More true confessions from New England or why are there three pairs of KLH Sixes here?

mhardy6647

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In the spirit of my cathartic threads on tuners and a foundling pair of AR-4x, I feel that it is time to speak of my little KLH Six problem.
It started innocently enough: a pair of KLH Sixes found at the much-beloved Harvard, MA town dump transfer station many, many years ago. "New England" loudspeakers, perhaps not surprisingly ;), tended to show up regularly on the swap pile (and sometimes in the scrap metal pile, paradoxically) at the dump. Indeed, the very first decent pair of loudspeakers I found at the dump were two hideously ugly, but very decent sounding, AR-3.
Here's one of them :)

1625359395228.png

But I digress.

The aforementioned KLH Sixes were in fairly good condition overall, but no tweeter output as found. As I would come to learn was often the case with these, the tweeters themselves were fine, but the XO capacitors (in the form of a 2 x 4 uF dual section capacitor, wired in parallel for 8 uF) were both kaput. I sourced some replacements (most likely from Electronics Plus which was, and AFAIK still is, in nearby - to Harvard, that is - Littleton, MA) and got 'em going again. They spent long years in the basement in Harvard, then got promoted, like recipients of good karma, to live in the hifi room upstairs when we moved to NH. Not that they got used or anything, but they got to live upstairs.

More to come.
:redface:
 

JohnVF

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As long as you have room! I had two pairs and an orphan once, so there’s not much I can say. One pair sounded markedly better than the other, I later figured out the caps had been replaced. I still have a soft spot for them- so basic, so listenable. And there size was almost identical to the Harbeths I ended up with. I always liked that size.
No excuses needed.
 

mhardy6647

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I should mention that, for years (decades, perhaps) I felt a certain responsibility to collect loudspeakers made by the canon of New England companies (yes, even the ones on The Mountain in Framingham). I have largely gotten over that -- but not completely.
I did manage to pare the EPI/Epicure/Genesis collection down to one representative pair (some 100Vs -- pretty nice ones, actually) but otherwise, I haven't done so well.

Heck, I've got a pair of KLH Tens (one of a couple-three bass reflex KLH models from the olden days) that I bought, inexpensively, at the NEARC (now NEVEC) swapmeet some years back. They sound perfectly OK, are in OK-not-great condition, and are certainly conversation pieces (albeit within a limited population)... but it's not like I am ever gonna use them for anything. I've actually tried to sell them (regionally) at a couple of the biggish swapmeets (and not for $$$; they're not worth $$$), but had no takers. :o

DSC_6468_z by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

klh 1960 Harvey Radio catalog by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

Ooops, digressing again, am I not?
In truth, I am vamping 'til I get a chance to take some photos of the titular sextet of Sixes to embellish upcoming missives. :confused:🧐
 

JohnVF

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You know I had that “must adopt all good forgotten speakers” mentality, too, but one day it just up and left me. Don’t hate me- I think they’re just inanimate things now with no reason to empathize over they’re fate.
 

Salectric

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Mark, do you have any KLH Fours? I haven’t heard of them before but I thought it curious that they were more expensive than the larger Seven.
 
It’s a good and noble effort Mark.

Maybe it’s the thrifty New Englander mindset, but there’s a certain satisfaction in saving a nice speaker, handmade and of material other than plastic, restoring it, and sending it off to a new home.
 

mhardy6647

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You know I had that “must adopt all good forgotten speakers” mentality, too, but one day it just up and left me. Don’t hate me- I think they’re just inanimate things now with no reason to empathize over they’re fate.
I've gotten much better -- mostly because so many loudspeakers are so large...

Mark, do you have any KLH Fours? I haven’t heard of them before but I thought it curious that they were more expensive than the larger Seven.
Nope. No exotic KLHs, save the above-mentioned Tens (which are borderline -- as, upon reflection, am I). ;)
 

mhardy6647

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Let's see... now where was I?
1625615442413.png
Oh, yes. Silver. And Gold...
no, check that. KLH Sixes. Yeah, that's the ticket.

OK so that first pair has been here a long time. When we moved to NH, I did have the space (well, kind of) to move 'em upstairs -- so I did. Even tried sprucing the cabinets up a bit when I moved them -- although I do still need to re-do the grilles...

