Author Topic: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol  (Read 3083 times)

firedome

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Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« on: December 12, 2017, 11:33:12 AM »
Hi all:
Well, been in the audio hobby since building a HeathKit tube amp in 1964, so a long time. Now-retired science teacher, and audio-nut who once moonlighted by writing and editing for a now long gone tube audio publication on the topic of the history of the legacy U.S. audio industry. Collected, repaired, and played with any and all Hi-Stereo stuff, including most of the tube McIntosh, Marantz, Fisher & Scott classics, to the extent of having rooms-full of it: vintage tube amps, pre-amps, receivers, tuners, tape decks, turntables, repair equipment, tube caddies &c &c, until SWMBO finally laid down the law 10 yrs ago, so we're now downsized to just a couple of the best-loved daily drivers.

Also, sorry to say, deconstructed many a console for their components (duck & runs!!) due to major lack of space and demand for them 15-20 years ago. Good ones: TOL Fishers, Pilots, Stromberg, Bell, better mass maker consoles. That was then.

Over the last years I've come to really appreciate the role consoles have played in the history of US audio, way outselling components, and residing in most of our parent's living rooms in the '50s to '70s. Now we've decided to find a nice Early American style (so says the wife) tube console to enhance our living room, musically and visually, and take it's proper place in the spotlight. 
Looking forward to learning all things console here, many thanks for the venue!
Roger A in Binghamton NY, the home of McIntosh Labs!

electra225

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2017, 12:00:03 PM »
I would invite you to view our "Gallery" at the top of this page.  Lots of dandy consoles in there.  I prefer the more formal cabinet styles much as you wife does.  There are those who prefer the Modern style cabinets as well.  I have a Dynakit SCA 35 that I built from a kit in 1965. When solid state came out, I could not wait to can my old tube stuff.  I still have a Marantz 2245 and my old Pioneer SX-1050, but the rest of the solid state stuff is long gone.  My Magnavox collection is in the Gallery under "Greg's Collection" should you care to take a peek. 


Welcome aboard!   :)
I'm great at multi-tasking.  I can listen, ignore, and forget all at the same time.

TC Chris

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2017, 06:49:54 PM »
The big lesson is that purity of doctrine is not required.  I like the idea of high-fidelity, of the least distortion and best replication of the original sound.  But some of my most enjoyable listening is in my Ford Ranger truck on the OEM radio/CD player.  And I listen to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights via AM radio on a fine GE P-780 portable, or maybe on an old 1930s console.  It's OK to enjoy sound from various sources.  After all, it's the music we're really listening to, and it's fun to do it via different technologies.  Tubes, solid state, digital, analog, small, big.  There's room for all varieties. 

Chris Campbell

firedome

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2017, 02:59:08 PM »
Variety is great, for sure... and in fact I very rarely sit and listen "seriously" any more, taste and priorities change a great deal over 50-odd years; my Dad would have a great laugh at me listening to Sinatra, Dean Martin, or all the Broadway tunes that he so liked back then, the ones I made such great fun of, were he still around. We do indeed become our parents... welcome to geezer-land! 

Anyhow am looking forward to having much fun with a console, and the beautiful furniture enclosing the music-making parts that make the living room look extra-nice is the icing on the cake! Most folks, at least on the East coast and Midwest, seem to have had Early American-style homes back in the '50s, and that's still what I like best!
Thanks for the nice welcome! 

firedome

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 03:16:28 PM »
The style we are looking for would be similar to this Symphonic, however in a tube model:

https://syracuse.craigslist.org/fud/d/maple-wood-amc-stereophonic/6404743557.html

ed from Baltimore

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 09:48:37 PM »
Hi Firedome.  I'm from Towson too.  Seminary Ave near Providence. Calvert Hall class of '72.  What street in Towson were you on ?  Where did you teach science ?  I worked for Westinghouse and then Martin Marietta.   Ed (Passaro)

firedome

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2018, 03:03:11 PM »
Hey Ed! 
I'm from W Towson, Chestnut Hills just S of Joppa and W of Charles St Ave. '53 to '68, before that Hampton Lane off Dulaney Valley. Grad Towson High '68, Western Md College '72, married there and stayed in Westminster until 1999. Taught Bio/Chem in Howard and Carroll Counties. Moved North in '99, only been back only a couple of times... boy has it changed !! Nice to "meet" you here!  Consoles are fun!!

ed from Baltimore

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2018, 11:15:54 PM »
Firedome from ed---sorry about the delay in replying, didn't know you have to check introductions to find replies. I knew a Jeffrey Waters on Chestnut Ave next to Charles St., he had an older brother Bert ?  maybe your year tho they were both at Boys Latin.  I doubt any relation to John Waters who I think went to Calvert Hall and Towson.  Wow!! Hampton Lane before '53.!!  before the Beltway, before Notre Dame Prep,  We moved to Seminary Ave in 1959 and it didn't go through to Providence Rd then.  My main weakness is mono AM-SW Magnavox and Zenith phonograph consoles. 40s to early 50s, especially the heaviweights.  Hope I can learn how to send and receive on this forum. .

