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New Model 5 by KLH

Norman Nicolai

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“And off on a another tangent, if certain money concerns have found it profitable to recreate the "KLH" line of speakers, is the rebirth of AR speakers far behind?"  Who says they are profitable, Frank? After some quick internet searching, I'm not seeing much being said about them. Imo, it appears to be a small company simply trying to capitalize on residual nostalgia for a verydefunct brand's model. If you recall, there have been other failed attempts to bring back the KLH and AR labels in more recent decades. The only difference I see here is an attempt to revive a specific model. The people behind it may even be fans of old KLH speakers, but somehow I doubt it is translating into much of a profit.”

There was a thread, noted above, in the AR section of CSP regarding the AR-11 that started to discuss the new KLH Model 5 speaker. Rather than hijack that thread with a full-throated defense of the new Model 5, I thought we could continue the discussion under a separate new topic in the KLH section.

Full disclosure: I have not actually heard the new Model 5 speaker. In fact, my exposure to the original KLH Model Five design is rather limited. I have heard them a total of two times. However, at various points in my life I have owned, and in most cases completely refurbished, the KLH Models Six, Seventeen, Twenty, Twenty-Two A, and Twenty-Four speakers, so while I am not nearly as knowledgeable as many CSP posters, I do have some experience with KLH products. I have repeatedly tried to find a showroom to demo the newer Model 5 version by calling numerous audio shops over the last two year, and eventually gave up. No one had a pair to listen to. In fact, many of the audio retailers I spoke to were not even aware that the brand had been resurrected. (Which may say a great deal more about the product knowledge of salespersons at audio retailers than the KLH brand’s popularity…) 

From everything I have read, the new Model 5’s have been very successful. In fact, when I first started inquiring about them at the start of the pandemic, you could order a pair online, but the lag time until delivery was actually unknown and protracted. There was a waiting list for them. On other audio forums there were threads about folks ordering the speakers, the wait time before delivery, and their experience with the speakers once delivered. My impression was that the overwhelming majority of buyers were purchasing the speakers by word of mouth, and by the positive audio reviews. From the postings on those forums, I also formed the impression that the vast majority of buyers were familiar with the KLH brand, but had very little experience with them personally. I think that many of the new buyers were too young to experience the so called “golden age of audio” from the late 1960’s until the mid 1980’s first hand, and that they were not very familiar with “vintage audio” equipment. Many of the enthusiastic reviews that were posted were by reviewers way too young to be alive during KLH’s existence. All of the above is, of course, completely subjective perception. I also do not know whether KLH is making any money at this time. We only know that there is a great deal of “buzz” about the new KLH brand, that they seem to be selling fairly well, as evidenced by the wait time for products, their prominence online and in audio dealer mailings, and that KLH has continued to bring out new products, including a new 2-way design called the Model 3. 

As for defending the new brand, they are producing acoustic suspension designs, pioneered by Villchur and Kloss, which is virtually unheard of in the modern speaker world. (When was the last time you saw an ad for a new acoustic suspension speaker?) Although the new Model 5 has only one midrange speaker, it definitively follows the original 3-way concept in a cabinet that has essentially the same dimensions as the original, and looks very much like the original. They are also attempting to keep the memory of Henry Kloss alive, paying ample tribute to him on their website, and some of their designs have names that go back to the original Cambridge KLH location.

As a fan of Henry Kloss and his influential career in audio, what’s not to like?

BTW, if anyone knows where I can hear a pair of the new Model 5’s in the northern NJ/NY metro area, please PM me!


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Writing from Jasper, Indiana, the place were the majority of classic period KLH cabinets were manufactured.

The new KLH is indeed a serious company.  The owner is David Kelley, formerly global sales president of Klipsch.

The designer, Kerry Geist, is not trying to duplicate the original models of the same names.  He takes a "how could

it best be done today" approach.  Kloss took the same approach in his time, but materials have changed for the better

and design techniques have evolved, so the new speakers use them.  The Five is a three way 10 inch and the Three is

a two way 8 inch.  One part remains the same as the old days, paper cone woofers.  Both models have been favorably

reviewed by Stereophile, FWIW.  Linen grille covers, wood veneer cabinets and the second version block letter

aluminum nameplate give visual homage.  Build quality is high, customer reviews are very good on the KLH website.

They sell direct and have a dealer locator on the website.  In the old days, most people played power hungry acoustic

suspension with what we know today were wimpy amplification.  Power is easy to get today, and it is time for the

better era of well fed acoustic suspension.  If I were Mr. Kelley, I would try to find the address of Kloss' son, David, and send

him a pair of model Five.  The least he could do to compensate for trading on the Kloss legacy.  Other speakers in the KLH

line are vented designs.  Value for money spent remains in the new KLH formula. 