Now -- somewhere along the line, after we moved to NH full time, our (much-beloved) son, who is something of a thriftstore fan/yardsailor himself (the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, at least in some respects) asked me one day about a pair of loudspeakers he espied at a thrift store. I think it was durning his first teaching gig after he got his PhD, in Farmville, VA :) Farmville is a kind of cute little town with two colleges (?!) and, for whatever reason, a high concentration of furniture stores & thrift/antique/junk stores. Also a nice rail trail for biking with some amazing views. Our son's kind of place. He felt moved to acquire these speakers for me after we talked about him, so -- probably that year at Christmas time, they crossed the Mason-Dixon line and came to roost in NH (much closer to their point of origin, of course).

This particular pair turns out to be KLH 6Vs, which were a late-production, lower-priced version with Contact Paper vinyl "veneer" and (?) a slightly simplified crossover. I also note that the crossover panel is recessed, a feature I quite appreciate, since it makes the danged things easier to pick up and move.

This particular pair also has one bad tweeter. Not the typical bad XO cap -- nope -- a genuine, voice-coil-open, bad tweeter. :( I sent a few emails, posted a few WTB ads -- started looking at eBAY and the local swapmeets. Could I find one (or two) good KLH tweeters for what I would consider a reasonable price? Negatory. :(

But, due to the kindness/enablement of one of the regional vacuum tube hifi gurus, though, I did come up, sort of, with a solution. Sort of. It turns out he had a pair of KLH Sixes he'd picked up at a yard sale on the MA "North Shore" at some point with -- you guessed it -- one nonfunctional tweeter. He knew I was looking for a tweeter, so he supplied one, with rather an excessive amount of "packing material" ;) along with it!

This third pair, though, was 1) in fairly good shape (not minty, but not bad either) and 2) a blonde finish morph! Quite attractive, actually.
That, of course, was a worst case scenario -- I didn't have the heart to eviscerate one to acquire a good tweeter for the 6Vs -- and I also didn't have the heart to take the good tweeter from the pair that my own son gave me to reanimate the blondies! I struggle with stuff like this sometimes. :confused: :o

As a direct consquence, the latter two pairs were dispatched to the basment, to await the Acoustic Suspension Rapture or to someday be renovated, whichever would come first.

DSC_0220 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
From left to right: one of the dump-find Sixes, one of the blonde Sixes, and one of the 6Vs.

to be continued...
 

mhardy6647

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oh, for posterity: Here's a view, Sgt. Pepper's style* ;) of the KLH 6Vs that my son bought & gave to me.

DSC_0172 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

Note the recessed XO panel with only two connections (no separate terminal & jumper to allow separating the woofer & tweeter).
The one on the left, it will be noted, looks like it's suffered some humidity :( over its years.

_____________________________
* you know, like Paul.

1625616936926.png
 

mhardy6647

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OK. Pair two. The vinyl covered ones.
I've been kinda sorta looking for a replacement tweeter, albeit fairly passively, since they arrived. A drop-in KLH would, of course, be ideal, but -- any port in a storm, you know? I mean... it's a cone tweeter not a flux capacitor, you know? :confused: :rolleyes:
Oh, did I mention that cheap value priced was a key parameter? Did I need to? ;)
I even scratched out a dimensioned drawing to aid me in my quest --

1625657558754.png

There've been a couple of the regional NEARC (now NEVEC) swapmeets since the pandemic, so that's been a major thrust of my quixotic quest. New England Antique Radio Club

At this spring's NEVEC swapmeet, I stumbled across three pairs of cone tweeters (all AlNiCos) with a square-ish mounting flange like the KLH, although of three different sizes. Now: 1) I didn't take my dimensioned drawing with me and 2) I have a terrible spatial memory (actually, terrible spatial skills in general), but I figured one of them would probably be a drop in! :) Plus, they were on the freebie table :) so the bar was pretty low - and home home they came. One pair (the smallest) were Oaktrons; the middle pair, RCA(?) -- EIA code 274 ; and the large-ish pair, the famed Motorola "Golden Voice" (EIA 220 - Jensen) :) One of 'em had to fit, right? Well... no... they're all smaller than the original KLH.

DSC_0222 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

Now... here's the thing. Buoyed by the success of my hack job restoration of an AR-4x*, crafting an adaptor ring to (re)fit the proper tweeter to one that had been butchered to hold a small car coax driver, I figured I could pull off the reverse gambit and make an adaptor plate to put one of these bastard tweeters in the tweeterless 6V. So, one day a few weeks ago, I did. Now, mind you -- I am not proud of this, but a hacked-in tweeter is (arguably) better than none at all. Right? :redface:

DSC_0174 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

Note the clever engineering of the mounting configuration :) In (some) seriousness, I decided to, umm, leverage the original tweeter's mounting holes for the plate (not that I got it all that straight) and mount the tweeter in homage to Henry K's later Advent tweeter layout :) I also stuck with the (original!) 8 uF tweeter XO capacitor. Retrofitting the proper tweeter to this poor, defenseless 6V would be a trivial task.

