Author Topic: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?  (Read 2547 times)

Motorola Minion

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Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« on: March 09, 2016, 11:44:44 AM »
Nobody in my family had a console HiFi...including grands, cousins OR neighbors.
 When you did see one (or assumed a piece of furniture was concealing some cool electronics) you could not just lift the lid or open the door to see for sure. Maybe a peek behind to see cords before you got busted :-[.  You may have HEARD the sweet soft sound but this happened very seldom. So where was I really exposed to this phenomena of excellent design???


Then I got a 1959 Fisher 610 receiver chassis, minus the cabinet, speakers and Garrard changer. To a novice learning electronics at age 12, ala mid 70's Radio Shack catalog and kits, this big heavy set was the real deal- It was the true Hi Fidelity sound and tuner performance - that hooked me. Unfortunately the power trans was smoked by a shorting 6CA4 (or caps) :'( after I fell asleep listening to it. I scrapped it after getting some discouraging words and possible cost of an unobtanium "old tube set transformer"

 Two years later - The working tuner/amp/control panel of a Motorola SK36 (1960 3-channel stereophonic with a separate Garrard R/P) were tossed in a box and sent home by a parent's coworker. I had placed it all in a gutted an early-50s Admiral console BW tv, using the 8-inch speaker as the woofer :-[ I loved everything about it from the glowing 6BQ5s to the tuning eye tube to the retro control panel......and it just kept playing so the obsession began.

What was your first one?
Tubes - Magical - Tubes

Dave

Larry H

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2016, 12:55:33 PM »
I had been collecting, and restoring, RCA 45 players, and then I became interested in the multi-speed New Orthophonic consolettes.  I really liked how the consolettes sounded, but thought that a console version just might sound even better.

I saw a Craigslist ad over in eastern Oklahoma for an RCA HFP small console.  I arranged to meet the seller at a McDonalds right on I-40 about 50 miles west of Arkansas.  He led me down a dirt road that became one lane to his farm.  There the HFP was, sitting out in the middle of the guy's cow pasture, with a long extension cord running to it.  It was playing Elvis music.  I looked it over closely, and noticed it took seemingly forever to cycle, it was nasty dirty looking, but the worst thing about it is the guy's grandfather had inscribed his social security number on top of the changer.  That was an immediate turn-off for me.  The guy was wanting $100 or so for this set.  I offered him $25 and he declined.  So, I made the trip home totally empty-handed with no console.  This entire trip turned out to be a wild goose chase.

Within a couple of weeks, I found the same exact console on eBay for around $50, including shipping.  I bought it, and that started console collecting for me.  I got to where I didn't want anything else but a console.  After all, nothing sounds as good, right?

More on the "cow pasture" console model, here:  http://vintagehifi.net/index.php/topic,291.0.html
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 01:36:16 PM by Larry H »
--Larry

electra225

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2016, 10:07:35 PM »
My wife got me started.  She remembered playing records on her mom's Magnavox.  I had no interest in console stereos, period.  "Firewood with speakers" was my attitude.  I restored our Stereo Symphony and the rest is history.  They keep following me home, thank God.  I have five Magnavox stereos, and a little Drexel cabinet Motorola.  My next console stereo will have a TV in it.   
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....

AstroSonic100

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 11:37:36 AM »
Then I got a 1959 Fisher 610 receiver chassis, minus the cabinet, speakers and Garrard changer. To a novice learning electronics at age 12, ala mid 70's Radio Shack catalog and kits, this big heavy set was the real deal- It was the true Hi Fidelity sound and tuner performance - that hooked me. Unfortunately the power trans was smoked by a shorting 6CA4 (or caps) :'( after I fell asleep listening to it. I scrapped it after getting some discouraging words and possible cost of an unobtanium "old tube set transformer"


In the late 90s I owned a Fisher consolette that used the 610 chassis.  It was a nice set until one of the 6BQ5s shorted and took out the power transformer and the sets fuse.  So much for fused chassis.  I was going to replace the transformer but Fisher used multiple filament windings and finding a replacement would have been difficult.  The chassis had no room to mount individual filament transformers. 

For awhile I pulled the chassis and installed a Heathkit A-7 amp so at least I could listen to records.  The sound was pretty good with such a small amp.  After several months I pulled the Heathkit amp and reinstalled the 610 chassis.  Took it Goodwill and they took it off my hands and then said it will end up in the salvage pile.  Wish I had pulled the Garrard changer.

The Fisher was replaced with my current '66 Astro-Sonic 100 Provincial.
Ray

AstroSonic100

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 11:47:01 AM »
Our family had two consoles while I was growing up.  In 1949, my dad bought a Philco AM/FM console with a 33-78 changer.  We had that set until 1955.  My dad was going to add a Webcor 3-speed changer to replace the Philco changer.  Instead he bought me a Webcor portable for my birthday.  He sold the Philco the same year for $15.  Our next console was a '64 Magnavox Astro-Sonic 30.

