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Klipsch Speakers = ear Fatigue (for me). What next?

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

First up my apologies to the forum as my first post is one seeking help!

A couple of months ago I upgraded my L/C/R speakers to Klipsch, RF-62 IIs up front and an RC-62 centre

From first listening to them I could tell that the sharpness of the horn loaded tweeter could potentially be a problem, but hoped that it would be something my ears would get used to it, turns out they unfortunately didn't (yep in hindsight I should have tested them first!)

I've tried compensating the hot treble by:

- using the manual EQ in the AVR (Denon 1911) to dial down the bands from 1KHz upwards (the tweeter crossover point is 1.5KHz)

and now..

- have adjusted the tone control so that the treble is -6 (max) and the bass is +2

I'm not completely happy with either method, either the audio ends up sounding dull or the presence of the tweeters still hits the ears and fatigues them. Furthermore even the vocals are fatiguing, which in this frequency range I wouldn't expect to be a problem as the woofers would be producing them?


Does anyone have any recommendations on some L/C/R speakers that fit these requirements?:

- the center needs to either be front ported or sealed (it sits on a bracket coming off the wall), sitting below a painted projector "screen" on the wall

- The fronts would ideally need to be front ported as well as they sit in the corners, I can generally get them out of the corners by 8 inches or so but front ported would work better..

- the sound needs to be warm but full for the vocals, detail would still be appreciated but not harsh as I'm experiencing with the Klipsch

It seems to be tricky to find an L/C/R combination like this. For example the PSB Image floor standers are front ported for the mains, but to get the matching timbre and go with their centre channel is not an option as its back ported..

The room is 4.7M (15.4ft) x 4.2M (13.7ft)

Edit: Forgot to mention the use of the speakers, it's primarily for a HT environment, so movies only.

Any help is muchly appreciated!

Lindsay
Edited by linds1234 - 8/22/12 at 12:10am
post #2 of 65
Budget?
post #3 of 65
Thread Starter 
That would help!

I'd say ~$1500 AUD, which is pretty much the same in $US at the moment
post #4 of 65
Did you toe in the main speakers? Try not to.
post #5 of 65
Thread Starter 
yep they are toe'd in quite a bit. My main listening position is more or less in front of the left speaker so I thought toeing it inwards would get me out of the line of fire a bit...
post #6 of 65
I would look at the BIC Acoustech Platinum Series Speakers.... The PL-89s and the PL-28 have dualo 8" woofers and the PL-76s and the PL-26 have dual 6.5" woofers. The fronts are front ported and the center is sealed. They have horn loaded tweeters BUT they use a traditional 1" aluminum dome tweeter in a 6.5" square horn, Klipsch uses a 1" compression driver mated to the horn and that can lead to harshness and fatigue. I have the Acoustechs and they sound great crisp clear mids and highs but not harsh at all and vocals are very easilly heard. These speakers will also come in way below your budget and they were made to compete against the Klipsch.

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/core/view_BigProduct.cfm?pid=1530&sc=32

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/core/view_BigProduct.cfm?pid=1529&sc=33

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/core/view_BigProduct.cfm?pid=1538&sc=32

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/core/view_BigProduct.cfm?pid=1537&sc=33
post #7 of 65
I too suffer from ear fatigue especially with Klipsch but many others also.
My solution was to move into a speaker with a RAAL tweeter. The downside is RAAL tweeter = $$$$$$
post #8 of 65
I didn't realise BIC are a direct competitor to Klipsch, I remember seeing them when previously researching Klipsch and assumed that their speaker tweeter design was exactly the same as the Klipsch. The 8" woofers on the centre speaker is impressive, rarely see that. I'm not 100% sold on their horn loaded tweeter, going by your experience with them sounds like they'd be ok, but without being able to demo them in Aus it would be too much of a gamble at this stage...

Looks like they would be hard to get a hold of in Australia- BICs ebay presence states they don't ship internationally and no mention of it on their website..

Many thanks for the info though flickhtguru
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by KnifeGuy View Post

I too suffer from ear fatigue especially with Klipsch but many others also.
My solution was to move into a speaker with a RAAL tweeter. The downside is RAAL tweeter = $$$$$$

I don't think I want to know the price smile.gif

Haven't had a problem with other speakers... just these Klipsch ones unfortunately
post #10 of 65
I would audition a "traditional" dome tweeter. For me, I like the volume that a horn tweeter can put out...but I do find some of them to a bit unpleasant after listening for awhile.
post #11 of 65
^^^ Agreed... I personally think Acoustech and Hsu did a good job of offering the best of both worlds.... I def like the horn loaded sound but after watching a few action movies on Klipsch speakers (Icon V series and Synergy series) I experienced fatigue. I have not ever experienced fatigue on the Acoustechs. I did a movie marathon all 3 Transformers movies (1&2 on DVD and 3 on Blu-Ray) with my Acoustechs and the volume at -20db and it was great.
post #12 of 65
Did you run Audyssey and is your room a well padded room or a reflective room?

