MAY 13, 2022
From the ’50s through the ‘70s, KLH was one of the best-known and most-respected brands of loudspeakers made in the US and sold worldwide. The ”K’” in KLH, Henry Kloss (pronounced “Close”), was a quirky, inventive polymath who founded five companies: KLH, Advent, Kloss Video (early leaders in projection televisions), Cambridge Audio, and Tivoli. Kloss was one of the pioneers of acoustic suspension loudspeakers, in which the air in a sealed enclosure acted as the restoring force for low-frequency drivers (woofers). Acoustic suspension designs provided extended bass from much smaller enclosures than would have been achievable from the vented speaker enclosures that were predominant at the time.
Starting at Acoustic Research and moving on to KLH, Kloss was one of the fathers of the smaller, “bookshelf” speaker. When stereo recordings and components came along in the late ’50s, those smaller loudspeakers made the prospect of having two speakers in the living room acceptable and hastened stereo’s adoption. Thanks, Henry!
All of Kloss’ designs for KLH produced amazing sound quality from elegant but unobtrusive enclosures; the innovations were contained in the speaker drivers (woofer, tweeter, and in 3-way models, a midrange driver), not in outlandish or elaborate cabinetry. The new Model Three from the revived KLH continues that tradition, with clean mid-century modern styling clad in mahogany veneer, with off-white linen grille cloth. It also continues with one of Kloss’ eccentricities: he always insisted upon all model numbers being spelled out, not represented by numerals (“Three”, not “3”).
The Model Three was preceded by the Model Five, a larger, 3-way design that received rave reviews. Stereophile’s veteran reviewer Ken Micallef wrote, “The KLH M5s are intoxication kings, urging me to hear my most beloved vinyl via its big personality and well-scaled dimensionality.” Home Theater Review’s Mark Henninger wrote, “Does an updated version of this classic design deliver the goods? The answer is unambiguous: Yes, this is a music lover’s speaker system that looks and sounds fantastic.” Henninger emphasized his respect by giving the Model Fives an Editor’s Choice award.
Given the unanimous props given to the Model Five, the Model Three had a lot to live up to. Judging by the accolades from Stereonet’s Mark Gusew, the Threes are worthy of their bigger brother: “The new KLH Model Three is a highly capable little loudspeaker, one that’s far more characterful and less analytical than most modern designs. Rewarding and engaging, it produces a huge stereo image, and with a bass full of texture and resolution. At no stage was the sound boring or a taste of plain vanilla.”
The Three is a 2-way design, and its 8’ woofer and 1” dome tweeter benefit from all the advances made in speaker drivers since Kloss’ day and provide tight, tuneful bass coupled with pure, non-fatiguing high frequencies. A design goal for the Three was to provide bass that extends as low and as cleanly as the bass of the larger Model Five; the designers succeeded, but the Threes are intended for smaller rooms and simply won’t play as loud as the larger speaker.
The KLH Model Three is solidly built, and comes complete with a black, powder-coated steel riser base, allowing easy positioning and providing optimum dispersion and imaging in any room. The Model Threes offer real value and will provide decades of listening pleasure and pride of ownership. To test out the KLH Model Threes please chat with us or give a call to your nearest showroom.