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HiFi Components => General Discussion => Topic started by: electra225 on March 10, 2019, 06:28:09 PM

Title: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on March 10, 2019, 06:28:09 PM
Bill expressed interest in my Stereo Festival.  I found some pictures.


I told him it had 21 tubes, when, in fact, it has twenty.  Sorry for the faux pas.   ;) 


I found this in the trash dumpster, probably close to 30 years ago.  There was also a little 12" Zenith TV.  I saved both of them.  As I remember, this Stereo Festival had a good radio, but only marginal audio quality.  I remember it having rather anemic bass.  It has been several years since I've used it.  I haven't done anything to it, and assume it is mostly original.  I don't have the cabinet for it.  It originally had 7408 output tubes, but have been replaced with 6V6's before I got it.  It has several 12AX7's and several 6BA6's, as I remember.
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: TC Chris on March 10, 2019, 10:05:48 PM
Looks like a nice device.  Both FM and AM performance should be good, plus you can listen to them both at the same time (!!).  It really would be fun to hear an FM-AM simulcast just to see how much the limited high frequencies on AM stand out. 

Chris Campbell
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on March 10, 2019, 11:01:15 PM
IIRC, the tuner has full stereo FM.  I don't remember being able to listen to AM and FM at the same time.  There is a light in the middle of the dial that lights up when there is a stereo FM signal.  There is an eye tube for each band, though.  I don't remember what the tube number of the eye tubes are.  Maybe 6FG6?  Does that sound right?
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: TC Chris on March 10, 2019, 11:07:01 PM
I thought of the 6E5 (what my Provincial Serenade uses, and older radios commonly did).  But there's a whole page of them.

http://www.sm5cbw.se/tubes/eyes.htm

I noticed the two tuning knobs on your H-K and assumed that was for AM-FM stereo purposes.

Chris Campbell
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on March 11, 2019, 12:18:20 AM
The eye tubes are the kind with the target on the side of the tube, rather than the end.  They are miniature tubes.  There are two dials and two tuning knobs.  IIRC, the function switch has AM,FM, FM stereo, Mag, Ceramic, and Aux.  Like I said, it's been YEARS since I used this receiver.  Bill got me to thinking about it, and also got me to thinking how long it's been.   ;)
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: firedome on March 11, 2019, 11:18:41 AM
I've had several H-K SFs over the years, and I'm thinking this is the model year 1959 TA-230 (12w/ch) version. TA stood for Tuner/Amp. It doesn't actually have MPX, though the selector did have provision for it, as you can see. To quote the H-K factory lit: "Input facility and control for every stereo function including the awaited FM multiplex service. Separate and sensitive AM and FM tuners for simulcast reception.... this is the new Stereo Festival." It was advertised as "The First Complete Stereo High Fidelity Receiver"in late 1958. The GE/RCA mpx wasn't approved until 1961 iirc.  The H-K MX600 outboard mpx was introduced in 1960 and was made a factory option on the TA-260 (see below)

The model year 1960 saw the new TA-260 Stereo Festival II (PP 7355 tubes, similar to smaller 6L6gc tubes) at 30 w/ch with much larger opt trannies, and the TA-224 (PP 7408) basically a restyled TA-230, also a simulcast unit but with 1 dial having 2 scales and separate tuners. . The TA-230 and TA-224 had the same fairly small opt trans, and do make nice sound but no one would confuse one for, say, a Fisher or Scott, whereas the TA-260 was real competition for them.

I've been looking for some time for the later version of the TA-224 that had the larger knobs with the curved vertical bar in the knobs, my Dad had one and I'd love to find a nice one!  See Pic:
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: Bill on March 11, 2019, 12:55:53 PM
That's a nice looking HK Greg.  Different than the one I found. I'm still thinking on that one.  ;)  Remember, there is always room for one more!  ::)

Bill
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on March 11, 2019, 02:59:24 PM
RCA did not have a dog in the hunt as far as FM stereo is concerned.  Or even FM for that matter.  Remember the Armstrong drama?  That mess still ruffles feathers to this day.  RCA's thing was TV, especially color TV.  Zenith was into FM.  GE was into everything.


There were 14 FM stereo broadcasting systems considered by the FCC.  The systems by GE and Zenith were technically identical, so these are the systems adopted.


I'll look at my Festival when I get home.  I could swear there is a little red light between the dials for FM stereo.  It might just be a pilot light. I have been wrong before..... ;)


 Edit.....I blew up my picture.  The little red "light"  is not even a light.  It is a push switch, says "Power" right above it.  There is an "FM MPX" position on the function switch.  Thank you for setting me straight.  My Festival is older than I thought.


