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kink56

Belle Review

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19 minutes ago, Deang said:

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D8DE89CA-5AD0-4ABC-9CBA-FDC00B77EAB9.jpeg

That one cap looks like a beer can wrapped in cardboard! 

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22 minutes ago, Deang said:

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IMG_0024.JPG

 

I really like the LS with the black grill ever the HF section.  Super sharp looking. :emotion-21:

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12 hours ago, kink56 said:

That one cap looks like a beer can wrapped in cardboard! 

 

That there is dang funny... pretty expensive beer, too.

 

kink56, do you have any low power amps! As much as I always hate to use the term, there really is a 'synergy' between gear, and some things work and some do not.

 

Bruce

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15 minutes ago, kink56 said:

Well, to me live = unamplified, acoustic instruments, such as guitar, piano, violin, saxophone, marching band, choirs, vocal soloists, orchestras, jazz combos--NO amps/PAs or microphones involved.

I am with you, but maybe with a different perspective.  I was in orchestral and marching bands for years so my auditory "memory" of what instruments should sound like is from the perspective of being up close and personal, as opposed to sitting in the audience.

 

That's why when I listen to an orchestra recording I like the articulation of each instrument.  I like to hear the difference in timbre between Tmpt 1 and Tmpt2, I like to hear the ping and decay of the cymbal and the FEEL of the concert bass drum, something you don't get sitting in the audience, but something you do get with the instruments closely mic'd and played back with a good speaker system with sub.

 

14 minutes ago, kink56 said:

That one cap looks like a beer can wrapped in cardboard! 

 

I like the way the caps are stacked on top of one another, with the air core properly oriented and attached to the stacked caps.  I have done a few DIY crossovers, but I would NEVER have thought of that! 

 

D8DE89CA-5AD0-4ABC-9CBA-FDC00B77EAB9.jpeg

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That build is technically a hack job. It was a Type A with a Jupiter Copper Foil. I wanted to go back to the AA, and also wanted to try the MultiCap RTX polystyrenes. I didn't have room on the board to do it right, so came up with that monstrosity just to get it up and going.

 

Film and foils are huge compared to metallized caps. In fact, the 2uF MultiCaps are probably bigger than a 12uF Sonicap.

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On 3/20/2018 at 3:56 PM, jimjimbo said:

 

 

All "Heritage" Klipsch speakers are not the same, I think that's pretty obvious.  That term is tossed around loosely, but blanket statements such as the above are simply misleading..  Khorns, La Scala, Belle, Cornwall, Heresy are true "Heritage".    Want to "rock out" with Heritage?  Get a pair of La Scala or Khorns or maybe Cornwall.  Want more laid back sound, but able to crank too?  Get Belles.  Want great vocals and jazz, get good Heresy.  

 

I have heard all of these, in at least one of their versions.  Interestingly, the Belles always sounded a little milder and less harsh than the La Scala I.  At one point, a dealer, without prompting, told me, "He [PWK] toned them down."  In 5 dealer rooms, and in 2 rooms of mine, the Klipschorns always sounded great, and when paired with them, better and more balanced than La Scala I, Belle, and Heresy 1 & II.  The Khorns, La Scala, and Belle sounded more "open," "transparent,"  and dynamic.  When I listened long and hard in 5 dealers' rooms, the Khorns seemed more realistic than any other speaker (in 1982, no, I don't think speakers have gotten better since then, generally), so I bought them.  They have been given stock upgrades once since then (AK4 upgrade, approx. 2005, made them sound a bit better, perhaps).   The best of all was a pair of Khorns (no center channel) very widely separated -- perhaps by 50 feet -- and they wiped the floor with all other speakers present [including B & W 801F, at a much higher price, and requiring a much more powerful amplifier].  Since that time, I've used them for hours almost every day, and they "Rock Out" quite well with all kinds of music. 

 

Since rooms make such a difference, I should say that my current room is large (> 4000 cu.ft.) has absorbers and diffusors, a carpet, firm walls, high-ish ceiling (8.5 to 11.83 feet, sloped up toward the back), and the Khorns, at least in my set-up, are even better with Audyssey.

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When I originally auditioned Klipsch at Jerry's Audio in Tucson in 1979. I LOVED the K-Horns but then there is the placement/room issue.  I thought the LaScalas sounded harsh and rough.  I liked the Heresys, but no bass so I bought the Cornwalls. My then wife's brother-in-law got the Heresys.   I loved then UNTIL I learned about imaging and having to place speakers out away from all walls to get the best soundstage.   I went with Rogers Studio 1s and an ENTEC SW-1 subwoofer at Wilson's Audio.   I still have and ALWAYS use the ENTEC no matter what speakers I ever had/have, including the Forte Is which have decent bass. 

