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Pilgrimage 2019 Chief Bonehead chats: LaScala/Jubes

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I actually got in a few short chats with Chief Bonehead while at the Pilgrimage because I had a few assumptions/questions he was more than happy to verify/answer.

 

The primary subject matter of my conversations centered around changes in builds of some of the heritage line, specifically the Jubilee bass bin, for my personal "data bank",  and of course the current La Scala build, and I will share this with you all, since there has been some conjecture going on since some of the changes went into effect.

 

Here is how I posed my LaScala question to Roy: "I kinda like the way the doghouse is built as a complete sealable unit on the new LaScala build, and I have a few theories on why this is done in this way now..."  Roy cocked his head and looked at me and said:  "go on"...So I did: "I think that you have killed two or three birds with one stone...first off, having a completed sealed doghouse unit does not even REQUIRE it being glued into the bass bin housing now, because using screws alone to secure it provides more than enough tension to keep it TIGHTLY in place...whereas the un-sealed doghouse assembly from before actually required gluing in place in order have the glue holding it in place seal the doghouse making it an "air-tight" assembly...".  Then I get that "Roy look" meaning he is thinking...."By George, I think he gets it!".....So I continue:  "But, in order to keep the doghouse outer dimensions the same as before, and since adding in the top and bottom panels TO the doghouse, which NOW take up part of the interior air-space required for the doghouse to work properly....you added in the foam to 'fool the doghouse' into thinking it still had the airspace it had actually lost!"  Roy's response was "EXACTLY!"  So I continued: "So, not only did you do all of that, but you cut down on assembly time, reduced adhesives required for the assembly of the bass bin, eliminated the squeeze-out clean-up and time involved in doing that, eliminated the visible glue lines on the upper and lower bass bin panels which would have been a "*****" to hide on fine veneers, and yet retained the function of the speakers, enhancing the appearance within the bass bin...I gotta hand it to you and all of the R&D team on this one!"  Then came the big "Roy grin"!

 

My other main chat with Roy centered on the Jubilee Bass Bin...and some ideas I have about it....and I will NOT go into details on it, because I promised not to do so, BUT I will say ONE THING that I squeezed out of Roy during the conversation, and I will mention that my best friend since high school, Mike, who worked with PWK and Roy and the rest of the R&D team during Jube development, had also hinted at this when talking about some "tricks" that PWK had mentioned to him during the development of the Jubilee..."tricks" that would NOT normally be able to be included in a profitable production-build of the Jubilee, but which will highly-likely enhance its performance! 

 

When I brought this up to Roy, he told me that if the Jubilee had actually gone into production for a home speaker unit as originally planned, it would have probably eventually been offered as two versions...an original very nice "standard home version", and that success would lead to a much more expensive ultra-deluxe version incorporating all of the "PWK tricks" Mike has mentioned to me!   PWK's passing ended that at the time, and it has never really been offered as a "home speaker" from "the company" as planned, much less as an "ultra-deluxe" version....as PWK had desired it to eventually be offered!  So, in keeping with what Roy previously said at the Pilgrimage 2018 about the process of convincing corporate to give a "thumbs-up" to FINALLY put the home version of the Jubilee into production, to include Roy's making no qualms about "how much more expensive it would likely be" than the current pro-version available...I actually believe that what will come out will be the "Ultra-deluxe" version of the Jubilee bass bin...just saying....WHY THE HELL NOT GO ALL-OUT TO BEGIN WITH????

