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Author Topic: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?  (Read 21890 times)

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Offline Dr. Toobz

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Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« on: October 24, 2009, 03:30:19 PM »
I kind of dig the retro look of Klipsch Heritage-line speakers, but don't have the room (or money) for anything big. So far, I've not been impressed with my $600/pair Icon W14 bookshelves, which are very thin in the mids, being 2-ways. I've heard that exponential horns handling the mids, when combined with a tube amp, is awesome for jazz and rock. Does anybody have experience with the Heresys? The new III's are 99dB sensitive at 8 ohms (or so Klipsch claims) and seem like they would be an easy load for the S.E.X. Unfortunately, I have no way of auditioning them, as my adopted new hometown of Iowa City doesn't have any Heritage retailers (actually, there are no retailers within the entire state of Iowa, per Klipsch's website). I could always wait until I go home to the Chicago area and stop at a store out there, but I'm not going to go out of my way to make an extra trip if these things sound like glorified PA horns. I always see sets of new III's for $999 on eBay and Amazon marketplace (probably due to mismatched veneer, but so what) which is lot less than the $1500/pair Klispch wants. Plus, the sales tax at home in Cook County, IL is over 10%!

Opinions would be appreciated! And no, I'm not a Klipsch fanboy - if anything, I've been less-than-impressed with their stuff (though I did kind-of like my RF-5's, which I had to sell due to looking weird in my living room and being too damn big).
A Bottlehead since 2009: S.E.X. 2.0, Stereomour (2A3), Eros & Seduction Phono, Crack, Quickie 1.0 (sold), Klipsch Heresy III speakers, Grado SR-325e headphones

Offline Rick Rigler

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2009, 05:10:30 PM »
Klipsch seems to have a reputation in some circles as being bright, shrill and even causing ears to bleed! Oh my! My take; upgrade your electronics and give them another listen. Agreed some Klipsch can sound bright with poorly designed or cheap amplification. That was some of my experience before I took the next step into the higher end of audio. When I first connected the Paramours to the Heresy I pair and hit the Play button, I was transformed into another realm of listening pleasure; somewhere I had never been with any equipment I had owned.

I also enjoy the Heresys with the S.E.X. amp. For most listening, in my 10' x 12' listening room, they are fine. If you want to crank it, or with certain types of music, they will run out of gas. The Heresy I is 95-96 dB efficient, significantly less than the Heresy III at 99 dB. Your room conditions and listening preferences will certainly play a major role in your decision. Also it is no secret the Heresys are bass shy, but a modest sub or a pair from Parts Express will take care of that.

I hang out on the Klipsch forum quite a bit and from what i gather there, all Heritage speakers work well with tubes. In my own experience I have found that the Heresy works well with any 'quality' amplification. I now have a mix of amplifiers from flea-powered SET to a PP EL84 to a SS Mac MC250 to a 10 watt chip amp. They all perform beautifully with the Heresys, as well as my other speakers; Bottlehead Straight 8s and my newly acquired Klipsch RF-7s.

I have come to love the horn sound. To me, the Heresy, with its horn-loaded mids and highs, sounds like a baby Klipschorn. Not near the impact, of course, nor anything close to the bass, but the sonic signature is there in spades. I am breaking in the RF-7s (which are a 2-way with one horn handling the mids and highs) and, although the RF-7 has a MUCH larger total impact, so far I am still preferring the Heresy sonically.

One option you have is to look for a pair of used Heritage speakers. With the economy, now is the time to buy used. You may be able to snag a pair of Heresy I or II for less than three hundred in very good shape. There are a few other classic speakers with a similar footprint that have a very good reputation and following, such as the Forte or Chorus models. And if you have the room, step up to the Cornwalls or La Scalas. All can be had for less than a grand right now. Hang out on the Klipsch forum and ask some questions. Check out Craigslist.

Rick
Horns Love Tubes!

Rick Rigler
Houston, TX

Online Paul Birkeland

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2009, 12:20:17 PM »
If you changed the SEX amp tubes to 6EM7's, you would likely be just fine in the power department (you change one cap and one resistor per channel).  The C4S boards are a must if you use the 6EM7 (set R1 to 1k), as the high gain triode seems to sound much better with the high impedance load. 

