KLH Albany Bookshelf Speakers Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 74 Old 10-07-2019, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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KLH Albany Bookshelf Speakers Review

These speakers behave well and being an acoustic suspension design (i.e. sealed) they honor the legacy of KLH. Founder Henry Kloss is credited with coming up with acoustic suspension speakers.

"KLH Albany are an excellent choice for bookshelf speakers at the $500/pair price point. These speakers feature a 2-way acoustic suspension design with a broad frequency response and an appealing, detailed yet smooth sound. I've had a pair of KLH Albany speakers in my home for several months and listened to them both casually and critically and find them easy to recommend."

Click here to read more.
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post #2 of 74 Old 10-07-2019, 02:38 PM
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My level matched A/B comparison of the Albanys to the Martin Logan LX16s here.

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post #3 of 74 Old 10-07-2019, 04:34 PM
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I listened to the entire line at CEDIA. Very impressive for the price.

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post #4 of 74 Old 10-07-2019, 07:39 PM
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Several members has listed their disappointment with KLH models but it seems the books are the most overrated .

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post #5 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 05:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I think they are very good but best with a sub. I have had no issue hearing details in the mix with a wide variety of content. Nothing worth overthinking here.
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post #6 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 05:40 AM
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One should always listen and decide -- plus, places like Crutchfield have an easy return policy. I am interested in Imagic's take on them and any measurements.
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post #7 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 06:11 AM
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I am looking forward to the full write up...the $500/pair price point squares with my anticipated budget.

Its going to be 2+ years before I can seriously consider upgrading the speakers for my HT setup but I figure it will take about that long to do my research and winnow down the candidates. Plus, half of the fun is shopping around!!

On top of all that my current space is very small (c1600 cu ft), irregular and confined whereas the target "new" space will be in the basement (once we can get around to finishing it) and somewhat more open. Even if I had the $$ it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy now when the "new" listening environment is going to be drastically different.

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post #8 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Review is live.

Some comments...

I measured response down to 35 Hz, below that the dropoff is steep. But I could "energize" my 17' x 26' x 11' living room, even with a 35 hz sine wave, which played cleanly up until the driver's excursion became the limiting factor. Based on an REW measurement from 1 meter, 25 Hz is more like the -10 dB point. But at my listening position I saw close to "flat" response right on down to 35 Hz, and that's before EQ. And no, I'm not posting charts!

I can't speak to anechoic response specs as I have no practical means of testing for them. But in a regular room, and factoring in room gain, these speakers play down to 35 Hz. I was skeptical of the specification, but the microphone and my ears are in agreement here. The main thing is there's only so much you can get out of a 5.25" woofer in a small sealed box. Which is why I suggest that the Albany is a strong choice for a 2.1 system where a sub handles the deep stuff.

https://www.avsforum.com/klh-albany-...eakers-review/
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Originally Posted by mpk1970 View Post
Several members has listed their disappointment with KLH models but it seems the books are the most overrated .
As they come in one box just $10 to return at Crutchfield.

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post #10 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Review is live.

Some comments...

I measured response down to 35 Hz, below that the dropoff is steep. But I could "energize" my 17' x 26' x 11' living room, even with a 35 hz sine wave, which played cleanly up until the driver's excursion became the limiting factor. Based on an REW measurement from 1 meter, 25 Hz is more like the -10 dB point. But at my listening position I saw close to "flat" response right on down to 35 Hz, and that's before EQ. And no, I'm not posting charts!

I can't speak to anechoic response specs as I have no practical means of testing for them. But in a regular room, and factoring in room gain, these speakers play down to 35 Hz. I was skeptical of the specification, but the microphone and my ears are in agreement here. The main thing is there's only so much you can get out of a 5.25" woofer in a small sealed box. Which is why I suggest that the Albany is a strong choice for a 2.1 system where a sub handles the deep stuff.

https://www.avsforum.com/klh-albany-...eakers-review/
How do you think they compare to the new ELAC Debut Reference?
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post #11 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by prplhaz123 View Post
How do you think they compare to the new ELAC Debut Reference?
I can't pull that trick off. I'd need them in the same room, level matched and playing the same content to have a useful opinion. But if I were to guess, the Debut Reference will have more bass kick with its larger woofer, larger cabinet and ported design. That's simple physics.

