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Best Klipsch Set-up for Classic / Jazz music? (Klipschorn AK6/La Scala AL5/Cornwall IV/RF-7 III)


sangbro
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Hello all, 

 

Above all, I'm not familiar with Internet forums, so please inform me if there is anything inappropriate.

And, thank you for your help and advice.

 

Long-story short, I'm now considering having a sound system again. 

More than 10 years ago, after spending years in a rabbit hole of hifi shopping, somehow I lost all interest, so out of trend now.

 

I want to have things as simple as possible this time. Here's what I am looking for.

I'm in SoCal and far from rich, so a listening space is not that big. 

 

- 10' x 15' space or 15' x 15' space available

- Considering Klipschorn AK6/La Scala AL5/Cornwall IV/RF-7 III

- As a modern set-up the closest thing that I know personally is B&W 803 D3.

- More precisely I want something better than B&W 702 S2.

- Side story - B&W's recent Formation Duo was pleasant surprise - This makes me to believe in simplicity.

 

- Little bit warmer sound but crisp details, and depth description especially for piano parts are what I am looking for.

 

- All my music source would be AIFF / WAV files from CD. 

- I will use iPhone/iPad/Mac to store and play songs. - I will stay in this way despite some drawbacks.

 

- This speaker is for strictly Classical Music (Piano) and Jazz. 

- More precisely Artur Rubinstein, Martha Argerich, Richter, Glen Gould, Horowitz / Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck

- Again, focused on Piano sound (which is really tricky...)

 

- I would sincerely appreciate any advice, information or insight from your experience.

- Randomly, I heard that La Scala AL5 might not have enough bass (though I do not expect this weakness would apply to Classic Music / Jazz).

  Still if I need to add subwoofer to compensate the sound, I'm more than willing to go for AK6.

- I want my set-up to be as simple as possible. (not going to go to the rabbit hole again) 

- Simply 2speakers (without woofer, hopefully, if this doesn't make day-and night different) + Music Source

 

- Open for any opinion and advice. 

- If someone has similar tastes in music, please educate me about your other set up. (amp etc, I want to know how other people enjoy their time)

 

- Lastly, if my listening space is too small, please also inform me. - I face this problem when I was dealing with McIntosh. (I need a bigger house to hear the sound I want. :( )

 

 

Again, I really appreciate your thoughts and time.

I want to choose the system that I spend my next 20 years. Thank you.

 

Edited by sangbro
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   I will bite. Your room is small for Klipschorns or La Scalas.

  I use earlier La Scala II’s  with a non-stock tweeter. And a big sealed sub. 

  The AL5 has a upgraded tweeter over the K77, which was the standard for decades. Should be a improvement. Plus heavier top hat construction, audiophile internal wiring, and crossover optimization. Made the excellent LS II better. But the low end still rolls off below 100 HZ. There is bass, and room gain should help to raise the level. Some feel there is plenty without a sub. I was using subs before getting the LS, every speaker benefits from subs. 

  My room is much larger, no subwoofer is no bass. 

  The AK6 is better if sub is not an option. It goes a lot deeper. But requires a corner for both speakers to deliver the bass. 

  Do not know if your have seen the AK6 or AL5. They are huge. I had B&W 801’s and the LS II are a lot larger. 25” x 25” square and 40” tall. With toe in the fronts  are 3 1/2’ off the wall. I have them placed 9” off wall on inside corner and 16” on outside corner. Really crammed against the wall and they still come into the room.

  Mine sound exquisite when playing classical and most jazz. Can sit mesmerized for hours. So relaxing in these difficult times. Wish I could listen more. 

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2 hours ago, sangbro said:

Hello all, 

 

Above all, I'm not familiar with Internet forums, so please inform me if there is anything inappropriate.

And, thank you for your help and advice.

 

Long-story short, I'm now considering having a sound system again. 

More than 10 years ago, after spending years in a rabbit hole of hifi shopping, somehow I lost all interest, so out of trend now.

 

I want to have things as simple as possible this time. Here's what I am looking for.

I'm in SoCal and far from rich, so a listening space is not that big. 

 

- 10' x 15' space or 15' x 15' space available

- Considering Klipschorn AK6/La Scala AL5/Cornwall IV/RF-7 III

- As a modern set-up the closest thing that I know personally is B&W 803 D3.

- More precisely I want something better than B&W 702 S2.

- Side story - B&W's recent Formation Duo was pleasant surprise - This makes me to believe in simplicity.

