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Thread: Some Questions about my "new" Harlan C39s

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    Junior Member glenglenn's Avatar
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    Question Some Questions about my "new" Harlan C39s

    I am so excited to finally getting these beauties from my Aunt. They have never been refurbished so I was very surprised when they fired right up. Kind of Blue never sounded so good!

    My question is about the hole in the back of the blonde one. Anyone ever seen this before? I looked all over Google and couldn't find a Harlan C39 with the same hole. It looks very deliberately made judging by the pencil markings and clean cut.

    Some History: These were originally owned by my grandfather, Glen Glenn of Glen Glenn Sound Company in Hollywood. The family story goes that they were "custom made" by JBL on Glen's guidance sometime in the 1950's. It would not surprise me at all if Glen had personal contact with James B. Lansing since they were both tops in their very related fields. Glen was recording sound and James was reproducing it with his masterpieces. Other than the strange hole in the back these are fairly typical (two 130Bs, N1200 crossover, one 175 potato masher, gray).

    Second Question: Would anyone recommend cutting the same hole in the other cabinet to make a more matching stereo pair? Or is that sacrelidge?

    Happy Listening!
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    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    Do you know anything about the room where they were used? It seems to me that it may be cut to clear some architectural interference.

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    I don't know anything about the Harlan other than I love the looks, and you don't see them very often. Cool provenance, I always got a kick out of seeing the Glen Glenn name in the credits. Mr. Lansing never made it into the 50s, of course, but it would be neat if he and your grandfather had collaborated earlier during their careers.

    My gut instinct would be not to open up the other speaker, but to fill the hole pictured - it doesn't appear to be stock judging by the pencil lines. Maybe a horn driver swap in the past? Then again, once it's in a corner it may not be noticeable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glenglenn View Post
    I am so excited to finally getting these beauties from my Aunt. They have never been refurbished so I was very surprised when they fired right up. Kind of Blue never sounded so good!

    My question is about the hole in the back of the blonde one. Anyone ever seen this before? I looked all over Google and couldn't find a Harlan C39 with the same hole. It looks very deliberately made judging by the pencil markings and clean cut.

    Some History: These were originally owned by my grandfather, Glen Glenn of Glen Glenn Sound Company in Hollywood. The family story goes that they were "custom made" by JBL on Glen's guidance sometime in the 1950's. It would not surprise me at all if Glen had personal contact with James B. Lansing since they were both tops in their very related fields. Glen was recording sound and James was reproducing it with his masterpieces. Other than the strange hole in the back these are fairly typical (two 130Bs, N1200 crossover, one 175 potato masher, gray).

    Second Question: Would anyone recommend cutting the same hole in the other cabinet to make a more matching stereo pair? Or is that sacrelidge?

    Happy Listening!
    Name:  c39-back.JPG
Views: 516
Size:  106.8 KBName:  c39s.JPG
Views: 413
Size:  130.7 KB

    To put it bluntly, some jackass did an after production hack job on the cabinet. It is now completely de-tuned. You'll notice the screened vent on the bottom panel. No, I sincerely would not recommend cutting the same hole in the back in the other cabinet. Why would JBL cut a hole in the back corner of an enclosure that was designed to be deployed in a corner? They wouldn't. Think about it, would JBL leave scribe pencil marks in a cabinet, then NOT cut along the scribe? The cabinet needs to be repaired professionally. I have seen a lot of bonehead things done to vintage enclosures, but this one takes the cake. The stupidity of some people is unbelievable.

    H.F.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffW View Post
    I don't know anything about the Harlan other than I love the looks, and you don't see them very often. Cool provenance, I always got a kick out of seeing the Glen Glenn name in the credits. Mr. Lansing never made it into the 50s, of course, but it would be neat if he and your grandfather had collaborated earlier during their careers.

    My gut instinct would be not to open up the other speaker, but to fill the hole pictured - it doesn't appear to be stock judging by the pencil lines. Maybe a horn driver swap in the past? Then again, once it's in a corner it may not be noticeable.
    FYI -

    "In additional to the graphic design work, Lustig's scope of services included design consulting with their speaker enclosures, namely the C34 through C39 series. Again, details are illusive in terms of his exact contributions and the Internet is teeming with vintage-JBL enthusiasts who are more than happy to share their knowledge and educated guesses. But after taking one look at the speaker enclosures from this time period, it is easy to speculate about Lustig's input."

    http://amodernist.blogspot.com/2012/...-jbl-1950.html

    H.F.

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    Junior Member glenglenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horn Fanatic View Post
    To put it bluntly, some jackass did an after production hack job on the cabinet. It is now completely de-tuned. You'll notice the screened vent on the bottom panel. No, I sincerely would not recommend cutting the same hole in the back in the other cabinet. Why would JBL cut a hole in the back corner of an enclosure that was designed to be deployed in a corner? They wouldn't. Think about it, would JBL leave scribe pencil marks in a cabinet, then NOT cut along the scribe? The cabinet needs to be repaired professionally. I have seen a lot of bonehead things done to vintage enclosures, but this one takes the cake. The stupidity of some people is unbelievable.

    H.F.
    Thank you H.F.! Good info. It remains a mystery but my guess is that it was cut to "fit" around some kind of railing or something. I noticed that this speaker is much lower in volume than its cousin (the darker one), but I assumed it was just age/condition of drivers. Better bet that it's from the hole. I'll patch it up and see.

    Regarding the vent on the bottom, I noticed that. Are these speakers supposed to be up on legs? Mine are missing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glenglenn View Post
    Thank you H.F.! Good info. It remains a mystery but my guess is that it was cut to "fit" around some kind of railing or something. I noticed that this speaker is much lower in volume than its cousin (the darker one), but I assumed it was just age/condition of drivers. Better bet that it's from the hole. I'll patch it up and see.

    Regarding the vent on the bottom, I noticed that. Are these speakers supposed to be up on legs? Mine are missing.
    Yes, the cabinets are supposed to be on legs. The originals were wooden with brass ferrules, which were then replaced with the die cast aluminum legs. Hard to find the wooden ones anywhere, especially six of them, but there are two chaps on Ebay who have reproduced the aluminum ones. A bit steep in price, but well worth the investment. You may have to buy eight of them.

    The sooner you patch that hole, the better. Having that much vent can damage your woofers at high volume levels. They are not properly damped.

    Good luck. I plan to build a pair of C39's sometime next year. The frames are already built.

    H.F.

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    Senior Moment Member Oldmics's Avatar
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    Wow,Glen Glen Sound Co.

    How many times did I marvel at that mention of that name in the credits of sooo many cool early television shows and movies.

    I got hooked on electronics and sound when I was about 8 years old and have not stopped since.

    Back to the Harlans - take a look see at this old post about these gems.

    http://www.audioheritage.org/vbullet...ght=jbl+harlan

    The Lustig connection has never been confirmed.His passing in 1955 predates the 1956 release of the Harlans (first known as the Jourdan)

    Not that Lustig couldnt have been the designer,its just not documented.

    Its a sad case that someone did that cut job on the rear of the unit.I certainly would not cut the other to match and ruin its originality.

    I have a few of these units and will send you a private message regarding some thoughts that I have on them.

    Nice acquisition

    Oldmics

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    I would say check all the connections and put a meter on the drivers while there is still a hole in the back. I'd hate for you to patch it up and find its still too quiet compared to the other one.

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