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post #12 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 07:30 PM
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I bought the Albany when it first came out last year and was disappointed. It's a great looking speaker, but I ended up returning it after a 2 weeks. The SVS look alike tweeter is on the bright side and the low end was a little too non existent for me. After trying out about 8 pairs of be bookshelf's from Dali, KEF, Wharfedale, I chose the ELAC UB5 in the end. It just not even close to the ELAC which is the better overall speaker IMHO.
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post #13 of 74 Old 10-08-2019, 10:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Review is live.

Some comments...

I measured response down to 35 Hz, below that the dropoff is steep. But I could "energize" my 17' x 26' x 11' living room, even with a 35 hz sine wave, which played cleanly up until the driver's excursion became the limiting factor. Based on an REW measurement from 1 meter, 25 Hz is more like the -10 dB point. But at my listening position I saw close to "flat" response right on down to 35 Hz, and that's before EQ. And no, I'm not posting charts!

/[/url]
Well, I wish someone would publish some measurements. A flat room response down to 35 Hz from a small, sealed (but almost certainly not acoustic suspension) woofer in a small box pretty much defies physical laws, particularly Hoffman's Iron Law. Even though I'm sure the Albany can't hit its claimed sensitivity of 93 dB (the much larger KLH Kendall tower's sensitivity was 9 dB less than claimed as measured by the Canadian NRC), the Albany's sensitivity is probably higher than average, and that would seem to rule out much in the way of bass extension in that size box. Not even the much more expensive and legendary ScanSpeak 5 1/4" Revelator can get down into the 30's in a ported box, and the sealed version of the Revelator wouldn't come close (it starts to roll off at 65 Hz in a .3 cu ft box). I searched around for measurements of any kind for the Albany and couldn't find any. Most of the qualitative reviews commented on the light character of the bass, with no mention of extended bass response. Until we can see some empirical evidence, I'm going to remain skeptical of the factory specs.
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post #14 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 12:30 AM
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Thanks for the review Mark

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Originally Posted by PhilharmonicDennis View Post
Well, I wish someone would publish some measurements. A flat room response down to 35 Hz from a small, sealed (but almost certainly not acoustic suspension) woofer in a small box pretty much defies physical laws, particularly Hoffman's Iron Law. Even though I'm sure the Albany can't hit its claimed sensitivity of 93 dB (the much larger KLH Kendall tower's sensitivity was 9 dB less than claimed as measured by the Canadian NRC), the Albany's sensitivity is probably higher than average, and that would seem to rule out much in the way of bass extension in that size box. Not even the much more expensive and legendary ScanSpeak 5 1/4" Revelator can get down into the 30's in a ported box, and the sealed version of the Revelator wouldn't come close (it starts to roll off at 65 Hz in a .3 cu ft box). I searched around for measurements of any kind for the Albany and couldn't find any. Most of the qualitative reviews commented on the light character of the bass, with no mention of extended bass response. Until we can see some empirical evidence, I'm going to remain skeptical of the factory specs.
Well, the point is the same for speakers as it is for subwoofers... Sealed gets you more extension but less output.. Roll off on the Albany starts up high and is very gradual until you hit about 35 Hz and then it drops steeply.

There are no laws of physics being broken when a woofer outputs the 35 Hz tone from a sealed box. For example active speakers use EQ to get this kind of extension and I'm sure you could use EQ with these speakers I got the base you want out of them, with the caveat still being that there's a physical limitation to how much air the driver can move.

But on a separate note, I think it's absolutely absurd for people to be shopping for bookshelf speakers based on bass extension. Please, buy a subwoofer if you want lots of deep bass or else get tower speakers.
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So where does the EQ come from? Some creative crossover design? Or are we talking EQ from the Amp? Like Dennis, I just can't see how a small box can get loud and hit low. My physic professor told me that couldn't happen...but of course, he is gone and I apparently didn't learn that much from his class!
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So where does the EQ come from? Some creative crossover design? Or are we talking EQ from the Amp? Like Dennis, I just can't see how a small box can get loud and hit low. My physic professor told me that couldn't happen...but of course, he is gone and I apparently didn't learn that much from his class!
I dutifully noted that output is excursion-limited in deep bass. So what is there to argue about there?

Yes you can have deep bass and lots of output from a small box. All you need is a driver with a lot of displacement and a very powerful motor and lots of power to feed it (look at the Devialet Phantom as an example). No magic there, the "physics" works out.

The bass output limitations of a 5.25" driver in a sealed box are why my review discusses 2.1 and using these as surrounds with a sub.

I'm talking EQ in the electronics, for sure, since these speakers are passive. Which people should be using in the bass region because each room is different, full stop. To achieve "more" bass passively you'd have to reduce the overall efficiency of the system, but modern DSP-based EQ is the way to go IMO.

