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They were built somewhere between 1963 and 2005...
Old 07-07-2014, 07:13 PM   #141
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They were built somewhere between 1963 and 2005...

I took a gamble today bidding on some audio equipment in the school district's surplus auction. No inspection or test because I found the listing over the holiday weekend.

An e-mail now informs me I am the new owner of the ugliest pair of Klipsch La Scala's in the Lone Star state. $200 all-in.

Worst case, I'll gut the drivers and the crossovers and sell them on Ebay for a small profit.

Best case...

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Old 07-07-2014, 07:54 PM   #142
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Oh boy! Those speakers of yours will not win any beauty contest. Still, let us know how they sound.
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:55 PM   #143
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Wow, I see they go for $3500 each now (but new ones are 'pretty' )!

If they aren't damaged, and you have the room for them, that should be something. You can try rocking out with an SET amplifier (which would barely make my Maggies whisper).

Let us know how it goes!


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Old 07-07-2014, 10:42 PM   #144
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Agree with the SET comment. If they sound good, a little paint or veneer is easy to add.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:21 PM   #145
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By the way, having seen with my own measurements that a small speaker with a 6-1/2" driver with a good design can have a nice flat response and can reach down in frequency as low as the bigger ones, except that the smaller one cannot deliver the same loudness, I agree with the presenter of the following video from Axiom, a speaker maker. Basically, the speaker size depends on the room. For a small room, a good pair of small speakers is all you need.



In contrast, I happened across the following video of an installation of a huge speaker set in a room that is too small. Surely, the dedicated listening room shown is not really that small, but the speakers are gigantic. Does the owner really need 1,400W of amp in a room of that size? I would build myself a small auditorium for those speakers!



Anyway, I am itching to take the hardware up to my 2nd home, which has a larger living room with ceiling going up to 25'. I think the acoustics there will be better than the room where I do the listening now.
Take a look at the sets of speakers Cameron Carpenter uses with his touring digital organ 1000s of watts of power used. (Basically they have digitized all the pipes on various organs, and the "organ" processor just combines them thru the magic of digital music. It has 10 traveling cases of speakers as well as 8 wheeled subwoofers. (the organ takes 100 amps of power)
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Old 07-08-2014, 09:49 AM   #146
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I did not know of Cameron Carpenter, so looked him up. Well, he plays in a large hall or public place for a crowd. The guy in the video I posted was installing this gargantuan speaker/amplifier for a not-so-big listening room.

By the way, I later found out that this listening room was not in a private home but a show room for his commercial audio products.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:00 AM   #147
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I took a gamble today...
And the verdict is...they work.

The S/N's show they were built in 1983. Other than the surface cosmetic issues expected for unfinished plywood boxes hung in a gym for 30 years, the first test in my garage suggests there are no missing parts, no crude repairs and no "must fix" items. They sound just great. .

I'll post pictures and some additional details this weekend. But I will need to read up on noise ordinances before testing is complete.

For now, a story that fits for a vintage piece of equipment, and "vintage" equipment owners.

These bad boys are big and heavy, roughly 2 x 2 x 3 and maybe 125-150 lbs. I needed help at the warehouse. It took two people to wrestle them into the back of RAV4. A third guy provided a hand at one point.

Naturally, I couldn't wait to start a test when I got home. I somehow wrestled one speaker out of the tailgate, but came perilously close to bringing it down on a corner. I spotted the 18 y.o. neighbor kid's car in his driveway, then knocked on the door and got him to come over to help. We safely moved both speakers out of the car and into a temporary spot in the garage. [I knew he was qualified for such work. See my hot water heater in the attic story on the Recent Repairs thread.]

So I thank him and tell him he's invited to come back for a listen after I get some music-playing capacity hooked up. 45 minutes later, I knock on the door and tell his sister "Tell Johnny to grab his favorite CD and come on over. It's time for a sound check."

So the kid comes ambling across the street. I see he's empty-handed.

"Where's your CD?"

Answer: "I don't have any CD's."
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:43 AM   #148
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So, I looked up this La Scala speaker. It has a respectable 105dB spec (1W@ 1m). You surely do not need much of an amp with that. I would plug it directly to an iPhone and see how it sounds.



And I did not know it was sold unfinished (above photo linked from the Web). Interesting. Nowadays, people like a black finish, which would be easy to do. Or one can turn this into a project by giving it a stained finish. Either way, a nice audio project for not a lot of money. I love things like this.

PS. By the way, you could provide a stereo phone cord for the neighbor kid to connect his phone or MP3 player to your amp. If I go out shopping for used speakers or amps, I simply bring a cord to use with my smartphone.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:45 AM   #149
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So the kid comes ambling across the street. I see he's empty-handed.

"Where's your CD?"

Answer: "I don't have any CD's."

Hahahaha. Love it! Dang youth these days. : )
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:11 AM   #150
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So, I looked up this La Scala speaker. It has a respectable 105dB spec (1W@ 1m). You surely do not need much of an amp with that.
Yeah, it's bound to be efficient when each driver is loaded with an exponential horn.