And the audible result? Well -- the replacement seemed a little brighter than the original. Flipping the tweeter level switch from Normal to Decrease brought the hacked 6V pretty well in line with the (ahem) pristine 6V. Mission accomplished. :)
(well, at least until I do source an affordable, proper KLH Six tweeter -- if anyone has one to spare, shoot me a PM, if you would!)

DSC_0176 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

DSC_0221 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

_______________________
* out of the closet: I seem to be an AR4x fan (?!)
 
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JohnVF

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OK. Pair two. The vinyl covered ones.
I've been kinda sorta looking for a replacement tweeter, albeit fairly passively, since they arrived. A drop-in KLH would, of course, be ideal, but -- any port in a storm, you know? I mean... it's a cone tweeter not a flux capacitor, you know? :confused: :rolleyes:
Oh, did I mention that cheap value priced was a key parameter? Did I need to? ;)
I even scratched out a dimensioned drawing to aid me in my quest --

View attachment 37854

There've been a couple of the regional NEARC (now NEVEC) swapmeets since the pandemic, so that's been a major thrust of my quixotic quest. New England Antique Radio Club

At this spring's NEVEC swapmeet, I stumbled across three pairs of cone tweeters (all AlNiCos) with a square-ish mounting flange like the KLH, although of three different sizes. Now: 1) I didn't take my dimensioned drawing with me and 2) I have a terrible spatial memory (actually, terrible spatial skills in general), but I figured one of them would probably be a drop in! :) Plus, they were on the freebie table :) so the bar was pretty low - and home home they came. One pair (the smallest) were Oaktrons; the middle pair, RCA(?) -- EIA code 274 ; and the large-ish pair, the famed Motorola "Golden Voice" (EIA 220 - Jensen) :) One of 'em had to fit, right? Well... no... they're all smaller than the original KLH.

DSC_0222 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

Now... here's the thing. Buoyed by the success of my hack job restoration of an AR-4x*, crafting an adaptor ring to (re)fit the proper tweeter to one that had been butchered to hold a small car coax driver, I figured I could pull off the reverse gambit and make an adaptor plate to put one of these bastard tweeters in the tweeterless 6V. So, one day a few weeks ago, I did. Now, mind you -- I am not proud of this, but a hacked-in tweeter is (arguably) better than none at all. Right? :redface:

DSC_0174 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

Note the clever engineering of the mounting configuration :) In (some) seriousness, I decided to, umm, leverage the original tweeter's mounting holes for the plate (not that I got it all that straight) and mount the tweeter in homage to Henry K's later Advent tweeter layout :) I also stuck with the (original!) 8 uF tweeter XO capacitor. Retrofitting the proper tweeter to this poor, defenseless 6V would be a trivial task.

And the audible result? Well -- the replacement seemed a little brighter than the original. Flipping the tweeter level switch from Normal to Decrease brought the hacked 6V pretty well in line with the (ahem) pristine 6V. Mission accomplished. :)
(well, at least until I do source an affordable, proper KLH Six tweeter -- if anyone has one to spare, shoot me a PM, if you would!)

DSC_0176 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

DSC_0221 (2) by Mark Hardy, on Flickr

_______________________
* out of the closet: I seem to be an AR4x fan (?!)
Ok this is where you lose me. Vinyl and random tweeters when you already have working (better) pairs? You have a sickness, sir. But as long as you’re enjoying yourself ;)
 

JohnVF

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This also reminds me of a theory I have. Perhaps these speakers don’t sound as good as we think they do, and instead we’re just influenced by what our minds assume something that looks like this will sound like, and being impressed that music manages to come out:

831C37F2-507C-44B9-B29E-A538DF5E877D.jpeg
 

mhardy6647

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Ok this is where you lose me. Vinyl and random tweeters when you already have working (better) pairs? You have a sickness, sir. But as long as you’re enjoying yourself ;)
I don't have the heart to pillage the blondies. :o
... and the vinyl ones were a gift from my boy... my own flesh & blood. :)
As it turns out, the blondies are the best of the bunch -- stay tuned.

I think I am in Old Man and the Sea mode with this particular "project". :rolleyes:
Or maybe it's Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner mode. Not sure. Did Acme make tweeters? What was their EIA code?