Have you turned your sound processor off?

-
Edited by BeeMan458 - 8/22/12 at 6:27am
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

Did you run Audyssey and is your room a well padded room or a reflective room?
Have you turned your sound processor off?
-


I've run Audyssey a couple of times.

The room is predominately reflective. The side walls have movie posters. It's carpetted though and the ceilings are standard height

The worst part about the acoustics is the distance between the seats and the wall behind, it's ~20cms. They can't really come forward because the screen is so freakin huge ~2.9Ms width. I've been thinking about putting some sort of acoustic dampening on this back wall to see if it makes a difference, would be interesting to see if drapping a thick rug in this area would make a difference (there's a narrow window at the top of the wall which it could potentially hang from)

I've briefly experimented with no EQ but from memory got bad results with this, sounded very hollow, but I'll try that again to confirm. Don't use any sound processing like Dynamic Volume/EQ or Cinema EQ
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by linds View Post

I've run Audyssey a couple of times.
The room is predominately reflective. The side walls have movie posters. It's carpetted though and the ceilings are standard height
The worst part about the acoustics is the distance between the seats and the wall behind, it's ~20cms. They can't really come forward because the screen is so freakin huge ~2.9Ms width. I've been thinking about putting some sort of acoustic dampening on this back wall to see if it makes a difference, would be interesting to see if drapping a thick rug in this area would make a difference (there's a narrow window at the top of the wall which it could potentially hang from)
I've briefly experimented with no EQ but from memory got bad results with this, sounded very hollow, but I'll try that again to confirm. Don't use any sound processing like Dynamic Volume/EQ or Cinema EQ

Not saying the Klipsch horns can't be sticking needles in your ears and brain but yes, it reads as if you have a very bright, compressed room and even the best positioning of the Klipsch speakers may continue causing you pain.

Yes, hanging a thick rug behind you would help with the closeness to the back wall and wouldn't hurt doing the same for the screen wall, but doing so will do little with the surrounds as they're not behind and far enough away from you. FWIW, movie posters, in of themselves, are reflective.

What are the room measurements? Dynamic Volume is a good thing for listening at low levels. Nothing wrong with EQ'g a room, that's what happens in a mixing room and despite purist protests, "ALL" rooms need to be EQ'd to compensate for listening room acoustics.

On the surface, working with what you've described, it sounds like you have a compressed listening venue that's terribly bright. This is not a good match for closely placed, horn loaded speakers that like to throw their sound at the listeners. Kinda like having a third beer with a complainer in your face. tongue.gif

Short of replacing your whole speaker system with a set that better matches the acoustics and size of the room, your best bet will be to tone the reflections in the room down with wall placements and place your surrounds about two or three meters up and away from your listening position. If possible, set the speakers on the back wall, so they're about a half meter above your ears and two meters on either side of your ears. Despite arguments, surround soundtracks are about ambiance, not front channel dialogue. The point, if you have to rotate the surrounds and stick the surrounds on different walls, with Audyssey compensation for time domain differences, you'll be good.

-
post #15 of 65
Welcome to the forum, linds1234, There are several things it could be, but given what you have already tried my first thought is although Klipsch Reference speakers are efficient, lower end AVRs can't deliver the current that is required to drive them at louder volume and the LF drivers can't keep up with the horn so they become bright. {Note: This is only my theory and I have not seen the Frequency Response curve for the RF-62}

That said, evidently you have a bright room and that too could be the culprit. It's hard to say, but that's why it's a good idea to go and listen to what you are considering because that gives you a baseline on what to expect. Good Luck.
post #16 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post


What are the room measurements? Dynamic Volume is a good thing for listening at low levels. Nothing wrong with EQ'g a room, that's what happens in a mixing room and despite purist protests, "ALL" rooms need to be EQ'd to compensate for listening room acoustics.

