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New Guy - 1983 Heresy I


Wayne Ingraham
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Hey All,

 

One of my friends recently was cleaning out her house and offered me her Klipsch Heresy I speakers. She had moved them out into a covered (but non-enclosed) garage. They sat out there for a few weeks being exposed to the elements. I was saddened to see them out there and assumed they wouldn't play great, but much to my surprise, they sound AMAZING.

 

The paper labels on the back aren't complete, but they seem to show the same serial numbers as stamped on the back 169Y942 and 169Y942. Using the decoder, it looks like these are from 1983. They also have "USA" and "K" stamped independently on the back as well. The USA seems obvious, but not sure what the K is (I gather it might be the employee who put it together), but any information would be appreciated.

 

The outer layer is a bit rough (not a patina worth preserving), but a very light sanding reveals an absolutely beautiful wood veneer (with a few dings that will still tell it's story), which I hope to apply an oil/stain/varnish to and bring it back to a nice finish.

 

I currently have them in my office (creative space with hardwood and exposed beams) and hope to keep them there as they really make the space fun and relaxed.

 

Anyways, excited as these are the best speakers I've ever heard (and now own), so I'm pretty stoked. I've only played flac through them with 2 mp3s (to hear the difference) and I already feel spoiled with how good they sound.

 

- Wayne

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1 hour ago, Wayne Ingraham said:

 I already feel spoiled with how good they sound.

 

Heresy speakers are true sleepers , you look at the speaker , you go , yeah , should sound ok    , but the moment you power them on , it's like WOW.........WTH , yep , works everytime :D

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4 hours ago, CWelsh said:

Welcome to the forums. Sounds like you stumbled on to a fantastic find! You're going to have a lot of fun restoring and enjoying your new toys.

Thank you @CWelsh. My friend said they were high end speakers and was planning on selling them when she was cleaning things out (so not sure why she left them outside), but said I could have them when I showed interest in them as I got her a few nice gifts and she said she wouldn't feel right charging me for them. I definitely plan on taking some photos of the before/afters and posting them here.

 

3 hours ago, RandyH said:

Heresy speakers are true sleepers , you look at the speaker , you go , yeah , should sound ok    , but the moment you power them on , it's like WOW.........WTH , yep , works everytime :D

You're totally right @RandyH. Without ever specifically hearing a Klipsch/Heresy I speaker before (that I know of) and given the wood veneer's condition, I didn't have high expectations. Soon as I started playing the first song (Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega), I think my jaw literally dropped open. It was definitely a WOW...WTH moment.

 

36 minutes ago, AndreG. said:

We like pictures of new arrivals. 😉 (The Heresys that is.)

Also, there is a thread for Heresy owners, if You' re interested:

 

And welcome to the Forum!

 

Thanks @AndreG. for the welcome, glad to be on here and thank you for the suggestion of the heresy owners group, I will absolutely get some better pictures (my office was too dark to see the detail even with the lights all on) and post in there. I'm excited too. The little bit of sanding I did made a huge difference already, so it will likely be cool for people who enjoy seeing old things given a new life, like I do.

 

Attaching photos of both one of the untouched tops and the other one where I did some (partial) light sanding to reveal the beautiful grain underneath.

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Congratulations! Heresys are awesome, we are all glad that you saved them from the carport. I own five Heresys. One pair is from ‘83 like yours. I Use that pair for a two channel, mostly vinyl, tube amp set up. We are still waiting for pictures of yours, and most of us will only be too happy to share cleaning & finishing ideas. Oh, and you are correct, the K is the builder’s initial. I’m sure someone will know who that was. 

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PXL_20211117_214247289.thumb.jpg.0677b3a1a043d22706084f4b5cc24bc6.jpgPXL_20211117_214303165.thumb.jpg.063b637256cbf842530fe04d04534fda.jpg

8 hours ago, M_Klipsches said:

Congratulations! Heresys are awesome, we are all glad that you saved them from the carport.

