Belle Klipsch review

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SKATTERBRANE, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Ironically, I literally just did that myself last week and even though I drove 8 hours each way to get them, I had never heard a "Cornwall" before walking in that guys door! When he played them, using a 75 watt Marantz 2275 and a Bonnie Raitt CD, they sounded unbelievable and they immediately came home with me! I already have a pair of Klipsch "Chorus 1's", with Crite upgrades, which I run on a 1959 Scott 299b tube amp and I love them, so I figured with all of the buzz on the Cornwalls, that for my bigger listening room, that the Cornwalls would be a great choice? I have yet to fire them up yet, but they are big and beautiful with the rarer "cane" colored grills, which I feel really "pop" their look! I'm debating on buying either a VTA ST-70 or ST-120 to run them, but I'm open for other suggestions in the meantime.
     
  2. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    You spent 16 hours in a car to get a pair of Cornwalls?
     
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Well, long story short ...,
    Last Monday morning on Craigslist I locally found a guy that was selling those rare vertical Cornwalls, like you have and I contacted him about possibly buying them. Those Cornwalls looked kind of beat up and the grill covers were smoke killed and not even attached anymore. Well, that guy never contacted me until late in the day and in the mean time (my wife always says that things happen for a reason), I found a near perfect looking pair of Cornwalls with the rare "cane" grills, which I personally love the look of , in New York. They had only been up for two hours and when I called the contact number and explained my situation of being a Klipsch fan and that we will travel to get them, he said I get it, because he is a JBL speaker fan and does the same thing. He told me that a guy from Michigan had already called to inquire but that he didn't commit yet. After he answered all of my questions about his Klipsch Cornwalls (He got them from the guy who bought them brand new in 1984 and that they had sat in the same place in that guys house, until he had to recently move to a nursing home), so I knew that these were the ones to buy, if any!

    I should also admit that about a month or so ago, I missed another two hour only Craigslist posting for a pair of "cane" grilled Cornwalls, also in NM condition, just an hour or so away, also bought by a guy from Michigan, (could be the same guy for all I know?), so I wasn't going to lose out on another pair and they are sitting in front of me right now! 18 x 19 sized room, with one in each corner and I can't wait to fire them up, as I just know that they are going to be great. Worse thing may be that they might eventually need some Crites or that other trusted Klipsch crossover guy's (mentioned earlier in this thread?) updated crossovers?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
    SandAndGlass, Kyhl and Dennis0675 like this.
  4. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    That's awesome! The vertical horns are a bit of a mystery to me, I would have never guessed they were an option in 1984. I thought they were more of an original design from the 60's they moved on from.

    Also...there is a very sweet looking st-70 on Craigslist in Cbus. I've been tempted to get it for myself but it's literally the last thing I need. I put a Fisher KX-200 to my cornwalls a few months ago and have been thrilled with the results. Buying an ST-70 would just be straight hording for me.
     
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Just to be clear, I wasn't sure of the actual year of that "vertical" Cornwall that I ended up passing on, but the 1984 pair that I ended up buying are not verticals.
     
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  6. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    ah, I see. Good move, I think the vertical a just a bit less efficient.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  7. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    From what I've read, the verticals are supposed to be as equally great as the regular styled Cornwalls, just a little different placement in the room may be needed.
     
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  8. allied333

    allied333 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    I had two VTA ST-120s come across my bench due to owners were not satisfied with the sound. Not poor sound, just not engaging in the least. One owner had an upgraded Fisher 400 I rebuilt for him and he said the Fisher blew the ST-120 away. The problem is VTA uses lowly 12AU7s preamp tubes. Worst possible audio tube ever IMO. Even with better coupling caps I could not get remarkable sound out of the VTA ST-120.

    Buy a Yaqin MC-100B. Change out the stock 6SN7s for Sylvania 6SN7GTA and the 12AX7s for RCA 12AX7 black plate tubes. You will be floored how good this Yaqin amp sounds. I normally do not trust Chinese amps, but the Yaqin is an exception. You will need a separate phono preamp (same as the KT-120).
     
  9. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks for the info! My intent is to find some sort of tube amp to connect to my McIntosh C2300, as I'm about to sell my McIntosh mc-452, which is 450 watts per channel and way too powerful to even think about hooking up to my new Cornwalls, even though I know that it is a clean 450 watts.

