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KLH various model rankings.....

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Hello all,

I have been poking around in these forums for a while, and now looking for a little input from those in the know. I have always loved the sound of AR speakers, as well as KLHs. I used to own a pair of 17s back in the day as a matter of fact. My question is is there a pecking order for the KLH line. For example in ARs we have the AR 3a considered to be the most revered of the vintage floor standers. Then the AR 4x is highly regarded as one of the better bookshelf speakers made. Are there KLH models that have these types of ratings as it were. The KLH vintage speakers seem to be selling for less money on CL and the bay, so I am trying to wrap my head around what KLH models would be the ones to be on my radar.

I suppose I have the same sort of question about Advent, but my experience with Advent has not been as good (to my ears) as either the AR or KLH has been but that very well could have been I have not heard them on a very good system.

Hoping this question makes sense and looking forward to some input.

Thanx,

Geoff

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Hey Geoff

I agree re the Advents. I spent a lot of time and too much money restoring some OLAs and they did not sound as good as AR2ax's.

THE #1 classic KLH speaker is the Model Nine but that's an oddball. Electrostatic and really an Arthur Janszen speaker.

The TOTL aside from that was the Model Twelve. Truly great speakers often available dirt cheap because they are big and heavy with a low WAF.

Probably my fave is the Model Five. These were meant to compete head to head with the AR3a and they succeeded well. Basically the same drivers as the Twelves but in a cabinet about the size of the 3a.

I have never seen the Model Twenty Eight but they are very cool looking, sort of like AR-LSTs.

The Seventeen has a following but it's a step down from the Five. The Twenty is identical to the Seventeen but it's 4 ohms. Twenties are usually cheap.

The Twenty Plus is a compact stereo system identical to the Twenty but with nicer cabinets and cool mid-century tulip stands. These sell for more than they're worth.

The Twenty-Three is a fave of KLH guru Andrew Hayden. I have not heard them.

KLH recycled the same basic 2-way design for a few of its speakers, both stand-alone and as part of a system. So there are some others in the Twenty-xx series that are similar.

All of these speakers had cloth-surround woofers that benefit greatly from RoyC's butyl doping compound.

That era KLH speakers have 2 Achilles' heels: Most used black and red PVC caps that are notorious for leakage. And the 5w resistors in the bigger speakers are too small--they should be replaced with 10w resistors when you recap the crossovers.

Hope this is helpful.

Kent

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Hi Kent,

This is precisely the type of response I was hoping for! Thank you. I will hope to hear more opinions and continue to keep my eyes open for a bargain.

Geoff

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Hi Geoff,

Not heard KLH 5, and probably a very good one as Kent says (but there is a little story about, saying that Eric Kloss was not satisfied with it for it was a more complicated three way design (true story?); so i prefer to buy KLH 23, which is a robust and simple two way design ; the other unusual in the line, is the compact KLH33 (not heard) which is a ported design to compare to KLH17: more dynamic than KLH17?

I have, with my son, some pairs of KLH , and made direct comparison; IMHO, here is my ranking:

KLH 23 > 6 >> 17 >> 38 > 32

At first glance, the sound seems to be linearly correlated with the volume cabinet and woofer dimension, and so, there is an increasingly "little box"effect from left to right ranking....

All stuff is very very good ( and one favorite is the small KLH 32!..that is to say, sound science is a complicated one )

ben

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Thanx Ben, I will keep my eyes out for a set of 23s.

Anybody else have an opinion on this?

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Ben's list puts the 12" speakers first, 10" speakers last. Models Four and Seven are also 12" models.

They are the earliest models, glued in drivers, etc, and pretty scarce. The Four does sound really good,

better than the Seventeen.

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Thanx dxho and curiously the consensus seems to be there is non consensus! LOL.

I guess the general rule of thumb is they are for the most part a solid manufacturer, at least the vintage stuff. I am anxious to find a set and compare with other speakers.

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Hallo,

what about KLH model Six (I own a pair of these)?
It is said that Henry Kloss considered the model 6 the best effort they made at KLH in that moment.
I haven't listened any other model though... they're difficult to get here in Italy (I purchased my pair of Six in U.S.A....)

Greetings.

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12>5>6>17

among these 6 came first. Unequalized it's a better speaker than AR2ax. Equalized AR2ax beats it every which way. I own both. 17 is a 6 with a smaller woofer. This speaker has a cult following. Its shortcoming is its deep bass. Add a subwoofer and it's a very good speaker. 5 is a 6 with a beefed up woofer and two 5" high quality full range drivers used also in table radios and small package units used here as midrange units. Unequalized octave to octave balance is poor. Equalized it's probably an excellent speaker with bass that matches AR3a. 12 is 5 in a much larger cabinet for deeper bass and has an elaborate crossover that allows -,0,+ level controls for 4 frequency ranges. This was in the day before equalizers were available to consumers. There are variants of the woofers and tweeters between the various units but in some cases they are very similar. One nice thing about them is they didn't use foam woofer surrounds but they can need to be resealed. Roy has the magic goop. Use anything that hardens or cures and you've ruined the woofer surrounds.

