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Advice for the newly addicted.


nick89rs
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So long story short, id never really been into Hifi till a few weeks ago when i got a pair of Klipschorns at a estate sale.  I had planned on just flipping them but after jamming them into the corners of my living room room and listening to them fill the walls and high ceilings with such incredible music i was totally hooked.

I nabbed a bluesound 2i and a Cambridge AXR100 off marketplace for a steal and got a pair of rebuilt AA crossovers on the way.

My question is is it criminal to push these amazing speakers with such an entry level amp? Can i see another jump in performance with a budget of maybe 2k?  where do i start and are there any recommendations?

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     You are off to a great start.  There are better speakers in the world than Klipschorns, but not many, and not by much!  You really are starting pretty close to the top of the heap.  I think your amp choice is great for getting started.  You might be able to do better, but I wouldn't go rushing off spending a bunch of money just yet.  My recommendation is get your new amp and crossovers hooked up and just enjoy for a while.  You may later discover that you want to treat your room, or add a sub, or upgrade your amp etc., but take your time deciding. 

    It takes listening for a while to really determine what you like and don't like about a system.  Live with it for a few weeks or months, play a bunch of different types of music and just get used to having a really good hi-fi setup.  You'll probably re-discover a lot of old favorites and truly hear them for the first time.

    Enjoy!

 

 

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Before jumping on the “crazy train” enjoy what you have for a while. It appears your investment has been minimal considering the performance you’re already having. KHorns aren’t requiring much push from the Cambridge.

Without question there is always something “better” around the next corner and better is usually in varying degrees. And one man’s better is another’s “meh”. 

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I agree with @richieb

 

Nothing wrong with using a cheap amp for the time being. Don't rush things, take baby steps. That said, you will eventually want to end up with a tube amp to power those khorns. At that point your level of enthusiasm for those speakers will go up quite a bit.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Bozo73 said:

The first time I heard khorns they were driven by an Audio Research SP3 preamp. FWIW. You probably go full circle at some point, relax and enjoy the music.

 

I know khorns are highly sensitive speakers, but I doubt a preamp was able to drive them.......🤔

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11 hours ago, nick89rs said:

Advice for the newly addicted id never really been into Hifi till a few weeks ago where do i start and are there any recommendations?

 

Second job / mortgage? 😆 If you're thrilled with what you got going on right now I agree with the above posts to take your time get use to the sound you have now. Higher end gear can get you different sometimes better sound but there are just too many variables to predict which piece will be to your liking. Congrats on the new Klipshorns!

 

 

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Thank you all for what im sure is the best actual advice of just enjoying what i have for a while. 

Im enjoying all my music in a new and fantastic way and probably just got ahead of myself a bit. 

I appreciate all of the replies, enthusiasm and support.  Thanks for the welcome to the community!

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2 hours ago, richieb said:

Before jumping on the “crazy train” enjoy what you have for a while.

What he really means is 'we're here to help you spend your money.'

 

The best advice from everyone has been to enjoy and get used to them.

 

Welcome aboard!

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13 hours ago, nick89rs said:

So long story short, id never really been into Hifi till a few weeks ago when i got a pair of Klipschorns at a estate sale.  I had planned on just flipping them but after jamming them into the corners of my living room room and listening to them fill the walls and high ceilings with such incredible music i was totally hooked.

I nabbed a bluesound 2i and a Cambridge AXR100 off marketplace for a steal and got a pair of rebuilt AA crossovers on the way.

My question is is it criminal to push these amazing speakers with such an entry level amp? Can i see another jump in performance with a budget of maybe 2k?  where do i start and are there any recommendations?

 

Cambridge makes nice stuff.  You are starting at a pretty high plateau, just enjoy for  awhile. 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, nick89rs said:

Thank you all for what im sure is the best actual advice of just enjoying what i have for a while. 

Im enjoying all my music in a new and fantastic way and probably just got ahead of myself a bit. 

I appreciate all of the replies, enthusiasm and support.  Thanks for the welcome to the community!

