Klipsch ORN Floorstanding Speakers

ORN

Audio pioneer and company founder Paul W. Klipsch launched the Klipschorn loudspeaker in 1946 to enable people, for the first time ever, to experience the power, detail and emotion of a live performance at home. Commonly called a corner-horn speaker, the remarkably uncommon Klipschorn includes a highly efficient horn loaded tweeter and midrange compression driver. Its patented folded-horn 15 woofer delivers powerful low frequencies.

User Reviews (112)

Showing 1-10 of 112  
Chad Reed   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 28, 2011]

I purchased a gorgeous pair of K-Horns from a guy who had them in his living room of his mobile home! You heard me, MOBILE Home!. 12 foot wide!! That was 1989. He purchased them new in 1976. Ive owned them since the day they left is mobile home. Listening to them right now< Jesse Cook is hammering out a flawless performance, and to this day I am still in awe at the quality of sound these giants produce, at ANY level!! I power them with a modest Denon amp and CD player.If you want hassle free, intense sound performance, incredible design, flawless eye catching beauty, and envy of all your friends, all wrapped up in a legendary package, you WANT and deserve these speakers!! Imagine being the guy that when he shows his home to a new friend, he look at those "things", and then says, what the heck are those?.... and then you tell him to sit down, close your eyes and let me show you what those "things" are... You have a new friend.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Bonaccorso   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 22, 2010]

There are many reviews of the Klipschorns at this site, and some of them go into quite a bit of detail, but I'd like to comment on an area which, at least to my knowledge, has not been addressed. It is the design and placement philosophy of Paul Kilpsch.
Many owners have stated that one weakness of the Klipschorns is their narrow soundstage; perhaps this is so because of a lack of a center-fill speaker. Paul Klipsch states that the ideal situation is placing the Klipschorns in corners as far away from each other as possible (the bigger the room the better), and filling in the area between them with a center-fill speaker using a mono signal. In this way, he states, the result is a wall of sound with the performers in a rock-solid relationship to one another. In other words, if the bassoonist is seated behind and slightly to the right of the flutist, that is where he appears in the soundstage with no drifting of the image. The result is a three-dimensional soundstage in which the performers are not only seated alongside, but also behind each other. Anything else is a compromise.
I purchased my Klipschorns in 1979 (I finally was able to afford them), and for a few years listened to them in a home using corner placement along the short wall. I then moved into a home where the long wall was 24 feet. After much deliberation, in 1984, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a Belle Klipsch for the center channel. Well, what a difference! Paul Klipsch was correct (who would have thought that the designer of the legendary Klipschorn might, actually, have known what he was talking about). The Belle Klipsch filled the hole in the center, and, like magic, the soundstage opened- up before my very ears .
I think, the moral of the story is that, in order to fully experience the three-dimensional sound from the Klipschorns as Paul Klipsch intended, it is necessary to purchase a Belle Klipsch, or other suitable Klipsch speaker (remember the three speakers have to match each other sonically) for the mono-run center channel. When this is done, the issue of sitting at some critical location in order to experience the elusive "sweet spot" will have been resolved, and a whole new experience of listening pleasure will have been created.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ears only   AudioPhile [Aug 16, 2010]

