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My KLH Model 5 Restoration

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Early this year I was given a pair of rough KLH Model 5's. I am an experienced eBay seller and was planning on parting out all of the working components which is what I usually do when I come across cabinets that are really abused. When I was researching the price of each component I stumbled upon CSP and started reading some very good things about vintage KLH speakers. I decided that this set was too good to let go. I spent the next few days researching extensively on the Model 5. I originally had thought that I had blown tweeters but posts on CSP indicated that the crossover could be at fault. I pulled both tweeters which tested good. After testing all of the other drivers I ended up with only one bad one, one of the mids. I thought about buying a replacement but figured I would give a repair a shot as the driver was trash anyways in its current state. upon close investigation I found that one of the tinsel leads was corroded badly. I tested continuity across the voice coil and it was fine. I went ahead and resoldered the connections which by default caused some damage to the cone. I repaired the cone with glue and brown paper. The driver tested fine and has been working great ever since.

My next task was a full crossover rebuild. Almost all of the caps tested bad and some of the resistors looked suspect. I decided to replace all caps and resistors. At this point I had had trouble getting my CSP account activated so did my best reading other users posts and looking at images for details on the process. I ordered all of my parts from PE and while I was waited for them to arrive I cleaned up the crossover plates as much as possible. The insulation on the inside of the cabinets had attracted itself to all of the transducers. After the parts arrived I went ahead and swapped everything out. The work came out great and I was excited to hook them up and give them a shot. I hooked up the whole system outside of the cabinet and everything sounded normal. I popped everything back into the cab and hooked it up to my main system. NOOB MISTAKE. I did not measure the system's resistance after assembly. I nearly destroyed the left channel of my Kinergetics KBA-75. Luckily a fuse blew and protected the amp. I took me a while to figure out that I had forgot to put in the rubber terminal spacers and was basically shorting the speaker leads together across the crossover plate. This experience did have an upside though. In my frantic search to figure out what went wrong I noticed a mistake in one of my capacitor wires. I got confused by the stock double capacitor and installed my replacements in the opposite configuration. I fixed my mistake and reassembled the cabinet. This time I measured the resistance at the terminals and it came out as expected. Shortly after, I had my first experience with the sound of a restored KLH speaker. I was blown away and could not wait to hear the system in stereo. I completed the second cab the next day.

I spent some time playing around with the tweeter adjustment on the back and eventually settled on 2500-7000 on Lo and 7000+ in the Middle. I finished off the restoration by cleaning and waxing the cabinets and touching up the black paint around the edge of the grills. I purchased an original logo badge on eBay to replace the one that was missing on one of my grills. The cabinets are still pretty beat up but the grills look amazing and the sound is incredible.

At this time I had been in between an Adcom and Bryston Preamp. My new Bryston had no EQ adjustment which meant that the whole system had to be pretty flat to sound its best. I was running a set of JBL LX44s at the time and they had such terrible bass response I could not even listen to them with the Bryston. I listened to the Model 5s first on the Adcom as that is what I had setup. I made the decision right away that the KLHs where superior to the JBLs but wanted to try them with the Bryston just to see. I was rewarded with something very special. This was the best sound that I had heard out of my system to date. The bass was perfectly balanced. Not loud our boomy. Just right and very clear. The Bryston offered a clarity of reproduction that the Adcom could not match. I had my bass back and the Bryston was free to do its thing.

I would like to thank everyone that posted about the Model 5 in the discussion section. I read every single post on the Model 5 and it was a great help. I look forward to spending more time on this site and have already started my next KLH Restoration. I stumbled upon a beautiful pair of Model 6s. Updates to follow.

For those that are curious, my current setup is as follows:

Turntable: Mitsubishi LT-20 w/ Grado Cart/Stylus (Sold the Technics)

Tuner: Magnum Dynalab FT-101A

Preamp: Bryston 0.4B

DAC: Esoteric D-700

Amplifier: Kinergetics KBA-75

Digital Sources: Sonos Connect, Teac PD-H303

Speakers: KLH Model 5

Interconnects: Esoteric Audio USA

Speaker Wire: AudioQuest Type 4












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Welcome Ben!

Great speakers! Nice job and nice pics. One suggestion: If you resize your photos down to about 100KB you won't use up your MB allotment.


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  • 6 months later...

I have absolutely no doubt many old, vintage speakers could be restored rather than scrapped or parted out and returned to glory with a bit of TLC and elbow grease. Many of the vintage speakers will out perform most of what's on the market today, expecially dollar for dollar.

I came extremely close to putting my AR90s on the curb long ago. The surrounds rotted out and I thought they were history. Thanks to a very honest business owner, I repaired them. He lost a sale, but I also suspect he felt good with himself at the end of the day.

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I ended up taking this set one step further which really paid off.


I just wish I had more time and more space to start a collection. My usual lately has been finding rough speakers cheap, restoring them, then trading them in at the local stereo shops towards new projects.

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