klipsch cornwall iv upgraded crossovers

I own a pair of cornwalls, amazing speakers they are paired with MC452 power  and a MC 70 tube pre.I play cds only on a yamaha C2100. My question is I hear people talking about upgrades to the crossovers on the corns  and softening the horns with  sound tape . Do any of those changes work,one or the other and do they make it worthwhile. Would like input from anyone who has tried the upgrades and who they used


Just tuning into this interesting conversation now because I’m considering the CW IV’s.

I understand the various factors here. It is hard to see the logic of the CW’s not being improvable, unless the argument is that these speakers were designed without any price point consideration and they just happened to wind up at a mere $6k or so.

My guess is that if you found the engineers who designed these and got a few beers into them, they’d have all kinds of opinions as to how they would have perfected the design if they were allowed to spend more on parts or design. Note -- not what this or that user or DIY person wants to put in, but the designers themselves.

That could be wrong, but I’d be very shocked if they just happened to make the perfect speaker (given the design) at this price.

Thanks Mofojo,

I'm pretty good at speaker placement....these happened to end up at 5' off the frontt wall, 10' tweeter center to tweeter center toed in at approx 6" off each shoulder.  I sit 12' from speaker line and 17 feet off the front wall.  Incredible immersive soundstage...as I said the bass isn't bad and frankly I can live with it.  I have had other systems in other rooms where the bass was so focused and real I'd just like to get closer to that....thinking maybe the Townsend Isolation bars may help.  BTW...I'm on a 6" concrete slab floor carpeted.  Simple cork sandwiches helped.


Mine were lined 100% inside with No-Rez. I ripped it out of one of them to the point of stock and compared them. I preferred the one without the No Rez. The No Rez seemed to suck the life out of them. I left the dynamat on the mid range horn. 


How are your CWs positioned? Mine have slap yo mamma tight bass. 

@ptrck887 , Herbie’s Giant Gliders tightened up the bass for me, as well as making it easier to slide the speakers on hardwood. I affixed one under each corner with double-sided carpet tape.

BTW, I performed the same mods as you, along with swapping in WBT NextGen binding posts, and likewise love the results.

I have been running CW IV's with the Dynamat dampening upgrade as well as the VCap Odum and Path Audio Resistors per Don Sachs suggestions.  I love these speakers!  I still find the bass to be just OK, plenty of it, just a bit flabby and undefined IMO.  I have the CW's five feed out from front wall and have used a McIntosh MC275 VI as well as Pass Labs XA 25....augmented with four REL's, two front two rear.  Even with all RELs off, same sort of presentation.....a bit flabby and undefined.  Don't get me wrong....it's not bad, just could be better.  Surprisingly, with more power, the McIntosh tube amp actually a bit better control of bass than the Pass.  My question is, have any CW IV users experimented with the Townsend Isolation bars and gotten favorable results?  and how do your results compare to no isolation?

Thanks in advance!


if you don't like doing mods, fine. But don't consider a single minute that a Klipsch Cornwall uses state of the art components and that they didn't cheap out on parts. If they didn't, the Cornwall would be unaffordable to most of us.

Swapping crossover components for better DOES make a difference, sometimes huge; the question being "is it always suitable?" as it CAN happen that the voicing actually gets WORSE with upmarket components.

As for damping the horns, well, a horn should be inert, if it isn't (and thin plastic isn't) it can be improved with damping material. Here again, bean counters had the last word. It's free world, do it or don't, but don't call it snake oil as it's very real.

What about dampening the woofer baskets?  Think that would help smooth out the sound a little?  I know a lot of people have done the mid and tweeter.  

I bought Forte iv's instead of Cornwall iv's, because, to my ears, the Forte's had better bass. 

So... does anybody know of anybody that can upgrade Forte iv crossovers or  recommend what capacitors, etc. to use in an upgrade?


I feel like a little kid again playing that game. Remember you whisper into the person next to you after someone tells you something and boom it morphs into something else . What happen to Cornwell IV's crossovers ? I'm happy to see that a post from a year ago, has finally caught on. Thanks 


I generally agree with you on horn coloration.  I was just pointing out some examples which don’t, in my opinion, fit the pattern.  While I would not pick the 16A as my horn, even if I had a room big enough, hearing it was an interesting experience.  
The big problem with currently available horn systems is the compression driver.  I don’t know of many that I like, as compared to vintage drivers, that are not crazy expensive.  I am not saying that modern horn/compression driver combinations are not good sounding, I just don’t find them as good as some 1930-70 drivers.  I particularly like Western Electric, YL, and IPC drivers from the past.

larryi, hearing the inside of the horn is a different matter entirely than what I am talking about. My favorite speakers are horns, but a too large of a horn, based on my listening position, will often lead to " hearing inside the horn ", which is another characteristic I am sensitive to. I cannot get used to it....that echo you speak of. Listen, I am not questioning your listening capability, nor your enjoyment. I prefer a " dead " material for a horn ( or I will deaden it ), and I truly prefer a horn that gets me further away from hearing that inside of a horn sound. Always, and my best, MrD.


