All posts by Alex Leopold

Record Store Day: Why It Matters

Record Store Day was created back in 2007 by a collection of independent record storeowners in order to celebrate the unique culture around these stores and, of course, to fight back financially against the Mp3 revolution that caused many stores to shutter.

Andy Skinner, co-owner of Indy CD & Vinyl along with his wife Annie, said “For a lot of stores, especially when it first started, it was a really fun gimmick to maintain the fiscal health of record stores.”

TWICE magazine reports that “vinyl album sales in the U.S. have grown 260 percent since 2009, and in 2014, vinyl recorded its ninth consecutive year of sales growth.” Furthermore, Nielsen found that 9.2 million units were sold which is up 52 percent from the previous year.

There’s no denying the financial benefits of this now-organized annual occurrence. Skinner says that sales on just this one day are so substantial that they can keep his Indianapolis-based store afloat for the entire year.

But it’s so much more than a sales gimmick now, as Skinner and his fellow record storeowners pull off a large-scale event and a party that is truly special for the community.

“People realize that not only did record stores not go away, they’re healthy. It gives people a place to go where there is a strong music community and they’ll come back throughout the year.”

Thanks to artists really getting behind Record Store Day, there are a ton of new and exclusive releases on vinyl that will have fans knocking down the doors of their local record stores. (Click here for the full list of releases.)

“It brings a lot of legitimacy, especially when music fans see their favorite artists giving a lot of attention to independent record stores and letting people know that this is how they make their living.”

People will line around the block for particular releases that come in limited quantities. Luckily, a local coffee shop is providing a much needed a boost for these morning-weary shoppers.

Skinner says that the re-release of Brand New’s “Deja Entendu” is causing the most commotion and resulting in a flurry of phone calls to the store. The Skinners ordered as many copies as they could possibly get their hands on, but they only actually received two copies. Instead of just making people wait in line for hours upon hours, Indy CD and Vinyl will sell raffle tickets for $1 a pop. After they sell more tickets than the album’s list price, they will give the rest to charity. Good stuff.

Beyond new or exclusive releases, Indy CD & Vinyl will have live music outside their store with ten bands performing on a stage in the back of the store. Klipsch is providing the sound for the event using the same gear from WTTS’s Sun King Studio 92Klipsch Professional speakers including KI-396 mains, KPT-684 subwoofers and KI-272 stage monitors. It is going to ROCK.

In addition to the sure-to-be-awesome performances, the store will be giving away a host of awesome audio gear including Klipsch Reference R6 headphones. For a full list of what’s going on at Indy CD & Vinyl on Record Store Day, please click here.

Skinner has made sure all the paperwork is in order to really crank up the volume and the neighbors don’t mind either. Nearby restaurants and stores are excited about the buzz it brings to Broad Ripple Village and couldn’t care less about the noise it generates.

This aspect of community is really what this day is all about – music fans getting together and enjoying the musicians’ magic in an authentic setting.

“It’s a pain in the ass, it’s expensive and it’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it when you see so many people who are just stoked for either the hard-to-find releases or saw someone that they thought they would never see in such an intimate setting.”

Rock on, Indy CD and Vinyl.

Are you participating in Record Store Day? Looking for a specific album? Done so in the past? Let us know in the comments below.

Copper and Black: The Official Klipsch Cocktail

Copper and Black: The Official Klipsch Cocktail

 

With the recent launch of new Klipsch Reference series speakers and headphones, we figured it would be a great time to introduce the official Klipsch cocktail that you could enjoy while savoring your delicious copper cones.

Just down the road from Klipsch HQ in Indianapolis at the Libertine Liquor Bar works our friend and bartender-extraordinaire Ryan “Puck” Puckett. We invited Puck to demo our Reference Premiere speakers and conceptualize a delicious beverage to represent our signature sound – thus creating the Copper and Black.

As you would expect with the official Klipsch cocktail, a Copper and Black is a drink with some serious attitude yet totally unpretentious. It’s something you could drink all day, but something you could also sip on at the end of the night – long after the band has left the stage. (Please don’t actually drink all day.)

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

2 oz bourbon whiskey

¾ oz fresh lemon juice

¾ oz orgeat syrup (almond syrup)

Dark Beer

Ice

Lemon peel

Cocktail shaker (optional)

Tumbler glass

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Measure and pour 2 oz of bourbon whiskey into a cocktail shaker. (We used Backbone Bourbon from Indianapolis.)

