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emw2net

Klipschhorn sound underwhelming...help!

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I started on putting together a dedicated listening room, size is approximately 16 ft by 20 ft height 82 ft. I have 1989 Klipschhorns and a Jadis Orchestra tube amplifier. For now it sounds like crap. Will curtains, carpeting, absorbers, diffusor panels etc make a dramatic difference. Cables?  Please advise.

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Welcome to the forum!

 

A description of what you believe is missing, sound quality wise, in more detail would be helpful to diagnose the problem...(the 82 ft. ceiling height shouldn't be a problem...)

 

Also a picture of the room/speaker placement might help.  Lots of posts here on room treatments and cables.

 

 

Edited by hanksjim1
typo
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Are these your first K-Horns ?  My first pair I miswired them and they did sound like CRAP..................Also are they sealed in corners ?  Have you tested all the drivers to confirm proper working condition ?  Take a paper towel tube and put it up to the tweet, and mid horns 1 at a time of course and confirm each driver is actually working.

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Are they placed on the long or short side of the wall?  I have had mine in four different houses and the worst sounding was a living room of 17ft.  with a Fisher tube setup.

JJK

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I think Joe is right. Let's make sure all the drivers are working and wired properly.

Pictures of the room would help (and showing how they are tucked into the corners)

Have these been molested (upgrades or other "improvements")? 

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19 hours ago, emw2net said:

I have 1989 Klipschhorns and a Jadis Orchestra tube amplifier. For now it sounds like crap.

Khorns are Klipsch's flagship speakers.  Can you confirm you have the AK-3 crossovers?  Those are good ones, AK and AK-2 are not.

 

Assuming you have the AK-3 can you describe in music terms what you are hearing?  IE female vocals have sibilance, bass guitar is muddy, kick drum doesn't have any thump, etc.

 

What is your source material?  Anything in Youtube we can listen to and compare to what you are hearing?

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11 hours ago, hanksjim1 said:

Welcome to the forum!

 

A description of what you believe is missing, sound quality wise, in more detail would be helpful to diagnose the problem...(the 82 ft. ceiling height shouldn't be a problem...)

 

Also a picture of the room/speaker placement might help.  Lots of posts here on room treatments and cables.

 

 

A ceiling height of 82 feet? That's crazy!

John Kuthe...

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11 hours ago, joessportster said:

My first pair I miswired them and they did sound like CRAP..................

 

How do you "miswired" them?

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9 hours ago, Blackbird said:

 

How do you "miswired" them?

Its not that hard to do, I had never owned a Pair and to get them home I had to remove the top hat, which means the bass drivers have to be removed from the crossover, A lack of attention to detail in haste to hear them and you can guess the rest.................

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6 hours ago, joessportster said:

Its not that hard to do, I had never owned a Pair and to get them home I had to remove the top hat, which means the bass drivers have to be removed from the crossover, A lack of attention to detail in haste to hear them and you can guess the rest.................

Been there done that.

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Thanks for all the kind replies. I have to correct the room height: 8.2 ft not 82 feet, of course. They are now placed on the long side of the wall in the corners. But not sealed into the corners, therefor no low frequency gain. Basstraps?I have a rendering of what the ideal room treatment would look like (see attachment). The drivers seem to all be in working order. Regarding the AK-3 crossovers I am not sure Klipsch built those pre 2000?

They have not been tampered with. I am only the second owner.

As far as the sound: thin bass, nasal vocals, flat, muffled, little dynamic range, lack of warmth and roundness, just not 'present' or 

life-like sounding,which is how I heard them sound in a different space, also with Jadis Orchestra. It's hard to tell the male from females apart in a chorus, for example.

 

 

Klipschorn speakers (2).jpg

Klipschorn speakers (3).jpg

Klipschorn speakers (6).jpg

HI-FI OAK 2.jpg

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My friendly suggestion is that before you do anything else, first do a search on "false corners" and "pipe foam". Then don't construct a full blown false corner, but at least do a mock up out of some 2x4s and MDF (if you have a measurement mic, use REW and also do some before and after measures). You should hear a big difference and the cost is nominal. If you are then satisfied, go ahead build a real version that is compatible with your room (that is nice room BTW). 

 

Until you preform this demo / mock up (hopefully with some measures), I would not bother with any other "remedies". 

 

BTW, the lack of being sealed into the corners has a very measurable impact (a few to several dB) up to about 400-500Hz or so. It is not the just the deeper bass. Many are unaware of this finding. 

 

BTW, did you check the functioning of all the drivers and wiring as suggested above?

 

BTW, some of the symptoms could also be explained if the access hatch on the bass bin was not relatively airtight. Upon visual inspection, does it look like the screws have been touched on the hatch?

