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tigerwoodKhorns

High End Speakers do Sound High End

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It would be cool if Klipsch would release a new fully horn loaded system that embraces the principles the company was founded upon.

Frankly, I think it's an insult to their founder that they haven't.

I'm no expert on the matter, but from what I've heard, the wrangling within the company and the company's direction away from PWK's vision started happening long before PWK died, and it looks to me like it continues to this day.

If a salesman walked into PWK's office in 1975 and offered up his best argument for why Klipsch should produce the Palladium, that salesman would have gotten the back side of the lapel.

JMO and no reflection on how great the Palladium is. I just think the flagship of the company should be a fully horn-loaded speaker.

The Jubilee bass bin is a real advancement of the art of building horn-loaded speakers. That it's being largely ignored within the company except for commercial uses is a slap in the face to PWK.

Greg

No pun inteded, but it's a sound business decision, on the part of KGI, NOT to offer a complete, dressed up version of the Jubilee for Klipsch dealers It would compete with the classic Khorn, which is already a special order product (meaning low volume).

The Palladium, on the other hand, is poised to compete with the B&W's of the world at the $20K price point and to "up the image" of the company in the process. They have much to be proud of. I spent a good amount of time listening to them with my own test CD's in Indy this year. They are an ultra-refined offering which provides aethetic appeal as well as great sound for the high end market. hey in that market, some people spend 10 times that much for speakers that don't sound as good.

Times have changed since the "glory days" of 2-channel hi-fi. Those types of products are still available if you really want them, but there are market realities that simply cannot be ignored, and the Jubilee would not be a good fit for those market realities.

One of the things that PWK admitted to me during my full day visit to the plant and his home, back in 1985, is that the Heresy saved the company. For the same reason that
you find so many Heresy's on Ebay today, so many more of the "smaller
speakers" were produced than the Khorns. In a world of planned
obsolescence, the Khorn was made to be a "lifetime of the owner" type
of product. While this is an honorable pursuit on the part of the
irascible founder, it just simply won't work for all of the households
in America and keep the troops employed. I enjoyed my original KCBR
pair for 20 years before upgrading to KBWL's for the last 10. How many
products can you ever buy in this world, at any price, that maintain
their utility for that long? PWK was part of a growth oriented market and never did much marketing, other than word of mouth.

If PWK had not offered a
bookshelf speaker, and smaller speakers than the Khorn, the company
would probably have folded in the 60's or 70's. Ed Wolfrum, a local guy
who worked for K&A as a consultant, designed the Xover for the
KG-2, designed by Gary Gillum. The KG line of speakers sold well and were and excellent 2-way
system with a passive radiator ..............more profitable also. They were the precursor to the RF line, which was the precursor to the Palladium. The design trend continues. There's a lot of home-grown technology and refinement that goes into the Palladium, including some horns that perform beyond their relatively small size (look at my Avatar).

So
in looking at the phenomenal growth of KGI, in the last 19 years of new
ownership, it makes a lot of sense to leave it to "fanatical freaks
of sound" like us to pursue Jubs thought the back door and for them to
promote a "high end" styled and sounding Palladium line for "upper
crust" of audio buyers with more cash than time, and an inkling to mess with electronic Xovers.

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Nicely put ClaudeJ1, though I'm not sure I fit your profile of a Palladium buyer!

One thing I sometimes have trouble with is the hammering on the "fully horn loaded" dogma. Yes, historically the top of the line Klipsch has always been fully horn loaded. For those who were at the 2008 Pilgrimage, recall Jim Hunter stating the never-changing principles by which Klipsch engineers have always designed speakers. He spoke of low distortion, efficiency, etc. None of those goals were "to put horns in stuff". It just so happens that because of the laws of physics horns are a cheap and direct way of attaining these goals. When you want to get performance out of smaller enclosure, 3 woofers instead of folded horn, etc you are fighting physics and have to spend a lot more money to get where you want to be. In my interview with the esteemed Mr. Hunter, he said there's no way Paul wouldn't be proud of the Palladium.

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I've seen threads hijacked, but this is extreme. 

Didn't they make an FI version of the 348 and wasn't there a 396 version of that engine?  I am going off of memory.  Before the Mark IV Big Block they had the 348 and 396 but is was inefficient and Duntov would not let them put that "anchor" into his Vette.  When the Mark IV came out he liked it but insisted on increasing it to 7 liters before they could put one in a Vette. 

