BY BERND WEBER ON JUNE 10, 2022
HiFi & HIGH-END NEWS
KLH in Germany and Austria
Bellevue Audio GmbH, based in Unna, is now taking over the distribution of the KLH loudspeaker brand. Founded in 1957 by Henry Kloss in Cambridge, Massachusetts, KLH was one of the largest loudspeaker manufacturers in the world in the late 60s with over 500 employees. In addition to the production of high-quality transducers for demanding music reproduction, milestones such as the Model Eleven turntable, the Model Forty tape recorder and the Model Eight FM table radio were also part of the product portfolio of the Americans. The latter wrote another success story in the early 2000s in the Tivoli Audio reissue as Model One – also developed by Henry Kloss.
KLH is an abbreviation of the surnames of the three brand founders Kloss, Low and Hofmann. The concentrated expertise of the trio was complemented by the know-how of Arthur Janszen, who was ultimately also mainly responsible for the audio engineering of the Model Nine electrostat. In combination with Kloss’ development of the “Acoustic Suspension Design” acoustic suspension and the overall design, the rapid success of the brand was ultimately founded. In the first years after the company was founded, several thousand copies of this loudspeaker were already sold worldwide. The good reputation of this legendary transducer is still unbroken. Even today, the KLH Model Nine is considered one of the best loudspeakers of the 20th century among die-hard hi-fi enthusiasts.
In Germany and Austria
Even though KLH continued to be one of the best-known audio specialists in North America and Asia, the brand became somewhat quieter in Europe due to various sales decisions in the early 2000s. Since 2017, KLH has been part of Kelley Global Brands, retaining the brand’s classic heritage. And even if state-of-the-art technology is used inside, a KLH loudspeaker can be recognized at first glance. In the course of this takeover and the retention of old values and traditions, the level of awareness of the brand is now increasing again in Europe. The portfolio selected for the German and Austrian markets and distributed via Bellevue Audio currently includes two floor-standing and one bookshelf speaker.
The Model Five was one of the loudspeaker icons of its time and is considered the face of the KLH brand. Entirely dedicated to acoustic performance, the current version of this legendary milestone in vintage design is also dedicated. In the 190-millimeter MDF housing, a 254-millimeter woofer provides plenty of pressure in the bass cellar and basic tone. Placed directly above it, a 104-millimeter midrange driver and a 2.5-centimeter tweeter with aluminum dome complete the three-way concept.
Of course, the so-called “Acoustic Suspension Design” has been retained. To put it simply, this is an all-round closed housing in which the individual chassis are not rigidly suspended, but mounted with air suspension. A tuning that is primarily noticeable in a more precise and controlled bass reproduction and which, according to KLH, represents the “most accurate and linear housing design available today”. However, the enormous linearity and precise woofer tuning are also due to the switching unit placed on the back. It allows an increase or decrease of all frequencies from 400 Hertz by 1.5 dB each. The slightly inclined, sturdy metal base also ensures that the Model Five can be placed ideally aligned at all times. Like said steel tripod, the full-surface, magnetically adhesive Stone Wash linen covers are also included in the scope of delivery. Price: 2.995 Euro / pair
Same approach, slightly different principle: The Model Three is also based on the well-known KLH housing shape and can justifiably be described as the little brother of the Model Five. Also striking here are the high material quality and the really excellent workmanship. The technical equipment is also modern and sumptuous: the approximately 72-centimeter-high vintage loudspeaker is based on the same, only slightly more compact, housing design – specially tuned for use in smaller listening rooms. The patented “Acoustic Suspension Design” was transferred to a two-way structure.
The acoustic family signature is therefore retained. Responsible for this are the 25 millimeter tweeter construction with aluminum dome and the 20 centimeter woofer/midrange driver placed underneath. Like its big brother, the Model Three also has the said sound adjustment, sturdy metal tripods (Slant Riser Base) and magnetically adhesive linen covers.
Price: 2.195 Euro / pair
Slim figure, real KLH DNA: Named after the birthplace of the KLH brand – Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts – the Kendall brand tradition, design standards and state-of-the-art technology are combined. The almost 1.02 meter high three-way transducer presents itself as a classic loudspeaker column in real wood veneer. Despite its filigree line, the exclusively processed Kendall has high-quality components such as anodized aluminum tweeters or powerful Kevlar oscillating systems.
For maximum efficiency, the latter chassis work in housing chambers specially made for them. In combination with the solid MDF housing, powder-coated die-cast aluminum baskets and the solid front panel, the Kendall promises a multifaceted detail and center display, a lot of fine details, an impressive bandwidth and a dynamic and free bass performance.
Price: 1.995 Euro / pair
KLH offers additional fabric covers for both the Three and Model Five models. If you want to visually adapt your loudspeaker to your living environment, you will find the right accessory in the following color variants: basalt black, stonewash linen or Old World linen for the price of 250 euros / pair.
If you are still looking for stable and visually appealing tripods for non-brand speakers or older KLH models, you will also find what you are looking for at Bellevue Audio: The two Slant Riser Base variants, which are included in the scope of delivery of the Model Five and the Model Three, are optionally available in pairs for the price of around 400 euros.
About Bellevue Audio
Bellevue Audio, based in Unna, North Rhine-Westphalia, is a distributor of sophisticated high-end audio electronics and high-quality accessories. The focus of the dedicated audio specialists is always on the best possible sound reproduction at affordable prices. Following this goal, the portfolio of the distribution company founded in 2007 is also dedicatedly selected: In addition to loudspeakers from brands such as KLH and Neat Acoustics, the finest audio-electronic components from Cyrus Audio are just as much a part of the sales products as audio furniture from Custom Design and accessories from HiDiamond and Vortex HiFi. Products distributed via Bellevue Audio are offered exclusively through the German and partly also through the Austrian specialist trade.