While it is hard to separate out the sonic influences of other aspects of a horn’s design, I’ve heard replicas of classic designs where the primary difference was the material used, which means the big difference is resonance behavior.  I recently heard a wooden replica of a Western Electric 22A horn that I liked more than the original and other replicas I’ve heard.  

What has been hard for me to understand are the notable exceptions where the horn rings like mad yet sound very good.  The Western Electric 16A is such a horn.  It is spectacularly massive and made of huge, thin metal parts (you can walk into the opening by crouching just a little bit).  When the music stops playing, you hear a distinct echo that takes more than a second to fade away.  Despite the echo, the sound is not muddy or distorted and the sense of ease (lack of strain) and the large scale of the image is unmatched.  It took me quite a few listening sessions to overcome my initial prejudice from hearing that loud echo.

Shame Al K. is retired. He made me a Universal xover for my 82 Corns. & installed them outside the cabinets. He worked with me & I went with, Altec 511s w/ the 55v driver. Did the dynamat trick to the baskets & new gaskets all around, braced the front baffle & sides, but never did the brace to the rear panel. To me they’re outstanding. Also, I’ve been dealing with Don Sachs for sometime now & I also respect his opinion. Sorry I can’t help you out with who to go to. You can try the Klipsh forum, maybe someone there can help.

I am a fan of the vast array of horns made by Yoshimura Laboratories (YL) when coupled to their compression drivers.  They made metal horns, wood horns and some kind of resin; the horns come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, including horns almost the size of Western Electric 15A horns.  But regardless of shape and size and configuration of the throat, they are consistently free of gross horn coloration—not nasal sounding nor shouty—and they sound smooth and relaxed (no sharp peaks).

I also like a number of Western Electric horns and compression drivers.  Some that sound good to me, like the 15A, are not very practical, but horns like the 32A, are nice sounding compact horns.  I also like Western Electric compression drivers and the currently manufactured replicas by G.I.P. Laboratories.

My own horns are Western Electric 12025 sectoral horns driven by Western Electric 713b drivers.  Those drivers are very hard to find in matched pairs.  My horns are metallic, but I have left them untreated.  They are relatively compact but they are very heavy and the thick metal does not ring much.

@larryi , I am extremely sensitive to these nasties I speak of. I am interested to learn about what you have heard, that were made right. My best, MrD.

Most of the horns I like don’t necessarily require additional damping, including those made of metal or resin or plastic.  I like these horns because they were made right from the start.  But, it doesn’t hurt to try damping if it is reversible.  

 I find non damped horns unlistenable, particularly the metal / aluminum/ plastic type. Most wooden horns I have heard, do not have these issues.  Been damping for 55 years, and there is " a sound " to the ringing / vibration to most horns. My clients have always appreciated the " improvements ". Enjoy, MrD

When first purchased, I listening to them in a prepared showroom .They were in my price range and I liked  the sound. I didn't have hours to spend listening and comparing. And not all music made me yawn. I listen to mostly  rock and roll 60s to 70s and 80s  100pct CD's  I found that better quality recordings were amazing and ok ones  weren't. but that's not the point Trying to make your system sound better is what we do, part of the hobby. My earlier tread in the beginning of this post, lists my changes in equipment and where I am today. I'm very happy with my system BUT always looking to improve it 

If you found the CW IVs to be bright, hard to listen to, and basically fatiguing after 20 minutes why did you buy them in the first place? 


I agree with you that listeners tend to be biased to favor the “improvement” they invested in and may go overboard in a particular direction.  You rarely hear someone say that a particular tweak made the sound worse when any such change should have a fair chance at being for worse.  
When it comes to vibration damping, I’ve experienced where some additional damping was an improvement, but more than that sounds bad; it is NOT the case that more of something good is always better.  I heard a demonstration by a representative from Symposium who put a vibration damping shelf under a CD player and it improved the sound (everyone in attendance agreed).  The next level up in their product line slightly improved the sound.  But, the flagship shelf made the sound too dry and unpleasant; even the Symposium guy agreed the sound got worse.  How could better damping worsen the sound?  I don’t know, but I heard it.