Sorry Damon to re-hijack the thread. No and no. Never a 348 FI and never a 396 FI. The 348 was an old design based on a truck block, it later spawned the 409. Neither were reliable, and the cylinder head design was good for torque but not high revs=horsepower. The 396 debuted in 1965 in Corvette and other Chevy models and later spawned the 402 and 454.

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I've seen threads hijacked, but this is extreme.

Didn't they make an FI version of the 348 and wasn't there a 396 version of that engine? I am going off of memory. Before the Mark IV Big Block they had the 348 and 396 but is was inefficient and Duntov would not let them put that "anchor" into his Vette. When the Mark IV came out he liked it but insisted on increasing it to 7 liters before they could put one in a Vette.

Sorry Damon to re-hijack the thread. No and no. Never a 348 FI and never a 396 FI. The 348 was an old design based on a truck block, it later spawned the 409. Neither were reliable, and the cylinder head design was good for torque but not high revs=horsepower. The 396 debuted in 1965 in Corvette and other Chevy models and later spawned the 402 and 454.

I do want to keep this thread on track but yes, the 409. I forgot. and I do seem to remember the 396 in the 65 Vette. The 402 was a .030 over 396. 396 and 427 share the same crank and 427 and 454 share the same block if I remember correctly. Its been a long time since I played with muscle cars and Vettes.

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I always thought the 396 was in reality a 402, but GM called it a 396 to keep it under 400 CI for insurance purposes !!!!!

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Yes. Pre 1970, GM did mandate its own 400 cubic inch rule for all mid size cars, thus the 67-69 Chevy Chevelle, Pontiac GTO, Buick GS, and Olds 442 all had engines smaller than 400ci. 1970 came and GM went full throttle and developed the 454 for Chevy, 455 for Buick, Olds and Pontiac each with their unique block and head design. The 396 gave birth to the 402 in 1970. Both engines were sold under 396 or 402 badges depending upon their application. The Chevy 400 is unrelated and a small block design.

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A lot of good arguments here. Haven't read most of the posts but ClaudeJ1 made some good points. I have no doubt PWK would be proud of the Palladium line - they are impressive. Horn loaded isn't a driving design principle, it's high efficiency and horns also work well for the rest of the Klipsch design principles.

I think it was posted many times, that the Palladium P39-F is the flagship of the Palladium line. Does that make it the Klipsch flagship? I don't know. They're selling very well. I think there were like 200 pair of the 60th Anniversary Klipschorn's made and maybe they've sold the last pair by now and many to Europe. A lot of the problem there, besides, not being expensive enough, is that they're too good. Old Klipschorns never die, they just find a new home and keep on producing some of the sweetest sounding music available on planet earth. Never quite as good as a live concert but so much closer than most anything else available.

Yeah, it seems there is or has been a bit of a struggle internally as the Klipschorn Palladium never quite made it to market as a home speaker. Kind of sad IMVHO but may be a good decision from a marketing standpoint. The fact that Klipsch works with people to put together home versions from the professional line I think is a good thing. The fanatics can still get one if they want. The factory would probably even pretty up the bass bin if someone wanted one bad enough.

From the subject, yes, high end speakers do sound high end. The Palladium models I think have set new levels for efficiency, ultra low-distortion, especially in the midrange. To a lot of us that aren't used to listening to Klipschorns, LaScalas, Cornwalls, or Palladiums, or our own hybred systems (Claude's come to mind) on a regular basis, the Palladium's and Klipschorns sound otherworldly good. More so than any other high-end speaker I've ever heard. I suppose the amazing thing is that the 60th anniversay Klipschorns and the Belle center speaker in a 3 speaker stereo set upheld their own pretty well with the Palladium P-39F which is the state of the art in loudspeaker design. Yeah, the bass distortion is probably a lot higher than that of the Klipschorn, but the midrange (and maybe treble?) distortion achieves new levels of ultra low distortion. And the snooty high end audiophile types seem to be taking notice - don't know why so many audiophile types couldn't accept how great the Klipschorns have been all these decades but at least now they're taking notice of the Palladium.

Besides, look at it this way. People who upgrade to Palladium that already own Klipschorns and Cornwalls will likely make them available for a song to those who can't yet afford Palladiums.