    (By the way, I didn't mean to take this thread hostage with my CORNWALL conversation, but it appears the OP has pretty much said his piece on those Belles).
     
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  10. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    Did you see the Bells for sale on Craigslist? I think they are in Canton.
     
  11. allied333

    allied333 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    I have been rebuilding & upgrading amps for 30 years & shipped all over the world. Frankly, I am known for the best sounding Fisher products after rebuilding due to selecting the best sounding components & tubes. I never advertised & I don't rebuild any longer. It was just for fun. So, my Yaqin advice is solid! To get a better sounding amp than the Yaqin, you are talking a custom built amp or say a $5K+ Audio Note.
     
    Chris C likes this.
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    I never look for Belles on Craigslist, as I have never even liked the "look" of those tree trunks, let alone being fearful of the sound that comes from them!
     
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  13. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    That's funny, they do have some different styling. I just do a "Klipsch" search and sort through everything. Many people don't know what they're talking about when they list things and the ones that do are asking for a higher price.

    this one popped up in the last couple days Klipsch LaScala
     
  14. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known

    Location:
    Savage
    I second the "uninvolving" sound of a VTA ST-120. I had one cross through my system a few years back. I was looking for something with more oomph to replace a VAC PA100. Looking at my system, romantic does not come to mind but the ST-120 didn't fit. I found the ST-120 very SS sounding. If that is what you want, then I'd recommend it, otherwise, keep looking.

    The PA100 might be the only piece of equipment in my system that hasn't change since then, and it uses the dreaded 12UA7s. :D
     
  15. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    I truly appreciate both of your advice on the VTA, I will avoid!

    allied333 ..., Are there any places in the U.S. to buy that Yaqin directly?

    Kyhl ..., I most assuredly do NOT want an SS sound and that's why I thank you and member allied333 for being honest and steering me clear of avoiding that VTA. That VTA looks sharp, so that is what caught my eye on them, but it has to be the sound that an amp produces, that should be the end result. I have a friend who recently lucked into a Fisher 500c and I am trying to talk him into letting our mutual tube amp repair friend, look it over and be sure that it is in good working order and then have him sell it to me, as he has absolutely no interest in tube amps. He is a solid state fan all the way, including listening mostly to very digital sounding recordings from the '80's, like Depeche Mode. It's a win-win for him and me, as he would get some $$$ to spend on whatever he wants, while I would get that needed Fisher amp. Outside of that Fisher deal working out, I'd also feel good with another Scott 299b or finding a McIntosh 275. I really don't want to buy two separate one channel tube amps like McIntosh MC-30's as that will always be the chance of one of them breaking down, even though I'm pretty sure that they would sound great with those Cornwalls. If allied333 has a U.S. connection for that Yaqin, I'd also be very interested in them, otherwise I'm not so sure that I like the idea of buying directly from Hong Kong or China, especially with that guy in the White House screwing around with the tariffs on taxes and vise versa from the Chinese. Just seems a little risky right now, as the repercussions are changing by the hour with these guys!
     
  16. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    I think the Yaquin option is through Amazon.
     
  17. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I can do a knuckle wrap on the side of the large plywood A7's, and it is immediately apparent, that these are large hollow boxes and every cabinet will resonate.

    The Belle's and the La Scala's are made of the same type of plywood, but two things apply here.

    1) Because the cabinets are smaller in volume than the Altec's, everything is closer together, and therefore stronger.

    2) Because the cabinets on these speakers are a folder horn design, the plywood that makes up the folded horn, provides a lot of additional reinforcement to the cabinet. Where the Altec's are just large empty boxes on the inside. I have driven the Altec's to really loud SPL's with a Crown class-D amp. They were really loud, but did not exhibit audible cabinet resonance.

    Unless there are other issues, I don't see any way, that you are going to get a properly constructed Belle's or La Scala's to resonate at any volume level that you would be able to stand, while being in the room with them.

    In my life, the only time I have ever heard a comment about their cabinet resonance, is from the OP, in this thread.

    I've had the A7's cranked as loud as they can go. I have not even considered turning the more efficient La Scala's up to see how loud they will play.

    I have a 15" horn, passive driven sub-bass cabinet and it can play at a continuous SPL of 133-dB.

    Standard La Scala's spec out at 125lbs. These are commercial models with additional bich plywood so they have to weigh a fair amount more than the standard issue.

    Here is standard commercial model. They were designed to be a rugged, portable, powerful, outdoor P.A. speaker.

