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dlapointevt

Corner horns in small space

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Hi - I just inherited a pair of old corner horns (see info below).  Unfortuantely the only area we have for them is a small basement with relatively low ceiling (see image).  Currently they are not being used, just taking up space,  and my question is - is it worth trying to find a decent turntable/amp to pair with these, or will they just never work with this space?   My main focus right now is strictly for vinyl playback.  Any advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

khorns.jpg

 

 

 

khorns_info.jpg

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Yes, a bit close...but PWK spec'd them for 12 feet and they are not that far off. You will be hard pressed to find anything better. 

Dave

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They are fine, if set up correctly.  I used to have mine in a small room (9 x 12, with a high ceiling) and they were great (!) for the person in the center seat, a little less so for those in seets to either side of enter.

 

Is that a small stage at the end of the room?  What is its function?  The Khorns need to be pressed into the corner, with no gap, unless you have the relatively new ones that have completely closed backs.  If you took out the "stage," you would gain a few inches in ceiling height, but it's probably not worth it.

 

You need to prevent the sound from the tweeter and midrange from bouncing off of the low ceiling and traveling directly to your ears, but some well placed absorbers on a small area of the ceiling would fix that.  Sit in your listening chairs, one at a time, and have someone hold a mirror flat against the ceiling.  Any mirror position on the ceiling that returns an image of the top, front part of your speakers ("the top hats") where the tweeter and midrange are to your eyes in any seat, should get an absorber.  They come in many colors, including white.  Don't over--deaden the room.  If you decide to put something on the walls, diffusers might be better in a small room, to add a bit of reverberation.  But use absorbers only on the ceiling, because it's so low.

 

 

How to Make High Performance Sound Absorption ... - YouTube

 
 
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Honestly, I think those Klipschorns are too large for the space, physically and aesthetically. Unless you want to keep them for sentimental reasons, I would sell them in favor of something smaller.

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First things first.  Push them back into corners after swapping to them the leads from the speakers sitting on them and see what you think.

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On 1/18/2020 at 4:49 PM, dlapointevt said:

...or will they just never work with this space?

Actually, my personal experiences with Khorns in such low ceiling small rooms have not been good.  Of course, nothing that I've heard in such listening spaces really sounds very good.  The Khorns sound pretty unnatural, tonally unbalanced, and harsh to my ears in that kind of room, even if treated acoustically, even if tri-amped and time aligned.  The midrange horn in the Khorn (K-400) is the problem.  It puts too much acoustic energy on the floor and ceiling below 2 kHz. 

 

I would replace the K-400s horns/drivers and the tweeters to full-range horns/drivers having taller mouth sizes or use something like an air motion transformer (AMT) that can extend its SPL response down to 400 Hz or lower, which have very narrow vertical coverage angles.  The stacked/winged ESS AMT-1 approach is the type of AMT assembly that I'm currently considering using, but either approach really requires a DSP crossover (bi-amping or tri-amping) to integrate with the bass bins. 

 

There is an alternative approach: build false corners for the Khorns and put them in a much larger higher ceiling room upstairs.

 

Good luck.

 

Chris

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Glad you have a cat to appreciate the Klipschorns. Cats and Klipsch products have a well documented synergy. 

I roger what Chris said above. The Khorns need room to sing.

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How do they sound to YOU in that space right now?  Even, sub-optimized, they sound better than many speakers IMO...(particularly at normal listening volumes)

 

reminder: tight fitting corners (foam pipe insulation is commonly used) is important for low bass production...

 

 

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8 hours ago, Peter P. said:

Honestly, I think those Klipschorns are too large for the space, physically and aesthetically. Unless you want to keep them for sentimental reasons, I would sell them in favor of something smaller.

 

My thoughts first are, if you are sentimental about them....  then (me personally) I'd keep them and figure out how to make it work or just live with the deficiency that may or may not arise.  They'll never mean as much to the next buyer compared to your (possible) sentimental attachment.

 

Is this your retirement home?  Any chances of you moving in 5-30 years to a different home?  If so, then I'd 100% keep them for the end game.  Then evaluate the situation however, the nice thing about that is you can make a sufficient room for them part of your criteria for hunting down a home.

 

 

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2 hours ago, hanksjim1 said:

How do they sound to YOU in that space right now?  Even, sub-optimized, they sound better than many speakers IMO...(particularly at normal listening volumes)

 

reminder: tight fitting corners (foam pipe insulation is commonly used) is important for low bass production...

 

If he can get them into the solid corners of the basement that would be best. Khorns need, or work best as the poster above noted, tight fitting corners. Using them on that stage would likely result in poor bass. But give 'em and go and let us know.

