Beocenter 4000

(1979) Stereo music centre, 2x40W, FM stereo/MW/LW, Dolby B NR cassette

Type number: 1603


Picture by Nick Jarman


At first, the Beocenter 4000 seems like a continuation of the familiar cassette receiver theme, made popular by models such as the Beocenter 1400 and derivatives, and the Beocenter 2600. In many ways the Beocenter 4000 was similar to these models, being in simple terms a familiar Beomaster with a cassette deck attached. However, by using the 40W Beomaster 2200 as a basis, the Beocenter 4000 was placed in the high performance “High Fidelity” range. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Modifications to the Beomaster 2200 were few. Principally, the dial was made slightly longer so as to fill the gap that would have otherwise existed between the tuning disc and the cassette door (much of the cassette deck electronics were housed in this space). In addition, the heatsink for the regulators was fitted with an extension piece and a length of heat conductive tape so that the aluminium cover of the set (the fixed part between the two lids) could be used to cool the regulators. These has to power the cassette electronics as well as the receiver, would have run hot under some circumstances, for example while recording a radio programme. Other than these details, the receiver chassis was pure Beomaster 2200. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Raising the performance of the radio and amplifier to such a high level required a cassette deck of superior quality to provide a suitable match. The Vortex mechanical deck, fitted to all the previous cassette Beocenters in one form or another, could be traced back to the Beocord 900. While undoubtedly a sturdy and reliable performer, it would have been out of place in a machine such as this. For a start, its large latching keys would have looked out of place on the smooth facia, but there was an alternative. B&O’s own cassette mechanism, as used in the Beocord 5000, was operated by electronic controls, and capable of excellent performance. In the end, a simplified version of this mechanism was employed in the Beocenter 4000. The simplification was fairly wide ranging: The dual capstans were reduced to a conventional single capstan arrangement by removing one of the pinch rollers and shortening the left hand capstan so that it did not protrude into the cassette (still leaving the two large flywheels beneath the deck however), which in turn allowed the fitting of conventionally sized and positioned tape heads. The Swiss ironless core reel motor fitted to the Beocord 5000 was replaced by a more conventional type from Philips, driven by a simpler servo and resulting in a slower winding speed. The reel rotation sensor was moved to the underside of the deck from the tape counter and finally, the solenoid that operated the record switch in the Beocord 5000 was removed, the switching function being performed by various relays. The basic parts remain unchanged though, as did the excellent capstan servo system, giving exceptionally fine control over the tape speed. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The deck was controlled by a bank of eight pushbuttons, matching the ten pushbuttons on the receiver. Having gone to such great lengths to fit a tape deck with electronic controls, B&O curiously made these buttons act as if they were mechanical keys! Aside from the pause and Dolby “B” NR buttons, with latched as one would expect, the other buttons would not latch until the cassette deck was turned on (as with previous cassette Beocenters, the cassette deck had its own power switch so that the electronics and motor could be switched off separately when they were not needed). However, once the cassette deck was turned on (indicated by the illumination of the tape counter), the buttons would latch in place all the time their function was engaged. The automatic stop system could release the buttons too, by means of a solenoid, which also functioned briefly when the power was turned off, clearing any previously selected actions. Also on the cassette control panel was a single level meter, comprised of one red and four green LEDs, a novelty for the period. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

The combination of the Beomaster 2200 and the B&O cassette mechanism formed what was undoubtedly the finest of the cassette receivers (and the most powerful!). The addition of a turntable (perhaps a Beogram 1700) completed what would have been and exceptionally fine system. Beocenter 4000 was not directly replaced, but the Beocenter 5000 offered a very similar package, with the Beogram 1700 built in. A few years later on, another Beocenter 4000 emerged, but this had nothing in common with the glorious original. Text copyright © Beocentral. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.


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