Category Archives: machinedaudiohornlens.com

Machined tweeters and mid range horns for audio complete speakers. Klipsch drop in OEM replacements for tweeters

WHY WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY?

About three years ago before all this Chinese Flu stuff my wife and I used to eat out once a week. It was a diminishing experience and we found ourselves unhappy with the food quality decline. Really the whole experience was declining and since we often went as a group with others the pressure was not subtle at times to vacate those seats so they could be turned again. It was a social event with treasured friends turned into a seat rental program and it was time for us to go ready or not.

Add surly servers who expected tips no matter how crappy the service nor how unkempt looking they were and restaurants that would stick the tip on automatically since we were a group. Having worked for decades in the restaurant industry and helping to remodel dozens of restaurants I was very familiar with the use of disinfectants to mask bad things. A smell I was finding more and more and the facade can’t hide the smell so I knew what was there behind the scenes.

Around this time I noticed the idea of audiophile quality sound systems and home theaters was catching on. A trend that forced lock downs or business bans in many areas only accelerated. Used Klipsch speakers which used to be so plentiful were hard to find and going up in price all the time. Now when I say audiophile I do not mean some one who thinks they have to spend a ton of money to do this but rather someone who likes to hear good music or sound tracks played well. They are enamored of the idea they can hear great things IN THEIR OWN HOUSE.

See this is the key to the renaissance of the lost idea of inviting your friends over for a good time. Food you like prepared the way you want. Stay as late as you like and spare beds for those who like to indulge in what ever and should not be driving. Quite frankly when I pop the prime Rib Eye roast in the oven now I get to enjoy something I can’t buy in restaurants any more. Eat what you want when you want and the snack bar is open with no evil eyes directed at you for lingering.

Oh and you can watch movies plural, not singular, and have audio playback to suit your room full of people, or indeed just yourself, and not have that odious DBX theater standard hack the quality of your sound to fit their concept of how things should be. And have you seen the price of huge flat screens lately? A thousand dollars buys huge and hi res and perfect for home theater. Wont take to many $5 dollar beers or $$$ stupid expensive mixed drinks to pay for either. Or $4.50 a gallon gas. See here is something to think about. Many people can pay for an excellent system in less than two years by just taking the money they spent on public venues and having a better time at home.

Oh, and you will like the people around you which is certainly not a given in any public venue. No Karen’s invited and no screaming kids unless they are yours.

I spend some time talking about groups of people but there is something else I do with my setup. I happen to really like acoustic music and good blues. I want to hear all the details of the Cello musician as he fingers the strings and the nuances of the bow on them to great horn blat and blues like you were there in person. I want everything to be like that as much as possible no matter what the genre. I normally spend a couple of hours a day listening and I find it very rewarding. Of course finding good files to play can be a problem but when you find them you have them forever.

I also like pipe organs and to hear them like I wanted too, I built a single fold large horn with a 108″ deep throat that has no problem going down to 27hz with great crisp well defined authority.

Super MWM’s in the shop.
Painting the last bit for size reference.

That is a Klipsch K-402 horn with their 1132 driver on top. System is bi amped with Crown XLI800 amps and the DSP is a Xilica 3060. Sound personalized to suit me with prodigious clean bass. Jet flyovers and Japanese Fireworks are real life including a physical impact by the thump just like you were there. I have a steady trickle of Klipsch heads that visit me to hear these.

Great quality sound has been a quest of mine for seven years now. Of course I have dived far deeper into this than most ever will but there is one thing common here to me and to each and every one of you readers. It is the desire to be entertained in a fashion I CHOOSE with electronics I choose and people I choose or no one but me as the case often is. It is something you can only do in an environment you control and for most of us that is our house. Or shop as you can see in my case. Roll your gear out on your deck if you wish in good weather.

Music is good for the soul too. I noticed that when I was finding Klipsch Chorus speakers to fix up and sell the largest identifiable group of buyers was surprising. I sold more to ill widower men and I figure it was because it helped to transport them away from their situation. Of course you do not need to be in that shape to benefit from good music. It is for everyone who is willing to sit and listen.

At the push of a button you can be transported to audio bliss or Star Wars blowing stuff up right in your house. With your friends and good food and no curfew or time limits.

WOOD LMAHL’S

Not everything I come up with gets shown to people nor do I even make some of everything that has been designed. That is part of the discovery process and there are times when inspiration gets ahead of common sense and you guys never get to see the wasted hours spent fiddling around with ideas. Well I guess it is not really wasted but surely is not productive either.

  In any case I have had Klipsch heads after me for some time to do various things like for instance a wood horn for La Scalas and KHorns. Another one is a wood LMAHL or Large MAHL. I have held off on this because that .2″ flange that gets recessed into the motorboard (or baffle as they are known in many places. Motorboard to me because that is how they were named on the Klipsch forum by many.) cutout is plenty for the plastic and aluminum flanges. For wood however my fear was the ability of wood to split out at the corners where the bevel head screws went for mounting. I could have just had drilled holes and a flat bottomed screw but I did not like how that looked when modeled. As in one of those things no one see’s but me.

