Top positive review
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Realistic sound and true orchestral dynamics
on February 28, 2013
Audiophiles used to like to sneer at Klipsch designs- old fashioned, they said. Horns? Who uses horns? Horns are for PA systems. All they have going for them is efficiency, and who needs that is this day of 400-watt FET amplifiers? Until, that is, a few audiophiles rediscovered the wonders of simple, single-ended tube designs. Suddenly, 3 and 5 watt triode amps powered by surplus Western Electric 300B tubes were all the rage. Problem was, those flea-watt amps wouldn't get much output from a pair of $120,000 WIlson Audio speakers. What do do? And someone remembered Klipsch.
Company founder Paul Klipsch was famous for saying (among other things) "What this country needs is a good five watt amp," and he was saying it long before the triode renaissance. Whereas most sealed box speakers have efficiencies of between 2 and 5%, horns can deliver up to 33% efficiency. The La Scalas have a sensitivity of 105dB/Watt @ 1 meter, which is astounding for a Hi-Fi speaker. Consider that the Wilson MAXX, which costs $69,000, produces 90dB/watt- that's a 30:1 difference! The La Scalas can produce sound levels with a 20 watt amplifier that would require A *600* watt amplifier with the Wilsons.
Efficiency isn't everything of course, but it is a lot. You may not want to play music at levels that will make your neighbor's house shake, but it you listen to orchestral music you'll need a system capable of great dynamic range to reproduce the full range of the orchestra- everything from those ppp solo violin parts to a full fff crescendo. A live orchestra can produce a dynamic range of 70dB, or 10,000,000:1 sound level ratio- and well-mastered CD or LP can capture that. That's pretty astounding, and its the reason that a lot of high powered audio systems that can reproduce heavily compressed pop music fail miserably on orchestral material. Even a pair of those $69,000 Wilsons and a pair of 400-watt amps are going to have trouble creating a realistic orchestral sound stage- but the La Scalas can do this with 100 watts or less.
What makes the La Scalas particularly attractive today is that they're really very affordable by today's standards. Sure, they're not for everyone. But if you have the room for them, and the budget, the La Scalas can deliver an orchestral reproduction few other speakers can touch at ten times the price.