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DIY Klipsch Aristocrat Towers (corner horn)


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So I found one Aristocrat speaker about a year ago at a thrift store, paid 15.00 for it and hauled it home, and so it begins...¬†ūüôĄ¬† I guess the Aristocrat was one of several¬†designs¬†by Paul Klipsch in early 50's that EV used per license agreement (probably for using ev drivers)¬†I don't know the details but probably something like that.


I liked the design, and first decided to build it a twin, but somewhere along the line my plans changed for various reasons and then they became something else altogether.  At some point I'll actually make two more Aristocrat speakers to finish my original plans but that's down the road aways.


I had a need for a pair of speakers in living room that would replace my old RP-5's that were moved to basement theater room, so big, full sound was on the menu and I didn't want to add subs so basically 2 speakers that can do it all and without throwing a ton of money into it.  I had been buying up some used components over the last couple years for another project but ended up using them on this project.  So this is sort of a Heritage-style Reference tower that Klipsch doesn't make.


The bottom section is the Aristocrat design being used solely for the low end.  Instead of .5" thick like the original plans called for I doubled up using two layers of plywood, so it's 1" thick and very solid.  The top is the MF/HF section, which is connected but separate from the lower section.  It's 3/4" thick plywood.  All Klipsch components accept for the amps for the lower bins.  I'll note too that none of these speakers were pulled from good working cabinets.  I bought all components that were pulled from damaged boxes so no good speakers were sacrificed.


I still have some work to do.  The bottom sections I'm making grills to hide the screws for front baffle board and considering veneering them.  I stained these to get them done quicker.  Looks better in person, the flash shows all the problems with stain on plywood, in normal lighting with shadows it's not too bad.  And I've never veneered before so I didn't want to go that route just yet till I had a chance to learn.  In some places it doesn't show too well, but in other places it looks pretty good to me.


You'll probably note the top section is smaller than you would have in a RP280 tower but I have them crossed at 80hz on low end so there's not much need for bigger volume for the top sections since the bass is handled by the lower bins.  This allows the dual 8" drivers to deliver cleaner response in mid frequencies while increasing efficiency with lower power consumption by removing low frequency handling.  Power is bi amped.  Lower bass bins use the built in amp fed from receiver's pre-outs.  Top sections use receiver's 110 watts per channel.  Corner placement is best like the Khorn but they'll work near a wall too.



3-Way Aristocrat IV Concept Towers

Frequency Response 18Hz-25kHz
Max spl 120 plus db just a guess (idk, they cause pain to my ears at 80 percent volume so they're loud enough)
Power Handling MF/HF (cont/ Peak) 150/600
LF 250 Watt Dayton Built in Amp 40-180Hz adjustable
Nominal Impedance 8 Ohms Compatible
Crossover 1750Hz upper section crossovers from RP 280F towers
LF adjustable 40-180Hz low pass on amp
High Frequency Driver (from Klipsch RP 280F towers) 1‚ÄĚ Titanium LTS Tweeter with Hybrid Cross-Section Tractrix Horn¬†
Mid Frequency Drivers (from Klipsch R28F towers) Dual 8" (20.3cm), copper spun magnetically shielded IMG woofers
Klipsch 12" RW12D driver for lower bass bin.
Enclosure Material: Plywood 3/4‚ÄĚ upper section, 1‚ÄĚ lower section (dual .5‚ÄĚ sheets)
Enclosure Type: Upper section- sealed, dual 8‚ÄĚ mid bass with HF 1‚ÄĚ Horn¬†
Lower section Front firing/folded corner horn Aristocrat design with Klipsch RW12D
Inputs: Upper section dual binding posts for HF/MF
Lower amp inputs, direct wire or RCA (using LFE input and L/R pre outs from receiver)
Height 50.3‚ÄĚ
Width 20‚ÄĚ
Depth 17‚ÄĚ
Weight 120lbs
Finish: Golden Oak wood stain with lacquer









Edited by Tomtastic
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I like them.  Thanks for posting the photos.


Klipsch used to license designs to several companies, Electro-Voice and Brociner are two that readily come to mind. In the 70s, I met PWK at a 3 channel demo in Lansing, MI, hosted by the Stereo Shoppe.  After the presentation, Mr Klipsch was kind enough to answer questions from a then young enthusiast.


I asked why Klipsch no longer licensed its patents to other manufacturers. ¬†He replied that an inability to control the end quality, especially with E-V¬†kits, discouraged him from having his name associated with products Klipsch did not build. ¬†He then abruptly asked me if I knew what¬†a patrician is. ¬† Before¬†I could reply he said, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs someone who steps out of the shower to take a leak.‚ÄĚ ¬†His entourage rolled their eyes.





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The crossovers for the top section are from RP280's, I also have 80hz high pass on each 8" driver to cut the lower end out.


Yes, the Patrician's.  I've seen a few listed on eBay and they want xx,xxx for them.  They had an option for a 30" woofer.  I bet they didn't sound any better than a Khorn but I've never seen or heard in person so I couldn't say for sure.  EV also had a 15" version of the Aristocrat but that was an earlier design and now I can't remember what it was called but it was just sized up for a 15" driver.


I had trouble finding speakers that would fit in just the Aristocrat lower section using a 3-way setup.  The 12" driver has to be positioned above the center line of box so that makes it more difficult for fitting.  I've since found a mid horn and tweeter that will work so I'll probably make a pair of those sometime.  The Aristocrat that I found was a kit built probably from early 60's based on the University driver inside.  I'll likely just refurbish that box and put the speaker back inside.


