Tag Archives: Crites CT120

About That Klipsch K-77 You Have

There are times when I get people who want to buy just a set of SMAHL lenses from me, which of course I am delighted to do. However for the sake of avoiding bad choices on the buyers part I am learning to ask questions about intended use. Perhaps the most common one is what driver do you intend to use.

I think some make assumptions about their K-77’s without ever having taken them apart. They just assume I guess that everything fits everything because it will save them money by reusing that old dog barker K-77 magnet and diaphragm assemble.

Now I think it is time to explain something here before I go any further. Why would you want to reuse any part of these old Klipsch tweeters is beyond me. Whether it is the Ti diaphragm bandage on the 2.5cm lens like those on a Forte or Chorus or Cornwall 2 and on, or thinking that you can reuse the old magnet assemblies, even if you could which you can’t though, why? Why take inferior parts of old designs long since passed by with current state of the art designs which sound much better, and cripple new parts with bad pieces.

In the case of the Ti diaphragms you still have that old horn and magnet and phase plug. All you have done is refresh the OEM diaphragm with one that will sound shrill and tinny and are not cheap. It might sound better then the old one did but replacing worthless with bad is not an option I would choose. I had one set of those Ti diaphragms and that mess was part of what led me to designing the MAHL’s to begin with. I thought they were awful and listed them on EBay right away.

In any case though I digress and back to the dog barker. It is time to talk about that money saving idea of reusing the K-77 parts. Here is the clamp plate in position with the face that the drivers mount onto. This clamp plate has three hole patterns for commonly available current drivers.

Here is the base of the magnet assembly and the diaphragm is in behind the bug screen. Lots of these old K-77 drivers go bad because they are 5 watt drivers and subject to power problems far more readily then the DE-120 drivers which are 20 watts. Notice the raised boss on the bottom which will only fit

This old diecast zinc horn lens with it’s design which was not changed or updated in any significant way for over 40 years. I have a couple of the old late 60’s chrome plated EV-35’s in my cabinet with the same exact horn as the K-77’s used all the way through the early 2000’s. Time and technology passed these poor things by and Klipsch could have cared less because of tradition. Customers have been buying these for a long time so why change was the corporate philosophy I guess.

There is no way to make this stuff work with SMAHL’s. I do not intend to ever make an adapter to allow for doing so either because this bad sound set of parts was what led me to looking elsewhere to begin with.

Another thing that comes up once in a while is substitute drivers for the DE-120. The number of drivers that will actually fit the restricted spot the K-77 went into are very few. I was asked this week again about using DE-10 drivers on the SMAHL. Yes while there is a hole set there for those bolt patterns the DE-10 is much to large in diameter to ever fit your old La Scala or Heresy or K-Horn on Klipsch OEM cabinets.

I am amazed at the durability of the older Klipsch plywood Heritage speakers and with the replacement of crossover caps that need changing and ditching those crummy old tweeters those Klipsch speakers can readily be made much better sounding and will last you a lifetime.

Crites CT120 Dropin Replacement Update

I now have an update to these and some pictures to help explain. These will require some work on the buyers or installers part. The flange fits perfectly but the cutout will need to be enlarged to allow the body to drop in.

So you will need to cut out each side.

The customer who was my test case for fit up obviously did not have optimal tools on hand for doing this and was eager to get them in and hear them. I imagine we all can relate to that and it worked out fine and the ragged edges were hidden.

Here is the inside view of these in place.

Now here is what he had to say initially about the install.

“They sound good, I just installed 1200.00 of upgraded networks from Dean and didn’t have them that long before I installed your lens. I’m coming from Tekton Double Impacts and I know there a lot of haters out there, but they are really good sounding speakers. These are obviously horns speakers but I’m digging them and they compare to the DI detail. Keep them the same as the pair you sent me and just let them know that they require a bit of massaging with an oscillating tool. Guys that are brave enough to start changing out tweeter lens should be able to do that little bit of trimming!”