Welcome Nick, I think your questions are very valid from your point of view as a newcomer to the hi-fi scene. And I don't think it's about you not being very happy and satisfied with what you have, but you just don't want to do anything wrong that could break or you don't want to listen to a combination of amp and speaker when everyone would say it can only sound terrible.
But neither is the case and all the reposts so far are very good from my point of view.
Yes, your combination works very well. You made an important comment. You were so impressed with the sonority in the room. These are unforgettable key moments in your (new) audio life. And that counts more than most fine tuning by other components later on. Well, British transistor amps I personally like very much (British tubes too but they are not the subject now) and with a few exceptions British transistor amps go very well with horn speakers, Cambridge, Quad, Audiolab, Arcam, Rega and others. They sound smooth and relaxed. I never would exchange the musical mids of some British amps against more „bass control“ or „highest treble resolution“ of some amps and sacrifice the „British mid tone area“.  I changed from expensive McIntosh tubes to a 35 year old Quad 34/306 half a year ago, just out of curiosity because I had it 40 years ago. What can I say...it is still connected to this day and I am thrilled so my Mcintosh gear has to wait much longer before reactivating if any. I won't say my Quads 34/306 are "better" than Mcintosh but super classy in its own way. 

What's the summary: Don't think of your Cambridge amp as a stopgap but it is a very musical and appropriate choice.

Look here, the name Cambridge is part of this exquisite selection, even twice...as the oldest and as the newest amp. Therefore...no need to hurry.

 

https://www.whathifi.com/features/the-best-british-stereo-amplifiers-of-all-time

 

Please forgive me for the comparison, but your situation sounds a bit (in a funny way) like saying, "I bought a 30-year-old Porsche cheap at a house clearance. It drove kind of ok, but I've never driven a car before. Besides, I don't know the Porsche brand, never heard of it. Do I have to change anything on the engine soon?“

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1 hour ago, KT88 said:

Welcome Nick, I think your questions are very valid from your point of view as a newcomer to the hi-fi scene. And I don't think it's about you not being very happy and satisfied with what you have, but you just don't want to do anything wrong that could break or you don't want to listen to a combination of amp and speaker when everyone would say it can only sound terrible.
But neither is the case and all the reposts so far are very good from my point of view.
 

 

Please forgive me for the comparison, but your situation sounds a bit (in a funny way) like saying, "I bought a 30-year-old Porsche cheap at a house clearance. It drove kind of ok, but I've never driven a car before. Besides, I don't know the Porsche brand, never heard of it. Do I have to change anything on the engine soon?“

I'll say I really appreciate your comment.  It's pure naivety on my part honestly. 

 

After hearing the speakers and starting to ask around online about them I was promptly informed that my original AA crossovers were well past their expiration date (if I'm reading the serial number right my khorns are from '76) and that left me in a weird place because to me they sounded absolutely stunning but I believed it because I've never even seen capacitors that look like miniature spam cans before.

 

The price of those replacements that I'm waiting on was more than I had paid for the amp and streamer combined, both chosen simply because a YouTube channel (cheapaudioman) had highly recommended them. 

 

Tube amps  were continually brought up as a good pairing and the only local sound shop pointed me in the direction of a mc275, that while being absolutely stunning is very out of the question from a price perspective right now and at the same time convinced me that my wonderful little AXR must not be up to snuff.  

 

 

The truth is I love the setup how it is, after hearing Eric Clapton 4000 days straight on construction jobsite radios I feel like I actually heard him for the first time last week.  I sat in stunned silence for an hour last night while my partner played the nutcracker.   

 

I'm thankful to you all for casting my concerns aside where they belong, for decent advice from YouTube and for 50 year old miniature spam cans still doing their best for the time being. 

 

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As other members have commented, take some time, at least a month or two, to get accustomed to the sound of your great Khorns.  It’s easy to make changes, but sometimes changes are not improvements.  As well, upgrades are to correct perceived inadequacies of some sort, so you need to know what you’re trying to fix before you start researching and buying “fixes”.  

