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Kilroy

Enclosure suggestions-Complete set of Belle Drivers/xover

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First post

New guy from the DiyAudio forums.

I find myself with a full set of drivers (K-77, k-55M, and K-33-e) and crossovers out of a pair of Belles and am looking for enclosure advice.

I asked this question on DIYAudio and they suggested I try here.  So I've spent the last several day searching and reading older posts about the K-33E and what enclosures it's best suited for.  I'm leaning toward University Dean, but in reading those threads, reviews seem mixed.  There's a lot to say for the original Belle enclosure from a WAF standpoint with the exception of the height of the top-hats... But I grew up with Belles and the sound never really impressed me.  I have a nice JBL studio sub I can throw into the system now though.  I'm not as Bass needy as I used to be either.  I listen at low volumes most of the time anyway.

As a reference, my dad built some simple open back cabs for the drivers and I spent a day listening to them in those cabs and ended up removing the sub because I didn't feel I needed it.

So I apologize in advance if this is has been done before, but I wasn't sure how the site felt about bumping old threads and I was getting a little lost with all the information in the various threads.  So what would you build if you found yourself with Belle drivers and no Belle Cabs?

Thanks,

Phil

 

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Well, if you asked me, is say build a pair of Belle cabinets like me. ;)

 

 

Which crossovers do you have? I'd say you could build a pair of Cornwall cabinets and call it good. Or, maybe sell the K500 horns and find the K600 horns that go in the Cornwalls, though. All of the other drivers will work in most any of the Heritage except Heresys which need a 12" and different mid horn. 

 

Or just sell the drivers to people that can use them for other speakers. 

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The "Dean" was the "cornerless corner-horn" version of the Classic and should work nice in a corner - I think its 1/4 wave path is shorter than the S8 Classic (?) - of course, that would be extended somewhat by the room's walls.  K33E sim-ed nice enough in the Classic.

 

https://community.klipsch.com/uploads/monthly_10_2013/post-2405-13819279213074.jpg
https://community.klipsch.com/uploads/monthly_10_2013/post-13458-13819271729336.jpg

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5 hours ago, avguytx said:

Well, if you asked me, is say build a pair of Belle cabinets like me. ;)

 

 

Which crossovers do you have? I'd say you could build a pair of Cornwall cabinets and call it good. Or, maybe sell the K500 horns and find the K600 horns that go in the Cornwalls, though. All of the other drivers will work in most any of the Heritage except Heresys which need a 12" and different mid horn. 

 

Or just sell the drivers to people that can use them for other speakers. 

Yes, I read through your build thread.  Are you going to do the ported mod?  Do you know if anyone has ported a bell into the top hat with the hat sealed for just increased woofer chamber volume?  I read about that in one of the laScala threads, but I didn't see any results or listening impressions.

Very nice build by the way.

My main concern about recreating the Belles is that I'm afraid my wife might not like the style...   Was trying to brainstorm ways of changing the style a bit without changing the sound.

 

My dad's were oiled Oak with cane grill cloth...  I really liked that look as a kid.  But I like the veneer you're doing also.

 

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here's my sim of a vented Belle in 1 Pi vs the Classic , each with K33E.

"Zobsky" built a vented Belle and has opinions of its sound.

9xSofbM.jpg

 

fwiw, hornresp doesn't show a lot of difference between Zobsky's Kappa15C and K33E  (see the bottom 4 panels)

LswenFw.jpg

 

 

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Yes, I read through the Zobsky build...  He didn't seem overly impressed with the mod.  But it didn't sound like he was done tweaking either.

 

I have 1 usable corner in this room, so I was hoping the 'Cornerless' part of the Dean was legit.  If not, maybe the Belles are the best overall bet.  In reading through the threads, there seems to be mixed opinions with the Deans...  Especially with the k-33e.

That said...  It's audio...  There's always mixed opinions.

I'm just not hearing a clear consensus.

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21 hours ago, Kilroy said:

Yes, I read through the Zobsky build...  He didn't seem overly impressed with the mod.  But it didn't sound like he was done tweaking either.

 

I have 1 usable corner in this room, so I was hoping the 'Cornerless' part of the Dean was legit.  If not, maybe the Belles are the best overall bet.  In reading through the threads, there seems to be mixed opinions with the Deans...  Especially with the k-33e.

That said...  It's audio...  There's always mixed opinions.

I'm just not hearing a clear consensus.

For your build, have considered a cornscala type build. Should be fairly easy to do considering what you have.

 

 

I haven't had time off late to complete my build - which strictly can't be called a belle (though teh bass module is identical to one).  I did try my old table tuba  horn sub with the belles - and that fixed what was missing.

