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Karlson speakers.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Rockbobmel, Jul 1, 2002.

  1. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    I want to post this link, but I can't get it to work. These speakers were made in the 50's & 60's.
    I'm sorry but you have to search for "Karlson Speaker", then click on results for the home page.

    This could be something "WAY COOL!!!"

    The math to this is way over my head, but someone here, I know, could decypher it.

    They have a K18T model in the works.
  2. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
  3. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    I got the plans and cutting schedule for the Karlson 15 or 12 eclosure. It uses 1 sheet of 3/4 plywood, plus an extra small shelf piece. I have to wait till I can borrow a wood shop..... Does anyone know what speakers work well in them?? I think they are not specific, but with all this knowledge here, someone has to have an idea...
  4. Awww man, those designs are long outdated and obsolete! Those are even before ported cabs were invented, long before any knowledge existed on cabinet design. There's a reaon why most cabs are ported nowadays.... it has to do with the better sound they produce ;)
  5. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    Hi Joris,
    They were very complex in design. I don't have the hyperlink, but if you do a google search for Karlson speakers, they have a homepage.
    Could it be the cost rather than design?? I am dying to hear them again. I heard them 30+ years back. The bass was outstandingly clear and punchy. It was prolly 1968 or so. There were all kinds of cabs like clamshell, opposing phase, etc.
  6. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    I'm interested on hearing more about these speakers as well...

    hey, I noticed that you are from Greenfield... There's famous bassist/comedian from there:penn Gillette from Penn and Teller.

    Actually I went to Eaglebrook a while back, so I remember Greenfield fondly....

  7. julioone

    julioone Guest

    Jun 20, 2001
    Suring, WI, USA
    I have a friend who uses a Karlson speaker. Im my opinion it is one of the best sounding speakers that I have heard. I know there are people who either love or hate these cabs but I love the sound. Stanley Clark Used to use a speaker set up using two Karlsons. I attached the newer temporary Karlson Home Page. It isn't the greatest site but there is a good forum and lots of information on the cabinets. I am planning on making a 15 using a JBL e-145 driver. A guy on the Karlson Forum said it would proabably work fine in the cab. I also bought building plans off E-bay. There are plans on the Karlson site as well.

  8. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    Penn was in my graduating class, Also Michael Motion, the famous juggler. I knew both of them. These guys were real clowns. Penn is the same now as was then. I did not know he played bass.
  9. Karlson designed his speaker cabinet around 1950, IIRC. This was before any scientifically sound method for cabinet design existed. Electronic calculators were not available to the public until 1961 (so I doubt their complexity). It was more trial-and-error than science. Thiele and Small changed all that with their mathematical model of low frequency drivers, although their work is IMO somewhat overrated, moreover because they didn't do all the work themselves. They were part of a team, but they happened to be the ones to publish the results. Their effort included a method to calculate an enclosure using an electronic calculator.

    Nowadays, in our computer aided world, with many (wo)man-years of research and the further development and perfecting of mathematical models, within reach of practically everybody with a PC, and with very advanced measurement equipment and analysis software, I seriously doubt Karlson cabinets can even begin to compete with modern day cabinets in terms of frequency response, power handling, large signal response, cone excursion handling, transient response, etc.

    That doesn't mean you can't like their sound. Not at all! I liked the Karlson sound when I had a set of them when I was a teenager. Until I built a well-calculated ported cabinet.

    BTW Too little attention is paid to the fact that the Karlson cabinet only works with drivers with very specific Thiele/Small parameters. There is a list of drivers known to give good (subjective) results.

    In my opinion (and past time experience) a Karlson sounds wooly, loose and bloated. Like a badly damped transmission line or a too-large closed cabinet. Having said that, I never has access to or money for a driver that was known to work with the Karlson design.

    My 2 Eurocents.
  10. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    I only want to say that I feel that because electronic calculators were absent, does not mean that advanced math was not done. There were slide rules. And they were not inaccurate in the least.
    For instance, I work in survey. We use electronic distance measuring that is very quick, but not more accurate. Surveyors used to chain between mountains and come within millimeters.(I don't have the text here, so I can't back my staement). It was extremely accurate, however. It was just more painstaking.
    So, my gut tells me not to discount Karlson's complexity yet. At least not prior to investigation.
  11. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
  12. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I used Karlson designs with an 15 ev,
    and jbl, in the early eighties. It worked
    great for throwing the sound out to the
    back of the room. VERY HARD TO HEAR IT
    up on stage. The sound didn't form till
    it was way out there. It sucked up on stage.
    At the time, it was all I could afford.
    Speakers and boxes are sooo much better now.
    We used them more on tour for long throw.
  13. Dusty Nash

    Dusty Nash Guest

    Jul 25, 2011
    Antique thread, so I don't know if it will jumpstart.
    My experience is very similar to B Strings.
    In the early to mid 80's I was playing bi-amped through a Gauss 18" Karlson bottom and a 2-10" top. I was regularly getting complaints that I was rupturing spleens in the back of the room and I could barely hear myself onstage. The Karlsons seem to behave like a front-loaded folded horn to a good degree, but with a slightly shorter throw.

    The old Gauss cabinets went away eventually, and I went back to 15" bottoms. In retrospect it would have been handy to keep the bottom around. In it's designed throw range it seemed pretty efficient, and could be used to round out a ported/reflex rig for larger rooms
  14. pgk


    Aug 19, 2007
    well, all i can say to the negative responses is that i semi-regularly play 2nd guitar in a friend's band and his bassist uses a homebrew and heavily braced Karlson 15 cab. built like a concrete block. no problem ever hearing him on the tiniest stage and it sounds fantastic at any volume. very present mids and very deep bottom. he had a high power JBL in there for awhile (his dad is a pro sound guy and cabinet builder) now i think it's a Beyma or 18 Sound. homebrew dual showman type pre with a 1200watt carvin power amp that barely ever breaks a sweat. that rig needs for nothing at all in any department. personally i'd love to have one myself.
  15. pgk


    Aug 19, 2007
    linkie no workie
  16. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    FIRST - Saying that speaker cabinets could not be designed properly without electronic calculators is the most ridiculous thing I have heard in a long time. The friggin' SR-71, still the fastest plane in the world, was designed using slide rules.

    I have built a Karlson back in the 60's and had another one that was made by Acoustic, I think.

    Mine was much larger, has a 15" Altec co-ax in it, and still sounds VERY good and can be driven loudly with 5 Watts. The Acoustic cab was much more compact and it did not have the low bass. It still seemed very efficient with a very long throw.

    The Karlson cab was VERY hard to make - there are so many pieces.

    There is so much power now available and such hi-tech drivers, that the Karlson now seems un-necessary. My Schroeder 1212L cab is about 1/8 the size of my Karlson and probably as loud or louder.

    The point is that the old Altec Voice of the Theater enclosures were amazing also, but you could never fit one in your car.
  17. topcat2069


    Dec 2, 2007
    Palm Springs
    Acoustic Control made a 1 15 combo the used the Karlson design.

    did a quick search and found this:

    Attached Files:

  18. Great help here! Thanks Scouse! :)
  19. Muziekschuur


    May 25, 2009
    I do own a homebuild 4x10 karlson enclosure. I use it for bass.
    Big bulky mdf build enclosure...
  20. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    Got any pics???


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