I used Klipsch speakers for quite some time (CF-4), and while I was really happy that I could drive them to earth shattering levels with 2 watts, there were some faults that were tough to ignore for me.  For a small room and sub $1000 speaker budget, I think they are a good choice.   
Paul "PB" Birkeland

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Offline Dr. Toobz

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2009, 04:22:08 PM »
Thanks for the advice! A few thoughts:

a) I don't think anything in my equipment chain should be problematic with horns, though my living room is another story entirely. For playback, I have a classic Marantz CD-67SE, which is a very warm-sounding CD player. I also have a Cambridge Audio DAC that I run an Airport Express through, using Apple Lossless files. On the analog end, I have a Denon DM-500M turntable (a 2007 model w/ huge cherrywood plinth), AT 120E cart with microline stylus (the one for the other AT cart that escapes me at the moment). I have my Seduction using 6922 tubes and C4S loads on them, going through 1M of interconnects to my SEX amp, which are also C4S'ed. I'm using 6DN7 tubes with stock coupling and interstage caps and Specos wired on a DPDT switch for 4 and 8 ohms for my OTPS. The MQ upgrade seems enticing, but expensive. I'd rather drop the $400 or so I'd spend on new iron and caps for speakers!

b) I think I know my problem with my current Klipsches (and the RF-5s of yore): Klipsch speakers, at least ones that use bass-reflex loading, seem to have huge impedance dips and nasty phase angles in the midbass region, between 85Hz and 250Hz or so. The RF-5's in fact dropped down to something like 2.5ohms, which is lower than the reflected impedance of the 6DN7 tubes, even with the 4-ohm taps. As a result, there was too much interaction with high-impedance of the S.E.X., leading to strident-sounding highs and mids at 8ohms, and very feeble bass at 4ohms (bass at 8 ohms was louder, but very flabby due to the damping factor being so low). Note, I got rid of the RF-5's before I put the current sources on the plates of the smaller triodes. My current Klispch Icon W14's are merely OK sounding, but seem to be too prominent in the mids and highs, and bass isn't great considering the smallish 4.5" midwoofers. The F0 is probably something like 85Hz!

I have been planning to put in the 6EM7's (since I have indeed gone away from using a resistor as my plate loads) and change R1 to 1000ohms. I currently have tons of power using the 6DN7's - that aside, is it reasonable to assume that the impedance issue might be less significant with the 6EM7's? Also, the living room the speakers are in is less-than ideal: 10-foot cielings and wood floors. The bookshelf speakers are on the fireplace mantle, which corner loads them and gives a bit better bass, but they are too high and have no seperation or image. That's why I've been considering the Heresy III.

In all, can I assume that the Heresy III will sound better than my Icons and perhaps even better than the current-hungry RF-5s? I want a classic sound with a ton of presence, especially since I mostly listen to acoustic jazz. Would the Heresys be nicer to my amp in terms of impedance dips (they are sealed and the woofers probably don't have a huge excursion)?
A Bottlehead since 2009: S.E.X. 2.0, Stereomour (2A3), Eros & Seduction Phono, Crack, Quickie 1.0 (sold), Klipsch Heresy III speakers, Grado SR-325e headphones

Online Paul Birkeland

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2009, 05:55:12 PM »
Hmm, it sounds like the EM7 isn't the answer.  I would either:

1.  Have Mikey custom wind you some output iron with a 3 ohm tap to hand the impedance dip...

or...

2.  Play around with some global negative feedback to bump the damping factor up a bit and lower the output impedance.  Note: you will want the extra gain of the 6EM7 for this!
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline Dr. Toobz

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2009, 06:21:13 PM »
Isn't the output impedance of the "usual" MQ upgrade about 3 ohms to begin with? Or at least that's what I read in the past...

Also, doesn't the 6EM7's bigger triode like to see a lower impedance load than the 6DN7? I thought that the typical plate impedance on the latter was something like 8k, whereas the 6EM7 was 5k. If that's the case, I'd assume that you could lower the load impedance by the same amount, i.e. 5000/8000 = 62.5% of the 6DN7's impedance to get the same "reflected" value at the tube. Assuming an 8000/8ohm stepdown like the Specos, wouldn't that end up being 5ohms on the 8ohm tap or 2.5 on the 4? Or am I over simplifying this?

