"Efficiency is inversely proportional to distortion"

Paul W. Klipsch

Wait a minute. That isn't music. We beg to differ. The single individual honored on this site who isn't a composer or musician is Paul W. Klipsch. The reason is that he is universally recognized as having laid down the principles that, when adhered to, ensure the finest possible reproduction of music in the home or anywhere. And the above stated principle is the most critical one and which the others follow. His greatest work, the Klipschorn, remains without a remote contender, having been in continuous production, without fundamental design change, since 1946, at the plant he founded in Hope, Arkansas.


The Klipsch Museum of Audio History near Hope, AR contains a wealth of artifacts, papers and other items from PWK's career.

Famous for his good natured (mostly) quips, when asked why he didn't make it smaller his response was, "I'll make it smaller when someone invents a short 32' wavelength." Without compromising sound, size, the design cannot be improved and even the advances in science of 7 decades have not offered any hope that such advances are on the way. The reason is simple: It's based on science and the science was realized by a genius. The 8 principles PWK developed, as corollaries to the above basic principle, are realized in the Klipschorn design.

Paul Wilbur Klipsch was recognized as a genius, and the most important work he did was done in Hope, AR, his adoptive home town. While much will be added here, as time goes on, we'll start with the fact that in graduate school at Stanford University, one of Paul W. Klipsch's classmates mentioned to him that speakers sound better in a corner.

PWK noodled on this during his years in South America, but it was during his military service at the Southwest Proving Grounds located in Hope, AR. that Paul W. Klipsch refined his corner horn speaker design. Visitors to his officer's quarters were amazed by the lifelike reproduction and encouraged PWK to start his own manufacturing business.


PWK had a love for railroading, especially steam, and lived it while working in South America.

In 1946, at the age of 42, PWK initiated his fifth career, He registered the name Klipsch & Associates and began selling his Klipschorn speakers out of tin shed in Hope, AR.


Paul Klipsch personally built his Klipschorn in this tin shed in Hope, AR from 1946 until 1948.

A local cabinetmaker and the Baldwin Piano Company assited Paul in building his first 20 Klipschorn speaker. The age of "hifi" had begun.

"As long as man brags of conquest, man will claim his "great discoveries." To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast growing art of "high fidelity" the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people."

PWK is famous among his admirers for quotes like the one above and many more. While fierce and commanding in appearance those who met him were put at ease with his humor and ability to boil down otherwise complex science in a folksy, humble way. But when it came to "quackery" as described above, he had no patience whatsoever.

In the later decades of his life he always wore the informal company motto "Bullshit" under his suit coat lapel. He would listen to the claims, sometimes from well know persons, for their "breakthrough" loudspeaker. When they crossed the line from science, as put forth in his seminal paper "8 Cardinal Points in Loudspeakers for Sound Reproduction," however, he'd flip over his lapel and display his button right to their faces.

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