Author Topic: Hello from Norfolk VA  (Read 1056 times)

Modern Concerto

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Hello from Norfolk VA
« on: December 26, 2017, 07:40:56 PM »
I've been resisting buying consoles because of the space they take up (though I've kept a couple I've inherited from family over the years) and was buying 60's vintage tube component gear instead.  Early this year I relented and bought a Magnavox Modern Concerto and I got the bug.  Added a Motorola SK47M to the collection, and then a Zenith and on Christmas Eve another Maggie.

In addition to appreciating the sound quality of these stereos and enjoying the nostalgia, I also like seeing the different approaches the companies took for their products.  Motorola seemed to be committed to the three channel approach more than the others, and it appears Magnavox used the sliding doors on top and side firing woofers almost exclusively.

Anyway, it is a lot of fun using and learning about these machines and I hope to enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded folks. 

Bill

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 07:08:51 AM »
Welcome!

Wow you did get the bug....and the bug can be addicting.  ;)  Have you done any of the rebuilding?  Since everything is old please consider recapping everything before you use it too much.  We don't want you to blow a power transformer if the wrong thing were to short.  Besides a rebuild job usually makes things sound even better.

Have you picked a favorite?  What was your last Maggie?  If you can please send us some pictures to look at, we love pictures.   ;D

Again welcome...there's a bunch of good people on the forum and a bunch of good information so please take the time to read, read, read.

Happy New Year!
Bill

Modern Concerto

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 10:55:06 PM »
Hi Bill.  Thank you.  I have spent quite a bit of time reading all the wonderful information here and have just made a dent :-)

I have not done much with the sets yet, but definitely will re-cap before putting them in to use.  I've recapped some components and put together some kits (bought a Dynakit parts ST-35 a couple of years ago that I love) so I should be able to get 'em working up to spec. and it is nice to have folks to compare notes with if a problem arises.

The four sets each have unique virtues, but if I had to rank them it would be:

1 - Motorola SK47M.  The photo finish is the cheapest of all the sets but the electronics shine.  Heavy duty faceplate on the preamp (no tuner in mine), metal knobs, metal name badge, powerful amp (PP 6BQ5s for the center channel and PP 6BM8s for L and R channels), circuit breaker protected and it appears the chassis is copper plated.  The VM changer is gorgeous. And it sounds great :-)

2- Magnavox Modern Concerto.  Sounds very good and I think the styling is very nice.  And since it is a two piece unit, it doesn't take up a lot of space, is easy to move and can provide superior stereo separation. In some ways it is the perfect console.

3 - Zenith SFH2605.  Nice styling and cabinet is well made.  Sounds good and manages to do a lot with a meager SE 6BQ5 for each channel.  Also has the first year of the Zenith made belt-drive changer and has the cobra style tonearm.

4 - Magnavox model 1-ST622 that I drove up to the MD eastern shore this past Christmas Eve for.  Thanks to this great site I was able to find it in the 1962 sales literature! Nice condition and only $40 bucks and has the 93 series amp and Mullard made 6BQ5s.  I think it will sound good but in the brief time I had it powered up it didn't appear that the horns are working.  I don't know if those things are likely to fail or if it could be a problem in the crossover (bad cap)?  Had already bought a couple 93 series amps online in years past to try them out and now, of course, I hate the fact that people gut these old consoles.  I wanted to have a console with that amp in its natural environment.

Will work on getting pictures  :)

electra225

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2017, 12:43:41 PM »
Consoles become addictive!  You may learn to stack and shuffle.   My wife "put her foot down" four Magnavoxes ago.
 There is always room for one more.  Enjoy!   ;)
I don't need Google.  My wife says she knows everything.

Modern Concerto

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2017, 11:07:20 PM »
Will do.  Thanks.

Yes,  I learned about the stacking while perusing the threads and seeing pictures.    My "spare" consoles are going in my finished attic room with a low ceiling which will limit my ability to stack.  I don't know if that is fortunate or unfortunate.  ???

Bill

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2017, 07:13:02 AM »
At least you have a finished attic room.  Being finished means you can go there to listen as well.  ;)  Kind of a getaway place.  I have a basement for that.

Bill

electra225

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2017, 11:02:52 AM »
I have a one-piece Concerto, model 1ST616, circa 1961.  You can see it in the Gallery on this forum if you care to take a peek.  I restored mine from a dumpster reject.  There is a thread on this forum showing the restoration if that would interest you.
I don't need Google.  My wife says she knows everything.

Modern Concerto

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 11:00:08 PM »
Was busy with the start of the new year but have been enjoying the past few days at home courtesy of the "bomb cyclone".