I've achieved the best calibration thus far last night. I turned off the EQs completely and went with basic tone control, with the treble on -4 and the bass on -2. The dialogue now is a lot softer / fuller and is still clear. The highs are harsh now and then but no where on the levels it is when Audyssey is enabled

Turning off Audyssey has thrown out the balance of the front speakers now, and with the tone adjustments they have become very loud (and bassy) when the volume is increased to get the dialogue right. Should just be a case of dialling down the levels of the L/R so will give that some adjustment on next viewing

Ideally I should have been able to achieve this manually setting the EQ instead of using the tone control, will have to revisit doing it that way later but couldn't get it right previously (was trailing off the bands from 1Khz upwards, resulting in 1Khz having about -0.5 and 16Khz -4.0)

The room looks like this:





Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post


On the surface, working with what you've described, it sounds like you have a compressed listening venue that's terribly bright. This is not a good match for closely placed, horn loaded speakers that like to throw their sound at the listeners. Kinda like having a third beer with a complainer in your face. tongue.gif

Yep agreed. As you can see the room is quite small, and it's all enclosed


Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post


Short of replacing your whole speaker system with a set that better matches the acoustics and size of the room, your best bet will be to tone the reflections in the room down with wall placements and place your surrounds about two or three meters up and away from your listening position. If possible, set the speakers on the back wall, so they're about a half meter above your ears and two meters on either side of your ears. Despite arguments, surround soundtracks are about ambiance, not front channel dialogue. The point, if you have to rotate the surrounds and stick the surrounds on different walls, with Audyssey compensation for time domain differences, you'll be good.

The surrounds aren't actually a problem as they are quite high up and just behind the listening positions, they are very close horizontally on the left to the main listening position though, but the level is quite low on it so it's never obtrusive. They aren't Klipsch speakers either so I don't have the horns blasting me from behind, they are "Jensen" speakers, not sure what model exactly.

But I guess now I'm losing the timing benefits Audyssey would be bringing by turning it off and running tone control and levels manually...can't win!
Edited by linds1234 - 8/22/12 at 8:06pm
post #17 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Welcome to the forum, linds1234, There are several things it could be, but given what you have already tried my first thought is although Klipsch Reference speakers are efficient, lower end AVRs can't deliver the current that is required to drive them at louder volume and the LF drivers can't keep up with the horn so they become bright. {Note: This is only my theory and I have not seen the Frequency Response curve for the RF-62}
That said, evidently you have a bright room and that too could be the culprit. It's hard to say, but that's why it's a good idea to go and listen to what you are considering because that gives you a baseline on what to expect. Good Luck.

Thanks Zen

You could be onto something with the LF driver issue. I found it bizarre that vocals were hitting the ears harshly when in theory, the voices shouldn't have been topping 250Hz with standard dialouge. The tweeter itself shouldn't have been coming into play at that point, not until 1.5KHz. Female voices were worse, especially screaming kids..arghh..
post #18 of 65
This tends to show some of the problems, that you are having with the RF-62.
As usual, Klipsch tends to get carried away with their efficiency rating.rolleyes.gif
Octave to octave frequency response is on the rough side.
http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/floorstanding/2010-1k-faceoff/copy3_of_1k-faceoff-comparisons
post #19 of 65
This is going to seem ridiculous...stick a handkerchief into the tweeter...I've had 10-15 ppl do this and fall in love with the speakers

Sent from my GT-P7510 using Tapatalk 2
Edited by yaomizzle - 8/22/12 at 8:14pm
post #20 of 65
As dumb as this sounds, the main listening position needs to be moved to the center of the couch as based on the room layout posted, you're hanging off the Left front and rear speakers; an imbalanced listening position.

Can you lose the sofa and replace it with either two separate chairs or a love seat? In our listening venue, we got rid of the sofa and replaced it with a love seat and a recliner.

Not sure where your door is but if you rotate everything forty-five degrees to the left, you'll get better speaker placement and help defeat the reflective nature of the room. There's nothing in any books that says everything has to be perpendicular to the walls. You're more than welcome to rotate the room to the Left and put your surrounds on separate walls.

Place the sofa on a diagonal and put the AVR behind the corner space created behind the sofa. The only problem I see with my suggestion would be undocumented windows, doors and movie screen placement.
post #21 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yaomizzle View Post

This is going to seem ridiculous...stick a handkerchief into the tweeter...I've had 10-15 ppl do this and fall in love with the speakers
Sent from my GT-P7510 using Tapatalk 2

hahaha... you know.. that may just work! I'll definitely try that...