  Now how you get somewhere may vary from person to person and for me sometimes odd things lead to inspiration. I have had a couple of people that wanted MAHLS with no engraving on them so I removed it and they looked pretty good and now wood MAHLS are only cut this way. So I think, what if I remove the screw holes and the engraving how would that look and what would I do for mounting?

   For better or worse I did come up with something. My concern here is you can tell people not to tighten something down or they can split or ruin it.  What constitutes snug enough is a wildly variable amount depending on the person. Thinking of the few stripped screw holes I have had to deal with over the years of restoring Klipsch speakers and people with screw guns.

 I think I came up with a way of doing it that is not fool proof but as good as the material used will allow for. First up is a front view.

Second up is an assembly view showing how I propose to clamp the horn to the motorboard.

And the third to show it without the motorboard.

I expect to be offering these soon as yet another variant of the MAHL’s as soon as I get a speaker to try them in. I need to check for clearance with other drivers and horns and to see just how much pressure is needed to tighten these down enough to stop any cabinet rattle but not be so much that the flange is split from the lens body. I am using serrated bottom nuts for these to lock things in place.

One of the final questions I have to answer is will the DE-10 I commonly offer with the LMAHL be to heavy for this mounting method? I might just offer these with DE-120’s as they are much less weight though sadly almost double the price my cost. Looking to get some KPT-301’s soon as test beds so for those of you wanting these your time just might be soon at hand.

MAHL Updates and New Freestanding LMAHL’s

It is my intent to make this blog active again and a regularly posted upon entity. It has been a while but now I have decided that MAHL’s are going to be something I really wish to do as long as health and my mind hold out. At the age of 68 I assume there are a number of years left for me to pursue this endeavor. I was unsure of the reception I would get with these. I really like what I make but the true life test is what do others think of what you have done. Pleased to find out I have found a niche to fill and look forward to doing so for some time.

Well what a half year this has been For those of you who do not have to worry about products or delivery you might not be aware of the total upheaval of the manufacturing process going on right now. Typically I order enough drivers at a time to last a half year of estimated use. This has become a real problem as I don’t have a real defined answer for usage to project to the future. Sales are rising but what would be a real number projection? Heck if I know.

Right now B&C Speakers has a SIX TO SEVEN MONTH LEAD TIME on new orders. If you go to places like Parts Express you see their driver listings populated with lots of out of stock notices. Simple things like 25mm Baltic Birch which I intend to use on a line of two way speakers I am developing are the latest headache as none is to be had. Just a half year ago in Nashville,Tn you could get endless amounts of any thickness but today the thickest available is 18mm. Woofers I intend to use from Eminence I ordered on 6-1-21 and they did not get any in until 9-16-21 and I notice they are out AGAIN.

I am going to try making a box out of 18mm BB but there is no substitute for 25mm BB for great baffles, or motorboards as you will, and gluing two pieces together presents more problems then I want to deal with. Plus I have found that 25mm BB makes a really inert neutral cabinet subject to no offending audible resonances. More on this speaker soon in a future post.

In the mean time with the supply problems I started looking for other things I could do. I like machining wood as it is certainly easy on cutters and the mill. The far more redeeming side of wood cutting however is the sheer beauty of what you can find to cut. I live next to a large Amish presence here in southern Middle Tennessee and many are involved in sawmill work. I have found a few that cut and kiln dry large slabs up to two inches thick and here is what I am doing with some of this wood.

Front View Ambrosia Curly Maple Freestanding LMAHL
Side View Freestanding
Back View

This is the finest piece of wood it has been my privilege to cut on and I have been saving it for some time until inspiration struck.

I have had customers for my SMAHL’s who put them on stands and then rest them on top of their speakers. Primarily Klipsch La Scala, KHorn and Belle owners. Sound takes time to travel through the air and some have hearing acute enough to detect the muddiness that occurs when sound emitted from the drivers have different setbacks from the front of the speaker. So aligning the tweeter driver with the mid range driver provides more coherence to your sound and what you then hear.

This new tweeter type is limited to wood that I can make book end pairs from. Some will have very distinct patterns and others will merely have continuation of wood grain. All will be unique and one of a kind sets. I might be close at times to duplicating appearance in different sets of these but it would be an illusion since there is no substitute for sequential cutting. The difference might be minor but it would be there.

I have made these with a support block and 3/4″ stainless steel rod connecting the tweeter and adjustable support blocks and there is a set screw on the bottom not pictured to keep it all together. The intent here is to keep the assembly from tilting forward or backwards. The main block size is 1.75″ thick, 8.875″ tall and 7″ wide. The height is enough to allow sound to pass freely above cabinets with a roughly 14″ setback from the front which is typically where my customers have placed these using their home made stands. I have taken the liberty of using their experience to incorporate into these tweeters.