 

This is just my own personal CONJECTURE...ONLY time will tell what REALLY happens!  I firmly believe that, PRIMARILY for marketing purposes, corporate entities saw more value in keeping the K-horn as the top of the line home speaker for the Klipsch line, simply because it is the ONLY top of the line speaker in the world that has been in continuous production since 1946...and that is the REAL reason that the Jubilee never went into regular production as a "home speaker".....this leaves a particular MAJOR battle to be fought with marketing...and it WILL NOT be easily won, IMHO!  But I had a special "love" for PWK, not only as an employee for over 7 years, but as a friend, one of my mentors, an excellent example of a leader who actually Cared About "his people"...the list goes on and on!  And HE DESERVES FOR THIS TO FINALLY HAPPEN, IMHO!  It has ALREADY been TWO DECADES waiting to happen!  If it had happened when it was SUPPOSED to happen, then marketing could today claim that the "new" top of the line has been in production for TWENTY YEARS...they can STILL do that!  For example, " The new top of the line has been in production for 20 years now, only available as a  Klipsch -Professional line version, BUT now it will be offered as a super deluxe home version....yadda yadda yadda"  Just how difficult would that be???  It will obviously NOT KNOCK THE K-HORN out of the line, because the K-horn will be much cheaper!  So, Klipsch Corporate...JUST DO IT FOR GAWD'S SAKE!!!  YOU OWE IT TO PWK!!  THE LAST FEW YEARS OF HIS LIFE, were DEVOTED to this project...and it was and is PWK's Greatest Success!!!

 

End of RANT!

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Best RANT of 2019!

 

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The two largest banes to best product are  marketing departments and book keepers. Marketing over promises and have no idea what the factory abilities are or decide a better product is "not right" for this time. The next one is the CPA mafia who runs rough shod over quality to save money and they are invariably not the ones who invented the product in question but they know how to reduce it's quality to squeeze ever penny until it hollers. They consume vast amounts of engineering time since the guys who design the stuff are now told how to do it with sub standard ingredients and still make it palatable to customers. Think MDF and all the problems that come with that medium VS plywood which PWK used to brag on as the superior building material which of course it is. 

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5 minutes ago, Dave A said:

The two largest banes to best product are  marketing departments and book keepers. Marketing over promises and have no idea what the factory abilities are or decide a better product is "not right" for this time. The next one is the CPA mafia who runs rough shod over quality to save money and they are invariably not the ones who invented the product in question but they know how to reduce it's quality to squeeze ever penny until it hollers. They consume vast amounts of engineering time since the guys who design the stuff are now told how to do it with sub standard ingredients and still make it palatable to customers. Think MDF and all the problems that come with that medium VS plywood which PWK used to brag on as the superior building material which of course it is. 

PWK foresaw the dangers of speakers getting wet...normally at the bottoms...from carpet cleaning and such...but it can be much worse than that.  With MDF, as a choice you get just one major GOOD POINT  total density consistency...no real consideration for fine veneers separating from substrate over the years (mostly due to out-gassing from the MDF!!)...and it turning to oatmeal mush consistency from getting wet!  Me??  I would go with finely-veneered top-grade void-free Baltic birch plywood...but I am not looking at gross profits per unit built!

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4 minutes ago, HDBRbuilder said:

I would go with finely-veneered top-grade void-free Baltic birch plywood

EXACTLY what I choose to use minus the veneer but then I am after quality and not a consumer fool you trick. I did a set of La Scala bass bins with 1" and it is a whole different world and it will take far more abuse in every way. Buying and selling speakers for five years now and I can tell you MDF fails in so many ways. I hate that junk.

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10 minutes ago, Dave A said:

EXACTLY what I choose to use minus the veneer but then I am after quality and not a consumer fool you trick. I did a set of La Scala bass bins with 1" and it is a whole different world and it will take far more abuse in every way. Buying and selling speakers for five years now and I can tell you MDF fails in so many ways. I hate that junk.

Me too!   I will build myself some base model LaScalas for my shop while I build my retirement home...then come the K-horns and Jubes for inside the house...and a pair of Cornwalls just because I already have all the guts for them!

 

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6 minutes ago, HDBRbuilder said:

Me too!   I will build myself some base model LaScalas for my shop while I build my retirement home...then come the K-horns and Jubes for inside the house...and a pair of Cornwalls just because I already have all the guts for them!

