Vancouver Audio Festival 2018: Klipsch Heritage pairs with McIntosh for vintage vibe

Time travellers.

I can remember seeing my first pair of Klipschorns many years ago, and being entranced by their majesty, their size, their build quality, and most importantly their sound. A sound which seemed to be calling across oceans of time from an era when immediacy, speed, and tone were heralded as the gods of high fidelity, and seven watts of 300B amplification would get you wherever you wanted to go.

MA 252 by McIntosh Labs.

Fast forward to this past weekend at the Vancouver Audio Festival here in Vancouver which was hosted by Hi-Fi Centre, and there, once again, I found myself facing a pair of Klipsch loudspeakers, albeit in the form of a pair of Heresy IIIs being fed from a McIntosh Labs MA 252 integrated hybrid vacuum-tube preamplifier/solid-state power amplifier with 100 watts/8 Ohms. Streaming high-res files from a Sonos, and getting fed analog signal from a Pro-Ject Classic turntable, this was a simple, rich-sounding system with a low box count. Perfect for a home, or condo in the city where space is often at a premium, but offering a gorgeous, vintage-vibe look with modern digital conveniences.

Coverage of the Vancouver Audio Festival is brought to you by Hi-Fi Centre.
Heritage Klipsch Heresy III.

Having owned a pair of Heresy IIs many years ago (which even though in their version III guise, are still built by hand in Hope, Arkansas), paired with an old NAD 3020, and a Rega Planar turntable, I was no stranger with their sonic signature which is a familial one if you’ve heard anything like the aforementioned Klipschorn, or the company’s La Scala, or Cornwall loudspeakers. High-fidelity pioneer Paul Klipsch’s folded-horn loudspeaker designs are all about lifelike reproduction from source, and when paired with appropriate electronics have the ability to transport the listener to the original recorded event in a unique, and rather addictive manner.

Simple system, great sound.

While I’ve read, and talked with many Klipsch owners who love to modify their speaker’s crossovers, I’ve always heard original versions, and never had an issue with what I’ve experienced from these timeless designs. Yes, the sonics have a vintage flavour to them, no they don’t do the lowest bass, or the most open top end, but what between those two is real, honest, organic, blazingly fast on leading edges of notes, and as I said, when paired with curated electronics, and a musical source, has the ability to bring the performance into the room with the listener.

Check back again for more coverage from the Vancouver Audio Festival.

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


  1. I forgot to say,i had paired my jvc ql 7 with a sony xl55 moving coil….made those analog direct to discs pop.
    Im sorry, when a band like the stones still record in analog….is it not saying something?

  2. Cedup,

    You say that Vintage sound. funny obsolete, and not as good as todays sound. Sound is subjective. Everybody has their own tastes. If you think modern sound if the end all, fine. But to make a comment that vintage sound is junk. LOL !!! Thanks for enlightening us. You sure haven’t heard any good vintage sound systems. Now tell us all how MP3’s are the perfect sound.

    • My youth…ahhhhanolog!.
      I had LaScala speakers, a jvc QL7 turntable specially ordered from Japan but i could never find or afford the Mac amp i wanted.
      Japanese power, clean enough but solid state….poor me.
      It shook tje whole house and part of the neighbourhood.

  3. I loved almost everything about my modified cornerhorns. I got rid of the 3/4 inch rough plywood surround on the squawker (midrange horn) by having a whole new piece built out of 1″ MDF that was behind the opening of the squawker. Looked better than stock with no grill as well. Had the crossover wired with all silver wire (probably a mistake) but did not alter the original otherwise. also replaced internal cabling and had Cardas Rhodium binding posts mounted by the crossover, which meant if you wanted to transport the 2 pieces of cabinet separately you had to unsolder the connections to the woofer. Replaced the tweeter with Bob Crites sourced tweeter as he should know as well as anyone what is correct. Sound was great vinyl. 28 watts of triode VAC power. Bi-wire Goertz AG-1 wire. Too much silver for digital even with tube DAC.

  4. “Vintage” sound!! Funny, ie. obsolete, and not as good as better designs from today. the BS never ends. Like old cars, “vintage”, nope, just old obsolete junk

    • Everyone has different tastes in music, and what their ears prefer to hear. PTA welcomes every type of music lover, and sonic preference. Bad mouthing something because it’s different is lame, and small-minded as it gets. The only BS here comes from pathetic, Internet trolls who are so insecure in their own choices that they feel a compulsion to put others down.

      Long live vintage, long live horns, long live electrostats, two-ways, modern designs, analog, digital, tape… all of it. Listen to music, and love every minute of it.

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