Looking for ideas for some sort of cushion on the bottom of the blocks to keep from marring cabinet tops and prevent vibration. I have thought about felt and just have not decided if it would be resistant enough to being pulled off by kids or cats. You might laugh but they are two of the major perils to happy healthy speakers. Any suggestions on a good non marring/ marking and thin cushion will be appreciated.

Working on a set of Cherry ones right now too. I was unaware of how light fresh Cherry is and will wait until they get more of that reddish Cherry color back before posting them. The slab I cut them from was much darker and apparently ageing darkens Cherry.

I was surprised at how many little cracks and splits there can be in solid appearing wood and I will end up throwing away more than I wish in pursuit of bookend slabs. It certainly adds to the time to cut and machine but in the end the amazing esthetics of the audio art produced are certainly worthwhile in my eyes and I hope they are to my readers also.

Until next time.

The Beauty of Wood

    One of the things that I find fascinating with machining is the idea of cutting anything within reason. One day I got to thinking about wood horn lenses and what they would look like.

    I have 56 acres of mostly woods and used wood to heat shop. In the process of cutting for the heater I have seen many interesting pieces of wood over the years. I saved some with no idea as to what I would do but they were to pretty to throw out. In the mean time I had begun cutting the SMAHL and LMAHL tweeters in aluminum and when people on the Klipsch forum saw these they started asking about wood.

    Cutting wood is a different animal than metal and there was a learning curve. The V1 type lenses were cut in Walnut and Red Oak. This choice of wood was based on the veneer types Klipsch used on the vintage speakers I like so well so I used the same for my tweeters.

     Walnut cuts like a dream and is smooth enough to not need further work unless you require a perfectly smooth surface. I have coated them with Satin Spar Polyurethane with very good results as is when finished with just a little hand buffing with a scotchbrite pad. Red Oak however is a different story and with it’s much coarser wood grain and pore size was a nightmare to get even close to good. No matter what there were always some pick outs with this. Liked the wood grain pattern appearance it had though.

    One thing leads to another and there have now been perhaps six or seven variations on these lenses to arrive at the current one which I do not expect to change in the future.

    There is a huge variation in wood and I find a lot of it quite appealing. Here for instance is a set of Walnut Crotch SMAHL V2’s cut recently which turned out well.

 

DSC_0101

Black Walnut Crotch Wood SMAHL V2

      In case you are wondering wood does not change the sonic characteristics of these tweeters and these are cut with the exact same geometry as the aluminum ones and indeed the same cut paths with the feeds and speeds modified only.

     One of the other ideas I am kicking around is building complete speakers and cutting mid range horns into the motorboard. It will be a while before I get these done though as first is building and testing and figuring the best way to cut to allow for minimal to little hand prep of surfaces.

    small wwood mid

  Sorry about the glare on the LMAHL V2 but I did not have time to redo the picture. In any case the main item of interest is the mid range horn  cut into stacked and glued 25mm Baltic Birch which I am a huge fan of. Folks if you are going to ever make a speaker and want it to be durable and sound right and be good looking you cant beat Baltic Birch. This would get an Atlas Pd-5vh driver and have an aluminum mounting plate to the horn. Now I may or may not build this as it was a test run but I think it is part of cutting in wood and a work on progress. I will have more on this mid horn topic soon in a separate post.

 

  In any case just letting you peek behind the curtain at some things I will have finished and up for sale soon and planting seeds for the future. I might start offering exotic wood cut to order for the SMAHL’s in addition to the Walnut soon to be out there.

  Sadly at this time I do not thing the LMAHL’s will be offered in wood as the .20″ thick flange is too thin to be durable as a drop in replacement for Klipsch in existing motorboard cutouts.

  Until next time and some other variations of the tweeters lenses for specific Klipsch situations.

Introducing Machined Audio Horn Lens

This will be a brief introductory post today which will herald the launch of a blog/website relative to what occupies my life now.

For some time I have had a love affair with Klipsch speakers and when I used to travel around the country welding stainless steel tables together for the Chuy’s Tex Mex chain I had a chance to buy and fix many sets of speakers.

This became a passion of mine and more than wanting to just get them home and fire up something I had not heard before I want to know what could be done with them. It is a learning process and I ran across the official Klipsch forum The Klipsch Audio Community and there discovered a whole new world of technical ability and tweaks and how to’s relevant to my favorite speaker brand.

It can be a path with no end and at first I started with recapping crossovers since that seemed simple enough. With proof in hand some simple things like recapping made a real difference in what I heard I started looking more and more into restoring, tweaking and rebuilding.

A couple of years ago the trips slowed down and Klipsch started getting more expensive fast and much harder to find. It was evident that without paying trips where I could as a bonus buy used Klipsch at the other end I would not be able to buy fix and sell and show something for my time.