TC Chris

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2018, 11:51:50 PM »
Hey, Ed,

I just saw your comment about favoring older mono consoles.  Maybe you can help me pin down the year of my Dad's old Magnavox.  I'm guessing around 1952, but I've never seen this exact version in an ad.  It has a slightly rare Webster-Chicago changer (one other person has one like it on this forum). It's AM-FM, not SW. Let's add some photos.

Any ideas about year or model name?

Chris Campbell

ed from Baltimore

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2018, 02:35:49 AM »
hi TC Chris. from Ed.  I think I once had a Magnavox 17 " TV chassis that would have come in the upper left of that console you have and the light brown knobs would have matched whats on your radio chassis. It cant be much newer than '51 or the TV picture tube would have been larger than that cabinet. That record changer almost looks like the later Collaro because of that curved black tone arm but the speed knob in that location with the concentric reject pushbutton looks like a brown colored earlier Webster Chicago I had years ago from a late 40s Magnavox console.
       The Saturday Evening Post and Life Magazine archives might have your cabinet style in it. Sometimes having certain tubes like 6BQ5/EL84 can determine a no-earlier-than date. That changer looks rare enough to be only a year or two. The dial window has an understated elegance about it that could have lasted several years. I dont know when they started the Magnificent Magnavox labels. What kinds of tubes are in the chassis ?       Ed

TC Chris

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2018, 02:00:36 PM »
The changer is definitely W-C, based on basic design and markings underneath. The output tubes are 6V6.  The copper plated chassis face is flatter than some just earlier that had a bit more shape in the area around the dial glass.  Tat dial glass originally had a double frosted line between the AM and FM frequency markings.  It was on the outside, and subject to scraping with a finger nail--kids will be kids--so eventually I removed the whole thing.  The space for the TV was used for record storage. 

Dad did not spring for the TV because there were no local stations when he bought it.  In 1954 he bought a big Zenith console and for a few months we watched a single snowy channel from about 100 miles away, one that broadcasted about 18 hours/day, beginning with a test pattern and ending with the National anthem.  And then the local station, and soon two others, began broadcasting.  The third one was UHF and required a converter box.

Chris Campbell

TC Chris

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2018, 09:38:39 PM »
I found my notes on my unit.  The changer is marked "MX 850" underneath--maybe to signal a special dress for Magnavox?  My console is a Model 477P, Style 156-63, chassis CR 216 B. The Speaker is stamped with 583 093.  I'll have to check EIA codes to see what that says. 

Here's a link to a post about a Windsor with what I assume is an aftermarket change to this same record changer.  It;s the only other one like this I've heard about.
http://vintagehifi.net/index.php?topic=108.0

Chris Campbell


ed from Baltimore

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 11:59:40 PM »
Hi, Chris.
     Starting to get the hang of finding new posts and replying just underneath.
       Well now I'm wondering if that model WC changer's rareness was because it was brought out solely as an upgrade on some kind of exchange basis until a totally new design was put into production that could intermix different size records of the same speed and maybe had plug in tonearm headshells for LP only cartridges like Pickering. I think LP from Columbia and 7 " from 
RCA (in both 45 and 33 "extended play") were introduced less than a month apart in 1948, but I don't know when the 40-48 FM band was definitely out and when the 88-108 was definitely in. Not to mention when the new TV standard and the later almost immediate deletion of Channel 1. Makes like Magnavox must have had to really been able to rapidly redesign their consoles. Then there's the rapid growth of the hi-fi components. But it makes dating the consoles fun !
                                                                                                                     Ed Passaro

TC Chris

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2018, 12:20:39 AM »
In mine, it was original equipment.  It has a cartridge that rolls fore or aft for 78 or microgroove stylii. I don't know if it was crystal or ceramic. But it's pretty clear that the older unit had it as an upgrade.  That was an expensive unit and the owner probably called the dealer and said "get me a three-speed changer."  I've got a 1948 Philco with the wrong changer, probably for the same reason.

Chris Campbell


ed from Baltimore

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Re: Hi from a recovering component snob! lol
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2018, 10:20:58 PM »
That might explain the rarity if that model was custom built for Magnavox, at least the visible items like the tone arm and speed selector knob. BTW do you know why they repeat the speeds on the upper and lower parts of the knob ?
    I get Webcor, Webster Electric and Webster-Chicago confused.
               Ed Passaro