Tag Archives: paul w klipsch

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speakers

Klipsch engineers are always up to something crazy. Most of the time, we cannot tell you about it – top secret stuff and all – but this time we’ll share a cool project from the desk of Jay Lawyer.

Mini Klipsch La Scala desktop computer speakers.

One could consider them a love child between the original PWK-designed Klipsch La Scala II and the award-winning ProMedia computer speakers.

The original Klipsch La Scala was unveiled in 1963 and designed as an alternative to the Klipschorn for applications in the theater, recording studio, nightclub, etc. It boasted a smaller cabinet than the Klipschorn and a design that did not require a corner location. The Klipsch La Scala II is still made today in Hope, Arkansas with only cosmetic changes from the original.

Having been at Klipsch for just under 15 years, Lawyer is currently the Associate Development Engineer. He has been one of the main engineering minds behind the signature Klipsch sound during this time period, working on speakers, soundbars and subwoofers.

Lawyer created the Mini La Scalas simply because he was bored one day. The La Scala is one of his favorite speakers and he figured a Mini La Scala at his desk would be a cool homage to Paul W. Klipsch.

After running through just a few prototypes, the final design for the Mini La Scala speaker was set. Measuring 9” x 6” x 6”, it’s a quarter-scale replica of the La Scala, but made in a 2-way design.

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speaker

Unlike the original La Scala, they are ported out the top. The horn-loaded woofer’s “dog house” is opened at the top, which allows extra air space from behind the tweeter horn. To create the low-end output that Lawyer desired, he needed the woofer to have a larger enclosure volume to compensate for the speaker’s small horn.

The speakers are constructed from Masonite and hot metal glue, while featuring woofers and tweeters from the well-regarded Quintet 4 speakers. These mini La Scala speakers may appear rudimentary and plain; however, the speakers certainly pack quite a punch.

Lawyer modestly says that they sound “pretty good.” He would even stack them up against award-winning Klipsch Promedia desktop computer speakers.

Before you even ask, no, these aren’t going to be going into mass-production – sorry! Just Klipsch engineers doing Klipsch engineering things.

Mini Klipsch La Scala speaker

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speaker

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speaker

Mini Klipsch La Scala Speakers

Have a question or comment about the Mini La Scala speakers? Post in the comments below!

 

Good Poop: The Orr Auction

J. Herbert Orr of Opelika, Alabama started the Orradio manufacturing company after WWII. According to Wikipedia, he produced “the first commercially available audio tape, video tape and computer tape in the world.”

Orr had been one of three soldiers that “captured” the Magnetophones in Germany after the war, which essentially started the modern tape recording business in the USA.

Paul Klipsch was a friend of Mr. Orr, and used Orr tape for his short-lived KlipschTape venture in the late 1950’s.

After Orr’s death in 1984 there was an auction of his vast radio paraphernalia collection. Naturally, Paul and I found ourselves there with a bidding card. The crown jewel of the sale was one of the original Magnetophones. I probably could have been arrested for my jabbing at Paul to bid!

Unfortunately the minimum bid was set at $10,000, and while he could afford it, he abstained (dammit!).

Some dozen or so of the items acquired at this sale can be found in the Klipsch Museum of Audio History. They include test equipment, radios, horns, and tape players.

Do you have your own Paul W. Klipsch story that would be good for “Good Poop”? Post it in the comments below

Good Poop: PWK the Practical Joker

In the fall of 1974, future Klipsch Chief Engineer Gary Gillum sent PWK a present. At the time Gary worked for Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO contributing to rides and illusory attractions. The gift looked exactly like a brick but was made out of foam.

On Nov. 25, 1974 PWK wrote to Gillum:

“Thanks for the brick. I have thrown it at Ruth (his secretary), Bob (President), and a couple of guys in the shop. I’m planning on (as you suggest) trying it on a police car windshield — that might be the way to meet the new chief.”

Belle Klipsch typed this letter to Gary and added her own P.S.:

“Paul had a great time throwing the “brick” at the plate glass window at the Trade Winds Café this afternoon!”

This incident pre-dates my tenure by 4 years (he was only 70!). In my experience, this type of mischievous humor was Paul’s calling card until the end.

Anyone have a PWK practical joke to relate?

Good Poop: PWK Car Loan

In 1979, returning from our first vacation while working for Klipsch, my wife and I encountered a deer at 70 MPH. That was in Nashville, TN, and it extended our vacation by a few days.

We patched up with the car with a used radiator and it limped home. The car died soon after and we had to cancel our planned weekend trip to Fayetteville, AR for a concert. When PWK heard our situation – he immediately offered to loan us his Audi. That’s the kind of guy he was. I had been working at Klipsch for less than a year and was as “scruffy” as the rest of his employees, yet he was willing to go out of his way to help me.