I first heard Klipschorns in 1972. I just returned from overseas and I was interested in four channel audio
that was just coming on the scene. I went to a High End Audio store in Little Rock. The salesman was a
nice man and had agreed to stay open a little later for me. After I had listened to the four channel
receiver, he asked me if I had ever heard a Klipschorn. He pointed to this big beautiful behemoth that
looked like it belonged in a furniture store instead of an audio store. A Mcintosh MC-2105 was doing the
work when the stylus dropped on the album by Neil Diamond named MOODS. She Walks On Water was
the chosen track and I couldn't believe what I was experiencing. I was doing more than just hearing the
music. I was involved, feeling happy, hearing music on a plateau that I thought was impossible from a
loudspeaker. I quickly began my study and inquisition of this speaker before me. Charlie moved it out of
the corner and I read the word Klipschorn and the words Made in Hope Arkansas. Suddenly I was starting
to feel sick. This name Klipsch couldn't be the same name that I was reading on a brochure that was
accompanied by a personalized letter from the Colonel, Paul W. Klipsch could it? This was sent to me
while I was in Vietnam. I read the words "Hope Arkansas" and threw it in the trash and said, "man where
is Sansui, where is Pioneer?" He was offering me a veteran from Arkansas serving in Vietnam a set
of Klipschorns style B for half price. $1040.00 would have been the price for complete musical bliss. The
letter even thanked me for serving in Vietnam. Charlie spoke up and saved me from my temporary
nightmare and showed me the rest of the Klipsch line. I was a SGT. in the service then and they were out
of my reach then. Had to raise a family. Now I'm a senior citizen and I've gone through a lot of gear
through the years. I should have just manned up and bought a pair out right. But I went the route of
owning so many other lesser types albeit very nice. Advent, Bose 901, EPI etc etc. Then a better job
more money, and Mcintosh Xrt 20's, Carver Platinum Amazings, Polk SDA-SRS, ESS Amt 1B. Finally
went through some Klipsch Belle, LaScala and Cornwalls and a set of Heresys. Five sets of Klipschorns
made their way through my life and each time I sold them only to miss them and find some more. My
wife is a real sweetie and even suggested that she move her "dish thing" out of the kitchen so we could
put our third set of Klipschorns in the house. Boy, was I ate up with it. Now I will never sell them again.
That's my FINAL ANSWER. I usually listen to them at 0.5 watts and you can really hear everything at
that level because of their high efficiency. Sweet juicy music all the time. You must have them set up
properly and use clean equipment and don't play garbage through them. They are so accurate that if it
ain't clean going in, you won't like what's coming out. So here's the deal. Grab your favorite cd or
a nice album like Cat Stevens ISITSO and go to an audio store(does one actuallly exist?) and find a
salesman who actually knows what he's doing and give them a listen. Forget all the preconceived ideas
about them sounding honky or being as big as Oldsmobiles. I'm sure an audiophile has told you, "Oh I
heard those, wasn't impressed." Listen for yourself. You might think that these can't keep up with the
likes of Magnepan, Martin Logan, and that a horn mated to a phenolic driver can cut it in this digital
age, but it's the other way around. They can't keep up with a fast accurate horn speaker. The bass horn
is so quick on impact and the midrange horn is so realistic. Klipsch really did their homework and I just
don't see the need to change anything about them. I've heard modification on the crossover and drivers
and it just can't cut it as compared to the complete measured system by Klipsch. In every case it was
worse. I was at the Klipsch festival in 2006 and a group was listening to some AK-2 equipped Klipschorns
and they sounded really good on some Mcintosh tube gear. We listened for a couple hours and the
wow and magic was there. Oops, then a crossover change. What happened to the magic and the
transparency? The owner just gave away $250.00 for someone to make his speakers sound worse. I and
another listener looked at each other and said "whaaaaat"? I've heard every crossover change except
the very latest and every one that was factory and tested no matter what time period, was pretty hard to
beat. Now go get a pair, they are going to be gone someday. People that won them won't want to give
them up except for dire reasons. The new, new world doesn't have time for the real gem that they have
been through the years. They will vanish along with civics once being taught in school and the Constitution
being followed and the phrase, "Wait till your father gets home!" is all gone. Thank you Paul W. Klipsch for
your gift to the audio world. Thank you Fred Klipsch for continuing to manufacture it. Happy listening my
friends and may GOD Bless!
--------------------------
Strengths: Efficiency and clarity, quality build
---------------------------
Weaknesses:May be too big for some people.Heavy

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ofc32748   AudioPhile [Jun 18, 2009]

I got the new model with the monster cables( 2003), I have this hook up, to a two mono Aragon palladium 1k and if you listen classic music or like Frank Sinatra New York, New York, don’t have words to describe it, is like if Mr. Sinatra is in my living room, and now with a discount price 1k less I think is because of the world crisis, now on 2009 your better of. I pay the regular price but I don’t care I have them for a real long time and enjoy every moment, if you have the money and the space for this type of speakers I recommend that you go and buy this really good product.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
dave   AudioPhile [Apr 20, 2009]

Dear listners just a quick question that i,m sure you know .
Which is the better sounding speaker with great bass and treble? THE KIPSCHORN OR THE CORNWALL 111 i know the price says it all just wanted to hear your pro advice.
cheers Dave.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
scottjv   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 14, 2008]
Strength:

Effortless performance - don't even break a sweat
Surgical precision - both in sound and details of construction
Clarity and detail in every frequency range.
Solid bass - when there's actual low bass content you'll feel it. No need for a sub woofer with these speakers when placed properly. When there isn't any bass content in the recording, you won't hear boomy overtones. (If you prefer hearing bass tones on instruments that don't have any, this is not the speaker for you).
One of the only speakers I have ever heard that sounds great in a nearby room. Listen to a piano recording this way and you will swear there is a live piano in the next room.
Mid range and treble events are not affected by bass frequencies due to placement above and out of the path of the the bass horn. I believe this contributes to the sonic precision.

