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70th Anniversary Edition Klipschorn Speaker

Paul W. Klipsch sold his first Klipschorn back in 1946 and we haven’t stopped making them since then. In fact, the Klipschorn is the only speaker that has been in continuous production for over 70 years.

Think about that for a second. It’s an absolute testament to the quality and perfection of his design, standing the test of time against all newcomers. We would put this up against any speaker, past or present.

Known to many as the original corner-horn loudspeaker, its patented low-frequency horn boasts a unique design that utilizes the floor and walls of the listening room to complete the horn, increasing the low frequency extension and efficiency. The folded low frequency enclosure offers the most efficient use of space possible.

The design is so efficient that you can run Klipschorns with just one watt of power. ONE WATT!

Simply put, this is fundamental design that cannot be improved because the law of physics says so. Case closed.

The 70th Anniversary Klipschorn speaker is a soul-stirring tribute to Paul W. Klipsch’s iconic design. We made only 70 pairs of these speakers – all by hand in the humble town of Hope, Arkansas, where Paul W. Klipsch always made them.

With such a limited production run, each of these speakers will hold a special place in American audio history, as well as in our hearts. We take great pride in saying that these speakers will not only be for you, but for each generation of your family that you pass them onto.

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Limited Edition Australian Walnut

This show-stopping veneer is a unique feature to the 70th Anniversary Klipsch Heritage speakers. While it looks terrific in photos, be ready for your jaw to drop when you see it in person.

We sourced this limited veneer from the costal tablelands of North Queensland, Australia. The Australian Walnut veneer varies in color, but is usually a pale-golden hue highly contrasted with darker streaks of chocolate brown, grey, black or even pink.

Please note that each pair of 70th Anniversary Klipschorn speakers will have a slightly different finish to it, giving your set it’s own personality. These speakers will be uniquely yours.

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Book-Matched Wood Veneer and Speaker Pairs

What the heck is book-matched veneer, you ask? Well, it’s a process that is treasured more than any other cut of wood veneer. The veneer leaves are kept in order as they are delicately sliced from the timber and precisely arranged to provide a mirror image at the splice joint – like turning the pages of a book. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, it allows for a consistent appearance.

Each 70th Anniversary Klipschorn is carefully inspected and labeled with sequential serial numbers, ensuring that the Heritage series speakers leave the factory as a meticulously crafted set. These speakers are legitimate heirloom items. They can stay in your family for generations to come.

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Special Plaque

With the 70th Anniversary Klipschorn, you aren’t just buying a speaker; you’re buying a piece of American audio history. Each speaker features a small plaque identifying its numbered sequence in the series and has been signed by its craftsman.

70th Anniversary Klipschorn 4 social

New Nameplate

It was an extremely tough decision to remove the iconic PWK badge from the top left/right corner of the Klipschorn; however, we believe that this new Klipschorn badge is the perfect fit for the limited edition model. The cursive font had actually been used in years past, so it’s a nice tribute to Paul W. Klipsch’s original decision.

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Silver Luster Grille Cloth

The new, cursive Klipschorn logo is attached to a breathtaking silver luster grille cloth that we have never used before except on the 70th Anniversary Klipsch Heritage speakers. It has the appearance of chain-link armor, giving these limited edition speakers a rather bold and contrasting appearance. It’s simultaneously tough and elegant.

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New Low-Frequency Horn

While it’s darn-near impossible to improve upon Paul W. Klipsch’s timeless Klipschorn design, we have tweaked it to get even more performance versatility. The rear low-frequency horn has been enhanced and is fully enclosed, offering more placement versatility in the listening room. While we still recommend placing the 70th Anniversary Klipschorn in a corner, we’re sure that many Klipschorn owners will appreciate the added flexibility.

What do you think of the 70th Anniversary Klipschorn speaker? Post your thoughts in the comments below!

Paul W. Klipsch Story: A Life of a Genius and his Pursuit of Audio Perfection

You know that passion you can hear in a trumpeter’s brassy solo or the finale of an epic anthem played by a full symphony at the height of their talents?

Paul W. Klipsch heard it. He heard it clearly, and it kindled a passion of his own.