My first vintage console that I bought was in 1977.  It is a '47 Magnavox Georgian.  I still have it and use it occasionally.  Next was my '56 Magnavox Wedgewood console.

In the late 90s, a friend of mine who owned a vintage auto radio repair shop had a '50 Philco AM/FM console that was identical to my parents set, except it had Philco's 3 speed changer instead of the 2 speed changer my parents set had.  He gave it to me for free.  Can't beat that.   I still own it and just finished replacing the original Philco changer that had problems with a Garrard RC121 changer w/Sonotone 16T stereo cartridge wired for mono.  What a difference in sound on records.  I can't believe how good those Philco consoles can sound with a good audio source.

I would buy more consoles, but there isn't room in the house and I don't want to keep them in the garage.
Ray

Bill

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2016, 11:09:01 AM »
It started with my love for music.  My parents had an early RCA home entertainment center. It was made up of individual components that sat on a base.  I think the year was around 1958.  The HIFI was a RCA New Orthophonic.  I believe it had 4 tubes, woofer, and two tweeters.  I remember it sounded pretty good.  When I was old enough to buy my own stuff I started with components.  Around 1968 my grandparents purchased an RCA home entertainment center that was stereo.  This is when I fell in love with consoles but still didn't have one until about 10 years ago when I purchased a Pilot.  I have my Grandparents RCA home entertainment center and listen to it all the time.  All solid state, eight speakers, with  either 15 or 18 inch oval woofer, mid, and two tweeters.  Sounds very good.  The  Pilot is gone and replaced with 3 Magnavox's and a Motorola with Drexel cabinet all needing restoration.  And yes I'm always looking.  ;D

Bill

garrardfisher

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2016, 07:08:42 AM »
When I started getting serious about HiFi (10 yrs ago), I was interested in 1970's gear (e.g. Marantz), but I learned that after the late 60's/early 70's the quality of some legendary audio companies took a nose dive and a lot of them disappeared.  I soon realized that the 50's & 60's was the golden era where cost was no object.  Cabinetry & drivers were built to last.  Kits existed because people could actually build their own gear.   People really invested in their audio equipment back then.  My fascination with Marantz turned to an appreciation for tube gear like Fisher, Eico, Dynaco, Heathkit, Garrard.  Stuff that had some heft to it.  Since those companies had their hay-day in the era where consoles were extremely popular, I started to take an interest in consoles as well. 

Consoles aren't my passion.  I am a bit of an audiophile, so my main listening system is component.  But I really have fun listening to a console and plan to have one in the living room (wife said I could.  ha ha).  I like the styling (esp. MCM)  I currently have 2, one to pull an amp from (Maggie) and the other (RCA) is built so well, that I feel that I have to restore it.  However, even though the Maggie is gutted, I still have it in view because I like the look of it.  I even hooked up my Fisher 500T to listen through it last night. ;D

I'm 42 yrs old, but was born about 30 years too late.  I am nostalgic for the atomic age and really wish I could have lived through those happier times.  My wife laughs at me cause I love "All in the Family" reruns (love Archie & Edith).  When I listen to the Carpenters, Cal Tjeda, Stan Getz, she says I'm a 60 yr old in a 40 yr old's body.  Maybe I like consoles because that type of music is just sounds proper coming out of a console.   ;)

Nippersonic Sylvania

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2016, 05:24:45 PM »
My parents had a console stereo that I haven't heard (or seen) for quite some time. I have been assured that it still exists, but is in deep storage. I don't know what model it was, but it was definitely in service into the late 1980s/early 1990s. Like a prior poster, I got my own start in audio with components and turned to consoles relatively recently after learning what those old monsters were referred to as. There's a magic to components, sure, and I'm working on a glistening tower of silver-and-black behind glass with lots of lights. There is, however, an equal measure of magic in veneers and cabinetry, and I'm working on that, too.

The chance to acquire, restore and operate conceptually obsolete but functional and good-sounding stereo gear, especially at low prices, is a neat idea and it fits in with my plan for the house I'm in. I've gone from not knowing what the things were to a qualified version of, "Leave no console behind". If all goes well, I'll have room for four or five and perhaps one of those little Sylvania or Admiral instruments.

I once heard that a lot of console speaker fits were specifically designed to cooperate with the music popular at the time---any truth to that?

TC Chris

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2016, 07:19:16 PM »
I'm like some of you other guys--really an audiophile, but also a sucker for old electronics of all kinds.  It was probably about 1956 that I talked my grandparents out of the 1935 Montgomery Ward Airline 62-167 console radio in their basement, and I've never stopped picking up orphan electronics since.  The first console I actually paid for was a Philco 46-1213 AM-FM-SW radio/phono ($25).  It's always fascinating to see how different makes and models accomplished basically the same chore--capturing RF or moving grooves and turning it into AF--in so many different ways.  Just look at phono cartridges--there are crystal, ceramic, and magnetic (MM, MC, and VR), not to mention Zenith's modulated-RF system used in my Wurlitzer 1100 jukebox (another $25 purchase).  I've never owned a Philco beam-of-light phono.  Those must have been inspired by the optical soundtracks used in movies. 

