Yard Sale Speaker’s Spotter’s Guide: 4: AR and Klipsch

Today: the last in our series on better-quality readily available vintage hifi speakers.  Above, AR’s AR-3A, AR-2AX, AR-6, AR-7, AR-5, AR-8, AR-4XA, and the model XB turntable.

Above: Klipsch Cornwall, Heresy, Belle, and the mighty Klipschhorn.

12 thoughts on “Yard Sale Speaker’s Spotter’s Guide: 4: AR and Klipsch”

  1. The “Klassic Klipsches” are the Heresy, Cornwall, Belle Klipsch, La Scala and Klipschhorn. These, plus a few odd bits such as the Shorthorn, were those designed by or at the direct supervision of Paul W. Klipsch.

    Klipsch’s biography and the things he wrote for various magazines and his “Dope From Hope” newsletters should be regarded as key reading by anyone seriously interested in audio.

    PWK was past middle age when his speaker business really took off and he had served in Army Artillery, meaning that the treble end of his hearing was often considered suspect by competitors and the occasional audio columnist. (He lived to nearly 100 and was active almost to the end.)

    The characteristics of Klassic Klipsch speakers are pretty well agreed on: effortless natural bass in the bigger models, good efficiency, great articulation of formant sounds (listen to trumpeters, the tonguing is clear and distinct) but often a harsh treble presentation. And complaints of “edginess” and “excessive brightness” are common in the larger models too.

    The culprit is usually the T35 EV treble driver, an inexpensive OEM part that really is harsh, shrill and not very detailed.

    There are upgrades available that make the bigger Klipsches into really magnificent speakers. The are not garage sale priced items, but the end result is quite competitive with ten thousand dollar systems. Less ambitious or well financed users may consider Heresy or Cornwall systems with less expensive upgrades, the crossover badly needs upgrading, the metal horns need damping applied, and some sort of attenuator is often helpful on the treble driver.

    The other thing that needs to be known about PWK designed systems is that they often do not work very well with amplifiers of very high damping factor. The ONLY amplifier PWK ever specifically recommended for his speakers was, early on, one version of the Brook triode amplifier. When Brook went out of business, he simply said any amplifier would do if it wasn’t too powerful, since his speakers were so efficient. One thing casual users usually did was to use thin zip cord for speaker wire, which cuts down on effective damping factor substantially when it is a very high value to start with. Audiophiles use heavy cables, which did away with that inadvertent but effective fix.

    Most any smaller push pull tube amp with moderate feedback will work fine. Neither zero feedback designs nor those with complex feedback schemes seem to do as well.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Damon. 🙁

    Klipsch speakers used inexpensive parts and first rate cabinet work to achieve gain and efficiency. JBL and Altec speakers used expensive parts in boring, unimaginative cabinets. (Exceptions exist, Paragons and Hartsfields.)

  3. I AM VERY INTRESTED IN FINDING A PAIR OF KLIPSCHORNS AND 1- BELLE KLIPSCHPLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS IS POSSIBLE TY , MARK

  4. I AM VERY INTRESTED IN FINDING A PAIR OF KLIPSCHORNS AND 1- BELLE KLIPSCHPLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS IS POSSIBLE TY , MARK

    Finding a set of K-horns is no tall order, they are common in any city where hi-fi is somewhat common. BKs are rarer and although they were made originally for exactly what you seem to be wanting one for-as a phantom channel third-very very few were sold as singletons and you will probably have to buy a pair and either keep the twin as a spare or sell it. In fact early K-horns are easier to find as singles because many were sold in the mono era.

    The La Scala can also be used as a phantom third with K-horns as can the Heresy and Cornwall, and indeed just about any reasonably efficient speaker. I know people who have used 604s in decent enclosures as phantom thirds in Klipsch installs with very good success as well as old Bozaks, University boxes, and any number of homebrews.

  5. I have a pair of K-horns for sale in Denver, hate to part with them but moving out of the county

    1. I jus tfound your add that you have a pair of Klipschorns for sale.
      Are they still available?

      Thank you
      Johnny
      425-248-9831

  6. I had a pair of Elipsch speaker 1 was hereshs 2 was Cornwall 3 was Belle I wish I keep them to day the have the new hereshs3 and Cornwall 3 are back the belles ant back very sad but I don’t have the money for the I would if I win money I will get a pair

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *