Crites vs ALK crossovers- opinions for a Forte I update

Discussion in 'The Klipsch Korner' started by eric.hall.mn, May 20, 2015.

  1. eric.hall.mn

    eric.hall.mn Active Member

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Twin Cities, Mn
    OK, so so I finally landed a very nice pair of Forte I's, 1986. To me they sound really nice, a serious upgrade from the KG3.5's. I have not opened them up yet, but the PO was the original owner, and had not done anything to them. I understand its time for a crossover update. I have run across 2 options, with several price points and skill levels. Mainly I'm interested in comparing the new Crites to the new ALK's. I understand the crites are mainly a rebuild of the original design with new and better parts, while the ALK is a redesigned network. I have read through several posts, but having a hard time figuring out if the ALK's really change the sound, and for the better- or if the crites sound just fine, and save a few bucks. The ALK looks like a pretty substantial piece of equipment, does it translate into better sound, or is it just different? Not really interested in tailoring the sound for a specific amp or room or music type (yet). Would probably consider the Ti domes at some point as well, but I'll start with XO's. I understand the cheapest route would be Bob's kit at $50, not sure if my soldering skills are up to the task, and Al does not offer a kit any longer. Opinions welcome.

    thanks

    Eric
     

     

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  2. moray james

    moray james Super Member

    Messages:
    3,103
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    Bob will happily install the parts for you I am sure that is his preferred situation to achieve the desired results.

    What Al does is to redesign the network, Bob does not do that, what Bob builds follows exactly the stock factory schematic. Al builds a more component (driver) tailored network and they do work better as to how you feel about the sound after that is anybody's guess. You are never going to get anywhere asking which is better because you will simply get a range of comments. You can start by having my personal comment about it and I would place my money down on the network designed by Al as his more complex networks keep driver impedance more consistent than the text book simple factory networks do.

    Before you rush off to buy an expensive set of hand built networks I would suggest to you that you should do some further research. I would suggest that you take your time and listen to what you have and get to know it well and learn where it sounds bet in your room. Then I would advise that you keep your eyes open for a set of Forte ll and when you find a set check them out. The forte ll has a fifteen inch passive which will result in slightly cleaner bass and it has a considerably larger hybrid conical/tractrix mid horn which is a substantial step forward over the K701 mid horn used in the Forte. Decide which loudspeaker you prefer the sound of and then have Al build you networks for the one you like best. Personally I prefer the Forte ll and I had Al design the first network for it. What you think will be just that what you think. Lots of folks prefer the Forte to the Forte ll and lots prefer the Forte ll. In favor of the Forte ll (designed by Roy Delgado Klipsch's top designer of all there newest and best horns) you will have new horns which are still used in some of Klipsch pro speakers while the pro and cinema line have long since stopped using (decades ago) the K701 style design horn in anything. It is a lot of money to spend on a network so decide which speaker you want to spend the rest of your days with first. One last comment your Forte and the Forte ll both sound their best when elevated so that the centre of the mid horn is at your seated ear level. I like to remove the ugly old and dated looking riser and place the speakers up on four post stands my preference there is for Skylan Stands. I have owned both the Forte as well as two sets of Forte ll. Hope this helps. Best regards Moray James.


    here is something to ponder for those of you who figure they have average hearing. Your ear/brain are designed to be their most critical at mid range frequencies not at harmonics. So if you were to upgrade just one driver to improve your listening experience it would be the mid driver. This is why PWK once said the mid is where the magic lives.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  3. drasp

    drasp Active Member

    Messages:
    147
    It may also be worth stating that in my experience the usual Crites happy meal (Ti tweets + XO recap) is NOT something that dramatically changes the character of a healthy pair is speakers. In fact, nobody who listened before & after noticed much of a difference at all. This isn't to say that some golden-eared types won't notice a meaningful change, only that for me, the "upgrades" we're more about the fun of tweaking, leaving no stone unturned, etc. As a reference point, I would suggest that small changes in position will make a bigger difference than Ti drivers or networks. . .
     
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  4. njcanuck

    njcanuck aka: MacGyver Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,786
    Location:
    Cape Coral, Florida
    I have used the Crites kits in three different sets of Klipsch speakers. There was a dramatic improvement in the Chorus Is probably because the original caps were old enough to be way out of spec. The other two still demonstrated some improvement especially in clarity. I am very satisfied with them.

    I have not had the opportunity to listen to any ALK networks so can't help much there. Over the years, I have learned that I do NOT have golden ears that can discern subtle differences between networks, amps, etc. so I am personally less inclined to spend big $$$ going down that path.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  5. sheltie dave

    sheltie dave Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,876
    Location:
    St. Louis
    ALK crossovers are well appreciated by those who really like to crank, as they clean up a lot of the hash that is created at the crossover point. Better parts, sharper and cleaner split between the drivers.
     
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  6. impeculies

    impeculies Member

    Messages:
    69
    Location:
    Eagle ID
    For the money, Crites gets it done. I replaced the network and tweeters in my 81' Cornwalls and the difference was well worth the price of admission. Cleaner sound and a little more top end air. However, I also agree with living with your speakers for long enough to really know the music you like and how they sound from stock.

    The nice thing about Klipsch speakers is it doesn't take much money to bring them up to date, and continue to blow the doors off most new moderately priced floor standing speakers. I am sure you will enjoy those Forte's regardless. Cheers
     
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  7. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,555
    Location:
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    the biggest influence on the sound of your speaker is the room your speakers are placed in. Klipsch speakers are balanced and fine tuned in Anechoic chamber that removes the rooms influence and makes sure each speaker is properly balanced from day one. If you don't like the sound look at your room and try positioning your speakers and listening location to get the best performance you can. And remember what Paul use to say. Go out and listen to a live concert and get your ears tuned up. The only thing I have to add is make sure the concert is un amplified, just the natural sound of the instruments. You might be surprised it the recordings you are listening to rather than the speakers.
     
