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Older Klipsch Speakers. Why Are They Worth $$


Klipsch-daddy
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I was just wondering (please take it easy on me) why is everyone going crazy when they can find these older klipsch model speakers (cornwalls, chours, hersey etc) at yard sales and even other states, and pay extreme amounts of money for them. I just figure that if they are 20 years old they cant be up to date in the newest woofers, tweeters etc so are the cabinets that good? I have personally never heard of any of these older speakers but the more and more I see people posting about them make me wonder if there is something I am missing out on.??

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Home Theater:

Yamaha RX-V1000

Klipsch RF-3's

Klipsch KSC-C1(LOOKING FOR A RC-3 OR RC-3II)

Klipsch Subwoofer KSW-12

Television: TOSHIBA THEATER VIEW 50"

DVD Player SONY S-360

CD Changer CDC 509 5 Disc Yamaha comming soon.

monster cable interconnects/12 gauge speaker wire

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Most of the older stuff that attracts the most ardent following is from the "Heritage" Klipsh line. Some other speakers, (Chorus, Forte, etc.) are a bit different.

The attaction to the Heritage line, and willingness to spend a seemingly large amount of money for old speakers, is easy to explain. These speakers, the Klipschorn, La Scala, Belle, Cornwall and Heresy, used horns in the midrange and treble and, in the Klipschorn, La Scala and Belle, horn loaded bass as well. These horns were very different than the horns on, say, the Reference series... they were "exponential" rather than Tractrix, for one thing, and a lot large for another. For example, the horn on my La Scala midrange driver is, like, the size of a small show shovel.

These speakers sound different than just about anything else. No similar speakers from other brands are being made today. They are too big, too demanding of placement, too expensive to build and ship, and appeal to a rather small population of buyers. If you like them, and want them, you have to buy them used. They never sold in huge numbers, so there's not that large a used market, and supply and demand being what they are, the price floats accordingly.

The Chorus, Forte and similar older Klipsch speakers are not quite as far out on the "I'm Different" limb, but they are much bigger, much more sensitive, and much more dynamic than most other speakers being sold today. Again, if you like the way they sound, you can't buy anything else that sounds like them, so you have to buy them. Used. For big bucks.

Why does someone spend $$$ on a '67 'Cuda when a new Acura Integra is cheaper, faster, better, newer, etc. etc. etc.? Same idea...

Ray

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Music is art

Audio is engineering

Ray's Music System

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Hummm well I used to have the complete RF-3 setup (and some KG4's) and when I heard the Cornwalls I was blown away. They have a sound that I have been searching for. Simply amazing. I no longer have any RF3's and the KG4's are on loan. I don't miss them a bit.

Ray, as always, makes excellent points. There is just something neat about these speakers that makes people want them. Ok that's all I need to go crank the system now :-)

Laters,

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...wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world...

My Home Theater Page

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IMO most Klipsch speakers sound great. Even my SF1's blow my socks off. But,spend some time listening to a pair of speakers from the Heritage line then you'll understand. I also think the prices of the used Heritage speakers are low for what you get.

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Yamaha RX-V620 receiver

1976 Klipsch La Scala's

Klipsch KSW12 Sub.

Klipsch SC1 Center

Klipsch KG 3.5 rears

Panasonic RV31 DVD

Sharp 32" TV

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The money spent on a set of Heritage or Classic series Klipsch speakers gives you the best bang for your buck in high eficiency audio. There are other incredibly expensive horn setups that may sound a bit better, go a bit lower, so on and so forth, but the old Klipsch stuff is built to last, easy to drive, very accurate sonically, and built on very sound engineering principles. For around $1000 dollars you can get a set of speakers with a history, and that will continue to sound great for decades. Not many 30 year old speakers can put on the performance of a set of midseventies LaScalas, Klipschorns, or Cornwalls.

They are huge, but I'm not a little speaker kind of guy. There's no replacement for displacement. Some of the little stuff sounds good FOR ITS SIZE, but not that great when compared to the big boys. I just wish I had more room Smile.gifSmile.gif

Speed

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Klipsch Academy Center

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There is something about the old Klipsch speakers that seem magical to me. From the oak finish, to the look of the drivers to the sound.