 

After the Klipsch purchase, I spent the next 10 years buying from Wilson's audio. I chose the Rogers over the B&W 801 or 802, just a bit more "pizazz".  I bought the Threshold S300II to have the power to drive just about any speaker I would ever want.  (and the Belles don't like the Threshold).    

 

I am, and have been using a tube preamp lately anyway.   It is a Chi-Fi ripoff of the Marantz 7. Xiang Sheng 728A  I quite like it. Very simple and featureless.  Anyway the Dynaco is pretty good. 

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Remember brotha, it's a "system". I think that at times we buy components based on specifications and reputation only to find that those same components do not mesh well with each other. I think you probably have a component mis-match that is not very synergistic and is contributing to the room issues in compromising the sound.

 

The formula for getting Heritage to sound wonderful is pretty well known, but that doesn't mean you can't do things your own way...I surely did as a early adopter of Class D/Heritage however you need to be prepared to have compromised sound.

 

You spent ALOT of money on a pair of Belles... if I had spent that much I'd surely try my best to get them to sound pleasing. Spending more money at this point might be necessary to get the sound you are looking for, but you've really pushed yourself into pretty lofty territory monetarily... there is a lot of really outstanding equipment for that same dollar figure.

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5 hours ago, Marvel said:

 

That there is dang funny... pretty expensive beer, too.

 

kink56, do you have any low power amps! As much as I always hate to use the term, there reall is a 'synergy' between gear, and some things work and some do not.

 

Bruce

It perhaps is strictly personal bias but if you can find someone to lend you an MC225, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how your Belles sound. Your pair are very attractive and in beautiful shape! A tube pre-amp as has been mentioned might also be worth testing ... As the line goes, the Belle was the new kid on the block being released in '71 I believe. By comparison the K-horn was mid '40s, Heresy '57, Cornwall '59 and La Scala '63. Though seemingly timeless in design, even the Belle are using components at their core were '40s. The compoenets these speakers were designed for were not the precise solid state/digital  products of today. As has been mentioned the speaker is part of a system so expecting even a 1971 product to integrate with "modern" equipment is asking a lot. kink56, again I applaud your continued efforts working to find a sound you will enjoy form these speakers. Keep in mind, all tis is coming from someone who's newest piece of equipment (besides the source and DAC were manufactured in 1978 and designed in 1957 and who's per-amps and amps were manufactured in the 1960s and designed in the 1950s ... ;-)

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10 hours ago, kink56 said:

P1030957.JPG

 

What does your floor look like?  Is it all wood without any kind of rugs or carpet?

 

It sure does seem like something may be wrong, beyond just bad matches of components.  Maybe the room has something to do with it, but even a bad room shouldn't sound as terrible as you describe, especially if all your other speakers aren't sounding bad.  I'm curious if there isn't something wrong with something inside.

 

I once owned the Threshold S300 II -- it's been about 20 years.  I think I used them with Cornwalls back then.  Nice amp but I eventually moved on to others I liked better.

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Curious to know, is there a way to buy new x-overs and horn diaphrams that are EXACT replicas of the original for that production run?  If it were me, I'd try restoring the speakers to their EXACT original condition, then call it a day.  ..If I didn't like their sound as they were intended to sound by PWK, then I would simply conclude they are not for me.  

 

It strikes me as strange how people at once elevate PWK to audio god status, then think they can greatly improve upon his design by endlessly switching out parts, etc..

 

Plus, if you want to maximize what you can sell them for,  your best plan is to restore them to like new original condition.  I watch a lot of gear sell on Audiogon and Ebay.  The gear that fetches the most money is the gear that is NOT modified. 

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I guess I really don't have much more to offer as to what to do to make these sound like what you want them to because I, nor anyone else here, has your ears, your room, and your perspective.  I do know that I would have never spend over $5k on a pair of speakers I'd never heard and bought solely based on just liking the veneer versus what the factory look is and lack of patience.  Then, to have to start changing this and doing that to somehow find  that epiphany of sound that reaches up slapping you saying "this is it...we have arrived".  The Belle's are what they are and in (mostly) stock form, are what PWK wanted them to be; good, bad, or indifferent.  

 

I built mine mainly because I loved the way they looked and wasn't going to (over) pay for something I'd have to turn around and throw money at until I found audio nirvana.  I built them out of Baltic Birch, veneered them, used all new drivers (new K-33, A-55g's, CT120's) and built a new set of Type AA's from scratch, but, I knew going into it what they were going to sound like coming out of it.  Sure they lack some low end....but that's because of the inherent design of the bass horn.  Mine have no real monetary value to anyone else and I doubt they'd bring a whole lot if I sold them....which I'm not. I could have spent about the same money I have in them and bought a new pair of Cornwall III's or Forte III's that I can buy at Employee Purchase price just because I know many dealers from the last 30 years.  But, I didn't and don't regret it.  But for what you have in those, you could have had 

 

Yes, trying to get your money back out of yours will be slim to none.  I hope it all works out in the end.  I have nothing really more to add than good luck in finding what you're looking for.  (as that U2 song now starts playing in my head).  Maybe it can be done.

