MODIFICATIONS
ART USB Dual Pre
Behringer B2 Pro
CME UF8
Denon DP-61F Dynaco St-70 Hafler DH-110
Hafler DH-500








  Hafler XL-280
Klipsch Promedia 2.1
Mogami/Canare RCAs
Nakamichi CM-300
Scarlett 2i2
Tannoy 603
VOX Pathfinder 15









KLIPSCH KG1
1990 first generation







  • Klipsch speakers dating back to the 1950s such as the Klipschorn, LaScala, Cornwall, and Heresy were designed with analog sources in mind....turntables, magnetic tape and radio. After decades of small refinements these old models are still sold by Klipsch and are referred to as the "Heritage" series. Despite their dynamic sound quality and efficiency some in the audiophile community of the 1970s-80s critiqued them as having a "horn sound" instead of the preferred crystalline "salon" sound.

    But Klipsch had the last laugh when the compact disc format appeared in 1982 along with VHS-HIFI and Dolby Surround Sound. Consumers were astonished at the new-found dynamics, low noise, and clarity available that digital signals provided. While other companies struggled to achieve better than 93db at 1 watt...Klipsch horn-loaded speakers could manage 100db+ at 1 watt. So when multi-speaker Home Theater arrived on the scene in the 1980s...Klipsch was already there. Energized, Klipsch went back to the drawing board and began developing new speaker models with improved clarity, bass, and flatter frequency response.

    In 1982 the small KG2 was released, in 1985 the larger KG4 and Forte, and the Chorus in 1987. The KG2 was originally marketed as a bookshelf speaker but at 18" high and with a rear passive radiator it worked better on short speaker stands or the floor. Almost as an afterthought Klipsch added the tiny KG1 in 1990 which enjoyed sales as rear speakers and small bookshelf models. With the same sharp-edged cabinet, solid construction, and wood veneers as the other Klipsch speakers it made it easy to match this speaker to the existing models. Oddly, Klipsch doesn't publish anything in their archives about the first KG1 other than a photo. Below are the specs I gleaned online.

     









    •  

      • Frequency Response: 50hz-20khz�3db
        Sensitivity: 90db 1watt/1meter
        Power Handling: 50 Watts Maximum
        Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
        Crossover: 2000 hz

      • Note the Klipsch badge used on all the models of the period including the Klipschorn. It was used on the KG1,2,& 4 grills until 1992 when the KGs received a new design.
       







    Above is a KG1 I bought new in 1990. Despite both cabinets having the same serial number...the oak veneer was not matched like the other Klipsch models. It has the same "Dhorn" tweeter as its big brother the KG2 making it literally a "baby KG2." Klipsch has always produced interesting crossovers implying they spent a lot of time in anechoic chambers tweaking their designs...and the KG1 is no exception. Its crossover has three high quality inductors, four capacitors, and two resistors. Good job Klipsch as other small speakers of the period would have just stuck an electrolytic on the tweeter to block bass and be done with it. Klipsch also made the KG1 in Hope Arkansas in the same factory as their other speakers instead of outsourcing it. The inspection sticker on the back and inside the cabinet are identical to the ones on larger models.

     


    The "Dhorm" tweeter is a fabric dome tweeter with a small horn extension adding efficiency and responsiveness.
    A 5-1/2" poly woofer completes the package.
     

  • The capacitors used by Klipsch for many years have been the "KSC" brand made by the King-Sun company of China. I've always thought it was unusual that Klipsch never supplied their own in-house brand of capacitors, but Paul Klipsch must have determined that KSC mylar caps provided something he liked. Since the crossovers were dialed in based on the resistance of the KSC caps, be aware that switching the film caps out to lower ESR polypropylenes can have the effect of altering the frequency response.

    On two sets of Klipsch Fortes I have replaced the KSC film caps with popular 1% metallized polypropylene speaker capacitors. Interestingly, I found that the polyprypylenes had a slightly smoother response and lost some of the 'bite' I liked. On my Fortes 2s I settled on a polypropylene on the tweeter to reduce a slightly aggressive edge I heard...while retaining the KSC on the midrange to maintain the 3D detail. This is personal preference of course.

  • Below are the 27 year old electrolytic caps used in my KG1s woofer circuit (two per woofer). I measured them at 27.4, 27.7, 27.3, and 26.6uf which is high but still within 10% after 27 years. However just because it measures fine on a meter doesn't mean it responds properly to a musical signal. Time to swap them out.

       

    But...a 25uf 100V bi-polar was not a value I could find anywhere. And rather than obsess about it I decided the Klipsch requirement of 10% was good enough. In the past I have had great results with Parts Express bi-polars and find them to have a very tight tolerances...so I went with quad set of their 22uf 100V. Three measured at 23.7 and one at 23.6uf...within a tiny fraction of each other. Good job Parts Express!

    Below is after the replacement of the bi-polar caps. I was pleased at the tidyness and fit of the new caps. The blue films are 2.5uf and 7.0uf and because I am using this speaker with a tube amp, I decided to keep the original KSC caps on the tweeter to retain a detailed edge. On a transistor amp I might go with polypropylene but vintage KSC is fine for me.

     

    The crossover is marked for both KG1 and KG3 with values printed for both on the board
     


  • CONCLUSION
    Well, nothing too radical occurred with this mod. All I really did was to replace the ancient electrolytics. The rest of the components I left as is. I listen to them on 24" speaker stands using a modified Dynaco ST-70 and they project a seductive soundstage. Treble is clean, bass is tight if not deep. They don't have a precise, airy soundstage with sparkle though. This is offset by a sound which is detailed dynamically...somehow Klipsch designed in a very musical and realistic character. I found that taking the speaker grills off adds a slight bit of detail which is favorable on this speaker.

    The KG1 is a bittersweet slice of Klipsch lore...it existed as a legitimate member of the grain-matched speakers designed by Paul Klipsch...from an era when he inspected the assembly line and would even sign the labels on the rear of a speaker when asked by a customer. Sadly, just as the KG1 hit the scene in 1990 its larger siblings the Chorus, Forte, Heresy II and Cornwall were being retired. The replacements Forte II and Chorus II only lasted until 1996. Paul Klipsch died soon after in 2002. Klipsch speakers are still produced today of course but as part of a 21st-century international company building dozens of products....instead of the small Hope, Arkansas factory that made less than 10 models and took orders by phone.


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