These speakers make "clean" sound down to 35 Hz but output is limited. I'm not sure why there's any confusion about that whatsoever, it's not some hypothetical. I ran the 35 Hz tone, I heard the tone, the microphone measured the tone. I ran a sweep and saw that 35 Hz is the point where response drops sharply, and not some higher frequency. Case closed for me. If someone else wants to go nuts on measurements and really break it down, please do and shoot me a link when you are done.

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post #18 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 06:37 AM
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Great review my friend!

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post #19 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I dutifully noted that output is excursion-limited in deep bass. So what is there to argue about there?

Yes you can have deep bass and lots of output from a small box. All you need is a driver with a lot of displacement and a very powerful motor and lots of power to feed it (look at the Devialet Phantom as an example). No magic there, the "physics" works out.

The bass output limitations of a 5.25" driver in a sealed box are why my review discusses 2.1 and using these as surrounds with a sub.

I'm talking EQ in the electronics, for sure, since these speakers are passive. Which people should be using in the bass region because each room is different, full stop. To achieve "more" bass passively you'd have to reduce the overall efficiency of the system, but modern DSP-based EQ is the way to go IMO.

These speakers make "clean" sound down to 35 Hz but output is limited. I'm not sure why there's any confusion about that whatsoever, it's not some hypothetical. I ran the 35 Hz tone, I heard the tone, the microphone measured the tone. I ran a sweep and saw that 35 Hz is the point where response drops sharply, and not some higher frequency. Case closed for me. If someone else wants to go nuts on measurements and really break it down, please do and shoot me a link when you are done.
Sorry, missed that part...so we are talking a speaker that can hit 35hz, but +/- 10-20dB...noted!

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Sorry, missed that part...so we are talking a speaker that can hit 35hz, but +/- 10-20dB...noted!
More like -10 dB in-room, maybe -12 dB measured from 1 meter away (where room gain is no having much impact), with the speaker placed 2 feet out from the wall. Which would translate to +/-5 or +/-6 dB "in room" based on my non-scientific, non-standard measurement. +/-10 dB would be -20 dB at the bass cutoff, it's not down by that much in my room but I can't speak to what would happen if you took it to a field and treated it like a sub and did CEA2010 measurements.

Roll-off looks like it begins much higher, somewhere around 80-90 Hz (room reflections make it hard to peg exactly). But the slope is very gentle and very linear until 35 Hz, then it's a cliff.

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More like -10 dB in-room, maybe -12 dB measured from 1 meter away (where room gain is no having much impact), with the speaker placed 2 feet out from the wall. Which would translate to +/-5 or +/-6 dB "in room" based on my non-scientific, non-standard measurement. +/-10 dB would be -20 dB at the bass cutoff, it's not down by that much in my room but I can't speak to what would happen if you took it to a field and treated it like a sub and did CEA2010 measurements.

Roll-off looks like it begins much higher, somewhere around 80-90 Hz (room reflections make it hard to peg exactly). But the slope is very gentle and very linear until 35 Hz, then it's a cliff.
my thought would be that -10-12 db wouldn't be very audible when mixing in other frequencies.. why even bother listing it?.. maybe i'm missing something here, but any frequency range that's deviated from the normal sensitivity by that much has to be next to useless , unless you would be willing to do some major eq work that would severely limit volume output....

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All this crap worrying about how "well" these speakers do 35 Hz is a big waste of time unless you are a bass-lover on a tight budget with minimal space to work with, in which case a ported bookshelf could be the answer. Room gain and positioning and use of EQ and music genre and playback volume will all factor into whether someone enjoys these in a 2.0 system and whether the bass is balanced or not. Measuring from 1 meter does not account for room gain and room-related effects can easily create swings in bass response that exceed 10 dB.

My strong suggestion, communicated both here and in the review, is add to a sub and stop debating "how low can they go" or else buy tower speakers.
that's all very true , my point was more to the integrity of the industry in general? i'll be glad to have that debate.. it's not personal with you at all.. peace.. seriously though , i'm up for a debate about integrity in the industry if you think you have a snowball's chance , well you know..

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my thought would be that -10-12 db wouldn't be very audible when mixing in other frequencies.. why even bother listing it?.. maybe i'm missing something here, but any frequency range that's deviated from the normal sensitivity by that much has to be next to useless , unless you would be willing to do some major eq work that would severely limit volume output....
The chatter about how well these speakers handle 35 Hz is IMO a big waste of time unless you are a bass-lover on a tight budget with minimal space to work with, in which case a ported bookshelf with bass emphasis could be the answer.

