KLH Ultimate One Headphone Preview

KLH is a Brand name that doesn’t necessarily ring any bells in my head, but does activate something distantly familiar. I know I’ve heard the name somewhere I’m just not sure where.

A quick web search turns up why – at one point KLH was the largest loudspeaker company in the world, selling tens of thousands of units a year and employing over 500 people. The story of the company was fascinating to me, as they appear to have been a giant force in early hi-fi history. They also have an absolute laundry list of firsts: first portable solid state record player, the first reel-to-reel tape recorder featuring Dolby noise reduction, first high-selectivity FM table radio, etc.

They also used to make a speaker called the Model Nine, which was an early full-range electrostatic that made waves back in the day. KLH’s accomplishments were enough to earn one of the co-founders, Henry Kloss, a spot in the Consumer Electronics hall of fame. All of this happened in decades my parents weren’t even alive in though. The KLH brand has been dusty for a while, but was recently revived by David P. Kelley, formerly of Klipsch, in 2017. They’ve released a new line of affordably priced bookshelves and floorstanders, with a Model Nine electrostatic panel remake coming soon.

The interesting part for us headphone folks however is the KLH Ultimate One, a new headphone coming from the brand. The marketing material is pretty impressive, mentioning a ‘pure beryllium’ driver, solid ebony earcups, and handstitched hybrid lambskin and cowhide earpads and headband filled with memory foam. The cable is a detachable two-meter ‘pure silver-litz’ cord, and it comes with a quarter-inch adapter. I have to say – I’m impressed.

Litz cables and pure berylium, certainly not terms you expect to hear thrown out when talking about a $300 USD headphone.

Other bits and bobs are a two-year warranty, and velour carrying case. Specs are a 50mm driver, 18-22khz +/3dB FR variation, and 97dB sensitivity. No impedance is listed, but I suspect these will be relatively similar to other high sensitivity dynamic headphones on the market.

Apparently the headphones were picked to be handed out at the 2019 MTV Movie awards as well, for whatever that’s worth. In all honestly I’m more interested that a brand with such pedigree was revived by an executive from Klipsh, who has recently put out a very competent headphone. Furthermore, the fact that they’re open-backed and that premium materials have been used in the cable and drivers is another positive sign. KLH claims they’re neutral enough to use for music, movies and even in the recording studio. Tall orders from a first-effort headphone, so we shall see if they deliver.

I’ve got a review pair on the way and I’ll admit to being more than a little curious about these headphones. The KLH Ultimate Ones are available now at the KLH website, at $299.99 with a special order Zebrawood version available for $379.99.

KLH Audio
984 Logan Street Noblesville, Indiana 46060

luvmusik's picture

The KLH Ultimate One model looks very close to the Sivga SV007 model. Do they share anything in common besides appearance, please ?

Jazz1's picture

I like the looks of this one