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Old 12-21-2009, 08:31 AM   #1
Star-Bellied Sneetch OP
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My old console stereo

Remember those old console stereos that your parents had way back in the old days? Well, I've got one and I'm bored so I figured I'd share some pics of it.

Mine is a Fisher Philharmonic model from, as far as I can tell, about 1968. Apparently it retailed for about 500-600 bucks - a lot of money back then! No going to wally world for cheap Chinese audio back in those days.

This thing has special sentimental value for me. It belonged to my grandparents, and I remember going there every Sunday, and they'd usually be playing some old-timer music through this thing. I very distinctly remember "raindrops keep fallin' on my head," and more faintly recall Lawrence Welk and stuff like that.

My grandmother gave it to me about 10 years ago when she moved to a smaller place and didn't really have room for it. I play records on it almost every day. It sounds warm and inviting, it reminds me of my childhood, and I like the tactile feel of it.

I have other stuff that, objectively, sound much better, but I'll take this over all of it!

Anyway, here's what the front looks like. Sorry for all the stuff on top of it - my girlfriend has some affliction where she absolutely cannot have horizontal space that does not have every square inch filled with picture frames and stuff. And, yes, I know it doesn't match the floor.



It opens from the front, and the stereo/turntable is on a drawer that pulls out for access:



Here's a close-up of the receiver pulled out:



And here's one of the turntable, complete with holiday music! Turntable was made by BSR. Sounds good enough to me, although since it doesn't have any kind of adjustments for arm weight or turntable speed, I'd assume it's not top of the line:



Here's a couple pics of the back of it:





And here's my favorite one. Someone, I suppose my grandfather, scratched their last name into the back. It weighs about half a ton, but I guess he thought someone might steal it from his living room!


Well, that's all. I can't seem to find any info about this particular model on-line, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. It looks good, it's worked great all these years, and it's not going anywhere! It's like a fine piece of furniture. They really don't build 'em like they used to!
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:36 AM   #2
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That's cool. I love old well kept stuff like that. I gaurentee you'll not see a working top of the line system from today still working in 30 years from now, but Ill bet that one you have there will still be working in another 30 years! I had a really cool one my Mom gave us when she died, but she had spilled wine in it and it was too big to fit well in my current house I have on my land so we put it at her parrents house, they still use it to play 8 tracks, and records....and even the radio sometimes. Even though my mom spilled Wine in it, it still works great except the volume pot is scratchy when you turn it up and down. Which I could fix h\but why? I like the story i have to tell when people ask why it makes that noise.
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper X
I gaurentee you'll not see a working top of the line system from today still working in 30 years from now
Let's not get carried away. Top-of-the-line stuff is as overbuilt as anything ever has been, and most of the high-end manufacturers will service their entire line. Krell, Mac, Conrad-Johnson ... their stuff will last for decades.

That said, I think that these old console pieces are very cool, and I'd be torn as to whether to drop some nice gear into them, or to keep it "stock" (and never use it). My folks had a big Magnavox console, very interesting piece but it sounded like crap.

Nice piece with history, SBS.
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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Not as many fans of obsolete equipment as I was hoping for!
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:43 AM   #5
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very neat!

my winter project (if it ever gets off the ground) is to buy a german console stereo similar to the following:



gut it, install a small class A tube amp kit i've yet to build, a decent set of speakers and a mid level turntable that compliments the look of the unit (i'm thinking a pro-ject or something). i'm hoping to find something with good wood that doesn't work so it'll be cheaper.
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:18 PM   #6
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Oooh, that's a beauty! Love the 50's style of it! Truth be told, the one I have isn't my style of furniture at all, but I certainly wasn't in a position to contribute to the decision when it was purchased.

Good luck with your project. Sounds like a good one. I hope you make it happen!

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very neat!

my winter project (if it ever gets off the ground) is to buy a german console stereo similar to the following:



gut it, install a small class A tube amp kit i've yet to build, a decent set of speakers and a mid level turntable that compliments the look of the unit (i'm thinking a pro-ject or something). i'm hoping to find something with good wood that doesn't work so it'll be cheaper.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack90210
Let's not get carried away. Top-of-the-line stuff is as overbuilt as anything ever has been, and most of the high-end manufacturers will service their entire line. Krell, Mac, Conrad-Johnson ... their stuff will last for decades.

That said, I think that these old console pieces are very cool, and I'd be torn as to whether to drop some nice gear into them, or to keep it "stock" (and never use it). My folks had a big Magnavox console, very interesting piece but it sounded like crap.