I hope Klipsch doesn't abandon the lower price points. Teenagers and college students usually mange to spend a lot of money, even if they don't really have any. The college kid that grooved to in iGroove or ProMedia through college may be tomorrows CEO that can afford the Reference, Heritage, Icon, and Palladium models. Even the Synergy models, while obviously not as good as the more expensive Klipsch models offer an amazing bang for the buck. Look at it this way - if Klipsch sells enough insanely high -end Palladiums and lower end Synergy models to make money, they'll more than likely keep the Heritage models available, even if it's only special order. That said, they produced more Heresies in one day a few months ago than ever before - most if not all went to the European market (hmmm.... Anarchist, typically smaller houses buying bigger speakers though the Heresies aren't very big...).

Does Klipsch still produce the best speakers. Without a question. Is a Synergy Quintet system the best HT speaker array - of course not, but it's probably the best for under a $1000 list with a Synergy sub by far.

And the Promedia 2.1 is probably the best $250 compute speakers available but they list for $150 to $170. So, why not market the synergy 2.1 as the best $250 set of computer speakers? It's probably true. Just send me a new set if it works.

True story. Shortly after the Pilgrimage, my highly opinionated 13 year old daughter got an a rant about who in their right mind (she promised me a set of Jubilees a few months back when she's through law school and on her way to become president ... ) would spend $20K on a set of speakers. It made a bit more sense to her when I compared it say, an exotic supercar is really no better at transportation than a Pontiac and the speakers would probably provide enjoyment for ever..... eventually calming down, "... are they really that much better..." I reminded her of the A / B speaker test and she kind of got it then (at that time we didn't have a clue what we had listened to - ended up being Palladium P-37F compared to B&W 802.d (I think). Somewhere she had mentioned that (the speaker company with amazing marketing but missing a lot of substance) are less expensive than Klipsch. Stopped in to the local Best Buy - 2 cute little cubes and a "subwoofer" (maybe a mid bass box) computer speakers - $249.99. Klipsch Promedia 2.1 - a pair of 2 way satellites with a micro tractrix tweeter and a "subwoofer" that can actually deliver something that can be considered bass - $169.99 (and often on sale for less, I think I saw $119.99 and maybe even $99 advertised somewhere last Christmas). Yeah, the (the company name is a 4 letter word) is kind of cute, but guess which one sounds better? Most people would agree, I'd think, if they'd ever bother to listen. Here's the iGroove SXT like you have - $149, the ( ____) competition $249, did not compare these either but suspect the Klipsch sounds better.... had to look, finally found a CS-700, no label on the shelf, no price, satellites were scratched up very disappointing. That said, at least 2 synergy set ups were displayed on a couple of the end-caps and in the main demo area. (No Magolia here in Kokotucky). Probably should've gotten her some Custom 1 or 2 instead of the iGroove as she uses my Custom 2 all the time on road trips. Our older daughter even preferes the Custom 2 though she uses her iGroove a lot more regularly. Of couse in all fairness, she has an iPod and a Creative Labs Zen Xtra while our youngest daughter has just a Creative Labs Zen Xtra - works quite well with the iGroove actually but not as cool. The iPod overrides the auxillary input, but I think the auxillary will play if the docked iPod is turned off. I see this as being great in the dorm as it could play some soft music from the auxillary jack to fall to sleep to and then the iPod kick in louder when it's time to get up - I am of course assuming the iPod has a built in timer feature - the Zen's do

In some cases, Klipsch has been way too far ahead of the competition. The iFi was probably the most amazing iPod speaker ever created and a huge bargain for the quality of sound. Operated kind of goofy, but man, it seems like now would be the time to make it operate more intuitively and reintroduce the iFi II? The world wasn't ready for $400 iPod speakers when it was introduced. Now people are buying gobs of $250 and up iPod speakers... Still kicking myself for not buying a pair when Klipsch sold out what was left at a bargain.... but trying to quite spending money I don't have.... probably would've ended up in a dorm room this fall anyway

(sorry for the rambling.... have a bad cold, can't sleep, I get into babble mode....) just my 0.02 cents (I'm not expert in these types of things, so if the real experts opionions are only worth 2 cents, mine might be work 2/100 of a cent on a good day

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Nicely put ClaudeJ1, though I'm not sure I fit your profile of a Palladium buyer!