 

Considering I tried the ported mod with both eminence kappa 15c and crites cast woofers (and all manners of EQ via my miniDSP), and came away less than totally satisfied (though both were an improvement  over the stock unported), In hindsight, I'd personally not deal with porting again - the benefits of adding a subwoofer are significantly more. I know DJK thinks I'm not using the right woofers for the job so take that as you will . 

 

Something else I mean to try are reducing the rear chamber volume by about 1/3 . The sims show an increase in bass before the response falls off the cliff i.e. reactance annulling.

 

Also, I'd ideally  like to cross over somewhat lower than the 550 Hz I currently use with my faital pro CD . I while ago, I started designing a unity style 2-way that would fit within my top hat (which is a bit taller than a conventional belle) - so hopefully, that should allow me to cross over around 400 Hz or so.

 

One of these days, these plans will come to fruition. Earlier this year some of us got together to invest in a shaper origin handheld CNC so maybe that will speed things up, as I don't have as much free time as I did a few years back.

 

 

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3 hours ago, zobsky said:

For your build, have considered a cornscala type build. Should be fairly easy to do considering what you have.

 

 

I haven't had time off late to complete my build - which strictly can't be called a belle (though teh bass module is identical to one).  I did try my old table tuba  horn sub with the belles - and that fixed what was missing.

 

Considering I tried the ported mod with both eminence kappa 15c and crites cast woofers (and all manners of EQ via my miniDSP), and came away less than totally satisfied (though both were an improvement  over the stock unported), In hindsight, I'd personally not deal with porting again - the benefits of adding a subwoofer are significantly more. I know DJK thinks I'm not using the right woofers for the job so take that as you will . 

 

Something else I mean to try are reducing the rear chamber volume by about 1/3 . The sims show an increase in bass before the response falls off the cliff i.e. reactance annulling.

 

Also, I'd ideally  like to cross over somewhat lower than the 550 Hz I currently use with my faital pro CD . I while ago, I started designing a unity style 2-way that would fit within my top hat (which is a bit taller than a conventional belle) - so hopefully, that should allow me to cross over around 400 Hz or so.

 

One of these days, these plans will come to fruition. Earlier this year some of us got together to invest in a shaper origin handheld CNC so maybe that will speed things up, as I don't have as much free time as I did a few years back.

 

 

Thanks for replying, Zobsky...  I have thought about the Cornscala.  Maybe it seems a little too easy if that makes any sense?

I may default to it in the end. 

Thank you for sharing your porting impressions as well.

I have a nice JBL active sub...  I don't have a lot of room for a big bass horn sub in this room but I could run the JBL, and hide it.

I also have a Nakamichi PA-5 and 2 Pass f-5 amps I can run if needed, so I was thinking about maybe building a stock belle and either bi or tri-amping it to see if messing around with the active crossover helps out more.

I'm still 'bench racing' at this point...   But I'm looking to get something underway around the new year hopefully, so I appreciate the real world impressions.

Still intrigued by the Dean as well.

 

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- wonder if a tapped pipe sub to keep bulk down would be satisfactory to add a couple of octaves to a midbass such as Belle?  At least the footprint on a tall pipe could be relatively small.

 

back in the day, Exemplar, when looking for a "fast" subwoofer to augment their horn/reflex system, took the trusty K15 Karlson, loaded it with an Altec 515 (I used 416), tuned it low with two 3"ID right angle pvc elbows on a piece of plywood to feed the original vent, and gave it some EQ at tuning (~30Hz).  That sounds very good - I don't understand "why" as don't think the LF output would be more sensitive than a 6th order assisted bass reflex the same size as K15's back chamber.   I ran my K15/416 briefly with a 25wpc J.C. Penny junk receiver and in my modest 14 x 23 ft room, had wonderful mono theater organ sound with good CDs of that genre.   K15 takes up a fair amount of space with 22.5" width and 18" depth.    I wonder how its dynamic output would compare with LS?  ;^)

GDJegwz.jpg

 

 

tradeoffs in this kluge sim with K33E spec between the Belle and a "K" the same size based on the Acoustic Control 115bk in 1.2 scale.  A JWC "Mini-Punch" with 2-Kappa12a in parallel should be a nice option for a completely new build.

FCQ9OHf.jpg

 

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I know a lot of people like DR systems, but horn loaded bass simply kills them in sensitivity, lower distortion, etc. Could I live with direct radiators if I had to? Sure,  but the difference to me isn't subtle.

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9 hours ago, Kilroy said:

Thanks for replying, Zobsky...  I have thought about the Cornscala.  Maybe it seems a little too easy if that makes any sense?

