Interesting thought experiment: Redesigning the Belle Klipsch

J

Jerkface

Audioholic
I'm tossing this out here not because I'm unhappy with my speakers, but because I'm hearing from people (including hardcore Klipsch fans) that the Belles with the AB Crossovers and the M-series drivers are dogcrap. I mean, the only deficiency I heard in these speakers when I first bought them was a gap in the 2k range, but that disappeared as soon as I switched from the cheap Sony stereo receiver to the Quicksilver Horn Monos.

But I've also seen measurements and what-not, a fair bit of evidence that, with some effort, these speakers could be better. There are companies dedicated to building upgraded crossovers and completely reconfigured drivers and such.

So what would you do, assuming you like the sound of horns (I know many don't), if you had an empty pair of Belle cabinets, to build the perfect speaker?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Didn't Bob Crites recently pass away? His company still continuing? That's the main one recommended I remember for tweaking Klipsch stuff. Not a particular Klipsch fan myself, altho did hear some of the older speakers like yours back in the day a few times and did like them. I have JBL "horns" and don't have anything against them. The bookshelf Klipsch stuff from a few years ago had some experience with via a friend, but didn't really care for those.
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
Didn't Bob Crites recently pass away? His company still continuing? That's the main one recommended I remember for tweaking Klipsch stuff. Not a particular Klipsch fan myself, altho did hear some of the older speakers like yours back in the day a few times and did like them. I have JBL "horns" and don't have anything against them. The bookshelf Klipsch stuff from a few years ago had some experience with via a friend, but didn't really care for those.
Like it says in the title, this is more of a thought experiment. I'm still a ways away from even considering spending $500 to upgrade the crossovers, never mind the drivers. Seriously, I love these speakers, but like any audio addict, the idea that they could sound better than they already do is a tease.

At the same time, I'm also thinking that they may also be perfect in this specific space, and that any further tweaks might degrade that perfection. Paul W certainly focused his designs on practical usage as opposed to anechoic chambers.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Maybe someone can chime in that has done so themselves, but probably be best you spread it around to various diy fora to get coverage. Can't say I've seen much beyond some JBL L100 crossover tweaks for specific speakers here from @Swerd
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
PS: As I've said elsewhere, if it says Klipsch and it's not a Belle, a LaScala, or a KHorn, it's pretty much crap IMO. All their other speakers have major deficiencies that are clearly audible on first listen. Heresies included.
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
Maybe someone can chime in that has done so themselves, but probably be best you spread it around to various diy fora to get coverage. Can't say I've seen much beyond some JBL L100 crossover tweaks for specific speakers here from @Swerd
Well, there is a company that offers not only a crossover upgrade, but what they declare are a major upgrade from the xx-M drivers for the tweets and squawkers. I figured I'd poke at what I suspect are a fair number of EE's in this group to see what they have to say about it before I throw money at something that I'm not even sure is a problem.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Well, there is a company that offers not only a crossover upgrade, but what they declare are a major upgrade from the xx-M drivers for the tweets and squawkers. I figured I'd poke at what I suspect are a fair number of EE's in this group to see what they have to say about it before I throw money at something that I'm not even sure is a problem.
My thought is if you're replacing more than a crossover then you may as well just start over when it comes to saving a box.....
 
Steve81

Steve81

Audioholics Five-0
FWIW, I probably wouldn’t do anything to the speakers themselves if they’re in good working order.

If you’re looking to tweak the sound, EQ would probably be cheaper to implement, easier to get specific changes to the sound you might be seeking, and any adjustment is readily reversed if it isn’t to your liking.
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
FWIW, I probably wouldn’t do anything to the speakers themselves if they’re in good working order.

If you’re looking to tweak the sound, EQ would probably be cheaper to implement, easier to get specific changes to the sound you might be seeking, and any adjustment is readily reversed if it isn’t to your liking.
While "tweaking" is pretty much where I'm at right now (Heritage towers + tubes = exactly what Paul K said it should be in my experience), and I haven't even gotten to room acoustics, despite the fact that the room is an L-shape with all kinds of outcroppings and such that really disrupt any kind of nulls, I'm still curious as to what folks think it would take to bring the system to "reference".
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
While "tweaking" is pretty much where I'm at right now (Heritage towers + tubes = exactly what Paul K said it should be in my experience), and I haven't even gotten to room acoustics, despite the fact that the room is an L-shape with all kinds of outcroppings and such that really disrupt any kind of nulls, I'm still curious as to what folks think it would take to bring the system to "reference".
What, specifically, do you not like about your speakers? The complaints you have may be caused by the room and speaker placement. I would suggest starting by marking the present locations with painter's tape, then rotating them in small increments, looking at the room as it might impact the sound. Where are the points of first reflection and what materials are in those spots. What are the room dimensions? If one speaker is near a wall and the other isn't, reflected sound from the side close to the wall will arrive at almost the same time as the direct sound, but sound from the other side will be delayed by roughly 1mS/foot of additional path length, which causes 'comb filtering'. That can manifest in many ways- in the case of my room, it caused the pressure at one ear to be the inverse of the other, making it feel as if I was driving up a mountain (with ears popping), but only one ear. If I moved to the sides, it would come and go, corresponding to the distance from one point to another.

