For all who read this, I am in the market for a Nathan Airchime K5LA as I have stated in previous threads and then later in time, a K3LA, a Leslie RS3L and RS5T. I am wondering which websites would be best to buy at least the horn, let alone the entire air system kit? Hornblasters sales rep stated to me “Yes, these are actual Nathan Air Chime horns. Most of the Nathan horns we ship have previously been in service, but have been refurbished, tested and painted gloss black”, but something feels weird but if they were in service then they are real. I have not really asked many other companies. I contacted realtrainhorns.net via email but they don’t respond to any emails whatsoever so that concerns me, though I see fair reviews online…so I ask from other peoples experiences, reviews, interactions, and overall consensus. ALSO if anyone does have a real K5LA for sale, please hit me up.
Hornblasters started this site and although they don’t always take an active part, I doubt you’ll find too many people who have concerns about buying from them. I’ve always found them helpful and honest to deal with. They used to sell brand new Airchimes back in the day when there were the OTR editions available to re-sellers in the non-rolling stock industry. To get your hands on a brand new version these days, you really need to get in touch with someone who sells parts within the railroad sector. Other than that you’ll probably just find refurbished.
Realtrainhorns sells a lot via eBay I think. Maybe try contacting them through Ebay.
I’ve bought through HB, RTH and from private collectors on the Horn & Whistle board but I’ve never dealt with Airhornsoftexas - make sure you get some reviews before committing there.
Hornblasters is spot on in customer service! Realtrainhorns is kinda iffy for me for the fact I had gotten a K5LA from them that the diaphragm was damaged in the 1L bell. The good news is, Nathan horns are REALLY easy to rebuild and repair and clean up. Even if you were to find some that were not working you can repair them easily. Hornblasters sells diaphragms and new cushions for them too! I bought some truck air horns from Airhornsoftexas and they were pretty great about warranty stuff. I am pretty sure the user “Thewoog” can chime in on this about them. side from that, it is all up to you.
There are loads more sites that do nathans, have you considered buying from them directly too? Realtrainhorns.net (jackson performance products) have a primary business as railway serviceman, so they aren’t as communicative as hornblasters because they’re not always at their shop/place, but they know more about real train horns than anyone from hornblasters (despite hornblasters offering the best customer service). Jason from airhorns of texas is a close second to hornblasters, but hornblasters wins because they have many people working for them and a better live chat system.
Contact Luke Jackson (company owner) on email@example.com. If you can be patient then they offer a good service, by no means perfect, but good never the less.
I have actually began reconsidering the K5LA and just going with the K3LA because of it’s sound, though the K5 is fairly louder dealing with a 2 bell difference. I would go with RTH but I just read a newer thread about a little feud within the company of someone purchasing horn and it came months later and had issues, then the guy found out it was one of the owners personal horns and not an actual product meant to be sold and shipped. My only issue with HornBlasters, though I agree 110% the customer service is stellar compared to anyone else, the prices seem to be unjustifiable. I mean a k3LA from HB is $1,049.99 and Real Air Horns of Texas is only $785. Not only is it a $265+ difference between companies, but the audio sample clips per website do differ which concerns me. I know not all horns will sound exactly alike but they should sound remotely similar because they are the same model but they do differ. Any idea on this? I am a money limited college student and though I want to pick the cheaper choice, I want the best choice (and I want authentic).
Hornblasters can afford to charge more because many people will say they’re all you need. Too many swear by shockers and nathans and look no further. But yer the thing is that ALL of hornblasters horns are available through less known retailers and manufactured by other companies, so always shop around and try to match sounds.
As for the sounds of the horns, the problem is that hornblasters have done a TERRIBLE job to the point where they have two totally different sounding clips for the same horn (and they’ve done bnothing to adress this). As I’ve told them (and everyone else and you’ll see this in my upcoming videos) the best way to sound sample a horn is in a fairly open area with moderate echo and you can’t use a compression mic. RTH refurbish their horns, they don’t often get them new, whereas hornblasters don’t have the necesssary experience to do this, so they buy them new and add a little extra money on for profit.
I believe you can also buy directly from Nathan Airchime. I know of collectors that have purchased directly from them before. I indeed would avoid RTH, unless you’re buying air supplies from them. Other that, it seems everyone else covered everything.
My horns are still with RTH at the moment (most were bought from them and recently sent back) as they traded mine in for free for raised letter bells (as one of my bells included a hyson bell) and they’ll soon be sending them back to me (again) albeit as a complete and tuned k6la set this time (that’ll teach me to buy seperate bells from different eras :rolleyes:.