One thing I sometimes have trouble with is the hammering on the "fully horn loaded" dogma. Yes, historically the top of the line Klipsch has always been fully horn loaded. For those who were at the 2008 Pilgrimage, recall Jim Hunter stating the never-changing principles by which Klipsch engineers have always designed speakers. He spoke of low distortion, efficiency, etc. None of those goals were "to put horns in stuff". It just so happens that because of the laws of physics horns are a cheap and direct way of attaining these goals. When you want to get performance out of smaller enclosure, 3 woofers instead of folded horn, etc you are fighting physics and have to spend a lot more money to get where you want to be. In my interview with the esteemed Mr. Hunter, he said there's no way Paul wouldn't be proud of the Palladium.

I don't agree that "fully horn loaded" is a dogma. It is a preference or taste but more a design philosophy. Fully horn loaded speakers are more efficient more sensitive with lower distortion. That is the mantra or dogma of klipsch. I find the bass of a fully horn loaded system to totally blow away the competition in terms of realism and dynamics. However, I am completely biased and will not try to tell you otherwise. In my neighborhood Heritage Klipsch were everwhere and that sound has stuck with me to this day especially memories of Khorns and LaScalas. The genius in klipsch designs for me has always been the fully horn loaded systems. I dig the engineering that went into this great cabinets. Just from looking at them you could tell there was more to them than meets the eye. Of course PWK would be proud of Klipsch. No doubt about that. They have been incredibly inovative released some killer products and have done very well financially. None of the goals were "to put horns in stuff" while I can agree with that I have to ask. What was the last speaker design PWK worked on until he was too sick to go on? It was a fully horn loaded two way system with a sensitivity over 105db. It even had a release date when PWK showed them at CES. His last project was fully horn loaded I imagine because it was the best way to meet his goals and best the Klipschorn. Which was no small task. I do agree with alot of what ClaudeJ1 said regarding the business side but I am obviously not a business man just a big fan of klipsch bass horns.

Please don't get me wrong Damon I am in no way putting down the Palladium at all in any way. If it sounds as good as it looks it is a real winner. The Palladium should sell very well especially in Europe and Asia. The woofers in that cabinet are amazing. The specs for the woofers read like something out of the space program. No doubt countless hours of engineering hours went into their development. It also sports HF MF tractrix horns which is ultra coool. I bet they sound amazing. It is great to see tractrix in use today given that it started so long ago with Voigt. He would be proud to see his curves being used. Is there any information regarding the development of the Palladium design process? They really worked on this for a long time to get it right. It is nice to see a product not rushed to market which is very admirable of Klipsch in this day and age. Palladium is a much better name for a line of speakers than Premeire.

palladiums_800.png

pic from klipschcorner.com

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If Damon is happy we should all be happy for him. The man got what he wanted .............. Enjoy Damon , Wasn't there a Ricky Nelson song along the lines of ........ "You don't have to satisfy anyone but Yourself" ....... ? ROCK ON DAMONRPAYNE ................. EH !!!!!! (Sorry about the car talk, can't help myself)

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Seti,

First of all, it puts a big ole smile on my face when my own pictures or articles (Klipschcorner) gets quoted back to me, so I forgive anything you've ever said :D.

As far as the design/development process of the Palladium, these are the main sources of information that I know of:

  1. There is a press release (http://germancarscene.com/2008/04/23/bmw-group-designworksusa-designs-innovative-premium-home-speaker-for-the-legendary-klipsch-brand/) by the design company that states some of the inspiration and process for the way the speaker looks. Obviously the boat-tail design has huge acoustic advantages too.
  2. The old Klipsch press release for the Reference Premiere line (the Palladium clearly gets much of its DNA from this ultimately failed project) states varoius design goals and such.
  3. The Klipsch press releases for the P-93F state some design philosophy and goals.
  4. The interview I did with Jim Garret (no longer with Klipsch :( ) and Chris Pe ()rrins has the most detail regarding the actual design and development process of anything I personally know about. (http://www.klipschcorner.com/Podcasts.aspx)

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I've enjoyed this thread quite a bit, and I think all of you have a very good grasp on why/how we do what we do.

Trust me--our blood, sweat and tears have gone into the Palladium line (and continue to). But they've also gone into our Heritage line, and our desire to keep those products alive. We love them both and are fortunate enough to have them both, so we can truly say, "To each, their own!"