I hear ya BeeMan, but there is no way any of those movements are going to happen. The 2 couches (both reclining) are 1 week old and they are suuuuuper comfy, the GF would kill me for even thinking that smile.gif (we went with the 4 seat option to accomodate guests as well). I agree with the main listening position its not good from a surround perspective, although the levels on the right front and rear speaker are quite a bit louder so there is still somewhat of a decent surround effect. But no where near as good when sitting in the middle 2 seats.

The door is about 30cms from the front left speaker (when once opened it pretty much covers it). Could almost rotate everything to the right, but then I wouldn't be able to open the door and the screen where it is now is pretty much permanent, it's painted on with "screen goo" and has a wooden border around it.


Interesting graph there Zieglj01, do you mean for example, there is quite a Db difference between the 100Hz and 250Hz ranges? most of the speakers they tested there seem to have quite a jumpy frequency response in the lower frequencies, but when measured at the main octave points the Klipsch seems a bit more variable?
Edited by linds1234 - 8/23/12 at 12:32am
post #22 of 65
I hear you. Isn't a locked down room fun? tongue.gif

Short of EQ'g the system's speaker gain down, checking the subwoofer settings, sticking a "sock" in horns, plastering the walls with carpet or getting less bright speakers, here is where we're at.

frown.gif
post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by linds1234 View Post

Interesting graph there Zieglj01, do you mean for example, there is quite a Db difference between the 100Hz and 250Hz ranges? most of the speakers they tested there seem to have quite a jumpy frequency response in the lower frequencies, but when measured at the main octave points the Klipsch seems a bit more variable?
That is typical - Due to low frequency wavelenghts, bass will bounce around in a room, even with bookshelf speakers.

However other than the floor bounce around 400/500 hz, the speaker tends to have a rough frequency response
problem. People can be more sensitive to these areas, than others - and the midrange at 1000khz is one of them.
Also the speaker tends to lack midrange detail, the speaker is forward sounding in the treble.
Edited by zieglj01 - 8/23/12 at 9:10am
post #24 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

I hear you. Isn't a locked down room fun? tongue.gif
Short of EQ'g the system's speaker gain down, checking the subwoofer settings, sticking a "sock" in horns, plastering the walls with carpet or getting less bright speakers, here is where we're at.
frown.gif

Yep locked down rooms are great fun. Many thanks for your help BeeMan, much appreciated

And a shout-out to everyone who has helped me in this thread, and if it can't be tweaked to sound decent without making my ears bleed, you may see another thread along the lines of "Has anyone had an experience with X speakers..?" smile.gif
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by linds1234 View Post

Yep locked down rooms are great fun. Many thanks for your help BeeMan, much appreciated
And a shout-out to everyone who has helped me in this thread, and if it can't be tweaked to sound decent without making my ears bleed, you may see another thread along the lines of "Has anyone had an experience with X speakers..?" smile.gif

One last option, bi-amp your tweeters with a tube amp as the introduced tube distortion can mellow the harshness the horns. Can you get your hands on a tube amp to see if it helps your situation before buying one? I bi-amped my Klipsch horn loaded speakers with a Golden Tube, SE-40 because of what it did for violins. The rub, tube amps requiring a certain amount of care and feeding (biasing) over a Solid State amplifier.

Tubes can take the harshness out of horns but having to clean up after tubes takes the fun out of the benefit they provide.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by linds1234 View Post

Yep locked down rooms are great fun. Many thanks for your help BeeMan, much appreciated
And a shout-out to everyone who has helped me in this thread, and if it can't be tweaked to sound decent without making my ears bleed, you may see another thread along the lines of "Has anyone had an experience with X speakers..?" smile.gif

Unfortunately there are quite a few threads around where people will say Klipsch speakers "make their ears bleed," and then make general statements which end up getting some excited...In those threads I have come to realize that a few may actually not like cheaper speakers that use horn technology--Those are the people who should have auditioned what they were buying because it would have hurt their ears in the store (which usually have them set up in a lousy environment already) and they could have moved on to something they liked.

That said, even in those situations there are a myriad of folks who describe that they are under-powering their speakers and/or have them in a bright environment where they were destined to sound harsh. Fwiw, you may fit in one or several of those categories, but my advice to you is go listen to some speakers and see what you like and not rely on people's opinion on the internet...First off, if you are interested in keeping your speakers, go and listen to a comparable setup using a mid grade AVR and see if they still exhibit the traits you are hearing in your home. If so and you want to stay in the same price range, check out speakers that don't use horn loaded tweeters.
post #27 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

One last option, bi-amp your tweeters with a tube amp as the introduced tube distortion can mellow the harshness the horns. Can you get your hands on a tube amp to see if it helps your situation before buying one? I bi-amped my Klipsch horn loaded speakers with a Golden Tube, SE-40 because of what it did for violins. The rub, tube amps requiring a certain amount of care and feeding (biasing) over a Solid State amplifier.
Tubes can take the harshness out of horns but having to clean up after tubes takes the fun out of the benefit they provide.

