View Full Version : Test reveals one 12” Knight driver beats many respectable speakers, is it possible?

10-20-2012, 07:41 PM
I tested older probably 1950’s Allied Radio Corporation (Chicago, Illinois) speakers model KN19011 (that’s how it stamped on the back panel).

There's only a single driver inside - Knight 12 inch 8 Ohms driver. Then seem to be in pristine original condition.

Walnut veneer enclosure is standard high 24”, but very wide 18-1/4” (considering only 12” driver), and deep 16-1/4”, that make total volume is quite large, and I always say that size matters.

Another interesting thing is that I see no x-over and capacitors. Terminal wires go directly into driver, no any electronics jumble-mumble to deal with.

Test results:

To my total surprise, Knight plays absolutely great. Very full-volume sound, clean & detailed, super great bass, not boomy. And most amazed me that they are very sensitive / efficient.

At first, put them against Original large Advent and Dynaco A-25. OLA and A-25 are great, everyone knows that. However, it was no match. It’s like Middleweight boxer against Lightweight, different category. When OLA and A-25 set volume on 11:00 o’clock, Knight should be put down to about 9:30 and 9:00 to have the same volume output.

Ok, Knight is efficient, so I put them against Heresy II. No match again. Still Middleweight / Lightweight sound difference. And Knight still much more efficient – when Heresy on 11 o’clock, Knight should be on 10 o’clock.

Well, what can I do? Put Knight against Forte I. And only here are are talking about real comparison. Both are Middleweight boxers (Cornwall would be Heavyweight).

Both are great, but have different signature. I’d say the difference is Forte has more articulate details in high frequency range (Heresy has this too), brighter, and very sharp. While Knight sounds “fuller/bigger”, softer, less sharp then Forte.

Forte and Knight sensitivity is about the same. Subjectively, trying a few types of music, it’s very hard to say what plays better because when listen Forte it seems that it’s the best sound ever, but when switch to Knight is seems that it’s the best sound either (even it’s a different sound).

Still the question is – how it possible one driver plays so well? How did they do this?

10-20-2012, 08:52 PM
Allied-Knight never manufactured their own drivers, they typically just re-branded drivers from major manufacturers at the time. The most common sources were Electro-voice, such as this driver, Jensen, Goodmans of England, and sometimes Utah for their lower priced speakers. Often times special baskets were used to differentiate these drivers from the name brand versions.

This driver is likely just a rebranded E-V Wolverine series 12 full range driver with a whizzer cone for the high frequencies. These are fine sounding drivers when mounted in proper cabinets and driven by tube electronics. There is a good reason why such vintage drivers are always in demand by collectors on FleaBay.

10-21-2012, 12:03 AM
You are right. It reminds me that the original owner I got speakers from, older 75 yr old guy, said something like they’re Knight rebranded Goodmans full-range loudspeakers, but at that time I didn’t understand what it means.

And you are absolutely correct on tubes. In 1950-60’s they were all tubes. I wish I have tube amp, but I don’t, so I tested with Sansui 9090DB.

10-21-2012, 12:02 PM
Where are the test results you mentioned?

10-24-2012, 10:01 AM
Once upon a time a few years ago Zilch tested and reported many woofers including OLA's and their low end FR was nearly identical to AR3/3A. While other speakers may produce subjectively louder bass especially at any given volume level (AS type speakers are not very efficient) those were among the deepest lowest distortion flattest woofers of their era and still stack up well in this regard to today's far more expensive speakers. If the OLAs came out second best, their may be a problem with air leaks. Sometimes refoaming is required as the foam surrounds do deteriorate.

You can still find Zilch's measurements at CSP's web site in their archives of about 3 or 4 years ago. He may even have published them here as well.

Sam Cogley
10-24-2012, 02:59 PM
That's a 60s era 12" EV/Wolverine full-ranger. I have a pair of them, they do sound good.

10-24-2012, 05:12 PM
A XO less single driver speaker can bring intangibles to the picture and sound wonderful which is why there is a bunch of people on the bandwagon. the next step up is a coaxial like the tannoys, this to me is a really good approach for accuracy point source goodness. That you like these so much means you are sensitive to imaging and point source accuracy, the strength of this design.

10-27-2012, 11:14 AM
Hi all. I'm new to AK and trying to research a pair of Knight cabinet speakers I purchased a few days ago... I bought these on a whim and I have never heard of Knight speakers before I purchased this set. I mainly bought the set for the cabinets since I mainly collect 1960ish things.

When I got around to getting one of the back panels off, this is what I found:
12" Knight KN820 and Knight KN 70D425

I bought these without testing them, and the owner said he didn't know if they worked or not. Again, I bought them for the cabinets.

I hooked them up to a Fisher 122 (another recent purchase), and was surprised that they actually worked; so well in fact that I switched out my existing speakers.

My inquiry isn't regarding the speakers (they absolutely rock and have an awesome sound compared to any other speaker I've used!) but on the cabinets. Did Knight market these with this existing cabinet, were they home-made, or were they purchased separately? The cabinets seem a little large for what is housed inside: 27"h x 29"w x 16-1/2"d

Any replies are appreciated!

10-27-2012, 11:49 AM
Knight was the product division of Allied Radio, which eventually was swallowed up (and ruined) by Radio Shack.
Your drivers appear to have been made by Electro-Voice. The tweeter appears to be a T-35 or a variation thereof.
Knight sold a lot of loose drivers as well as fully built units. Yours could have been DIY, a kit or manufactured.

10-27-2012, 11:51 AM
The fullrange 12" driver is the Allied OEM version of the Electrovoice Wolverine LS12A.
The tweeter is most likely an EV Wolverine TW-35 (OEM version).

bob smog
10-27-2012, 03:07 PM
Those should sound nice with that load. The 50-60's were a real golden age of DIY HI-FI. Lots of cabinet kits were sold empty and Allied/Knight was a supplier of raw drivers.

Most of the Knight/Allied speaker I've seen from this era have a name badge on the front grill.

10-27-2012, 04:37 PM
Those are beautiful. I love the cabs (I'm starting to come around on the speaker-legs thing... On the right speakers, they're awesome). And I love the fullrangers that the OP has. Yeah, it seems like the '50's was THE era for the fullranger (and perhaps the 2-way horn/woofer as well). Goodmans and University both made great full-range drivers back in the '50's. Wharfedale did too (I want a pair of those in a big way... AND a pair of old, '50's Goodmans... Good to know about the re-branding... I'll have to keep my eye out for some Goodmans-loaded Knight cabs). I love the way '50's and early '60's speakers look. The furniture from the '50's was god-awful, but the speaker-cabs from that period are great. And there's just something special about those old drivers as well (the good ones, at least). For many companies (like Stephens, University, Utah, Goodmans, Wharfedale), the '50's to early '60's was their heyday. I tend to be of the belief that music of a certain era sounds best with speakers from that same era, so just think how some '50's jazz or Sinatra is gonna' sound on the speakers pictured above...

They didn't call it the Golden Age Of Stereo for nothing. Two-channel at it's absolute finest... (or certainly MIDRANGE at it's absolute finest).