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Reel To Reel All discussions pertaining to reel to reel decks. These include general usage, recording, playback, and service questions. For subjects related to tape itself, see the Open Reel subforum under this one. Obscure service subjects that don't quite fit go in the Help and Do It Yourself subforum.

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  #1  
Old 10-02-2012, 03:09 PM
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DaveInVA DaveInVA is online now
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KLH Model 40

I've owned this KLH Model 40 Series 2 since I bought it new at Musicraft back when I worked there. These were built in house at KLH but was told the electronics boards with Dolby B were made by Nak for KLH. This was the first consumer reel to reel to sport Dolby B. It is a 3 motor, 3 head 2 speed deck. This was one of the best sounding reel to reels I ever owned. Also one of the least reliable. These had so many failures that KLH bought many of them back. I was offered a storage unit full of them by the KLH rep at one time but I lived in a small apt then and had no place to put them. I imagine they all went to the landfill as they probably would have shown up on Fleabay by now if someone else got them.
Mine has seen a hard life as it was in my rental house in Petersburg when Isabel flooded it and it was totally submerged. Its now sort of in "kit" form as I took it all apart to help dry it out.
It has low hours as I gave up on it after about 100 hours of use when it was new. These had problems with the transport switches arching. They were just springy leaf switches and would fail often. It also use cheap ass open frame relays that would flake out constantly. The plastic parts like the knobs were brittle and broke. The speed change belt was to wimpy and would break and the capstan belts turned to goo. Otherwise fine machines . Its a shame because they sounded fantastic when they worked. On the plus side they had a very heavy duty head block.
I am now evaluating whether I want to try and make it work again and maybe re-engineer some of the original problems as it will need to be completely disassembled anyways. Will likely need all new electrolytic caps, new knobs etc. Its rough but not as bad as I thought it would be from being under water.
It's gonna be a real labor of love (or insanity ) to get this beast to ever emit anything but smoke ever again I'm sure.

Some pics:









Dave
  #2  
Old 10-02-2012, 04:14 PM
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We got to work on one of these. The head block is massive. I wonder if Ampex made the heads? also the flywheel and machined aluminum frame were special.
  #3  
Old 10-02-2012, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nakdoc View Post
We got to work on one of these. The head block is massive. I wonder if Ampex made the heads? also the flywheel and machined aluminum frame were special.
The heads themselves are the same physical size as the ones Ampex used in their AX-300 and don't look like anything Nortronics made. It does have a massive flywheel and thats one of the reason the wimpy belts broke so often even when these were new. I'd really like to get this thing going again. Even without using the Dolby it sounded amazing.
I think I will try replacing the leaf switches with microswitches and find some enclosed relays to replace the open frame jobs. Those were the 2 most common failures with these. That and the belts. I've only seen one of these on Fleabay ever. I bet there aren't more than a couple dozen of these still out there.
They learned their lesson and had Concord make the Model 41 for them. To bad it was a piece of crap in different ways.

Dave
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:37 PM
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While looking for something else I ran across the manual for this beast, I bought this thing as one of the demo units at Musicraft when I worked there. I likely never even looked at the manual before.
I needed some "library" reading material for the throne room so I read through it tonight. They actually claim you can record on this thing at 3.75" with Dolby on from a 15 ips master tape and have no difference in sound between the two. That's laying it on pretty thick even for an owners manual. The first few pages are like that before they even get into using it.




I wonder how many of these manuals still exist? I still want to resurrect this thing one of these years....

Dave
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:47 PM
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oh god no.. not another cyclops deck! somebody should take the guy that thought that was a good idea and beat him with a crest meter bridge repeatedly.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:35 PM
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That would be some engineer at Berlant Concertone around 1957. As far as I can tell the Model 63 was the first stereo reel to reel to sport one meter for both channels:




Dave
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  #7  
Old 01-22-2013, 11:43 PM
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Dave, all I have to say is that you are more entertaining than a laser-light show with all of your wild machines!!

I remember KLH making much to do about Dolby (A) when it launched. I saw the system demo'd on their cassette deck with a Dolby (A) NR system - they were A/B'ing the playback with (can't remember the brand/model) an RTR. Nobody could hear (don't forget to add a bit for the "hype" factor) any difference (annual Washington, D.C. HiFi Show - ca. 1970-ish).

Dolby A was pretty out-there stuff back then - note the lack of even the familiar Dolby trademark on your KLH faceplate!

Good luck with it!
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