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I don't have a problem with Klipsch producing the Palladium. I don't argue with the notion that the Palladium is the state of the art in speaker design. I think Klipsch should pursue any business venture that will make them money and keep them in business. If Palladiums and Heresy's are the way to make money, I say go for it.

The point of my previous post was simply that I believe that Klipsch should be pursuing the design and advancement of the state-of-the-art in fully horn-loaded loudspeakers. To not do so is counter to the roots of the company and the vision of their founder.

I believe there is a lot of room for the advancement of the art of building fully horn-loaded speakers. PWK showed us that in his last design. Who's to say that the Khorn and Jubilee designs can't be improved upon to provide even more of everything that makes them the great speakers that they are? What it takes is a commitment.

I don't think it makes sense to compare the very old design of the Khorn with the newest technology of the Palladium without considering what could be done with the Khorn design if given the same commitment to advancing that technology. Frankly, the fact that the Khorn, with no real technological advancements since its inception over 60 years ago, is able to closely compete with the Palladium, is an indication to me of how much better the basic Khorn topology really is.

As far as how much floor space the Palladium takes up compared to the Khorn or Jubilee; the Palladium is going to be sitting away from the back and side walls taking up more valuable floor space in a living room than either the Khorn or Jubilee. But it's really a non-issue, because anyone buying these big speakers knows what they're getting into.

Greg

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Frankly, the fact that the Khorn, with no real technological advancements since its inception over 60 years ago, is able to closely compete with the Palladium, is an indication to me of how much better the basic Khorn topology really is.

The Palladium top half is much cleaner sounding, and the bottom is really tight. While the Klipschorn doesn't sound as clean to me, it certainly does better at loading the room up with big sound. I think the Palladium top edges out the Jubilee too in cleanliness, but I'd have to have them side by side to say by how much.

I think Damon is to be applauded for demonstrating his confidence in what Klipsch can do at this level. I hope his system kicks ***. :)

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Frankly, the fact that the Khorn, with no real technological advancements since its inception over 60 years ago, is able to closely compete with the Palladium, is an indication to me of how much better the basic Khorn topology really is.

The Palladium top half is much cleaner sounding, and the bottom is really tight. While the Klipschorn doesn't sound as clean to me, it certainly does better at loading the room up with big sound. I think the Palladium top edges out the Jubilee too in cleanliness, but I'd have to have them side by side to say by how much.

I think Damon is to be applauded for demonstrating his confidence in what Klipsch can do at this level. I hope his system kicks ***. :)

I would be interested in hearing both with that wonderful McIntosh gear they have in Indy.

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The Palladium top half is much cleaner sounding, and the bottom is really tight. While the Klipschorn doesn't sound as clean to me, it certainly does better at loading the room up with big sound. I think the Palladium top edges out the Jubilee too in cleanliness, but I'd have to have them side by side to say by how much.

I used the translator on this:

The Palladium newer hallf full technology advancement bests Klipschorn unclean sound horn, although men like tight bottom getting loaded in room is desirable, but side by side tight bottom must be enjoyed much before leaving cabefare on dressser.

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If Damon is happy we should all be happy for him. The man got what he wanted ..............

Agreed. Since I haven't already done so, I do want to take up a forum post to say to Damon -

[:D][:D][:D][:D][:D][:D] CONGRATULATIONS [:D][:D][:D][:D][:D][:D]

......and thanks for sharing your journey of new ownership with these. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading along.

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The Palladium top half is much cleaner sounding, and the bottom is really tight. While the Klipschorn doesn't sound as clean to me, it certainly does better at loading the room up with big sound. I think the Palladium top edges out the Jubilee too in cleanliness, but I'd have to have them side by side to say by how much.

I used the translator on this:

The Palladium newer half full technology advancement bests Klipschorn unclean sound horn, although men like tight bottom getting loaded in room is desirable, but side by side tight bottom must be enjoyed much before leaving cabefare on dresser.

LOL!

You're not a well person.:)

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thanks for sharing your journey of new ownership with these. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading along.

Yes, a big thanks Damon. Very generous of you to take the time to document the delivery of your new speakers. Heaven knows, if that were me with Palladiums in my house...I'd be a kid on Christmas morning tearing through the wrapping and boxes and putting off changing out of my pj's until they are set up and playing. Thanks for the continued postings of listening impressions. I read these with great interest and hope they are not the source for debate amongst all us proud Klipsch owners. Now stop reading this and go listen to the concert in the next room.

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