2. Add 3/4 oz of fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

3. Add 3/4 of orgeat syrup. (We had some Wilks and Wilson, another local variety.)

4. Add however much ice you would like.

5. Shake, shake, shake. (Also the title of a catchy song from our friends Bronze Radio Return.)

6. Strain into a tumbler-style glass

7. Top off with any dark beer/porter, using a spoon. (We chose Ring A Dingle from the always-awesome Sun King Brewing.)

8. Drink responsibly

Thank you to our own Michael Buratto for providing the music for the video. We are very lucky to have such a talented musician on our staff. To check out more of his music, visit www.michaelburatto.com/

Do you have your own unofficial Klipsch cocktail? Post your recipe in the comments below!

Klipsch Speakers: Track-tested Thanks to the IHRA

This year, Klipsch is proud to have become the official audio partner of the IHRA. During every race, custom-built KI-396 and KPT-684-SMA speakers adorn the sidelines of the track, providing crowds with a first-class audio experience.

At first, that may seem like an odd arrangement. After all, Klipsch makes glorious speakers like the Reference series with their shimmering copper cones as well as ever-so-small headphones like the aluminum X11i. But IHRA needs excellent speakers to rise above the noise of the cars and the crowd and Klipsch fits the bill, in more ways than one.

A couple weeks ago, it all made sense, as Klipsch speakers showed that they are tough enough to handle anything that is thrown their way at the track.

Literally, anything.

A couple weeks ago in Baton Rouge, LA at the Mardi Gras Nitro Jam Nationals, there was a rather scary wreck in which a vehicle smashed into the side rail, flipping over it.

Tina Pierce VS Alex Taylor Crash Nitro Jam 2015

According to the Speed Society, Tina “The Fastest Chick in Oklahoma” Pierce, did not suffer any significant injuries in the crash.

One of the Klipsch KI-396 speakers found itself directly in the path of Pierce’s Chevrolet S-10, sending it flying through the air. If you watch the video close enough you can see the unlucky speaker catch some air.

Jason Rittenberry, CEO & President of IRG Sports + Entertainment, humorously described the speaker’s flight. “We use Klipsch products at all of our Nitro Jam events and one of the Klipsch speakers went for a wild ride after an accident during the event,” said Rittenberry.

It didn’t look so good at first for the custom KI-396 speaker…

Rittenberry added, “It took a hard hit from a race car and landed in the mud. After repairing the cable, the speaker worked just fine. It’s a testament to the quality of their product.”

IHRK Wreck Photo

Tina Pierce’s car knocks the custom-built Klipsch KI-396 off its perch.

Klipsch does not have a “stress test” that involves a car ramming our professional speakers at full speed, but we are proud to have offerings that can fit just about any purpose.

“There’s no doubt about the durability of Klipsch speakers after an incident at the Mardi Gras Nitro Jam Nationals in Baton Rouge,” said Rittenberry.

This was most certainly an interesting start to a unique partnership of which we will discuss more in a future post on the Klipsch Joint. Stay tuned!

Are you an IHRA fan? Do you have a story of your Klipsch speakers taking a beating? Post it in the comments below.

 

How to Set Up a Turntable

How to Set Up a Turntable

 

If you’re under the age of 35, chances are that you have never set up a turntable.

You’re missing out.

Now, we’re not here to tell you that analog is better than digital. That’s up to you, as an individual, to decide. What we will say is that vinyl gives you an entirely different listening experience.

In theory, vinyl offers an infinite sampling resolution because analog waveforms are continuous and smooth, while the sampling done to produce digital audio creates waveforms that are stair-stepped (the higher the sampling rate, the smaller the steps). Many would describe the resulting sound from a vinyl source as warm, inviting and generally pleasing. Some will call BS – let the debates begin. Of course, many other factors go into creating a quality listening experience (mastering, compression, purity of source, etc.) but starting with a good analog revolver is a fantastic way to rock the house while keeping your street cred.

Vinyl music is an experience. Taking the record out of the sleeve, dropping the needle, hearing the brief crackle before the music starts and examining the album art during playback…it’s a palpable experience that offers an emotional connection.

Just give it a try. With more and more records being produced, it is a great time to get into – or get back into vinyl.

If you don’t want to watch the snazzy video above, here are the steps to successfully set up a turntable.

  1. Connect the turntable to the preamp. (Some turntables require grounding.)
  2. Connect the pre-amp to the amp.
  3. Connect the amp to the speakers.
  4. Drop the needle and enjoy!

It’s really that simple. Just grab a cocktail (or whatever beverage that pleases you) and enjoy!

This is just an introductory guide. In the future, we will post a more “advanced” guide that discusses things like proper phasing, left/right channel setup, tonal balance, etc.