Maybe somebody with the H3's and a S.E.X. amp can chime in  - perhaps the problems with impedance aren't as dire with that particular speaker. They were designed in the days of tubes (1957), though admittedly, the 1950's favored push-pull amps with good damping factors as opposed to our no-NFB SET designs. In any case, I can't see them being TOO current hungry. Klipsch doesn't publish such information, unfortunately....

Any other owners care to chime in?
A Bottlehead since 2009: S.E.X. 2.0, Stereomour (2A3), Eros & Seduction Phono, Crack, Quickie 1.0 (sold), Klipsch Heresy III speakers, Grado SR-325e headphones

Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2009, 06:59:59 PM »
...
Also, doesn't the 6EM7's bigger triode like to see a lower impedance load than the 6DN7? I thought that the typical plate impedance on the latter was something like 8k, whereas the 6EM7 was 5k....
The 6DN7 plate impedance is about 2300 ohms at the normal operating point, so on the 8 ohm output tap it will contribute 2.3 ohms. The transformer will add something like 0.5 ohms fro a total 2.8 ohms.

The 6EM7 plate resistance at the SEX operating point will be about 850 ohms, reflecting 0.85 ohms. With the transformer, maybe 1.35 ohms. So it does have better damping.

What the tube "likes to see" depends on the operating voltage and current. In both cases, the operating point has been chosen to make the 8K load impedance very close to the optimum.
Paul Joppa

Offline dmannnnn

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2009, 10:53:57 PM »
My experiences are pretty much opposite of Rick's.  I enjoy my RF-7's more than I did the Heresy II's.  The Heresy is a great speaker, but the coloration was a bit to much for my taste.  At low volume the tonal balance was nice.  But turn it up and the mid horn really stuck out.  I found them a bit honky and distant(hollow) sounding.  It sounded like they were in the other room or placed behind a wall.  Even with a sub the bass just didn't show up.  This was with a standard FPIII and paramount 300b's.

The reference series speakers sound much flatter and more natural (to me). Maybe not as musical as the Heresy's.  The RF-7's did take some getting used to.  At first they seemed so forward and analytical, and yes a little harsh up top.  Swapping out the stock caps and tweaking the resistor values tamed the shrillness and sweetened them up. They could probably use some more power, but using the 4 ohm tap really helped the bass fill out.  They're keepers for now, but I'm still looking for something better.  They sound great with the S.E.X, and I haven't yet wired that for 4 ohms.

I just found a very cool pair of Altec Model 14's and they are showing promise.
Harmon Kardon T60 - Hagerman Bugle - Cal Audio Labs CL15
ForePlayIII - Paramount 300B's
Klipsch RF-7/Altec Model 14/Magnepan MG12

Offline Dr. Toobz

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2009, 05:03:45 PM »
I would be listening to these at pretty low levels - probably never more than 1W, since the H3's are 99dB/1W/m. My current speakers are only 92dB and I rarely turn the knob past 10 o'clock - the wood floors seem to boost the in-room sensitivity quite a bit, and being in a condo, the last thing I want to do is have my neighbors come after me for blasting "A Love Supreme" or "Sunday at the Village Vanguard." Not that jazz tends to annoy neighbors much anyway - at least it's not rap or something noisy. My alto sax might be another story entirely, though I smother the hell out of it so hardly any sound comes out.

If the Heresys are well behaved and tonally pleasing at low levels, they might be just what I need for the S.E.X. amp....
A Bottlehead since 2009: S.E.X. 2.0, Stereomour (2A3), Eros & Seduction Phono, Crack, Quickie 1.0 (sold), Klipsch Heresy III speakers, Grado SR-325e headphones

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2009, 12:10:03 AM »
I'm curious, do you listen to a lot of alto sax since you play it?

Offline Rick Rigler

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2009, 03:00:19 PM »
Dr. Toobz,

I think the Heresy will be a well-behaved load for your S.E.X. amp. Much more behaved than your RF-5s for sure. The RF-7s also present the tougher load with the impedance dips; thus they do not work as well with my SET amps as they do with the Mac MC250 SS or the Stromberg-Carlson EL84 PP.

