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Andy

KLH's 50th

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Andy    0

I think we may have overlooked KLH's 50th birthday last year, with it's founding having been in early 1957. Nertheless, March 1958 will mark 50 years since the model six was introduced to the public and press. I'm fairly sure the model Four was also introduced at the same time. These two models were KLH's first full-range loudspeakers and they launched the company into the mainstream speaker market. The model Four was pricy at about $225. and sold slowly, but was chosen as the monitor speaker at CBS Records. Last year a forum member noted his pair of model Fours, serial numbers in the 6,000 range are dated June 1964 which must have been near the very end of production. The model Six on the other hand stayed in production some 14 years with near 200,000 units made. The public loved the model Six and most of us have owned at least one pair in the last half century. 14 years in production must be a record ?

The press raves ! The May, 1958 issue of AUDIO said - "Using machine-run curves and a calibrated Western Electric 640AA condesor microphone, several different types of tweeters were compared. The effects of diffraction of varies baffles were noticed, and the curve of the unit used in the Six was considerably smoother then we have come to exspect from cone tweeters with response extending well out over 15,000 cps. The model Six is capable of performance which we have come to think of as unbeleivable for so small a cabinet."......This review along with the solid low frequency reputation KLH had established with models One,Two and Three would have convinced me to buy a pair in 1958.

The die was cast - KLH was on it's way to fame and fortune ! 50 years later, we can still rave about these early speakers....HAPPY BIRTHDAY KLH. B)

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tysontom    0

I think we may have overlooked KLH's 50th birthday last year, with it's founding having been in early 1957. Nertheless, March 1958 will mark 50 years since the model six was introduced to the public and press. I'm fairly sure the model Four was also introduced at the same time. These two models were KLH's first full-range loudspeakers and they launched the company into the mainstream speaker market. The model Four was pricy at about $225. and sold slowly, but was chosen as the monitor speaker at CBS Records. Last year a forum member noted his pair of model Fours, serial numbers in the 6,000 range are dated June 1964 which must have been near the very end of production. The model Six on the other hand stayed in production some 14 years with near 200,000 units made. The public loved the model Six and most of us have owned at least one pair in the last half century. 14 years in production must be a record ?

The press raves ! The May, 1958 issue of AUDIO said - "Using machine-run curves and a calibrated Western Electric 640AA condesor microphone, several different types of tweeters were compared. The effects of diffraction of varies baffles were noticed, and the curve of the unit used in the Six was considerably smoother then we have come to exspect from cone tweeters with response extending well out over 15,000 cps. The model Six is capable of performance which we have come to think of as unbeleivable for so small a cabinet."......This review along with the solid low frequency reputation KLH had established with models One,Two and Three would have convinced me to buy a pair in 1958.

Andy,

It is good that you remembered to note KLH's 50th birthday, which would officially have been on March or April, 2007. Henry Kloss departed AR in February of 1957, I believe, and immediately went to work on his own company during the early spring of 1957. The first product, introduced in June, 1957, was the Model 1 (by August, KLH began calling each speaker by the written number, e.g., KLH "One"), an expensive speaker with two 11-inch acoustic-suspension woofers, licensed under Acoustic Research. In August, 1957 KLH introduced the Model Two and Three. The Model Four followed in the fall of 1957, somewhat earlier than the very popular KLH Six. The price of the Model Four eventually settled in the late 1950s at $231 for Lacquered Mahogany, Lacquered Walnut and Oiled Walnut and $219 for Unfinished Birch.

--Tom Tyson

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Andy    0

Thanks for adding that it was the fall of '57 when the Model Four was introduced...Those lacquered mahogany ones must have been a great looking, as well as sounding units. Ed Villchur must have had mixed feelings about KLH's first products being of a high quality and in the price range of his own AR speakers. Surely he must have thought....[just what is this Mr. Kloss capable of building as far as speakrs?}

As it turned out, the loudspeaker market was expanding rapidly and there was plenty of room for both AR and KLH. Plus KLH turned out to be a notch below AR and attracted a different type of buyer.

Andy

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tysontom    0
Thanks for adding that it was the fall of '57 when the Model Four was introduced...Those lacquered mahogany ones must have been a great looking, as well as sounding units. Ed Villchur must have had mixed feelings about KLH's first products being of a high quality and in the price range of his own AR speakers. Surely he must have thought....[just what is this Mr. Kloss capable of building as far as speakrs?}

As it turned out, the loudspeaker market was expanding rapidly and there was plenty of room for both AR and KLH. Plus KLH turned out to be a notch below AR and attracted a different type of buyer.

Andy

Andy,

I agree: the KLH Four was one of the most handsome loudspeakers ever designed. It had almost perfect proportions, and the characteristic neutral boucle grill cloth and the wood finishes seem to blend together to make it so handsome -- more so than the KLH Six, which seemed a bit narrow in comparison. As you say, I'm sure Ed Villchur thought a lot about KLH, but all of the early models were built under license from AR (see attachment), so he new what KLH was doing pretty much all of the time through the early royalty payments. Another important point was that Villchur was not a "marketing" person, per se, but was almost single-mindedly performance-oriented. He labored tirelessly over accuracy, distortion and performance, and he always felt that if he took care of those details, and understood the problems, success would follow. As it happened, the KLH Four was never any real competition for the AR-3, and sold a fraction as many copies. The KLH Four was originally designed to compete against the AR-1 -- and except for the deepest bass response -- it had the AR-1 pretty well covered. I suspect that the high price of the KLH Four eventually did it in, much as it did with the big Model 1. Kloss was a fast learner, however, and at roughly half the cost of the original Four, he put almost the same level of performance in the KLH Six! I believe that the KLH Six is the speaker that surprised everyone with its remarkable success!

--Tom Tyson

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