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Help Needed: Klipschorns with Harsh Distortion

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11 hours ago, Mighty McIntosh said:


I looked up what L-pads are, and I am intrigued, b/c it looks like these regulate -- impedance? -- do I have that right? One measure so far that made a significant impact was changing from 4 ohms to the 8 ohm taps: BIG improvement from washy to focused sound. Is it possible L-pads could tame mid frequencies in the 1500-4000 Hz range?

L-pads keep the impedance the same. They are nothing more than two resistors and will not significantly affect the sound any more than wire with some resistance. Some say you can hear a difference with monster cables instead of 18 gauge wire but I am not one of those. There are many excellent speakers that include adjustable L-pads with their speakers. Cost very little to try. I expect Klipsch has to use now use discrete L-pads in their crossovers since they abandoned the autotransformer. Discrete L-pads are the way you attenuate speakers or drivers where the have they same volume.  Some do not like an adjustable L-pad but the pot that does it is in the real world very insignificant. 


You cannot change the taps on an AA network. Technically you can but it is a no no sonically. You need ALK crossovers to change taps. He uses a resistor in parallel with the autotransformer to enable changing taps. 

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Just curious, did you have the same problem with the old crossovers? There are many they do not like the sonicaps that Bob uses. Never used them myself so no opinion. Caps used is a very subjective thing. This board has opinions all over the place. I will tell you what I like after much experimenting if you PM me. I do not want to go down the road of caps in an open setting. What you are describing as harsh may be considered as just too bright by many. L-pads are good at taming that problem. https://www.parts-express.com/speaker-l-pad-attenuator-50w-mono-3-8-shaft-16-ohm--260-254  The mid driver is considered a 16 ohm in a K-horn. 

Edited by henry4841
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The more research I do, the more convinced I am that (a) in a suitable room I would love the Klipschorns and be a devotee, and (b) I don't have a suitable room, which is ruining the Klipschorn sound. Time and again I read posts that either extol or lambaste the midrange of vintage Klipsch speakers. In my Heresies I love the forwardness; the music sounds live rather than recessed. In the Khorns (which I believe are functioning perfectly well) the forwardness -- in my room -- is maniacal. When I listen to the Khorns, I feel on edge. When I listen to the Heresies, my whole body both relaxes and perks up, and I become absorbed in the thrill and emotion of the music. (Talk about psycho-acoustics! And I'm a therapist.)


I've been reflecting on the excitement I felt when my father offered me these Khorns. On the one hand, it felt good to be given an heirloom, and stereo sound has been a warm father-son theme for me. The selfish part of me, though, thought: Oh, man! The Klipschorns will be just like the Heresies, only BIGGER, and with that last measure of missing bass!


Having recently hooked the Heresies back up to my primary system in place of the Khorns, I am appreciating them anew. My relationship with the Klipsch Heresy was love at first listen, and back in the early 1980s I manipulated family and friends into contributing enough for me to buy them for me for my birthday. The fact is, I now realize that my listening hopes for the Khorns were simple: I just hoped they would be as good as my Heresies with full bass extension. Alas, in the house I have, the Khorns are not at all as good as the Heresies. The Heresies are tight and musical, with a surprisingly vivid soundstage. The Khorns (in such a cramped and reflective environment) are all over the place. By way of analogy (if you're a cat lover): it is brash but endearing for a pet house cat to jump up on a table; it's an out-of-control mess when a pet cheetah jumps onto the table (as in a scene from the film Duma).


I am going to sell the Klipschorns. I have discussed this with my father, who is completely understanding. His hope now is that I can sell the Khorns and get myself a speaker system that I will really love. What I will love is my Heresies with more bass extension, which, I have recently learned, is a dream that can become true by adding good subwoofers. (So far looking at the Rythmik L12, or possibly SVS SB-1000.)


So, finally, I turn to you, the Klipsch hive-mind, for advice on selling them. There are pics of them in the OP, and the only difference between the condition shown in those photos and now is that both speakers now have brand new Crites AA crossovers. How much should I ask for? Where should I try to sell them (eBay, Craigslist, AudioMart...)? Is anyone here interested in them? (I live in the Pioneer Valley, Western Massachusetts.)...

