If you are into quality radio, you can either pay $995 for an overpriced, under-performing Bose radio with CD player or you can be among the ‘hip’ who have discovered the Henry Kloss Model One radio that sells for only $299.

While Bose is trying to convince the market that the way forward is all-in-one systems, including small Bose speakers, sub-woofers and amplifiers, the smart con-sumers are choosing individual systems like the new Henry Kloss radio or components from multiple vendors.

Henry Kloss has achieved legendary status in the consumer electronics industry. In 1952, while at Acoustic Research, Kloss and engi-neer Edgar Villchur changed the audio industry forever by creating the very first acoustic suspension loudspeaker, the AR-1. For the first time, a ‘bookshelf’-sized speaker could deliver deep bass sounds. Now at age 67, Kloss has launched a radio that is being lauded as a breakthrough in both sound and design.

The Henry Kloss Model One is the first offer-ing from Tivoli Audio, but it is typical of Kloss’s designs, which have always combined simple elegance with the latest technology. Although the styling of this monophonic radio is decidedly retro, the Model One uses very modern tech-nology to produce good sound and real value in a surprisingly small package.

The Model One employs a new type of field-effect transistor, which allows the tuner to capture weak stations without their being flummoxed by strong local ones – presumably a big help in cities, although it made little difference in our suburban test location. The amplifier includes a fixed, multiband equaliser, which coaxes a surprisingly high sound quality and wide frequency range from the radio’s single, heavy-duty, 3-inch speaker.

Using this radio is an exercise in simplicity. You turn it on and tune in stations using the oversized knob. For the best sound, fine-tune the position until the amber LED light is at its brightest. You don’t have the convenience of preset tuning as you do on digitally tuned radios, but you do have the ability to zip from one end of the dial to another with a few twists of the wrist.

Well connected.

The front panel, available in blue, green and beige, has an almost salt-shaker-like simplicity, but the rear has a wealth of inputs and outputs that let you record from the Model One’s tuner or pumps the sound of your CD player through the radio’s amp and speaker. There’s also a headphone jack as well as stereo jacks wired for mono signals for your stereo equipment, so you won’t need adapter plugs.

The Model One’s sound doesn’t yell, “Hey! Listen up!” Rather, it’s intimate, companionable and you can listen to it for hours. The Model One delivers clean sound from the small speaker and low-powered amp; the bass doesn’t extend below 150Hz, but a hump at about 150Hz to 200Hz gives the impression of more bass. In the midrange, a deliberate dip helps make the spoken voice sound more natural but causes symphony orchestras to sound somewhat distant.

The treble seemed a little on the soft side, but part of that may have been the loss of ‘air’ around the music. The volume is high enough to fill a quiet room, and it even sounds good in the next room if a connecting door is open. All the Model One does is look good, sound good and make it easy for you to find and hear the stations that you want. But for $299 RRP, that should be enough.

In the 1960s, at KLH, Kloss built the first high selectivity FM radio, the Model 8, and the first successful audio product to use transistors, the Model 11 portable phonograph. Later at Advent, he became a pioneer in home theatre. He also transformed the compact audio cassette from a dictation to a music medium by introducing the Model 200.

Today, at age 67 years old, Kloss is still re-defining home theatre technology at Cambridge Soundworks in Newton, Massachusetts.

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