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Care and Feeding of KLH 5's

Guest kykev

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A newbie here, who is putting together his first good hifi system. My first acquisition was a pair of KLH 5's in mint condition (as far as I can tell). Got them at a white elephant sale at a retirement village for $ __. (don't want to make anyone cry). They are wonderful sounding through my $139 JVC reciever but I am upgrading to separates soon. I am wondering how much power I need to drive the Model 5's, how rugged are they, amp recommendations etc.

Also, any tips on speaker placement and anything else a Model 5 owner should know would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Kevin M.

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First, congratulations on your acquisition. You undoubtedly bought a fine pair of louspeakers at a very low price. Apparantly the cabinets are in very good condition, usually a big selling point for used speakers and indicitave that the previous owner(s) took good care of them. KLH woofers unlike those of AR and many other manufacturers did not use foam woofer surrounds which rotted but impregnated cloth instead which will last far far longer. Most likely, there will be no reason to replace the surrounds. However, the material used to impregnate the surrounds which made the cloth air tight may have fully cured which means that more of it will have to be applied to restore their air spring integrity. Also, if you have not already done so, be sure each of the midrange drivers and tweeters function. You might want to consider replacing the capacitors in the crossover networks. This is not expensive and owing to the age of these speakers, about 30 to 35 years it's probably a good idea. KLH Model 5 evolved from the very popular model 6 to which it is similar. It addressed concerns about the 6s ability to reproduce the midrange by adding two very fine 5" full range drivers used by KLH in their table radios and compact systems for use as midranges in the model 5. The were therefore able to restrict the range of the tweeter (same as model 6) and woofer (not quite sure if it's the same as model 6 or 12, may be improved over the 6) to more appropriate frequency ranges. Model 5 should be successfully driven with 50 wpc to 100 wpc high quality amplifiers. Be sure to use one with good solid low frequency capabilities to take full advantage of their excellent bass capabilities. Like all find acoustic suspension speakers of that era, they are intended as high quality high accuracy reproducers for serious music at home. They are not suitable for playing very loud rock music at ear shattering levels or for sound reinforcement in auditoriums. If abused by being severely overdriven, like all speakers they can be damaged.

Model 5 which sold for about $350 a pair list and was available at some discount is voiced differently than AR3, AR3a, and AR5. Which is more desirable is a matter of preference.

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>A newbie here, who is putting together his first good hifi

>system. My first acquisition was a pair of KLH 5's in mint

>condition (as far as I can tell). Got them at a white elephant

>sale at a retirement village for $ __. (don't want to make

>anyone cry). They are wonderful sounding through my $139 JVC

>reciever but I am upgrading to separates soon. I am wondering

>how much power I need to drive the Model 5's, how rugged are

>they, amp recommendations etc.


>Also, any tips on speaker placement and anything else a Model

>5 owner should know would be greatly appreciated.


>Thanks in advance

>Kevin M.

Hi Kevin;

We cry often, members tell us of their finding speakers at the curbs for garbage or in the dumps or in aunties garage.

You certainly did do well, even if you replaced the caps, you would have a difficult time finding anything close for less than $300.00 - 400.00 new today.

Even on ebay they might go for $150.00 - $200.00 +/- a pair plus s&h depending on the market.

Looks like someone got an early Christmas present.

I don't know what the liquid coating on the surrounds is but definitely the cloth surrounds are a plus over foam.

Does anyone know what this coating is?

What we can use today to re-coat the surrounds?

I have read with AR cloth surrounds that Armorall (spel) is used with several coats.

I feel that the KLH Five was in competition with the AR-5 speaker system.

Side by side a - b'ing they would sound different but different tastes of listeners would determine the winner.

On the front surface it appears that each speaker, KLH Six, KLH Five and KLH Twelve and others use the same tweeter.

Does anyone know if this is true?

It also appears that the midrange drivers are the same.

Does anyone know if this is true?

The KLH Five speaker has a 10" woofer.

The KLH Twelve has a 12" woofer.

The Twelve's were priced about $25.00 more each than AR-3A's.

Consumer's Guide back in the late '60's or early '70's stated, buy either KLH Twelve, or AR-3A's, as these were the two finest speakers available.

Different sounding, but the best.