 

- Little bit warmer sound but crisp details, and depth description especially for piano parts are what I am looking for.

 

- All my music source would be AIFF / WAV files from CD. 

- I will use iPhone/iPad/Mac to store and play songs. - I will stay in this way despite some drawbacks.

 

- This speaker is for strictly Classical Music (Piano) and Jazz. 

- More precisely Artur Rubinstein, Martha Argerich, Richter, Glen Gould, Horowitz / Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck

- Again, focused on Piano sound (which is really tricky...)

 

- I would sincerely appreciate any advice, information or insight from your experience.

- Randomly, I heard that La Scala AL5 might not have enough bass (though I do not expect this weakness would apply to Classic Music / Jazz).

  Still if I need to add subwoofer to compensate the sound, I'm more than willing to go for AK6.

- I want my set-up to be as simple as possible. (not going to go to the rabbit hole again) 

- Simply 2speakers (without woofer, hopefully, if this doesn't make day-and night different) + Music Source

 

- Open for any opinion and advice. 

- If someone has similar tastes in music, please educate me about your other set up. (amp etc, I want to know how other people enjoy their time)

 

- Lastly, if my listening space is too small, please also inform me. - I face this problem when I was dealing with McIntosh. (I need a bigger house to hear the sound I want. :( )

 

 

Again, I really appreciate your thoughts and time.

I want to choose the system that I spend my next 20 years. Thank you.

 

Welcome to the Forum. 

 

Dr./Dr. Larry @LarryC has Klipschorns and I think he had them in a less than 15' apart and they sounded incredible in his room. He listens to almost exclusively to "classical" music and some jazz. He is the resident authority on Classical music here and he can tell you a lot about having them set up in the near field. I think he will tell you, that unless you listen to some serious classical works for the organ, you will not need a sub. The AK6 has improvements and refinements over his pair, even though he has been updating his over the years. Hopefully he will se this.

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I you can wait a little while (1st/2nd quarter 2021), Roy Delgado is supposed to have a new, better looking and more turnkey version of the Jubilee available soon.  These will do what you are wanting to play: accurate and convincing piano, deep double bass and kick drum of bebop jazz, and deep contrabass clarinet/bassoon/BBtuba of classical music.  No other loudspeakers that I know will do this so convincingly and in a small room like you describe.  In the past, the cost of Jubilees with good compression drivers was about that of Klipschorns, so if Khorns are within your budget, the new version Jubilees might also be. 

 

Chris

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Hi Travis (great to hear from you!) and Sangbro,

I have since moved and now have my K-horns in a larger room, more than 15' apart.  The problem with the narrower room was the "sweet spot" was very  close to the the speaker end of the room, somewhat frustrating to some listeners who wanted to sit more in the middle or other end of the room.  The excellent distribution of the K-horn sound field overrode those issues for many, but I and others did feel it was a little suboptimal.

 

In addition to the K's full range horn and room-filling propagation, the sound quality was also due to equipment selection, like the Basis LP and Wadia CD equipment and the tube electronics, especially the Joule Electra pre and OTL amps which are no longer available,  My current equipment is listed in my signature below, some changed since Travis heard it.  Everything in my system has been carefully chosen over the years, with a strong focus on system synergy, and any substitutions would likely produce noticeable steps down.  I'll give special mention to the wire acquisitions, namely Siltech interconnects and Basis speaker wire.  In particular, I replaced my internal K-horn wiring with the little-known Basis speaker wire, for better balance and more musical presentation.  Also ESP Essence power cords, which are especially good with tube preamps.

 

I agree that I don't need a sub, although classical music probably has more naturally balanced sound than non-classical music and movies.  The K-horn has an incredibly seamless quality in transients and propagation, and just the character of the sound, and I would be concerned that the character of the sound would not be as uniform with the addition of non-horn and non-Klipsch drivers.  Again, this may be more or an issue with movies and some non-classical.

 

Although I have religiously updated my K's every time one appeared, The AK-6's were the first time in the long history of K-horns that could not be updated, unfortunately.  So, I am sticking with the very, very satisfactory AK-4s (crossover network and matching treble and MR drivers, new bass bin panel door).

 

 -- Larry

 

 

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19 hours ago, Panelhead said:

   I will bite. Your room is small for Klipschorns or La Scalas.

 

I agree with Panel head. I even think Cornwalls would be too large. Have you considered Forte's or are you looking for a fully horn-loaded speaker?

 

The Heresy is an excellent jazz speaker and the latest version should play low enough for both jazz and classical. Also, its compact size I feel would be more aesthetically compatible with the room sizes you mentioned.