The thread on the 1ST616 was very interesting.  I know absolutely nothing about how to stain or finish wood and have to admit that reading it made me feel anxious if I will even grasp what is involved, much less have any success.  Lacquer, shellac, varnish... all greek :-(

So, will just keep reading and reading and let it percolate.

TC Chris

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 11:24:08 PM »
As to your last comment....  It can be a bit intimidating when you haven't done much wood finishing.  The general rule is to try to emulate the original finish in color and shine as closely as possible.  Stains can use dyes, pigments, or both.  They can be based on water, alcohol, or oil (like paint thinner).  Some woods like mahogany and oak have open grain--little valleys in the grain--and are best served with a wood filler that fills them in a flattens the surface.  On my sailboat, I use a "filler stain" that combines the stain with filler.  Put it on, wait a while, wipe it off. Most commercial production furniture has a lacquer finish.  In some cases, the lacquer has some color in it.  Lacquer is usually sprayed.  For those of us without a spray booth, compressor, and gun, interior oil-based gloss varnish (not polyurethane) can produce good results, especially if you sand it out then bring the gloss back to the desired level by rubbing it out with (a) automotive rubbing and polishing compounds, or (b) pumice and rottenstone. 

Be aware that most large surfaces are veneered--plywood with a thin veneer of a fancier wood.  This is an honorable and time-tested process because plywood stays flat and does not warp like solid wood tries to do.  But the point is not to engage in heavy sanding of veneered surfaces because you can sand right through the veneer.

That's my 2- paragraph speech on wood finishing.  There are lots of sources, printed and online, about finishing techniques.  Just be aware that most miracle, no-labor promises are lies.  Doing it right does take time and labor.  But that's what hobbies are all about.  Just don't use polyurethane, because when you're done t will look like you used polyurethane.

Chris Campbell

Modern Concerto

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2018, 10:08:10 PM »
Chris, thank you for the overview.  Hopefully it won't be too hard to learn how to refinish some of the old consoles to bring 'em back to some degree of their original beauty.

The one I want to start on first is my Zenith.  It is a bit of a basket case.  It probably was in nice shape when purchased by the guy I bought it from.  He said he'd picked it up many years ago at a thrift store and it appears he'd stored it in a shed for a long time.  The electronics are in decent shape and can be brought back easily, even the speaker cones are fine.  But the wood veneer is quite water stained and the finish is flaking off, leaving what appears to be a dull tan colored base exposed underneath.

Thankfully the veneer is not delaminating and the grain is still smooth (apparently sometimes water will make it get rough and raised?).  I am guessing that one needs to strip the finish with oil or alcohol and sand down to bare wood (without burning through the veneer) and then stain with the appropriate type and finish with lacquer.  That is the extent of my knowledge.

As you suggested it will take the resources found online (and maybe the library) to understand how to proceed.  If folks would be willing to provide guidance based on pictures I'd be happy to take a picture or two to show the condition on the wood.

Bill

TC Chris

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 08:55:38 PM »
Strip the finish with whatever remover works.  It's probably best to start with the least aggressive and work up if that doesn't work.  There was some mystery paint on the interior of one of my boats that required three different tries before I found a remover, the most toxic form of Zip-Strip, that would work.  Try to minimize sanding, using it only in fine grades to smooth things out for your finish. 

Chris Campbell

Motorola Minion

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2018, 12:58:37 PM »
Strip the finish with whatever remover works.  It's probably best to start with the least aggressive and work up if that doesn't work.  There was some mystery paint on the interior of one of my boats that required three different tries before I found a remover, the most toxic form of Zip-Strip, that would work.  Try to minimize sanding, using it only in fine grades to smooth things out for your finish. 

Chris Campbell

Chris, The few paragraphs you wrote sum it up pretty well. I bought a book called "the weekend refinisher" and read it cover to cover - I knew little about finish types. It covered grain filling and "rubbing out a finish" using increasingly fine grit paper 600-1200 and higher, finishing with pumice and rottenstone. The author never mentioned radios, preferring to use various furniture types as examples.


I was afraid of finish work until I was tasked with restoring 1941 Philco model 290 for a silent auction in exchange for my '48 Magnavox Windsor. The Philco had bad moving scuffs that required wood filler, toning to a dark red, then blending in to the surrounding very smooth art deco stylling. I was then confident enough to replace veneer on an 1936 GE console, that was all chipped and dry-cracked. A local woodworking specialty store, way better than home center and only marginally more expensive, is very helpful too..
Tubes - Magical - Tubes

Dave

TC Chris

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Re: Hello from Norfolk VA
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 07:55:37 PM »
So what was the GE console?  I'm working on an E-86 right now-- freebie with a some veneer delamination that I have reglued.  Next step--strip & stain, etc.  Then turn to the electronics.   It has unusually thick, if ordinary, veneers.

Chris Campbell