Now when you are a CAD and CAM guy you mind can quite easily wander over to if you can’t find something to fix what can you find to make?

The end result was a tweeter replacement for the K-77 in a set of one piece fiberglass coated La Scala Industrials I had at the time. I used an Eminence APT50 driver on my machined aluminum horn and man what a difference it made. It ate up all the shrill I objected to without me really realizing it was the K-77 tweeter doing it until I replaced a set.

This was the first version and I bought the APT50 because it was cheap and did not know better. Even so it still was a real improvement.

I can come up with ideas and designs and machine things but I am not a software using speaker and driver testing wiz (yet) with audio so while I was coming up with improvements I had no way to know precisely what was the level of improvement.

About this time a gentleman by the name of Claude Jodoin became interested in what I was doing and he did have the technical ability to analyze what I was doing and he has been a significant help since. Tip of the hat to you Claude.

Over the course of the next year and a half or so there have been perhaps ten iterations of various shapes until the latest versions which are the LMAHL V2 and SMAHL V2 tweeters.

While designing these it was my goal to offer something never done before. What I came up with was a system that would allow more than one type of driver to be mounted on the horn lens. Today I have the only modular clamp system that will allow three different mounting bolt patterns on the SMAHL V2 and four different mounting bolt patterns on the LMAHL V2. Plus the machined aluminum looks darned cool.

I have also started cutting some out of wood, primarily Black Walnut right now and these are limited to the SMAHL V2 size.

I have other ideas in various stages of design or completion and if you tag along over the next few months I will be talking about them all. I believe my tweeter retrofits are the very best out there for Klipsch speakers and they are the ONLY ones that sound this good and have superior versatility engineered right in.

I do have these for sale right now on EBay and if you go there and type in “LMAHL V2” or “SMAHL V2” you will find them. You can also buy direct from me at this time by posting a comment and I can reply to your email that way. This will save you a bit of $$$.

Bear with me I am having problems with comments showing up publicaly and I can’t figure out why. I do see all comments though and can reply. I approve them and now they don’t show up. Seems like nothing just works right the first time anymore.

Near Final end to Solidedging

It has been some time since I posted here and what I do for a living has changed. Software was at one time a pivotal part of my career and an essential one as I am a design build entity which had to go from raw ideas and goods to finished products. Here is a follow up and some thoughts,

With the advent of the Autodesk BS and huge price increases and function reduction I decided a few things. Number one is with a bought new Haas VF4 and a TL2 I was not going to ever upgrade equipment again. So I also did not need the added expense of malicious sharks like Autodesk and I cut the cord and will use my permanent seat for as long as I wish. Screw you Autodesk and the bad Anagnost piranha investor horse you rode in on. Crude way of putting it but I hear nothing but bad news about these people.

Solid Edge is however another story and even though I don’t intend to send them any more money either every time I use Solid Edge I am reminded of the wisdom of getting on board from ST1 on for ten some years. Great software I can’t say enough good things about sadly subsumed once again into the idiot world of NX and that group, whatever they call themselves today I neither know nor care.

But hidden inside the red headed stepchild lives on and delivers best in class modeling. The super nice thing that Siemens elected to do with the software they bought is to allow for subscription or permanent seats. Yes every year Solid Edge improves and they pretty well have to since they have agreed to let you be the final judge of their worth by continuing to offer permanent seats.

Unlike Autodesk where extortion is the name of the game now and you have to pay to play and get less and less play, SE knows they have to earn your permanent seat renewals if they want more income from you. I have watched SE grow in many ways for some time now. Some years better than others but forward motion never stops.

At the age of 66 I decided to step off the merry go round and while I do not intend to quit working things have changed. I have developed a line of drop in replacement tweeters for primarily Klipsch speakers and will soon branch out from just that to other things. Since I am in house design build I get to use what I have until I can’t mentally or physically work work and not spend one red cent more on software or machines. Look up SMAHL V2 or LMAHL V2 Tweeters if you are curious.

I love audio in every way. From listening to experimenting to design build. Driving around and buying old Klipsch speakers and fixing them up. Now a days though it has gone past a trivial hobby to an avocation and my shop is full of new parts and experiments ongoing for other new things I will be making including complete speakers. I have a ton, well may two tons literally of big Klipsch Pro gear like KPT-904’s KPT-942’s, KPT535’s and some other things piled up around here being worked on. Oh yes, since you asked, they will all be for sale when done.

My personal system, and this is the one that really got me thinking about building speakers, is a two way system based on the Klipsch MCM-1900. My bass bin was designed and built here as a variation of the MWM bass bin with the Klipsch MCM 1900. I love pipe organ music and cellos and less frequently now good old rock and roll but wanted to sit next to the 32 foot organ pipes.

I have a Klipach 402 horn on top of what has become known as a Super MWM system and the bass bin single fold horn has a throat depth of 108″ and has full output down to right at 27hz. Yeah I do sit right next to the organ pipes now and love it.