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  • 2 months later...

I listened to new model 5 last week at Alamo Electronics in Cincinnati. First time I've seen KLH hi-fi equipment in decades. The new Indianapolis based company is headed in the right direction coupled to a growing distribution network.

The new 5 cabinet fit and finish is excellent, as is the sound, but I prefer the my original Jasper, IN woodwork and twin mid-range design. It could be interesting seeing an Old vs New critical review, so long as the old pair has undergone an XO upgrade. Otherwise, no match at all. 

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On 3/29/2023 at 10:18 PM, SIG said:

I listened to new model 5 last week at Alamo Electronics in Cincinnati. First time I've seen KLH hi-fi equipment in decades. The new Indianapolis based company is headed in the right direction coupled to a growing distribution network.

The new 5 cabinet fit and finish is excellent, as is the sound, but I prefer the my original Jasper, IN woodwork and twin mid-range design. It could be interesting seeing an Old vs New critical review, so long as the old pair has undergone an XO upgrade. Otherwise, no match at all. 

Finally someone with actual experience with them. A lone voice (here) amidst all the speculation. :)


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  • 3 weeks later...

As you know my passion for vintage AR, KLH and Advent speakers. Last weekend I attended the AXPONA show in Chicago with my brother in law Micah for the second straight year. On the second day we visited the KLH room and they were demonstrating the soon to be released KLH Model 7 speaker.  It like the current Model 5 is a acoustic suspension three way speaker. The KLH rep Jeff invited us back at closing to put the new speaker thru its paces. 


The current KLH company is located about 5 miles from my house with the CEO Dave Kelley living in my town. I own two restored sets of original KLH Model 5's and have had the opportunity to listen to the new Model 5's several times.  The new Model 7's have 13 in. paper cone woofers and 5 in. paper cone midranges with 1 in. dome tweeters. The cabinets are 1 in. thick with three wood veneers to choose from.  The drivers are not concentric like the Model 5's.  We played lots of music clips for about a hour from Bach to Van Halen and we were both impressed. The Model 7's were over kill for the room. We played with the the three switch attenuation controls and it did make noticeable differences. After listening to high end (80K+) speakers all day these old school speakers were very good. Especially when told they will retail for less than 4K with the stands. All in all the new KLH seems to be on the right path, with quality well made products that seem very affordable. 


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  • 3 weeks later...

Good to hear your impression of new KLH models. In reference to your two pair of restored original model fives, I've also restored my pair of originals, which sound better since new in 1973. The biggest performance enhancement was crossover network restoration in 2015. I followed a component design supplied by J Kent. I recall using highest grade caps and resistors available. I didn't skimp, money wise, which has paid sound dividends ever since.

 I next added less impressive improvements from refinishing cabinets to resealing cloth surrounds using RoyC sealant applied as needed to woofer and midrange. I replaced original frame gasket material with a tight sealing black tacky-backed material. In order to make cabinets as air tight as possible, I sealed midrange enclosure wire holes with plumbers' putty to eliminate passive, out of phase, movement on midrange drivers. Woofers now act normal, and are slow to return to center. Base sound range is consistent, lively, agile, without boom. Also, much credit for sound quality is a 15 year old McIntosh tube preamp and SS amp.

Apple Mac mini M1 controls the system, including preamp and amp. The streamer source is Apple Music. Mac mini is latest version of macOS Ventura 13.3.1. Up to this point, no additional operating software, or hardware, is needed. The Mac mini/macOS provides a robust, abundant set of sound tools including a reasonably up-to-date DAC chip, basic EQ, and digital tools, such as sound correction and speaker placement. This is not a dedicated Mac mini, it also provides all the other normal functions of a personal computer. Latest 2023 Mac mini M2 is $499.99, for some, the best value in modern audio, digital or analog. 

My listening room is small with eight foot ceiling and sound insulation (furniture pads from Harbor Freight) covering about 75% of wall space from ceiling to two feet above hard surface floor. Speaker placement and listening point is on a perfect triangle shape about 7 to 8 feet separating three corners. These 50 year old model fives are canted in at about 45º on 4 legged stands at thirty inches tall. Cabinets rest vertically on stands at 58 inches. Left and right cabinets placed center of corners about 22 inches from center line of rear cabinet baffle. Sound alignment is centered to a seated listener. 

This is a great hobby, always looking for perfection around the next corner. 




Edited by SIG
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