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What to do with Some nice Cornwall IIIs?

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Posted (edited)

I had the opportunity to purchase a pair of Cornwall IIIs.

The story;

 

Late on a recent Saturday night I popped up Craigslist and saw an ad for a pair of CW IIIs right on the first page with no filters. They were in my neighborhood and they were asking $300.  I have a lot of audio gear and really wasn't looking for new speakers The pictures made the speakers look pristine, and the ad said they were selling them as part of an estate. I sent the person a text saying, you are selling the speakers for way too little. They are worth more. I continued looking through CL and saw a kit built tube preamp for $50 from the same seller. By then the seller had replied and said thanks they were their father's and they just wanted to get rid of them. I told them again it was too little and they responded they weren't sure if they worked. I said "I tell you what, I'll come over get everything hooked up and running and you should be able to get a lot more for everything." 

The next morning, Sunday I head over and the woman selling the equipment she said her phone blew up with everyone sending offers. I said I will be happy to set everything up told her she could get a lot more than what she had it posted for. After talking for a few minutes she said she would be happy to sell it to me for the price quoted knowing that her father would like someone who appreciated audio gear to have it rather than someone who would just buy to sell it. Long story short(?) I am the proud owner of a fairly pristine pair of CW IIIs (B stock) and two 125 watt kit mono blocks (tube4hifi M125) and a kit tube preamp (tubes4hifi SP9).

After futzing around I have everything hooked up in a guest room which is too small, 11'x13.5' and other than a 4-5 db hum per speaker things sound pretty good. I do not self identify as an audiophile. I consider myself an audio hobbyist. I have been intrigued by high efficiency speakers, but never owned any, but now I do. My fronts in my main system which I use for both HT and music are the antithesis of the CW IIIs. I have a pair of Magnepan MMGs in custom designed and built bases sitting on OB sub woofers driven by a pair of 1KW SS mono blocks.

 

What should I do with the CW IIIs and tubes? 

 

Some of my ideas include;

 

One of the bases (risers) seems to have experienced some damage, but is still serviceable. Klipsch wants $150 for a new riser, I could build one myself but maybe not match the stain perfectly. or build two and paint them black like the CW IVs.I have also read that the bass is a bit boomy in these speakers (I experienced this as well in my limited listening)  It is recommended by those folks to raise the cabinets. What is the minimum height the CW IIIs need to be raised to achieve a positive result? What I read said to get the squawker at ear height, which is both ambiguous and kind of high I think.

Which brings up tweaking mania. what are the best bang for the buck (and effort) tweaks for CW IIIs?

In the end, I do not know what I will do as I am not sure they can/will out perform my current system, and another large pair of speakers in my main listening area seems untenable.

Here are some pictures of the system I bought and the front wall of my existing setup.

20190711_212713.jpg

20200527_224419-1.jpg

Edited by aceinc
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The topic should be "what should I do with a pair of Magnepan MMGs?"  :-)  Congrats on your find!  Have you tried hooking up the CW3's to your main system?

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@aceinc,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Good karma my friend.  It pays to do the right thing.

Had a similar thing happen when I bought my Heresys about a decade ago.  Son liquidating his deceased dad's beloved Klipsch speakers.  I pretty much told him the same as you.  Way too little $$$ for your dad's speakers.  He told me after I called that his phone and emails were lit up with buyer's.  Called me back the next day and indicated that his father would have wanted the speakers to go to someone who would not just flip them but enjoy them and I could have them for the price listed at $70.00.  Still have them.

 

Enjoy those new toys.

 

Bill

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, pbphoto said:

The topic should be "what should I do with a pair of Magnepan MMGs?"  :-)  Congrats on your find!  Have you tried hooking up the CW3's to your main system?

I have a lot invested in the MMGs, not money wise but energy, thought, design and emotion. I designed and built the bases for the MMGs. Using drivers & amplifier from GR Research I tweaked their OB woofer design and built the cabinets underneath. In the back of the room not hooked up I have an OB speaker I designed & built that when coupled with the woofer cabinets under the MMGs sound almost as good as the MMGs, and better than the pair of B&W 802 Matrix they replaced.

 

500 watt (at 8-ohm) Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks might be a tad of overkill for a speaker rated at 102 DB at 1 watt.

 

In the room with the CW IIIs I am sitting about 7' from the front of the cabinet. They certainly dominate things. makes me feel like the man in Maxell ads.

Edited by aceinc

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1 hour ago, pbphoto said:

The topic should be "what should I do with a pair of Magnepan MMGs?"  :-)  Congrats on your find!  Have you tried hooking up the CW3's to your main system?

I will eventually try the CW IIIs in the main room. I wonder if they will sit on top of the OB woofers?

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Understood.  I was just curious how the CW3's would sound on your main system since you said the tube amp/preamp had some hum.  I think those things were a kit that the customer could assemble, but I don't know anything about them really.

