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Newbie with La Scalas


w30bob
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Hi Guys,

 

  Neat forum you have here.  I've been lurking and did a lot of reading for the past couple of weeks, as I had my sights on a minty pair of K-horns that would look nice in my system.  But communications with the gal selling them was going too slow, so I ended up buying a nice set of La Scalas today that were much closer (and cheaper).  I paid $2000 for the pair, which I realize isn't a bargain, but I'm a bit off the beaten path and they don't show up for sale often.  I may still pickup the K-horns, but I'm not holding my breath.  I'm currently running a pair of big Apogee Duetta II's with subs, but have always wanted to check out the Klipsch side of the house.  Guess it's that time!

 

  So now that I'm "in the family" I've got some questions.  And I'll have a lot more as I get into this.  First, the LS's I got were made in 1992 and they're sequential (not that that makes any difference).  The finish is "LS BIR RAW #17 Grill".  I've been to the decoder post, which is great....so thanks for that!  I got them from the original owner's daughter and they're in pretty good shape.  No mods and the AL-3 crossovers are unmolested.  Overall a nice set of LS's, but not showroom perfect.....which is fine, I like things with history.  I understand about the crossovers needing attention, and will get to that shortly......but first I want to get the cabinets sorted out and as nice as I can make them while keeping them original.  

 

  My first question is............where in this forum are the cabinet restoration posts?  I looked around quickly but didn't see any....which seems odd.  Are they in one place or scattered thru the different headings?  Right now I'm specifically looking for all the wisdom regarding maintaining and repairing original finishes, etc.  Can someone point me in the right direction?

 

  My second question relates to the cabinet finish.  So I understand it's coded as raw birch, which it is, but it's got a sealer on it.....it's not really "raw" as in untreated wood, just not stained.  So is the sealer a polyurethane or something else? I fully intend to save the original finish, just want to know what it is I'm dealing with.  I've got one faint water ring on the top of one cabinet.........looks like the size of a planter base........and I want to see if I can save the top surface without sanding it down and refinishing.  I'd expect folks on here have dealt with that sort of thing and might have some insight.

 

  My third question.........does anyone repop the serial number plates/stickers?  Mine are pretty heavily worn/faded and it's tough to read the SN and cabinet code.  If they keep deteriorating they won't be very readable going forward.  If someone repops them I would simply put the old ones in a bag and tape it to the back of each speaker for originality sake.  

 

  Ok, I'll stop at 3 questions, as I don't want to wear out my welcome before I even get here.  I look forward to chatting with you folks.

 

thanks,

bob

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@w30bob,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

Congrats on the La Scalas.  

 

On 9/19/2021 at 1:34 AM, w30bob said:

So I understand it's coded as raw birch, which it is, but it's got a sealer on it.....it's not really "raw" as in untreated wood, just not stained.  So is the sealer a polyurethane or something else?

The previous owner most likely clear coated them with a poly but of course can't verify that myself.  Maybe post some photos so others can help you out there.

 

On 9/19/2021 at 1:34 AM, w30bob said:

I've got one faint water ring on the top of one cabinet.........looks like the size of a planter base.

Bummer, I hate when folks do that.

 

On 9/19/2021 at 1:34 AM, w30bob said:

I want to see if I can save the top surface without sanding it down and refinishing.  I'd expect folks on here have dealt with that sort of thing and might have some insight.

You should get plenty of responses about this and how to.

 

 

Bill

 

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If they have been clear coated you will have to lightly sand that off to repair water stain. Pics would help a lot. Another option is to get smoked glass tops made and just ignore the stain. 

If it was lacquered you would be in luck then cause the stain would be in the finish and not the wood. But Poly will have to be sanded.  

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If the Poly is a mat finish

I would just ignore it

If you want to veneer them or oil them then it has to come off

As stated above, smoked glass tops with rounded edges and corners are mandatory

Someone will always put a cold can or plant on the top when you are not watching

 

As stated, take pics of everything inc the drivers and post them

 

I put mine up on 3 inch casters from IKEA

placing the mid driver at ear level

and allowing me to roll them out

for cleaning or maintenance

 

As to the $2,000 everything is moving up

which appears to be accelerating

be glad you have them

 

PS Put a general location in your avatar

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Congrats on your La Scalas, and welcome to the Forum!