Every time I  design another horn or speaker cabinet I am reminded of the wisdom of using Solid Edge. There, another shameless plug for a great program.

In the very near future I will be starting a blog relative to the audio direction I am going in and hope to see some of you there and discover that you too had an interest audio as well as software. I will announce the new blog here soon and if this piques your interest come one over.

We Don’t Care If You Like Our Stuff

Today I am reminded again just how remarkably tone deaf leaders of companies can be. This morning I get a “hurry it’s your last chance” email regarding PLM Connection and the Solid Edge University which resides in it this year. Now I don’t know if you can attend this marvelous event just for the SE agenda but I suspect not.

How Could You Refuse This Deal?

I like the limited seats comment too since I have experience that says it will literally be one room out of the dozens set up for the UGS side. So yes severely limited is the literal truth.

Now before you get all over excited and are frantically scrambling for your credit card in a frenzied burst of SE enthusiasm calm down and see what you will get for your dough.

The Whole Chillona

I completely resent the cavalier way Siemens has decided to treat it’s SE users and to clearly indicate once again that the red headed step child is someone they hide from themselves and the public. At PLM Connection they will sit in the isolation chamber down the hall in a room where it is grudgingly admitted that yes the DNA says Siemens but darned if we are happy about it. You UGS people disgust me with the way you scheme and maneuver to hide a product you are afraid of competing against. Unable to compete based purely on capabilities and pricing they sabotage the SE ecosystem and starve it into submission.

Can you believe they have the unmitigated gall to charge you full three day event price for one day of stuff that is pretty well useless to most SE users? I sure can and remember with extreme disgust dealing with these idiots and the PLM World mindset. They are God and you are the distasteful stuff on their shoe sole to be wiped off when hopefully no one is looking to observe this.

I do have to say though that in fairness to myopic management they have some justification for sending their Grindstaff smother SE henchman John Miller over there to do a job on SE and the University. As users the SE people were given a real chance under Karsten Newbury and Don Cooper to show the world and UGS/Siemens that there was interest in the SE University. For some years running users as a percentage that showed up was pitifully small and to be honest if I were over deciding to do these things and not dedicated to the idea of building a community I would kill it off to. Either the SE user base is FAR smaller than I think or for some reason the ones willing to show up percentage wise are far smaller than say SW or Autodesk.

In any case you reap what you sew and I blame primarily the UGS Cabal but users that don’t support anything should not expect to get anything either and by repeated years of no shows the excuse needed by Siemens UGS Cabal (Have you noticed I love saying this? These contemptible people deserve to get raked over the coals at every opportunity and since this is my blog I do so.) I suppose SE users are back to the 36 people total attendance at the premier Siemens software event. A towering monument to Siemens/UGS corporate stupidity that excels in back room skullduggery. I have to wonder how things could be if armies of corporate drones were not solely devoted to CYA and turf protection and useless make work meetings to plan the next meeting spent this same time and energy improving the product and growing market share to where it could and should be.

I notice with interest that Dassault has finally admitted that even though they would love for you to buy into their overpriced over complicated Catia ecosystem there are many millions of CAD users that have A, no interest in the cloud and B, no interest in spending tons of money for un-needed complexity that does nothing but make their lives more expensive, less productive and operates levels of complexity way beyond what they need CAD for. So this year they have reversed years of we don’t like you and want you to leave SolidWorks by agreeing to spend four times the money and buy what we like and not what you like. They have committed to the idea that SW users are a force to be reckoned with and respected and desired. Now time will tell the real tale but today they say this.

Siemens/UGS (you know what they are ;D) has never to my knowledge given more than passing notice of the cloud only as an ecosystem you would have to work in nor have they seriously thought about ending perpetual seats as far as I know. Unlike the complete fool Andrew Anagnost at Autodesk. Who in combination with hostile board members deciding that users are not customers but rather they are chattel to be extorted in ever greater ways and the concern is purely for how to forcibly raise more money from existing customers. The idea of mutual benefit as a business model has ended with these people but I can honestly say that is not true with SE since it is powerful design software that is improving and is still rent or buy and a darned good tool in the tool box in spite of the, well you know who.

But anyway the last five years have been interesting and from this software customers viewpoint a real exercise in corporate disconnect from the people who happen to pay their bills and salaries. It is not your corporate investors nor is it the stock market and mutual funds. It is people like me and companies large and small that hired you to make THEM more productive and they do not believe they exist just to make YOU fat and happy. Autodesk is learning right now what happens when you jettison this basic business principle going into their 13th straight down income quarter in a row.

May I recommend to you the best software you have never heard of? You won’t hear this from Siemens but I can tell you after years of use it is the best mid range MCAD deal out there. If you are silly enough to still be agonizing over what to do with Inventor and don’t want to be forced into Fusion360 I can say SE is a fine place to go. Being a Red Headed step child is not so bad when I think of productivity and this SE excels at.