I'm not up to speed with Bi-Amp'ing so bear with me here- my amp (Denon AVR-1911) doesn't have pre-outs... are they needed to Bi-amp? It does have an extra set of line level outputs, which i believe can be used for either surround backs or front heights...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

Unfortunately there are quite a few threads around where people will say Klipsch speakers "make their ears bleed," and then make general statements which end up getting some excited...In those threads I have come to realize that a few may actually not like cheaper speakers that use horn technology--Those are the people who should have auditioned what they were buying because it would have hurt their ears in the store (which usually have them set up in a lousy environment already) and they could have moved on to something they liked.

Well, chances are, I'm one of these people that just doesn't like the sound of the Klipsch horn loaded tweeter (at least in the reference series). And for sure, I should have tested some out in the store before buying them, unfortunately I could not find one retailer in my state that stock them (at least the reference line). I've tried to not generalise the speakers or the brand though, I can still sppreciate the acoustic characteristics the speakers can bring and I'm sure they would work great for a lot of people (that's why I said "for me" in the thread subject)
Quote:
That said, even in those situations there are a myriad of folks who describe that they are under-powering their speakers and/or have them in a bright environment where they were destined to sound harsh. Fwiw, you may fit in one or several of those categories, but my advice to you is go listen to some speakers and see what you like and not rely on people's opinion on the internet...First off, if you are interested in keeping your speakers, go and listen to a comparable setup using a mid grade AVR and see if they still exhibit the traits you are hearing in your home. If so and you want to stay in the same price range, check out speakers that don't use horn loaded tweeters.

Would love to demo them running on a higher grade AVR but unfortunately that's impossible overe here. As it stands now I'm not interested in keeping them- I've put an old set of speakers back in for the interim.
post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by linds View Post

I'm not up to speed with Bi-Amp'ing so bear with me here- my amp (Denon AVR-1911) doesn't have pre-outs... are they needed to Bi-amp? It does have an extra set of line level outputs, which i believe can be used for either surround backs or front heights..

In this case, Bi-amping is putting a separate Amp on the tweeters. You're "not" wanting to use a solid state Amp, hence why I mentioned using a tubed Amp. If one does use a SS Amp, they're wanting to turn the gain or feed to the tweeter down which has the affect of "taming" or "mellowing" the tweeter output.

A lot can be done if one is willing to give in, tear the room apart, effect a do over and start furniture/speaker placement from the position of making the speakers happy. In this case, not doing what I suggest assures that the horns are going rule the day and if willing to move things to make the speakers happy, will go a long way in making your ears happy.

confused.gif

Sometimes going backwards makes going forward a rewarding experience. Just saying, what's it going cost in time and effort to replace your current set of speakers and what will it cost in time and effort, to take the room apart, place the speakers in the most favorable position, place the furniture to accommodate the speaker position, install strategic wall hangings to get rid of wall reflections and be able to take full advantage of what your Klipsch horn loaded speakers have to offer?

Klipsch horn speakers hate bright rooms due to room reflections and poor placement. Klipsch horn speakers love being properly placed in a well appointed room who's room reflections have been properly tamed. See it in the light of putting a comfortable riding street car on a rutted road, a terrible match that ruins the ride of the street car. Get that car back on the pavement where it belongs and the car is once again a well behaved car that's a pleasure to drive/ride in.

-
Edited by BeeMan458 - 8/25/12 at 5:02am
post #29 of 65
With a basically square room, reflective room, back wall listening seats, mishmash of speaker brands, cheap AV receiver w/tone controls, speakers in the corners and a non-symetrical listening position (in front of the left speaker) you will find it difficult to get good sound even with $100,000 speakers. What you are hearing aren't horn problems! You have followed a recipe to guarantee bad sound. Tear it up and start again or live with the comprimises.
Edited by noway1 - 8/25/12 at 2:12pm
post #30 of 65
I have had the same experience with klipsch speakers in the past they are fatiguing for me... I never tried a sock though smile.gif

To answer your question about bi-amping no you are not a candidate without preouts. Front heights are a different channel than fronts. I am in a similar situation with my denon 1612
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