KLH Model Nine’s Incoming

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Rich

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Hey guys. Been a long time since I’ve posted in the forum. Between raising a teenage daughter, getting ready to build a house, and focusing on other hobbies, I’ve been crazy busy and distracted by things other than hifi. But I recently had an interaction with an old friend that may change that. His dad recently passed away and he is currently trying to get rid of all his dad’s stuff. His dad was an engineer and, apparently, an audiophile. He had a pair of pristine KLH Model Nine speakers and my friend wants to sell them to me cheap because he knows I love electrostats.

If you’re not familiar with the Model Nine’s, look them up. They are a full range electrostat designed by Arthur Janszen in the fifties and produced and sold by KLH into the mid 70’s. They are considered one of the most iconic speakers ever produced and are relatively rare. These are old, like from the late 50’s / early 60’s. Luckily, I could get them fully refurbished by David Janszen, son of the designer. Something I’m definitely considering doing. But according to my friend they sounded great the last time he heard them just a few years ago.

The timing isn’t bad because the panel on one of my Ascents just died and I don’t have the time or inclination to replace the panels on those. My Summits still work great, of course. I don’t really need a new speaker project right now, but I don’t think I can pass these up. Just too cool of a speaker and I’m a sucker for classic vintage gear. And I can definitely find a spot for them in the new house I’m building. Fully refurbished, they would last me the rest of my life. So that’s where I’m at. I’ll post some pics after I go over to his place to check them out later this week.
 

JonFo

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Hi Rich, good to hear from you.
Saving a pair of Model 9's would be a great service to the hobby, and I'm sure to give hours of pleasure. Keep us posted.

If looking to unload the Ascents, I might be interested, as I need some 'donors' for my side-speaker project.
 

Rich

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Hi Rich, good to hear from you.
Saving a pair of Model 9's would be a great service to the hobby, and I'm sure to give hours of pleasure. Keep us posted.

If looking to unload the Ascents, I might be interested, as I need some 'donors' for my side-speaker project.
Thanks, Jon. I do see it somewhat my duty as an audiophile to restore this pair to their full glory. I very well may decide to unload the Ascents and will let you know when I make that decision. Would love to have you guys come over and check out our new house once it’s built. I’m going to have a dedicated home theater/listening room that is being designed by Nyal Mellor of Acoustic Frontiers! It will have a JVC NZ8 or NZ9 and a 9.4.6 atmos system of JBL Synthesis SCL in-wall speakers and PSA subs. Should be fun!
 

AlmostHome

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Thanks, Jon. I do see it somewhat my duty as an audiophile to restore this pair to their full glory. I very well may decide to unload the Ascents and will let you know when I make that decision. Would love to have you guys come over and check out our new house once it’s built. I’m going to have a dedicated home theater/listening room that is being designed by Nyal Mellor of Acoustic Frontiers! It will have a JVC NZ8 or NZ9 and a 9.4.6 atmos system of JBL Synthesis SCL in-wall speakers and PSA subs. Should be fun!
Wow. The Model Nine. A speaker that actually warrants the the term iconic.
Your duty indeed!!!

PS. Having raised three daughters through their teenage years you have my profound sympathy!
 

ttocs

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Thanks for posting this! I've wondered for lots of decades what speaker I heard at a friend's house about 1974. These must be the speakers I heard.

I was told by my friend's father to find the speakers, and that I wouldn't be able to. So after gawking at the huge Audio Research amplifiers I went into the living room to search. I heard the loud music, which sounded fantastic!, on the "other side" of some room divider panels. But I found no speakers, and suddenly found that the sound was coming from the "other side" of the same room divider panels. Nope. Looked up, down, around, but no speakers anywhere. Then the father told me it "was" the divider panels supplying the most glorious sounding music I'd ever heard!

So impactful, clear, clean sounding, can get loud but no distortion, just really great sound!
 

Gordon Gray

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Congrats my friend. Quite the find indeed. When will the new house be move in ready? Love to see pictures of the new speaker and your new house.

Best,

Gordon
 

Rich

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So impactful, clear, clean sounding, can get loud but no distortion, just really great sound!
Thanks. This is pretty much what everyone who has heard them says about them. I can’t wait to hear them for myself. I’m going over tomorrow to see them and I’ll know more then. I’ll definitely post some pics.

Congrats my friend. Quite the find indeed. When will the new house be move in ready? Love to see pictures of the new speaker and your new house.

Best,

Gordon
Hey Gordon! It’s going to be awhile. We are about to apply for the building permit and it will be a 2-year timeframe on the build. It’s going to be a 3-story slab-on-grade ICF house with a lot of porches. I’ll post pics of the speakers in their current condition after I go see them tomorrow. I’ll post pics of the house build along the way. In the meantime, here’s a pic of what will be the view off my upper front porch once it’s built (courtesy of my DJI Phantom 4 drone):

EC5D5710-36EC-46F3-9EDD-BA18C30E0DC9.jpeg
 

Robert D

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Thanks. This is pretty much what everyone who has heard them says about them. I can’t wait to hear them for myself. I’m going over tomorrow to see them and I’ll know more then. I’ll definitely post some pics.