As a snarky aside here I do have to admire Andrew Anagnosts ability to pare things down. He has eliminated 23% of Autodesks staff. He has eliminated profit margins and he is eliminating gobs of customers. One of his current fascinations is replacing people with artificial intelligence. I ponder the idea of considering his job and if Artifice could be replaced with Artificial. I mean could a robot do any more harm than he is? Plus they could hire an H1-B dude to program the new boss and what a wonderful world this could be.

Machined Horn Lens Replaces Klipsch K-77 Tweeter

For the last few years I have had a hobby that consumes a lot of my time. Audio and it all started back in 1981 when I had a guy invite me over to hear his stereo. So I walk into his living room and there were two big black box things in the corners and two more diagonally out in a straight line towards a coffee table with a chair and a receiver. That was all he had in there. He fired them up and played “Toccata in D Minor” and Mellancamp’s “Crumbling down”. I had just been introduced to the world of high fidelity and the big black boxes were Klipsch Cornerhorns and Klipsch La Scalas. It can still run chills up and down my spine remembering what that sounded like.

Fast forward many years to about 2014 when I decided it was time to get some speakers and lo and behold there next to a job I had in Orlando were two pairs of La Scalas for sale. Since that time I have become quite serious about buying and selling Klipsch vintage speakers because I like listening to the various types and I liked fixing them up. One thing was certain and that was I could listen and resell what I bought if I did not like it and get my money back out of it. I have since gone through a number of Cornwall’s, Fortes, Chorus, La Scala and various Klipsch Professional line speakers. For my personal use I have migrated to a set of Klipsch MCM 1900 three way’s and a pair of Klipsch KP456’s.

The problem with a hobby like this though is that buying speakers close enough and cheap enough to restore and sell for a reasonable profit is getting really tough. It typically involves trips of hundreds of miles to buy and problems to fix when you get them home. It has been a struggle to do this and I have quit looking for vintage Klipsch. I do get some offers I don’t refuse but by and large I don’t seek them anymore. I look for Klipsch Pro speakers which all things considered yield FAR more audio satisfaction for the money spent even if they are not as pretty. Where it matters with the sound they produce they are the best.

One of the audio things I had been kicking around was how to make a hobby productive and maybe even help pay bills when I pretend to retire. I decided to have a try at designing and machining a drop in horn replacement for the Klipsch K-77 tweeter used in many of their offerings. As time passes and I come up with something I cut one and use an APT50 driver and an elliptical horn lens and install them in a pair of Pro La Scalas. The difference was huge and all the shrill went away. Thus began my serious effort to design and begin producing.

I ended up with two horn lens types and a modular base plate that would allow for the horn lens to use either the common 1 3/8 18TPI threaded driver or a two bolt driver like the B&C DE110 or DE120. All final tweaking has been done and I will begin selling these the last week of May. Here are some screen captures of the assemblies from Solid Edge which they were designed in. Basic dimensions first and then the two types of horns which are the Elliptical and Tractix style.

Basic dimensions for horn and DE120

I will be acquiring the skills to measure speaker output in the future but for now a very knowledgeable individual has assisted me with some technical info so people know what to expect with these horn lenses and B&C DE120 drivers. You know who you are and THANKS. I would quite frankly be groping in the dark without his technical ability and assistance.

First up are the Polar Spectrograms of the Elliptical horns.

Elliptical Vertical Spectrogam

Elliptical Horizontal Spectrogram

Next up are the Tractix style. Basically what this is is a round to square to rectangular series of transitions a number of horn lens makers are doing now. I imagine specific dimensions are proprietary to various companies but mine were derived in house according to shoehorning these transitions into very limited space. So namely when I was happy off they went for testing.

Tractix Vertical Spectrogram

Tractix Horizontal Spectrogram

Here is the commentary the tester had regarding these.

In the horizontal direction, look at the yellow to yellow-green color for the approximate -6 dB
point (the usual reference that’s used for polar coverage. It looks like its got about 90
degrees coverage down to about 6 kHz, then narrow to about 60 degree in the 4-5 kHz region, then
broadens again to about 120 degrees coverage below 4 kHz.

Looking at the vertical direction coverage polars, you should use the orange-to-yellow
transition, which is about 30 degrees coverage from 10 kHz on up, 60 degrees from 6-10 kHz, and
90 degrees coverage from 2-6 kHz.

There is a bit of a hot spot at 5 kHz which moderates as the polar angle increases. I tried
EQing the peak at 5 kHz (on-axis) down to flat, but all that did was to decrease the 5 kHz SPL
too much at 20 degrees and greater off-angles–so I re-ran the polars with no EQ and the off-axis
plots look better. The only issue is the 5 kHz peak at zero degrees (on-axis). If you move off
axis by a very small amount, that peak in response at 5 kHz disappears.

