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Klipsch Cornwall or Heresy


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Not common here in UK, but what do N. American forum members think of these speakers?

 

I use low power (23w) solid state DNM amps, I think they might play nicely together....

 

The Cornwalls might be on the big side for my living room, but I'm worried that the Heresies may not be right because they are cheaper now than the speakers they would be replacing (B&W 805 signatures) were 12 years ago.

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Have not heard the Cornwalls. Have an older pair of Heresy in the garage. Have heard the Khorn, and La Scalla. All are some of earlier vintage not the current version. So don't know how much different or improved they are now.

 

They are dynamic, and efficient. They do sound a bit old fashioned vs newer speakers. Of those I have heard, I like the Khorns if you have room for it and a good corner to put it in. I thought the La Scalla lacked low frequencies, and dynamics vs the rest of the frequency range. The Heresy is a good balance top to bottom just less at extremes than the larger speakers.

 

Now to be honest, unless the new ones are greatly improved, I don't think I would trade your 805's for them. Maybe add a good subwoofer to your 805's.

 

Your 23 watts will be fine with either of the Klipsch models. Maybe you would like them if you are after really impressive dynamics. They are good at that. I think I would look for a more modern design.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Thanks.

 

I just found some new Cornwalls at a good price here, so I guess I'll find out whether it's a good move when they are delivered next week....

 

I'm certainly expecting a different sound compared to the 805s...

 

The Klipsh Cornwalls are a HELL of a lot of fun. They should make those B&Ws sound teeny weeny and like they have a stick up their you know what. Have fun.

 

Great match with those DNM's too I'm betting. Even better if you find some vintage tube equipment to go with them. 25-35 watts should do it.

David

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Norton, do report back. Very interested to hear your impressions.

 

I got the Cornwalls for two reasons, firstly because the 805s on paper at least are not the ideal partner for my low power amp and I wondered what a much more sensitive speaker would sound like and secondly because, good though they are, the 805s are a clever optimised small speaker, but ultimately lacking in the bass dept.

 

Had the Cornwall 3s in my system for a couple of days now. The only speakers I have used for the last 12 years have been B&W 805 Signatures, so it's inevitable that my views on the Cornwalls are largely driven by this comparison, which may not be that helpful to others, especially as other than approximate price point, the speakers have little in common and probably wouldn't normally be compared.

 

But for what it’s worth, first impression on unboxing the Cornwalls is that, even knowing the measurements beforehand, these are a big pair of speakers especially at over 2ft wide - my living room looks like a couple of Monoliths from 2001 have taken up residence. If used in a 5 channel surround system I guess you'd be pretty close to replicating Stonehenge in your living room (ideal for Spinal tap fans maybe?).

 

My listening is 100% Classical, mostly orchestral, some oratorio and occasionally opera. On listening to the Cornwalls, the overall impression, compared to the 805s, is simply one of hearing the musicians in the room with you rather than listening to a (very good) HiFi, which is great fun but maybe takes getting used to when it's a Bruckner or Mahler symphony and the room in question is an average UK living room...

 

On specifics, the Cornwalls seem to work very well with my 23w DNM solid state amp, volume had to be turned down quite a bit to maintain my normal listening levels (I guess an indicator of increased sensitivity). On low frequency the Cornwalls offer a huge improvement in sound as expected, so that drums, organ, double bass, even some brass all have much more "slam" (I was wondering about structural damage after the final hammer blow of fate in a DSD Mahler 6) but also much more texture, detail and 3d representation. Whereas on the B&Ws an organ note sounds good - tight, controlled, but perhaps unrealistically smooth and uniform, on the Cornwalls you can hear the micro variations in the note.

 

On mid range, I would say the Cornwalls still outperform the 805 but by a lesser margin, an oboe solo for example has more depth and texture to the sound.

 

On higher frequency though the Cornwalls don't seem to match the resolution of the 805s. The human voice, especially sopranos, just doesn't come across with the same dynamic as through the 805s. Having said this, the Cornwalls do sound natural with voices and I wonder if the 805s are tuned to major on such dynamics in an engaging but maybe slightly artificial way.