 

I wouldn’t worry about your crossovers for the time being.  1992 is not new, but not ancient either.  It would be a good idea to listen to your speakers for a few months without changing anything, so you get completely familiar with their sound.  Then, when you do decide to change something, you’ll be better able to decide if you made an improvement, or just a difference.

 

As for the water spot, I’d try gentle rubbing, with a very slightly damp cloth.  My dad once left a cold drippy pop can on the top of one of my 1974 Birch Black La Scalas.  I wasn’t pleased, but I got to work, and in about half and hour the round mark was gone.  The can had been there for less than 24 hours, which may have helped. 

 

In a few months, it would be good to consider getting new capacitors for your crossovers.  The rest of the parts seem to last indefinitely.  While you’re shopping, better tweeters are available.  Crites is the most popular place to get update parts (they’re very knowledgeable about Klipsch speakers, because that’s their specialty, and they’re friendly and helpful, too).  There’s another site for caps that Randy knows well and will probably mention.  Now that I think about it, my 1974 Scalas were 32 years old when I got them, and yours are 29 years old, so new caps will improve the sound.

 

At that time (2006), I tested the 32-year-old K77 tweeters for output, using a Radio Shack sound level meter, and found a 2-3 dB imbalance between them.  I figured that couldn’t be good, so I ordered a pair of Crites CT125 tweeters when I ordered the capacitor kits, which also come with little plastic saddles and zip-ties.  Wanting to know which upgrade did what to the sound, I changed the caps first, and was quite pleased with the improved power and clarity.  A few days later, after I got a bit familiar with the sound, in went the new tweeters.  Once again, clearly improved sound.  BTW, the output difference with the Crites tweeters was only about 1/2 dB.  It was also a bit lower than the output of the K-77s, for an impression of stronger bass. Now they also have have CT120 tweeters, which are said to be even better than the CT125s.

 

Those two updates should make your good speakers sound better.  After that, the mods/updates/upgrades start getting more complicated and more expensive.  I’d stay away from that particular rabbit hole for a long time, maybe years.

 

Happy listening!

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My 2 cents...which may just be what it's worth. Attend to the finish. Set them up and listen. For a year. Then decide if they need help or not.

 

I know squat. Other than rushing into changes you can easily miss what you seek. Enjoy.

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What he said ^^^^^^^^!  Take your time and listen to them.  I have a pair of '81 RB LS that I've gone over.  New xovers and Crites 120 tweeters.  Tweeter check?  Throw on Queen's "Bicycle" and listen for the bell on the bike to ring.  No ringy, no tweeters or use any other song you have w/a distinctive isolated high end.  Formulate a game plan over time and do your research then save your money.  Easy peasy is the way I built mine.  THINK EVERY thing thru and chill while you enjoy.  You'll hear improvements with every step you'll take.  Figure out what YOU want to do and stick around in here.  These guys in here KNOW what they're talking about so gleen from their comments and make your decisions but most of all stick to your game plan.  Just my $.02 worth.  Good luck and welcome to the forum!  Oh yea, pictures ALWAYS help!  :)

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Hi Guys!

 

  Thanks for the replies.  I agree with all of you, am going to take my time and not screw anything up that can't be undone because I'm uninformed.  I've been in the 'collecting' hobby long enough to know not to mess with what's original until you fully understand what you're doing......and at this point I don't.  I will get pics up ASAP, I just need to get them to a place that isn't so messy........I wouldn't want you guys thinking badly of me (wink, wink).  

 

  I did make sure the check all 6 drivers when I went to see them.  Everything works.  Can't say how well, but both tweeters tweet, the mids mid and the woofers woof.  I had one small issue that I had to take care of before I bring them into the room that has my primary system.   And that was I found a cat had pee'd on the bottom of one of them.  Didn't catch the odor in the guy's basement who was selling them, but when I brought them into my house.....OMG!  So I did a bit of research on how to neutralize cat pee on wood.  Very interesting stuff, if you're so inclined.  Seems it's an age old problem with the usual ton of solutions listed online.  I have fully 100% eradicated the cat urine, but learned a lot in the past few days.  I should probably put the info in a separate post.......to save anyone else from having the try 50,000 things that don't work.  In the end I did find 2 things that work......well one that works 100% and one that works like 80%....depending on how good your nose is.  All the rest of the home remedies online for dealing with pee on hardwood floors, like vinegar, vinegar and baking soda, Murphy's, etc, flat out don't work.  To be fair it's really a function of the strength of the particular cat's urine.......but the one that got my speaker must have been a super-pee'r.  Long story short the stuff called 'Angry Orange' works.  Period.  Quickly and easily.  I had to pop off the bottom cover of the doghouse to make sure I got it all, but other than dealing with a few stubborn screws with worn heads........that was easy peasy.  Luckily the cat somehow managed to pee on the bottom cover piece of plywood only, and none got inside the front of the doghouse.  I kind of wanted to see what the woofer looked like anyway........so I killed two birds. 