Agreed and thanks, so happy I can hopefully give them a good home where they will sing again.

 

8 hours ago, M_Klipsches said:

I own five Heresys. One pair is from ‘83 like yours. I Use that pair for a two channel, mostly vinyl, tube amp set up.

Bad ***. While I have DJ'd as a hobby (mostly for friends and nonprofits I'm connected to), it's been with speakers that would get me laughed out of here. That said, these speakers have shown me I am a complete noob. So forgive my ignorance, how are tube amps? Do they add much to the quality of sound or is it more of a purist thing (or combo)? If the latter, I totally get it. I have an old mustang (66') and love to listen to music from the 60s in it. Not exclusively, but it's fun as it transports you (mentally) to what might have been playing on the radio when someone bought the car new. Either way I'm curious.

 

8 hours ago, M_Klipsches said:

We are still waiting for pictures of yours, and most of us will only be too happy to share cleaning & finishing ideas.

 

Right on, I'm attaching a few pics I took today, mainly of it's condition (I'll try to do some glamour 'before' pictures more properly later). Any help identifying what wood the veneer is and/or any suggestions in making it look close to as good as it sounds is appreciated.

 

8 hours ago, M_Klipsches said:

Oh, and you are correct, the K is the builder’s initial. I’m sure someone will know who that was. 

 

Sweet. That's one step closer to learning the story of 'these' speakers. Which, honestly I'm finding is super cool. Not often do you get to learn much about a 'product' that is almost as old as I am. Definitely gives you a pride of ownership.

Edited by Wayne Ingraham
Left a line in by accident, removed it, now the images I attached are gone.
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Welcome to the forums! Those look pretty good. I have a pair of Heresy IIs. Slightly newer than yours. They are satin black. My older son gave them to me over 15 years ago. I love them! They are currently replacing a pIr of beater LA Scalas I am delivering to the same son. I have extra parts and speakers in the room at the moment (little to big speakers...)

 

 

 

20211117_223113~2.jpg

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They cant have same serial #. Look on the edge should be stamped into the wood. If there is a A on them Andy  [hdbr] from here built them I think. A little sanding and rub down with Watco refurbishing oil will make them look great. You can update the crossovers with parts from Crites or JEM. I would reinforce the back panel by putting a slightly smaller layer of plywood on the inside.  They look like walnut. Hand sand with 220 just a little to clean them up then put the oil on them. 

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4 hours ago, ricktate said:

They cant have same serial #. Look on the edge should be stamped into the wood. If there is a A on them Andy  [hdbr] from here built them I think. A little sanding and rub down with Watco refurbishing oil will make them look great. You can update the crossovers with parts from Crites or JEM. I would reinforce the back panel by putting a slightly smaller layer of plywood on the inside.  They look like walnut. Hand sand with 220 just a little to clean them up then put the oil on them. 

I agree with you. The veneer has a nice 'patina'. Some (minor) sanding, oil and beewas will bring back the glorious shine.

If the grille is missing, one can easily diy new grilles with new speaker cloth and even add klipsch logo.

 

8 hours ago, Wayne Ingraham said:

Agreed and thanks, so happy I can hopefully give them a good home where they will sing again.

In my case, they've become the crucial part my 'reference system' = turntable + tube amp + Heresy originals

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18 hours ago, Wayne Ingraham said:

PXL_20211117_214247289.thumb.jpg.0677b3a1a043d22706084f4b5cc24bc6.jpgPXL_20211117_214303165.thumb.jpg.063b637256cbf842530fe04d04534fda.jpg

Agreed and thanks, so happy I can hopefully give them a good home where they will sing again.

 

Bad ***. While I have DJ'd as a hobby (mostly for friends and nonprofits I'm connected to), it's been with speakers that would get me laughed out of here. That said, these speakers have shown me I am a complete noob. So forgive my ignorance, how are tube amps? Do they add much to the quality of sound or is it more of a purist thing (or combo)? If the latter, I totally get it. I have an old mustang (66') and love to listen to music from the 60s in it. Not exclusively, but it's fun as it transports you (mentally) to what might have been playing on the radio when someone bought the car new. Either way I'm curious.

