Should I update my 20+ year old HT speakers? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-12-2019, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Should I update my 20+ year old HT speakers?

I've updated my receiver and subwoofer several times over the years, but I'm still using the same KLH speakers I bought 20 years ago and wondering if I should replace them, and if things have changed and shifted from huge tower speakers, for example my fronts are 3ways with 12" woofers, rears 10". When I look at new speakers today most are 5", 6", or and the most expensive with 8". I don't really need overboosted bass. I know KLH isn't exactly a high end brand, if I replaced them I'd go with JBL, I have their studio LSR308's and sub on my PC and they sound really good, so I'd likely replace them with JBL Stage 180/190s or the studio 580s onsale atm. I'm sure they're highly quality, but don't want to be disappointed, but maybe I'm in the past and bigger isn't always better > I never thought I'd get a soundbar but got a jbl 3.1 one for the bedroom with a wireless 10" sub and sounds per good.

These are the specs on my speakers:

center
klh 525 platinum
4 x 3 5/8 cone
7/8 dome tweeter
88db @ 1w-1m
80hz-20khz
5-125watt

front
klh av5001ba
12" 3-way
12" passive radiator
5 1/4" mid
7/8" dome
90db 1w-1m
20hz-90khz
900 hz-2800hz
5-350watt

rear
klh 1030t
10"
5/14" mid
1" dome
90db 1w-1m
20hz-22hz
5-250watt

sub
Bic Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer
12" 250 Watts RMS
22Hz - 200Hz
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-12-2019, 09:15 PM
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What % HT vs music usage?

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-12-2019, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
What % HT vs music usage?
I like to listen to music every once and a while on them > can fill the whole house, but it's probably 95% movies. I was looking more at JBL speakers and noticed only the highest end studio line are 3-way like the KLH speakers
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-12-2019, 10:40 PM
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Your KLH speakers are lacking in midrange and highs -- they have weak quality drivers, even for HT -- if you have some money and want to spend, then I would do it ... you should easily notice a difference.

JBL is a good option for you

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post #5 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Your KLH speakers are lacking in midrange and highs -- they have weak quality drivers, even for HT -- if you have some money and want to spend, then I would do it ... you should easily notice a difference.

JBL is a good option for you
I agree a much better system could be had. Your 30 year old KLH speakers were good for their time. KLH is not really a name anymore. Most of what I've seen from them now is pretty generic. You could easily put together very nice systems from Chane, Klipsch, Emotiva without investing a lot of money.
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jasonnovak View Post
I've updated my receiver and subwoofer several times over the years, but I'm still using the same KLH speakers I bought 20 years ago and wondering if I should replace them
Order the JBL Stage setup direct from JBL with free returns and decide for yourself.

What receiver are you using?

Geoff A. J., California
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Order the JBL Stage setup direct from JBL with free returns and decide for yourself.

What receiver are you using?
I have an Onkyo NR676 receiver



It was mentioned not great mids on the KLH speakers, unless I go with the studio line they don't have mid-range speakers at all, only a woofer and tweeter?
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post #8 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 10:32 AM
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I have an Onkyo NR676 receiver



It was mentioned not great mids on the KLH speakers, unless I go with the studio line they don't have mid-range speakers at all, only a woofer and tweeter?
A modern well designed 2 way speaker will sound far better than a mid level 3 way speaker from 20 years ago.

Here are frequency response curves for numerous speakers; many excellent results with 2 ways are on the list and some substandard results with 3 ways on the list.

So "it depends."

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...=16&Itemid=140

Geoff A. J., California

Last edited by gajCA; 12-13-2019 at 10:40 AM.
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jasonnovak View Post
I have an Onkyo NR676 receiver
It was mentioned not great mids on the KLH speakers, unless I go with the studio line they don't have mid-range speakers at all, only a woofer and tweeter?
You do not need a speaker with a dedicated midrange speaker to get real good sound. Some 2-way speakers are better than some 3-way speakers .... It is about the design and engineering of the speaker as a whole .... There are some good 2-way speakers that will easily out-class them KLH speakers you have

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post #10 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks, just need to decide then on 6.5" or 8" > 8" maybe better for music, but 6.5" probably better for mids and the sub can handle the bass
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post #11 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 10:55 AM
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thanks, just need to decide then on 6.5" or 8" > 8" maybe better for music, but 6.5" probably better for mids and the sub can handle the bass
Most on AVS don't have/need 8" woofers but many have superior subs to the BIC.

8" woofers are generally only used today in more expensive 3 way designs which likely are way over your budget.