Weakness:


Well recorded material sounds great and will not disappoint. Poor and mediocre recordings don't. Far more revealing of lack luster recordings than any other speaker I have heard. In fact, I have another stereo system to listen to those!

A bit of a challenge when it comes time to move. However, the tops and side panels come off, so it's not so bad once you get the routine down.

The company isn't what it used to be, but they still support the heritage line of which the K-horn is the flagship. I actually have a few letters from Paul Klipsch who personally answered my questions years ago. That was when they had 5 speakers in the line up. That was long before they started making dozens of low end vinyl clad models.

Bought my Klipshorns in 1976. At that time the oiled walnut version sold for $1040 each. Upgraded them with new crossovers, bass and mid range drivers in 1990. As technology in the last 32 years has provided improved amplification, CDs and interconnects these speakers just keep sounding better and better. I've been a discriminating listener for over 40 years and have heard every major loudspeaker come and go during that time. The K horns continue to stand head and shoulders (both physically and audibly) above everything else. The basic laws of physics can't be changed. Paul Klipsch knew that and that's why these speakers sound the way they do.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
tube man   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 07, 2008]
Strength:

Only a few watts needed. Room filling, natural sounding, unlike those little monitors that supposedly disappear. The bass is natural but you need to have them in the corners, or make some false corners.

Weakness:

Big, but then these are keepers.

I have these in the corner to get the best bass, in a room about 18 x 12 that opens up into another room. The best speakers I have ever ever had. Had JBL L166, Proac D15, Altec 604C, Altec 604E, Coincident, Soliloquy, Tyler Acoustics, Thiel. These are siimply the biggest life-like, natural sounding speakers I have ever had. The best value of all my purchases. A few watts will do. Speakers are the most important part of the chain, IMHO. I used to be an amplifier type of guy, but speakers are the key. Get yourself some Klipschorns and you'll see, and I'm using a modest NAD 3020. I have some tube amps that will make these shine. Can't wait.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Littlebraque   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 14, 2008]
Strength:

Extremely sensitive and can produce concert-level loudness and dynamic pressence with very low watts. (Read above.)

Weakness:

Big. Heavy. Ugly. Demanding. Unforgiving. May cause divorce. May cause loss of hearing. May bring the police to your door.

I live in both New York City and PA. I have, over the years, picked up some great stuff on New York City streets. Recently, however, I came across a gold mine. While walking on the Upper East Side (and some of you are going to hate me for this), I saw a pair of Marantz Model 9 tube amplifiers, a Marantz Model 7 tube preamplifier, and a Scott tube tuner, all original, sitting next to the recycling on the sidewalk. It was 6:00pm and sleeting. I was late for a dinner date. I hailed a cab and stored the equipment in the trunk of a friend's car for the evening. For $2,000.00, I am having the equipment repaired and may use it, or may sell it (as the three Marantz pieces are worth around $20,000.00). I mention all of this because, although I am considering upgrading to new McIntosh tube gear, I will be curious to hear what the Marantz tube equipment sounds like with my Klipschorns--as it is difficult sometimes to imagine that they could ever sound more lifelike.

I am not an audiophile; but I go to a lot of live concerts, have listened to a lot of high-end audio equipment, and I used to own a disco; so I have heard a lot of music, both live and reproduced. I bought Klipschorns ten months ago, and am using 1980s McIntosh gear —a solid state 50 watt amp, preamp, and MR78 tuner. (My CD player, until I can afford to upgrade, is a 5-year-old piece of Sony junk.) I first heard Klipschorns in the 1970s, and was taken with them, but, living in a small New York apartment, I never thought I would own them.

