Infinity Kappa 9 S EMIT not functioning or Hearing Loss?

First post after lurking for a couple years, so please be gentle.

I recently acquired a set of Kappa 9s. I know, I know, "amp killers," "poor design," etc. I'm having fun with them for now, so I'm willfully overlooking that part. Currently bi-amped with Audio Research Dual 75 running the top end. A more "budget" 2 channel solid state amp I pillaged from my home theater setup is temporarily running the bottom end with the bass extension of the 9s switched to off.

Question. Is it possible the frequency range of the S EMIT up top is out of my hearing range? I play test tones and the top of my range is somewhere between the 14kHz and 15kHz, but I don't think it's coming from them, rather the EMIT below. This is the case with the S EMIT on BOTH speakers. 

I used my 8 year old as a test subject and he said he can definitely hear sound emanating from the top S EMIT, starting around 19kHz. Being the skeptic I am, can I trust that he's hearing from the S EMIT and not the EMIT below?

I thought the S EMITs were crossed over around 10kHz, so I should hear something from them. I'm really far from a technical wizard or electrical expert. Physically digging into and testing crossovers and whatnot is a bit over my head.

There's another forum that has seems to have a more Infinity focused following, but I can't seem to create an account or search the site for whatever reason, so I'm turning to the experts here.


P.S. I've learned SO MUCH from you all, reading most of the top discussions delivered to my inbox every night for the last 2+ years.  




When EMITs fail, they usually buzz but they are subject to total failure at times. Put a towel over the lower one and see if you can hear the upper tweeter.

Failure of the EMIM and EMIT drivers is not uncommon. Paul McGowen had to rebuild a lot of the drivers in the pair of IRS-V's he bought.

Do they sound dull in the treble region to you? I have had ribbon supertweeters, and you can't hear them when you put your ear to them.

Thanks for the tip @russ69. Don't know why I didn't think of that simple approach. I think I can sort of hear something, definitely not pronounced out of one. Nothing out of the other. I ran some test tones on each speaker individually and used a frequency measuring app on my phone. The speakers both play between 10kHz and 21kHz at more or less identical levels.

As an aside, it's weird to watch an instrument measure something you cannot hear. Nevertheless, I can see it's producing the frequencies (whether it's emanating from the S EMIT or not), so I'm just going to roll with it and enjoy the show!

I feel like I'm blowing through my music library toying with these, need to find some new tunes to enjoy!

Thanks again.

@roxy54 i didn't see your post until now. Thank you for the insight, that's actually very comforting! They sound great, so I was quite curious about what I could possibly be missing.

@richardt9000 hi!  

on the component side of things (not your hearing) clean the pots, look at the crossovers to make sure everything looks OK.

Speaking from experience with my betas. I could trace a situation with mine and I thought it was my ears (I lost some frequencies on my left ear/medical situation). I thought it must be my hearing loss. 

I decided to open the crossover box and found that a cap was not soldered. On the Betas the crossover components hang down and are held in place with what looks to be hot glue. I soldered back, affixed other components that looked weak. 

MAGIC was back!

inwish there was a way to test the crossover components and drivers without disconnecting them (everything is “hardwired” on the Betas). 

forget about all the hoopla about amp killer, etc. if you enjoy the way the reproduce music… enjoy them. 

BTW you should contact Bob Douglas and ask him your concern with the driver. 

I started a thread about IRS Beta, there might be other Kappa owners there

Richard, how old are you?  Have you been exposed to loud noise (work, concerts, hobbies)?

My hearing is done by 14kHz, but I'm 63.

The EMITs are around 3.2-4 ohms, so you can check for continuity.  Have your son use a paper towel tube between his ear and the drivers to help isolate them.

I've had a few of the older Infinity speakers and luckily never had a driver fail.  Never blew an amp either, well, except for that old Kenwood...

@ross6860 is there a way to measure the drivers accurately without de-soldering the wires?  I have assumed that connected you might be measuring the driver and the crossovers. (Accountant here not engineer 😜)

@ervikingo Not that I'm aware.  I would cut a lead and re-solder.  Soldering on an old EMIT tab can be a challenge if you aren't careful.

Stupid question.

How do you respond to a member so that they get a notification?

Typing @membername does not appear to work.

@ross6860 i hear ya. That’s why I have not messed with mine. Just visual inspection and sticking my ears to them. 

regarding your other question; I have no idea but it would be nice if it worked. 