 

 

Right on, I'm attaching a few pics I took today, mainly of it's condition (I'll try to do some glamour 'before' pictures more properly later). Any help identifying what wood the veneer is and/or any suggestions in making it look close to as good as it sounds is appreciated.

 

 

Sweet. That's one step closer to learning the story of 'these' speakers. Which, honestly I'm finding is super cool. Not often do you get to learn much about a 'product' that is almost as old as I am. Definitely gives you a pride of ownership.

Nice! Those look like walnut?  Be careful with the sanding I’d recommend 0000 steel wool at first maybe a little light mineral spirits just to clear the top layer. Honestly, go easy, that veneer is thin.
The tubes & vinyl for me, honestly, are just a “purist thing” as you say. It’s how music used to be heard. Hell, back in the early eighties, to me, a decent turntable, 35W/Ch Tube Amp & Heresys would have been a dream set up. (Ok, it was La Scalas & a 100 W/Ch Yamaha pre-Amp & Power Amp, but still…) Good luck with those Heresys, don’t let others talk you into changing them too much, at least not for a while. Listen to em for a bit. 
here is a pic of my HBR ‘83s, yours are a nicer finish than mine.

23D7539F-97B4-4273-A23D-0F36481D7C76.jpeg

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22 hours ago, Marvel said:

Welcomplacyee to the forums! Those look pretty good. I. Have a pair of Heresy IIs. Slightly newer than yours. They are satin black. My older son gave them to me over 15 years ago. I love them! They are currently replacing a pIr of beater LA Scalas I am delivering to the same son. I have extra parts and speakers in the room at the moment (little to big speakers...)

 

 

 

20211117_223113~2.jpg

 

Hey, don’t scare off the new guy with your giant speakers!  We’re supposed to break him in gently, so he gets used to the concept gradually.

 

Wayne, those huge wedge-shaped boxes, yeah, uh, boxes is what they are, uh, they’re storage bins for, uh, I forget, but they’re not speakers!  We won’t let you get seduced into buying ever-larger speakers.  Okay, yes we will.  I can’t help myself anymore.

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On 11/18/2021 at 2:51 AM, Marvel said:

Welcome to the forums! Those look pretty good. I have a pair of Heresy IIs. Slightly newer than yours. They are satin black. My older son gave them to me over 15 years ago. I love them! They are currently replacing a pIr of beater LA Scalas I am delivering to the same son. I have extra parts and speakers in the room at the moment (little to big speakers...)

Thanks @Marvel and great set up! The big ones look like they put out some sound.

 

On 11/18/2021 at 4:40 AM, ricktate said:

They cant have same serial #. Look on the edge should be stamped into the wood.

You are absolutely correct, I made a typo, it should be 169Y942 and 169Y943.

On 11/18/2021 at 4:40 AM, ricktate said:

If there is a A on them Andy  [hdbr] from here built them I think.

That's awesome, but it looks like the serial numbers, "USA" and "K" are the ones stamped on the backs.

On 11/18/2021 at 4:40 AM, ricktate said:

A little sanding and rub down with Watco refurbishing oil will make them look great.

Thanks, I've sanded one of the speakers (light pressure 180/320 on sponge for even distribution and always with the grain) and I'm really liking the way it looks. I just picked up some mineral spirits that I wiped it down with today and the grain and colors came to life! I picked up and was planning on using Varathane stain on it, but if it's not recommended, please let me know (assume it might be just a preference thing).

 

On 11/18/2021 at 4:40 AM, ricktate said:

You can update the crossovers with parts from Crites or JEM. I would reinforce the back panel by putting a slightly smaller layer of plywood on the inside.

Good call. They currently sound amazing to me so I'm hesitant to start messing with the internals just yet, but definitely will check out both of those and great idea on the small layer of plywood (assuming around the edge to help further block gaps).