 

Is there a price range you're limited to-the B+W 702 S2 you mentioned is considerably cheaper than LaScala's or Klipschorns so I'm wondering if price has been considered.

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OP:  Welcome

 

I listen almost exclusively to classical music and opera.

 

I’m happy with RF-7II driven by the right tube amps for large-scale classical music and opera.    Synergy between speakers and amp is important.  For my RF-7II, IME/IMO tubes such as 6L6GC are better with string instruments, however solid state is sometimes better with a piano’s sharp attack.

 

If you can accommodate the width of Cornwall IV, I’d seriously consider them, based on reviews I’ve read.  (I’ve never heard them, but I’m intrigued.)

 

I’m not knowledgeable about playing music that is stored on a phone.  (My favorite format is Blu-ray, following by SACD.  I enjoy multi-channel surround-sound.)  What bit depth and sampling rate are your files?   Do you have any “hi-res” files?   Have you considered hi-res recordings?  How will you get the audio from your phone to the amp?   What amp do you have, or are you considering?

 

Are you aware that some vintage recordings have been digitized and remastered from the analog master tapes, and delivered in a hi-res format such as SACD or hi-res download or Pure Audio Blu-ray?  You’ll find remastered recordings for all of the pianists you listed on hdtracks.com.   You can find SACDs and Blu-rays on amazon.com. 

 

Provenance of the recording is extremely important.   For decades-old recordings, the quality of the original recording is the ultimate limiting factor.   A decades-old recording will not have state-of-the-art audio quality – even if it has been remastered.

 

Classical music lovers sometimes must decide which is more important:  performance quality, or audio quality of a recording.  I’m not a music scholar, and I’m not hyper-critical of a performance.  Very often I enjoy modern performances of classical music.   However, I have no tolerance for poor audio quality.  I therefore often choose modern performances of classical music that were recorded in hi-res.

   

Do you listen to any pianists who have recorded in the last dozen years or so?   There is a wealth of modern classical performances that were recorded and mastered in hi-res (i.e., 24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD), and delivered in a hi-res format (e.g., Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, hi-res download).

  

Blu-ray delivers high-definition video, in addition to hi-res audio.    (Usually – but not always – Blu-ray discs include both DTS-HD MA 5.1 and stereo tracks.)  Here’s a few Blu-rays that might interest you.   (I don’t own any of these, so I can’t comment on their quality.)

 

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The audio quality of your hi-fi will never be better than the audio quality of the recording.  Garbage-in/garbage-out.

  

High-end Klipsch will reveal any harshness in the recording, and any harshness in the DAC and amp.  I suggest that you consider all factors that affect audio quality – not just the speakers.

 

Good luck, and please let us know your results.

 

P.S.  You asked about the hi-fi systems that classical music lovers use.   Following are my current configurations.

 

TV room:  Main front left & right speakers are Klipsch Palladium P-37F.   Center:  Klipsch RC-64III.   Single rear:  Klipsch RP-502S.   Subwoofer:  Klipsch P-312W.  The source is an Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACD, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings.  I generally use vintage tube amps for music:   Scott 399, McIntosh MC225, Fisher X-1000, Scott 299C, McIntosh MX110Z / McIntosh MC240.  I use solid-state amps for movies (and summertime):   NAD C375BEE, and an NAD D 3045.    A patch panel (banana plugs) allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and Niles AXP-1 RCA selector switches connect the Oppo to the amp.   HDTV is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 to play audio from broadcast TV via the hi-fi.  Chromecast Audio is connected via analog audio to the NAD C375BEE for internet radio.

 

Basement:  Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II.  A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7.   Subwoofers:  SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW.  Source:  Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings.  Amps: Scott 272, Inspire “Fire Bottle” SE Stereo Tube Amplifier HO, Scott 222C, Fisher KX-200, Scott 296, Pilot SA-260, Scott LK150, Altec 353A, Kenwood KR-9050.   (This system also has a Schiit Loki tone-control.  I can connect the power amps direct to the Oppo, or insert the Loki.)  A patch panel allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo, and a power amp to the Loki if I choose to do so.   Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 for internet radio.