PS The goal really really is to end up with only one pair of Sixes at the end of all of this -- and perhaps to flip the others. Well, more kinetically leisurely than a flip. Perhaps more of a toss (being fully aware of the connotative meaning of that word to our friends in the UK). ;)

PPS Yes, they (KLH Sixes, in general) do sound better than they look (at least "under the covers", that is). That's even more true for the aforementioned AR-3. But I digress.
 
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JohnVF

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I don't have the heart to pillage the blondies. :o
... and the vinyl ones were a gift from my boy... my own flesh & blood. :)
As it turns out, the blondies are the best of the bunch -- stay tuned.

I think I am in Old Man and the Sea mode with this particular "project". :rolleyes:
Or maybe it's Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner mode. Not sure. Did Acme make tweeters? What was their EIA code?

PS The goal really really is to end up with only one pair of Sixes at the end of all of this -- and perhaps to flip the others. Well, more kinetically leisurely than a flip. Perhaps more of a toss (being fully aware of the connotative meaning of that word to our friends in the UK). ;)

PPS Yes, they (KLH Sixes, in general) do sound better than they look (at least "under the covers", that is). That's even more true for the aforementioned AR-3. But I digress.
Well being as the vinyl ones are from your own flesh and blood, you have no choice but to reveneer them and get some glazing putty on those butt-ugly baffles and smooth 'em out, make them look like the meaningful things they are. This is no time for random tweeter swaps, you need to do this right, right? (I'm going for quality over quantity here, take the best parts, put them into one and from my experience its MUCH easier to -toss- a cannibalized cabinet in the bin than a sorta-working speaker).
 

adaug

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This also reminds me of a theory I have. Perhaps these speakers don’t sound as good as we think they do, and instead we’re just influenced by what our minds assume something that looks like this will sound like, and being impressed that music manages to come out:

View attachment 37865
yes! this idea deserves its own thread. how much does the APPEARANCE of a piece of gear influence how we think it sounds when we listen to it? i'd bet its significant. and this is a subset of the question of how much our EXPECTATIONS of how something will sound influence how we think it sounds.

and YES i think that the speaker in the photo will sound a certain good way.

and it would be hard for me to not want to buy a pair of speakers like the ones in the photo to be able to "own" that sound.
 

mhardy6647

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Well being as the vinyl ones are from your own flesh and blood, you have no choice but to reveneer them and get some glazing putty on those butt-ugly baffles and smooth 'em out, make them look like the meaningful things they are. This is no time for random tweeter swaps, you need to do this right, right? (I'm going for quality over quantity here, take the best parts, put them into one and from my experience its MUCH easier to -toss- a cannibalized cabinet in the bin than a sorta-working speaker).

In total seriousness, I think that one of the cabinets is swollen enough that the vinyl pair would be difficult to resurrect properly. Else -- again, seriously -- that would be my goal.

yes! this idea deserves its own thread. how much does the APPEARANCE of a piece of gear influence how we think it sounds when we listen to it? i'd bet its significant. and this is a subset of the question of how much our EXPECTATIONS of how something will sound influence how we think it sounds.

and YES i think that the speaker in the photo will sound a certain good way.

and it would be hard for me to not want to buy a pair of speakers like the ones in the photo to be able to "own" that sound.

It's a special case of that blind testing thing, isn't it? And expectation bias? And Dunning-Krieger? and... and... Lake Woebegon? oh, and... umm... Bader-Meinhoff? ;)
 

JohnVF

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In total seriousness, I think that one of the cabinets is swollen enough that the vinyl pair would be difficult to resurrect properly. Else -- again, seriously -- that would be my goal.
Well then its settled- you'll just have to build new cabinets. You could go the usual Klipsch route and replace the cabinets, drivers, and crossovers resulting in "best speakers ever!" ;)
 

Fran604g

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This also reminds me of a theory I have. Perhaps these speakers don’t sound as good as we think they do, and instead we’re just influenced by what our minds assume something that looks like this will sound like, and being impressed that music manages to come out:

View attachment 37865
It's a good thing then, that I keep the grilles on my AR3a's.
 

JohnVF

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It's a good thing then, that I keep the grilles on my AR3a's.
Or maybe not, as they're so ugly that whatever comes out of them will sound EVEN BETTER, because they look like... well, a lot worse than they sound. I think- I never restored the pair I had before selling them (to another HfH member many moons ago).

In all seriousness I think that visual bias probably differs by person and is less an issue than the blind test folks say, and more of an issue than "i can tell everything just by listening" folks say. I'm a grey-area person :)
 
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