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@Mighty McIntosh,


I'd try an Lpad on at least one Khorn, as a one, last ditch, effort.


Is there a way to wire it so it just turns down the K55 midrange, and leaves the Tweeter alone?  Contrary to many opinions, I think the K77 Tweeter can sound "sweet," but sometimes  gets blamed when either the K55 or the recording is to blame. 

The red trace below is the K77 in a Klipschorn.  This seems to be with 1/12 smoothing (???) which is quite stringent:

[ graph from outside source vanished !]


Here is what the K77s look like in Klipschorns in my room: 


As you can see, they cross the line at 12.44K Hz, and are down about 5 dB at 17K+.   Up to 12K they sound sweet, a little "zingy" (sorry for the technical jargon), but very pleasant, and sweet.


My K55X midranges in K401 horns (same as K400, but made out of a different material; Klipsch says, "slightly lower distortion) have a peak at 500Hz to 675Hz ("tuning A" is at 440 Hz) that I don't particularly like, but Audyssey gets rid of that. 


My guess, having heard K55Vs/K400 almost every day for 23 years, and K55Xs/K401 nearly every day for 15 years, and having played in various orchestras for 7 years, and eaten my lunch in front of one rehearsing for about 20 years, I'd say that a reduction of the K55 level by about 5 dB ought to be worth a try.  If you restrict your music to the well recorded, you might not need even that.  Reportedly, using REW very thoroughly can be better than Audyssey, with at least 3 microphone positions, in the right hands, but those hands are not mine -- I'm too happy with my system as it is to muster the energy. 


If you ever use room correction, it should be full range, given that your problems are where they are, as opposed to below Schroeder, as are some.  Full Range Dirac could also be good.


One Last Thing.  Some people have found that turning up the bass helps counteract harshness -- a matter of balance.  Too many recordings have the midrange boosted.



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1 hour ago, garyrc said:

@Mighty McIntosh,


I'd try an Lpad on at least one Khorn, as a one, last ditch, effort.


Is there a way to wire it so it just turns down the K55 midrange, and leaves the Tweeter alone?


Yes, there is.  Get a 16 ohm L-pad and put it between the squawker driver and the squawker terminals on the crossover.


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I had my Klipschorns on a short wall (13 feet apart) and they sounded very good. However, I did build false corners for them so I could turn them in a bit and also to get a better seal. That radiator is a non-starter.


Loosen each midrange driver a bit and tighten again. If there is not a good seal between the driver and the horn, this will create a problem.


This really does sound like you need to get your K-55's tested to make sure the diaphragms are good. I mean, they're almost 50 years old. OTOH, by the time you ship, test, and have the diaphragms replaced, you may have wished you had just bought new ones -- they are not terribly expensive.




I wouldn't give up on them yet. 

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Well, my father still loves me, but I sense many of you are disappointed in me. I hang my head in Heretical shame.


You guys have been very helpful, so you will have first crack at these Klipschorns. In the next few days I will list them for sale, probably on U.S. Audio Mart and possibly Craigslist. I've looked up recent sales of Khorns of 1970s vintage. The prices on eBay ($3,500 and up) seem a little high. On U.S. Audio Mart a 1979 pair with consecutive serials and all original parts, condition rating 7 of 10, just sold in April for $2,800. Because I've just added new Crites AA crossovers, I am going to list my 1976 pair (serials 8P392, 8P393) for $2,900. I am going to guarantee to the buyer that the K-55-V and K-77 diaphragms are functioning reasonably up to spec given their age, and if the buyer sends me evidence (e.g. tests) that shows any of them are substandard, I myself will purchase, as needed, one, two, three, or four new diaphragms (same model) from Bob Crites (up to $120 plus $90, if all four), and have them shipped directly to the buyer.


But I'm not offering that to you.


Instead, as a gesture of my appreciation, to anyone who is already (as of this post) a member of this forum, I will simply take 15% ($435) off up front: Klipschorns for $2,465.


Obviously, this is going to be a pick-up-only sale. I live in Easthampton, Massachusetts.

Edited by Mighty McIntosh
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