Vale: Paul Wilbur Klipsch


2002-01-07 6:02 pm
From the Associated Press.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Paul W. Klipsch, who pioneered high-quality audio systems with the company he founded in Hope, died Sunday. He was 98.

Mr. Klipsch became enamored with audio as a boy after his mother moved the family phonograph into a corner and the sound improved, a company spokesman said. An engineer with patents in acoustics, ballistics and geophysics, Mr. Klipsch founded the company that bears his name in 1946.

Mr. Klipsch created a corner, horn-loaded speaker design that is still in production. The sound moves from the speaker and uses the walls of the room to effectively extend the horn, creating a rich sound that can emulate an orchestral setting.

Born in Elkhart, Ind., in 1904, Mr. Klipsch was stationed at the Hope Proving Grounds during World War II. While in the Army there, he worked to refine the design of his folded corner woofer, the prototype of the "Klipschorn."

He settled in Hope, where, after the war, he bought a building at the old proving grounds and manufactured his first Klipschorn. The building is now the Klipsch Museum of Audio History, with the manufacturing plant nearby.

The company has headquarters in Indianapolis.

After receiving his undergraduate degree, Mr. Klipsch worked for General Electric designing radios, and later he maintained electric locomotives in Chile for the company. After leaving Stanford, he worked in Texas as a geophysicist for an oil company. In the Army, he attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Mr. Klipsch patented his loudspeaker design in 1945.


Paul Klipsch was a giant in audio. I am grateful for his presence on this planet, both for the wonderful speakers he developed (I own a pair of Klipschorns) and mainly for his pioneering work in the field of loudspeaker engineering. Horn design has always interested me, and in recent years when I have had the opportunity to research more thoroughly, time and time again I would find papers that referenced themselves back to PWK's previous work. We are able to see so much further now because we can stand on the shoulders of this giant.
Goodbye O. Gadfly Hurtz

One of the most remarkable men I ever met. I corresponded briefly with him when I was a student. He once ended a letter with the news that he was going to the symphony that weekend to get his ears calibrated. Jocko and I saw him speak once and he was a hoot. One of the giants of the industry and we will never see anyone like him again.



diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
2001-09-18 2:33 am
Connecticut, The Nutmeg State
A giant, by any measure. I do not own Klipschorns, but his work on distortion in loudspeakers is absolutely required reading.

Even if you never own a horn, you should read his articles on Modulation Distortion in Loudspeakers in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society. By understanding WHY horns sound so good, it sets the bar for other loudspeaker designs to attain.