't think I have much choice.  Your opinions?

 

 

IMG_4778.JPG

 

I would like to put the new horn on the tophat, then move it front to back to experiment with some time alignment.  Good idea or bad idea?

 

IMG_4776.JPG

 

And finally I was wanting to try putting some damping materials on the tophat to see if I could hear difference in reflection by using carpet, towel, maybe some foam sheets.  Is this too much to try now? 

 

Other suggestions? 

Take a look at alkeng.com for possible choices.

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