I looked into the upgraded crossovers . There's a store on ebay with good reviews. The problem was you had to take your crossovers out and ship them to him. He also had a long turnaround do to backlog of work. If I could have bought them outright, I would have taken a chance. But without the original  crossovers to go back to NO.

Sorry to chime in late wasn't able to post because my address wasn't on file. But I dampen my IV's a year ago. I used Dynamat 1/4 inch tape .The sound  improvement was clear and very obvious Warmer less squawking much easier to listen to I used to get tired of listening and yawning after 20 mins. The first thing I noticed, was I could listen for an hour without squirming. I stopped yawning and enjoyed favorite cuts with new enthusiasm. Damping involves 35$ and 2 hours of work .It's easy to do and I highly recommend it. And best of all if you don't like, it takes 20 mins. to reverse. I've seen the negativity on some post a lot goes in to good sound. Equipment decent wires room size and acoustics. But  above all quality of recordings.  Naysayers can say what they want but my IV's sound like Six's now.

@larryi well said. Changes are not guaranteed to be improvements and there certainly seems to be a tendency towards more is better. That’s kind of where I was going with bringing cognitive dissonance into the conversation, it provides a behavioral explanation as to why a rational person might go down that path and then vehemently justify their choices.
@rajugsw’s video is a perfect illustration. He took a wonderful sounding speaker, dampened it every way imaginable, and then rebuilt the crossovers that were recently updated for that generation. Fortunately the dampening is reversible, and if the upgraded crossover parts are the same spec as the oem design I don’t think there’s any harm done. If anything the durability should be improved. Would still love to hear a demo since the dampening effects should be apparent on YT audio.

Personally I tend to “trust the chef” but I get why people like to tinker and modify, it’s a fun part of the hobby. Every room is different so it’s not like you can expect everything to be optimized straight from the factory. My mods tend to come through positioning and amplification. I don’t even like to use tone controls, but I see value in them along w advanced room correcting software.  Mostly though I get annoyed when industry people overstate the value of these mods and the assumption that they will result in a noticeable improvement.  

As I said before, these modifications tune the speaker to fit the owner’s particular taste and system, and as such, the changes can be unfavorable.  A local dealer in my area makes custom speaker systems (mostly horn-based) and tuning involves trying external damping of the horn, applying thin felt strips to the inside of the horn, changing the type and amount of damping to the sides of the cabinet, changing crossover parts based on a prospective buyer’s preference, etc.  I get to hear these changes, and any one of them can result in dramatic changes.

The issue I have with the kind of modifications mentioned in the video is that a lot of people assume that certain types of changes are always better—more damping is better, more expensive caps are better than cheap ones, etc.  Additional cabinet damping might make the bass tighter, which one person may like, but someone else might find the sound to be too dry and lifeless.  The type and brand of caps that sound good is likewise subjective.  The custom builder I mentioned above thoroughly hates Mundorf caps in any of his speaker or electronic builds.

If you ever heard the effect of even a tiny change in the level of the midrange and tweeter, you will appreciate the value of L-pad attenuators controlling such drivers.  I don’t understand how manufacturers expect their designs to be optimized to the particular buyer’s taste and room acoustics such that such basic adjustment is not necessary.  The removal of such controls has to be among the worse modern design trends; reversing this by adding back controls would probably be the best modification one can try.


I’m not sure why one would consider posting frequency response curves as the work of a charlatan...it’s literally measured data. I mean, I’m not making a purchasing decision based solely off data, but hey...that’s just me.

For me, blind tests sound cool...but like...I only have so much time in the day. I’m cool with DSP, not spending boatloads on cables, and focusing on engineering. Is it psychoacoustics if I like some thing better than another? Possible. But I’m gonna do what I want, and would love to blind test stuff some day...but I’m not upending my life for it. Too much crap  to do.

And if a guy who builds/designs stereo equipment for a living says a cap is crap, I’m going to believe them. Also, I would tend to trust caps with different (exotic) materials with tighter manufacturing tolerances over ones made in China. FYI, I have a set of Genesis Technologies monitors and those have RelCaps in the crossover. The same caps Audio Research uses in a lot of their equipment. Are those two companies full of charlatans? I’d say no, but everyone has an opinion.

Also, those Genesis Technologies monitors sound damn fantastic (for a number of different reasons). Oh, and my Vandersteen high pass filters have Teflon caps in them. EIther RelCaps or Mundorf, I can’t remember off hand.