I may default to it in the end. 

Thank you for sharing your porting impressions as well.

I have a nice JBL active sub...  I don't have a lot of room for a big bass horn sub in this room but I could run the JBL, and hide it.

I also have a Nakamichi PA-5 and 2 Pass f-5 amps I can run if needed, so I was thinking about maybe building a stock belle and either bi or tri-amping it to see if messing around with the active crossover helps out more.

I'm still 'bench racing' at this point...   But I'm looking to get something underway around the new year hopefully, so I appreciate the real world impressions.

Still intrigued by the Dean as well.

 

For what it's worth the bass section of a belle is similar to a lascala in many (though not all) ways - just a different form factor apart from the part of the lascala that has no expansion.

 

OTOH, the mid horn of a belle is shorter than a lascala (in order to fit in the shallower cabinet). If I remember correctly, it had to be crossed over higher than a lascala mid horn . Is this what your issue was when listening to  belles, previously ?

 

In any case, these short horns benefit greatly from mating with a real sub horn, perhaps more than one might assume initially.

 

 I currently have two horn type subs - a BFM table tuba and a "pico -wrecker" tapped horn. I think the picowrecker (or rather a pair of them)  - (deeper response but less efficient) is going to stay in the home theater room and the table tuba (more efficient)  is going to move downstairs with the belles (until I decide to build something else).

 

If you don't have a lot of space, .. consider one of the smaller horn subs - maybe a T18  (18" cube) - that sub is very musical, punchy  and tight sounding if you have a good corner and can live with 40 Hz response. It was my favorite till a friend dropped it when borrowing it and cracked open a seam.

 

 

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hey zobsky - do you have a hornresp model for T18? - just wondering if it were made a couple of inches wider, if there might be a 10" to work (?)  40Hz cutoff is fine with me for a lot of stuff and I've zero room for much more than a set of headphones anymore after decades of collecting.   I think one sub covering 40-80, two K12 with pym1298 (same as Kappa12A) or my Kappa12a, K-tube on top, a few hundred watts per channel for the little K (I've got up to a kilowatt/channel) would make a punchy little system.  I like K12 with a single vent better than my FH1 but then have not tried using a horn on top of K12 to make it  more Klipsch-py.  My K12 on Rudy Rosa has more "grab" than my K-horn - do you believe me ?  ;^) - I'm guessing its partly a matter of balance (less mids compared to 100-200Hz octave) - still impressive from such a little box.

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1 hour ago, zobsky said:

For what it's worth the bass section of a belle is similar to a lascala in many (though not all) ways - just a different form factor apart from the part of the lascala that has no expansion.

 

OTOH, the mid horn of a belle is shorter than a lascala (in order to fit in the shallower cabinet). If I remember correctly, it had to be crossed over higher than a lascala mid horn . Is this what your issue was when listening to  belles, previously ?

 

In any case, these short horns benefit greatly from mating with a real sub horn, perhaps more than one might assume initially.

 

 I currently have two horn type subs - a BFM table tuba and a "pico -wrecker" tapped horn. I think the picowrecker (or rather a pair of them)  - (deeper response but less efficient) is going to stay in the home theater room and the table tuba (more efficient)  is going to move downstairs with the belles (until I decide to build something else).

 

If you don't have a lot of space, .. consider one of the smaller horn subs - maybe a T18  (18" cube) - that sub is very musical, punchy  and tight sounding if you have a good corner and can live with 40 Hz response. It was my favorite till a friend dropped it when borrowing it and cracked open a seam.

 

 

 

Honestly, I'm not sure what the issue was with the Belles...  Basically they sounded clear and precise but sort of lifeless.   They didn't disappear at all and you could listen to the sound just fine but you weren't immersed in it.

 

That said, my dad put them in these open back enclosures...

7dd5bacb-97ac-4ea2-a86a-7bd1a907006d.jpg

f5b216cd-f350-4a77-b8ac-909b564d5cd0.jpg

 

And at first when I started listening to them, they sounded about like you'd expect...  Pretty bad...  But I had them on a surround receiver and they kind of came alive when I started messing with the EQ settings.  So I think I can see the potential...

The bass in this setup was more than plenty BTW.   It got me thinking about getting them in something appropriate and seeing where I can get with some tuning.

 

I actually could hide a t18 behind a couch pretty easy in this room.

Edited by Kilroy

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On 11/28/2017 at 3:43 PM, Kilroy said:

But I grew up with Belles and the sound never really impressed me...I listen at low volumes most of the time anyway...So what would you build if you found yourself with Belle drivers and no Belle Cabs?

