Montreal retailer Studio du Son’s room was a blast from the past, complete with peace-sign door beads, a 50s-style wood-framed Black & White TV—okay, technically it was a blast from at least two different pasts—vintage photos of old-school rock stars, and a fat-knobbed radio and record player console. Oh, and KLH speakers.
The KLH speaker I heard in this nostalgia-drenched room, the Model Three ($2700 w/ stands), was a brand-new baby, arriving just in time for its official Canadian launch at the Montreal audio show.
It sounded great, better than I expected. Hooked up to a 200Wpc class-D Acurus Aries integrated ($5000) and an Acurus Zidoo media player ($2000)—at this point my blast-from-the-past reverie began to dissipate—this system sounded instantly captivating (no head-scratching self-questioning here). The other visitors were right there with me, if their rapturous comments are anything to go by. These diminutive speakers packed a punch.
They were explicit but not shouty. They were well-balanced top to bottom. No, the bass wasn’t the most extended, but I did not care about that. I found the Model Threes quite good at directly communicating the emotion of the music. The KLH’s best quality was its explicit, expressive midrange, followed closely by its ability to make room-filling sound that somehow didn’t seem to lack bass.
One track I heard that was especially riveting on the KLHs was the slow blues track “Feel Like Going Home” by Hans Theessink. Hans has a deep, rich voice, and when it came out through the Model Threes, it was so deep and rich that it raised the hair on the back of my neck.
I shouldn’t say it after such brief exposure, but I’ll say it anyway: I think the KLH Model Threes are one of the best deals and best-kept secrets in audio.