 

Now that the world's most disgusting smell has been eliminated I'll move them into my main system, maybe this weekend, and get you guys some pics.  So hang tight and I'll get on that ASAP.  Now, just so I'm clear on the Raw Birch finish.........are you telling me that when new the wood was literally left raw........no sealer or anything.......just real raw wood?  The kind that gets dirty just by looking at it?  Is that how they really came?  Or were they just not stained any color and cleared over with something?  Again, just want to know what they started life as and then I can go from there. 

 

Thanks again for all your replies.  Looking forward to picking your brains on this stuff!!  Oh.......I have spent some time on Crites website familiarizing myself with his upgrades.  It all sounds good, but I got a lot to learn before moving in any direction.  Hmmm..........I guess I can upload the pics from the original listing to give you guys something to gnaw on until I can get some better ones up.  Ok, will try that.

 

thanks,

bob 

My La Scala 1.jpg

My La Scala 2.jpg

My La Scala 3.jpg

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Hi Guys,

 

  Yeah, I didn't think $2k was out of the park.  There's a few nicks here and there, but the grill cloth is perfect.......the white stuff you see in the pic is just dust.....but I would have liked the casters the Industrials come with.  The few La Scalas I've seen for sale near me (I'm in Maryland and don't know how to add that to my avatar) seem to all start out around $2500 and then sit for half a year or so before the price drops to $2000.  There's a pair of black Industrials up the road (not splits, just black painted wood) of 80's vintage that have been sitting at $2K for some time now.  Others I've seen on Ebay and Marketplace start out higher, but I assume don't sell.  It's a game.....so you never know.  But I think the stories I've read on here about finding them at church auctions for cheap or in a dumpster for free are all in the past.  But you never know.............

 

  I've got another question for you.  What are a pair of minty K-Horns worth today.  And I mean minty.  White oak with black grills......not a mark on them.  80's vintage with untouched drivers and crossovers.  All the posts about pricing I've found on here are 10 years old or older.........so not really relevant.  So what's the going rate today?  I realize there is no one price, and it's whatever someone is willing to pay for them.......but what's a good ballpark $$$?

 

thanks again,

bob

 

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2 minutes ago, babadono said:

  @w30bob

My raw birch La Scalas came raw. No anything on the birch veneered plywood. This was back in 1977. They got oiled with "Swedish Oil" which was like the present day Watco Danish oil. They have been re oiled a few times in the 40+ years. Still look Ok @Westcoastdrums ?

I wouldn't know unless you sold them to me. I would have to have them in just the right light to say for sure 🍻.  Once I get the first watt hooked up and if I like it, you'll have to come on down. 

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Welcome to the forum. There is alot of knowledge you can gain here.

 

I'll put my 1 cent in here. 

  • Don't worry about the finish for the time being
  • Listen for awhile and determine what you like and don't like about the speakers. Those speakers have alot of potential
  • There are many options to improve the sound, some inexpensive some expensive.
    • Wrapping the cast aluminum mid-range horn with automotive sound proofing is the least expensive upgrade. 
    • Replacing the Caps on your crossovers is not expensive
    • Upgrading the K77 tweeter to a DE-120 drivered tweeter.
    • Replacing cast mid horn with wood horn and 2" driver
    • Replacing Crossovers, several options available.
    • Room Treatments
  • Is your current amplifier a good match for the speakers?
  • Older Kiipsch speakers used to use Monster cable which can corrode after some years. You can buy a 50' roll of 14ga OFC speaker wire on Amazon fairly cheap.

A new pair of Lascalas are around $12,000. 2 is not bad.

 

Ask alot of questions, I did.

 

Rick

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ See what I meant about a rabbit hole?  ^^^^^^^^^^^

 

 

BTW, the mid driver is called the squawker.  Woofer, squawker, tweeter.  That term isn’t widely used anymore, for reasons I don’t understand, but it’s still used happily among Klipsch fans.

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