Tag Archives: paul w klipsch

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?

Good Poop: PWK as Heil Mentor

Bob Heil and Heil Sound were clearly at the forefront of the modern touring sound industry. The four-channel system for The Who’s Quadrophenia, and the Heil Talk Box (can you say Frampton?), are two of his credits. The Grateful Dead’s use of Bob’s system might even be credited for inspiring their “wall of sound.” If it rocked in the 70’s, he was all over it.

Bob freely credits Paul W. Klipsch (PWK) with steering him in the right direction technologically. In the early 70’s, Paul telephoned Bob “out of the blue”, asking if there was a nearby cornfield he could land his plane in. When the shock wore off, Bob said “sure!”

A few days later, PWK landed near Marissa, IL to check out exactly what this whipper-snapper was doing. He must have been impressed, as he flew Bob and one of his employees back to Hope, AR to get some schoolin’. Two days in Hope had Bob reeling from the classic audio references Paul brought to his attention. The Bell Labs work in the “Symposium on Auditory Perspective” was central to Bob’s education.

Klipsch Runt LaScala custom made for Bob Heil

Klipsch Runt LaScala

Some years later, as Heil Sound essentially “took over the world”, Bob returned to Hope and begged PWK to build him some special, smaller LaScala speakers for monitors that would satisfy his client Jeff Beck. Paul begrudgingly complied, although he apparently did not reveal that he had made “runt” LaScala speakers sporadically since 1966.

In later years Paul would emphatically express his distaste for rock music. However, during one of Bob’s visits to Hope, he must have been keeping his personal opinions to himself since the outdoor testing that he vigorously participated in was fueled with good old rock & roll!

Do you have mentoring stories involving PWK? Let us know below! And if you’re new to Good Poop, you can learn more here.

Good Poop: What is it?

The title of our blog series speaks to me on several levels.

A Google search (be very careful there…) suggests the word “poop” is optionally defined as:

Noun, slang
relevant information, especially a candid or pertinent factual report; low-down:
“Send a reporter to get the real poop on that accident.”
Origin
1945-50, Americanism; apparently extracted from poop sheet;

And for poop sheet:

noun, Slang
a circular, list of instructions, press release, etc., providing information about a particular subject.

1. This is a “vintage” phrase. The timing of its origin appears to match that of Klipsch & Associates.
2. I have heard Paul W. Klipsch use the term.
3. It was actually used as a headline in a 1982 Klipsch Pro bulletin. (Read)
4. And finally, it is not politically correct!

Welcome aboard! Hopefully “Good Poop” will keep you amused, and you will keep me honest.

– Jim Hunter

Good Poop: Meet Jim Hunter – Klipsch Historian

Listen up… In the world of audio technology, there are pseudo-superstars, false prophets, and those who claim to be golden ears – but there is no comparison to the straight engineering and audio experience of Jim Hunter – Program Manager and Klipsch Historian at Klipsch Group, Inc.

Jim Hunter (Left) and Paul W. Klipsch (Right) pose with a giant foam horn.

Jim Hunter (Left) and Paul W. Klipsch (Right) pose with a giant foam horn.

Company founder Paul W. Klipsch hired Hunter as a transducer engineer in Hope, Arkansas 36 years ago today. Hunter has since served as a design engineer, production engineer, engineering manager, director of design engineering, VP of design engineering and company historian. The Klipsch Museum of Audio History has been on his job description since 1979.

Hunter began his career with the Rola Company, an OEM driver manufacturing company, in 1974. He and PWK co-authored U.S. Patent #4,387,786, an anechoic chamber featuring a multi-functional revolving door. Jim has been a key contributor to more than 150 Klipsch-branded loudspeakers sold in specialty audio retail stores around the world.

Jim has been a member of the Audio Engineering Society since 1979 and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers since 1974. To put it simply… When Jim speaks, you’ll want to listen.

That’s why we’re beginning a new series on our blog called Good Poop. Jim will be featured in this blog posting stories and historical facts from Jim’s personal and professional relationship with PWK and the Klipsch brand.

Up next: What is Good Poop?

The Klipsch Joint

You know the feeling when you discover something completely epic and you try to explain it to someone and you just get a blank stare? Then you realize you’re the only one who knows…and it makes your discovery all that much cooler.

It’s the underground. It’s the speakeasy. It’s the club everyone wants to belong to, but doesn’t know it yet. And you have the secret handshake.

Welcome to the joint.

12 things you should know about us before you attempt to impress your friends:

          1. Don’t embarrass yourself. It’s pronounced Clip-shh. Not Clips. Not e-clipsh, not Klipish. You can do this.
          1. We are not German, although they make great stuff too. We are American, founded by an American. 1946 was the year we changed how the world listens.
          1. We were born in a tin shed in Hope, Arkansas out of our founder’s desire to bring live music into his home. Because let’s face it, dressing up for the symphony can be daunting. Especially in Arkansas.
          1. About our founder… It’s no stretch to guess his name was Klipsch. Paul Wilbur, to be exact. An eccentric genius. A true audio pioneer. An Engineering and Science Hall of Fame inductee. A no-bullshit artist who was proud to piss off his neighbors.
          1. You can absorb all of PWK’s madness here. Don’t get lost.
          1. When nothing on the market fit his needs, he built his own speakers. Because that’s what brilliant people do. Enter, the Klipschorn. To get techy for just a second, the fully horn-loaded design is a patented technology that established industry standards and is the driving force behind our stunningly precise and efficient sound. So successful, so unique, so fabulously vintage…we still hand-make them today in the same town where it all started. Hope. You can geek-out more here.
          1. While our history is rich, storied and frankly amazing, we continue to kick ass. Our stuff simply sounds better because PWK’s founding sound principles still guide us in everything we do today. Engineering perfection never goes out of style.
          1. Our pro speakers are in movie theaters. Lots of movie theaters. The really cool ones, anyway.
          1. Our in-ear headphones are the most comfortable in the world. Of course that’s an opinion, but it’s the correct one. We have the patented oval ear-tips to back it up, and the testimony of, well, about everyone who has tried them. They are oval because our ear canals are oval. It was our smack on the forehead moment that changed in-ear headphones forever.
          1. Countless high-profile artists love and use our stuff. That’s how good we sound.
          1. Movies, TV shows, and even video games feature our stuff without asking. That’s how good we look.
          1. Our community forum boasts some of the most brilliant and helpful audiophiles in the industry, many of whom have been posting daily for years. We listen to them. We respect them. We would not be who we are without them.

We think that’s enough to get you started. When you are ready to dive in, visit the links below. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Klipsch: Keepers of the Sound