I love music, by recording or via radio, so it's nice to have lots of options.

Chris Campbell

Bill

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2016, 05:47:40 PM »
I'm with you Brian, I think I was born in the wrong generation too.  But I will admit mine was a good one as well, it was a simpler time, a much more relaxed time.  I was born in the 50's, grew up listening to my parents HIFI and all the music from the 30's-40's, and I loved every note played.  That's the music I love yet today and that's where my being born in the wrong generation comes from.  That and that fact that I love Theater Pipe Organs and wish I could have been around in it's hay day.

Bill

hermitcrab

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2016, 07:57:25 PM »
About 10 years ago was driving home from work and saw a Man and his son putting a console out to the road for garbage pick up, as I drove by I figured at least get the speakers out of the cabinet, the guy saw me stop to look at it .... it was a 1968 Silvertone in perfect condition! The owner told me it just quit working years ago, and if I wanted it he would help me load it into my pick-up... turns out one of the power out transistors was shorted and the bias resistor was fried...I changed them out and it still is playing today... now I have only 3 of them...the a fore mentioned Silvertone, a 1964 Zenith, and a 1964 Magnavox, they all work, the only one I am looking for now is a mid 60's RCA and I will be Happy...
Elton

llangston1

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2016, 10:19:55 PM »
It is not so much of an obsession as a necessity for me. My Zenith console was purchased by me parents in '68 or '69  along with our first Zenith color TV. It was my first real stereo system back in the day and it has been in my family since then. My Mom kept it until she closed up her house and moved in with my sister in the '90s and then I took it. It sat around more as a piece of furniture until this year. I used to have a decent component system in the 70's: Dual 1225, Marantz 4230, Cerwin Vega speakers, Advent 201 cassette tape deck. One by one those components started dying until I decided to electronically recycle everything and replace with a modern surround sound system. Funny thing is I never did buy that new system. After retiring last year and having more free time I decided to resurrect this old Zenith so I would have a system I could use to play my LPs without having to shell out several 100s of dollars.This has been fun project so far. I have been able to find all the parts for the record changer I need at the Voice of Music web site. Gary has been a real help in getting the changer refurbished. I plan to replace to old electrolytic capacitors soon and need to repair the title red stereo indicator light that fell out of the face plate. I still like the sound of this old console. I never set the Volume above 2 1/2 out of 10 to have it plenty loud in a 20X20 party room. The speakers have no distortion or crackling noises so I am happy with what I have so far. 

cmark115

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 11:22:55 AM »
In June I attended an auction with my in-laws.  I left instructions for my in-laws to pick up a box of 78's for no more than $10, because I thought I could clean them up and resell them.  They can home with over 500 records, 78's, lp's, 45's.  I immediately started cleaning them up, cataloging them, and figuring how old some of the 78's were (pre-1910).   I wondered what they sounded like, but I didn't have anything to play them on.

About a week later, I found a GE c431g, in an estate sale in my neighborhood.  It worked, but it needed speakers.  So I bought it for $20 and put new speakers and crossovers in it.  Looks and sounds great!  Now I'm hooked.  My son helped me restore the GE and now he has a Motorola from 63-64.  I bought a 73 Magnavox model 6404 to resell and my sister wants it.  I'm not well educated in electronics, but I'm learning through forums like this!

19and41

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2016, 05:25:47 PM »
Some of the earliest music I can remember was my dad playing Richard Rodgers' Victory At Sea on the family console, a Murasonde by Whitley Electronics, a mono hi-fi with an endtable receiver and V-M turntable, with a large speaker cabinet.  I have restored tabletop radios for a number of years, and though I had a decent component stereo system, I wanted to have a decent sounding console radio.  I saw the 153B Magnavox I now own on Craigslist for $75.  With some prompting from Electra225, I went to see it and talked the price down to $50 (to be donated to breast cancer research).  I hope to one day find another Magnavox console of at least late '50's vintage to play with.  I'm a sucker for those tuning eyes!
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke

electra225

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Re: Console Obsession - how did it start for you?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2016, 07:36:59 PM »
Lately, I've been prompting you into a stereo.  Maybe a Symphony.   ;)


My stereo console obsession got started by my wife, aided and abetted by a member on here, Neali.  The wife's family had a Magnavox back when she was a kid.  (I'm told it was electric, they did not have to crank it.  :) )  My first Magnavox was a $1 acquisition that failed to get a bid at auction.  It was going to be tossed.  Neali introduced me to the Concert Grand.  I had no idea such a contraption existed. 
If it ain't broke, call me.  I can break it....