Thanks,

Phil

I had the privilege of using a Belle center, first with a passive (AA) crossover, tri-amped with a DSP crossover, 2-way using a K-510 horn and K-69-A 2" compression driver, then finally adding a Beyma CP25 tweeter to handle the extreme highest octave (crossed at 8 kHz).  Each configuration using the DSP crossover had its own improvement in sound quality:

 

1) The stock Belle with passive AA crossover sounded thin, boomy (peaky response in the 100-200 Hz band), lacking extreme low bass, missing sparkle and cleanness of cymbal transients, and the timbre was veiled and not at all neutral--more like a table radio sound.  Honestly, there was little that I found admirable about the sound that I heard.

 

2) Converting the crossover to a ElectroVoice Dx38--using three of four output channels--I found that the sound suddenly changed to a Jubilee-like neutral timbre.  This was dramatic.  I was able to EQ the high frequency and low frequency ends of the spectrum to even out the response, resulting in a very listenable and dynamic sound.  The timbre was finally neutral and non-fatiguing.  Deep bass was missing, and the apparent source width (ASW) of the sound stage wasn't nearly as wide or tall as the Jubs, but it was able to integrate between the Jubs as a center speaker.  In this configuration, it still required the listening position (LP) to be pretty close to centerline, but at that position it was generally not obvious that there was a Belle between the Jubs, i.e., approximate timbre matching was finally achieved with the Jubs.

 

3) Swapping out the K-500/K-55 midrange horn/driver and K-77 tweeters for a K-510 horn and K-69-A 2" compression driver resting on top of the Belle bass bin increased the ASW and further improved the timbre match.  Now the width of the center image without being able to tell that there was a separate center loudspeaker was 3-4 feet wide.  However, the cymbal transients were a bit harsh and unnatural sounding.  This "JuBelle" configuration would be even better with a better 2" driver that didn't announce the presence of 13.5 kHz diaphragm chattering.  Deep bass is still missing.

 

4) I added a Beyma CP25 "baby cheek" tweeter on top of the K-510/K-69-A horn, and crossed over at 8 kHz.  Now the HF chattering was gone, the timbre match with the Jubs further improved, and the width of the center channel image at the LP was enhanced slightly.  This was an extremely good sounding loudspeaker, but the presentation was not as wide as the Jubilees on each side, thus requiring the listeners to stay pretty much at the LPs in the center of the room.  Deep bass is still missing.

 

5) Then I upgraded to the K-402-MEH.  All the problems with ASW disappeared.  You can walk from side wall to opposite side wall across the width of the room and the sound is a solid image wherever you are in-room--with no localization of sound apparent to any of the loudspeakers.  Speech intelligibility and clarity also improved significantly.  Deep bass meets or exceeds that of the Jubilees on either side.

 

It sounds to me that the problem that you're currently focused on is the bass bin.  You've got a lot more to improve than just the sound of the bass.  If it were me, I'd find or make Belle or La Scala bass bins (since you said that you already have good subs already), then proceed in one of the configurations that I mentioned above to dramatically improve the sound.  I don't recommend passive crossovers unless you physically time align the midrange and tweeter with each other and then that unit with the bass bin. 

 

I really recommend flattening the frequency response of the midbass and treble using a DSP crossover of good quality (i.e., NOT Behringer, low-end dbx Driverack  or miniDSP 2x4, etc.), and a calibrated microphone using REW.  Then you'll have something that you'll enjoy hearing every time you turn it on to play good music.

 

Chris

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1 hour ago, Chris A said:

I had the privilege of using a Belle center, first with a passive (AA) crossover, tri-amped with a DSP crossover, 2-way using a K-510 horn and K-69-A 2" compression driver, then finally adding a Beyma CP25 tweeter to handle the extreme highest octave (crossed at 8 kHz).  Each configuration using the DSP crossover had its own improvement in sound quality:

 

1) The stock Belle with passive AA crossover sounded thin, boomy (peaky response in the 100-200 Hz band), lacking extreme low bass, missing sparkle and cleanness of cymbal transients, and the timbre was veiled and not at all neutral--more like a table radio sound.  Honestly, there was little that I found admirable about the sound that I heard.

 

2) Converting the crossover to a ElectroVoice Dx38--using three of four output channels--I found that the sound suddenly changed to a Jubilee-like neutral timbre.  This was dramatic.  I was able to EQ the high frequency and low frequency ends of the spectrum to even out the response, resulting in a very listenable and dynamic sound.  The timbre was finally neutral and non-fatiguing.  Deep bass was missing, and the apparent source width (ASW) of the sound stage wasn't nearly as wide or tall as the Jubs, but it was able to integrate between the Jubs as a center speaker.  In this configuration, it still required the listening position (LP) to be pretty close to centerline, but at that position it was generally not obvious that there was a Belle between the Jubs, i.e., approximate timbre matching was finally achieved with the Jubs.

