Magnavox Turntable

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Geoff::L, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. Geoff::L

    Geoff::L Agent

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    My mom is thinking of getting rid of her old 1966 Magnavox record player. It has speakers and a radio player attached. This thing is huge. It is 6 feet long and weighs a ton! The turntable doesn't seem to work anymore but the radio and speaker still do. Is this thing worth anything?
     
  2. DavidLW

    DavidLW Stunt Coordinator

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    The electronics are worthless. But I have seen people gut out the electronics and turn the inside into a storage for bar supply, liquior bottles, and glasses. Kind of like a mini-bar. This is providing you're talking about those Stereophonic Consoles in a stylish wooden cabinet with sliding doors on the top. The ones that have the turntable and radio on one side and a record storage area on the other.
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Those old "console stereos" were held in the lowest regard by hobbyist audiophiles, and for good reason (they were furniture, not serious audio equipment). Hence, this piece, as indicated, is not worth anything. Only vintage hobbyist-type audio gear of the era holds its worth today — i.e., McIntosh, Marantz, Dynaco, Quad, Fisher, AR, etc.
     
  4. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Gee such negativity! [​IMG]

    While a lot of those console systems were cheesy--just like many HTiBs now--some that I have heard sounded quite good, good enough that I if I had an extra room to put it in I would buy one.

    While they weren't good for critical listening (a phrase that bothers me for some reason), for other listening uses they can fill the bill nicely. It's funny you are asking about a Magnavox--the last good console system I heard was at a buddy's house & it was also a Magnavox, bought sometime in 1965. I had brought over my copy of Panorama by The Cars as testing material (CD players still cost nearly a thousand dollars back then) and immediately picked the quirky track "Touch And Go" to check out the sound. How was it? Well, the first thing I noticed was this "big" bass sound--a little boomy, didn't go very low but was very powerful (no, not like a $1K subwoofer). It shouldn't be that surprizing that the bass was of this quality because 1) the woofer was mounted only about four inches above the floor; 2) the woofer was only about ten inches from the rear wall. This makes for a nice set of reflective surfaces for the bass frequencies to launch themselves from.

    Highs were pretty good but sounded better when we used the "stereophonic" FM tuner because according to my buddy's dad the stylus on the record changer was from the early 70s. Yikes!! Needless to say I didn't play anymore of my records on it. But it did have an extra set of RCA imputs on the back labeled "aux" so now one could add a CD player if they wanted.

    All in all, we thought this system sounded plenty good enough for background music, and even when doing nothing but listening to music, though admittedly you wouldn't be able to hear a gnat passing gas [​IMG] or anything else containing fine sonic details.

    We finally unscrewed one of the rear panels to get a look at the drivers it used: one 15" woofer with a large Alnico magnet and an approximately 10" X 4" tweeter horn. The woofer fired out the side of the console and the horns fired out of the corners (i.e. at a 45 degree angle relative to the rear wall). The enclosure was sealed but I think it was mostly to simply isolate the woofer from the other woofer since the "enclosure" wasn't caulked & the rear panel used no seals, so it didn't look like a true acoustic-suspension system. But there was a large pad of some kind of dark fiberous material tacked on two sides to limit reverberation.

    Another console I used a lot is one still owned by my aunt. It was made by General Electric and sounded similar to the Magnavox. Though this time the sound was warmer but she wouldn't let me remove anything to check out the innards--dang it! [​IMG]
    Like the Magnavox, it had enough bass to easily cause pictures to buzz that were hanging on the wall behind it.

    One characteristic both consoles shared: both were--to me anyway--attractive pieces of furniture. All solid hardwood or real wood veneer over highgrade plywood--no particle board anywhere I could see. And they were HEAVY. Each must have weighed at least 200lbs (IMO this kind of classy styling--actually, any kind of styling--is missing in most of today's audio systems, another reason I think some people won't buy a decent HT or music rig becuase some "hi-tech" equipment can be a real eyesore in a room made for everyday living. I'll bet if an audio component manufacturer made wood end-panels an option a lot of people would ask for them).

    Reality check: consoles stopped being made roughly around the late 70s so any of these someone finds has a good chance of needing some repairs, particularly ones that used tube electronics. But a lot of the consoles I have seen used woofers with treated & untreated accordian paper surrounds (rather than foam) and so still worked fine. Same deal with paper cone tweeters. And horn mids and tweeters almost always use some kind of metal or phenolic diaphagms so they should be working for a long time too. If the crossover network used the old style oil-filled capacitors then these could have dried out and don't work correctly or not at all. This would cause otherwise decent sounding drivers to sound bad (or burn them out?). So be careful when checking out their sound capabilities.

    Lastly, to help answer Geoff's question: a couple years ago I was at a consignment shop specifically looking for old audio stuff. I found two console systems there but the better one was an RCA model. Smaller than most, only about four feet wide, but in beautiful physical condition and everything worked (or so the sign said). But what susrpized me was the fact it had a built-in subwoofer! I can't remember exactly what RCA's name for it was, but the metal plate mounted near the woofer's grill called it something like the "RCA Infrasonic Bass System" and looked like it used an 8" woofer for this duty, placed in the lower center at the front of the console. And the left and right speaker systems were at their normal positions at the sides of the console. It wasn't plugged in so I didn't get hear it. Price: $500. The other larger console, I think from Zenith, was going for around only $200 since it was kind of banged up.

    To me this would be a fun project to mess with and has a good chance of not costing too much to fix. Especially if someone had a carefully decorated room but still wanted to listen to music.

    LJ
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I'm not a fan of those, but I've a soft spot in my heart for older vertical floorstanding radios...about 4 feet high or so.
     
  6. Geoff::L

    Geoff::L Agent

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    Thanks for the info.
    Interesting story LanceJ. My mom was just thinking about giving it to the salvation army.
    Hmmm, converting it into a mini bar sounds good though.[​IMG]
     

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