 

Living room:  Stereo speakers are Snell Type CV.   Center:  Klipsch RC-64III.   Single rear:  RP-502S.   Subwoofer:  Klipsch P-312W.  The source components are Oppo BDP-95 for playing Blu-ray, SACDs, and CDs (and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings), and Dual 1249 with Stanton 681EE equipped with a new Shibata stylus.  Amps include a pair of McIntosh MC30s, Scott 296, McIntosh MX110Z / McIntosh MC275, a pair of Pilot HF-56 mono receivers, an NAD pre-amp and Acurus A250 power-amp for movies, and a McIntosh 2155 driving JBL L830s in the kitchen / dining room.   A patch panel (banana plugs) allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and a F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo.   Chromecast Audio is connected via analog audio to the NAD pre-amp for internet radio.

 

Bedroom:  Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch WF-35.  SVS SB-2000 Pro subwoofer.   Source is an Oppo BDP-105 for playing Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings.  Fisher 500C drives the left & right speakers.  Fisher TA 500 (AM/FM mono receiver) drives the center speaker.  Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the BDP-105 for internet radio.

 

Office: Stereo speakers are JBL L880.  Sources:   Oppo DV-980H SACD/CD/DVD, and my Windows 10 laptop with Music Streamer II DAC.  Amps: Fisher 800B, Scott 299B, and an NAD D 3020 for general internet use (and summertime).   

 

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Hello and welcome.

 

As others have noted the size of your room may indicate the use of smaller speakers such as Heresys or Fortes. I live in a cape style house with small rooms so I can't use large speakers.

 
I listen every night to a pair of Heresy III's driven by a low watt tube amplifier and I don't listen casually, I focus. I listen mainly to small "straight ahead jazz" combos and a fair amount of baroque chamber music and some symphonic stuff as well and it all sounds wonderful with Heresys and tubes. I'm not as much of an audiophile as I am a musicophile so gear is not really as important to me as is the sound of the music.

 

I'm retired now but I played drums in a cocktail jazz piano trio for years and presently I go to Boston Ballet performances frequently and to a lot of musical theatre as well, so I know what real live music sounds like. I own two sets of Heresys and a pair of Fortes that I've been listening to now for over forty years and they always deliver the music that I crave.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

All three would work for you, LS, CW, Heresy 1-4

 

Vocals, LS is the clear winner. Piano is full scale, so you will want an EQ or tone controls to play with to match your ears. Thick rug in the middle of the room.

 

Piano, ensure the slew rate and damping are excellent along with headroom, since the amp goes from zero to wide open on every hard strike. Also ensure the amp is rated up to the 80-100khz range.

 

For rise and fall, the LS is the fastest speaker, fully horn loaded. Piano sounds great on mine.

 

LaScalla will be almost all of the voice energy on the mid horn, avoiding cross overs

If you can get the LS 4-6 in off the floor, the mid will be at ear level sitting.

A good 20W Class A amp is all you need

 

Cornwalls, same thing with some voice energy going to the woofer. 20W

 

Heresy's on  top of coffee tables are great, just have to turn up the Bass a bit. 20W

 

For your room, the Heresys may be the best pick, I have a pair in a similar size room on coffee tables, sound great. Same mid driver as LaScalas on the older versions, not sure what they are doing today.

 

K=horns too big and too tall, the mids are over your head, if you had a large room, high cathedral ceiling, and you are 20ft  away, great.

 

 

Bottom line

10-15 year old 75-100W used Yamaha, Harmon, or pioneer Elite THX AB amp, surround amp with room EQ mic and digital inputs may be killer for your application and can be had for $150 or less. Check the specs and read the reviews. I see them all the time for sale. Were in the $500-1000 range new. Built in DACS are great in many cases. Turn off all the surround stuff and you have a great integrated amp with build in DAC and EQ and a remote control.  They are so affordable, you can score 3-5 of them and see which your ears like better, I have a bunch of them I have scored for $20 or less, some sold for near $1k new in 2000 and have killer fm tuners built in. Every amp has a personality.

 

Would also suggest for your first Klipsch, score a pair of used Heresys before throwing down for CW, LS or K-horns. $400-900 range depending on age all versions are great if working properly, 1 or 2 should be recapped or new crossovers from crites.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm pretty much with Randy.  

 

There was a writer for a big automobile magazine long ago.  He wrote that people ask him (he being an 'expert')  what car they should buy.  He said he tells them Honda.  He explained that this was because with a Honda the person would least likely to come back and say they're unhappy even though it even though there might be better cars for their specific, and unpredicatble, situation and price point.

 

You can't go wrong with a CW variation.  

 

If you can find them on the used market, the Forte II, Quartet, and Chorus II are magnificent.  Good bass with the passive raditor and the terrific tractrix midrange horn.

 

WMcD

 

 

A

 

 

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