 

One difference is very apparent, vinyl is appreciably quieter with the Cornwalls. On the one hand this is good, less bother with ticks etc, on the other less good because I guess this means the Cornwalls are not as transparent as the 805s, so some of the good things are not getting through either?

 

In summary, from first impressions, I can buy into the frequently quoted perception of Cornwalls (and other Klispch Heritage) as simply putting the artists into the room with you, rather than sounding like "HiFI". I suspect once run in and maybe repositioned in my listening room, they are going to be a keeper in my system.

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Norton, thanks for these impressions. Say, are these brand new Cornwalls.... or did you find them used?

 

I think the sense of performer presence you're getting is at least partly due to the horns. They have that reputation, and I get something of the same experience with my Altec 14s which I like quite well. The Altecs can do very well with solid state gear, but in my experience it has to be a very "clean" SS design. Your DNM must be in the top tier of the "Clean Quiet Design" list. I also run them with a big push-pull EL-34 and that is very lush and engaging. Well not the same speaker, of course, but I am noticing there are similarities.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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These are brand new Cornwall 3s so I guess the sound will change (positively !) as they run in.

 

I have used the DNM pre/power for over a decade now and remain a 100%. satisfied customer, but always felt they might not be giving their best with the B&Ws. To be a true DNM believer I should be sourcing some Rehdeko speakers, but the Cornwall's will do nicely for now ...

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If your room is small and reflective, even though the cornwalls are BIG speakers you're benefiting from the added directivity of the horn tweeter and midrange. The huge increase in efficiency will also present a much more dynamic performance. The larger bass driver from a true three way is no match for the little two way 805

 

......but make no mistake here. Add a pair of powered sealed subs under the 805s and the engineered flaws of the Corwalls will become very transparent where the clear superiority of the B&W by design will shine.

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......but make no mistake here. Add a pair of powered sealed subs under the 805s and the engineered flaws of the Corwalls will become very transparent where the clear superiority of the B&W by design will shine.

 

I have no technical knowledge so can't comment on the "engineered flaws" of the Cornwalls, but I guess they aren't exactly at the forefront of speaker technology (part of their charm for some I guess). I have to say though that I have been utterly seduced by the sound and can't imagine going back to the 805s. I recently bought the boxed sets of Mercury Living Presence recordings on CD (I have some MLP vinyl and a SACD too), they sound particularly good through the Cornwalls, which may not be accidental bearing in mind they would have been contemporary with Klipsch in the late 50's.

 

The more I listen and read around the subject, the more I think that maybe Bob Crites's Cornscalas are the big bargain to be had here.

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I

 

The more I listen and read around the subject, the more I think that maybe Bob Crites's Cornscalas are the big bargain to be had here.

 

I've gotten a testimonial from one Cornscala owner. It's a love affair, going on a number of years now. :-)

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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I used to own older Heresies. A lot of fun in many ways. Ultimately I found I enjoyed the more airy presentation of Acoustat speakers to my liking, and have in many ways been seeking that ever since I had to give them up due to space constraints.

 

I will say that there is a lot of information out there on modding various Klipsch speakers, I would seek that out. Maybe you can get close to what you're missing from that wonderful B&W tweeter.

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I used to own older Heresies. A lot of fun in many ways. Ultimately I found I enjoyed the more airy presentation of Acoustat speakers to my liking, and have in many ways been seeking that ever since I had to give them up due to space constraints.

 

I will say that there is a lot of information out there on modding various Klipsch speakers, I would seek that out. Maybe you can get close to what you're missing from that wonderful B&W tweeter.

 

Thanks, but now that I've put a few hours on the Cornwalls and replaced speaker cables and terminal links with the latest DNM Resolution, I don't think the Cornwalls give anything away to the 805s in any department (other than unobtrusiveness). I have to confess to being utterly seduced by the sound these speakers make, can't stop listening!

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Thanks, but now that I've put a few hours on the Cornwalls and replaced speaker cables and terminal links with the latest DNM Resolution, I don't think the Cornwalls give anything away to the 805s in any department (other than unobtrusiveness). I have to confess to being utterly seduced by the sound these speakers make, can't stop listening!

 

What kind of amp are you using with the Cornwalls?

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