@larryi funny enough, I was at the local Klipsch Heritage dealer in town and he swears the Cornwalls sound better with solid state gear. He has his powered by a rebuild/refurbished Marantz 2330 receiver. Different strokes for different folks (I mean, I love my ProAcs with an SET amp), but I would have thought tubes would have been the ticket (although Marantz is known for their warm house sound).

Actually never mind, I just found this guys video comparison Dynamat mod on Klipsch. Personally I think it sounded better before, less muffled.  Yes, different speaker but I think I’ve gotten my answer on that particular mod, the difference was actually more pronounced than I was expecting.  

@eoj4952 Check out my Video. Crites has the Xover Cap values online but never measured the Inductors. I changed everything and updated the Xover to include the Inductor Value. It's all in my Video,


So, your comparisons of DACs on YT were scientifically controlled blind tests?  You were able to verify that the person making the video properly controlled all variables and your own evaluation was blind and you had enough samples to reach some level of confidence in the results?

I’ve participated in blind tests, including DACs, so I am confident that their are meaningful difference (though not at .05 confidence level), but, that does not mean everything outside of such testing is delusional.  It is unfair to insist on blind testing to prove modifications are efficacious, while insisting that YT videos should be provided by modifiers when there is no evidence (blind testing?) that YT videos can make differences, or lack thereof, evident.

@wrm57 start with this Click here. You are fooling yourself if you think I’m the one being closed minded.  Ive done a ton of blind testing. I make a conscious effort to be as objective as possible when it comes to evaluating gear.  I don’t dismiss something as junk because it’s made in China or is less expensive or because some “expert” said so. I also consider behavioral explanations behind opinions. Do you?  

@perkadin , wow, that's one mighty high horse you trot around on. Prove it to you? You've got to be kidding me. I've already proven it to myself. I have no interest in proving anything to you.

The OP asked for the experiences of people who tried these mods. I saw no mention of wanting the opinions of self-important, bloviating skeptics who have not tried the mods but are nonetheless convinced they do not work. No one is selling anyone anything here, so please back off with your suspicions and sophomoric psychologizing. Closed minds, closed ears. Good luck with that.


I suppose it depends on what one calls “subtle” and “obvious,” but if something has to survive YT treatment to constitute a meaningful improvement, I will agree that most modifications won’t pass the test.  It is up to each owner whether any improvement is worth the cost and effort.  It is not up to some self-appointed expert on cognitive dissonance to shame those who find such changes desirable.

Yep blame YouTube. Blame the recording equipment. Typical excuses. And some of those reviewers use very high end equipment and even include links to non compressed audio. What nobody seems to be willing to acknowledge is that these changes typically produce differences that are so subtle that it’s hard to even notice a change let alone conclude that they’ve made an improvement.

While I’d love to be able to home demo everything that’s just not realistic. YouTube isn’t ideal but at least it’s something. My findings from dac comparisons conducted at home were very much in line with what I heard in YouTube videos. I’ve also found YouTube useful for most speakers and amps, but I still demo in person before purchasing whenever possible.
I think some of you guys really need to be honest with yourselves before posting on here and making claims you know are unlikely to be challenged. You also need to educate yourself on cognitive dissonance and other forms of bias that influence how you feel about subjective tiny differences. I get you might be feeling distressed because you spent a ton of time & money on something that nobody else seemed to notice, but don’t make it worse by influencing others to do the same.


It is not like using lossy MP3 videos,; it is MUCH worse.  With any video you are hearing the gear in the video, the room, the recording gear, etc., before you even consider what the audience is using for playback.  Even if the person shooting the video is a recording engineer, the sound would differ based on the technique employed.  I also doubt that $5,000 microphones were used for the recording.  

I think you were being too kind in omitting words like “idiotic” in your put down of auditions via YT.

There are thousands of audio videos on YouTube, some of them with terrific A/B comparisons.

I'll never understand why people think they know what something sounds like based on a lossy YT video. It's like using mp3 files as demo tracks.

It is true that low cost parts do not necessarily mean bad sound or a substantial compromise in sound quality.  At its price point, the Cornwall cannot be built without some cost cutting and savvy design means making the right choices on where to use “cheap” parts.  But, to suggest that those who substitute parts or modify the design to improve its performance or better suit their preference are just “fickle” and must meet some kind of blind testing criteria to justify their choice is unreasonable.  First, it is a personal choice and does not have to meet a long term market-supported approval measure.  Second, is there any evidence that Klipsch applied blind testing for every one of their design choices?  I bet they do what most of us do; they listen to the results.  I am sure Klipsch designers hear many improvements that they chose not to adopt because of cost, manufacturing difficulty, or some other practical consideration.  Those consideration may not be in play to stop an individual from making a modification.

