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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Karlson Enclosure
Karlson Enclosure
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Old 11th June 2002, 03:50 PM   #1
Javaman is offline Javaman
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Question Karlson Enclosure


Just discovered this intriguing piece of audio history known as the Karlson acoustic transducer (thanks FETHead):


Has anyone done any real empirical testing of the Karlson design? I did find a Norwegian commercial derivative of the K-Slot concept:


More than a 'cult'? Opinions???
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Old 11th June 2002, 04:49 PM   #2
ThomasW is offline ThomasW
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Had some a LONG TIME ago..

They excel at making any driver installed in them sound equally bad....
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Old 11th June 2002, 04:57 PM   #3
Javaman is offline Javaman
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Makes ANY driver sound like crap....hummmm? Not the most catchy slogan.

Must be some remarkable physics going on - I suspect not exactly what the designer had in mind.

Anyone disagree?
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Old 11th June 2002, 06:35 PM   #4
cyclotronguy is offline cyclotronguy  United States
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Unhappy Carlson

I've had the pleasure (?) of keeping company with an original pair..... they were awful. Anything Altec of the same period, I have heard was far superior.

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Old 11th June 2002, 08:27 PM   #5
cocolino is offline cocolino  Germany
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A have built many Karlson enclosures about 15 years ago in different sizes and also experimented with various drivers.
At that time I found them good because somehow I liked the "fast", tight bass and the high output, though I always felt there was something strange in sound.
Another reason why I have been attracted to build this (I have to admit) is the unusual design which looks really cool.
With increasing experience, more investigations over time and better measurement equipment , I figured what has me disturbed.
The Karlson has some serious resonances upwards around 100Hz or so, with severe frequency and phase response deviations.
Also it does not produce really deep bass.
I consider this design being good for PA purposes only (high output) but would NOT recommend it for serious Hifi.
As I did not want to scrap all the enclosures I produced, meanwhile I changed them to simply closed boxes by closing the upper part behind the exponential shaped front (I always called them "curtains") and added an active EQ with
the Linkwitz circuit. This is far better now, though the "curtain" and the remaining volume in front of the driver still produce some strange frequency response in the upper bass. Because I use them only as subwoofers anymore with a steep 80Hz lowpass cutoff, this does not disturb too much.

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Old 13th August 2002, 11:45 PM   #6
lawriebuck is offline lawriebuck  Australia
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I had an old set of these at a PA Hire company I used to work for.
They were dreadful. I am ashamed (not!) to admit they were the first and last pair of speakers I blew up! Cooked them good.
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Old 14th August 2002, 09:26 AM   #7
peranders is offline peranders  Sweden
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Karlson Enclosure
Have I got it right: The sound waves from the back of the element goes through the inside and a couple of slots and then meet the front of the element? And the sound outlet is a strange (or cool) front with a horn like shape?

Sound waves seems to be mixed, never seen that before.
/Per-Anders (my first name) or P-A as my friends call me
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Old 20th August 2002, 07:32 AM   #8
Thatch_Ear is offline Thatch_Ear  United States
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Default Karlsons?

I have heard that Karlsons can make good subwoofers. That is the only good thing I have heard about them.
So I take it that the proper driver in a properly designed cabinet can do some really good bass. That is a best of story.
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Old 26th February 2003, 08:05 PM   #9
Cobra2 is offline Cobra2  Norway
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Karlson Enclosure Karlson Enclosure
Default Karlson-kit

Hi, all!

I have been thinking on the Karlson-kit, for a (Sub)bass.

See: http://www.karlsonkit.com

Now I need some input on drivers for this, and what freq. I should use as limits...

Arne K
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Old 1st August 2003, 12:49 AM   #10
e.lectronick is offline e.lectronick  United States
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Thumbs up I have to disagree with the Karlson Trashing

I have an original pair of Karlson Ultra Fidelity enclosures loaded with a pair of Stromberg Carlson coax's and personally, I think the sound is wonderful.
True, the resonances and phase shifts are a drawback, but the determined DIY'er can overcome the majority of those problems if they simply design their cabinets correctly. The problem, I think, was that the enclosure was designed to accomodate a wide range of drivers from Altec 604's to Allied or Knight coax's. That's a pretty big difference in performance and parameters.

Nowadays, speaker designers would never design a box with more than one speaker in mind. There are also tweaks written into one of John Karlson's patents "Acoustic Transducers" (patent 3540544) that place focusing elements into the front chamber which aim all of the sound out the flared opening. This reduces the resonances significantly, as sound doesn't have a chance to bounce all around inside the chamber before finding it's way out.

There were also port and shelf mods that further smoothed the response of the cabinets. All of this information can be found at the aforementioned webpage


Personally, I prefer the challenge of using all the available info to build a Karlson design cabinet well for a specific driver (like an 8" Fostex FE206E for instance) and reap the benefits of the design instead of avoiding the cabinet altogether because of it's tarnished image. It's kind of like the DeLorean of the speaker cab world. It was a work in progress that never had time to develop into the butterfly it could've been. Nothing really wrong with it that can't be fixed except for it's reputation.

-Who put the Tribbles in the Quadrotriticale?
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