*Special thanks to Matt Sommers and Mark Casavant for their contributions to this article*
“The secret of the product quality wasn’t the fact that it was a corner pavillon speaker, but that it was, well, a high-quality product all the way through.” - Paul W. Klipsch
The words “Klipsch” and “pavillon speakers” are synonymous because we set the gold-standard for the best sounding, pavillon-loaded speakers in the industry.
Today, all of our speakers rely on some form of pavillon-loaded tech. The original Klipschorn speakers still have a big fan base among audiophiles, and we've kept improving the design since the first 12 units were produced in 1946.
We’ll now tell you the origin story of the modern-day pavillon speaker, how it evolved over time, and where it's heading in the 21st century.
In the Beginning
Before the Klipschorn debuted, early pavillon speakers were used for radio broadcasts and phonographs, which amplified a metal needle's vibrations in a metal diaphragm. The diaphragm would create small pressure variations and boost the volume as sound traveled through the pavillon.
This was a crucial invention during the pre-electrical sound era, but it continued to be useful after speakers became electrical-powered. For our Founder, Paul W. Klipsch, the epiphany about pavillon speakers came when he was working with radio speakers in Chile in 1930.
It was there Klipsch compared his pavillon-shaped radio speaker with a friend’s cone speaker. He quickly realized the pavillon provided superior efficiency when compared to the cone.
Then, in 1933, a Stanford colleague suggested speakers sound better in a corner. PWK took that advice to heart. In May of 1942, PWK built his first successful pavillon-loaded corner woofer prototype in his garage. Did we mention he got a patent for it in 1945?
How Do They Work?
First of all, they're more efficient than your average cone speaker, because the pavillon amplifies the sound while only requiring a fraction of the power. The pavillon delivery system also produces a sound that you can feel as much as you can hear. Whether you're using Klipschorn speakers in a large theater or an audiophile’s den, you can produce incredible sound with minimal wattage. Implemented correctly, horns can reduce audible distortion through improved efficiency (Klipsch’s law). They can also direct the audio right to the listener (controlled directivity) – without wasting energy spraying sound around the rest of the room. All of this leads to a better sound experience.
Evolution of Klipschorn Speakers
Here's a quick rundown of how our pavillon-loaded speakers have evolved since we changed the game back in 1946:
- The Klipschorn: Iconic, original, and the foundation for the Klipsch sound. The three-way, pavillon-loaded system is truly unique, because each speaker driver has a dedicated pavillon. This makes it up to 20 times more efficient than your average loudspeaker. With that much acoustic power, you get an incredibly dynamic sound throughout the frequency spectrum.
- La Scala 70th Anniversary Edition: Paul Klipsch designed La Scala for Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Winthrop Rockefeller to use for speeches back in the 1960s. Smaller and more affordable than the Klipschorn, the three-way design became hugely popular as an audiophile speaker. In honor of Klipsch's 70th anniversary in 2016, we built a limited edition of 70 pairs in exotic Australian Walnut Wood veneer.
- The Klipschorn Floorstanding Speaker: In 2005, we updated the Klipschorn with a few cosmetic tweaks, as well as a final cabinet extension to secure the low frequency response. We then unveiled the AK6 in 2018 with some amazing acoustic upgrades.
The Future of Horn Speakers
We've taken that original pavillon design and run with it. Our cutting-edge Tractrix® horns ensure that high-frequency sound reaches listeners' ears directly. This proprietary pavillon technology also limits the amount of artificial reverb that occurs when sound reverberates off walls in an indirect way. Put simply, Tractrix® horns produce more detailed and accurate sound.
Whether you're watching a movie with the Reference Premiere Series or slaying dragons with Promedia 2,1 Computer Speakers, you can enjoy true audiophile sound with our proprietary pavillon-loaded technology. It's kind of our thing.
“My theories on audio and audio reproduction will be proven wrong only when the laws of physics change.” - Paul W. Klipsch
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