His drive to give these soul-stirring sounds the best presentation possible—better than anything yet available to listeners of his day—led him to develop new speaker technology that presented each key change, crescendo, chorus and choir with unparalleled clarity.

The result of his passion was game changing then, and it continues to set the bar for audio excellence now, even as music interests have changed with the times. Klipsch speakers consistently deliver what modern audiences are searching for without even realizing it, from the goose bump-raising high note of the national anthem before the big game to the rousing pre-final-battle speech delivered by the leader of a ragtag group of warriors fighting to defend Earth from invading alien forces.

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Inventor, Geophysicist, Pilot, Colonel

Paul W. Klipsch’s auditory marvel didn’t move straight from his mad-genius mind into listeners’ living rooms. He started in a rather unglamorous setting—a ramshackle tin shed—dripping sweat and drafting plans to translate his vision into physical, ear-dazzling reality. And dazzle he did.

But he didn’t stop there. Not only did Klipsch build a high-end audio speaker unlike anything the world had yet seen (or heard), he ensured these speakers would be built according to his exact standards. Since that beginning, his company has never waivered in its production of his speaker, as well as successive generations of models that include modern innovations, while retaining the soul of the Klipsch original.

Somewhere among all of that inventing and entrepreneurialism, he also found time to flex his geophysicist and pilot muscles, along with earning the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. You know, like you do.

The people who knew him best said even their exhaustive lists of his achievements don’t tell a sliver of his story. Longtime Klipsch engineer Gary Gillum said the founder had an uncanny ability to provide answers to any question with speed and authority—never needing to reference a book, chart or table. He was, in Gillum’s words, “a meticulous genius.”

Another long-time employee and friend jokingly speculated that Klipsch must have invented a time machine and is simply waiting for the future to catch up to the patent office so he can step out of the past and officially register it in the present. A time traveler? Well, he never proved that he wasn’t.

In the meantime, there are still dozens of patents in his name, ranging from loudspeakers to logarithmic converters and even firearms. Imagination, meet execution.

Despite Klipsch’s talent for turning mere ideas and flickers of thought into stuff you can actually hold, he is equally remembered for something impossible to touch—even as it touches the lives of so many people: his legacy. Every box that bears his name indicates that what’s inside carries his spark and spirit, as well as his uncompromising push to never settle for anything less than the best. He demanded quality of himself and the world around him for 98 long years. Where he didn’t find it, he cultivated it.

Jim Hunter understands the impact of the Klipsch legacy better than most people. He met the man in 1978 and then went to work for him. Hunter respected him and eventually named Mr. and Mrs. Klipsch godparents to his two children.

Hunter explained that the mix of humor, passion and “just general spark mixed with good-naturedness” that defined Klipsch is hard to boil down into a simple character description. However, if this Renaissance man’s career could be summed up in one sentiment, it would be that while nothing ages worse than technology, nothing is as ageless as technology well-executed.

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Klipschorn®

The pinnacle of this idea has to be the Klipschorn®, the only audio speaker that has been in continuous production for seven decades.

Still ahead of its time today, the Klipschorn® features expanding chambers ingeniously folded to allow your entire room to participate in creating a wall of sound. Audiophiles believe this method is the truest way to experience sound in its purest form—and nobody argues with audiophiles. You could try, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Even people with less than a passing interest in the mechanics behind their speakers recognize the difference. The typical person’s response to their ears intimately meeting a Klipsch product, according to Hunter: “That sounds so clear.”

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Inducted into Engineering & Science Hall of Fame

As no surprise to anyone who knew him (or you, if you’ve made it this far in the bio), Klipsch was inducted into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame in 2004—an achievement that would likely be the most glittering jewel in anyone’s career crown. In fact, he and Thomas Edison are the only two people from the audio industry to be inducted into the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame since 1946. In Paul’s case, it served as just one more milestone for the man who never stopped forging ahead. He had already written the rulebook of sound, then tore it to shreds, then wrote it again. Like modern musicians who destroy and rebuild what audiences expect to hear, Klipsch did the same with how they hear it.

When a colleague advised him not to release a more portable speaker because it would undermine his own Klipschorn®, basically committing heresy against Klipsch’s best-known and celebrated creation, he thumbed his nose at the world—including himself. His response: “The hell I can’t!” He dubbed his new speaker creation the Heresy.