Hey Gordon! It’s going to be awhile. We are about to apply for the building permit and it will be a 2-year timeframe on the build. It’s going to be a 3-story slab-on-grade ICF house with a lot of porches. I’ll post pics of the speakers in their current condition after I go see them tomorrow. I’ll post pics of the house build along the way. In the meantime, here’s a pic of what will be the view off my upper front porch once it’s built (courtesy of my DJI Phantom 4 drone):

View attachment 22332
How does the cost of building with ICF compare to traditional studs?

I've also considered steel framing.
 

Rich

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How does the cost of building with ICF compare to traditional studs?
It’s slightly more expensive, but exact numbers will vary by region. Could be anywhere from 5% to 15% more expensive. Although with the volatility of wood framing costs over the past couple of years it may not be as much, depending on prices when you buy your wood. At least ICF forms, concrete, and rebar are fairly stable, though it’s all been hit by inflation. The benefits, to me, are well worth the extra costs.
 

Robert D

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It’s slightly more expensive, but exact numbers will vary by region. Could be anywhere from 5% to 15% more expensive. Although with the volatility of wood framing costs over the past couple of years it may not be as much, depending on prices when you buy your wood. At least ICF forms, concrete, and rebar are fairly stable, though it’s all been hit by inflation. The benefits, to me, are well worth the extra costs.
Here in the US I've never heard of anyone using it. It sure seems like a good way to do things though. I think steel may become more common in the future too, as wood becomes more scarce.

The builders I've spoken to have said that the quality of wood now is lousy. Many boards warped etc. We want to build now buy decided to wait for this bubble to burst. Prices so very high here and the price increase in our present home not near keeping up with the price to build.

That lot you have looks incredible.
 

Rich

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Thanks, Robert. ICF is becoming more popular in the states. My builder actually specializes in it. I agree with you that steel framing is likely to become more common as well. By the way, the “lot” I’m building on is 28 acres. We’ve owned it for 20 years and have been planning to build for a long time. We put in high voltage underground power and water to the house site, a gated entryway, a picturesque bridge over our creek, and the 2 acre pond. We are located in a prime spot, surrounded on three sides by mountain ridges that are State Park or Land Trust owned. It’s going to be an amazing estate once it’s finished.
 

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I’m going to have a dedicated home theater/listening room that is being designed by Nyal Mellor of Acoustic Frontiers! It will have a JVC NZ8 or NZ9 and a 9.4.6 atmos system of JBL Synthesis SCL in-wall speakers and PSA subs. Should be fun!
Rich, that is such awesome news. Nyal seems to definitely know his stuff, I follow his blog.
I'm also planning for an NZ8 (if they ever come back into stock, sounds like summer now).
A synthesis system, very cool. Are you going with the Trinnov (or the JBL rebranded variant, SDP-75)?

For overheads, going SCS8 route?
I love mine, really can keep up with the massive MLs.

Totally agree with the ICF construction, and these days, probably not much of a cost differential upfront, but big savings downstream.
 

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The Nines were Gordon Holt's reference for years. Ideally, you wanted two pairs, for deep bass. That would set you back close to $3,000--an outrageous expenditure in those days. They were designed for listening off-axis, avoiding the tweeter beams at your listening position (the curved ESL was a pipe dream in those days). That must have been really tricky to set up.

I heard them at Clark Music in Syracuse, NY when I was a teen--before I could afford to be a "real" audiophile.
 

Rich

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Rich, that is such awesome news. Nyal seems to definitely know his stuff, I follow his blog.
I'm also planning for an NZ8 (if they ever come back into stock, sounds like summer now).
A synthesis system, very cool. Are you going with the Trinnov (or the JBL rebranded variant, SDP-75)?

For overheads, going SCS8 route?
I love mine, really can keep up with the massive MLs.

Totally agree with the ICF construction, and these days, probably not much of a cost differential upfront, but big savings downstream.
Thanks, Jon. I’m planning on the AudioControl Maestro X7 or X9, unless I really stretch the budget for the Trinnov. I want the Trinnov, but at two to three times the price of the other options it’s a stretch. I’m going for SCL-3 for LCR, SCL-7 for wide, side and rear surrounds, and SCL-5 for atmos! The room will be about 18’x22’x10.5’. I wanted a little more length, but it wasn’t in the cards. It will have fabric walls covering all the speakers and acoustic treatments. Seating will be two rows of five.
 

Rich

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Got the speakers today. They look fantastic for being almost 60 years old! Unfortunately, my friend couldn’t find the power cords and they have a proprietary receptacle, so I’ll have to adapt some power cords to fit. Going to do that tomorrow and hook them up to the Conrad Johnson Premiere 140 tube amp and see if they’re working. Next week I’ll call David Janszen to see about getting them refurbished. I expect I’ll drive them up there myself as I really don’t want to ship these, so it will probably be summertime before that happens. So excited to hear them though!
 

Robert D

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Does David Janszen make speakers like his father did, or does he just do refurbishments on the side for fun? Thats really cool that the original designer's son is going to do the speakers. I wonder how many of these he gets to do?
 
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