Klipsch RF-7 and RC-7 New Life - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-29-2013, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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This may be old news for many, though worth a reminder. I was recently upgrading my home theater. Enter a new ONKYO 9-channel receiver driving DT 350 Front Highs, Crown linear driving RB-61-II Front Wide, a HSU VTF 15-H sub, and Emotiva XPA-3 driving an older set of RF-7/RC-7 mains and center (circa 2002), Hmmm, great improvement in low and mid frequencies, but lesser quality from the RF-7/RC -7s high-pass became very evident particularly with the new RB-61 IIs in the mix. Long story short, a choice to buy new main and center speakers, or to upgrade the current RF/RC trio –a $1500 to $2000 swing. After a ton of research, I chose to upgrade the high pass networks on the RF/RC 7s using all Kimber caps through Dean Wescott. Fantastic! The phrase “breathe new life into old speakers” seems inadequate - they are simply new speakers that play with a new found integrity and clarity. The HF fatigue at reference volume is gone . I’m convinced that in my case the OEM capacitors were just worn out - or maybe leaking (if a capacitor can leak).

Dean Wescott is great to work with. He’ s a veteran on what to fix vs. leave alone, and provided the freedom and advice regarding the bevy of Cap manufacturers. He did a super job of engineering and retro-fitting the larger Kimbers into the tight boards. His turn around from receipt to send was less than 3 days.

So any of you out there with a fondness for your older RF-7’s – re-building the networks IMHO is a high-value move.
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-29-2013, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttmain View Post

...Hmmm, great improvement in low and mid frequencies, but lesser quality from the RF-7/RC -7s high-pass became very evident particularly with the new RB-61 IIs in the mix....

Are you saying that the RB-61s highs sounded better than your RF-7s? Also, did you upgrade your amp at the same time you did the crossovers?
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-29-2013, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, the RB 61 II in my view have a very dynamic and well-coupled midrange and I think the RF 7s had deteriorated over time. I had changed the amp environment from a single Denon receiver to a the Combo Onkyo, Crown in stages over several months
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-29-2013, 08:22 PM
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Thanks for clarifying- Imo, their is NO WAY that the RB-61s could have that much better of an upper end or mid-range over the RF-7s unless something happened to them and I honestly think the change you are hearing is by adding the external amps.

{Note: 10 years shouldn't have deteriorated the RF-7's/RC-7 components as much as you reported and I would be surprised if Dean wouldn't agree.}
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-30-2013, 04:56 AM
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Epoxy coated ovals (whether polyester or polypropylene), are wound loose and then squished. Most capacitors are made with film from recycled material, and then wound as tight as possible to keep the ESR low. Micro lesions form in the film, exposing the vaporized metallized layer above. This causes arcing, and while low level, is a source of noise in the signal path. If you can generate enough voltage, the arcing creates heat to soften the damaged film areas, which closes the holes. That's why all metallized types are called "self healing". In audio, we don't normally reach the voltages necessary to take advantage of this feature. Value capacitors also suffer from poor lead terminations (they can't solder them so they are pushed in and a paste is used). So, the leads are eventually exposed to oxygen, moisture, and the effects of mechanical vibration. Well made caps use thick virgin film, with leads that are physically attached using a variety of proprietary methods. These caps just happen to carry fancy names on them. You can get them without the fancy names if you are willing to buy 10,000 at a time (in each value). So no, the caps weren't "worn out", but they were the typical bottom of the barrel crap most manufacturers use.
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-30-2013, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Thanks for clarifying- Imo, their is NO WAY that the RB-61s could have that much better of an upper end or mid-range over the RF-7s unless something happened to them and I honestly think the change you are hearing is by adding the external amps.