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  8. eric.hall.mn

    eric.hall.mn Active Member

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Twin Cities, Mn
    Thanks all, I'm going to live with them for a while, very happy with the sound.

    Cheers

    Eric
     
  9. grahamp

    grahamp New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    If you are happy stay happy!
    I had some issues in the high range. Harsh or just too much, so I did the upgrade. Over all the sound was better but the issue was still there. My answer was 12 inch risers and more distance from the wall.
    On soldering: If you can solder a radio shack kit and practice desoldering on some piece of junk for 10 minutes and are careful you can do it with a 20 dollar soldering iron.

    Here is some info I posted elsewhere :

    Updated crossovers without removing board. If anyone is interested I could provide more detail.
    Pictures of the upgrade process here, but not in order, will provide more detail if others are interested,
    ping me at graham.poor@gmail.com
    https://community.klipsch.com/index...-x-over-replaced-inplace-on-a-forte-ii-board/

    They sound great and the upgrade improved them, but for me it was maybe a 10% improvement, definitely worth it, but not night and day. It was also worth it for the piece of mind, there is general agreement from electronics people that the original caps used aren't reliable after 20+ years.

    Enjoy!
     
  10. grahamp

    grahamp New Member

    Messages:
    19
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    +1
    This is my experience exactly. I would recommend moving the speakers around and up! I put my Forte II on 12 in crates and that was dramatic! And easy to try! It seems obvious now. Try them at ear level and off the floor.
     
  11. RT Fan

    RT Fan AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,294
    Location:
    NYC
    I have a pair of '87 Forte 1's that I gave the full Crites treatment on, i.e. new crossovers, & diaphragms for both the Tweeter & Midrange. I heard a substantial improvement in sound quality over the what my 3rd owner, stock Forte had beforehand. In fact they compared favorably to my stock '87 Cornwall II's. For the money spent, I was very happy.
     

     

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  12. dmckean

    dmckean Active Member

    Messages:
    355
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    The Ti tweets can drastically change models that use a poly diaphragm, like the KLF series. I found the Crites crossover upgrades to be subtle at first, but over time I came to appreciate more.
     
  13. Chris V

    Chris V New Member

    Messages:
    2
    I have a pair of Klipsch Forte speakers (1988) and have been reading posts like yours regarding crossover and ti diaphragms upgrades. I guess it's hard to know whether I need an upgrade or not given I'm no expert in this area. Seems the prices for these upgrades are reasonable, I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and order from either Bob C or Al K.
     
  14. Coytee

    Coytee Super Member

    Messages:
    4,049
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    My experience is only with Al's ES networks. I had them in my Khorns and still have some in my LaScalas.

    I've never heard them side by side so can't comment on the Crites offerings although as has been said, he doesn't set out to redesign anything, rather just to bring them back to spec.

    That said... I was in Hope once with a big gathering. One thing they did in their lab was to do a casual A/B side by side with some "normal" crossovers verses some with steep slopes. Note, these were NOT Al's steep slope but rather Klipsch implemented steep slopes....

    None the less... when doing a casual side by side (was not a scientific test) the steeper crossovers seemed to "lift a veil" from the sound. It was the first time that I finally understood what that phrase means as it was the only way to describe what I heard.

    Now, could I have walked in there bindfolded, heard what was playing and said "ah HA!! those must be the steep slope crossovers!!" Nope, I don't think I could have done it. Side by side? I think I could have nailed it 99% of the time.

    In my application, what I found by going with the steeper slopes is the three drivers (now better isolated) took a bit longer before they gelled into a single source of apparent sound and I had to be 30' away from my Khorns before they sounded "OMG" good.... Took a while and some conversations before I figured that out.

    It allowed me to play much louder than before... so, I'd suggest it this way:

    If you tend to sit close to your speakers and/or tend to listen at moderate levels, then the extreme slope crossovers might not be your best choice. On the other hand, if you have a really large room and/or really like to lean on the volume from time to time, then the steeper slopes might indeed be your best bet.
     
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  15. moray james

    moray james Super Member

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    3,103
    Location:
    Calgary on the Bow
    I think the best take away is that Al's network intends to improve the impedance of the driver/network and the overall load to the amplifier which will improve sound quality.
     
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  16. Coytee

    Coytee Super Member

    Messages:
    4,049
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Yeah, sure.... Mr. Succinct and Cogent... after letting me ramble on and on... showoff!

    :eek:

    :biggrin:
     
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  17. Chris V

    Chris V New Member

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    I emailed Al and he said the crossovers were the only upgrade worth doing. Said don't fool with TI diaphragms. Any idea why he would feel that way? I read a lot of posting that said TI replacements worked very well as an upgrade.
     
  18. moray james

    moray james Super Member

    Messages:
    3,103
    Location:
    Calgary on the Bow
    Al has his likes and dislikes just like everybody else does. I think his networks are well designed but I don't like his choice of inductors or caps, so what that's just me. You need to start to learn what you like and why.
    Buy a set of titanium tweeter diaphragms and listen for yourself and see what you think. The cost of admission is low and it is THE only way YOU will ever know.
     
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  19. Drugolf

    Drugolf AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,640
    Location:
    Boise
    AT least he answered you. I have emailed him twice here in the last couple weeks and got no response. Was about to ask the group here if something's up. Apparently not.
     
  20. Species 8472

    Species 8472 New Member

    Messages:
    19
    What's wrong with clarity caps and 12 ga air core inductors?
     

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