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Old 05-07-2016, 10:10 PM
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1966 Silvertone console record player

Today, I brought home this 1966 model year Silvertone console record player. It was built by Arvin (132 source code) and uses a BSR record changer. Even though it's from '66, it's a tube unit (50C5 X 2, 12AX7, selenium rectifier); but, it's probably one of the last tube models. It's been my experience that most Sears stuff from the '50's and '60's had either a Warwick or Crescent changer, and the lowest end stuff used a BSR changer.

A couple of things that make me happy is that it has a balance control (I don't really care for those models with separate L and R volume controls) and it uses a driver stage (no 3V cartridge directly driving the output stage).

I fired it up and the changer will need a full overhaul and the amp is only working out of one channel. Based on turning the record by hand and the channel that works, it seems to sound pretty good. One day, I'll give it a full overhaul.

There were also some records with the unit; but, they are your typical budget label instrumentals, gospel, and Reader's Digest records like what most senior citizens of the day listened to. There were also a few 78's with it; but, they are in terrible shape.



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Old 05-07-2016, 10:56 PM
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There isn't that much to the amplifier; just a small chassis, four speakers and a lot of empty space in the cabinet. Reminds me of the last Zenith console color TVs of the early part of the 21st century, just before Zenith went offshore, with the small master circuit panel that looked like an oversized postage stamp and the large amount of empty space around it. This must have been one of Sears' less expensive consoles; the small amplifier chassis with two tubes and one selenium B+ rectifier practically screams "cheap", and I bet this one didn't sound very "hi-fi" either.

I doubt if this thing was very loud at maximum volume, as the amplifier doesn't look anywhere near big enough to produce any kind of decent audio power output. If I had to guess, I would say this amplifier had no more than five watts of output per channel at best. The speakers don't look big enough to handle much more power than that.

This console was probably meant for people who just wanted a console stereo phonograph without an FM radio tuner and who didn't care beans about high fidelity. I bet the console didn't weigh that much, either, with the small amplifier chassis; most of its weight was probably in the wood (?) cabinet, which probably isn't genuine hardwood or veneers, but particle board with faux woodgrain vinyl over it. Good grief, even the cabinet screams cheap if it is as I just described it.

As for the dead stereo channel, I'd test the tubes first. One of them may be weak or dead, although an open filament in an amplifier such as this one would kill both channels, and the turntable may not run either if its motor is one of those 90-volt jobs that is wired in series with the tube filaments. This was common with the old and very likely cheap one-tube phonographs of the '30s and '40s, in which the filament of the single amplifier tube, usually a 117Z6 2-section amp/rectifier, was wired in series with the phonograph motor. If the tube's filament burned out, the motor would stop. If the tube shorted, the phono motor would probably burn out instantly since the short would put the entire line voltage (105-110 volts in those days) across it.

The 117Z3 or -Z6 tube was used because it operated directly from the AC power line, without the need for dropping resistors. I knew someone years ago who had a small record player with just such a one-tube amplifier. It worked well until the person spilled something into it while it was plugged in and turned on; the liquid got into the amplifier and promptly destroyed it, as evidenced by smoke coming from the ventilation slots in the cabinet. Of course, as I said, the amplifier was destroyed and the phonograph was likely junked.
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Last edited by Jeffhs; 05-07-2016 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:25 AM
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Man that thing just defines cheap
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:46 AM
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It's got a simple charm to it! It probably sounds pretty good for what it is--and I'm sure gets plenty loud, if perhaps in more of a shrill way than a rattling way.
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Old 05-08-2016, 10:44 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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It's got a simple charm to it! It probably sounds pretty good for what it is--and I'm sure gets plenty loud, if perhaps in more of a shrill way than a rattling way.
I worked on a GE that looked similar, but it was SS and a GE Tonal I changer.
It had the tiny black transistors with thin metal heat sinks on them. The low AC voltage for the amp was taken from a tap on the motor winding. The owner's son, tried connecting extra speakers to improve the sound and blew the O/P transistors.
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Old 05-08-2016, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeffhs View Post
There isn't that much to the amplifier; just a small chassis, four speakers and a lot of empty space in the cabinet. Reminds me of the last Zenith console color TVs of the early part of the 21st century, just before Zenith went offshore, with the small master circuit panel that looked like an oversized postage stamp and the large amount of empty space around it. This must have been one of Sears' less expensive consoles; the small amplifier chassis with two tubes and one selenium B+ rectifier practically screams "cheap", and I bet this one didn't sound very "hi-fi" either.

