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Mystery Horn in the Museum


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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Moderators, Members, and Visitors:

About 18 months ago I visited the Klipsch Museum and took a picture, attached.

My recall was that there was no descriptive placard. Also, I don't recall that Mr. Hunter talked about it during our tour. (I should have asked.)

Can anyone identify it for me? I'm mostly interested in the bass unit, but info on the treble would be interesting too.

Hmm, maybe I brightened the photo up a bit much.



This message has been edited by William F. Gil McDermott on 09-13-2001 at 08:34 PM

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Gil--The speaker is an RCA cornerhorn, the compression driver and horn show the strong Shearer parentage of RCA motion-picture speakers. The thing is old, I'd guess late 1930s or early 40s, note the field-coil compression driver. You should send a copy of the photo to Don McRitchie of the Lansing Heritage site, he knows more about vintage horns than anyone I know. You can get his email address at the site www.audioheritage.org/ They should setup the museum so you can hear those old speakers, that RCA would probably sound much better than most speakers made today.

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I'm certainly no expert on vintage loudspeakers, but I remember when Klipsch first got this speaker. Some of these details may be a little shaky (give me a break, it was a long time ago), but here goes...

The loudspeaker is an RCA cornerhorn that Klipsch obtained about 1987. I believe the horn is a cast multi-cellular horn with an RCA compression driver attached. I don't recall many details about the basshorn or its driver.

When we first took possession of the loudspeaker we measured it in our anechoic chamber, but before that, we listened to it. I remember the power supply and amplifier that came with the speaker was still in good condition, and as I recall, we at least used the power supply to energize the field coils of the drivers.

While we were setting up the speaker for the listening test, Paul Klipsch walked in, and as usual, was curious what we were doing. Of course, he recognized the loudspeaker and immediately became interested.

During the listening test, Paul Klipsch took out a sheet of graph paper that we used to plot frequency response (this was before we made computer measurements), and with a pencil, drew the frequency response of the loudspeaker based on what he had heard. After a few minutes, we placed the louspeaker in the chamber, took the measurement, and I'll be damned if PWK hadn't nailed the shape of the frequency response curve. I still remember the frequency response to this day, huge suckout at 500 Hz, rolled off response above 4 KHz.

Frankly, I thought the speaker sounded really bad. But to be fair, there's no assurance the loudspeaker was "in spec", and the rolled-off response above 4 KHz was typical of motion picture loudspeakers of that time.


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