The tweeter is also quite hot above 12-14 kHz, with rising response. This should NOT be an issue
since no one older than 30 can really hear well above that frequency, and most recordings roll
off those frequencies to keep the anti-aliasing down above 15 kHz (CD tracks) and vinyl actually
sucks above 12 kHz anyway–it can’t reproduce well above 12 kHz if its been played more than a
couple of times (i.e., pulling a rock through plastic wiggly grooves). So in balance, no one’s
going to complain about that fairly gently rising response above 10 kHz.

I failed to say that the overall frequency response is good without EQ–that’s something that you
can advertise. Note that the 5 kHz peak is only audible on-axis for about 10 degrees of
coverage–a very small amount. If the loudspeakers are not pointed directly at the listener,
they’ll probably never hear that peak.

Some observations:

1) Both B&C drivers required about an hour or two of driving at 100 dB on-axis (one meter) for
their frequency response to even out. It wasn’t gradual, but rather sudden, as if the driver
diaphragm suddenly became unstuck at 6 kHz and above. That caused me the most time in re-
measuring once that driver performance transition occurred.

2) The 6 kHz peak response on-axis is also apparent on this tweeter design, so that’s probably a
B&C driver characteristic, not a horn/driver issue.

3) Make sure that you read the average level on the zero degree line as your baseline “color” for
each plot. In this case, that’s roughly the color at the yellow-orange junction, so that would
be your new “zero dB” level, and minus 6 dB from that point would be the transition to the color
green. If that’s true, then this tweeter has about 90 degrees coverage horizontally from 4 kHz
on up to ~16 kHz, and in the vertical direction, the coverage starts at 60 degrees at 20 kHz and
broadens to almost 180 coverage at 5 kHz.

Now a few comments from me.

Regarding testers choice between the two. Now I will say this beforehand. I have put an APT50 in a La Scala with the Elliptrac horn and it made a BIG improvement over the stock K-77. The general consensus is that bringing the horn mouth to the front of the motor board makes a very noticeable difference even when using a driver like the APT50 which is not as good as the B&C DE120. The tester who had the DE120 and an Elliptrac and Tractix style horn lens to test preferred the Tractix style horn lens. I think all variations are better than stock K-77’s at the very least since the mouth is flush or nearly so with the motor board.

At this time I am going to sell these as follows. Look for them on EBay under “Machined Aluminum Horns Klipsch K-77 Drop in Replacement”

The Elliptical lenses by themselves with the DE clamp plate $156.00
Ellipticals with B&C DE120 drivers $267.00
The Tractix horns take longer to machine and there is a price difference.
Tractix lenses by themselves will be $166.00
With B&C DE120 drivers $277.00

I will update these prices within two weeks to include the APT50 driver clamp plate and in addition I am looking into a Beyma driver. Drivers small enough to fit the badly restricted K-77 space are very few but I am going to make an attempt to make adaptors for them and you decide what you want at that time.

For all of you waiting for these the time is ticking down to next week when they will finally be for sale.

Dump Autodesk Inventor 2018 and get Solid Edge ST10 Half Price Until 3-23-18

Yes as that warm fuzzy feeling that embraces you while you reside in that secure happy place Autodesk cocoon begins to go all Artcam on you I have something for you to consider. If you use that dog barker Inventor and you have been feeling the love from the Autodesk Hydra pseudopods surrounding you there is hope.

SE is offering a buy two get one free or discounts on add ons https://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/country/en-us/topic/solid-edge-portfolio-promotion/12642. I have never agreed with the idea you have to buy two seats to get this discount and have argued against it for years. If you want one seat to try it out or you are like me and you only need one this is a dumb offer. But if you find you might need two or more it is a good way to find out what SE is all about with PERMANENT SEATS so you have time to learn as you will and not that 30 or 45 day window that always seems to go by before you have done more than load it.

It infuriates me when leadership at software companies treat users/customers like garbage and in truth this is what started this blog some six + years ago. Sadly while SE management has been smothered by the UGS NX PLM World cabal who fear the growth of SE, SE itself is a world beater in MCAD and has small market share only because of people within Siemens and UGS who have sabotaged its growth. They believe that SE represents a threat to their precious NX God and they are right. The merits of SE are considerable and I have been a user since ST1. Certainly compared to Inventor the only reason not to look at SE is because you are too lazy to learn another program. IF you could be bothered to spend some time there you will find fewer clicks, better popup menus, direct editing that makes Inventors look worse than ST3 whereas SE is now on ST10 and they are actually making strides forward each year. Oh and silly of me to forget to mention they want you as a customer and you can rent or buy seats and they are not going up 10 to 15% or more per year.

Don’t let the inertia of what you know already stifle the discovery of something that will allow you to work faster and better with a rational work flow. If you must and desire something that is used far more often in this days world there can be no choice other than Solid Works. I don’t happen to like SW and I looked into it twice. Both time it just was bizarre to me and counter intuitive. SE just made sense and in fairly short time even if I did not know where the commands were I kind of knew where to find them. Now there are tutorials and search tool for these things but many of us only use these as a last resort it seems. Strange but true.