 

I had a set of real beater LSI's from the Oak Ridge Boys that could not be salvaged. I beat the wood off the dog house and made a new bin with 25mm side walls and also 1.5" deeper figuring to protect the point on that doghouse that seems to get beaten up so often. It is audibly superior in every way to the stock bin. I will never build anything without using the 25mm for at least the motorboard and back and bigger boxes will get it everywhere.

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22 minutes ago, Dave A said:

I had a set of real beater LSI's from the Oak Ridge Boys that could not be salvaged. I beat the wood off the dog house and made a new bin with 25mm side walls and also 1.5" deeper figuring to protect the point on that doghouse that seems to get beaten up so often. It is audibly superior in every way to the stock bin. I will never build anything without using the 25mm for at least the motorboard and back and bigger boxes will get it everywhere.

back and motorboard don't really need it on them...just the sides, AT MOST!...but you have to change the joinery for the build....to stiffen up the build itself! Take standard build design...change bass bin top panel to wide enough for dado into each side panel...with rabbet into rear bass bin panel rabbet at its top.  Rabbet both side panels at rear to join to bass bin rear panel side rabbets....and the HF section top rear horizontal reinforcing piece.  Rabbet sides at bottom to overlap bass bin bottom pane side rabbets.  Rabbet bass bin bottom panel at rear to fit the bass bin rear panel rabbet at its bottom.  Rabbet HF top panel to fit the rear horizontal reinforcing piece rabbet at its top.  Rabbet the tops of side panels so that HF cabinet top panels side rabbets drop into them....ARE YOU FOLLOWING ALL OF THIS???  Make sense?

 

When you dry fit, it will!!  When hyou go to assemble it...you'll need lots of long "squeeze" bar clamps...and some long dadoed Baltic birch "T-Bar"  pieces to hold everything together PERFECTLY using the long bar clamps....while the glue sets-up...but you can also use some 45 degree diagonally-ripped glue blocks from 3/4 by 3/4 stock.....to assist in holding things using glue and staples in the inside of the HF section ONLY!....this pic of the rear of the HF section tells a thousand words if you look closely!  Just ignore the cat!

201269637_LaScalarearshowingassemblydetailsandguardcatoption.thumb.jpg.b9d7504030149bc9d9dcccbd26a4f188.jpg

 

Now, these were built with absolutely ZERO visible fastener use anywhere but at UNDERNEATH the cabinet, the inside of the HF section...and on the REAR of the cabinet..PERIOD!

PLUS!!!...the cabinets are MITERED around the top panel front edge and sidesl...at the front edge of the bass bin top panel, and as far as necessary at the front edges of the side panels to the side edges of the HF motorboard.  what holds the mitered joints in place  was the clamps and T-bars, with diagonally ripped glue blocks around the inside of the mitered joints within the HF section...the glue blocks were there with glue and short staples to hold everything perfectly in place for the mitered joints while the glue set up...and the glue blocks running along the bottom of the HF section sides held the dadoed side panels to the inset Bass bin top panel.....and this is actually the HARD way to do things...my next build will be much easier!  Here is the REAL catch, though:  the entire cabinet is stiffened up except the front edges of the bass bin sides...and wing inserts would have accomplished that!  All panels are 3/4"!!  Nothing thicker really needed at all!  Go figure, huh? Each joint in the build has at a MINIMUM 50% additional glue surface with MINIMUM 50% more structural stiffness...than a standard butt joint assembly!

1752617397_solooakLaScalanogrillnotebookmatchdetail.thumb.jpg.7bbd6937bf1c63c42e8741c9dd561703.jpg

 

Front motorboard panel MITERED to cabinet top panel wood grain detail:

 

1226160379_oakLaScalaHFfrontandtopjointdetail.thumb.jpg.daedede6a765f6a4c3edf651178a7202.jpg

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Good cabinet makers and especially those who do veneer work are artists in my book. Everyone needs a supervisor and I have one too. Sometime he comes out in the shop with the music a bit loud. I turn it down and on the lap he goes and we sit and listen.