I didn't remember ever seeing a photo or brochure on the KLH Twelve until a year or so ago.

A very kind member sent me a copy of his owners manual and another kind member sent me copies of KLH Twelve reviews.

The 3A can be considered a bookshelf speaker at 53 pounds, if you have a really strong shelf.

The KLH Twelve is definitely only a floor standing speaker system.

At nearly 100 pounds in weight and about 30"h x 30"w x 24"d which has a remote external crossover network, attached with an umbilical cord.

Ok now, someone is going to say, they have a pair on a shelf. lol

Or a stacked pair?

Does anyone have a list of the driver model numbers used by KLH in their different speaker models?

As an ending to my rattle, maybe fusing should be given thought because of the rarity of the drivers.

I am going to stick my neck out, unless someone else has otherwise information, and suggest reading in the AR library, and use the fusing information for the AR-5 speaker system or lower.

A fuse with an open fuse block with perhaps a 1 amp fast blow fuse to start.

Just using the AR-5 and AR-3A as as reference point.

With 1 amp at the start and referring you to the Heathkit 103/AR-3A speaker system, which included a 3 amp fast blow fuse in a chassis mounted fuseholder back then.

The AR-3A uses a FNM 1 1/4 amp slow blow and you can see the power handling capacity for that speaker/fuse combination.

The FNM fuse ($5.00 US each +/-) and fuse blocks are expensive and in the lower values not readily available.

Fast blow 1/4" x 1 1/4" fuse blocks are available everywhere and the fuses are only a few nickels each.

We should err the side of caution, considering the age and rarity of our speakers and use a lower fuse rating, I feel.

Enjoy and please let us know of your ongoing adventure.

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Thanks a million for your help guys and/or gals. I have a NAD 214 (80wpc)amp on the way from Epray and a NAD 1240 Pre. I am returning to vinyl also and have a "new" AR XA as my favorite source. I listen almost exclusively to acoustic music and have no desire to see my walls shake so I am not really too worried about blowing a speaker, but I do like the fusing idea. Unfortunately I am electrically challenged. Could someone provide directions in reeeal simple words for us carpenters? I don't know what a fuse block is. Can the Shack provide these materials?

I have put my ear to each driver in both speakers and all seem to be working. I can't find a scratch or water ring on any of the veneer, nor a thread out of place on the grilles. And both badges are firmly attached. OK I'll fess up now- I paid 15 bucks for the pair. I had know idea who KLH was at the time, but they were so gorgeous and heavy that I thought they would be worth that much for use as decorative plant stands.

I have skimmed the posts on recapping, but haven't had time to read the how to yet. I am tickled pink with the sound of my 5's thusfar but if recapping will improve it, I say let's go.I do detect the lack of a good soundstage and I am hoping my amp/preamp will benefit

me there.

Thanks again for the help

Kevin M.

PS- Is there a more accurate way to test the function of all the drivers than using your ear? The mids are closely spaced and I am not positive that I can tell which on I'm hearing.

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There are two versions of the model Five crossover. The early ones had the parts mounted to terminal strips attached to a metal plate. The later ones used a printed circuit board. As far as I can tell, the circuitry is the same. I have a copy of the factory schematic and will try posting it below. It looks the same as the one I posted in the KLH section a couple of years ago, but is drawn somewhat differently. The inductor values I show are measured and differ slightly from the actual ones KLH published. (Close, though).

The Five used a different woofer from the Six. I think that it is the same as the Twelve woofer. The tweeters are the same for the Five, Six and Twelve. I have service info somewhere that gives the driver lineup for the Twenty-Three and Thirty-Three speakers, as well. I think that the tweeters were the venerable model

Six units and the woofers were from the Five and the Six, but I don't remember which used which.

As mentioned above, the midranges are likely the same ones used in the model Eleven phonograph and model Twenty-One radio as full range drivers. In the Five, they are mounted in a separate, sealed subenclosure. I recommend changing the crossover caps if for no other reason than for reliability. I used polypropylene caps from a local outfit, Speaker City in Burbank, Cal. Some people think that the dielectric type affects the sound, so if you prefer, use nonpolar electrolytics, as originally used. Make sure that the voltage rating is at least 100 volts. The originals were 50 volt parts, but then amplifier power has increased in 30 years.



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