Shortly after he sends this.

“Another thing, even if they didn’t improve the sound and I definitely think they do, they look bad ass. Nice work!”

Archived SMAHL and LMAHL V2 Klipsch Forum Thread

Recently the overlords of the official Klipsch sponsored forum have gone a bit wonky on what they allow. Apparently the idea that things like my tweeters are called upgrades really irritates some Klipsch people and so they have been deleting some tweeter threads and comments along with other threads on different topics that also irritate them. I have no idea what prompted all this but find it somewhat ironic.

Roy Delgado is the chief engineer for Klipsch and he does admirable work. I have nothing but high regard for his technical abilities but his involvement in the forum has not been so productive. Very sensitive to the idea that thirty year old drivers and horns have been improved upon and are far better then those old dog barker tweeters Klipsch used for way to long. He talks about preserving the PWK legacy and vision and sound but has done things like convince PWK to start using Tractrix horns so he himself is guilty of changing PWK’s “vision” for some decades now. The computer generated models he gets for insanely complex crossovers are nothing at all like legacy PWK Klipsch but they just happen to work much better. I understand Roy is loyal to the vision of PWK but somehow he can change things around and it is approved whereas others do the same thing and it is not.

Klipsch and Roy themselves have admitted the old tech drivers were no good when they came out with the new ones for the revamped Cornwall 4 and the Heresy 4 and the new Forte. New drivers, new lenses in places, cabinet modifications and new crossovers. The end result is very good and they are light years ahead of the old style. My jaw dropped the first time I heard the CW4 and Heresy 4 and even though I make aftermarket tweeters I would sure not put them in these. Incredibly improved and also NOT PWK designed so whose vision is it now anyway? I say it is Roy’s vision and all that PWK legacy honoring stuff is just words.

What makes this kind of sad though is the demand that only pure unmodified Klipsch speakers are truly Klipsch speakers. Only JEM capacitors will give you that genuine “Klipsch” sound, whatever that is. Funny thing is that those of us who treasure our modified Klipsch speakers still consider them Klipsch speakers. But just what is a pure true blue Klipsch speaker sound anyway when Klipsch is busy changing the recipe that makes that sound? I figure the good bones a Klipsch speaker comes with allows for aftermarket tinkering, and a La Scala or Chorus for instance can go another 30 years or more and sound much better doing so with minor tinkering. Tinkering with Klipsch speakers goes back for decades on the Klipsch forums but there are now new rules to go by.

I had a thread about the new LMAHL V2 and SMAHL V2 started by another forum member that discussed the new V2 style and went into it in great length. I referred people to it on occasion when they wanted to see curves or why they were better. I figured Claude who was a forum member who graciously tested my ideas for me and other forum members who described what these new tweeters did for their speakers in their own words stated what they were and did better then me. Plus these were honest comments from others and not from the guy tooting his own horn just because he makes them. I am egocentric enough however to tell you patient readers I make the best aftermarket drop in tweeters for Vintage Klipsch speakers but let unsolicited buyer testimonies on EBay and the Klipsch forums do my horn tooting.

Much to my chagrin this thread was deleted. I found out when I referred someone to that thread and they could not find it. Well in looking neither could I because that now offensive “upgrade” thread had been deleted. So I did a search and found a link to the old post that while it did not work did give me a time frame and topic name to enter into the “Wayback Machine” site where I find the complete thread archived in all it’s glory.

DaveA’s Fabulous New Improved Super Tweeters 2.0 – Technical/Modifications – The Klipsch Audio Community

If you do not know about the WaybackMachine it is a wonderful research tool you should know about. It saved the tweeter thread in a way Klipsch can’t delete and I have found old Pro Klipsch gear brochures from the 90’s there also that Klipsch had thrown away a long time ago with a past forum “upgrade” that trashed a lot of legacy data.

So, you have MAHL V2 questions there are once again answers.

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.