My wife and I bought a large 19th-century house in PA a few years ago, which needed a lot of work. One of the things that sold me on it, though, was that it had a perfect room for K-Horns (15 x 20 feet, with good corners, wide-plank hardwood floors, and a 10 foot ceiling. So, after a year or so, I planted the K-Horn seed. My wife was not happy, to say the least. She grew up in a family that listened to music, and her father, a weekend classical pianist, had bought Klipsch heritage speakers, so she was not against good audio equipment; and she loves music. But NEVER-EVER, as long as we were married, she told me, would I be allowed to bring into the house these speakers that looked like ugly refrigerators.

I persisted. I was going to put them in my study (my room). I convinced her that we should buy them used and give them a shot to see what we thought of them; and that, if we did not like them, we could easily resell them for whatever they cost. She finally understood, with my obsession with the K-Horns, that they were eventually going to end up at the door, no matter how much she objected. Still, she shuddered at the thought.

To give her a taste of their magic, I took her with me to listen to the K-Horns at an audio store. I had ordered a pair of Grado GS-1000 headphones (absolutely sublime, by the way), and they had come in; so she agreed to go with me to pick up the Grados, and to give the K-Horns a whirl. The Klipschorns were set up close together in a basement space with a 7-foot ceiling, and they were not sealed to the corners. The salesman said they were not very good, as he fired them up — and, in those conditions, he was right. Frankly, I was a little shocked at how bad they sounded. Having not heard them in at least a decade, I thought that I had been wrong about them. The Klipschorns sounded compressed and shrill. The instruments were there but separated. The music did not come together. My wife, newly empowered with her experience of these hideous looking, mediocre sounding, and hideously large behemoths, was utterly convinced that I should never get them. She said that their weaknesses far outweighed their strengths. She referred to them as "unnecessary"; "huge, ugly robots"; and “the Hummers of speakers."

I tried to tell her that the K-Horns need room to breathe — to air out: they need cubic footage, and they need to be sealed to the corners. I told her it was unfair — that under those conditions, the Klipschorns were like lions in a cage. Well, she did not believe me. A few months later, however, a pair of K-Horns came up on Craigslist for $1,000.00. (I discovered them on my birthday, so it was definitely an omen.) They were "fixer-uppers." I told her that if we hated them, they could be resold. To put it mildly, she very, very, very reluctantly acquiesced.

They came into the house one Saturday morning in May: made in 1959, they were beat up, had torn grills and missing side panels, and they were ugly as sin. (Believe me; they look even bigger and uglier when they are in the middle of your dining room.) My wife's face was as sour as I have ever seen it. "Don't worry," I assured her, "they will disappear in the corners." She scowled and left the room. (I thought we were headed for divorce.) Working quietly, I replaced a torn woofer, and hooked up one speaker exactly where it stood. I put on Peggy Lee's "Fever." From the first note, my wife was drawn from the kitchen. Her mouth dropped open. Smiling, she was in awe and disbelief. "Turn it up," she said.

She then proceeded to pull out some of her favorite CDs and we listened in mono for the whole afternoon. (I was building bookcases in my study, so we could not install the K-Horns for a couple of weeks.) When my contractor came over, he bragged that his son had "the best Bose system," and, since I had boarded one corner of built-in, floor-to-ceiling bookcases I had just finished building (so that I could push a K-Horn against them), he wanted me to "Play some music, so that I can see what all the fuss is about." I put something on (again, only one speaker in the middle of the room), and, after the first couple of notes, he said, "OK. I understand now. This aint Bose. This is a whole other level!"

And it is.

Since then, I have placed the Klipschorns in their corners, and my wife treats "the Twins," as she calls affectionately calls them, as members of the family. She doesn't even want me to upgrade them with ALK crossovers, Trachorns, and new Beyma tweeters (nor does she want me to refinish them). (Maybe I will repost after those upgrades.) Sure, they're still ugly. But she likes them in their original, beat-up state. "They're not pretty," she has said. "But they definitely deliver."

And they do.

The K-Horns do exactly what they were designed to do, and they do it better than anything she or I have ever heard. Now, my wife is their staunchest supporter when friends come over and remark that, with speakers this big, I “must be overcompensating for something.” She tells them to sit in the sweet spot and listen. (One of the K-Horns’ drawbacks is that they have a very narrow sweet spot.) And visitors always come around. They dance; they exclaim; they cannot believe it.

