Rebuild or Replace Klipsch Ref IVs
OK, this is something that I have put a lot of thought into, and cant find ANY information on.
I have a 5.1 Home Theater set up that I am trying to improve on. And like most of us, there is a budget involved. All be it, I have not decided on what that is yet.
My fronts, center, and surrounds are all Klipsch Ref IV speakers. They were all purchased back around 2006? And have served me well. But honestly I was never wowed by them for movies, but music listening was nice.
What I am thinking about doing is trying to find speakers that I can replace the Klipsch drivers with, most likely something less efficient, but have more output. And I understand that some Klipsch fans may say this is blasphemy, but fit and finish is my week point. So would it be possible to find new drivers and utilize the boxes I have?
Here is a little breakdown of my set-up:
Receiver - Marantz SR6013 9.2 Channel, 110 Watts Per channel (2 Channels driven @ 8 ohms)
Sub Amp - Crown XLi 2500, 1500 x 1 @ 8 Ohms
Front Ref IV RF82 150 Watt
Center Ref Iv RC52 125 Watt
Surrounds Ref IV RB61 100 Watt
Subs 2 FI IB318V2 18s in infinite baffle set up
This might not be quite what you want to hear but Klipsch drivers are generally proprietary (custom manufacture) and matched with the cabinets. Finding replacement drivers that will work well in those cabinets might prove difficult and expensive.
The path of least resistance, if you are truly unhappy with the Klipsch speakers, would be to sell them on the used market and then put that and your upgrade money into a new set of speakers. Some of the better speakers in roughly the the same price range are those from Elac, Fluance and Polk Audio.
Okay, all that said... is there a specific issue you are trying to resolve or is it just the burn for something new?
(EDIT: One final thought ... look for wood speakers. Plastic is the enemy of good sound.)
It seems like it is easy to find the limit of the Klipsch speakers I have. I had a 12" Klipsch sub and the amp gave up. I decided to try infinite baffle after years of reading about it. It worked out great as the actual subs are in the garage adjacent to my living room, so bonus points from the wife for not adding a huge sub to the living area. I do have a couple issues with dead spots in my living area, but that is a hole other topic.
Well the subs do wonders for the low end, but I was looking for more impact? So I wanted to upgrade my front channels to something with more mid or mid bass?
I was or am considering the SVS Ultras or possibly building my own.
Yes I understand that the Klipsch don't readily give their box internal measurements, but I was thinking I could measure the boxes and find drivers that would work in the enclosures. I would most likely have to replace the horns with a tweeter, but a face lift on the boxes would be an easy job.
I hoped to change out the speakers and maybe add an amp for the fronts. Well if I do that I would have to match the center and the surrounds so it all blends well? Never hear of anyone mixing horns and say a dome tweeter?
This might be unconventional thinking, having and enclosure and searching out speakers to fit instead of the other way around, but could it be done?
And I understand that the Klipsch are super efficient for power considerations, but today power is cheap.
You probably could reverse design them to find drivers to work in those enclosures but it likely would not be an easy task.
You would need to test the woofers for their various parameters then search the market for something close. I'm not the expert on that one, perhaps one of the others can be more help.
That said... if you can find woofers of the right design, I would see no reason you would also have to replace the horn tweeters unless that is the main issue. Many people do not like the sound of horns and I, personally, find them a bit harsh for my tastes.
Interesting that you say that. I too had Klipsch speakers for years and never was wowed by them. And for me the tweeter was too shrill at times, which really killed my listening experience. I have a few thoughts on this.
1. Don't do anything to the towers. Before changing out the towers, it might be worth it to buy a HiFi amplifier to run your speakers off first. You have a heck of an AVR. I love Marantz and run one myself (although I admit, yours is a generation newer than mine). Even though those Klipsh are pretty high efficiency, you probably aren't getting the best performance out of them with the AVR. It will not have as high of a dynamic power output and will be higher distortion. I would of course point you to the icepower hifi amplifier I built for around $300. Of course you could go with a higher power unit if you want to as well. This would just hook directly up to your 7 channel out (via RCA) on your Marantz AVR This would be where I would first start to see if it is an amplifier problem or a speaker problem. Plus a better amplifier will be good to have if you decide that still isn't good enough.
2. Replace the Drivers. You could do this. We would want to figure out the internal volume, but shouldn't be too hard with that. The tweeter will be an issue. You won't have much to bolt straight on, so a custom mount might be needed. You'd really need to take off the horn to see how the tweeter is mounted. Then a custom crossover would want to be design after you figure that out. In many regards this will be much harder than just building from scratch.
3. Sell them. If you don't want to do all the work of retrofitting, I would sell them and start over. Typically speakers don't hold a lot of value on the used market, but the Klipsch market can be strong. It is a well recognized brand, that is fairly loved.
I would probably first start with the amplifier and then go from there. But honestly there is no wrong answer here. The second is the most work.
I don't feel like the horns are too harsh at a reasonable listing level, but at the upper end of the volume level I think they are. One problem with super efficient drivers is that they reproduce exactly what you send them. And I know that is a bit of an oxymoron, as that is what you want, but it wont hide any flaws that your source unit, amp, and your trashy 110 service might have. It might be easier to just replace the speakers and go with a new set. My son has been eyeing the towers for years so maybe that would be the best bet.
Anyone recommend and towers that would offer some serious impact and could handle some of the upper bass duties? And I do plan to use an amp for them, not just the receiver.
I am open to off the shelf or DIY, as long as there is a knockdown box available. I can finish the box ok, but no table-saw or router.
The only ones I have really considered up to know have been the SVS Ultras, so that would be the top of my budget, about $2K.
For about half of your stated budget you can get the Fluance Signature Series which I can vouch for. These are very good, dynamic and well made speakers. Fluance doesn't get a lot of press, but they've been around for 20 years and have an excellent reputation with their users.
As a bonus ... they are efficient enough that you won't need an outboard amplifier for the fronts.
(And yes, they ship to the USA)
<a href=" removed link " target="true">icepower hifi amplifier I built for around $300. Of course you could go with a <a href=" removed link " target="true">higher power unit if you want to as well.
What kind of power do these actually output? I would assume it is more than an AV receiver. Sounds like a fun build, but I would rather be over than under on power if I still decided to go with the SVS towers.
Never done any research on the Fluance speakers, they do look nice and a great price. I am a bit gun shy of online reviews and it is tuff to find places to listen to speakers anymore unless your at the big box stores.
All the specs, including response charts are on their website. Just click the link.
A said I can vouch for them because a) I am a fluance user for 3 years now and b) I've set the 5.0 signature series up in a dedicated home theatre ... so I do know what they sound like. The fronts are warm sounding with pretty good bass, even without a sub. The surrounds are understandably a bit bright because they're counting on the fronts and/or sub for bass. Overall it's a very nicely balanced sound without that ragged edge some horns can get.