@ervikingo I get notifications by email.  Looks like the drop-down member list is used instead of typing in the members name.

fyi- It’s a cheap (almost) free process to measure a speaker’s frequency response to see if something is "broken". RTA apps are free (or cheap) for phone/tablet and you can burn test tones (including pink noise) onto a CD Rom (useful) only if you have a CD player).

Play pink noise from your player and place the microphone about 3’ away from each speaker. In the case of tweeters, make sure the mic is placed on axis with the tweeter in that the sounds are pretty directional. This will tell you right away if a chunk of the signal is missing, or attenuated. If you don't have a CD player, and have a spare phone/tablet you can use it as a source. Just use a direct connection to the inputs.

There is also a "no desoldering needed" method to see if you have a bad driver vs crossover issues.

Download a frequency measurement app like Spectroid onto your phone and check the suspect speaker using a classical music selection that has a lot of high frequency. Maybe Rhespighi’s first movement of "The Pines." Test the speakers against each other by switching the balance between them with the signal set to mono.


Get a copy of the Stereophile Text Disc CD and run the high frequency track switching between the channels.

That should tell you whether that EMIT is functioning or not.

Wow, so much activity since I last visited.

To hit a few quick points first. I’m 43 and only real possible environmental damage I can think of is that I was a teen in the late 90s with a couple 12" subs in my car, which I rocked until the late ’00s. I definitely didn’t go as a hard as others I know who actually did damage their hearing - I actually cared about sound quality over quantity. I’m also a corporate accountant, so nothing work related. Only been to a few concerts/shows that left my ears ringing for a few hours after - one of them was definitely worth it. ;-)

To at @bpoletti post, I actually had already done exactly what you are referring to using the Spectroid app, zoomed in to ~10kHz to 35kHz, playing the High Frequency Response Test by myNoise via Tidal on each speaker. I should figure out how to post those screen shots. That’s how I know for sure each speaker is reproducing frequencies approaching 22kHz. I just can’t hear anything above 14 to 15kHz. I guess my question related to that would be, are the regular EMITs able to produce those frequencies, or does it more or less have to be coming from the S-EMIT if it’s that high?

Regarding removal to inspect the board/crossover/pots (I’m not a technical guy, forgive me if that’s the wrong terminology), how do I do that? I took the rear bezel off, but it appears sealed in there somehow. I took off the lower front woofer and moved the fill away to see the board. I didn’t have the lluevos to push or pull it out.

I’ve seen Bob Douglas referenced on other threads and on other sites, so I may do that at some point, just to see what his thoughts are.

This is all very welcomed discussion - thank you!




Keep in mind that this is a very course troubleshooting method that detects "broken" stuff and not items that are working, but not quite up to speed.

Audio signals to the speakers are AC. So, a basic multimeter will measure the audio signal. If you have a driver that is "quiet" there should be a presence of AC at the driver terminals iF the signal is arriving from the crossover. Just put any static signal (pink noise, or test tone) at the speakers input terminals and you should have some value there. If not, you most likely have a problem upstream somewhere. If this is the case, you can also inject the signal from a test amp (small amp/receivers work well for this) and inject signal directly to the raw driver as an additional test. Make sure the speaker is disconnected from your main amp. In the case of a tweeter, you may want to connect a capacitor (4-7uF) inline just to be safe. If the raw driver plays, you have a working driver, not necessarily a optimum driver, but a working driver.

I’m not an engineer, but have used this method for some time.

My wife had been out of town and just confirmed something is not right. Slight buzz/rattle out of one when bass hits (not playing loud) and muted jumble out of the other - certainly nothing resembling "sparkle" @ervikingo described. Strangely, I can now hear it, but I was listening to actual music this time, not test tones.

Not fun, but I guess it's part of the vintage game. I stopped modding cars not long ago because I was tired of working on them when stuff inevitably met their limit. At least that I could do that myself. Time to start learning/tinkering with audio.


Before you go into too many crazy steps, swap speakers left to right and see iof the particular noise stays with the speaker (to rule out a system problem other than the speakers)

That is some sage advice, @ervikingo, Thank you! Hopefully I can get back to playing with my toys before next weekend.

Make certain that all of the screws on the driver frames are tight. That needs to be done on a regular basis.

@richardt9000 You'll get it worked out.  The technical skills of even a mediocre backyard mechanic are sufficient to work on speakers (amps and stuff, not so much).

If you can work on classic cars you can figure out any speaker crossover/driver issues without any problems.  There's a website out there with the Infinity crossover schematics.  I don't have the link handy since I sold all my Classic Infinity stuff.

Those are nice classic speakers and worth the effort.  Best of luck.