Traveling between Hope and Fayetteville still requires mostly two-lane highways. Additionally, crop-dusters are very common in this part of the country.

We were on a slightly elevated section of the highway when I looked out of the driver’s side window straight into the propeller of a bi-plane! I ducked, but didn’t swerve. He climbed.

– JRH

New to Good Poop? You can learn more here.

Klipsch at CES 2015: Launch Day

Day 1 of the 2015 edition of the Consumer Electronics show was one to remember for us all.

We teased you repeatedly that 01.06.15 would be the day of our biggest launch in years and we believe full-heartedly that we delivered. Honestly, we can’t believe that we kept it all a secret this well. (Although, some of our cunning forum members managed to scoop us!)

Here is what we introduced to the world:

Klipsch Reference Premiere (Available now)

Klipsch Reference On-Ear (End of January)

Klipsch Reference Premiere with Dolby® Atmos (Projected Q2)

Klipsch Reference Premiere Wireless (Projected Q3)

So much awesomeness.

Klipsch CES Demo Room

Time after time, we took people into our sound room and blew them away with our new Atmos and Wireless demos. We heard from several representatives that we were the only ones who are displaying audio correctly at CES.

We are genuinely proud of that. Hearing really is believing.

Klipsch Reference Premiere

Klipsch Reference Premiere speakers are not just a facelift. This is a whole new line of speakers that are redesigned from the ground-up

We couldn’t fit everything in the demo room, but we were able to showcase a ton of other speakers out on the floor. The Reference Premiere speakers drew people in with their big ol’ copper cones and BIG sound. The R-115SW was definitely “pissing off the neighbors.” (Our apologies to Ericsson and Toshiba!)

The noisy floor environment of CES did allow us to demonstrate the noise isolation capabilities of our in-ear headphones AND the new Reference On-Ear Headphones.

Time after time, people would try out the in-ears and be amazed at their noise isolation abilities. People are misinformed to believe that big cans deliver superior noise isolation. That’s not necessarily true and we were happy to prove it.

Klipsch Reference On-Ear

Klipsch Reference On-Ears are the best sounding and most comfortable on-ears we have ever made.

Comments regarding the Reference On-Ear largely stemmed from its ridiculous comfort level. The cushioning is outrageous and the sound quality is what you would expect from Klipsch. Oh, and people kept mentioning they were happy that they didn’t look like a teenager when they had them on their head unlike some other brands’ headphones – you know who you are.

Heritage Inspired Towers

These Heritage-inspired towers are conceptual (but functional!) speakers.

That’s not all. CES is often about producing concepts and gauging reaction from the audience. We designed Heritage-inspired wireless speakers that intrigued everyone who checked them out. We put them across from our Heritage lineup, which really got the message across that WE are the classic American speaker brand. We have great old stuff and we have great new stuff. These conceptual speakers offer a bridge between the past and the present. They are designed, engineered and built in the United States.

Hell, yah!

Bob Heil Runt La Scala

PWK made this runt La Scala for Bob Heil (pictured) to use with Jeff Beck.

Marky Ramone Colleen Murphy

Marky Ramone poses with Colleen Murphy in the WPWK Radio booth. Outside of products on display, we had Bob Heil and Marky Ramone drop by WPWK Radio to talk with Colleen Murphy of Classic Album Sundays about a whole smattering of topics. We can’t say enough good things about Bob and Marky. They are class acts that GENUINELY love Klipsch and we love them.

 

 

 

Tomorrow, Colleen will be talking with Steve Dobo from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame as well as Michael Burrato (Reference Premiere Product Manager) and Vlad Grodzinsky (Reference On-Ear Product Manager). You can check out the schedule here. Once again, we will be posting the interviews as podcasts after the completion of CES, so don’t worry if you’re not in Vegas!

Klipsch audio museum

The Klipsch audio museum has all sorts of PWK treasures.

One more thing…In this blogger’s humble opinion, the Klipsch audio museum that was oh-so-carefully curated by Klipsch historian Jim Hunter stole the show. 

CES is filled with sterile, white environments with flashy lights and obnoxious videos. The Klipsch audio museum was the opposite. It was authentic, honest-to-goodness fun.

People took their time strolling through the isle and snapping pictures of the collection. We even had a live demo of the 13th Klipschorn that was ever built – and it still sounds great! People were sampling a true piece of audio history.

Phew! That’s a lot of information to process, but we’ll have another blog post where we’ll dive into more detail about everything and about some of the stuff I missed.

There’s truly so much going on here with Klipsch at CES 2015. It’s genuinely a great time to be an employee here and we hope you guys love everything that we showed off here!

Good Poop: Cultural Dynamic Range

Back in the seventies when a new engineer or salesman was hired at Klipsch, part of the on-boarding program was dinner at Paul W. Klipsch’s.

