CHICAGO (PTA) — KLH Audio is back! And not to spoil the story, but nothing about the new KLH towers looks or sounds like a budget-friendly freshman effort. Working with Rogers High Fidelity amplification, the old adage of “spend the bulk of your money on the speakers” just went out the window.
In 2017 KLH is was purchased by former Klipsch Global Sales President David P. Kelley, and is presently offering an all-new line of high-performance, value-oriented stereo, home theater and personal audio products.
KLH relaunched itself last year with a pretty deep stable of new products, which included in-room loudspeakers, architectural custom-install speakers, and headphones. This isn’t the first classic brand name to be reborn, but at AXPONA 2019 KLH is one of the most optimistically talked about exhibitors at the show. Part of the reason there is such optimism around the new brand is, that this debut isn’t exactly a debut. KLH product has already been shipping and models have been gathering reviews and awards from the audiophile press at an alarming rate. People experiencing the new loudspeakers for the first time at the show were also talking up the sound of the room as well, even before day one had ended.
Of the new KLH’s twelve in-room loudspeaker models in the product line-up, two were on active display at AXPONA. The new Kendall, a three-way tower loudspeaker — and the new Albany, a two-way monitor loudspeaker. As a nod to the KLH brand’s history, each is named after a street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the birthplace of KLH. Each was finished in a real-wood veneer as standard. Kevlar mid-bass and mid-range drivers abound, with anodized aluminum tweeters rounding out the top-end. Unheard of is a ten-year warranty on all of their passive loudspeakers. That is an insane amount of security for such a painless investment.
Unique for my own audio show-going experiences, an in-room demonstration of architectural speakers. Cutting to the chase, their sound was smooth and solid. They also performed consistently on-axis and off-axis, which is good news for real world use. Everyone in the room was willing to openly share how impressed they were after the demo. Myself included.
Also on display were the new Ultimate One headphones. They are an open-air over-ear design, that are finished like some of the best I’ve seen in the market. Real ebony wood finished earcups, and hand-stitched headbands and ear pads made of premium leather and sheepskin. On the inside, 50mm pure beryllium drivers. While in the room I didn’t get the chance to listen as a loudspeaker demonstration was taking place.
During my listening session of both the Albany monitors and the Kendall towers, they were being powered by the Rogers High Fidelity 65V-1 integrated amplifier, being fed by Wolf Audio music server and Bel Canto DAC. The Rogers integrated is a four-tube amplifier that operates in Class-A, and in this option running EL34 tubes. The KLH loudspeaker efficiency allowed us to operate in triode mode or ultra-linear, and the use of either had benefits that paid off well.
The Kendall tower loudspeaker garnered the most of my attention as it was able to flex all of it’s best attributes with such capable amplification. Bass was deep, solid, tight, and not overblown. Mid-range had a bloom and tone that definitely exceeded the thirteen-hundred dollar asking price. Top-end was a little hot, but that’s to be expected as the loudspeaker line-up is not just geared for two-channel listening, but home theater as well. I could even see myself enacting the often forbidden use of tone controls to tame the top-end during more critical listening. But overall, the speaker pays out well more than you pay in, and with a decade long warranty on its craftsmanship, how can you go wrong?
– Kendall Tower Loudspeakers – $1,298 pr USD
– Albany Bookshelf Monitors – $478 pr USD
– Ultimate One Headphones – $299 USD
Rogers High Fidelity
– PA-1A Phono Preamplifier – $7,300 USD
– 65V-1 Integrated Amplifier – $3,995 USD
– Prime Scout Turntable – $2,200 USD
– Alpha 2 Music Server – $4,000 USD
– DAC 2.7 – $2,495 USD