Jump to content

KLH Model 40 Reel to Reel Deck first with Dolby - Anyone Familiar ?


Pete B
 Share

Recommended Posts

Anyone know more about or own the KLH Model 40 reel to reel? 
 
My brother and I each bought one of these surplus from Burstein-Applebee  back 
in probably the 1960s without the electronics.  We used them for playback only
with the head wired straight into the Dyna PAT 4 tape input.  They were so 
unreliable that I thought it was why they ended up at a surplus house.
 
Found this online:
 
OP writes:
"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 biggrin.gif. 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 beerchug.gif) to get this beast to ever emit anything but smoke ever again I'm sure."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IIRC, I've read threads somewhere about the KLH Model 40 and 41. Again--just relying on memory here but I believe the 40 was a rebadged Nakamichi and was of such horrible quality that KLH switched to a different manufacturer for the 41. Seem to recall a similar story about the first Advent cassette deck--1st model was junk built by Nakamichi, second model was a built-like-a-tank Wollensak. You'd think ol' Henry woulda learned about Nak the first time around. And how did Nak ever get a good rep? Was it just the Dragon? Seems to me they built a lot of other crap (including a cassette deck I had for a while).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am quite certain that the only thing built by Nak in these KLH tape units were the boards.

I believe that Henry was not very good at designing tape decks.

Nak made some outstanding decks, I had a BX300 that worked perfectly for 10 years or so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a BX2 that was underwhelming. The best cassette deck I ever owned, hands down, was an Aiwa (forget the model number. Maybe AD-F770).

Think I was mixing up 2 stories (open reel & cassette decks). Apparently the 40 and 41 were BOTH made by Nak and both were horribly unreliable. HK was the Nak guy and left KLH during the 40/41 period. Had not learned his lesson when he had Nak build the Advent 200.

A quick google search found that the 41 was made in Japan by Nak to KLH specs. No mention of where the 40 was built but you have one, so does it say "Made in Japan"? 

Anyway.... I love KLH. KLH radios are fantastic. KLH speakers rival (sometimes surpass) AR. KLH tape decks? Junk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
3 hours ago, Pete B said:

Junk?  A true KLH lover would want to have a Model 40 reel to reel in their collection.

No. It's not a "true" KLH. It's sort of like a "Cadillac" Cimarron (really a POS Chevrolet Cavalier with leather seats, aka "putting lipstick on a pig").

Re-reading your OP it was you who described the Model 40 as "so unreliable that I thought it was why they ended up at a surplus house". And you quoted the guy who wrote "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."

You just yankin' my chain Pete? ;)

Anyway. I do love KLH but there are some things about KLH products I don't love: Underwhelming Garrard turntables on the compact units, the abomination of "wood-grain vinyl" on later radios and speakers, crumbly foam grilles on later radios.

Reel-to-reel? I was never into that but if you are, have at it. Based on my admittedly limited knowledge of that format I think there are many, many better choices than the "KLH" models. But of course YMMV.

-Kent

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I have owned KLH 40 since 1973. I originally purchased one in 1973 from Cramer Electronics in Boston. Had problems with the transport and the electronics. They replaced the deck 2 or 3 times. But none worked well. Then in 1974 I acquired 2 brand new transports, without the electronic, at a surplus outlet (B&E Enterprise). In 1975 KLH gave me for free the electronic box that mounts under the transport. It took me several months to fine tune the circuits and the transport logic. I have regularly used it since then. I have a collection of reel to reel's, but KLH 40 is the best. Even now, after nearly 45 years, it works perfectly. The only things I have changed are the heads (with the 2nd donor unit I'd acquired) and the transport push buttons. It is still in an absolute mint condition, in a walnut cabinet.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Sorry to be so late here updating

Mine is also from B-A  (something like Burnstein Applebee) without the electronics.

I'd like to sell this unit for parts if anyone is interested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...
On 11/14/2020 at 8:03 PM, Pete B said:

Sorry to be so late here updating

Mine is also from B-A  (something like Burnstein Applebee) without the electronics.

I'd like to sell this unit for parts if anyone is interested.

Hello, Pete.  I'm wondering if your KLH is still available to purchase.  If so, do you have a price in mind, and do you have any idea what the shipping cost would be from your location to southern California?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...