A sense of humor, sometimes despite slim odds of success. A larger-than-life personality tempered by humility. Integrity shaping grand ideas. These are the character strengths that, coupled with a lifelong thirst for learning, gave Klipsch’s ideas staying power. Conversely, in regard to “ideas of dubious credibility”, he adopted an unofficial moto: “Bullshit”. He wore a yellow button with that single sentiment written on it, flashing it from behind his lapel at anyone he thought was trying a little too hard to impress him.

Klipsch embraced the ordinary to reveal the unexpected. He lived life as it came—never allowing it to carry him along, helpless in the current. In the times he didn’t know what was around the next bend, he sped forward, eager to see what was to come.

So pop in a movie, fire up a new single, or settle in to listen to a favorite album. Hear that? It’s more than just a smooth saxophone lick or a bone-shaking explosion. It’s the Klipsch legacy.

Good Poop: Arkansas Longhorn

On October 2, 2014 we started the Good Poop series with “Meet Jim Hunter – Klipsch Historian”. The photo included with that initial blog was of a large plywood and foam horn.

It took nearly a year, but finally someone (Jon in Mpls) had to ask: “What the Hell is that?!”

Well, the photo was taken in February of 1986 when our anechoic chamber was only about 6 years old. We wanted to explore the effects of folding in the Klipschorn woofer cabinet.

The pictured monstrosity is basically an “un-folded” Klipschorn woofer .

Yes, the Klipschorn really is a compact speaker for its performance level. Obviously this was too large to measure inside the chamber, so we pointed it skyward and mic’d it from 20-30 feet up.

Admittedly, this was a “low-budget production”, but the goofy structure did allow us to get a good idea of what our driver would do, particularly at the higher frequencies, without folding.

No changes were implemented to the Klipschorn, but this could be considered the first step leading up to the Jubilee (better folding) some 14 years later.

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

What is “Good Poop”?

Learn more about Paul W. Klipsch 

Good Poop: Dining with a Legend

During the late 1970’s and early 80’s, it was a fairly regular Friday night event for Klipsch engineers to “eat fish” with Paul W. Klipsch (PWK) and his wife, Valerie, at the Hope Holiday Inn (now a Super 8).

It was the typical southern buffet, including cat fish, frog legs, shrimp, oysters and much more. At the time, Klipsch had four engineers, and usually three or more were eagerly present at these informal events. Other employees from sales, purchasing, and manufacturing were welcome, as were their spouses.

While speaker design and manufacturing was an unavoidable topic for a geek-centric gathering, the conversation roamed from current events to the history of loudspeakers. It was here that PWK convinced me to try slurping a raw oyster from the shell. I haven’t stopped.

I learned later that Paul was introduced to the practice while in the oil prospecting business. He was on a small exploration boat in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico just to insure functioning of the electronic equipment. The “captain” of the boat reached over the side and brought up an oyster. He quickly shucked it open, added salt from a shaker kept warm by the engine, and slurped it down.

PWK followed suit. He couldn’t be outdone, of course.

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

What is “Good Poop”?

 

 

Good Poop: Why Me?

In 1978, Paul W. Klipsch’s interest in building his own drivers resulted in my invitation to Hope for an interview that summer. I was working at Rola, one of the oldest OEM driver suppliers, having commenced operations in 1926. 

Klipsch was courting Rola as a second supplier to the established Eminence products, and I was the Rola engineer assigned to the Klipsch account. The interview was a tag-team affair with PWK in the last round.

While I entered his office “properly intimidated” in the presence of “A Legend in Sound”, he quickly put me at ease. 

One question I remember was to the effect: “What have you learned while employed at Rola?” My answer was: “I’ve learned how much I didn’t learn in college.” 

This seemed to please him.

His demeanor, and that of the rest of the staff, were “like waving a bull in front of a red flag” for me (his cracked quote). I was hired & reported to work on October 2, 1978.

Ironically, after a few months of study I convinced everyone that Klipsch did not yet have the volume to economically support in-house driver manufacturing!  Paul reviewed the numbers, and had to agree that his intentions were financially premature. 

Fortunately a new lab with anechoic chamber was under development, which kept me gainfully employed.

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

What is “Good Poop”?

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?