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Explore ListenUp’s Retro Room | JBL, KLH, McIntosh & More

October 12, 2023


Take a tour of ListenUp’s new HiFi Retro Room—a room completely dedicated to vintage modern speakers, amplifiers, and source components. There’s even decor to match, including lighting, artwork and audio cabinets from Tactile.

 It’s a melding of past and present, incorporating vintage design and throwback sounds from HiFi’s golden era, married with modern conveniences, electronics, reliability as well as modern sonic detail, speed, and transparency. 

You’ve got to love the design. A lot of modern gear can be stark and minimal—great if you’re into that and you want your gear to be less pronounced aesthetically. But this stuff just oozes style, and design. Especially if you’re into mid-century modern.

Klipsch & McIntosh System

The first system in ListenUp’s Retro Room is the Klipsch & McIntosh system, featuring some impressive Cornwalls IVs. Originally made in 1959, the Cornwalls have a 1-inch titanium horn-loaded tweeter, 4-inch horn-loaded driver, 15-inch woofer and 3 Tractrix ports. 

Their sound is classic Klipsch—great bass, engaging, lively but detailed midrange, pronounced, powerful, but not overly shouty highs. They are some of the most dynamic speakers you’ll find.

For sources there is the Cambridge ALVA TT V2, a great direct drive turntable, and the Cambridge AXN10, a solid music streamer with a built-in DAC, capable of high-res digital playback and a smooth analog sound. 

Powering the Cornwalls are the McIntosh C49 solid state preamplifier, complete with 13 inputs and a digital audio module, and the McIntosh MC 275 Tube Power Amplifier with 75 watts per channel of pure vacuum tube power, invoking classic, warm tube sound. They are a great pairing with the Cornwalls, or any high efficiency horn loaded speaker, because they won’t be underpowered and the warmth of the tubes can mellow out high-efficiency speakers that can be bright at times. Especially with solid-state amps. 

JBL & Yamaha System

System two, is the JBL & Yamaha pairing, featuring JBL L100 Classic speakers. The design of these speakers is very much vintage but on the inside they are a very modern loudspeaker. 

Originally made in 1970, the L100s have a 12-inch woofer, 5-inch midrange, 1-inch titanium dome tweeter, and a bass-reflex front-firing port. Plus, tone controls mounted on the baffle so you can dial them into your room. These are true Rock n Roll speakers that will fill the room with sound and blow your hair back with high impact bass, huge dynamics, and crescendos just like the originals, but with modern electronics they are much better at the delicate details in the mid to high frequencies.

Feeding the JBLs are the Rega Planar 3 belt-drive turntable, the Yamaha CD S2100 vintage looking CD player, and the Yamaha A-S1200 Integrated Amplifier.  The A-S100 has 90-watts per channel, plenty of analog inputs (no digital), a built-in phono stage, and a classic vintage look, supported by analog-level meters with LED lights and a throwback silver chassis.

Overall the Yamaha A-S1200 looks great with the L100s aesthetically and provides adequate power, although you can give the L100s more and they will reward you, but being a solid state design, it pairs well with the L100s because it will bring out the bass impact and dynamics that make these speakers great. 

KLH Model 5 & PrimaLuna System

The last system in the ListenUp Retro room features the highly sought after KLH Model 5s, paired with the PrimaLuna EVO 400 Integrated Tube Amplifier.

The New Model 5s, based on the classic 60s design, have made a big splash in the HiFi world as of late with their acoustic suspension design, which is a sealed cabinet—no ports. The volume of air inside the sealed enclosure ensures that the 10-inch woofer and the midrange driver are clean, detailed and accurate, even at really high volume. Plus, with the woofer the sealed cabinet allows greater extension for deep, punchy, impact bass. Their aesthetic is classic mid-century modern design and their sound is powerful and punchy in the low-end with high detail and accuracy in the mid to upper frequencies. They are energetic, excited and gorgeous sounding speakers.

Driving the Models is the PrimaLuna EVO 400 Integrated Tube Amp. It has a classic tube sound that is warm and smooth, 5 inputs, and pre out for an external amp or sub, plus, both Triode Mode and Ultra-Linear Mode. Triode Mode produces a warm and rich tube sound that is mellower, while Ultra-Linear Mode imparts a more powerful, punchy sound with greater extension on the top and bottom—great for driving the acoustic suspension Model 5s. 

More Retro to Come

If you like the retro style for your home or listening space. Or you’re just into a slightly warmer, butterier sound with lots of punchy bass slam, come check out the retro room at our Denver Showroom. 

We are also planning Retro Rooms at our other showrooms so stay tuned. However, you can find most of these options on display in any showroom. And, of course, at listenup.com.