Among AR speakers AR3a was highly regarded but like most AR speakers I heard they didn't seem to have reasonable tonal balance. Equalization can probably fix that. LST is like an AR3a on steroids with 4 midranges and 4 tweeters to improve power handling and horizontal dispersion. 10pi and 11 used an improved tweeter having ferrofluid cooling. AR9 is considered the cream of the crop. It has by far the best bass and is a 4 way system. It took quite a bit of re-engineering mine to get the treble right. AR9 is in a class by itself. There is no other speaker I've ever experienced that can seem to dominate a room like AR9. Most peculiar. Unfortunately it does not have the high frequency dispersion of earlier AR TOTL models. This was pandering to those who wanted narrower dispersion. AR and KLH speakers are not known for "imaging." If that matters to you, you'd probably want to avoid them. This seems to be the be all end all for contemporary audiophiles. Frankly I don't care if the trombone player sits two feet to the left or right of the tuba player. I expect a tuba to sound like a tuba, a trombone to sound like a trombone. There are a lot of very expensive speakers out there today that can't seem to manage that.

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Hi soundminded, thanks for your reply,
is 12>5>6>17 you personal ranking (meaning 12 is better than 5 than is better than 6 than is better than 17)?

As I said I never listened to any other KLH other than my Sixs, which I love very much.
I'm currently driving them with a vintage english amp, the Leak Stereo 30. And I find the synergy with the model Six is EXCELLENT.

Greetings from Italy.

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Love this thread so I am pulling it back up.

Does anybody have the Model 28? I would love a pair of them. I actually have the tulip stands for them already and have been watching for some to come along on EBay but to no avail.

Currently my KLH collection consists of 5, 17, 23, 32 and the Model 27 receiver. The Model Fives are of course wonderful. The 17's are hooked up to teh Twenty Seven and that combo is very rich and warm.

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Hi David.

I suspect you've already seen this, but just in case you have not, this (long and) excellent restoration thread provides great detail on that rare KLH Twenty-Eight model. They certainly are unique loudspeakers, and like yourself, I've also become very curious about them.

http://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/klh-model-28-rare-find-restoration.577202/

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I had read that awhile back when I came into the stands. Just ran through it again. Man, what great thread. Makes me want to send peter my stands!

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Peters thread on AK is a great one. There's very little info on these, his documentation, and restoration work was outstanding.

Geoff, I've had 4 pairs of KLH's, still have three. The Five, Six, and Twenty Three.

Of these, which are the most easily found, I rank them in this order, Five, Twenty Three, Six.

The Fives are outstanding, period. They give my AR3's a real run for the money, and a performance bargain, though prices are creeping up.

The Twenty Threes are Sixs on steroids, the cabs are bigger and they share the woofer with the Five which can handle a lot more power than the Sixs.

Ahh, the Sixs. Absolutely love them. Mine are 1963 models, with the glued woofers, and one glued tweeter. The other tweeter is screw mounted. This is the year the screw mounted tweeter was phased in. I believe 1965 the screw mount woofers came. My other pair were 1972's, end of the production run with vinyl clad cabs. Both Sixs sounded virtually identicle, except, the 1963's go a tad deeper due to the epoxy mounted woofers longer excursion. I have them hooked up to my Scott LK-72, and it's a sublime mating.

Hopes this helps you a bit, but any of these I'm sure you would be very happy with.

Glenn

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It's funny this thread should crop back up. I have recently been toying with getting a set of 5s that are selling locally (50 miles North) for $160. Seems like a reasonable price and they look pretty good. My house project has had me totally consumed and I have a number of other sets waiting for rehab so I am not that motivated.

hmmm....

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It's funny this thread should crop back up. I have recently been toying with getting a set of 5s that are selling locally (50 miles North) for $160. Seems like a reasonable price and they look pretty good. My house project has had me totally consumed and I have a number of other sets waiting for rehab so I am not that motivated.

hmmm....

I paid the same for mine, and already recapped! Well worth the 160.00. Grab them,get to them when you can.

I forgot to mention, I also restored a set of Seventeens, which also sound great, more of a comparison to the AX4a's. My daughter has them now.

Glenn

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Hey Geoff

I think you'll like them. I restored 2 pair of Fives and recapped a couple others so I'll be happy to offer advice.

