Klipsch Heresy II thin bass and somewhat rough sound, possible long damp chilly storage
I recently bought a pair of Klipsch Heresy II speakers. The drivers looked, felt, smelled and sounded good. And they were cheap because the cabinets had some modest water damage.
In the listening room: The bass was thin and the sound somewhat rough compared to my Mirage SM-3s and Polk Monitor 7s. I tried them with Carver TFM-55x 380 watt SS amp, a Dyna Stereo 70 (unmodified original) and a Philips 784 20 watt receiver from the 1970s. They sounded sharp and snappy with great definition and high end transients but the general musicality was just awful with horrid soundstage and smeary wimpy bass. Clarinets sounded like trumpets. Violins screamed and cellos sounded like trombones. What a mess. Excepts with the old low power Philips. With it they sounded quite nice with rock and chamber jazz. But vocals still stank. Grainy and harsh. You get the idea: The reminded me of excellent PA Speakers. And the least bit of vinyl crackle was exaggerated, not reproduced accurately, EXAGGERATED! (For me this is the deal breaker. Deep breath.)
So, as I expected better of $1000 speakers from Klipsch, I took a really good look. Ah, there was that water damage. Perhaps the cabinet seals were compromised? So I caulked them up. Make sure the seals were tight all around. Re-assembled. Drivers sealed. Yes, some of the mid-range roughness was gone. Odd, because I don't see the connection to midrange. Perhaps there was a subtle cabinet vibration before? But still no giant killers. Wimpy bass, sad soundstage. Ugh!
So I really cranked them all day with funk, disco and rap while I was out of the house for the day. Not that I don't appreciate rap. But all things in moderation. And it seems like the woofers are loosening up a bit. A bit warmer bass. A bit deeper. Mids even cleaner.
Theory: Perhaps these speakers lived on a concrete floor in the basement (water damage) for 20 years (capillary action not soaking) getting stiff and brittle sounding and need to be broken in all over again. The surrounds are in great shape. The drivers look pristine. But the woofers are HEAVILY DAMPED. One would expect this from the sealed cabinet design. BUT, I mean, HEAVILY DAMPED. The opposite of the Mirage SM-3s, more like PA speakers. My guess is the bass was rolling off at 70 or 80 Hz when I got them. After a day of funk, they are down to 60.
Any thought or suggestions other than pumping the bass through for another few days? They do seem to like being driven hard.
And I will add, just to appease Klipsch fans, used in a 5.1 surround sound as the front speakers after a day of funk, the midrange and highend are, I'll admit it, AWESOME. And with a center speaker the soundstage is tolerably good. And the 3 sub-woofers patch the deep bass, but without them. That cold anemic bass... Oy vey!