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I am not of the "W.W. PWK. do?" crowd.    My wood floor is over a concrete slab, it is not a suspended design.    I can feel the resonances in the cabinets but when the offending resonance comes up on a recording, the vibration I feel in the cabinet becomes very pronounced to the other.  Of course everything has a resonance frequency/frequencies. 

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35 minutes ago, kink56 said:

I am not of the "W.W. PWK. do?" crowd.   

 

So why have faith in his cabinet design if you don't believe he (or his engineers) knew how to design a proper cross-over?

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7 minutes ago, ODS123 said:

 

So why have faith in his cabinet design if you don't believe he (or his engineers) knew how to design a proper cross-over?

 

Reading his above post tells me he has little faith with the cabinet design. As for networks, people discover many variables over fifty odd years. Plus the quality of the components are way ahead what was available then. Might it come down to he just doesn't care for the speaker as a whole? Ain't the end of the world for anyone --- 

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11 hours ago, wdecho said:

Same horns and drivers as the K-horn so why harsher? If so, X-over is the only answer. Only difference as far as drivers between K-horn and LaScala is the type of bass bin and x-overs. Belles do use a different mid horn but PWK claimed just as good a horn as the one in LaScala. Again, work on your X-over networks and attenuation. In my room with my Lascala's the mid horn needs more attenuation. You can play around with attenuation of the mids when you get your new ALK networks. I designed my own X-over without the autotransformer using a simple first order x-over crossing over at around 600hz and 4500hz using resistors for attenuation as Klipsch does now with all their speakers. I own multiple amplifiers I have built myself. Between the better Class A designs such as your Threshold the difference between them is subtle. It should sound excellent with the Belles using a quality tube pre. Unless there is something wrong with your drivers the problem is going to be the X-over networks not mating with your room. Stock X-overs are a one size fits all which never works for everyone.  

 

  • With less bass extension, there is less bass to balance the midrange (particularly) and the treble in the La Scala than in the K-horn.
  • The Belle and the La Scala midrange/treble are both closer to the floor than in the K-horn.  ALL might benefit from an area rug on the floor at the point where the mid/treble bounces off the floor and gets aimed toward the Main Listening Position.
  • I have had an AA network and a AK4 in the 2002 to now stock upgrade.  They sound very similar, even though the crossover points are different, and the slopes are very different.

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What I am saying is I am not one of those who accepts things just because PWK says so.   The proof of the pudding is in the eating.  That being said, the Dynaco makes these speakers MUCH better.  Less of a problem (but still there) is that annoying resonance.  But the "shouting" and "hooded" effect is nearing nil.    I am using different recordings as references.  For harshness and shouting, one of the recordings I am using is the harmonica on the John Wesley Harding CD.  For that one thing at the very least, the new A-55-G drivers trump the original K55-V drivers.  

 

Now, what good would a review be if it is merely mimicking what other say, or preaching to the choir?  I started out with stock (except caps) Belles with equipment I was VERY familiar with in the way of amps, CD players/DACs and recordings.    My comparisons were against a more than a few speakers I am very familiar with include two Klipsch models (Heresy and Forte).      I am not a "me too" kind of guy.  If  I were to post this review ONLY where Klipsch are not appreciate, what would be the point?   The reaction would be "what else is new?" 

 

Now, I am taking you along a journey many here have already taken.  But there are some who have not.   I have also come here for help and suggestions. And it is obvious I have taken some of those suggestions.   I am now very hopeful with reason. And I am thinking the ALK crossovers will be the tipping point in favor of these beautiful speakers. 

 

I am hoping this thread and it many gracious contributors will give back some of what I have taken.   I will comment as they come to me and certainly will update when I get the ALK crossovers in a month or so. 

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I haven't seen it posted at what levels you listen to your music. I am usually in the 75-90 db range, with 90db getting too loud for me. My La Scalas are driven by a pair of 2A3 monoblocks, putting out around 3.5 watts. The sound is killer! I'm glad the Dynaco helped. I have one in pieces at the moment (more than a moment... a few years...), but and changing our the driver board and had no time.

 

Have you measured the levels?

 

Bruce

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Amazing thread. 

Most people seem to believe that speaker should sound better than f.

What do you expect to hear, what are you hearing, the speaker should give you an insight into what it offers. Can you work with work within it's basic sound and prepare to enhance its sound. Or will you return to your first love. To get the best results put A away go see how F. Really sound, to truly give the new speaker a fair shot obviously your gear should have qualities you like.  Let it play days on end.listen. switching out gear and crossover parts won't really help with your assessment. You sound confused. No wonder your speaker sound the same. 

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