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post #1 of 40 Old 01-13-2020, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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KLH Model 5 Speaker Unveiled

Last week I went to Las Vegas to attend CES 2020. During press day, one of my first stops was the KLH suite at the Hard Rock Cafe, where I saw and heard the company's new Model 5 speakers. This is a true return to the company's roots, and an updated interpretation of a classic loudspeaker.

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post #2 of 40 Old 01-13-2020, 11:52 AM
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looks is important too

I don't doubt that the sound quality is legit, but consumers today also want some visual sizzle to accompany the sound quality, and this uninspiring box recalls the absolute laziness of 70's speaker design - it's is simply too meh looking.
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post #3 of 40 Old 01-13-2020, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8KCRT View Post
I don't doubt that the sound quality is legit, but consumers today also want some visual sizzle to accompany the sound quality, and this uninspiring box recalls the absolute laziness of 70's speaker design - it's is simply too meh looking.
To each his own. I like the look of them and the other retro designs like the JBL 100 Classic, Wharfedale Denton and Linton, etc. Maybe just nostalgia, but I do like the looks of the KLH Model 5.
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post #4 of 40 Old 01-13-2020, 02:42 PM
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A wider baffle, larger woofer, and an enclosure with more internal volume--what's there not to like?

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post #5 of 40 Old 01-13-2020, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8KCRT View Post
I don't doubt that the sound quality is legit, but consumers today also want some visual sizzle to accompany the sound quality, and this uninspiring box recalls the absolute laziness of 70's speaker design - it's is simply too meh looking.
They just need a diamond cross-hash grill to make the effect complete!

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post #6 of 40 Old 01-13-2020, 07:57 PM
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That brings back a few memories. I owned a pair of the first 5's from 1968 until I replaced them with a pair of Proac Tablettes in the late 80's. When I bought them, the only real competition was from Acoustic Research, and I didn't like their murky sound signature, which came mainly from a bump in the upper midrange. The 5's were the most neutral speaker I could find, particularly in the midrange. A few years ago, I stumbled across a pair of used 5's in good working order and decided to hear and see what I was listening to all of those years. I was surprised to see how ragged the response was. The culprit was fairly wild cancellation effects between the tweeter and the dual, horizontally mounted mids (which were also used full range in the KLH radio and portable "suitcase" stereo). The mids were true acoustic suspension drivers, and measured very well on their own. Back then, cancellation effects weren't considered important, and weren't addressed in the crossover design (or couldn't be given the state of the art then). I've attached the on-axis response of the stock 5 on the tweeter axis. Things improved a little on the midrange axis, but were still pretty wild. Of course, I had to redo the crossover to see what the drivers could do when they weren't fighting themselves, and I was able to straighten most of it out--see second plot. So why did I like my original pair so much? It's because the 5 didn't have the untreated baffle step around 1 kHz that plagued most of the competition. I didn't really pick up on the big dips in the mid treble because other speakers at the time had similar problems with cancellation dips up there (the AR3a was a mess). The problem was obvious when I compared the stock with the modded version, which turned out to be a really nice speaker.

The updated 5 shown at CES strikes me as pure marketing hype. The original 5 was never all that popular, and the only feature that was remotely innovative was the use of acoustic suspension midranges. Also, the 5 suffered from being a downsized version of the KLH 12. The 12 used the exact same drivers, but in a much larger cabinet (with more pots for adjusting frequency response.) As a result, the 5's cabinet was too small for the woofer, and the bass was kind of boomy with limited extension (the cabinet tuned to 50 Hz, quite a bit higher than the AR3a, which also had an acoustic suspension woofer.) The new version doesn't use a true acoustic suspension mid or woofer, and the tweeter is just another conventional dome. It really bears no similarity to the genuine model 5, other than using a similarly sized cabinet.
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post #7 of 40 Old 01-14-2020, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Dang, some folks just really enjoy putting down KLH. Well... during my visit I did see anechoic measurements of the new design, spoke with the designer, and overall it behaves very well. And it sounded great, IMO.

