(September 6, 2018) Yesterday, the massive CEDIA show floor sat in a mid-day-state of half-baked of disarray, swarmed by hundreds of workers busily erecting the world’s greatest home theater playground. Yet a few lengthy blocks away at an offsite location, KLH and its new team of executives and engineers confidently inhabited a full-featured demo room loaded with the company’s new gear, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to set ears on fire.
I had an opportunity to spend some quality time with KLH’s new owner, Dave Kelley. As detailed in our KLH news feature last week, Kelley is a weathered industry veteran that’s serious about great audio. And there’s little doubt that his passion for sound and design – not to mention the experience and talent he’s recruited to craft KLH’s rebirth – is primed to push the 60-year-old brand back into the lime light.
Kelley is quick to point out that his goal is to honor KLH’s original mission, which is to deliver “affordable quality to the masses.” And he’s doing so without cutting corners. We spent quite a bit of quality time with the company’s new Kendall model, a speaker that’s a veritable work of art. The amount of detail poured into the Kendall – from a brushed metal tweeter surround laser etched with the KLH logo, to an impressively robust cabinet that’s impeccably finished – is absolutely astounding, especially considering the speaker’s highly attractive price tag of $1,299 per pair. If there ever were a case of a speaker looking and sounding twice its price, this is it.
During a private demo session, the Kendall proved to sound fantastic. Its high-end was notably smooth and transparent, issuing the kind of highs that aren’t shy about revealing detail while remaining non-fatiguing. And the speaker’s bass ability was ultra-smooth and confidently rounded without dominating the presentation. Add to that a super-wide soundstage loaded with character and depth, and the Kendall offers truly impressive performance for the price.
While I didn’t have an opportunity to hear some the Kendall’s brethren in action – KLH had most of its new speaker models on display – they all share the same impressive physical characteristics. And because the company’s speakers are voiced the same, Kelley says they are easy to mix and match.
I also had an opportunity to see and hear KLH’s slick VX-1 wireless wall amp in action. The VX-1 can be fitted on a wall, taking up no more space than a simple light switch or passive volume control. Using the KLH app,owners can link more than one VX-1 together for multi-room performance, quickly add other users, and establish a wireless connection that can be managed via your favorite streaming app. And – more importantly – the VX-1 accepts both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, with the ability to stream Hi-Res audio.
Its design is simple. It’s elegant. And it has an opportunity to be a game-changer.
The VX-1 was paired with some of the company’s architectural speakers, driving them with clean sound and zero hesitation. Speaking of architectural designs, I also enjoyed hearing some of the company’s Maxwell in-walls in action. Much like the speakers’ impressively hefty build quality, the Maxwells didn’t disappoint, and should enjoy quite a bit of success in the custom install segment.
For more information about KLH and its new speaker offerings, visit klhaudio.com.