 

On 11/18/2021 at 4:40 AM, ricktate said:

They look like walnut. Hand sand with 220 just a little to clean them up then put the oil on them.

Thanks for helping identify the veneer, wasn't quite sure.

 

On 11/18/2021 at 9:10 AM, MeloManiac said:

I agree with you. The veneer has a nice 'patina'. Some (minor) sanding, oil and beewas will bring back the glorious shine.

Thank you, I do like the nicks and scratches as they tell a lot about the speaker's life/story, but much like the human memory, I like to help it forget some of it's past with a little light sanding and cleaning.

 

On 11/18/2021 at 9:10 AM, MeloManiac said:

If the grille is missing, one can easily diy new grilles with new speaker cloth and even add klipsch logo.

Good call as I didn't have those included in my pictures, but they came with the grills (in decent shape actually). I'm still on the fence about if I should keep them on or leave them off. Sorry for the ignorance, do the grills help the sound in any way?

 

On 11/18/2021 at 9:10 AM, MeloManiac said:

In my case, they've become the crucial part my 'reference system' = turntable + tube amp + Heresy originals

Nice! Bet it sounds awesome.

 

On 11/18/2021 at 8:14 PM, M_Klipsches said:

Nice! Those look like walnut?  Be careful with the sanding I’d recommend 0000 steel wool at first maybe a little light mineral spirits just to clear the top layer. Honestly, go easy, that veneer is thin.

Great, thank you for weighing in on the veneer. With your and Ricktate's comments (and some image searching on Google), I'm feeling pretty confident now that you guys nailed it. Also, good call on the light sanding. I don't want to sand through the veneer, nor do I want to remove too much of it's history, just get that top layer that is a bit grody. As for the steel wool, I read a comment that made me a bit paranoid about using it that said since the speakers have large magnets, loose steel wool shavings when using them can get caught in the speaker, so I stayed away, but maybe I was a bit too paranoid on that (like approach of first time parents vs second time parents).

 

On 11/18/2021 at 8:14 PM, M_Klipsches said:

The tubes & vinyl for me, honestly, are just a “purist thing” as you say. It’s how music used to be heard.

Then I totally understand. While I prefer modern disc brakes over drum brakes in classic cars (if it doesn't destroy the aesthetic), I may go out of my way to pair things from the same year/era as it creates a mini time machine.

 

On 11/18/2021 at 8:14 PM, M_Klipsches said:

Hell, back in the early eighties, to me, a decent turntable, 35W/Ch Tube Amp & Heresys would have been a dream set up. (Ok, it was La Scalas & a 100 W/Ch Yamaha pre-Amp & Power Amp, but still…)

Those both sound like great set ups.

On 11/18/2021 at 8:14 PM, M_Klipsches said:

Good luck with those Heresys, don’t let others talk you into changing them too much, at least not for a while. Listen to em for a bit. 

Thanks. It's fun to make them look nice again and just have a deeper pride in ownership, but a bit intimidated to do much beyond a facelift just yet.

 

On 11/18/2021 at 8:14 PM, M_Klipsches said:

here is a pic of my HBR ‘83s, yours are a nicer finish than mine.

Yours still look fantastic.

 

On 11/19/2021 at 1:20 AM, Islander said:

Hey, don’t scare off the new guy with your giant speakers!  We’re supposed to break him in gently, so he gets used to the concept gradually.

 

Wayne, those huge wedge-shaped boxes, yeah, uh, boxes is what they are, uh, they’re storage bins for, uh, I forget, but they’re not speakers!  We won’t let you get seduced into buying ever-larger speakers.  Okay, yes we will.  I can’t help myself anymore.

 

Haha, yeah, I'm sure it won't be long before I start getting the itch to get either more or bigger speakers, but luckily these are for my office, which has other tenants, so they are more to enjoy during off hours and not crank incredibly loud... for now.

