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Cornwall IV vs. Cornwall


JohnW
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Was googling this and was amazed at how little was out there on this. Has this question simply never been asked?

 

I love my ‘85 Cornwalls—the imaging, the smoothness, the depth of the bass…but I’d sure like to hear a detailed description of the specific differences from those who’ve heard both. And given the ubiquity of Cornwalls of all stripe, there’s likely several of you.

 

So how different do they sound? And how?

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I'm almost sure there is a pretty long thread regarding this. From 2020 I think.

 

I owned 1987 Cornwalls years ago and most recently owned (sold now) CW IV. To my ears, the improvements are not subtle. The newer speaker is more refined, with better resolution and more accurate timbre. Nothing shouty about them. Any cabinet resonance has been mitigated too. The earlier Cornwalls were fun. Big and brash. The CW IV retains all the dynamics but sounds more like a modern speaker, but in a good way.

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On 1/11/2022 at 10:41 AM, Shakeydeal said:

I'm almost sure there is a pretty long thread regarding this. From 2020 I think.

 

I owned 1987 Cornwalls years ago and most recently owned (sold now) CW IV. To my ears, the improvements are not subtle. The newer speaker is more refined, with better resolution and more accurate timbre. Nothing shouty about them. Any cabinet resonance has been mitigated too. The earlier Cornwalls were fun. Big and brash. The CW IV retains all the dynamics but sounds more like a modern speaker, but in a good way.


What are your current main listening speakers?

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On 1/11/2022 at 2:07 PM, the real Duke Spinner said:

The mid horn was much improved in later models

 

Definitely in the IV. There wasn't much improvement in the III's horn over the II, really.  Unless the Heresy III horn had something magic.  

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I haven't heard a pair of the IVs in person. With all the covid restrictions I haven't been outside of the Northwest Territories since March 2020. I was flying out of Ottawa back home just as the initial wave and shut downs hit Canada. I have watched and listened to just about every video review I have been able to find. They seem pretty damn good, although at the present time time too large for my current space which the Forte IV might fit nicely. One of the only wide baffle speakers out there, which is quite unique in 2022. The only other that comes to mind are the DeVore Fidelity various "ape" series speakers which are supposed to be extremely good.

We have some family business in Ontario to attend to this coming summer, I'll find a pair to demo whilst there.

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On 1/11/2022 at 7:27 AM, JohnW said:

Was googling this and was amazed at how little was out there on this. Has this question simply never been asked?

 

I love my ‘85 Cornwalls—the imaging, the smoothness, the depth of the bass…but I’d sure like to hear a detailed description of the specific differences from those who’ve heard both. And given the ubiquity of Cornwalls of all stripe, there’s likely several of you.

 

So how different do they sound? And how?

 

It's probably because most of the those who already own the original or earlier generation Cornwalls like them just the way the are. Heck, if you look inside most of those older Klipsch Heritage speakers vs new, the interior drivers on the original gear were much more beautifully constructed and solid by comparison to today. Today, companies focus more and more on how to build things as cheap as they can get away with. Very few ever talk about that.

 

I too am amazed, just like you at how little if any information is out there that compare the older Cornwall's to the newer ones. I'm also dubious about the size and shape of these larger midrange horns on the newer Cornwall IV's because IMO, they seem to have lost their coherency with voices, trumpets and horns with jazz.  Heck, if I could find some Forte 1's in mint condition, I'd take them over any of the newer Forte models but you can't find any that haven't been beat to crap. I too have not compared the old and new Cornwall's side by side yet but I'd certainly be reluctant to believe most of the new reviews because there's just so much marketing hype out there many fall for.

 

They buy into the hype that newer means better and it's simply often not true. Nowadays most of these modern YouTubers candy coat their reviews with the exception of just a few. All this nonsense about "shouty" is for the birds as far as I'm concerned. It's just an old, abused and overused cliche that's more often been parroted than properly experienced over and over. Even so, those kind of sound signatures can easily be balanced by mating them with the right stereo components. It amazes me that so little is stated about matching the proper components to offset any of these supposed inadequacies.

 

Since when the heck does live jazz music or rock sound smooth and sweet?  When you hear a live trumpet, it hits you. When you hear a live violin, it hits you. If Klipsch are shouty then that would imply PWK didn't design good speakers. PWK was a genius in my book who built an empire out of nearly nothing. His reputation speaks volumes. It amazes me how much money people waste on so much marketing and overpriced merchandise. My $500 Dynakit just trounced a $1500 Parasound that modern reviewers think is the one to have.

 

Then there's the "for the money" statements in these reviews. It amazes me how gullible people are to believe that just because something costs more, that must mean it's better. There are so many instances in hifi where more expensive doesn't sound better. I've heard a good number of expensive gear that didn't sound remotely as good as their price tags suggested. It's like the Primaluna Evo 400 I recently reviewed. If anything, IMO this is certainly a shouty integrated amp with the Heritage series even after break in, yet everybody goes nuts over it because Kevin Deal does very good videos. I think he's an amazing guy, don't get me wrong. I like Kevin's reviews overall because he really does speak from the heart and that's more than I can say for most of these reviewers out there on YouTube.

 

I heard the Forte III's a couple of years ago with the Primaluna at Upscale Audio next to a pair of Tanoy XT8's and they customer who was comparing them said..... I'll take the Tannoy's and I completely agreed. The Forte III's sounded quite harsh and brittle but once again, they were coupled to a Primaluna Evo again in a fantastic listening room. This is why component matching is so important. Most of the speakers those guys over there listening to with those EVO's amps are not Klipsch heritage speakers so of course it's good match with some speakers. I've listened and compared a lot of stuff now. The biggest blunder in these forums are the newer is better mentality Klipsch fanboys who continually fail to make constructive comparisons and assessments.