@wrm57 so prove it.  If it’s not subtle then it should be easy to demonstrate in a video comparison.  Please note, I’m not expecting you to actually tear apart one of your speakers just to prove a point, but I think your claim is absolutely worthless without some type of demonstration. There are thousands of audio videos on YouTube, some of them with terrific A/B comparisons. But it’s almost always different speakers or different amps which show audible differences. I’ve never seen any audio tweak or cable videos with actual sound demos. I wonder why 🤔

Klipsch used cheap parts in the xover and the binding posts are a joke. Face it, most of their client base is not into truly high-end audio, so why spend on ultra-premium parts? It would make no business sense. Subbing in great parts makes these good speakers great. This I know for a fact, having done it and heard the difference, which was not subtle.

@atlvalet id be less skeptical if one of these charlatans had the conviction to post before and after videos so we could A/B the difference. And not a bunch of useless graphs like Danny. Actually A/B the before and after with various songs in a controlled test. I also have no idea what obvious horn resonance you are referring to. If it’s so obvious please try and isolate the sound and share with the group. Im sure the guys at Klipsch would also appreciate this discovery.

As for things like “cheap Chinese” caps and crossover components, it’s the same rationale as generic cable vs pricey esoteric stuff, if the cheaper components do the job there isn’t much need to pay up, aside from placating a small, fickle group of audiophiles.
Sorry if I come across harsh but I’m just so sick of people pushing snake oil without proper blind testing. So many of the ideas revolve around cognitive dissonance and reviewer bias and lack actual merit. Klipsch has literally been making Cornwalls since 1959 and horn speakers since the 40’s, and not a single model uses sound deadening material on the horns. Yet Im supposed to take your word for it, because some other guy said it was a good idea? Hard pass, I’d rather listen to them as they were engineered to sound.

Modifications mean “tuning” the component to your taste and to work better with your other components.  That means that any particular change may not be an improvement.  Make sure that any change can be reversed.  Damping horns is something easily done and reversed.  Likewise, putting thin felt strips in the horn opening can be tried and reversed.  If you are going with crossover modifications, make sure that the modifier gives you back the old parts so you or someone else can undo the change.

The biggest change, most probably for the better, would be to find a suitable tube amplifier.  Take your time hearing alternatives. I know it is a matter of taste and system synergy, but, I find the MC 275 mentioned as a suggestion to be less than mediocre, particularly given the price.  There are many low power tube amps that would work well with these speakers.

@perkadin I mean, you may not like the DIY thing, but you can clearly hear the resonance in the horn. That horn is agitated as the sound waves cascade out of the horn. Now, is that enough to affect the sound? No idea. You'd need to test and/or listen.

Now, will the dampening make a difference? An improvement? Are you over-dampening the horns with the Dynamat? Not sure. You'd need to test and/or listen.

But saying that if the Cornwalls needed it, the engineers would have put something different than the $5 Chinese MKP caps in the Cornwall crossover would be a silly point. They're cheap caps in speakers that retail for 6 grand. That's something bean counters do, not engineers.

FYI, I exchanged emails with Don (he’s awesome, BTW), and in addition to the Dynamat on the horns, the crossover mod basically consists of replacing the cheap Chinese caps with VCap ODAMs (which I know Don has made clear he’s a fan of) and the sand resistor.

He also suggested putting some sort of damping material on the inside base of the speaker.

Thought people would want to know :)

No, just no. I’m not wrapping my horns or doing any other ridiculous tweaks. I think the 4th gen Heritage lineup sounds great from the factory, the last thing I’m doing is trusting some diy audio fanboys over the engineers at Klipsch that have been refining these designs since the 50’s. If the horns needed dampening they would have addressed it by now.

Is there a link to what exactly Don Sachs did?

I did an Internet search and couldn't find anything.


Hey, a year later. I used sound deadening tape to sutile the sound of my Cornwall IVs. Look it up on You tube. Best thing  I ever did. Best speakers out there for under 10,000 There amazing. Every upgrade makes you WONDER They just get better.

What do these baskets slip over the originals I think I know the old ones don't come off right 

It was good that pryso mentioned it. Yes, the basket. Google " woofer basket ", and you will see the baskets, naked. Hope you are of proper age, lol.

Being a newbie, Reading the post I would think damping the cones. Just curiosity,  what and where is the metal woofer box.