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Just now, pbphoto said:

Understood.  I was just curious how the CW3's would sound on your main system since you said the tube amp/preamp had some hum.  I think those things were a kit that the customer could assemble, but I don't know anything about them really.

They were a kit, and the the guy who does the kits is still around and has been very helpful, especially since I didn't buy them directly from him.

I am not an EE but the components all look good and they are put together reasonably well. I think I'll wrestle the hum to the mat.

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1 hour ago, willland said:

@aceinc,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Good karma my friend.  It pays to do the right thing.

Had a similar thing happen when I bought my Heresys about a decade ago.  Son liquidating his deceased dad's beloved Klipsch speakers.  I pretty much told him the same as you.  Way too little $$$ for your dad's speakers.  He told me after I called that his phone and emails were lit up with buyer's.  Called me back the next day ad indicated that his father would have wanted the speakers to go to someone who would not just flip them but enjoy them and I could have them for the price listed at $70.00.  Still have them.

 

Enjoy those new toys.

 

Bill

Thanks, you're almost a neighbor. I'm down in West Broward.

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The amp hum issue is certanly fixable. The tubes4hifi designs and boards are good, although 125wpc is way more than those speakers need.

 

The boominess of the CWIII's can be dealt with. Lots of people love them, for sure. The only time I've heard them I also thought they were boomy, and that was at the Klipsch hq.

 

Still, tone everything down and it's a really nice system. Shouldn't take too much work.

 

Bruce

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1 hour ago, Marvel said:

The amp hum issue is certanly fixable. The tubes4hifi designs and boards are good, although 125wpc is way more than those speakers need.

 

The boominess of the CWIII's can be dealt with. Lots of people love them, for sure. The only time I've heard them I also thought they were boomy, and that was at the Klipsch hq.

 

Still, tone everything down and it's a really nice system. Shouldn't take too much work.

 

Bruce

The one thing I need which is difficult to come by is a room stretcher.

I got out my testing gear this morning, because in my listening last night everything seemed screechy and quite unpleasant. I ran a couple of scans and there was a 7-10 db sine wave looking artifact in the graph above 1 khz but only when I played both channels. When I played a single channel there were random peaks & valleys which were similar on each speaker, but no discernible pattern. I moved the chair back (listening position) ~2 feet and the artifact went away. The back of my chair is now against the fireplace on the opposite side of the room from the speakers.

 

For fun when testing one amp/speaker I switched from pentode to triode and everything went down a few DB, with the top end down a bit more.

 

I'll post some graphs a little later. 

 

I also want to try some SS amps I have to see if I can see/hear a difference.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/29/2020 at 6:29 PM, aceinc said:

I had the opportunity to purchase a pair of Cornwall IIIs.

The story;

 

Late on a recent Saturday night I popped up Craigslist and saw an ad for a pair of CW IIIs right on the first page with no filters. They were in my neighborhood and they were asking $300.  I have a lot of audio gear and really wasn't looking for new speakers The pictures made the speakers look pristine, and the ad said they were selling them as part of an estate. I sent the person a text saying, you are selling the speakers for way too little. They are worth more. I continued looking through CL and saw a kit built tube preamp for $50 from the same seller. By then the seller had replied and said thanks they were their father's and they just wanted to get rid of them. I told them again it was too little and they responded they weren't sure if they worked. I said "I tell you what, I'll come over get everything hooked up and running and you should be able to get a lot more for everything." 

The next morning, Sunday I head over and the woman selling the equipment she said her phone blew up with everyone sending offers. I said I will be happy to set everything up told her she could get a lot more than what she had it posted for. After talking for a few minutes she said she would be happy to sell it to me for the price quoted knowing that her father would like someone who appreciated audio gear to have it rather than someone who would just buy to sell it. Long story short(?) I am the proud owner of a fairly pristine pair of CW IIIs (B stock) and two 125 watt kit mono blocks (tube4hifi M125) and a kit tube preamp (tubes4hifi SP9).

After futzing around I have everything hooked up in a guest room which is too small, 11'x13.5' and other than a 4-5 db hum per speaker things sound pretty good. I do not self identify as an audiophile. I consider myself an audio hobbyist. I have been intrigued by high efficiency speakers, but never owned any, but now I do. My fronts in my main system which I use for both HT and music are the antithesis of the CW IIIs. I have a pair of Magnepan MMGs in custom designed and built bases sitting on OB sub woofers driven by a pair of 1KW SS mono blocks.

 

What should I do with the CW IIIs and tubes? 