As for folks here who don't like the looks, that's OK... there are plenty of other things in the world where people have a different taste than you do. Regardless, there's a market for this throwback aesthetic.

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post #8 of 40 Old 01-14-2020, 07:16 AM
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This is BADASS!
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post #9 of 40 Old 01-14-2020, 11:19 AM
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If the crossover's well design and the sensitivity not too bad, those could be interesting floor-standing LCRs for some people, with a wall mounted TV above the center. Not my personal style but I could see it working in a lot of good-looking living rooms.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Dang, some folks just really enjoy putting down KLH. Well... during my visit I did see anechoic measurements of the new design, spoke with the designer, and overall it behaves very well. And it sounded great, IMO.

As for folks here who don't like the looks, that's OK... there are plenty of other things in the world where people have a different taste than you do. Regardless, there's a market for this throwback aesthetic.
Nobody's claiming the new 5 doesn't measure well. It's purely a question of whether it bears more than a tangential resemblance to the original, which I enjoyed for 15 years.
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post #11 of 40 Old 01-14-2020, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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KLH Model 5 Speaker Unveiled

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilharmonicDennis View Post
Nobody's claiming the new 5 doesn't measure well. It's purely a question of whether it bears more than a tangential resemblance to the original, which I enjoyed for 15 years.


Oh, word. Agree. It is indeed meant as a nostalgia play and even physically it's not quite a "dead ringer" for the original. Pretty much everybody in the speaker industry has noticed the success of the re-issued JBL LS100 Classic.

For anyone who’s curious, the designer of the new KLH Model Five is Kerry Geist, who did the Heritage series for Klipsch.
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post #12 of 40 Old 01-14-2020, 01:21 PM
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Mark, do you know when KLH will be releasing more information about the new 5? First half 2020, or later?
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post #13 of 40 Old 01-14-2020, 06:52 PM
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I really like the look of these - and have a pair of vintage speakers myself to complement my turntable for that 'vintage chic' look and sound. That being said, $2000 is a lot of money for vintage looking speakers.

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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post
I really like the look of these - and have a pair of vintage speakers myself to complement my turntable for that 'vintage chic' look and sound. That being said, $2000 is a lot of money for vintage looking speakers.
I don't doubt that you can get better speakers for that price, but I guess performance wouldn't be the main reason for purchasing these. For the record, if you adjusted the $180/pr price in 1968 for inflation, the original 5's would sell for $1,330.39/pr today.
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In 1972 while in college, I was working part-time at an audio repair shop (back when people fixed stuff that was broken, instead of throwing it away), and the owner and one other employee with McIntosh tube pre-amps and amps had KLH Model 5's. I was able to pick up a pair at the special pricing of 50% off MSRP available to employees of retailers or authorized repair shops. I don't recall the price, but I believe the MSRP in 1972 was a lot more than $180/pr price listed above (a lot more).

I had them on speaker stands that look almost identical to the ones that now come with the new Model 5, although mine were not articulated upward like the new ones. I don't recall where I got the stands, but did not come with the speakers.

Contrary to what some seem to think, the original Model 5 was a good looking speaker and they spent a lot of money on the wood cabinets. It obviously sounded quite good also (at least for 1972). They did need a lot of power to sound good. In 1982 I replaced them with some ADS L810's, another great speaker (except for poor imaging).
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I don't recall the price, but I believe the MSRP in 1972 was a lot more than $180/pr price listed above (a lot more).
After doing some research, the price of the original Model 5 varied from $180 in 1968, up to $235 by 1977. But that was each, not per pair.

I cannot provide a link, since I don't have 5 posts yet.
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post #17 of 40 Old 01-15-2020, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Marcus_A View Post
In 1972 while in college, I was working part-time at an audio repair shop (back when people fixed stuff that was broken, instead of throwing it away), and the owner and one other employee with McIntosh tube pre-amps and amps had KLH Model 5's. I was able to pick up a pair at the special pricing of 50% off MSRP available to employees of retailers or authorized repair shops. I don't recall the price, but I believe the MSRP in 1972 was a lot more than $180/pr price listed above (a lot more).