Nice piece with history, SBS.
I didn't say ULTRA high end or SUPER high end, I said high end, that is like the best of what you find in the box stores, not McIntosh or the like....nothing you go to buy at say Best Buy or those plpaces will be working still in ten years let alone 30. Those consoles were about the same price point as the upperend box house stuff these days. On the comment about the old Magnavox sounding like d\crap, was this before or after you became an Audiophile you made that decision? Or was it back when your folks had it? Back when I was a kid of about 7~16 was when my parrents had their consloe and back then it sounded great to me. Of course after that I got sophisticated in my listening and bought Klipsch La Scalla's and a Mc Intosh amp and pre amp and a Nakamichi cassette deck, and a SL1500MKII turntable. But before that, I thought the old console sounded great.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbaZanetti
very neat!

my winter project (if it ever gets off the ground) is to buy a german console stereo similar to the following:



gut it, install a small class A tube amp kit i've yet to build, a decent set of speakers and a mid level turntable that compliments the look of the unit (i'm thinking a pro-ject or something). i'm hoping to find something with good wood that doesn't work so it'll be cheaper.
Thrift stores and EBAY I saw a few very cool old consoles at the thrift store last time I went looking for old Advertisements.,
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper X
Thrift stores and EBAY I saw a few very cool old consoles at the thrift store last time I went looking for old Advertisements.,

yeah, i think when i'm home for christmas i'm gonna see what i can see. the unfortunate thing about living in a "hip" place is anything that turns up at a thrift store or consignment shop is 1. too expensive and 2. instantly scooped up by someone who sees aesthetic potential. i've got a fairly solid idea of exactly what i want, but unfortunately, a good 90 percent of the consoles look like bloated boxier versions of the op's unit, no offense, but that "american tv room" look just wouldn't work for me. not too mention they're usually much larger than their euro-branded counterparts.
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Old 12-21-2009, 05:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniper X
I didn't say ULTRA high end or SUPER high end, I said high end, that is like the best of what you find in the box stores, not McIntosh or the like....nothing you go to buy at say Best Buy or those plpaces will be working still in ten years let alone 30. Those consoles were about the same price point as the upperend box house stuff these days. On the comment about the old Magnavox sounding like d\crap, was this before or after you became an Audiophile you made that decision? Or was it back when your folks had it? Back when I was a kid of about 7~16 was when my parrents had their consloe and back then it sounded great to me. Of course after that I got sophisticated in my listening and bought Klipsch La Scalla's and a Mc Intosh amp and pre amp and a Nakamichi cassette deck, and a SL1500MKII turntable. But before that, I thought the old console sounded great.
good save.

I knew when I was 8 years old that the console sounded like crap. It was around that time that my folks bought me a $20 boom box that had more bass, more treble, and smoother midrange. Look, it was a product of its time. I'm not slamming the product -- but it is what it is.
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Old 12-21-2009, 05:51 PM   #11
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Cool !
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack90210
good save.

I knew when I was 8 years old that the console sounded like crap. It was around that time that my folks bought me a $20 boom box that had more bass, more treble, and smoother midrange. Look, it was a product of its time. I'm not slamming the product -- but it is what it is.

the biggest problem with most consoles were the "full range" oval car speakers.

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and a SL1500MKII turntable.
ah, the 1200 that didn't like to be moved.
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:51 PM   #13
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And if the old console stereo has a crossover, it is probably shot due to dried out capacitors

just like the old wharfedale model 90 speakers I have
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Old 12-21-2009, 09:46 PM   #14
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I guess I'll have to get out the camera and take some pictures of mine. It was my Mom's: a 1965ish HH. Scott Copely console. Jensen 3-way speakers, with 15" woofers, Garrard Type A counterbalanced turntable, Ampex 3-head reel to reel in the bottom cabinet and a hybrid transistor / vacuum tube design (tube amplifier with solid state pre-amp).

It was tweak, audiophile stuff in its day and still sounds really good. I've never gotten over that she threw the original purchase paperwork and owner's manuals away. She kept them for 20+ years, then for some inexplicable reason, took the envelope from inside the cabinet and threw it out.

The cabinet is gorgeous. I'm not sure what kind of wood it is but, the cabinet is a fine piece of furniture. I think it's mahogany but it could be some other fine-grained wood. The finish was glass-smooth lacquer. I remember petting it as a kid. It's one of my prized pieces.
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey Hotey
I guess I'll have to get out the camera and take some pictures of mine. It was my Mom's: a 1965ish HH. Scott Copely console. Jensen 3-way speakers, with 15" woofers, Garrard Type A counterbalanced turntable, Ampex 3-head reel to reel in the bottom cabinet and a hybrid transistor / vacuum tube design (tube amplifier with solid state pre-amp).

It was tweak, audiophile stuff in its day and still sounds really good. I've never gotten over that she threw the original purchase paperwork and owner's manuals away. She kept them for 20+ years, then for some inexplicable reason, took the envelope from inside the cabinet and threw it out.

The cabinet is gorgeous. I'm not sure what kind of wood it is but, the cabinet is a fine piece of furniture. I think it's mahogany but it could be some other fine-grained wood. The finish was glass-smooth lacquer. I remember petting it as a kid. It's one of my prized pieces.
Wow.
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