KLH model 6 speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by old R&R guy, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. old R&R guy

    old R&R guy Member

    There probably has been discussion about this many times but I'm new here so here goes. I'm currently using a pair of vintage KLH model 6 speakers in my living room. Picked 'em up at a yard sale a while ago pretty cheap, don't remember now what I paid for them. I see by researching online that many audiophiles consider them to be highly desirable speakers & they seem to command pretty high prices in good condition. They sound pretty good but a bit mid-rangey to my ears. Maybe that's due to how I have them set up or the receiver I'm using (Sony STR-D365) possibly? I'm thinking of hooking them up to my recently acquired Luxman R-115 receiver & see what they sound like with that. I'm sure some of you guys have had experience with the model 6's & I'd appreciate opinions or any other info about them.
  2. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Caesar non supra grammati

    First, congrats and welcome to AK.

    Second, KLH Six speakers are legendary. Not everyone loves them, but they are well-respected by many. I have a set, purchased at a thrift store. I discovered one of my tweeters had malfunctioned. A very kind AK member sent me one as a replacement, and they have been my front two speakers in my HT setup ever since. I could not part with them for anything.

    Third, if you are not hearing the high-end (which is what I think you're saying), it is not unusual for these speakers to need new crossover capacitors, due to age. Don't worry, it's super-easy to do. Or, one or both tweeters may be gone. Best way to tell is to simply put your ear up next to the tweeter with the music playing and see if you hear something. It's hard to know for sure without a reference (a tweeter that does work, for example), but if you have another set of speakers somewhere that have working tweeters, they should provide a good example.

    KLH Six speakers are worth having and worth restoring even if you have to put a little work into them, IMHO. If they're not your cup of tea, I'm sure you will have no trouble moving them down the road to someone else.
  3. old R&R guy

    old R&R guy Member

    Thanks very much for the advice, Wigwam. I was considering selling these & a pair of Polk SDA2's I have (they're just too obtrusive, my wife objects to their size) to maybe get some Bose speakers. Now you've got me thinking I should rehab the KLH's. Short of getting tweeters/capacitors from folks here, is there a source online where I can go to find them? Or just take the tweeters to a local Radio Shack & try to match them up there? The bass player in my band is an electrician so he ban probably help with the capacitors. I have the impression they are capable of delivering far more than they presently are.
  4. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Caesar non supra grammati

    Personally, I'd check eBay for original tweeters. Failing that, try Parts Express for good, inexpensive replacements. They'll advise you also if you ask. Food place for replacement caps too. And welcome to AK again. Stick around!
  5. old R&R guy

    old R&R guy Member

    Wigwam, this site has been a real joy to find & experience. It's been a hobby of mine for years to drag home & tinker with old audio equipment that has either been put out for trash or a bargain at a yard sale. It's great to be able to get advice from like minded enthusiasts. I never did get rid of my vinyl record collection & am having a ball reactivating it. Regarding the tweeters in the model 6's, I sat & really listened closely to them, playing the 1st Chicago LP on my recently refurbished Dual 1229. They seem to be working. I did up the treble control on the receiver, though, as it seemed to be a bit lacking. So, are you saying changing the crossover capacitors will improve their performance? Should I consider changing both the tweeters & the capacitors?
  6. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Caesar non supra grammati

    If the tweeters are working, don't replace them. If you feel the high end is lacking, it certainly sounds like a recap is what you need. That is a typical symptom and recapping is both cheap and easy. The speakers are an excellent match for your current setup as well. Recapping is one of those things that can't hurt, and might help.
  7. gbroot

    gbroot Super Member

    I have KLH Model 23's, 6's, 5's, & 22's. They all needed capacitors when I got them. I don't have the 17's but I believe the re-cap and cap values are identical to the 6's. I found a thread including pics of the 17 re-cap that I used as my source. The 6's were a completely different speaker once they were recapped. I just finished capping a set of Realistic Optimus 1's yesterday. They were Radio Shacks answer to the Model 6. Before the recap they were very dull but I will have to do an A/B comparison with the 6cause they really sound good now! You're 6's will wake up after you recap them. Good luck!
  8. old R&R guy

    old R&R guy Member

    OK then. A recap of my KLH model 6 speakers it is. I'm assuming a local Radio Shack or any electronic supply place will have what I need? Is there an online guide to doing this?
  9. Soundminded

    Soundminded Well-Known Member

    How easy or hard these are to repair depends on when they were made. They were manufactured between about 1958 and 1972 and there were a lot of variants. I've got two pairs, one pair is a very early version. In that version repair is next to impossible. Not only is the cabinet sealed but the woofers don't have a true frame. Instead they are epoxied into the front baffle board. They went back to the factory in Massachusetts twice for repairs. One time they used a crowbar to remove the baffleboard from the cabinet. Another they cut out the woofer cone, worked throgh the basket and reconed it. This was Kloss's idea and he patented it. Nobody else who ever manufactured a speaker was stupid enough to do the same thing. Later they used a more conventional woofer that unscrews.