 

3) Swapping out the K-500/K-55 midrange horn/driver and K-77 tweeters for a K-510 horn and K-69-A 2" compression driver resting on top of the Belle bass bin increased the ASW and further improved the timbre match.  Now the width of the center image without being able to tell that there was a separate center loudspeaker was 3-4 feet wide.  However, the cymbal transients were a bit harsh and unnatural sounding.  This "JuBelle" configuration would be even better with a better 2" driver that didn't announce the presence of 13.5 kHz diaphragm chattering.  Deep bass is still missing.

 

4) I added a Beyma CP25 "baby cheek" tweeter on top of the K-510/K-69-A horn, and crossed over at 8 kHz.  Now the HF chattering was gone, the timbre match with the Jubs further improved, and the width of the center channel image at the LP was enhanced slightly.  This was an extremely good sounding loudspeaker, but the presentation was not as wide as the Jubilees on each side, thus requiring the listeners to stay pretty much at the LPs in the center of the room.  Deep bass is still missing.

 

5) Then I upgraded to the K-402-MEH.  All the problems with ASW disappeared.  You can walk from side wall to opposite side wall across the width of the room and the sound is a solid image wherever you are in-room--with no localization of sound apparent to any of the loudspeakers.  Speech intelligibility and clarity also improved significantly.  Deep bass meets or exceeds that of the Jubilees on either side.

 

It sounds to me that the problem that you're currently focused on is the bass bin.  You've got a lot more to improve than just the sound of the bass.  If it were me, I'd find or make Belle or La Scala bass bins (since you said that you already have good subs already), then proceed in one of the configurations that I mentioned above to dramatically improve the sound.  I don't recommend passive crossovers unless you physically time align the midrange and tweeter with each other and then that unit with the bass bin. 

 

I really recommend flattening the frequency response of the midbass and treble using a DSP crossover of good quality (i.e., NOT Behringer, low-end dbx Driverack  or miniDSP 2x4, etc.), and a calibrated microphone using REW.  Then you'll have something that you'll enjoy hearing every time you turn it on to play good music.

 

Chris

Interesting thoughts Chris...  I will definitely read through your K-402 thread...  The first few pages were intriguing.

 

I've kind of been thinking the same way about the tuning.  Yes, the bass bin is the first priority because I can just set the horns on top for a while as I figure it out.  But I understand that there's a lot more to tune.  Just playing with the dsp settings on the shop receiver changed the mid and high character so dramatically it told me there might be a lot to be had going active, if not tri, and least Bi-amped... 

But if the K-33e in the belle bass cab isn't ideal, I have the flexibility now to go a different rout.

My Sub isn't probably an ideal match to the Belles but it's probably good enough to get them right before building a more ideal Sub.

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K33E might be about as ideal as anything else provided the driver(s) above "sounds good" can reach comfortably to 400Hz.  You could go lower qes but that generally means less excursion ability.   26 years ago I used simple tractrix/LE5 horns on top of K-horn, with 2220H woofer - the low Q and low excursion was perhaps a bit snappier, but gave up power below useful horn action vs K33E's 7.9mm stroke. It would have been good if Dr. Edgar had mentioned reducing K-horn's back chamber volume for 2220H. 

 

I would think Great Plains woofers to have potential to sound a tiny bit nicer in Corn/wall/scala direct radiator applications - excel in VOT - not sure about folded horn (? - they model well in the Classic) - that's just a guess based on my limited experience with vintage Altec and K33E.

 

Lower Q drivers can often take advantage of reducing the back chamber volume with blocks of rigid foam insulation, flattening in-band response and lessening excursion below cutoff.

 

I can imagine you having adequate bass in that open back box as have enjoyed a 15cx with qts ~0.38 on a small open baffle (sitting on the floor)

 

Another thing, the Altec/GP IIRC have 16" frames and won't fit stock La Scala - will that fit the Belle ?

 

ivxnQAm.jpg

 

Here's an example of the 3mm Xmax 515 in a stock Classic vs reducing back chamber size by 50% or more.  That stock chamber excursion is pretty much like the JBL 2220H in my K-horns many years back.

 

You can see excursion below cutoff with the stock Classic back chamber vs one about half its volume allows the woofer to travel twice as far on the low end while doing no useful work.

 

cZOVp10.jpg

 

other than being somewhat like a cowbell, an Altec 511 makes a pretty good midrange horn for 1 inch phenolic drivers.

 

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