Otherwise, room gain and speaker positioning and use of EQ and music genre and playback volume and listening position and other acoustics related issues will all factor into whether someone enjoys these in a 2.0 system, and whether the bass sounds balanced to their ears... or not. Measuring from 1 meter like I did does not account for room gain. Also room-related effects can easily create swings in bass response that exceed 10 dB when measuring at the main listening position.

My strong suggestion, communicated both here and in the review, is add to a sub and stop debating "how low can they go"... or else buy tower speakers.

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Well, the point is the same for speakers as it is for subwoofers... Sealed gets you more extension but less output.. Roll off on the Albany starts up high and is very gradual until you hit about 35 Hz and then it drops steeply.

There are no laws of physics being broken when a woofer outputs the 35 Hz tone from a sealed box. For example active speakers use EQ to get this kind of extension and I'm sure you could use EQ with these speakers I got the base you want out of them, with the caveat still being that there's a physical limitation to how much air the driver can move.

But on a separate note, I think it's absolutely absurd for people to be shopping for bookshelf speakers based on bass extension. Please, buy a subwoofer if you want lots of deep bass or else get tower speakers.
My post was in response to your observation that in-room you "...saw close to 'flat' response right on down to 35 Hz, and that's before EQ. And no, I'm not posting charts!" That's a lot of room gain. I've certainly never experienced anything like that from a 5 1/4" high-sensitivity woofer in a small sealed or ported box. It sure would be nice to see the Albany's impedance curve, which might give us a better Idea of how KLH managed to pull that off. Until I'm able to see some measurements or get hold of a unit myself, I'll just have to assume that this is one remarkable speaker.
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post #25 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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My post was in response to your observation that in-room you "...saw close to 'flat' response right on down to 35 Hz, and that's before EQ. And no, I'm not posting charts!" That's a lot of room gain. I've certainly never experienced anything like that from a 5 1/4" high-sensitivity woofer in a small sealed or ported box. It sure would be nice to see the Albany's impedance curve, which might give us a better Idea of how KLH managed to pull that off. Until I'm able to see some measurements or get hold of a unit myself, I'll just have to assume that this is one remarkable speaker.
In that case I'm probably wrong about room gain, I guess my room is too big. No problem.

Oh.. impedance sweep I can do. No issues there, it's a measurement I can pull of confidently and say it's objective and accurate. I'm no expert at reading it so let me know what you see.


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post #26 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 10:58 AM
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I am beginning to think that the Albany sensitivity spec by KLH are half-space ... which could put them around 86 db
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post #27 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

But on a separate note, I think it's absolutely absurd for people to be shopping for bookshelf speakers based on bass extension. Please, buy a subwoofer if you want lots of deep bass or else get tower speakers.

Why? Some people don't like or want a subwoofer on their small-ish 2-channel systems. I'm tired of companies making bookshelf speakers that "expect" you to have a sub for anything under 70Hz.

Also tired of companies publishing specs that don't tell the entire story...
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post #28 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, I changed my mind. Here's the right speaker measured from my couch. Have fun staring at the mayhem caused by my room on an un-EQ'd speaker with no subs.



Also, anyone who thinks they have what it takes to review speakers for this site, PM me. I've got too much going on to be a specialist deep-dive reviewer of speakers.
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post #29 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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And since we're having a "chart party" I rescind my previous comment about not posting one. Here's the 1-meter measurement in my living room.


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Last edited by imagic; 10-09-2019 at 11:27 AM.
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post #30 of 74 Old 10-09-2019, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _tk View Post
Why? Some people don't like or want a subwoofer on their small-ish 2-channel systems. I'm tired of companies making bookshelf speakers that "expect" you to have a sub for anything under 70Hz.

Also tired of companies publishing specs that don't tell the entire story...
You must be very sleepy.

Fortunately there is a wide variety of speakers to choose from.

I'm not telling people to buy a subwoofer, certainly not reaching through the screen like some horror movie and twisting your arm! I'm suggesting adding a subwoofer if someone buys buy these speakers and likes deep bass, or if you are a bass lover in general and are shopping bookshelf models. It's good advice, I assure you!

You can go ahead and choose whatever suits you as a consumer. I'd pick a different (ported) speaker if I was looking for more bass out of a passive bookshelf and did not want a sub. But time and again I've made my opinion known... for the best bass, whether it's 2-channel or surround-sound, you can't beat the combo of room correction and subs.
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Last edited by imagic; 10-09-2019 at 11:35 AM.
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