 

Good luck,

-Tom

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2 hours ago, emw2net said:

Thanks for all the kind replies. I have to correct the room height: 8.2 ft not 82 feet, of course. They are now placed on the long side of the wall in the corners. But not sealed into the corners, therefor no low frequency gain. Basstraps?I have a rendering of what the ideal room treatment would look like (see attachment). The drivers seem to all be in working order. Regarding the AK-3 crossovers I am not sure Klipsch built those pre 2000?

They have not been tampered with. I am only the second owner.

As far as the sound: thin bass, nasal vocals, flat, muffled, little dynamic range, lack of warmth and roundness, just not 'present' or 

life-like sounding,which is how I heard them sound in a different space, also with Jadis Orchestra. It's hard to tell the male from females apart in a chorus, for example.

 

 

Klipschorn speakers (2).jpg

Klipschorn speakers (3).jpg

Klipschorn speakers (6).jpg

HI-FI OAK 2.jpg

This looks pretty good regarding room treatments and should account for most of the primary reflection points. An untreated rectangular room will sound like hell with those speakers. I have a similar setup with my LaScalas and I could not even bear casual listening until I put treatments in.

 

The other major contribution factor with Klipsch sound quality is your source material. If you are running digital or streaming make sure you have the proper quality on. Also your computer's headphone jack has a garbage DAC, a standalone USB unit like one from Schiit will make a huge difference.  Dont worry about cables, just get some 100% copper ones from Monoprice on Amazon.

 

With everything set up properly in a room like that your stereo will literally be scary to listen to sometimes for how real it is.

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5 hours ago, emw2net said:

...As far as the sound: thin bass, nasal vocals, flat, muffled, little dynamic range, lack of warmth and roundness, just not 'present' or life-like sounding,which is how I heard them sound in a different space, also with Jadis Orchestra. It's hard to tell the male from females apart in a chorus, for example.

 

HI-FI OAK 2.jpg

 

...But not sealed into the corners, therefore no low frequency gain...

I'm a bit surprised that the "why does it sound bad" hasn't yet been discussed.  Aside from the obvious wiring polarity issues, there are some things about Khorns that every owner really needs to know, starting from the bottom up:

 

1) the last fold on the bass bin is responsible for the last 1 1/2 octave or so of bass response--from about 100 Hz down to 32 Hz.  This is a hugely important factor in getting tonal bass response and overall tonal balance out of them.  If you don't seal this last fold of the horn against the corner of a room, you're likely going to get a 100 Hz roll-off rather than 32 Hz.  It's the difference between hearing the fundamental frequencies of double basses, cellos, bass guitar, and kick drum, or only hearing their second or third harmonic.  It's critical to get them sealed.  Note that new Khorns have enclosed backs so that at least those owners can't make the mistake of arranging them in-room without proper corner (or false corner) support.  Seal them in corners.  If you can't seal them in full room corners, use false corners instead--like PWK (Paul Klipsch) used his.  You only lose perhaps a half octave or less of performance using properly implemented false corners.

 

2) Almost everyone misses the next point:  the midrange horns (K-400s) lose their vertical directivity control below ~2000 Hz, so all their extra midrange acoustic energy down to ~400 Hz goes into your ceiling and floor.  If you don't provide significant absorption in front of the Khorn on the floor in the form of thick carpet (out to at least 3-5 feet from the front of the loudspeaker), you're going to hear that thin, strident sound that you've described.  Same thing for the ceiling: if your ceiling isn't at least 9 feet high, you're likely going to hear the same kind of overall tonal balance unless you do something to control the ceiling bounce.  This is particularly true of those owners that try to use Khorns in their basements with low ceilings.  With your 8' 2" high ceiling, you're right on the edge of having to do something with the ceiling bounce issues, like putting an absorption or very good diffuser suspended from the ceiling in front of each Khorn--angled toward the prime listening positions.

 

As a test/adjustment step, you can place a large amount of absorption in layers (like blankets, quilts, comforters, foam rubber pads, etc.) on the floor in front of each Khorn, and remove material in successive layers until the resulting sound is to your taste, then approximate that same level of absorption with carpets.  (Same thing for adjacent side-walls, where you can also temporarily tack up blankets, etc. to adjust the side-wall near field reflections--which will significantly strengthen the phantom center channel imaging.  Remember to keep all early reflectors within 3-4 feet of the center of the Khorns away from them, or alternatively, cover temporarily cover them with acoustic absorption material.)

 

3) Tweeter/midrange crossover:  the K-77 tweeter isn't what I'd call a spectacular tweeter by today's standards, and the degree of crossover frequency band between the tweeter and the midrange is actually quite narrow, so note that there will be significant issues around 5 kHz ±2 kHz where the time misalignment of the tweeter to the midrange and the degree of acoustic overlap between the tweeter and midrange will sound a bit unnatural.  You can address these issues via placement of the tweeter, dialing in the tweeter-midrange crossover filters a bit more, and/or replacing the K-77 tweeters with higher sound quality tweeters having good polar coverage characteristics and low distortion.  