{Note: 10 years shouldn't have deteriorated the RF-7's/RC-7 components as much as you reported and I would be surprised if Dean wouldn't agree.}

Maybe I wasn’t clear:
I’ve been in the process upgrading the HT system for several months and have serially added new receiver, amplifiers and speakers as described in the original post. The configuration of amplifiers and speakers described in the original post had been in place and unchanged for a couple of months BEFORE I made the decision to upgrade the RF/RC7’s, and my observations on the perceived improvements stated above are strictly based on the change-out of the high-pass networks of in the RF/RC7’s – NOT on changing out a bunch of components simultaneously and guessing at root of the change.
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-30-2013, 12:55 PM
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Congratulations on getting things like you want it and Dean has a reputation of doing good work--That said, if the RB-61s had a better mid-range and upper-end than either your RF-7 or RC-7 then something definitely had changed in your speakers.
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-30-2013, 01:41 PM
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The woofers in the first generation Reference Series speakers had serious issues with ringing. Klipsch changed the design of the drivers to address this. The harshness many report is from a combination of the ringing and the crappy caps in series with the horn. It doesn't surprise me one bit that an RB-61 II might sound cleaner through the middle than a RF-7. Most are listening to dialogue, explosions, bullets whizzing by and other sound effects. People listening to well recorded music are those most likely to be effected or notice what I'm talking about. Many have done the mod simply on faith, and weren't even aware of the ringing until it wasn't there any more. In 2004, after hearing a pair of modified RF-7's, Trey Cannon of Klipsch asked me how I got rid of the ringing. He still doesn't believe me. smile.gif
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-30-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altered States View Post

The woofers in the first generation Reference Series speakers had serious issues with ringing. Klipsch changed the design of the drivers to address this. The harshness many report is from a combination of the ringing and the crappy caps in series with the horn. It doesn't surprise me one bit that an RB-61 II might sound cleaner through the middle than a RF-7. Most are listening to dialogue, explosions, bullets whizzing by and other sound effects. People listening to well recorded music are those most likely to be effected or notice what I'm talking about. Many have done the mod simply on faith, and weren't even aware of the ringing until it wasn't there any more. In 2004, after hearing a pair of modified RF-7's, Trey Cannon of Klipsch asked me how I got rid of the ringing. He still doesn't believe me. smile.gif

Are you Dean? If so, I have seen Trey acknowledge that there is a measurable difference...That said, I've owned my RF-7s/RC-7 for almost 12 years and pretty much exclusively listen to DVD-A/SACDs on a nightly basis without any harshness. I admit I've thought about the 'upgrade' ever since I've owned these speakers but haven't experienced anything but sublime sound especially when it comes to well recorded music...Btw, I am tkdamerica on the Klipsch Forum.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-30-2013, 06:10 PM
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I recognized you. smile.gif Well, as they say, you can't dress a turd. No mod or cap upgrade is going to transform a bad design. The RF-7 is a beast and a great sounding speaker to begin with, but it does have a known issue and it becomes a true giant killer once it's dealt with. Like I tell people at that other place, you only have a single frame of reference - what you're hearing now, so sure, that sounds pretty good to you, but you've never heard a modded pair, so you simply can't relate - but the OP sure does (along with the 300+ other users who have done it).
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post #11 of 13 Old 06-24-2013, 09:09 PM
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I've been researching the RF-7 Classic's to anchor my surround sound system in my home theater, which is located in a very large basement room (almost 50' long). I've read a lot of people talking about how great the Dean Wescott modification is for the RF-7, but I've had a hard time finding definitive information about the upgrade, especially in regards to the costs. Can somebody point me to some more information about the upgrade? Thanks

My home theater gallery Epson 5010 Projector, 133" Cinemascope Screen, Klipsch RF-7
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post #12 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 05:22 AM
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OP: what upgrades did you perform on the RF/RC speakers that you have? Did I read that right in that just upgraded to new caps? Is that the only upgrade that you did? Have you considered upgrading the drivers? I am not sure if Bob Crites offers any upgraded woofers or compression drivers, but that is certainly something to look into!
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post #13 of 13 Old 06-25-2013, 11:54 AM
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post your question on http://community.klipsch.com/forums/5.aspx or you can send him a pm http://community.klipsch.com/members/AletheiaAudio.aspx his forum name is AletheiaAudio his phone # is 937-823-9902 hope this helps good luck. smile.gif

Klipsch Pro Cinema KPT-904 L/C/R, Pro Cinema KPT-1201-T2 for sides and RB-61 II for backs.
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