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On 5/4/2019 at 10:10 PM, Dave A said:

. Buying and selling speakers for five years now and I can tell you MDF fails in so many ways. I hate that junk.

 

 
And Yet 99% of audiophile speakers are made from MDF.  Vandersteen, DynAudio, KEF, B&W, PSB, Infiniti, Paradigm, Polk, and on and on all use MDF with hardwood  veneers.  Indeed, they’ve done so for years. And most are still around today without any cosmetic issues.  This is certainly true of every speaker I have ever owned - some for over 20 years (still perfect).   Personally,  I think you are vastly overstating the risks. After all, none of my other components were engineered or manufactured  with water resistance in mind.  Not my  amplifier, my turntable, my DAC, my CD player, my Mac Mini music server, my plasma TV, etc....   All were built with the assumption the owner would keep them out of the elements.
 
 My hunch is that consistent density wins over rain resistance as an important design consideration for audiophile grade speakers , except in cases where they are to be used where they might be exposed to elements (train stations, amusement parks, etc..).
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28 minutes ago, ODS123 said:

 

 
And Yet 99% of audiophile speakers are made from MDF.  Vandersteen, DynAudio, KEF, B&W, PSB, Infiniti, Paradigm, Polk, and on and on all use MDF with hardwood  veneers.  Indeed, they’ve done so for years. And most are still around today without any cosmetic issues.  This is certainly true of every speaker I have ever owned - some for over 20 years (still perfect).   Personally,  I think you are vastly overstating the risks. After all, none of my other components were engineered or designed with water resistance in mind.  Not my  amplifier, my turntable, my DAC, my CD player, Mac Mini music server, etc....
 
 My hunch is that consistent density wins over rain resistance as an important design consideration, except in cases where speakers are to be used where they might be exposed to elements (train stations, amusement parks, etc..)

Hmmm, bored today are we and stirring the pot looking for excitement perhaps?  If you are ever in the area stop in and hear a real deal system with lots of headroom.

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On 7/5/2019 at 8:52 AM, Dave A said:

Hmmm, bored today are we and stirring the pot looking for excitement perhaps?  If you are ever in the area stop in and hear a real deal system with lots of headroom.

Ear plugs optional :)

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21 minutes ago, rockhound said:

Ear plugs optional :)

That's right! You know what, I think I am going to try and find some fireworks recordings so I can have the 4TH rain or shine :D

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When the La Scala II was being designed, the question of plywood vs. MDF came up, so 4 prototypes were built:  1 pair made of plywood, and 1 pair made of MDF.  The engineers listened, and tested, and listened again.

 

There was no doubt.  The MDF LS2s sounded better, so that was the material chosen to make them.  It’s not only more consistent than plywood, it’s stiffer, which makes a difference in the La Scala bass horn, as we all know.

 

The plywood prototypes were listed for sale on this forum a few years ago, and sold fairly quickly.  I don’t remember what happened to the MDF prototypes.

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MDF gets a bad rap in the highend audio field. If done right it can be sealed so no moisture can get into it, it’s a pain to do but can do done. And it is heavyweight inch to inch compared to plywood that may be why the newer Klipsch speakers are heavier then the older models. Just my worthless two cents of wisdom


Dollar for dollar Klipsch has no equals
Name one other speaker company that can build a speaker and keep working like new after 45 plus years of service. Answer NO ONE !!!!!!

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Guys it is somewhat ironic you defend MDF but  HDBRbuilder, an ex speaker builder from Klipsch, is building personal boxes with plywood. I agree with the guy who started this thread and wish you the best of luck.

  Regarding the Klipsch MDF and Plywood side by side test I suspect there was not much difference in sound to speak of but there WAS a cost difference and that means Baltic Birch loses.

1 hour ago, Islander said:

When the La Scala II was being designed, the question of plywood vs. MDF came up, so 4 prototypes were built:  1 pair made of plywood, and 1 pair made of MDF.  The engineers listened, and tested, and listened again.

 

There was no doubt.  The MDF LS2s sounded better, so that was the material chosen to make them.  It’s not only more consistent than plywood, it’s stiffer, which makes a difference in the La Scala bass horn, as we all know. 

 

OK I would like to see that report and the cost/benefit analysis that went with it. Can you document this assertion?

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17 hours ago, Dave A said:

Guys it is somewhat ironic you defend MDF but  HDBRbuilder, an ex speaker builder from Klipsch, is building personal boxes with plywood. I agree with the guy who started this thread and wish you the best of luck.

  Regarding the Klipsch MDF and Plywood side by side test I suspect there was not much difference in sound to speak of but there WAS a cost difference and that means Baltic Birch loses.

 

OK I would like to see that report and the cost/benefit analysis that went with it. Can you document this assertion?

 

Do you think anyone outside of Klipsch management would have access to that data and analysis?  That was not an assertion.  It was reported here several years ago by a Klipsch employee.  None of us know what really went on in the discussions about which material to use.  Also, I’m not “defending” MDF, just repeating what was explained here some time ago.  There were definitely two pairs of prototype La Scala IIs built, and Klipsch chose to go with MDF.  Personally, I prefer the sturdiness of plywood, but they didn’t ask me.

 

The LS2 came out in 2006, so this is old news, meaning you’d have to dig back pretty far.  I’m not about to do that.  The plywood prototypes were posted for sale here quite a few years ago, and I’m pretty sure a Forum member bought them, but they haven’t been discussed much since then, apart from an occasional mention and this thread.

 

That’s all I can tell you.

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I "grew up in a tennis family". In the late '60s, not all high school coaches were fluent in tennis. My dad and I were playing on one of our city courts when a man, a coach, began to measure the net on the adjacent court. Dad had been an advisor in the resurfacing of the courts and was a strong voice in their maintenance. He asked the man why he was measuring and told him the specifications of the net.

"We're going to put up new nets," the man replied.

"That's great, I've been asking for new nets for several months."

"We're putting up chain link."

"Why would you do that?"

"It lasts longer."

"Then, why don't you put up a brick wall?" 

Two weeks later, new nets arrived. They were not chain link.

SSH

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I believe the Jubilee will one day surface as a home deluxe version. Will I be able to afford it... Dunno... Don't care but would like to live to see it. This is just a gut feeling or a hunch and my hunch says when it is finally done it will be head and shoulders above the competition like when the first Klipschorn surfaced. The Klipsch products of 2019 are top notch and will keep getting better. Was I this optimistic 10 years ago maybe not but the foot appears to be on the gas as it were. Bravo Klipsch!   

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 7/7/2019 at 9:15 AM, Islander said:

 

Do you think anyone outside of Klipsch management would have access to that data and analysis?  That was not an assertion.  It was reported here several years ago by a Klipsch employee.  None of us know what really went on in the discussions about which material to use.  Also, I’m not “defending” MDF, just repeating what was explained here some time ago.  There were definitely two pairs of prototype La Scala IIs built, and Klipsch chose to go with MDF.  Personally, I prefer the sturdiness of plywood, but they didn’t ask me.

 

The LS2 came out in 2006, so this is old news, meaning you’d have to dig back pretty far.  I’m not about to do that.  The plywood prototypes were posted for sale here quite a few years ago, and I’m pretty sure a Forum member bought them, but they haven’t been discussed much since then, apart from an occasional mention and this thread.

 

That’s all I can tell you.

Who knows what the real results were and that is the problem with second hand info. I find it very interesting though that people like HDBRbuilder choose plywood. It is not all about just water resistance either and read his comments regarding veneer delamination. I have heard this from others also where speakers were in controlled environments since bought new. Being a hands on guy myself in both repair and restoration of speakers and the building of some now too I have solid reasons for not doing what bean counters and their coterie of sawdust lovers do.

 

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