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Klipsch Speaker Modifications

Can a Klipsch speaker be made better than PWK designed it?

Paul W. Klipsch spent the better part of his life perfecting his speaker designs.  He is known around the world for his accomplishments and his KLIPSCHORN loudspeaker is heralded by many as the finest speaker ever made.  It is the only speaker in the world to be in continuous production for over 70 years.  Paul received many awards throughout his lifetime and is enshrined in The Engineering and Science Hall of Fame, sharing an honor held only by the elite of the engineering and science world. 


Have you noticed that there are a few individuals in the audio business purporting to improve upon PWK's designs?  It doesn't take long to find them on the internet offering all sorts of advice on how to improve your Klipsch heritage speaker.  You will find offers for better tweeters, better midrange horns and  drivers, better crossovers.  Some will tell you the midrange horns "ring" and that they need to be wrapped with asphalt, rope caulk, etc. to "damp" them.  Others even recommend complete horn replacement!  They want you to believe their theories, then sell you something they claim will make your speaker better than PWK designed it.  

 

Regarding horn ring, I can tell you this.  I listened to LaScalas countless times at live concerts back in the day when Klipsch was involved in concert sound systems.  We are talking some serious output here folks.  Personally, I use a pair of industrial (professional) Heresys outdoors at our pool.  These speakers are 35 feet apart and can play loud enough to......well let's just say excite the neighbors!  There is no audible "ring" from the horns.  Do you really think that if these speakers sounded bad they would have been used in such venues as Radio City Music Hall and The Hollywood Bowl?  


The "experts" that claim you should modify your Klipsch speakers either have not heard a system that has been properly set up, have listened with poor amplification, have a bad listening room,  or this is how they supplement their income.  We have yet to see any of them install their modifications and provide a verifiable test report comparing a correctly performing heritage speaker to their "modified" speaker.  A claim of  "it sounds better" means nothing as this is simply someone's opinion and is not factual.  Even a good looking response curve doesn't guarantee that a speaker system sounds good.          


With over 43 years working with Klipsch loudspeakers both at home and professionally, here are my recommendations concerning modifications.


First, buyer beware.  As stated above, PWK spent most of his life perfecting his speakers.  Sure, there have been advancements in acoustic technology since Paul designed his speakers.  But keep this in mind.  Paul designed his speakers according to the laws of physics.  The heritage designs are scientifically correct and as such are not easily improved upon.  Changing one component can likely throw the balance of the whole system off.**  You could end up with a speaker that doesn't perform to specification and is not as good as it was before being modified*.  Why would you want to own something like this? 


*Our definition of modified is a component change to the speaker that has not been tested for performance accuracy after installation in the speaker as a unit.  Do not confuse this with speaker updating to bring an older speaker up to current specification using tested and proven compatible components.


**Buyer beware:  midrange drivers K55V, K55M, K55X, and various replacements must be used in crossover networks designed for them in order to work properly.  They are not interchangeable as some would have you believe.  Just because they screw on the back of the horn and make a sound doesn't mean they work at peak performance in every network.  The same is true with the K77, K77M, K77F tweeters.  Sensitivity and frequency response is different and this will affect the balance of the system if not used in the correct network.  Crossover capacitors must be of a specific type to avoid altering the frequency response of the speaker system as originally designed.         


So what do you do if your speaker is really in need of repair?  Call us.  We can repair your speaker using correct components to bring it back as close as possible to the way PWK built it.      


If you still feel the need to modify a genuine Klipsch product, think about this before you tear it apart.  PWK stood behind all of his speakers and they performed according to his published specifications.  Can anyone stand behind your new creation the same way?  Remember, once modified you no longer have an authentic Klipsch product.  


A wiser choice -  don't ruin it.  Keep it operating as designed and enjoy owning a true piece of audio history designed by Paul W. Klipsch, The Legend In Sound.   

 

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