Not long after I started, my wife Becky and I were invited to Paul and Valerie’s relatively modest home. Valerie’s mastery of Austrian cuisine was at work, making dinner outstanding. Strudel for dessert as I recall. After dinner was over libations were in order and Paul stuck with one of his favorites, Glenlivet whiskey.

Shortly we adjourned to the living room to audition his Klipschorn/Belle Klipsch three channel set-up. The Klipschorns were in false corners, as the room had doorways at every corner, not to mention a grand piano. Naturally the program material was reel-to-reel masters that he had recorded. At least some of it was the “Arkansas Sympathy” (his twist on words). Without question it was the finest reproduced music I had ever heard.

The Klipsch family home in Hope, Arkansas.  - The Klipsch Joint

The Klipsch family home in Hope, Arkansas.

 

After several symphonic selections were savored Paul got up and shuffled over to the equipment rack mumbling about some other material he had. What came next was clearly “out of phase” culturally.

I knew I had made the right decision in moving to Arkansas. We were listening to various verbal descriptions of farts, followed by their sonic signature. I am aware of the “Great Crepitation Contest of 1946” recording and this could have been what we were hearing, but after 36 years I am not certain. If anyone can shed additional light on “farts and their descriptions”, it would be most appreciated.

New to Good Poop? You can learn more here.

Good Poop: Captain Klipsch

An error in my biography of Belle Klipsch led to a connection with her nephew, John Zanca! John cleared me up on the spelling of her maiden name, and that is very much appreciated. As I stated in the Historical Vault disclaimer, I need your help keeping the story accurate. The connection with John also resulted in a great story about PWK, and a new one on me:

“One dark and stormy night (probably around 1960), my father, the late Col. Peter Zanca who was a U.S. Army doctor stationed at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, received a late night phone call from the military police at Randolph Air Force Base just north of town.

“The MPs told my dad that they had a gentleman in custody who claimed to be his brother-in-law. My dad drove out to Randolph and they released Paul W. Klipsch into his custody. Turns out that Paul and his plane had gotten disoriented in a thunderstorm and mistakenly landed on a runway at the Air Force base, thinking it was the municipal airport that he normally used when he would visit.

“After spending the night at our quarters at Ft. Sam, my dad took Paul back to Randolph AFB the next morning to inquire about charges and/or fines. The MPs just told him to ‘Get that plane out of here, and don’t ever come back.'”

One can only wonder if Paul was accompanied by fighter jets on his approach! New to Good Poop? You can learn more here.

Good Poop: Worker’s Comp – The 2nd Day

On Monday, October 2, 1978, I started working for Klipsch and Associates. On Tuesday I was introduced to the “on-boarding” program, which at that time included actually building a Klipschorn woofer cabinet. This was mandatory for all engineering and sales newbies. You damn sure KNEW the product!

In the actual assembly of the K-horn cabinet (not including sub-assemblies) the primary fasteners are screws. With proper assembly these could actually be removed after the glue has dried, as an airtight glue bond is the real strength of the cabinet. However, there are four small ½” plywood pieces called wings.

The photo above shows an actual builder with his left knuckles almost touching a wing. They allow the “sinuses” to become part of the back air chamber, and at the same time seal the back from the front. These are attached with nails. I had successfully installed at least one of them.

Being cocky, I decided that I could drive those nails into place with just two swings of the hammer.  Well, one of those enthusiastic swings perfectly targeted my left index finger nail. Blue air followed.

Fortunately, it was close to the lunch break and PWK was taking the engineers to the Holiday Inn for some grub.  It was obvious to all in attendance that I was in severe discomfort.  Good old PWK insisted that I keep the finger in a glass of ice water all during lunch.

In spite of the pain multiplying several fold, I managed to follow orders. The next day I had the nail drilled to relieve the pressure, and waited a week or two for it to fall off.

That nail is in a jar somewhere…

Got a good build story involving injury? We want to hear about it (if it’s not too gruesome). And if you’re new to Good Poop, you can learn more here.

Made in America: An Introduction

“Made in America” is a phrase these days that few companies have the ability to say. American engineers, craftsmen and builders construct some of the finest-quality products ever made.

Heck, Paul W. Klipsch designed and hand-built the legendary Klipschorn in a tiny tin shed in Hope, Arkansas. He was an American audio pioneer and a true eccentric.

Klipsch  began in a tin shed in Hope, Arkansas.

Klipsch began in a tiny tin shed in Hope, Arkansas in 1946.

Since 1946, Klipsch has continued to proudly build speakers in the heart of America. And to honor PWK’s patriotic spirit, we’d like to acknowledge other brands that can proudly say their products are made in America.

So be on the lookout for our blog to feature quality products built in our nation that display the true craftsmanship that can only be found in the U.S.A.

What companies or products do you have or support that are American made?