    The tweeter design was the result of a million trials and errors. It has an unusually low crossover frequency and many other unique attributes. Fortuntely it was used in many other KLH models including 5, 12, and 17 so there are replacements out there on e-bay if you need them.

    One issue is the porousity of the cloth woofer surround. It is not foam, it will never rot. But the sealant will fail in time and the cloth can become porous. If this happens the bass will not be right. Do not try to seal it with just any old material, that will stiffen the surround and compromise the bass by rasing its resonant frequency. If you do that, you will for all practical intents and purposes destroy the speaker. Visit classic speaker pages web site where there is expert help on restoring these speakers. There are formulations that work but they are not readily available.
  10. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool Subscriber

    Yeah, the Six and the Five are really-nice speakers. KLH sits high among the 'east coast' brands.
  11. old R&R guy

    old R&R guy Member

    Well, after doing a bit more research online I now know that these KLH 6's date to the mid to late 50's. Their address on the back has a 2 digit zip code, which puts them in that time period. There are no screws to remove the back cover & the grill cloth in front appears to be permanently affixed as well. If the info I read is correct it's probably best to cut open the back panel & go in that way. What say all ye here?
  12. HSAH

    HSAH Active Member

    Early versions with sealed cabinet should have a serial number of about 0095000 or lower, which, as Soundminded pointed out, will be very hard to get inside.

    Pre 1962 sealed versions used military surplus oil filled caps, and they last much longer then the later type...some say forever. I think the last oil filled caps were used around serial number 050000. I have a pair of model six's from the first month of production in March 1958, serial numbers 00711 & 00684....they've never been serviced and sound fantastic. Also, they have the rare 12-ply plywood cabinets, not mdf and are finished in the corina blond finish, also rare.

    Love these speakers !
  13. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Caesar non supra grammati

    I'm sorry to say I have no experience with the very early models; sounds horrible to try to cut the back to get in! As to parts, radio shack won't have nonpolarized capacitors. Parts Express or similar online source is best for those.
  14. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Caesar non supra grammati

    If they really are that old, and have oil caps, this may change things. You may want to rethink this.
  15. old R&R guy

    old R&R guy Member

    OK, I got the serial # off the KLH 6's I have: 11189. No zero's before or after. If I understand the # sequence correctly that makes these speakers very early in the production run. And since you all say they weren't made before 1958 then that would likely be the year of manufacture. I saw one site that said they were made as early as 1955 but I'm suspecting that's inaccurate. Considering their age they still sound pretty good. Just a bit lacking in high frequency. I have the impression from you all that I should not attempt to open these up to recap them. If I want something with more high end & a bit more punch maybe I should sell these, while they still work OK, and the Polk SDA 2's I have and get...what? I guess I've got some research to do. The SDA2's are just too big, though I'd love to use them. Any suggestions? I'm thinking Bose but I got a couple negative replies when I mentioned Bose before.
  16. HSAH

    HSAH Active Member

    #11189 is early so they should have oil filled caps. The ultimate question is, how do they sound as they are ? If all drivers work and high frequency response is good, just use them. Unless you have some woodworking skills, I wouldn't try to get inside of them, I've heard of many train wrecks in such attempts. If you've got 12-ply cabinets, their pretty scarce. In late 1958 a change to Nova-py kind of cabinet is seen. Then to MDF, which is seen on all KLH's in the 60s & 70s. The KLH model six was introduced in March 1958. Models one,two & three date to 1957, the year KLH was founded.

    The six is a true hifi classic....In the words of Henry Kloss himself in a 1996 interview - "Everything was right about the model six". He often spoke fondly of the Six through the years, it really helped put KLH on the map in the glory days of early hifi..

    It's no wonder it srtayed in production for over 14 years, it's a fantastic loudspeaker.
  17. gbroot

    gbroot Super Member

    What is your source of power? The 6's respond better to certain receivers. I tried mine on a modern Denon AV unit and they didn't sound very good. On my Pioneer SX-980 and QX-949 (late 70's) they are great and their bass really stands out. I have heard they are even better with tubes.
  18. gbroot

    gbroot Super Member

    Disregard my previous question. I see what your amplification sources are when you started the thread. The 6's might do better with the Luxman.
  19. Fran604g

    Fran604g Love at first sound... Subscriber

    Welcome to AudioKarma!

    Those model 6's can be a blessing or a curse. I have a pair of very early models and they still function perfectly. If I were to try and open them up, I would cut the backs out and place cleats on the inside of the cabinets to reattach the backs after repairing the xovers. If the drivers are bad, then it's another problem entirely.

    Have you checked out The Classicspeakerpages.com? They are the goto source for all things KLH, Advent, and AR. LOTS of info and advice.


    Not to say we don't have many folks here with great advice, we do! ;)

    Good luck! And keep us posted on your progress!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  20. shacky

    shacky Addicted Member

    OMG - blasphemy :tears: Selling KLH or SDA's to buy Bose :yikes:

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