 

There are a couple of details you can check on.  First, when you said you have them jammed into the corners of your room, is the baseboard in the way, keeping the speakers from making actual contact with the walls?  If so, you can get pipe insulation to fill that gap, because the better the fit to the walls, the better the bass response will be.  That’s how Klipschorns are designed to work.  That’s a beginning bit of fine tuning that will be very inexpensive.

 

As to a more specific description of pipe insulation, hopefully one of our Khorn owners will respond with more info and where to get it.  I’m not familiar with the material because I’m using La Scala IIs, which work a bit differently, and are not tightly in the corners of my room.

 

In regards to your spam cans, my 1974 La Scalas came with them, too, stacked triple high in one spot.  They do deteriorate over the decades, while the rest of the crossovers do not, so once you get your new crossovers installed, you should be good for quite a few decades.  These are called Heritage speakers for a reason.  Before you install them, play a very familiar tune, and then play it through the new crossovers, and let us know what you hear, if it's different, and how.

 

Another inexpensive upgrade is speaker cables.  Although you can spend big money on cables, like nearly anything audio-related, it’s not necessary, especially at this stage.  Simply bigger is better, enabling the power amplifier to have better control over the drivers, especially the woofers.  As well, the damping factor of the amp is reduced by the resistance from the speaker cables, so the shorter and bigger they are, the less this will occur.  Don’t go to extremes, of course, because a few extra feet of speaker cable can make it easier to pull your speakers out from the wall, for whatever reason, without needing to disconnect them.

 

As I mentioned, there’s no need to go to extremes, especially with such sensitive/efficient speakers as Klipschorns.  As a minimum, 14 AWG wire will get the job done, and 12 gauge will do it a bit better.  Beyond that, the improvements are less noticeable.  I recommend, and use myself, Karma Kable, from KnuKonceptz.  It’s made of high quality tinned copper wire, which will never turn green, like some cheap wires will, and it’s in a twisted pair configuration, which rejects interference.  Lastly, it’s not too expensive, which is good.  Also, the soft insulation and very fine wire strands make it easy to cut with a sharp knife.

 

Here's where you can find it.  It's only $0.85 per foot, and the "SS" in the name refers to the colour, Smoke and Silver.

 

https://www.knukonceptz.com/home-theater/speaker-wire/karma-ss-speaker-kable/sp/karma-ss-12-gauge-speaker-wire/

 

Welcome to the Forum, and happy listening!

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

 

There are a couple of details you can check on.  First, when you said you have them jammed into the corners of your room, is the baseboard in the way, keeping the speakers from making actual contact with the walls?  If so, you can get pipe insulation to fill that gap, because the better the fit to the walls, the better the bass response will be.  That’s how Klipschorns are designed to work.  That’s a beginning bit of fine tuning that will be very inexpensive.

 

As to a more specific description of pipe insulation, hopefully one of our Khorn owners will respond with more info and where to get it.  I’m not familiar with the material because I’m using La Scala IIs, which work a bit differently, and are not tightly in the corners of my room.

 

In regards to your spam cans, my 1974 La Scalas came with them, too, stacked triple high in one spot.  They do deteriorate over the decades, while the rest of the crossovers do not, so once you get your new crossovers installed, you should be good for quite a few decades.  Before you install them, play a very familiar tune, and then play it through the new crossovers, and let us know what you hear, if it's different, and how.

 

Another inexpensive upgrade is speaker cables.  Although you can spend big money on cables, like nearly anything audio-related, it’s not necessary, especially at this stage.  Simply bigger is better, enabling the power amplifier to have better control over the drivers, especially the woofers.  As well, the damping factor of the amp is reduced by the resistance from the speaker cables, so the shorter and bigger they are, the less this will occur.  Don’t go to extremes, of course, because a few extra feet of speaker cable can make it easier to pull your speakers out, for whatever reason, without needing to disconnect them.

 

As I mentioned, there’s no need to go to extremes, especially with such sensitive/efficient speakers as Klipschorns.  As a minimum, 14 AWG wire will get the job done, and 12 gauge will do it a bit better.  Beyond that, the improvements are less noticeable.  I recommend, and use myself, Karma Kable, from Knukonceptz.  It’s made of high quality tinned copper wire, which should never turn green, like some cheap wires will, and it’s in a twisted pair configuration, which rejects interference.  Lastly, it’s not too expensive, which is good.