    [​IMG]

    Anyone else ever witness cabinet resonance on these or the Belle's?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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  18. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks, but that still looks like they ship from Hong Kong. I was hoping for a real dealer or seller in the U.S. and avoid all of that.
     
  19. allied333

    allied333 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    Yaqin mostly available overseas- ebay is best ($695). I think one place in Canada (forgot name) sells them at $1500 (Canadian dollar). The Fisher 500C is so correct sounding as to be boring. The smaller audio transformers of the Fisher 400, 500B & 800B sound best.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  20. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks! I did not realize that about the Fisher 500C!
     
  21. allied333

    allied333 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    Stock Fishers do not sound that good. Rebuilt & upgraded Fishers sounds great. It is hard to find a rebuilder that uses quality coupling caps though!
     
  22. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Since you're not doing it anymore, who do you recommend that can be trusted?
     
  23. allied333

    allied333 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    Michael Samra. He hangs out at audio asylum, but I have not seen a post from him since March 20, 2018- odd!. He uses K40Y-9 capacitors.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  24. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks, I will keep him in mind if I end up with a Fisher Tube Amp.
     
  25. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Okay I went to a gracious gentleman's house today who has heard of my plight. I brought along a few CDs where this resonance (let's call them sympathetic notes) are easily excited by my Belles. He has a pair of beautiful K-horns. I heard ALL of the exact same problems I heard on my OP. The resonance problem was even more pronounced.

    Now, I could tell he was confused. He (likes some others here may) think I am talking about hearing the actual cabinets rattle or shake or something. No, it is that in the 160hz-200hz area acoustic instruments like guitar, string bass and tom-toms tuned in that general area become so pronounced as to obscure what else is going on in the music. I used a Stereophile test disc with 1/3 octave warble tones to narrow down the frequencies boosted by the Belle's cabinets.

    So, it is NOT my room and it is NOT my particular set of Belles. It is inherent in the design of the K-horn and Belles. Even when I pointed out with each pluck of the offending fretted string on the guitar, he did not understand what I was talking about. And he did not find it unusual or a problem that different overtones came from left or right or center randomly.

    He was not interested in the aspect of soundstage, imaging and appropriate proportions of instruments. Clarity and low harmonic distortion was his priority. No problem. Everyone has their tastes and preferences. But I am GRATEFUL to him for inviting me into his home and actually solving a problem for me. It is not worth anymore effort on my part to "fix" these Belles. They perform exactly as designed.

    And someone mentioned earlier in the thread that if I was going to sell them, my review would be damaging. And I implied that people who LIKE the Klipsch sound would not be bothered by my objections and many would not even related to what I am talking about in the first place. The K-horn owner reinforced this theory today.

    Furthermore both on my Belles and on his K-horns the guitar changed in size in the soundstage on different frequencies and the squeak caused by the player's hands sliding up and down the fingerboard emanated from right speaker, left speaker to center seemingly randomly. Let's face it, imaging and soundstage is something that escapes people UNTIL they hear it for themselves, including me.

    Now with the following speakers this resonance does NOT happen, and to varying degrees the guitar and all sounds it creates STAYS locked in dead center and the size of the guitar remains proportional in the soundstage:

    Rogers Studio 1
    Rogers Studio 1A (2nd place winner)
    ProAc EBT
    ProAc Super Towers (1st place winner)
    NHT Super Ones
    NHT 2.5
    and with less success, but still MUCH better than the Belles or K-horns:
    Klipsch Forte I
    Klipsch Heresy III

    I think it is on the Klipsch Community forum where a guy talks about imaging and he was BLOWN AWAY by the 3D effect of a friend's stereo he heard for the 1st time recently. Just 2 channel audio. (And they were not Klipsch speakers). I think in GENERAL soundstage, imaging and proportional and stable instrument "size" in the soundfield are not foremost priorities for Heritage Klipsch owners. And many have never experienced this in the first place. In fact the guy with the K-horns did not even have his furniture arranged so ANYONE could sit in the "sweet spot". I had to get a folding chair to sit there.

    So, I do not need any more advice and I certainly do not need excuses from the "apologetic" Klipsch cult. I am RELEIVED that all I have to do is abandon Belles and any further foray into the Klipsch speaker world.

    It has been interesting and I THANK all that tried to help me figure this out. I hope it was at least entertaining and we had some fun.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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