Henry Kloss

Henry Kloss

Henry Kloss (1929, Altoona, PAJanuary 31, 2002, Cambridge, MA) was a prominent audio engineer and businessman who helped advance high fidelity loudspeaker and radio receiver technology beginning in the 1950s. Kloss (rhymes with gross) was a student in physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (class of 1953), but never received a degree. He was responsible for a number of innovations, including the acoustic suspension loudspeaker and the high fidelity cassette deck. In 2000, Kloss was one of the first inductees into the Consumer Electronics Association's Hall of Fame. He earned an Emmy Award for his development of a projection television system, the Advent Video Beam 1000.

Career

During the course of his career, Kloss founded or co-founded several significant audio equipment manufacturing companies.

Acoustic Research

He co-founded Acoustic Research Corporation (AR) with Edgar Villchur in 1954. Villchur, a former teacher of Kloss, had conceived a novel way of building an accurate loudspeaker. Together they developed the AR Model 1, which changed the way that speakers were designed. Until then, speakers of quality had to be quite large. By using an enclosure with a sealed air cavity behind the speaker cone which acted as a spring to damp woofer motion, they were able to make less-expensive, bookshelf-size speakers. Although they were inefficient in power consumption compared to ported designs, they had extremely low distortion. The AR-1 was the first commercial acoustic suspension loudspeaker.

KLH

Kloss began his custom of eponymous products by lending his last name's initial to KLH as a founder in 1957, along with Malcolm Low and J. Anton Hofmann (son of pianist Józef Hofmann) who had also been investors in AR. At Cambridge-based KLH, Kloss continued to build speakers such as the classic KLH Model Five and Six, and produced one of the first small FM radios with high selectivity, the Model Eight. Though KLH was sold to the Singer Corporation in 1967, Kloss remained at the firm for a short time to assist in the development of additional speakers and electronic music products, and the firm continued to attract design and engineering talent. Kloss created the first solid state record player, the KLH Model Eleven. In 1968, he collaborated with Ray Dolby of Dolby Laboratories to develop the B version of the Dolby noise reduction system to reduce tape hiss. This resulted in the KLH Model Forty reel-to-reel tape recorder, Dolby's first foray into the consumer product market. By 1968, Kloss had left KLH. KLH was eventually sold to Kyocera, and production was shifted overseas. By 1979, nearly all of the original design and engineering team had left the company.

Advent Corporation

Kloss founded Advent Corporation in 1967. The name came from the legal description the advent corporation ("advent" means approaching in Latin) used in the incorporation documents before the actual name is selected. The original goal had been to develop a projection television, but by 1968 he had quit KLH to build a remarkable dual driver speaker system with 10 inch (25 cm) woofer called simply The Advent Loudspeaker (later colloquially called the Large Advent after introduction of The Smaller Advent Loudspeaker). It rivaled the sound of the then top-line AR Model 3a (which used three drivers and a 12 inch (30 cm) woofer), but only cost about half as much. He then went to work on increasing the fidelity of cassette tapes, a format that had originally been meant to be used only for dictation. Kloss introduced the Advent 201 in 1971, incorporating Dolby B along with chromium dioxide tape and became one of the first to offer a high fidelity cassette deck. These units were manufactured for Advent by Nakamichi.

The Advent Video Beam 1000 was finally released in 1972, the first large screen projection television for home use. This led to founding Kloss Video Corporation in 1977. He invented the Novatron tube there, which increased the efficiency of projection TVs.

Eventually, long after Kloss’ departure, Advent ran into hard times and never emerged from a bankruptcy declared in March 1981. Kloss’ own Video Corporation passed on reacquiring the New Hampshire based brand, which was later merged into International Jensen.

Cambridge SoundWorks

Cambridge SoundWorks was founded in 1988. That company was quite successful, producing dozens of different models ranging from the ever-present table radio of Kloss's companies to high quality speaker systems for computers. Kloss left Cambridge SoundWorks in 1996. The company is now a subsidiary of Creative Technology.

Tivoli Audio

Kloss briefly went into retirement, but soon found himself co-founding another company, Tivoli Audio, with long-time associate and former Cambridge SoundWorks co-founder Tom DeVesto. There, he made the Model One (mono) and Model Two (stereo) table radios using MESFET technology to increase selectivity; they have elements similar in appearance to his legendary KLH Model Eight radio mentioned earlier. The high-quality tuner combined with a good speaker arrangement led some reviewers to call these modern radios "Bose killers." However, the Cambridge SoundWorks Model 88 had used some similar technology, leading to a lawsuit between Cambridge and Tivoli Audio.

Kloss continued to work on other projects until his death in 2002 of a subdural hematoma. His home was sold to new owners, with the basement reportedly still was full of Kloss' own personal electronics lab equipment, accumulated over a lifetime. The equipment was discarded as salvage.

References

External links

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