 

Look at the new Heresy IV's. The earlier Heresy's do not have the box resonance that the new Heresy IV's have yet nobody talks about that being one of the benefits of the older model. Instead they just make blanket claims that the newer IV's are better. Better in what way specifically? You want soft rolled off sound? Purchase a Yamaha S501 integrated amp. It's so muffled and rolled off you'll more likely turn its treble knobs to full just to get some of that supposed shouting back on the earlier heritage models. It's more about matching components.

 

If I could find someone who had an original pair of decorator Cornwalls in proper condition, I'd ****** them in a heartbeat but it's next to impossible to find anyone in SoCal. I'd have no issue having the earlier models that were more the way PWK designed the heritage lines to be. To me, it's a special part of his own heritage and legacy. 

 

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Okay Shakey, I would agree if it were the La Scala, so maybe not the entire heritage line but it still would be nice to see more logical and constructive reviews and you’re an audio veteran! You yourself obviously have a ton of experience to bring to the table.

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On 1/11/2022 at 10:27 AM, JohnW said:

 

 

I love my ‘85 Cornwalls—the imaging, the smoothness, the depth of the bass…

 

So how different do they sound? And how?

better  imaging in the HF ,   more smoothness,  linear bass…

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I can’t completely speak for the Cornwall’s because I’ve not actually heard them side by side just yet but I have with the Heresy’s and they too, like the newer Cornwall’s have that same newer upper smoothness that all the latest Heritage series have but I didn’t find it at all necessarily to sound better like you guys claim in fact I still prefer the older models because they unquestionably sounded more effortless and holographic to my ears and I think the videos clearly illustrates that even as a video!

 

You guys can give a listen here with both my videos side by side if you use a pair of headsets. You can detect just a bit more bass in the IV, relative to the II but I still prefer the overall sound of the older model in my room and you can hear the differences clearly with headsets. Btw we later learned that the volume actually was in fact adjusted slightly higher so when you listen to the sound signature of the IV you need to turn the volume down just a bit. The II are in fact more efficient than the IV by a few dB regardless of the stats Klipsch claims. 

 

 

 

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What absolutely annoys me is that in this so-called high-end society songs are always played that are supposed to impress sonically, but mostly songs are played that any! average speaker can somehow make sound good. The ear adapts so quickly to only three sound sources, guitar, bass, voice, a beautiful female jazz voice accompanied by a fantastic guitarist with a cool L5 sound and a neat half boring bass. Everything is beautifully performed. Then there are Mcintosh amplifiers the size of beer crates to underline the great impression that is supposed to be created. All in all, it should seem as if I am walking up to the altar of a church.

I accept that e.g. a sales fair or a high-end store in the double sense of the word is designed like this or similar in our time. 
But I can no longer see and hear it. I am happy when at home a not very well recorded piece with nevertheless very good and often complex music sounds very pleasant and musically emotionally informative. I want to hear my 1958 recording of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, Ravel piano concerto with LSO as if I were there and not dissected by some "great" sound setting.
I love jazz but please never again any jazz trio to stage flagship on Hifi measurements.

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I've always looked at audio videos from a "relative" perspective and I think videos do offer clues to the listeners. Obviously they're videos so you can't hear all aspects of the music and I think most listeners understand that. I agree though that some of these recordings people put on can sound good with just about anything and it should really be more about the music you actually enjoy listening to even if that means those recordings are not so great. Yesterday I was playing Rush Signals album and the CD sounds so compressed after listening to great recordings. The only way to trick myself is to turn it up louder and add some treble. I'm trying to find out if it can be had on LP or some better source so it's less compressed. It's just that when recordings are made well, it tends to engage the listener more IMO regardless of the genre of music, but I get what you guys mean from the other perspective.

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1 hour ago, Idontknow said:

I've always looked at audio videos from a "relative" perspective and I think videos do offer clues to the listeners. Obviously they're videos so you can't hear all aspects of the music and I think most listeners understand that. I agree though that some of these recordings people put on can sound good with just about anything and it should really be more about the music you actually enjoy listening to even if that means those recordings are not so great. Yesterday I was playing Rush Signals album and the CD sounds so compressed after listening to great recordings. The only way to trick myself is to turn it up louder and add some treble. I'm trying to find out if it can be had on LP or some better source so it's less compressed. It's just that when recordings are made well, it tends to engage the listener more IMO regardless of the genre of music, but I get what you guys mean from the other perspective.

Just to be clear, I was not referring to your Heresy comparison. I found your videos with earphones very informative. Even if the earphones can't reproduce the feeling of spaciousness (to my ears) I can still hear how clear or discolored a sound is when comparing multiple speakers, how impressive the impulse response is or isn't, the bass etc.

I was referring to the video, JBL vs Cornwalls. Even that video I find very informative. I would even say that by now I have a good idea when I listen to different speakers on youtube, because the empirical values grow and I can filter out certain sound influences by now.

My post was really about how simple the music is often presented with the most expensive hi-fi systems. But there we are in agreement as I can see from your post.

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I enjoy direct comparisons like these. I can definitely hear the improvements with the new Hersey, the JBL/Cornwall was good as well. Both sound very very good, an edge to the Cornwall for a bit more detail and clarity. Horns make a difference.

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3 hours ago, mopardave said:

To my ear the JBL sounds cleaner, but at over twice the price of the Klipsch they should sound better.

it's a Draw in my book ,  each speaker sounds slightly different than the other ,  and neither is superior to the other , a perfect matchup 

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