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Wayne, the grilles will make a small difference, and the speakers (test ones, not your particular pair) will have been voiced to sound right by Klipsch specs with them on, but whether you leave them on or off is totally up to you.  I haven’t tried my Heresy IIs without the grilles, but based on other speakers I’ve owned, you might get a tiny bit more brightness and clarity with the grilles off.  Whatever sounds best to you will be the right choice, and if your choice changes now and then, so be it.

 

If other people are in or around your office, it could be safer to leave the grilles on, so curious people with curious fingers don’t poke and maybe dent your woofers.  It’s not just kids who get itchy fingers.

 

As for the backs of the cabinets, it’s very important that they have an airtight seal.  If they don’t, the leaks will impair the speakers’ bass response.  The first thing to do is check that all the screws are snug, neither loose nor over-tight.  If you take the backs off, check that the seals are in good condition.  If they’re not, neoprene weatherstripping will be all you need to get an airtight seal.

 

For the Heresy II, Klipsch permanently installed the backs of the cabinets, to eliminate any air leak issues.  The drivers are mounted from the front, and once the woofer is removed, the hole is big enough to allow easy access to the insides of the cabinets.

 

Also, welcome to the Forum!

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On 11/21/2021 at 4:41 AM, Islander said:

Wayne, the grilles will make a small difference, and the speakers (test ones, not your particular pair) will have been voiced to sound right by Klipsch specs with them on, but whether you leave them on or off is totally up to you.  I haven’t tried my Heresy IIs without the grilles, but based on other speakers I’ve owned, you might get a tiny bit more brightness and clarity with the grilles off.  Whatever sounds best to you will be the right choice, and if your choice changes now and then, so be it.

Thanks and good points. I may clean them up, put all new velcro stickers on so they are all 'restored' (to my level of skill/interest) together and run with them off for the most part as seeing the 3 separate components inside make them look a bit more unique and cool.

 

On 11/21/2021 at 4:41 AM, Islander said:

If other people are in or around your office, it could be safer to leave the grilles on, so curious people with curious fingers don’t poke and maybe dent your woofers.  It’s not just kids who get itchy fingers.

 

Great points. My office mates are few, so I'm not terribly worried about them, but we used to have xmas parties that would pack the place and I would not trust that all attendees would show the same restraint or know not to touch them.

 

On 11/21/2021 at 4:41 AM, Islander said:

As for the backs of the cabinets, it’s very important that they have an airtight seal.  If they don’t, the leaks will impair the speakers’ bass response.  The first thing to do is check that all the screws are snug, neither loose nor over-tight.  If you take the backs off, check that the seals are in good condition.  If they’re not, neoprene weatherstripping will be all you need to get an airtight seal.

 

Just checked and the screws all seem to be snug without being overtightened (wood around the screw doesn't seem to push in). The neoprene weatherstripping is an awesome hack on the airtight seal. I hope to not open them for a bit, but when I do, that sounds like a fantastic way to fix or at least double down on prevention.

 

On 11/21/2021 at 4:41 AM, Islander said:

For the Heresy II, Klipsch permanently installed the backs of the cabinets, to eliminate any air leak issues.  The drivers are mounted from the front, and once the woofer is removed, the hole is big enough to allow easy access to the insides of the cabinets.

 

Ahh, I saw some pictures in my searching where people were access from places other than the back.

 

On 11/21/2021 at 4:41 AM, Islander said:

Also, welcome to the Forum!

Thank you, I appreciate it. It's been fun and informative so far.

 

Separately, this weekend I somewhat finished one of the speakers (leaving the other undone for comparison). I sanded it, cleaned it up with mineral spirits, let it dry, then  applied a diluted (with mineral spirits) cognac colored Varathane, then wiped it down with a microfiber towel. The stain came out far darker/redder than anticipated originally, but I actually love it now and can't wait to do it to the other speaker (after getting a few better pictures).

 

Here are some pics for those that like to see that sort of thing:

1983-heresy-i-speaker-restore_untouched_01.jpg

1983-heresy-i-speaker-restore_stained_01.jpg

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