If you’re just getting started and are looking for a quality, affordable turntable, we highly recommend a U-Turn Audio turntable, which we used in the video.

Special thanks to the Libertine Liquor Bar in Indianapolis, IN for letting us shoot in their kick-ass establishment. If you’re in town, head on over and say hello to Puck, our favorite bartender there.

Have any tips and tricks for someone setting up their first turntable? Have a strong opinion on analog vs. digital audio? Post a comment below!

DeMar DeRozan Answers Fans’ Questions Through Klipsch

Klipsch brand ambassador and Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan has fought through some injuries during the 2014-2015 season and looks primed to make a major difference in the playoffs for Canada’s only NBA team.

The Compton-native took some time out to take over the @KlipschAudioCan Twitter account and answer fans’ questions…84 of them by the end of it! DeRozan is one of the “good guys” who genuinely does care about his fans and even us, his partners.

He tackled a variety of subjects including whether he would enter the music industry, the snow in Toronto, Gone Girl and much more.

For DeRozan’s entire conversation with Klipsch and Raptors fans, read below:

Therapy Through Klipsch Speakers

Shaun Ivy is a passionate audiophile and a member of Klipsch forums, known there as “wakejunkie”. He is part of a close-knit group of audio enthusiasts who are both the company’s biggest supporters and biggest critics of Klipsch speakers.

He has actually been mentioned on this blog before for receiving the spoils from Michael Stevens’ divorce sale coup, which included Reference RF-7 II floorstanding speakers. As Michael’s best friend, Shaun received them at a “yard sale price.”

Unfortunately, Shaun has had three strokes recently. The doctors gave him a ten percent chance of surviving the first one. Surviving the second one put him at one percent.

Surviving three strokes? Well, it’s a miracle that Shaun is still here.

Prior to suffering his first stroke, Shaun reached out to Klipsch to talk about a different set of speakers he received through a special garage sale find. (Yes, he has two different kick-ass Klipsch speaker setups and, yes, you should be jealous.)

Where Shaun is from, vintage Klipsch speakers are a rare find, but he is always on the lookout for a deal. One day, he just happened to be scouring the yard sales and came across a pair of Klipsch Heresy II speakers. He was excited to say the least.

The owner’s wife was running the yard sale and ran inside the house to ask her husband the price for the Heresy speakers. Shaun was expecting $200-$300 for the pair…

“When she said $25 I about fell out. It was hard to keep my composure. I quickly and quite happily paid her for the speakers and a 50 cent blanket to wrap them in.”

That’s not a typo – $25. He got them in excellent condition with only a couple minor surface imperfections on the cabinets. Everything else, including the cones and grilles, was in perfect shape. They even have sequential serial numbers, dating them to be crafted in 1988.

These speakers replaced a pair of Klipsch Synergy B-2s in Shaun’s living room. They serve as the perfect complement to his separate home theater room, which boasts the aforementioned RF-7 II speakers, a custom-built RF-7 II center channel and four RS-35 speakers to go along with a 130” transparent screen.

Shaun Ivy's Heresy II Speakers

Both these speaker setups have been a welcome retreat for Shaun during his recovery from a multitude of strokes with the speakers in constant use.

“Klipsch therapy has top notch healing abilities.”

The point of this blog post isn’t to pat our backs and scream “KLIPSCH SPEAKERS SAVE LIVES!” Not at all. The point is that the audiophile community is a special one, full of people that care about each other.

Michael posted a topic regarding Shaun’s medical issues and the thread is flooded with people offering their thoughts and prayers. Some of these people Shaun knows very well and some of them he doesn’t. Either way, their comments go a long way towards helping him on his road to recovery.

Shaun Ivy Forum Post

Some people are claiming that great audio doesn’t matter anymore. Well, we call “bullshit.”

When people like Shaun get so much joy out of their systems, it matters. It matters just about as much as anything.

Rock on, Shaun.

 

Do you have a unique story about your Klipsch speakers? Did you get them in an unbelievable deal? Post a comment below and/or email alex.leopold@klipsch.com

Klipsch Heresy Speakers: From Germany to New York to California

Back in 1983, Todd Fitchette was serving as a military policeman for the U.S. Army and stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Fresh out of high school, he was keen on purchasing a sound system in which he could use inside his quarters.

“If there was one thing a young soldier at the time used for bragging rights, it was his stereo system.”

Fitchette first heard Klipsch speakers in high school, where a classmate who ran the high school dances would bring in Klipsch La Scala speakers to use with the rest of his sound equipment. The La Scalas impressed Fitchette with their ability to play the Eagles, Styx, the Bee Gees and other popular dance songs of that generation.