What cannot be overemphasized about the K-Horns, however, is that they need proper placement. They are damn temperamental. They reveal bad recordings and bad equipment. When set up, as they are in my study, in a room with wood floors (as well as solid wood walls behind the plaster), a wide wall, and tall ceilings, they can deliver a dynamic, front-row-center performance that uncannily reproduces, as close as I have ever heard, the experience of live performers in a range of different spaces — from a small jazz club to Carnegie Hall. And they can do this with very low wattage, as long as it is CLEAN power. (In my space, with my 50 watt McIntosh amp, we get rock-concert, ear-bleeding levels with the volume set at eleven-o-clock.) No other speaker I have heard can match the full-range richness and emotional depth of the K-Horns. No other speaker I have heard can reproduce the sense — the emotional rush — of a live performance. And the K-Horns do it with finesse, reproducing a kettle drum, a pipe organ, and a cannon shot, as well as a triangle, a cymbal, and woodwinds, with accuracy, transparency, spaciousness, and detail. Bass is full, deep, tight — never overstated; voices, especially female opera singers, are

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
tromprof   AudioPhile [Jan 09, 2008]
Strength:

Transparent non coloring sound. Very clean sounding, super tight bass. Take very little power.

Weakness:

Good recordings sound good, bad recordings sound bad. Before deciding if you want these speakers sound find a good recording. They weigh 175lbs each and filled up the entire back of my Sienna van and require corner placement so they are not for everyone! They will also play at astonishing loud volumes if asked to and could make your ears bleed. VERY expensive new ($7000)!

I am a professional classical musician and have always tried to own the best equipment I could afford, with an emphasis on equipment that does not color the sound . My main speakers for the past several years have been a pair of Tannoy Systen 12 studio monitors which seem to fit that bill quite well. Recently I came across a local sale of a pair of 1976 Klipschorns in pristine condition and bought them thinking to resell them and make a little profit. Thirty seconds of listening put an end to the idea of reselling them. I was very surprised at how clean and clear the sound is, and how natural acoustic music sounds, better even than my Tannoys. Much to my violinist wifes annoyance she heard the same difference. I have read a few bad reviews in this forum and I don't know if it just bad recordings or poor placement. The speakers require corner placement or they do not function correctly. These speakers are very accurate at all volumes, and badly recorded stuff will sound poor. I pulled out an 1980s recording of Shostakovitch Symphony 11 for a student and could not believe how bad it sounded! Nothing to do with the speakers, everything to do with the recording quality. On a well produced recording these speakers sound fantastic, and the bass is super clean. It is nice to listen to an orchestra recording and hear the bass line much as I hear it when I am on stage. No speaker will sound as good as live, but these sound pretty damn good. On rock, jazz, and studio produced stuff like my Blade Runner soundtrack WOW! I did do a little updating of a couple of parts after owning them for a couple of months. I replaced the original AA crossover with a new Bob Crites A crossover, and also dropped in a new pair of Crites tweeters. These improvements did make the speakers even better but did not change their fundamental sound or good virtues but just made them a little more transparent.

Similar Products Used: Tannoy System 12 studio monitors.
Klipsch Forte
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
phillip   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 21, 2006]
Strength:

everything you can imagine

Weakness:

none except it would be nice to have available more options to purchase quality tube amps and receivers to compliment the finest speakers ever made.

I had heard the Klipschorn back in 1973 when I was in high school and had always wanted a pair. Over the years, I never forgpt what a magnificent sound they made. Now that I am over 50 years old, I finally arrived at a place in my life where i didn't feel guilty spending the money. I wanted a brand new pair of KHorns so that I would know that I was the only listener. I bought them, hooked them up a couple years ago, and now when the wife and kids are gone, I turn them up reasonably loud and let myself float away on a cloud of music. They are unbelievable, clear, crisp, defined and powerful. I use very little power on my small amp and produce more beauty than I have ever heard by far.

I have a 250 year old house that i remodelled. I put the speakers in a large central room that is 40x30. I built a tall Rumford fireplace 48 inches high in the center of one wall and refinished the floor that has 20 inch wide pumpkin pine floors. The ceiling is 8 feet high with exposed beams. I sit at night and listen to the beautiful music reverberate around that big room, with the fire going and a tall glass of ice cold lemonade and a comfy sofa and I think I'm in heaven. I listen to favorite music over and over again and hear new things every time on my KHorns.

Nothing even vaguely comes close and when these young whipper snappers get away from their new fangled tin music speakers and thumpy base speakers and here something invented in the 40's that my generation had.....well I live for those days!!!!!!!!!

Similar Products Used: nothing comes close
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 112  

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