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Paul W. Klipsch, 98

Hope, Ark. – Paul Wilbur Klipsch, founder of one of the first hi-fi speaker companies in the U.S., died here May 5 at age 98.

He developed the Klipschorn speaker, the only speaker in continuous production in relatively unchanged form for more than 50 years, according to Klipsch Audio Technologies. His design sounded more lifelike than previous horn-loaded speakers, said engineering VP Jim Hunter. ‘The Klipschorn had the widest bandwidth per cubic inch going the lowest in frequency for the smallest volume occupied for horn-loaded speakers,’ he said. The Klipschorn ‘would deliver full acoustic power of a live symphony orchestra, and it would do that with only a 10-watt amp.’

Paul Klipsch refined horn speakers ‘with higher efficiency and low distortion, broad dynamics, and a flat frequency response,’ he continued.

His design was called a corner horn because it was intended for placement in corner, using the walls as an extension of the horn to further increase efficiency, the company said.

Klipsch Audio Technologies, now owned by cousin Fred Klipsch, was founded as Klipsch and Associates in 1946, when he began making the Klipschorn speaker by hand until he hired his first employee in 1948. While in the U.S. Army stationed at the Southwest Proving Grounds in Hope, Ark., Klipsch refined his corner horn-speaker design. Visitors to his office quarters were amazed by the speaker’s sound and encouraged Klipsch to start manufacturing them, the company said.

In the 1920s, he designed radios for General Electric.

Klipsch had three patents in ballistics, eight in geophysics, and 12 in acoustics.

The company continues to build its speakers in Hope, but its headquarters is in Indianapolis.