 

 

 

 

I have a pretty good seal right now, someone at some point of the speakers journey had the side grills customized to their baseboard and mine are not an exact match but the cutouts are pretty darn close so the only gaps that exist are in those cuts.   Bass was surprising to say the least in how low and hard it hits from speakers that look like they should be much more comfortable playing Bach than Biggy.   The only issue ive been able to hear really is on modern tracks if theres a bunch of very low but fast bass hits it sounds like maybe its not keeping up like they wash together?  not really my type of music anyway but weve been playing everything just to see.

The speaker wire im using is whatever the local shop had.  Its 14ga "tributaries" brand and was what he recommended.   One run is 3 feet the other is 25 feet.  I wasnt sure if having the wires equal distance was important in some way and the wire was not the cheapest at between 2 and 3 bucks a foot so they currently arent equal lengths, is that something i should change? 

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Sounds like you've got the fit into the corners just about right.  That's important, so you can get all the bass that the speakers promise.  The details add up, so they should not be ignored.  

 

Odd length speaker wires make a slight difference, but it would be barely audible, if at all, so it's more an intellectual thing, knowing that things are "right", down to the smallest detail you can manage.  Odd lengths like that would bug me a bit, but I'm kind of finicky, so I'm not speaking in absolutes.  It's a bit odd that the shop would sell you two lengths like that, though, and the price is no bargain.

 

Are your speakers two very different distances from your amp?  Where is it located, between the speakers, on a side wall, or near to your listening position?

 

As for types of music, really good speakers, like yours, should be able to play any kind of music, and play it well.  When somebody says that speaker X is good for rock, or folk, or classical, it's often the case that there's some kind of weakness in the speakers that makes them only sound good with certain music.  That's not hi-fi.

 

Regarding the bottom end, when the Khorns were designed, music came on LPs or 78 rpm discs.  I'm not familiar with 78s, but vinyl, LPs and 45s, are rolled off at the very bottom end, for reasons related to the cutting, pressing, and playback of those records.  Do you have a turntable?  If so, you might find that the bottom end is near perfect when playing those black discs.

 

However, with the newer types of music, including hip-hop and EDM, the low bass parts are quite bit lower than the earlier music, so it makes new demands on the speakers.  I shouldn't comment further, because I don't have any experience with Klipschorns, so I can only speak about them in the generalities that I've learned here on the Forum.  Hopefully, some Khorn owners will pop in and speak in more detail, so you can get more specific info.

 

Okay, a bit more.  The great bass response from a reasonably sized horn-loaded speaker was an amazing breakthrough when Paul Klipsch invented the Khorn, and they still amaze today, 75 years after they first went on sale.  Normally, bass horns need to be huge to play deep, but Paul got the bright idea to use the walls of the room as extensions of the bass horns, so you can get quite deep bass without giving up half your room to the bass horns.  His goal was to be able to hear a big symphony orchestra at full volume, completely and clearly, with only a 5 or 10 watt amplifier, because that was all that was available back in 1946.  Symphony orchestras often play very complex music, but the Khorns should be able to resolve all of it.  Keep listening and learning, and you'll find out how to help your speakers reach their full potential.  It may take a long time, but it will be a fun journey, and you'll have lots of company.

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6 minutes ago, Islander said:

 

He just sold me one 30 foot length and i cut and installed the wires myself.  

The streamer and amp sit right next to the left speaker and the other speaker sits about 22 feet away.   Id just take a picture but with the room layout its impossible to get both speakers in frame.  

My partner owns some vinyl inherited from her parents but the only turn table we have is a all in one unit with the speaker built in and no outputs. Both of us are aged of the CD generation and have extensive collections of those though no CD player exists in the house at this point either and a Alexa in the kitchen has been the sole provider of music for the last 5-6 years.  Currently we just stream amazon HD.

 

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