 

 

 

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Hi - thanks for all the input and advice.  This is our retirement home (no plans to leave)... but this is the room I get from my wife and kids for the next few years.  So, I'm definitely going to hang on to these with the hopes I get an upgraded space when all the kids are off to college :)

 

The "stage" in the center is actually just a creative way to cover up ledge that the original owners just poured the foundation over - so unfortunately that's not going anywhere.  I am going to definitely try the suggestion(s) of some of the room treatments.  I do have a couple of questions:

 

- should the horns be physically touching the walls in the corners?  (i.e. no baseboard trim, etc.).  if I can't get a totally snug fit, is it worth trying to build some type of false corners, and if so is there a good guide for that?

- I dug out my original old equipment to get them running - HH Scott 222-D integrated tube amp and a Technics SL-5210 Turntable.  Even with this equipment, they sounded WAY better than anything I've had connected before - which has actually made me want to really try to get the best out of them in the space.   Assuming I don't have unlimited budget - maybe $2k for equipment - is it worth trying to upgrade the amp/tt?  If so, any suggestions would be most welcome.  Right now I'm thinking this will be solely for 2 channel playback (tried them with our Harmon Kardon AVR HT amp and the quality was noticeably inferior to the Scott), but if people have any thoughts on that, I'd love to hear it as well.  

 

Thanks much!

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4 hours ago, dlapointeus said:

should the horns be physically touching the walls in the corners?  (i.e. no baseboard trim, etc.).  if I can't get a totally snug fit, is it worth trying to build some type of false corners, and if so is there a good guide for that?

Yes, and yes.  You can simply enclose the backs of the Khorns with plywood instead of trying to shoehorn in full false corners:  http://www.klipschupgrades.com/flkhorn.shtml

 

FLKhorns174.jpg

FLKhorns53.jpg

 

4 hours ago, dlapointeus said:

I dug out my original old equipment to get them running - HH Scott 222-D integrated tube amp and a Technics SL-5210 Turntable.  Even with this equipment, they sounded WAY better than anything I've had connected before - which has actually made me want to really try to get the best out of them in the space.   Assuming I don't have unlimited budget - maybe $2k for equipment - is it worth trying to upgrade the amp/tt?

Instead of putting your money on electronics to try to better what you've already got, I'd personally modify the Khorns themselves to directly deal with the issues of using them in such a small space.  I don't believe that you're going to get much from putting more money into amplifiers, preamps, sources, or other "audiophile" electronics, etc.  The sound that you're getting now is overwhelmingly dominated by the present acoustic design of the Khorns themselves--which isn't kind to small, low ceiling room use.  This modification would allow you to set aside the Khorn top hats entirely and store them for future reassembly into their current state in order to maximize their potential Khorn sale to market value of what they're worth now.

 

The deal with this approach is that you need to measure the resulting acoustic performance of them ($100 for the calibrated microphone, the measurement software is free, and you need a laptop or desktop computer to run the software) after replacing the midrange horn/driver and tweeter.  The cost will be significantly lower than the budget that you state above. 

 

In general I'd strongly recommend a DSP crossover ($205) with another stereo amplifier (bi-amping--using virtually any reasonable quality amplifier that you already own), and perhaps something like a K-510 with 2" compression driver, or one or two ESS Air Motion Transformers on top of each Khorn.  Either modification would address the present midrange floor and ceiling bounce, as well as the inherent time misalignments of the stock Khorn.  Also, in the case of the dual AMT-1s on top, this modification will give you a significantly added sense of depth of soundstage.  The trade is that you need to put in a weekend or two of time to dial in using a DSP crossover.  The result of all this is flat frequency and phase response and time aligned drivers.

 

A single ESS AMT-1 on top of a Khorn clone bass bin with an acoustic absorption pad on front to reduce nearfield re-radiation of acoustic energy:

 

485174362_AMT-1ontopofKhornclonebassbin.jpg.8735ecac8ebce647c3a723466a5d691a.jpg

 

Chris

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Hey Chris - I really like the suggestion of potentially modifying the speakers and storing the top hats for when I (hopefully) move into a much bigger space in a few years. It sounds like a project that could be a lot of fun.   I'm pretty technically capable (software engineer)... but I think I'd need a little more detail in addition to what you posted.  Can you point me in the direction of any posts/documentation where I could start?

 

Many thanks.