Anyway with the end of Artcam if there is any doubt about where Inventor is heading let me help you. This is the poor guy stuck with putting a happy face on what Autodesk is doing to Artcam customers. Sixth comment down says

Autodesk Have A Screwed Day Greetings

Here is the forum link. https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/artcam-forum/changes-to-autodesk-artcam/td-p/7758469

Now I have to tell you that Autodesk is axing developers and programs. More and more these poor Autodesk employees mention Fusion360 and have you checked it out yet? Can you imagine the internal cringe this poor guy has to even mention Fusion360 in the same breath as Artcam with such a huge difference in what the programs do? This raving subscription only idiot Anagnost is going to kill TONS of programs and demand that you adopt Fusion360 as a replacement even though it can’t be a capable replacement. This is how they will end Inventor and HSM and others. End the program and those pesky perpetual seat holders are also legally eliminated.

Do not ask for whom the bell tolls if you are an Autodesk customer unless you really want to know.

Autodesk Artcam Killed, Will You Be Next?

First off I want to thank Blog Nauseam for keeping me updated on Autodesk happenings. I went there Saturday to catch up since it has been a while. When you are no longer a customer of Autodesk you tend to live in your own little secure perpetual license world. It is one where whatever treachery or Anagnost anti-customer stupidity vomiting forth from them has no effect on your life anymore.

Now you were wise enough not to fall for the subs idea weren’t you? Well let us hope so because in ways that can’t be denied anymore Autodesk has shown with Artcam what they think of you. CNC Zone is a group of machining related forums and is an indicator of market use and interest in various software. In a world where hard data is impossible to come by one looks for indicators as to what is going on. There is an Artcam subheading and then an Autodesk one with HSM Inventor Cam and Fusion360 all in one. Today as is pretty typical Artcam has more readers than brand A’s stuff.  http://www.cnczone.com/forums/

Remember well the push by Autodesk to sell more perpetual seats to users before they cut them off. You were advised to buy more to cover future needs if you liked perpetual. Of course it was not long before the ugly side started showing up. Then come the announcements by Anagnost to investor firms that perpetual will be phased out. Then comes the new pricing structure which has by historical industry standards huge price increases  to punish you for being stupid enough to want to control your life by keeping perpetual seats. That thing they just had sold many of you on by the way.

It has been my belief that Autodesk intends to axe a bunch of programs and roll them over into Fusion360 where possible. Now I had presumed this would have been Inventor and HSM and Inventor Cam primarily. With a $285,000,000.00 price tag for the acquisition of Delcam and it’s customer base I figured they would be safe from the Fusion360 have to work online garbage. If you care to remember this is precisely what Autodesk said about Delcam to. We are not going to touch them and they will continue as an autonomous entity except they are now owned by Autodesk. I guess this is why the end or perpetual seats for Delcam happened about a year later than Inventor HSM and Autodesk etal.

Once again Autodesk was proven to be a pack of liars and grasping for ways to turn into the next Adobe. You see this was the important thing. Please institutional investors but not the investors in the products called customers. Funny how that worked out to as tone deaf and blind dear Andrew Anagnost figures he can do what he wants to customers and they won’t be offended and leave but rather will eagerly stand in the cotton fields and ask him how can they give even more to him for less in return.

Today with the advent of the end of Artcam all you subscription suckers better wake up and find the exit. You see since you were stupid, I do use that term deliberately by the way because putting your companies future into insecure hands is, well it is stupid. When subscriptions end they do just that. You do not work any more. Autodesk has stated that 11-1-18 will be the end for Artcam support. You have a subscription for Artcam and trusted Autodesk with your future you are now a part of Autodesks new wave perpetual licensing paradigm. Namely Perpetually Screwed. They sold you on up front savings and what your getting is the perpetual axe.

Delcam has a bunch of minor niche market programs like Dental Cam and Shoe Cam and who knows what else. I bet these have smaller markets by far than Artcam so all you Delcam users of anything other than the biggest Delcam products be prepared for the ram.

Here comes the 11th down quarter for Autodesk followed by the 12th and at some point in time even the idiots fueling the stock market hyper over valuation will wake up and discover this nice Autodesk lady they have been sleeping with is in truth an axe murderer and terminally ill to boot.

People I don’t care WHAT Autodesk product you are using. If you do not have enough sense to get away from them while you can do so in an orderly way you are just plain silly. Autodesk is telling you every way they can they are going to screw over all who stay BY THEIR ACTIONS.

The words that come out of serial liars mouths are not the things you want your future to be dependent upon.

For you CAD guys look into Bricscad for Autocad replacement. For 3D design check out Solid Edge and both of these companies want you as customers by the traditional standards of willing seller willing buyer.