When I first herd the Klipschorn it was amazing. The beautiful sound that they produce started me on an addiction I'll never get over. I have never been able to afford a pair but someday...... I will.

Klipsch classics are precious vintage pieces that really are magical and have no equal.

monty

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The older klipsch speakers are simply beautiful; the last time I was in the local dealer's store, they had the usual array of current Klipsch... your rc this, rp and rf that, all in black with their interesting copper colored drivers and Tactrix horns, but my eyes kept being drawn to the one pair of Heritage speakers (Heresy's, light oiled oak with cane grills), and I had to say out loud, "Man, those things are beautiful." This is to say nothing about the sound...

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Klipsch Fortes, Oiled Oak

McCormack DNA-1 Power Amp

McCormack TLC Pre-Amp

Adcom GCD-700 CD Player

NHT SA3 Subwoofer Amp

Hsu TN1220 Subwoofer

Old Akai cassette Deck

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It's all about the sound, baybee!!! The first time I listened to a set of Heritage Klipsch (Klipschorns) I nearly wet myself. Later a friend purchased a set of Cornwall II's and I became addicted to those. He paid $1500 for them then, and I spent several years trying to find a speaker that would duplicate that sound for less money - uhhhh, guess what - they don't exist. The fact that these speakers can be had for $800-$1000 used today makes them a bargain, since they may last longer than I will. I paid $700 for my Cornwall II's and consider it to be a steal. I challenge anyone currently manufacturing speakers today to put their $1000-1500 speaker up against a Cornwall - guess what - the Cornwall will toast the competition every time.

No offense to the RF - RP - Synergy crowd on this forum, but those speakers just can't touch a large Heritage, IMHO. I am aware that speakers are very individual (and I do like the RF series, BTW) - but not over Heritage. Give them a good listen when you get the opportunity. If after a couple of hours you are not helplessly addicted to them, consider yourself lucky.

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First we Rock, then we Roll!

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The February 2000 issue of Stereophile goes into some of the reasons why big old, wide horns and cabinets endure as musical speakers, it has a lot to do with timbre and tone, and why SET or Class A amps also sound "right" ...

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Colin's Music System Cornwall 1s & Klipsch subs; lights out & tubes glowing!

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If I'm not mistaken, while the Chorus and Forte were being built (and designed by PWK), they were classified as Heritage speakers. I know my Chorus's have the same tweeter (K-79-K) and squawker (K-57-K) as the Cornwall II. I know they're not classics but I do believe they are still considered Heritage speakers. Of course, I may be wrong...

Mike

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My Music Systems

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Why? IMHO, the Heritage line of speakers are the best speakers that Klipsch has to offer (ignoring the current halt on production). They make some other very good speakers that offer great value in their price classes, but the Heritage series is on another level.

Although the prices people are paying for used Heritage speakers may seem high, they really aren't. Those same speakers cost quite a bit new in today's prices (again, ignoring the pause in production): $6k and up for Khorns, $4k for Belles, $3K for La Scalas. The Cornwall would probably cost close to $3k new if it were available. People are buying these speakers on the used market for quite a bit less than that. Even at prices for new speakers, the Heritage speakers still offer great value when compared to other "High-End" speakers offered by other manufacturers.

Buying these speakers used allows someone to acquire some very high performance speakers for really, not a lot of money. They are also built extremely well -- made from real wood, no vinyl coverings. They are made to last and as long as they are not abused (and they can take a lot of abuse!), they can last for decades without needing anything. My Heritage speakers from the '70's still sound great and have needed nothing in terms or maintenance or repairs.

Just because they are old, doesn't mean they are "out-of-date". These speakers can compete with anything made today.

Buying Klipsch Heritage speakers used is one of the great audio bargains out there. Just ignore the salesman from the "High-end audio salon" who may lift his nose at you, you probably have better sound than he does.