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3 hours ago, dlapointeus said:

I'm pretty technically capable (software engineer)

 

Well...if I whip out my crystal ball and gaze into it, I see a high probability of incorporating a DSP crossover into your Khorn setup with a "small room Khorn mod" HF driver assembly.  The DSP crossover that I quoted a price on above is the miniDSP 2x4 HD at $205 in a box.  I use one of those now in my 5.1 main rig for the surround channels and it does very well--with no issues.  To set the parameters of the 2x4 HD, you plug in with a USB cable from your laptop/desktop using the app that they provide with the unit, set the crossovers, delays, and PEQs, take your measurements using Room EQ Wizard (REW), then once you're happy with the results, you disconnect the USB cable from DSP crossover box. Voila! You're done. It's more stable over time than a passive crossover--no crossover performance changes with aging or under heavy loading.  And you can directly connect from your digital source to your 2x4 HD via a S/PDIF, eliminating the extra digital-->analog-->digital conversion loop that's typical with most DSP crossovers used today.  Fidelity is very high.

 

Chris

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On 1/29/2020 at 1:46 PM, dlapointeus said:

Hi - thanks for all the input and advice.  This is our retirement home (no plans to leave)... but this is the room I get from my wife and kids for the next few years.  So, I'm definitely going to hang on to these with the hopes I get an upgraded space when all the kids are off to college :)

 

The "stage" in the center is actually just a creative way to cover up ledge that the original owners just poured the foundation over - so unfortunately that's not going anywhere.  I am going to definitely try the suggestion(s) of some of the room treatments.  I do have a couple of questions:

 

- should the horns be physically touching the walls in the corners?  (i.e. no baseboard trim, etc.).  if I can't get a totally snug fit, is it worth trying to build some type of false corners, and if so is there a good guide for that?

- I dug out my original old equipment to get them running - HH Scott 222-D integrated tube amp and a Technics SL-5210 Turntable.  Even with this equipment, they sounded WAY better than anything I've had connected before - which has actually made me want to really try to get the best out of them in the space.   Assuming I don't have unlimited budget - maybe $2k for equipment - is it worth trying to upgrade the amp/tt?  If so, any suggestions would be most welcome.  Right now I'm thinking this will be solely for 2 channel playback (tried them with our Harmon Kardon AVR HT amp and the quality was noticeably inferior to the Scott), but if people have any thoughts on that, I'd love to hear it as well.  

 

Thanks much!

I would suggest a good little class D amp (Amptastic Mini 1, Trends TA10.1...) a good phono preamp and a nice vintage turntable. You can also use a full function preamp and use the mini amp as power amp. Believe me, there’s real synergy between flea-power class D and Klipsch heritage! 8 watts is all you’ll ever need in that room! 

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Acoustic treatments: you can find Basotect panels on EBay quite easily - and not too expensive - otherwise Vicoustic Cinema Round (Premium) are a good reasonable cost option. As Others said the ceiling needs to be treated. 

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(I just saw you are using a Scott tube amp: probably a very good amp but I would still suggest you to try a mini class D amp for a more detailed, « modern » sound - worse case scenario you can use it in the kitchen or give it to the kids, they are so small and cheap! 

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If you are inclined to modding the Khorns, you could try some EV SM120 mid horns and Beyma CP25 tweeter; those have a much wider, smoother dispersion and are IMHO much more listenable than the Long throw K400 horn, especially in a small space. They would also allow you to keep your existing crossover networks and midrange drivers, it's all plug and play, build a top hat for the new horns, connect the drivers to the crossover and you're good to go! Aesthetics won't be fantastic but they probably would sound much better (some acoustic treatment on the side walls next to the mid horns might help further). They are also much more controlled dispersion vertically and mine work very well in a low ceiling, almost near-field configuration (see attached pictures; my "LaScala on steroids", crossover 400Hz and 6KHz although I have an active crossover at 400Hz).

 

IMG_2258.jpg

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On 1/18/2020 at 4:49 PM, dlapointevt said:

Hi - I just inherited a pair of old corner horns (see info below).  Unfortuantely the only area we have for them is a small basement with relatively low ceiling (see image).  Currently they are not being used, just taking up space,  and my question is - is it worth trying to find a decent turntable/amp to pair with these, or will they just never work with this space?   My main focus right now is strictly for vinyl playback.  Any advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

khorns.jpg

 

 

 

 

It is absolutely worth it. I prefer big speakers in small rooms to small speakers in small rooms. If the room is a compromise why compromise the speakers? Turn em up 8-) I think that looks great... Your scott is a great match and much much better than any trends tripath or class d.

 

 

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Agreed, except perhaps about the class D.  It's really hard to beat the Hypex n-core implementation, even with a rebuilt Scott.

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