“You not only heard the sound, but you felt it too. I recall being surprised at how big they were and how loud (and clear) they were. I thought their shape was quite cool, too.”

Now, obviously, the La Scalas were too big for Fitchette to lug from the store to the barracks, much less on his subsequent moves, but he did find another suitable option at the military post exchange (PX) in the Vogelweh Military Community– Klipsch Heresy speakers.

His best point of comparison was a pair of Infinity speakers that his roommate owned that Fitchette thought were the “cat’s meow.” Of course, there was no real comparison with the Heresy speakers.

“I simply liked them over the other speakers, including those my roommate had.”

So, the young soldier had decided on the speakers he wanted, but he’s in Germany and it’s 1983. It’s not like he could’ve ordered online at Klipsch.com with free shipping.

After flagging down a suitably sized cab, Fitchette shoved the speakers inside the backseat. The Heresy speakers may be the smallest of the Klipsch Heritage Series; however, they still pose a formidable challenge when trying to transport them in a standard sedan.

The cab took him to the train station, where the second challenging part of these speakers’ journey took place. Fitchette’s biggest concern was getting them on and off the train quickly.

“I knew I had to do it quickly to avoid having one left on the dock of the train station or on the train itself. One thing about the train system in West Germany at the time was they all ran on time. I figured I simply had to put one on the train car and then quickly put the other on the car then move them to where I was sitting.”

Despite some hairy moments, the speakers made it back in one piece to the base. Fitchette never heard one negative thing about them while he was overseas. Well, except for being told to “turn it down” because they were disturbing other soldiers in the barracks that were more than 200 feet away.

Of course, he couldn’t just let the speakers stay in Germany when it was time to come home. They were first shipped back to New York and then eventually all the way to California where Fitchette resides today.

“The wood is still in excellent condition and the speakers still sound good.”

When Fitchette purchased the speakers, they came unfinished, but he stained them into a darker oak finish and they look right at home in the living room, wherever across the planet that may be.

“So that’s it… no stories about how they were hooked up to amps powering guitars played by rock stars or used in a pinch at a concert because the roadies forgot to pack the speakers. Just a story about a guy with a pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers.”

Klipsch Install Stories: Simulating Crowd Noise for the Colts

The Indianapolis Colts square off against the New England Patriots this Sunday in the AFC Championship with the winner earning the opportunity to play for the ultimate prize: the Super Bowl.

The road to being crowned champion of the world is filled with various obstacles – injuries, poor officiating, roster moves and, of course, the opponent.

The New England Patriots rampaged through the second part of the season to a 12-4 regular season weapon and are the pundits’ consensus to take home the Lombardi Trophy. Their record has given them the right to home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, providing them with a critical edge.

Home field is so important in sports like football because there is a great deal of communication that goes on during any game with coaches trying to talk to their quarterbacks who then have to relay the message to the 10 other players on the field.

The same goes on the other side of the ball, where defenders need to tell each other which spots to be in and what the offense is trying to do to them. If they fail, it’s going to be a long day ahead. In the playoffs, every play can be the difference between you going on vacation next week or to continue vying for the sport’s ultimate prize.

Klipsch brand ambassador Andrew Luck will have to deal with a hostile crowd in Foxboro that will do everything it can to prevent the former Stanford quarterback from reaching his first Super Bowl. All 60,000+ fans will scream, chant and shout all sorts of things when Luck tries to call out a plays to his teammates on top of the already impressive noise floor that is attached to any large-scale event.

It’s a hard to mimic that sort of crowd noise. You can’t just round up the interns and have them yell simultaneously.

Prior to the 2013 season, the Colts came to Klipsch with the goal of creating a speaker environment that could mimic any of their opponents’ home fields. The team has both indoor and outdoor facilities to prepare for the environment of their upcoming game, which makes sense seeing as how the team will face off versus teams who play in dome and those who battle beneath the sun.

Klipsch reworked the indoor practice field’s sound system using 18 KI-396 two-way flown loudspeakers coupled with six KPT-684 subwoofers, with both sets of product situated in a single-mount array.

Colts Crowd Noise Install Outdoors

To deliver a similar sound experience and replicate crowd noise for the outdoor fields, Klipsch engineered three custom, portable systems that can be cart-mounted and positioned around the relevant field. These systems were first-of-their-kind and each feature an array of four professional audio Tractrix horns. Klipsch’s renowned Tractrix horn systems allow the Colts to create powerful and detailed sound in a sprawling outdoor space.