A friend of mine in college lived two flats below me, and had a pair of Klipschorns connected to his stereo. Loud and clear seem to be the best words to describe the sound.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:23 AM   #151
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Many modern loudspeakers are 20dB below that, so convert most of the amp power to heat (100X less efficient!). My vintage speakers are in the upper 90dB, and that's already loud.

However, modern speakers make up for that by having a flatter response. At least that's my experience. The famed AR speakers of the acoustic suspension design were known for their flat response as well as their inefficiency.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:36 AM   #152
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Many modern loudspeakers are 20dB below that, so convert most of the amp power to heat (100X less efficient!). My vintage speakers were in the upper 90dB, and that's already loud.

However, modern speakers make up for that by having a flatter response. At least that's my experience. The famed AR speakers of the acoustic suspension design were known for their flat response as well as their inefficiency.
My Ohm Walsh 2 speakers are about 30dB below that, but I do like the soundstage. They need a lot of power to drive them decently. I bought them in the early '80s, and I don't plan to ever get rid of them.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:41 AM   #153
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I'll post pictures and some additional details this weekend. But I will need to read up on noise ordinances before testing is complete.
If you want to drive the neighbors nuts, you need to do frequency sweep tests.

And of course it has to be done outside in open air, like in your backyard and not your garage, to avoid reflection from walls.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:45 PM   #154
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Pictures of my La Scalas didn't work out, but imagine some big boxes of old plywood with some random paint smears, one missing nameplate and delaminations and chips on some of the edges. They will require either a nice paint job or a complete veneer job if they are ever to make it into a living room. All possible, but requiring an investment of dozens and dozens of hours. Might be a good project for my future retirement.

I did spend a couple of hours listening to them while working on the car yesterday. These are some great-sounding speakers.

During the week I did some research on the design, especially the unusual shape of the bass section. The guys on the Klipsch board call the angular baffle seen from the front "the doghouse". This picture from a hobbyist building a clone shows why. (The assembly is rotated 90 degrees, with the back panel of the speaker resting on the table.)



The 15" woofer is mounted up against the 3" slot and sealed, with the magnet facing towards the front of the speaker. There is a triangular "splitter" board that is mounted on the back panel immediately in front of the business end of the woofer, which combines with the upper and lower "chevron" pieces to direct low frequency sound sideways and out through two open slots facing the speakers side panels.

The concept is called a two-fold bass horn. With all three drivers being horns, the speaker is said to be "fully horn-loaded".

The efficiency benefits are significant. The rear-facing woofer is moving air through that 3" slot, but after taking two 90 degree turns through a path of increasing cross-section, the sonic effect is amplified at the front of the speaker.

Lots of technology in these plywood boxes...
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:40 AM   #155
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And the verdict is...they work.

The S/N's show they were built in 1983. Other than the surface cosmetic issues expected for unfinished plywood boxes hung in a gym for 30 years, the first test in my garage suggests there are no missing parts, no crude repairs and no "must fix" items. They sound just great. .
< snip >

So the kid comes ambling across the street. I see he's empty-handed.

"Where's your CD?"

Answer: "I don't have any CD's."
Speakers hold up well in sound quality & built against new speakers. 30 years speakers sounding still great ... not so with other technology & products. My "audiophile" music system that I put together years ago has no sign of getting behind time. I guess I am stuck with it, and someday, DS will get it as a family heirloom.

So, did you play your CDs and was he impressed with the sound?
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:43 AM   #156
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Oh boy! Those speakers of yours will not win any beauty contest. Still, let us know how they sound.
At first glance, I thought they were wooden storage boxes with the speakers inside .
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:54 AM   #157
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Speakers hold up well in sound quality & built against new speakers. 30 years speakers sounding still great ... not so with other technology & products...
True. Speaker technology matured quite early compared to electronics.

However, when you buy vintage speakers, watch out for foam surround rot. The foam suspension can be repaired if a replacement can be found. My vintage speakers have cloth suspension, and should last a long time.
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Old 07-14-2014, 03:16 PM   #158
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Actually the comment on speakers goes along with what I did. The cd player died (it was a combo phongraph/5 cd player, and the motor just gave out. So I took an older laptop, riped the cds to the computer, bought a USB turntable, and digitized the vinyl. So I now play music plugging the laptop into the amp using the CD slot. Works great, and you can set it to play for a very long time using playlists. I suspect you could do the same with an MP3 player as well.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:40 PM   #159
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So, did you play your CDs and was he impressed with the sound?
Yes, I got a grin out of him when I gave the volume knob a turn, but not much more.

I guess it's a combination of the generational change and loud rock music being somewhat out of fashion. Given the same opportunity back in the 70's, I would have run over with a favorite cassette in a flash.

Something like Mississippi Queen, so I could scream for "more cowbell!"
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:04 PM   #160
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...I guess it's a combination of the generational change and loud rock music being somewhat out of fashion...
So, that explains why these geezers are all hard of hearing. And the young generation will retain their aural acuity.

You know, I try to remind myself to link anything I hear about to investment opportunities. In this case, is there any hearing aid pure-play company that I can watch out to short, if the above theory comes to pass?
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