I had them on speaker stands that look almost identical to the ones that now come with the new Model 5, although mine were not articulated upward like the new ones. I don't recall where I got the stands, but did not come with the speakers.

Contrary to what some seem to think, the original Model 5 was a good looking speaker and they spent a lot of money on the wood cabinets. It obviously sounded quite good also (at least for 1972). They did need a lot of power to sound good. In 1982 I replaced them with some ADS L810's, another great speaker (except for poor imaging).
Original on the left...


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post #18 of 40 Old 01-15-2020, 10:02 AM
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Original on the left...
The wood in that pic looks a bit faded, which is not surprising after such a long time. Mine had a dark walnut finish (real walnut veneer).

The grill cloth looks a little different also, I think the grill cloth on mine was not so rough looking as the one in that pic.

One thing I remember is that they were quite heavy for their size.
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Dang, some folks just really enjoy putting down KLH
For the record, my comment wasn't sarcastic. I think the narrow baffle & smaller woofers have a better aesthetic and are easier to transport, but aren't any better performing(assuming proper implementation). I hope there's a place in the market for speakers like the Model 5. Sure there's an element of nostalgia, but they can be real good performers too.
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post #20 of 40 Old 01-15-2020, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8KCRT View Post
I don't doubt that the sound quality is legit, but consumers today also want some visual sizzle to accompany the sound quality, and this uninspiring box recalls the absolute laziness of 70's speaker design - it's is simply too meh looking.
Mid-Century design is in right now, these will blend right in.

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post #21 of 40 Old 01-16-2020, 01:22 AM
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Appearance is Not "Meh"

I disagree that the appearance of the new model 5 is "meh." They are really quite stunning with the grills on. I have not heard any of the new KLH models but it is encouraging that they are using acoustic suspension for at least some models. The first speakers of the new KLH line do not appear to directly correspond with Henry Kloss' models. It is interesting that they have chosen the "5," since the "5" is not really iconic like the "6" or the "17." Plus Henry Kloss appeared to favor two-way over three-way designs. Nonetheless, the new model "5" is an interesting effort that warrants consideration by those such as myself who cut their teeth on the "east coast" sound of the 1960s.
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post #22 of 40 Old 01-16-2020, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Armand Di Meo View Post
I disagree that the appearance of the new model 5 is "meh." They are really quite stunning with the grills on. I have not heard any of the new KLH models but it is encouraging that they are using acoustic suspension for at least some models. The first speakers of the new KLH line do not appear to directly correspond with Henry Kloss' models. It is interesting that they have chosen the "5," since the "5" is not really iconic like the "6" or the "17." Plus Henry Kloss appeared to favor two-way over three-way designs. Nonetheless, the new model "5" is an interesting effort that warrants consideration by those such as myself who cut their teeth on the "east coast" sound of the 1960s.
This has been discussed at length in other threads, so I won't go into the details now, but there are virtually no acoustic suspension drivers in use today, and certainly not in the current Model 5. Sealed, yes. Acoustic suspension, no. Is there a link to a pic of the new model 5 with the grill on that I've missed?
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post #23 of 40 Old 01-16-2020, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PhilharmonicDennis View Post
This has been discussed at length in other threads, so I won't go into the details now, but there are virtually no acoustic suspension drivers in use today, and certainly not in the current Model 5. Sealed, yes. Acoustic suspension, no. Is there a link to a pic of the new model 5 with the grill on that I've missed?