Again, since you don
Horns Love Tubes!

Rick Rigler
Houston, TX

Offline Rick Rigler

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2009, 03:12:02 PM »
My experiences are pretty much opposite of Rick's.  I enjoy my RF-7's more than I did the Heresy II's.  The Heresy is a great speaker, but the coloration was a bit to much for my taste.  At low volume the tonal balance was nice.  But turn it up and the mid horn really stuck out.  I found them a bit honky and distant(hollow) sounding.  It sounded like they were in the other room or placed behind a wall.  Even with a sub the bass just didn't show up.  This was with a standard FPIII and paramount 300b's.

The reference series speakers sound much flatter and more natural (to me). Maybe not as musical as the Heresy's.  The RF-7's did take some getting used to.  At first they seemed so forward and analytical, and yes a little harsh up top.  Swapping out the stock caps and tweaking the resistor values tamed the shrillness and sweetened them up. They could probably use some more power, but using the 4 ohm tap really helped the bass fill out.  They're keepers for now, but I'm still looking for something better.  They sound great with the S.E.X, and I haven't yet wired that for 4 ohms.

I just found a very cool pair of Altec Model 14's and they are showing promise.
dmannnnn,

Yeah, I am also still warming up to the RF-7s. I am liking them more and more as I listen. I know my small listening room is hindering the performance some. The small room is probably one reason I am so passionate about the Heresys. They really do sound wonderful with a small sub. And musical, as you said.

Rick

Horns Love Tubes!

Rick Rigler
Houston, TX

Offline Dr. Toobz

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2009, 03:59:51 PM »
I'm curious, do you listen to a lot of alto sax since you play it?

Not more than any other jazz listener, actually - I haven't been playing it very long (upright bass is the main instrument that I've played since I was a child). Much of the jazz literature seems to feature tenors, though the sound of an alto in its lower and middle ranges has an intriguing smoothness and clarity that I like much better than the tenor in the same range. I also have found alto a lot easier to play, since I'm a rather small guy (5'8" and 130lbs) and have the air capacity of a small ziploc bag. I could only imagine trying to get that big reed going on a bari....
A Bottlehead since 2009: S.E.X. 2.0, Stereomour (2A3), Eros & Seduction Phono, Crack, Quickie 1.0 (sold), Klipsch Heresy III speakers, Grado SR-325e headphones

Offline Dr. Toobz

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 04:07:15 PM »
Dr. Toobz,

I think the Heresy will be a well-behaved load for your S.E.X. amp. Much more behaved than your RF-5s for sure. The RF-7s also present the tougher load with the impedance dips; thus they do not work as well with my SET amps as they do with the Mac MC250 SS or the Stromberg-Carlson EL84 PP.

Again, since you don
A Bottlehead since 2009: S.E.X. 2.0, Stereomour (2A3), Eros & Seduction Phono, Crack, Quickie 1.0 (sold), Klipsch Heresy III speakers, Grado SR-325e headphones

Offline dmannnnn

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Re: Klipsch Heresy III and the S.E.X. - any thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2009, 09:36:25 PM »
I bought my HII's from one of those IsoldIt places on ebay for $450.  They were absolutely mint. Perfect. They even smelled like brand new.  Walnut with just a very thin lacquer finish.  They really are beautifully made speakers.  The bookmatched veneers look awesome.  I put them up on ebay and they sold for $725 W/shipping. I couldn't believe it.  There are definitely good deals to be had on ebay.  You just need to buy from the right seller.  Sellers who give detailed descriptions, post large detailed pictures, and have a good return policy and feedback are the only ones I will bid on.

Klipsch actually has a store on ebay. Seller KlispschStore.  Last year they were selling refurb Heresy III's and RF-7's at a good discount.  All they have now are some Jamo speakers, but it might be something to keep an eye on.

Before I sound like an ebay commercial let me say that they are greedy fee mongers.

Harmon Kardon T60 - Hagerman Bugle - Cal Audio Labs CL15
ForePlayIII - Paramount 300B's
Klipsch RF-7/Altec Model 14/Magnepan MG12