“Sound is a major component of our daily practice routines,” said Pete Ward, chief operating officer with the Indianapolis Colts. “Klipsch loudspeakers work really well for us because they are highly efficient and deliver a very clean sound even at the high-volume levels we require. We’re thankful to our proud sponsor for a new setup that delivers a sound experience like nothing we’ve ever had before. ”

Contributing partners throughout the install included Indianapolis-based Advanced Residential and Commercial Electronics and Indy Cases.

Luck and his teammates can rest assured that they have received the best possible preparation for New England’s crowd.

Will the Colts win? We sure as heck don’t know, but it’s going to be fun to watch!

Klipsch at CES 2015: Day 4

It’s over.

This year’s edition of the Consumer Electronics Show is in the books and what a trip it has been!

We hyped CES 2015 as one of our biggest launch in years and we feel like we have delivered on that promise. Not only did we launch several new product lines, we also announced a major partnership and demonstrated once again, that no one cares more about their Heritage than us.

It is genuinely a great time to be a Klipsch employee and a Klipsch customer. Yes, we have made mistakes along the way, but the weather calls for sunny skies and kick-ass sound.

We are also proud to say that we took home at a pair of awards from CES 2015!

Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2015

“Home theater audio will never be the same.” – Caleb Denison

Digital Trends named the Klipsch Premiere Wireless speakers with WISA as their Top Tech of CES 2015 for home audio. We had many people stop by our booth, informing us that they were very skeptical of the quality of wireless speakers.

Boy, did we prove them wrong! Each person who walked out of our demo room came away impressed. We may not always be first to market, but you better believe we’ll make a product that sounds the best.

New Egg Vendor of the Year

Thank you, New Egg.

New Egg also bestowed upon us their Vendor of the Year award which is a testament to our sales team, who have done an incredible job even in the face of a tough economy and ever-evolving marketplace. Well done, team!

We would like to thank everyone who came by the Klipsch booth during CES 2015. Without you, we can’t do what we do. It has been so much fun to talk to Klipsch fans, some of whom have setups with multiple Klipschorns, La Scalas and Heresys all in one room.

A big shout-out to the members of the Klipsch Forums who came by the booth. Your passion for the brand is what both keeps us on our toes and passionate about making the world’s best loudspeakers.

We already thanked Auralex Acoustics, U-Turn Audio, Dolby and the WISA Association, but one more time can’t hurt. We are blessed to have partners who genuinely align with our mission and help us fulfill that mission by giving us the tools to create the best sounding environment for the home, cinema or wherever. Rock on, friends!

Enough with the gushy stuff, let’s get back to the products. After all, that’s why were are here. Below is what we introduced at CES 2015.

Klipsch Reference Premiere (Available now)

Klipsch Reference On-Ear (Available for pre-order for February)

Klipsch Reference Premiere with Dolby® Atmos (Projected Q2)

Klipsch Reference Premiere Wireless (Projected Q3)

Made in USA Heritage-Inspired Concept for Wireless Speakers (TBD)

That is a lot to take in even for our employees, but each product shown at CES 2015 has a specific purpose for existing and is deserving of the Klipsch name. We have no doubt that you are going to love what you hear. Companies may say they’re proud of their products. We actually are.

As far as additional information goes, we are hoping to be able to provide more info soon on the products that are due later this year. We have to keep a couple things close to the vest, but it’ll be worth the wait. Klipsch.com has all the information you’ll need on the passive Reference Premiere speakers. (Mmm…copper cones)

Heritage-Inspired Speakers

Let us know if this concept is something you could see yourself purchasing.

Feedback for our Heritage-inspired wireless speakers that are designed, engineered and built in the United States has been quite impressive, but we have to remind everyone that this is indeed a concept speaker. Again, the buzz is awfully encouraging, particularly on the Klipsch Forums. By the way, how cool is it that two Klipsch engineers are directly responding to customers? That is just one example of why this is a special place to work.

Oh and it was pretty cool to get a retweet and excited comment from long-time Klipsch La Scala-owner Elijah Wood who is best known for his work as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

We will be delivering podcasts from our WPWK sessions with the likes of Marky Ramone, Eddie Kramer, Bob Heil, Jim Hunter, Steve Dobo, etc. We should push them out soon enough, but please remember that we’ll need some recovery time from CES 2015.

On that note, we should add that the Klipsch staff as a whole works extremely hard at CES 2015. It requires hours upon hours of being “on”, shoveling food down your gullet in a 3×3 closet and standing on your feet for hours on end. Unfortunately, we can’t expense foot massages!

Anyway, that’s all we have from CES 2015! If you have any questions, please post them and we’ll be happy to answer. You will be hearing a lot more about our partnership with the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, so stay tuned for more great stuff from the Klipsch Joint.