In recent years a lot of manufacturers have been releasing new versions of their classics from the 60s and 70s. Think JBL, PSB, Wharfedale, Mission and KLH to name a few. And while these products look very much like their illustrious predecessors on the outside, thankfully they are now made with the latest materials and techniques. Feel free to think back with nostalgia to those speakers of yesteryear with their bonkers low and warm midrange but you will find none of that on the new KLH Audio Model Five that we were allowed to test by importer Hifi Matters. Let’s check it out!
KLH Audio was one of the largest speaker manufacturers in the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s. Recently, the company was acquired and took a fresh start. And they didn’t fail on that new start. The current team chooses to breathe new life into models from the past. The Model Five is a prime example of that. The original Model Five was a bestseller for many years and was developed by founder and owner Henry Kloss. Kloss is still considered one of the most important speaker builders of his time.
The KLH Model Five is described as a floorstander although it is placed on a low stand. That stand comes standard, a plus in our book, and tilts the speaker back slightly. The speaker itself fits nicely on the stand which has a rubber protection at the bottom to keep floors from being damaged. The cabinet finish is fine and the veneer is excellently applied and matches the woven front panel nicely.
Anno 2023, the Model Five seems to have lost very little popularity. Quite the contrary, in fact.
Mix and match
Model Five comes in three different finishes. English Walnut, West African Mahogany and Nordic Noir. You can combine each finish at will with a grille of your choice. Our demo model in walnut was given the ‘Old World Linen’ faceplate, which we think goes nicely with the light brown color of the cabinet itself. These speakers will look great in a lot of interiors. We can definately visualize them in a living room full of vintage design.
KLH uses aluminum and paper for the drive units. The 2.5 cm tweeter is a soft dome in a rubber suspension. The 10 cm mid-driver and 25 cm woofer consist of a kind of pulp made from a mixture of scraps of paper. A large woofer that, unlike in the past, no longer produces a slow and wobly bass.
The mid-driver and woofer are mounted in an aluminum frame that again features that rubber suspension. Main specs are the sensitivity of 90db and the fact that this 6 Ohm speaker dips to 3.5 Ohms minimun. We advise some stable watts and adequate power.
Acoustic air suspension
You won’t find a bass port on the Model Five because this speaker uses an “Acoustic Suspension” system; so it’s a closed system. The model five is co-developed by Henry Kloss in 1954. This system basically allows the air produced by the bass to form a sort of cushion for the woofer. Instead of letting the air out of the cabinet, KLH just uses the air to its advantage to make the woofer perform accurately and linearly. An ingenious application now used by several manufacturers.
Great review guys. I have owned these for over a year, and they just keep getting better. They are extremely transparent, and sound very good with a mix of gear. I find the sound most pleasing with an R2R DAC vs a chip DAC. Even my XTZ Edge A2-400 class d amplifier with the right preamp sounds incredibly good. A class A/B amp and preamp sound the best to my ear. Just a fantastic all around versatile speaker. Mine are staying.