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ODS123

Review of Cornwall III

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I purchased these new on 10/30/17 and they are are fantastic!  My last three speakers these past 15 yrs have been PSB Stratus Minis, Vandersteen 3A Sigs, and Paradigm S8 v2’s.  Though I loved each, I enjoyed none of them as much as I do my Cornwall III’s.  I feel kinda stupid for not giving horns a chance before now.  I pretty much accepted, without hearing for myself, the claims that horns sound shouty and harsh.  This couldn’t be further from the truth as far as the Cornwalls go; there is nothing bright or forward about them.  

 

To summarize some pros, cons:

 

Pros

Transparency & dynamics:

They have Incredibly lifelike sound at ANY volume from a whisper to a hair raising holler.  And though they sound clean and undistorted at ear-bleed volumes, it’s how they sound at quiet levels that most surprises me.  More than any speaker I've owned, I feel like I'm "right there" w/ the performance.

 

Build quality.  

The fit and finish is beautiful; the wood veneer is flawless and the grill cloth has a super cool feel - like something from a Marshall guitar amplifier.  At first I thought the grills weren’t removable but they are - they’re held in place with 6 small, but powerful, earth magnets.

 

Efficiency:  

I guess this is pretty well  known.  Anyway, I first powered the Cornwalls with a 50w Arcam integrated amp that I borrowed while my McIntosh MA6600 (200w/ch) was being repaired.   At 50% volume the modest Arcam drove the speakers to shockingly loud levels without a hint of strain or distortion.  The sound was perfectly smooth, clear, and effortless.  To play this loud I assumed the little Arcam must have been pumping out nearly all of it’s 50 watts.  Yet, to my surprise when I got my Mac MA6600 back - which features wattage meters - I found this wall-shaking volume was barely 10 watts!!  Again, this is CRAZY loud - like loud enough to attract police and cause hearing damage.  So you don’t need an exotic, pricey amp to drive these - any high quality NAD, Rotel or other quality moderately-powered amp will suffice.  By the way, my usual listening volume, which most people would argue is still too loud, is barely 2 watts! 

 

Bass:
Very tight and effortless bass.  I thought the big 15” woofer would sound muddy compared to the (3) 6” woofers of the Paradigm’s, but not so.  ..The bass is well-defined and deep at ANY volume.

 

Cons:

Size:  

There’s no getting around the fact that they are massive, hard to move around, and very boxy looking.  Obviously, you’ll need a big room and a spouse/partner who is willing to put music ahead of aesthetics.  Personally, I very much dig their retro look.  Among family & friends it seems the millennials dig their bad-*** size and throw-back appearance, while the older crowd preferred the sleek, furniture-like appearance of the S8’s.

 

Imaging:  

While the Cornwalls do a solid job of placing the instruments within the stereo soundstage, I would not say this is a relative strength. Maybe it’s the way the horns disperse sound, or maybe it’s just that I haven’t spent enough time experimenting with placement.  Whatever the reason, I have had speakers that do this better.   Personally, I feel imaging is a bit over-rated anyway.  Yes, it’s cool hearing instruments floating in air, but it doesn’t really correlate with how much I “feel” and dig the music. I’ve heard speakers that image beautifully that I otherwise did not enjoy.

 

Cabinet bracing (is this really a Con?):

The first thing I do when I checking out speakers is knock on the cabinet to gauge how hollow the speaker sounds.   I always thought this helps predict whether the cabinet will resonate while playing music.  Well, the Cornwall III’s indeed sound a bit hollow when you rap on them, but they don’t resonate at ANY volume.  No matter what kind of music or test tones I played, I could not detect any blurring or buzzing from the cabinets.  So I guess this isn’t a con at all.  Perhaps Klipsch feels these that since these already weigh 100lb ea. why needlessly increase their weight.

 

Again, after years of owning many great loudspeakers, I have never enjoyed a pair as much as these.  If you have the room for them, you will love them!
 

bothcornwalls.JPG

cornwallleft.JPG

cornwallright.JPG

Edited by ODS123
typos;
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ODS123,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Thanks for the honest and informative review.  Retro is in especially with hipster millenials.

 

Though I have never heard Cornwall III's, I have heard CII's several times and was more than impressed every time.

 

You have an incredible setup in a beautiful room.  I think those "big old fashion ugly" speakers look awesome in your room.;)

 

Bill

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1 hour ago, ODS123 said:

Imaging:  

While the Cornwalls do a solid job of placing the instruments within the stereo soundstage, I would not say this is a relative strength. Maybe it’s the way the horns disperse sound, or maybe it’s just that I haven’t spent enough time experimenting with placement.  Whatever the reason, I have had speakers that do this better.

See:

 

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Thanks Chris.  ..Wow, there's a ton of info there - that will take some time to read through.  Put another way, I'm not saying the Cornwalls don't image well, its just that I've heard others do it better.  But I fully acknowledge this may well be a matter of placement and room acoustics.  ..Of all my speakers, I think the PSB Stratus Minis imaged best.  ..These were small two-way stand mounted speakers that didn't come close to the Cornwalls (or Vandersteen or Paradigms, for that matter) in any other way.

 

If imaging performance mattered more to me I'd pull out the stops w/ regards to room treatments, placement, etc.. to maximize their performance.  ..Perhaps I'll eventually get around to that.  But for now, the Cornwalls huge, open, dynamic yet utterly smooth sound is bowling me over to the extent that I'm not yet missing my past speakers at all.  

 

And to your point, Bill.  Yes, it's a kinda ugly I can love!  

 

Thank you both for your replies!  

Edited by ODS123
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I wish Klipsch would have used the larger K-601 horn from the Cornwall II on the III's instead of the tiny K-701 horn from the Heresy as that certainly must impact the width of the image.  The original Cornwall had batting on the inside of the cabinet which certainly prevented any internal resonances and standing waves but chose not to in the Cornwall II and I assume the III.

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Nice review and congrats on the new Klipsches! I've only ever heard the original Cornwall and thought they sounded great but their size was a real deal breaker for me. Congrats again and welcome to the forum!

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Welcome aboard and thanks for the nice write up. I have my CW II's hooked up to a McIntosh setup and they sound great. I don't know how you were able to handle 10 watts running through those speakers, 1 watt and change is more than enough to drive me out of the room. Enjoy your CW 3's

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Welcome ODS, and I agree with you, glad you are liking them.

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Thank you everyone!  ..Glad to be posting here at the Klipsh Forums.  Hey Mustang, ..Wow!! That is a beautiful built-in cabinet!  ..And my favorite part of your system?  ..All of the SoftWare!  Very nice!  One question, though.  What is that dangling from the ceiling :) ?

Edited by ODS123
add'l thought
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On 11/15/2017 at 7:54 AM, Frzninvt said:

I wish Klipsch would have used the larger K-601 horn from the Cornwall II on the III's instead of the tiny K-701 horn from the Heresy as that certainly must impact the width of the image.  The original Cornwall had batting on the inside of the cabinet which certainly prevented any internal resonances and standing waves but chose not to in the Cornwall II and I assume the III.

 

 

I'm not remotely conversant about what horns earlier versions of the Cornwall had, or how the III might sound if different horns were used.  All I can say is that the Cornwall III sounds absolutely fantastic.  ..So it seems to me that Klipsch made good decisions regarding its design.

 

As for the batting, I think you're incorrect about this.  In this pic of  Cornwall iii's being built you can see foam sections being glued against interior walls of the enclosure.  ..In any case, I am not able to detect ANY resonances from any music or test tones.

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 8.37.34 AM.png

Edited by ODS123
typos; added pic
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