But I have one big project before then to start after I finish rounding up a few more components.  I plan on building a set using the Aristocrat lower bins but larger for 15" K33's and I already have a set of K-400's and drivers on the shelf but I need everything else.  I could build La Scala's but the bass bins don't allow for much below 49hz, not building Khorn lower bins, I'd buy a used set at that point.  The Aristocrat design with larger cabinets and corner placement should improve bass response a lot over La Scala bins.  The top sections I will build like the Klipschorn which isn't difficult.  But I'm waiting till I have everything else before I begin.

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17 hours ago, Tomtastic said:

Frequency Response 18Hz-25kHz


As good as the Aristocrat is, I can't imagine it going down to 18 Hz, with any woofer.  I'd guess at 45 Hz, "usable" (JBL's term) to 40.


I had a friend who had Aristocrat cabinets with EV speakers.  They sounded good, with better, snappier bass than bass reflex, and far better than the Acoustic Research acoustic suspension speakers that were all the rage back then.   The ARs had a lot of bass, but muddy and not dynamic.  The Aristocrats had very clean, dynamic bass, but not as much.  The Allied catalogue of the time (1961???) advertised the Aristocrat as being a Klipsch design.  That may have been the first time my friend heard the name Klipsch.


We heard a Patrician at the Hi Fi fair.  I vaguely remember the Khorns sounding better ... but different (Hotel) rooms, so ...





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They do way better than 40hz, trust me.  Klipsch rates the RW12D driver at 24hz but I tested with 18hz standing wave and it's plenty noticeable.  The 12" RW12D was already a great speaker in the original subwoofer box but in the Aristocrat cabinets with 1" thick wood it's now even more efficient, thanks to the horn loaded rear port.  I have a pair of RP-5's that I replaced the stock 12" Synergy series speakers with the same RW12 drivers and what a difference that made, but they don't hit as low or as hard as these.


Now in stock form with a bass driver that would also handle the mid's up to 500hz or so where the mid squawker would take over, yes, they would fall off below 40hz probably get somewhere around 32hz at best but possibly might do better with modern drivers but would require more power and loose some efficiency.  I'm going to build a pair that way too some day to complete my original plan.

Edited by Tomtastic
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  • 2 months later...

Those things look really good, Tomtastic.


So, I'm a newbie to the Klipsch Community but have always had an interest in large folded horns. Had a pair of A7-500 Altecs way back when. Not really a folded horn and didn't go deep but had plenty of punch.


Anyway, I came up with a pair of Aristocrats with 12TRXB EV co-ax drivers in them. It will be a couple of months before I can actually take possession.


My plan is to use a pair of JBL 175DLH horn/lens/drivers and EV X8 crossovers. Or maybe a pair of Altec 811B horns. (If they will fit) Don't worry, no original Aristocrat speaker baffles will be harmed. If the TRXBs aren't sufficient, I'll see if I can locate a pair of JBL D-131 12 inchers. I've got a pair of LE14a JBLs but I'm not sure that they would work well in the Aristocrat. 


Time will tell.

Edited by Stevedel
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Welcome @Stevedel,


Thanks for resurrecting this thread.  Please post some photos of your Aristocrats and please keep us posted regarding your project.  I suggest you start a thread dedicated to your Aristocrats after you take possession. 


If you're still out there @Tomtastic, what's the latest on your project? 

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Not much, will be trimming out the front of the lower bins with 1" oak board.  It will basically be a frame to hide the screw holes and front edge.  But I haven't got those made up yet and installed, probably here when it warms up a bit. Garage isn't heated. I think the baffle board stain is good enough on the lower sections to be as-is, don't plan on using fabric on the Aristocrat lower sections like the original design just because using metal frame for 12" driver and the wood is stained and I have fabric on the top hat section so that would look odd with both covered.


Just today wife was listening to something on them, had them cranked up, I thought I liked it loud.  "Good grief!", I says. She's like "What? Hell yeah, sounds good." Well she grew up with Khorns so...


Original Aristocrats Stevedel?  Might be worth more if they had the original drivers in.  Fitting multiple drivers is tricky because of the rear port design, makes the 12" driver placed about the middle of the box which doesn't leave room for much above that.  2-way is doable but 3-way, might have to have the tweeter vertical, off to the side.  Which is why coaxial is the most common probably. The one I have is just a kit with a University coaxial, figured out it wasn't EV-built pretty quick.  I'll strip the cream paint off it, make a new cover.  Have to look at the controls which were moved to the back and see if they work.  All in all for 15.00 it's not bad but they only used 1/2" wood, for those drivers it's probably OK just seems really thin.


I sort of miss working on them.  Built them from Dec' '17-April '18, took awhile because of winter.  Going to build some fully horn-loaded speakers next.  Need to get those K-400's and drivers off the shelf and round up the rest of the bits.  Have no idea where I'll put them but why worry about little details like that.





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Don't worry, Tomtastic, I will not modify any original panels. A new speaker baffle shouldn't be difficult to manage. I can add a HF horn on top of the cabinet using a small sled, if using the Altec 811b, or a small baffle for the 175DLH. I will then search for a compatible 12 inch woofer such as the JBL D131.


I will keep the original speakers, Electrovoice 12TRXB drivers.


I'm still intrigued by a huge pair of folded corner horns.

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First pic had trouble with one back side, using a makeshift jib to hold it in place while it dries. Second pic, decided to start a second box instead of using the kit box I brought home.  Wanted to catch up the second box to where I was at on the first box then proceed. Aristocrat kit is on the left with University driver on top.



Edited by Tomtastic
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Road trip in the McLaren at some point in this stage.


lol, just kidding.  I did see it on a trip out of town and had to take this photo. Then I had to take my real car for a safety recall and I saw the GT so I had to get a photo of that too. Then it was back to work.aristocrat-7.thumb.jpg.cd63f9b55f76f051d9a086744ab5154d.jpg



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