04 March, 2015

Overview: Klipsch Classics, Part II -Klipschorn, Belle, Cornwall, Heresy

Overview: Klipsch Classics, Part II -Klipschorn, Belle, Cornwall, Heresy and more
Talk-Horns: Klipsch, the One-Stop Solution, Part II

See Part I for General Info, Klipsch links, and La Scala in depth; Part III for the best La Scala system I hace heard; Part IV for the later Quartet/Forte.

Now, on to the other Klipsch Classics. Aside from the Heresy, I don't have personal experience with them, but shall report here my various auditions.

My one and only experience was the Klipschorn of my friend Jeff. You just walk into the house, awash with music. Given that the drivers are the same as La Scala, the sound is very similar, with just a little more bass extension and authority. As reported in that article, There's a wonderful article on Klipschorn in the July 09 issue of the HiFi news, which includes much praise by David Wilson. One day if I source a pair locally (it cannot be otherwise) I will get it. Meanwhile I am content with my time spent with La Scala, not a wasted second.

Image result for klipsch cornwall
Now, how did that slip away? Somehow, I never wrote about my friend Jeff's Cornwall (likely alnico), which he got after the K-horn! It was placed against the long wall, and the sound was rich and authoritative driven by Rogue tube amps, if my memory serves me. For those lacking the space for the K-horn or La Scala, these are ideal. Originally intended to fill the center for a pair of K-horns, the treble and midrange are horn-loaded, and the infinite baffle gives the 15" bass a tight and tuneful sound. It was not produced for a while, but is now resurrected as the Cornwall III. Highly desirable. Some may even prefer it to the models with horn-loaded bass.

Belle Klipsch  Floorstanding Speaker | KlipschBelle
In the past two decades, I have encountered the La Scala many times, but the Belle only twice. First was more than 10 years ago, in a second-hand shop; I did not get to hear it. Fortunately, recently, I made friends with ama333, a gentleman who owns the non-alnico Belle II.

As you can see, the Belle looks like a tamer La Scala. Indeed, that likely was the original intention, using the same drivers to create a more domesticated version. General consensus has it that the sound is more polite too. Apparently, it is not as popular as the La Scala, and Klipsch has unfortunately discontinued it.

I only got to hear the Belle at my friend ama333's place. It sounds fabulous, all of one piece, and much like the La Scala. He drove them first with Marantz 8 and 9 amps, now with Welborne Lab Laurel 300B amps. Sound was much like La Scala, beyond reproach. For me, I'd be just as satisfied with these as La Scala. ama333 also has a pair of JBL 4344, but I prefer the Klipsch.

This is like a scaled-down Cornwall. Its size is awkward, too big for a bookshelf and too small to stand alone. But I tell you, the sound is another matter. My experience is detailed here.

A quirk about the Heresy. Like a guitar amp (which it is sometimes used as) it was designed to be placed on the floor, with a wedge to prop up the front. If you place them on stands, bass is lean. You need to place them closer to the floor and time-align by raising the front. This is the only Klispch classic that I think pairing with a subwoofer might reap benefits. Also, I wonder what a stacked pair would sound!

Other horn-equipped products
Klipsch made many products that incorporated horn tweeters and/or midranges, like smaller Cornwall's. A large number of these are highly worthwhile. The Klipsch Official Website has plenty of info on discontinued products, but you have to type in the model names. The most famous one is likely the Forte.

Quartet I have the chance to hear the Quartet, slightly smaller version of the Forte II to good effect (see Klipsch, the One-Stop Solution, Part IV).

Mods As with the La Scala, numerous after market mods are available. Given my experience with some of these on the La Scala, I doubt I'd like them. Leave Paul Klipsch's masterpieces alone!

A great company, the best!


  1. Hi DrJohn,

    I've been following your thoughts on the Klipsch Heritage speakers with great interest. I was toying with changing my tweeters and trying some of the after market mods but decided not to after reflecting on your comments and my personal experience. I might however change the internal wiring of my Cornwalls to vintage Western electric cable.

    I have the opportunity now to buy a pair of Klipschorns. I now own a pair of Klipsch Cornwalls. I am very fond of my Cornwalls. Its superb design allows me to place it in most rooms with minimal fuss. Should I consider swapping my Cornwalls for the Klipschorns? I do not have proper corners to maximise bass output for the Klipschorns now. I might in the future when I move to another place with proper corners. Is it worth the switch? Is the sound of a Klipschorns much better than a pair of Cornwalls to merit the switch?

    Appreciate your thoughts. Cheers!

    1. Indeed the Cornwalls are what most people need, and some may just prefer its sound to the larger horn loaded siblings. The Cornwall is a keeper.

      Yes, the K'horns will have more jump factor when done right, but the cost is high - I mean not money, but effort spend on it. Lacking proper corners, I think close to the side walls is a must and ideally they should not be too far from the front wall (the wall behind the loudspeakers). I think it will still sound great and some people may actually not like full corner loading. Also, when you move, it is work!

      In HK, I'd say Cornwall is enough for HK. But in the US, K'horns should be seriously considered.

      I say, if the pair of K'horns you can buy now is ALNICO, by all means consider it. If it is ferrite, then you may want to wait till later. Fair enough?

  2. Great advice drjohn.

    You're right in saying the time and effort required to optimize Klipschorns to sound their best is high. I would also need a fairly large living room for it and would need to make a false corner. My present living room only has one right angled corner.

    Do the Alnico components really sound better? I've never had the opportunity to compare Alnico vs non Alnico. And this only applies to the mid range squawker?

    1. As I mentioned in my articles on La Scala, my alnico pair definitely sounded better in the midrange and treble than the ferrite pair. I had a little problem with the bass but it was no problem at my friend's.

      So I'd say, yes, alnico Klipsch is what to go for.