Yeah, Bill, there is ALWAYS room for ONE more!  We have Myrtle for backup!   ;)


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_broadcasting (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_broadcasting)
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: firedome on March 11, 2019, 05:17:43 PM
I had that same TA230, as well as a TA260, and liked them both. The 230 (and 224, same thing) does well with an efficient ported or horn-loaded speaker, and more modern fairly efficient Klipsch KSB and other Klipsch series with Tractrix horn.  The 260 will drive inefficient acoustic suspensions as well. IMO H-K products were uniformly excellent to great!
Had some of the big Citation I & IIs once and they were downright amazing, shold have kept them, but heavy to move!
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on March 11, 2019, 07:18:11 PM
I used mine in the garage for awhile.  I'll admit to having not the best speakers.  I felt the bass response was pretty weak.  Are you familiar with remedies, if any, for that condition, or is it all in my head.  I have a pair of 15" Fisher speakers at home I might try with it.  I'll have to go thru the HK before I use it.  I have no idea what kind of electrical shape it is in.  Physically, it's okay.  It LOOKS good.  Do they have paper caps?
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: Bill on March 12, 2019, 10:50:54 AM
Greg!  When you get home you should try your HK with better speakers.  You might get the bass you were missing before.  The one I'm looking at has plenty of bass.  :)  And, I'm still thinking.  ::)  You know I want it!  :o ;)

Bill
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on March 12, 2019, 11:44:03 AM
I have a set of Fisher 15" speakers that are ported.  I'll try those.  I probably should do a good tune-up before I use the HK much.  If the one YOU ARE GOING TO END UP WITH (!) has good bass, I'll give mine another chance. 


I reckon I need to make room in Myrtle.   ;)
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: Bill on March 13, 2019, 10:24:28 AM
Not just yet, still thinking!   ;) ::) ;D :o

Bill
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: firedome on March 15, 2019, 09:52:32 AM
With the right high efficiency speakers with good design they sould have decent bass but the 230/224 output transformers are rather dinky so won't have the kind of punch that a Scott, with their huge wound-in-house transformers are known for, for example.

Can't recall if they had paper caps, it's bee 12-15 yrs since I had one. I do know I replaced everything with Illinois, that's all I use excepting for the occasional orange drop Sprague (now called C-D).

I've always been fond of H-K componets, I guess 'cause it's what Dad had, and I recall them also being sold at E.J. Korvettes under the XAM name, I used to go in their quite large Audio department, mid-'60s, and drool!
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: Motorola Minion on March 15, 2019, 01:48:35 PM
Looks like a nice device.  Both FM and AM performance should be good, plus you can listen to them both at the same time (!!).  It really would be fun to hear an FM-AM simulcast just to see how much the limited high frequencies on AM stand out. 

Chris Campbell

We have not one, but two local AM stations that are simulcast on FM. One plays "oldies" and is mono on FM, the other is stereo. Yes, there is a big difference but its not easy to describe ???

I always like H-K equipment and still have an A-300 amp (7408pp) and matching T-500 tuner. But the Festival in Greg's pic, I have never seen before.
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on March 15, 2019, 09:12:13 PM
Stereo Festivals are on ebay from time to time.  I have not seen one before nor since I got mine.  The pic I posted is from 2012.  I took it for the insurance company.  I have never done anything to it in the way of service or repair.
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: firedome on May 08, 2019, 01:14:18 PM
Picked up a TA224 from the usual suspect place, it has had caps replaced, but needs some work as the FM dial string is loose and slips,  and it has 2 mismatched knobs, but it was really cheap and has all good tubes including 4 original H-K label 7408s.
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: electra225 on May 08, 2019, 04:53:08 PM
Nice score!   :) :)
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: Bill on May 08, 2019, 06:12:05 PM
What Greg said!   :) :)

Bill
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: TC Chris on May 08, 2019, 08:45:35 PM
Do I see a "blend" control in the photo?  Heath used those on some tube stereo units, to reduce the ping-pong effect of early fake stereo.  My AA-100 integrated amp also has a set of speaker outs for a center speaker to address the same issue. 

Chris Campbell
Title: Re: Harmon Kardon Stereo Festival receiver
Post by: firedome on May 21, 2019, 03:48:31 PM
Not home to verify a "blend" control, but I have seen them before. This one will need some minor work to bring up to snuff.  May end up using it with the inexpensive Dayton speakers mentioned in another thread as an "office system". I like H-K stuff and I think they had a better look than many makers components, and  have some NOS 7408 and 6V6gts already so won't need to get spares for it.