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I forgot one thing: My Scala's don't get knocked over when my dog bumps into them cwm1.gif I hate the fact that my SF1's and KG's get knocked over so easily.

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Yamaha RX-V620 receiver

1976 Klipsch La Scala's

Klipsch KSW12 Sub.

Klipsch SC1 Center

Klipsch KG 3.5 rears

Panasonic RV31 DVD

Sharp 32" TV

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HEY! WT! did I see someone say something negative about the KG series!

Well let me say that my KG 5.2's with their 12" passive radiator will outperform most subwoofers! (they can outperform their predesessor the 5.5, no doubt!) Those 12's can get down to 34HZ. Yes they are no lascala but they dont cost you 3K either. You can get them used for $350 on ebay. They are also very modern looking. Tell me what other speaker can you purchase for $350 that can outperform my KG 5.2's.. Id like to see someone answer that one!! I know that it is impossible to find anything in that price range that sound as good.

With the addition of my SVS I can blast away with the best of you vintage owners. garunteed!

GRRRR! never underestimate a KG series speaker. For the money they are THE BEST!!!!!! YES THE BEST!!!!

cwm43.gif

Regards Monty R

This message has been edited by montigue on 01-05-2002 at 04:20 PM

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I re-read your question again and I would like to just comment on the joy of yard sale finds. Finding a pair of the older speakers in a yard sale for or at flea market is the same as finding a GTO or older Mustang covered in a barn somewhere in original condidtion.

If you like the sound you are always looking for them so it is a joy if you stumble across a pair somewhere. I found my Cornwalls un used in the basement. They were owned by the Grandmother of a friend of mine and hadn't been used in years. I think that it is really neat that they are being used again after all these years. Plus they sound awesome!!

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...wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world...

My Home Theater Page

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Klipsch-Daddy---The old Klipsches, the "real" ones designed by PWK are simply better speakers. Speaker design involves many compromises and the smaller and cheaper you make a speaker the more compromises you make. Big horn speakers like KHorns or Cornwalls make fewer compromises than the current line; their big woofers in horns or big boxes make better bass and their dedicated midrange horns make much cleaner midrange than the cones used today by Klipsch. Don't fret about the "latest" woofers and tweeters, the technology for doing drivers right was all settled by the late 1940s, the only improvement since that time is the use of berilium as a diaphragm material by TAD and JBL and the new Klipsches don't do that anyway. There have also been improvements in power-handling in horn speakers since the 40s but these have little effect on the sound and can even be detrimental to the sound (compromises again). Most so-called "improvements" in moving-coil speakers since the late 40s have been making bad speakers better and not improving the already good ones. Thus the flood of plastic, metal and composite cone materials for woofers intended for small (thus highly compromised) boxes. Some of these may be an improvement over previous small box woofers but still none of them sound as good as a late 1940s Altec 515 paper-cone woofer in a big box. And certainly none of them sound as good as the bass section of a Khorn. I suggest you look at the Lansing Heritage website at www.audioheritage.org to get a little history and perspective on loudspeaker design and you'll see how the efforts of people in the 1930s and 1940s, people bankrolled by the huge resources of Bell Labs, RCA and the Hollywood studios, nailed down the proper technology for making good loudspeakers with few compromises. In those days sound reproduction was looked at as a SCIENTIFIC problem not a marketing problem. The scientists have moved on. :-)

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  • 18 years later...
On 10/24/2020 at 6:47 PM, LeighB said:

I have a pair of old Klipsch speakers in tall black cabinets.   How can I tell if they have any value - in other words, I don't know what they are worth.  I do know that when they were purchased they were expensive.

 

Thanks

 

Start a new thread, post pictures of what you have. 

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On 10/24/2020 at 7:47 PM, LeighB said:

I have a pair of old Klipsch speakers in tall black cabinets.   How can I tell if they have any value - in other words, I don't know what they are worth.  I do know that when they were purchased they were expensive.

 

Thanks

tell you what send me pictures , I 'll tell you what they are worth ------

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