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...but there are virtually no acoustic suspension drivers in use today, and certainly not in the current Model 5
Here are some comments by Ken Kantor of AR and NHT concerning that:

https://kenkantor.wordpress.com/2012...ension-issues/
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post #25 of 40 Old 01-16-2020, 07:33 AM
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For what it's worth, the article does say that the new "5" is acoustic suspension. I will be interested in reading the article by Ken Kantor. NHT, founded by Kantor, appears to be the only company dedicated to acoustic suspension, although there are isolated models from other manufacturers. I prefer acoustic suspension myself and own two pairs of NHT speakers.
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post #26 of 40 Old 01-16-2020, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armand Di Meo View Post
I disagree that the appearance of the new model 5 is "meh." They are really quite stunning with the grills on. I have not heard any of the new KLH models but it is encouraging that they are using acoustic suspension for at least some models. The first speakers of the new KLH line do not appear to directly correspond with Henry Kloss' models. It is interesting that they have chosen the "5," since the "5" is not really iconic like the "6" or the "17." Plus Henry Kloss appeared to favor two-way over three-way designs. Nonetheless, the new model "5" is an interesting effort that warrants consideration by those such as myself who cut their teeth on the "east coast" sound of the 1960s.
I am interested in this, because I recently resurrected a pair of 17s which I bought for my father in the mid '60s (I think they were $75). In what way are the 6s and 17s "iconic"? Of course, for me, the really iconic ones would be the 9!
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I am interested in this, because I recently resurrected a pair of 17s which I bought for my father in the mid '60s (I think they were $75). In what way are the 6s and 17s "iconic"? Of course, for me, the really iconic ones would be the 9!
The KLH model 6 and 17 were iconic in the sense that they established the two-way acoustic suspension loudspeaker as the dominant force in American hi-fi for at least the next two decades. They also showed that the two-way acoustic suspension loudspeaker could compete successfully with more expensive designs. They were also the precursors of later two-way acoustic suspension speakers such as the Advent loudspeaker, the EPI 100, and many others. In contrast, the three-way Model 5 was an also ran. Although it was a very good speaker in its own right, it was designed primarily to compete with the AR 3, which I believe always outsold it. I remember hearing the Model 17 back in the day. They were amazing in their day and I believe they would hold their own against many of today's loudspeakers. You are lucky to have them.
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Thanks for the link to Ken Kantor's comments, in which he clarifies the difference between acoustic suspension (AS) and a sealed box. As Kantor points out, "If the mechanical suspension is contributing most of the spring force, it isn't AS." I see many people on audio sites using AS and sealed box interchangeably. The above article is a good example. This is not accurate. Kantor points out the challenges in making AS speakers today but this does not mean they do not exist. NHT is a good example and there are models from other companies, including KLH. The above article does say the Model 5 is acoustic suspension but then puts sealed box in parenthesis. KLH's website does say that the lower priced Albany and Ames are acoustic suspension. As for the 5, we shall see but there is a good chance that they are AS.
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post #29 of 40 Old 01-16-2020, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armand Di Meo View Post
Thanks for the link to Ken Kantor's comments, in which he clarifies the difference between acoustic suspension (AS) and a sealed box. As Kantor points out, "If the mechanical suspension is contributing most of the spring force, it isn't AS." I see many people on audio sites using AS and sealed box interchangeably. The above article is a good example. This is not accurate. Kantor points out the challenges in making AS speakers today but this does not mean they do not exist. NHT is a good example and there are models from other companies, including KLH. The above article does say the Model 5 is acoustic suspension but then puts sealed box in parenthesis. KLH's website does say that the lower priced Albany and Ames are acoustic suspension. As for the 5, we shall see but there is a good chance that they are AS.
If KLH had not called it Acoustic Suspension when I visited the suite, I would not have used the words. But I am reporting what I was told, not making a judgment of my own.
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post #30 of 40 Old 01-16-2020, 11:33 AM
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I think the definition has drifted a lot over the years and the same goes for the definition of IB. When AS was developed the T/S parameters hadn't been formalized. I've seen it defined as Vb<1/3 Vas.

As for KLH and their definitions, it wouldn't be the first time the marketing department trumped the engineering department.

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