 

[As an aside--one way to solve this issue is to move the tweeter from inside the cabinet to the top-rear of the top hat, such that the tweeter has moved away from the listener by about 24 inches, but sitting on top of the top hat, preferably mounted in a little baffle to hold it upright and make it easily adjustable for positioning to achieve time alignment with the midrange horn/driver.  This will significantly improve the soundstage depth and width, and give you a very natural and balanced reproduction of all instruments, particularly piano and female voice--their higher harmonics. ]

 

IMG_4776.JPG

 

tmp_18945-20170406_211906~374460808.jpg

 

Once you get these three areas under control, the legendary sound of the Khorns will appear in your listening room. Fine tuning adjustments will take out the remaining issues, including fine tuning adjustments to room acoustic treatments, the position of other equipment/furniture in the room close to the Khorns, and the exact placement of the listening position(s).

 

Chris

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image.png.d24ae59958c5bfb3e407f510703e0806.png

Just to add emphasis...in this rendering the bass horn IS NOT sealed into the corner. Not even close. If you have good corners get'em in there. Get pipe insulation to make a good seal.

If you do not have the corners needed you will have to build false corners.

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30 minutes ago, Chris A said:

3) Tweeter/midrange crossover: You can address these issues via placement of the tweeter, dialing in the tweeter-midrange crossover filters a bit more, and/or replacing the K-77 tweeters with higher sound quality tweeters having good polar coverage characteristics and low distortion.  

 

[As an aside--one way to solve this issue is to move the tweeter from inside the cabinet to the top-rear of the top hat, such that the tweeter has moved away from the listener by about 24 inches, but sitting on top of the top hat, preferably mounted in a little baffle to hold it upright and make it easily adjustable for positioning to achieve time alignment with the midrange horn/driver.  This will significantly improve the soundstage depth and width, and give you a very natural and balanced reproduction of all instruments, particularly piano and female voice--their higher harmonics. ]

 

IMG_4776.JPG

 

Once you get these three areas under control, the legendary sound of the Khorns will appear in your listening room. Fine tuning adjustments will take out the remaining issues, including fine tuning adjustments to room acoustic treatments, the position of other equipment/furniture in the room close to the Khorns, and the exact placement of the listening position(s).

 

FYI that is my Khorn, placed in a very poor corner.  Those are now sold due to WAF.

 

The Tweeter is a DNA SEOS waveguide with a DNA 360 compression driver which is substantially larger then the anemic K-77 tweeter.  I used a Crites A/4500 crossover.  The difference is HUGE in favor of the top mounted horn.  It takes the Khorn to another level IMO, better sound, bigger sound,  Just tremendous.

+++

 

Before I sold those Khorns I restored them to the stock configuration and moved them into the center of the room side-by-side so the Buyer could hear them before he took possession.  Sitting in the worst possible setup and listening nearfield (about 5 feet) the sound was fantastic.  I was stunned that they sounded so good, all run off a mid-level Onkyo 717 100wpc AVR.

 

That's why I think the OP should be getting a better sound.  Male and female voices should still sound great and not sound like each other.

 

I think a systematic trouble shooting session is in order.  The OP needs to start with listening very carefully to each driver and make sure it is working properly.  Then move on to the basic method of loosening each wire, both at the XO and on the drivers.

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5 hours ago, emw2net said:

Regarding the AK-3 crossovers I am not sure Klipsch built those pre 2000?

My notes say the first year for the Type AK-3 was 1989.  Could you check to the crossover board in the to confirm?  It makes a difference because if your XO's are AK or AK-2 that could explain bad sound.  Those were not good ones.  The AK-3 and newer are very highly regarded.

 

EDIT:  I just went back an looked at the pics you posted.  Those are Type AA crossovers, with an N in the s/n.  That means those speakers are 1975.

+++

 

I read where you said your drivers were "all working."  May I ask your method for checking that?  I'm not doubting you, I'm trying not to make assumptions about what you might be hearing.  I'm assuming if the sound is bad, somewhere the drivers are not working correctly.

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15 minutes ago, babadono said:

image.png.d24ae59958c5bfb3e407f510703e0806.png

Just to add emphasis...in this rendering the bass horn IS NOT sealed into the corner. Not even close. If you have good corners get'em in there. Get pipe insulation to make a good seal.

If you do not have the corners needed you will have to build false corners.

Would he be better off to remove the 45 degree angled panels and place the Khorns in the corners and seal them off?

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10 minutes ago, Ceptorman said:

Would he be better off to remove the 45 degree angled panels and place the Khorns in the corners and seal them off? 

 

We have a problem we need to clear up first.  In his first post he said the Khorns were from 1989.  The pics show a Type AA crossover unmolested and the s/n with an N indicates those are 1975. 

 

I think we need to determine first what he has.

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