A couple of points:

  • The cabinets are beautiful IMO, they look a lot like the Large Advents. BUT the varnish or whatever the finish is tends to get dull and orange with age. Stripping and refinishing is well worthwhile.
  • There were 2 versions of the crossover. Early ones were point-to-point wired, later ones had a printed circuit board. Here's a link http://www.classicspeakerpages.net/IP.Board/index.php?showtopic=7890
  • The capacitors can be confusing because KLH used a lot of 2-in-one caps. Sometimes a double 2uF is really two 2uF caps and sometimes it's one 4uF.
  • Not everyone agrees and I'm not an electrical engineer, but I think the 5w resistors are inadequate. I've seen 2 or 3 burned and cracked. Resistors are cheap. Replace them.
  • The bass response will benefit from a coat of Roy's cloth surround sealant. You can buy it from Vintage AR but I'd send Roy a PM and see if you can buy some from him.

Have fun!

-Kent

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OK Glenn, done. Picking these up on Thursday. 150 :P

Hey Geoff!

Good deal for sure. Post pics, I'd love to see what you got!

Glenn

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thanx guys, they were described as not been used in 20 plus years and are "dirty and dusty". The pics the seller posted are a little blurry but overall they look to be in respectable condition.

Possibly I will try my hand at a little re-veneer work on a corner I see that has a ding! Glenn, I will lean on you and your "hoard" for some guidance when the time comes, but as I said before I have a bunch ahead of these (but that is always a moving target).

The serials are 5999 and 6006 and I wonder where that puts these in the crossover type, hoping for point to point.

Of course I will post some pics after picking them up on Thursday.

Geoff

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First of all--the PCB is no problem to work on. In fact, since it lacks those darn double caps it may even be easier. If you look at the photos attached to the first& second posts in my link above, you'll see the new caps fit on the board quite nicely. Three of the new resistors were a bit crowded but as I mentioned, not everyone agrees that they should be replaced.

Second--I don't get the logic of the KLH serial numbers. Unfortunately I did not keep a record of the SNs on the ones I worked on. The only ones I did are SN 021148 (wired) and SN 12470 (PCB). So it appears the PCB came first. I dunno. Your SNs are much lower.

-Kent

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Geoff, you are going to love them. Good price too.

Those serial numbers sound low.

While most KLH do well with most levels of amperage, the Fives do thrive with more. Not as needy as the AR3 but close. At least that is what I found. Mine are in the master bedroom hooked up to a Pioneer SX737 receiver so decent power but not big. I recently hooked them up to my main system and was quickly reminded what these can do.

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So I have a set of 5s. I toyed with the idea of passing once I saw them in person. The cabinets are approaching borderline in my opinion, as they were showing signs of both moisture and then likely dry environment. Problem is that neither are terrible and it sure would appear they are unmolested.

post-170704-0-43605800-1453423946.jpg

post-170704-0-26277500-1453423941.jpg

I am not sure yet, but I suspect these are a relatively early set, and the close serials is just a bonus. Possibly interior inspection will reveal dates.

They look pretty good face on

post-170704-0-64877400-1453423899.jpg

and notice the visible joint separation on the left speaker. The grille clothes are actually pretty solid, as are the frames.

The rest of the surfaces are OK, but flaking veneer on some edges, couple dinged up corners, a few edges like this (this is the worst example)..

post-170704-0-14448500-1453426333.jpg

The drivers all appear to be original

post-170704-0-33544300-1453423906.jpg

post-170704-0-27078000-1453426298.jpg

in the end, I just couldn't resist. The pluses still outweighed the negatives.

I just received a set of surrounds for a set of 2ax I have in the queue, but I may just put those off and dig into these.

post-170704-0-64877400-1453423899_thumb.

post-170704-0-33544300-1453423906_thumb.

post-170704-0-26277500-1453423941_thumb.

post-170704-0-43605800-1453423946_thumb.

post-170704-0-27078000-1453426298_thumb.

post-170704-0-76197300-1453426314_thumb.

post-170704-0-14448500-1453426333_thumb.

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Hey Geoff,

So not too bad. I think in the end after a recap, some work on the cabs, woofer and mids surrounds resealed, they will be very nice.

Have fun!

Glenn

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Excellent! Worthy of your attention. ha! I too put aside my 2ax's a while ago for something else that came along and have not gotten back to them yet (wasn't looking forward to dealing with those damn pots).

Appears the velcro is coming off the grille so be careful with that, but I am sure you realize it. Plenty of strategies for getting those edges tamed I am sure. At least there aren't any water rings. Damn water rings.

Start a new thread. This KLH forum needs more action!

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