I spent some time moving my speakers and making notes, as well as using Room EQ Wizard to see what was happening. That removes a lot of guesswork and is a great learning tool for making measurement coincide with hearing. I really didn't like using my system before I moved my speakers but that wasn't the only problem- I had some deep notches in the response that needed absorptive material panels to tame. Once they were in place (and I saw the changes in the response on the screen when using REW), I haven't touched anything since and I enjoy the sound, very much.

If you want to experience the feeling, connect a woofer to an amplifier and play something with bass, then turn the driver so the face is at a 90 degree angle to your body. This pressurizes one side and rarefies the other. Once you're aware of the sensation, I suspect you're not going to like the sound from many systems because it can be uncomfortable. It has helped me solve problems in systems because I have worked in audio for over 45 years, but I really don't like the feeling.
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
What, specifically, do you not like about your speakers?
That's the hilarious part. I love them. But I've read stuff in other forums about how they have deficiencies that there's an entire aftermarket (multiple companies) that specialize in "fixing" via replacement crossovers and (in at least one case) replacement drivers.

So I have to believe that measurements were taken and these improvements are based on correcting what was seen in the measurements.

And it makes me curious to see how much better I could get them from where they already are.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
Maybe the deficiencies are what you love about them. What if the tweaks make them more neutral or accurate, and removes some of the special sauce that makes them sound good to you?
 
J

Jerkface

Audioholic
Maybe the deficiencies are what you love about them. What if the tweaks make them more neutral or accurate, and removes some of the special sauce that makes them sound good to you?
This is entirely possible, especially with how the room interacts with those deficiencies.

Doesn't mean we can't have a thought experiment about what it would take to get them into that 20-20K +/-1.5dB territory.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Seriously, I have no life.
This is entirely possible, especially with how the room interacts with those deficiencies.

Doesn't mean we can't have a thought experiment about what it would take to get them into that 20-20K +/-1.5dB territory.
You are the second person to go into deep thaukus of late. That is what the late Stanley Unwin would have called it.

If you like your speakers leave them alone. I can tell you from experience modifying a speaker more often than not ends up spoiling it.

If is far easier to design and build a speaker from scratch, than try and modify one. Sometimes you can mod a crossover. To do it you need:

1). The T/S parameters of each driver. Since you have them it would be best to measure them with a speaker tester.

2). The impedance curves of all the drivers.

3). A carefully measured acoustic response of each driver.

4.) Careful and accurate measurements of the existing speaker.

If you don't have that data, then it is all as nonsensical as Unwin's deep thaukus.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
That's the hilarious part. I love them. But I've read stuff in other forums about how they have deficiencies that there's an entire aftermarket (multiple companies) that specialize in "fixing" via replacement crossovers and (in at least one case) replacement drivers.

So I have to believe that measurements were taken and these improvements are based on correcting what was seen in the measurements.

And it makes me curious to see how much better I could get them from where they already are.
If you 'improve' them, they may lose the qualities that you like. Forums are filled with people who want to tell others "Your stuff is crap and oh, BTW, this will make it great". I did what was recommended for a '66 Fender amp and it killed the new multi-segment cap in the power supply. I went back to the original resistor value and installed the original cap- it sounded fine.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Slumlord
This is entirely possible, especially with how the room interacts with those deficiencies.

Doesn't mean we can't have a thought experiment about what it would take to get them into that 20-20K +/-1.5dB territory.
"...get them back to 20-20K ±1.5"? The spec sheet for the Belle II shows 45-17KHz ±5dB. The specs for the Heresy II shows 50-20KHz ±3dB, but the original showed 17K as the top and when I replaced the diaphragms in a pair, the response I measured matched the spec sheet.


I'm not posting the specs to cause you to become disillusioned- they were never precision instruments, but they do have a 'certain sound' that, as you posted, you love. As the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't mess with it". The listening tests for those weren't done in rooms that had acoustic treatments- the general public didn't have that, so why bother designing for something other than real world situations? My guess is that the crossover has a gap in the ranges where reflections would cause harshness and, especially where the woofer and mid cross, something that was called 'shoutiness', meaning that voices sounded like someone was shouting. The drivers were originally named for the sounds they produced- woofers produce a deeper sound, the mid was called 'sqawker' (think of the sound from a Crow or Vulture) and the tweeter was like a little bird.
 
Last edited:
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
Doesn't mean we can't have a thought experiment about what it would take to get them into that 20-20K +/-1.5dB territory.
Doesnt mean my reply wasn't part of your thought experiment...
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Slumlord
If you don't have that data, then it is all as nonsensical as Unwin's deep thaukus.
So I looked up "thaukus" and the only thing that pops up are your posts... lol.

I'm looking through @Jerkface's old threads to see if he mentions which Marantz receiver he has that needs a home! :p
 
newsletter

  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top