Smaller woofers integrate better with tweeters in a 2 way design and the addition of a sub and bass management effectively create a 3 way design.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, I went with 4x Studio 580's. Got a 520c on sale as well, and will maybe watch out for a better sub in the future
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post #13 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 11:46 AM
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Thanks everyone, I went with 4x Studio 580's. Got a 520c on sale as well, and will maybe watch out for a better sub in the future
Well done -- report back when you set-up and listen to them ... enjoy

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post #14 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 01:23 PM
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Thanks everyone, I went with 4x Studio 580's. Got a 520c on sale as well, and will maybe watch out for a better sub in the future
Very nice.

Looking forward to your impressions.

Geoff A. J., California
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 05:58 PM
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Thanks everyone, I went with 4x Studio 580's. Got a 520c on sale as well, and will maybe watch out for a better sub in the future
Nice! I will be curious to see how you like the 520C with its 4" woofers, running between those much bigger towers up front. Anecdotal data seems to be split, some people don't mind but others do. Don't hesitate to upgrade the center if you are not 100% satisfied with it, as the center does 70-80% of the HT output and 99% of the dialogue.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-13-2019, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jasonnovak View Post
Thanks everyone, I went with 4x Studio 580's. Got a 520c on sale as well, and will maybe watch out for a better sub in the future
Your current KLH towers with big woofers are out of fashion, but not out of physics. Big bass means moving big air which somehow means big cones-today those are usually tucked away in subwoofers. Since you have a subwoofer, and presuming your setup correctly cuts the low bass out of the 580s, you should be fine. If not enough bass, get a second subwoofer or a more powerful one.
And, if you don't like the JBLs, KLH has been reborn and has some nice-seeming new stuff.
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post #17 of 21 Old 01-12-2020, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for everyone's advice, to follow up I went with the 520c since I got the impression it was good to match the center with the left/right > I'm not sure I can say it's better than my old center - an my first thought would have been something like the JBL Stage A135C would be better. I'm very happy with the new system, it's hard to describe, but it has a better "surround" feel, and the highs/mids are definitely improved. I did replace my PL-200 with two SVS PB12-NSD subwoofers so it makes it a little hard to directly compare the two setups - the bass is a lot cleaner, can feel it a lot more without drowning everything else out even though both were calibrated. I'm listening to more music from it now just because it sounds so good. The old system lives on in another room that just had some bookshelves
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post #18 of 21 Old 01-12-2020, 08:40 PM
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I went with the 520c since I got the impression it was good to match the center with the left/right > I'm not sure I can say it's better than my old center - an my first thought would have been something like the JBL Stage A135C would be better.
Well, why not AB the 520 against your old center? JBL gives you free return shipping so it'd be a snap to send back.

I'm assuming you meant the A125C...the A135C has even smaller woofers than the 520, they're just 3 inches. The A125 would be returnable to Crutchfield for just $10 flat rate return shipping if you're not crazy about them.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #19 of 21 Old 01-12-2020, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, why not AB the 520 against your old center? JBL gives you free return shipping so it'd be a snap to send back.

I'm assuming you meant the A125C...the A135C has even smaller woofers than the 520, they're just 3 inches. The A125 would be returnable to Crutchfield for just $10 flat rate return shipping if you're not crazy about them.
Yeah, i guess I was just thinking smaller + more for the center, vs like the 135 or my old KLH. The 520c feels a lot more substantial, and looks good together. I'd gotten a really good deal on the 520c > $139 via JBL's store on walmart.com for the holiday sale, vs the $350 list
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post #20 of 21 Old 01-12-2020, 08:56 PM
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Yeah, i guess I was just thinking smaller + more for the center, vs like the 135 or my old KLH. The 520c feels a lot more substantial, and looks good together. I'd gotten a really good deal on the 520c > $139 via JBL's store on walmart.com for the holiday sale, vs the $350 list
I would be shocked if the A135C was actually any better sounding than the 520. In fact, I'd be surprised if it didn't sound significantly worse.

There's no arguing about the visual uniformity advantage of your 520 with the towers, though.

But if you ever tried say, a Chane A2.4 as your center I think you would likely gladly tolerate a bit of visual non-uniformity and send back that 520 in a heartbeat. Just sayin.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #21 of 21 Old 01-13-2020, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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I would be shocked if the A135C was actually any better sounding than the 520. In fact, I'd be surprised if it didn't sound significantly worse.

There's no arguing about the visual uniformity advantage of your 520 with the towers, though.

But if you ever tried say, a Chane A2.4 as your center I think you would likely gladly tolerate a bit of visual non-uniformity and send back that 520 in a heartbeat. Just sayin.

Thanks, yeah I'm open to making changes, I got the 520 since it was a good deal and went along with everything else, but I know when I'd checked it did seem a little mixed
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