 

Some of my ideas include;

 

One of the bases (risers) seems to have experienced some damage, but is still serviceable. Klipsch wants $150 for a new riser, I could build one myself but maybe not match the stain perfectly. or build two and paint them black like the CW IVs.I have also read that the bass is a bit boomy in these speakers (I experienced this as well in my limited listening)  It is recommended by those folks to raise the cabinets. What is the minimum height the CW IIIs need to be raised to achieve a positive result? What I read said to get the squawker at ear height, which is both ambiguous and kind of high I think.

Which brings up tweaking mania. what are the best bang for the buck (and effort) tweaks for CW IIIs?

In the end, I do not know what I will do as I am not sure they can/will out perform my current system, and another large pair of speakers in my main listening area seems untenable.

Here are some pictures of the system I bought and the front wall of my existing setup.

20190711_212713.jpg

20200527_224419-1.jpg

You are very fortunate! I just bought B stock Cornwall III. I have them on wooden dollies and 8 feet apart and very close to the walls at a slight angle. Dollies make it easy for me to make small adjustments.

 

In a review of Klipsch Forte, Stereophile used 2" thick rubber cork pads that were 6"x6" for isolation. Gramma pads might be another thing to try. I haven't tried this yet. The speakers do not make contact with my dollies since there are small metal studs at the bottom.

 

I'm listening from around 15-20 feet away. With an inexpensive PTP EL34 SET amp, they sound fantastic. Not boomy at all and the human voice, guitar, and saxophone sound rather remarkable. I will experiment with room treatment in the near future.

Edited by VNC Studio

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On 5/29/2020 at 6:29 PM, aceinc said:

I had the opportunity to purchase a pair of Cornwall IIIs.

The story;

 

Late on a recent Saturday night I popped up Craigslist and saw an ad for a pair of CW IIIs right on the first page with no filters. They were in my neighborhood and they were asking $300.

 

great luck -   wish you can enjoy these ----

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Posted (edited)

Here is a graph of the current environment. The left & right (Green & Purple) are 1 foot away centered on the squawker. The "Both Listening Position" is Red and taken where my head would be while listening. Smoothing is 1/6 octave.

 

image.thumb.png.a536b4a423e756fc94f26b5c240686c0.png

Edited by aceinc

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I believe I have isolated the hum to the preamp. I lugged my Adcom GFA 555 II into the room. with the Adcom on and hooked up to the speakers only everything is silent. As soon as I attach the preamp and plug it in, I get a hum, the hum changes when I turn on the preamp. The hum is much louder with the Adcom than the tube amps.
 
If I disconnect the preamp and run the computer directly through the Adcom, no hum.

I also tested a tube amp by turning off the amp, pulling the RCA from the preamp, and shorting the RCA and turning the amp back on and there is no hum.

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That curve is not so bad, but I'd put them on a long wall, 3 or 4 feet away from a corner and ~18" off the back wall to start. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JohnA said:

That curve is not so bad, but I'd put them on a long wall, 3 or 4 feet away from a corner and ~18" off the back wall to start. 

Wish that I could. At the moment this room is the only place in the house I have available. I could put them in the garage, but that would be a lot of work in cleaning things up and not do them justice.

If I can get my long suffering wife to help me hoist them, I may test them on top of the subs that are in the picture with the Maggies. 

This way I can see how getting the slot ports up off the floor affects the sound. 

I would test them without the subs initially. If they sound promising I could try and integrate the subs which use the high power signal from the front speaker amps into the plate amps on the subs. The signal is then Y'ed into an 80hz high pass filter feeding the Maggies.

Edited by aceinc

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13 hours ago, aceinc said:
I believe I have isolated the hum to the preamp. I lugged my Adcom GFA 555 II into the room. with the Adcom on and hooked up to the speakers only everything is silent. As soon as I attach the preamp and plug it in, I get a hum, the hum changes when I turn on the preamp. The hum is much louder with the Adcom than the tube amps.
 
If I disconnect the preamp and run the computer directly through the Adcom, no hum.

I also tested a tube amp by turning off the amp, pulling the RCA from the preamp, and shorting the RCA and turning the amp back on and there is no hum.

 

That's great! Do you have another preamp you could try with the two tube amps?

 

I agree with John, too. Those curves look quite tolerable.

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On 6/1/2020 at 8:31 AM, Marvel said:

 

That's great! Do you have another preamp you could try with the two tube amps?

 

I agree with John, too. Those curves look quite tolerable.

While I have a bunch of power amps, Stereo, Mono blocks, SS, Tube Old & new, the only other stereo preamp I have is an old Dynaco PAS 3. I have been keeping my eye out for a stereo preamp haven't found one yet.

I may go straight from a source like my computer or an NEC CD player with gain control to a power amp like the Adcom. But I will probably do initial testing with my Marantz AV7704 and Emotiva XPA-1s because they're hooked up to my Maggies. The straight to my Adcom approach is typically how I test stuff. It keeps things simple and I don't have to mess with stuff in the equipment cabinet and changing settings to bypass Audyessy..

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