I doubt if this thing was very loud at maximum volume, as the amplifier doesn't look anywhere near big enough to produce any kind of decent audio power output. If I had to guess, I would say this amplifier had no more than five watts of output per channel at best. The speakers don't look big enough to handle much more power than that.

This console was probably meant for people who just wanted a console stereo phonograph without an FM radio tuner and who didn't care beans about high fidelity. I bet the console didn't weigh that much, either, with the small amplifier chassis; most of its weight was probably in the wood (?) cabinet, which probably isn't genuine hardwood or veneers, but particle board with faux woodgrain vinyl over it. Good grief, even the cabinet screams cheap if it is as I just described it.

As for the dead stereo channel, I'd test the tubes first. One of them may be weak or dead, although an open filament in an amplifier such as this one would kill both channels, and the turntable may not run either if its motor is one of those 90-volt jobs that is wired in series with the tube filaments. This was common with the old and very likely cheap one-tube phonographs of the '30s and '40s, in which the filament of the single amplifier tube, usually a 117Z6 2-section amp/rectifier, was wired in series with the phonograph motor. If the tube's filament burned out, the motor would stop. If the tube shorted, the phono motor would probably burn out instantly since the short would put the entire line voltage (105-110 volts in those days) across it.

The 117Z3 or -Z6 tube was used because it operated directly from the AC power line, without the need for dropping resistors. I knew someone years ago who had a small record player with just such a one-tube amplifier. It worked well until the person spilled something into it while it was plugged in and turned on; the liquid got into the amplifier and promptly destroyed it, as evidenced by smoke coming from the ventilation slots in the cabinet. Of course, as I said, the amplifier was destroyed and the phonograph was likely junked.
You're thinking of the 117L7/M7GT or maybe a 117N7GT. The 117Z3/6 is a rectifier tube only.
The tubes, normally connected in series with the motor are the 25L6 and it's variants.
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dieseljeep View Post
I worked on a GE that looked similar, but it was SS and a GE Tonal I changer.
It had the tiny black transistors with thin metal heat sinks on them. The low AC voltage for the amp was taken from a tap on the motor winding. The owner's son, tried connecting extra speakers to improve the sound and blew the O/P transistors.
Most solid state GE's from that period used speakers with an oddball impedance (in the 24 to 32 ohm range). He likely connected 3.2 to 8 ohm speakers and I don't suspect it would last long like that. I've had stereos come in where people would connect fix speakers in parallel on a single speaker output on the amp, basically placing a short circuit across the output of the amp and killing the output stage.
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:43 AM
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I have one of these with a AM/FM radio as well as the changer. While definitely a low-end model, it sounds pretty good for what it is.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by radiotvnut View Post
Most solid state GE's from that period used speakers with an oddball impedance (in the 24 to 32 ohm range). He likely connected 3.2 to 8 ohm speakers and I don't suspect it would last long like that. I've had stereos come in where people would connect fix speakers in parallel on a single speaker output on the amp, basically placing a short circuit across the output of the amp and killing the output stage.
I had a VM SS small stereo built in about 1969. This one one speaker per side. 45 ohms impedance. Seemed strange, as most were as you stated.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:45 PM
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That's all fine and good; but, when the speaker needs to be replaced, you're going to have a hard time finding a speaker with that impedance. I suppose about the only thing you could do is connect a resistor in series with a standard speaker, to give you the right ohms rating.
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Old 05-09-2016, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiotvnut View Post
That's all fine and good; but, when the speaker needs to be replaced, you're going to have a hard time finding a speaker with that impedance. I suppose about the only thing you could do is connect a resistor in series with a standard speaker, to give you the right ohms rating.
A better move would be to replace one original speaker at say 24 ohms with 3 8 ohm units in series...That way ALL the energy of the amp's output is converted into sound.
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Old 05-09-2016, 05:57 PM
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Do you ever resell these old phonos after they're fixed up?
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:45 PM
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Sometimes, I try to sell them; but, I usually end up getting frustrated because where I live, it's not a hot bed for selling vintage electronics. I have lots of people claim they want an old record player; but, they often expect to get a perfect one for a yard sale price and they don't realize (or even care) what all is needed to properly restore one. As much as I'd love to sell these things for $5 or $10, parts are too expensive in today's world and I don't enjoy losing my butt. So, most of what I get either stays here are is given to close friends.
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by radiotvnut View Post
That's all fine and good; but, when the speaker needs to be replaced, you're going to have a hard time finding a speaker with that impedance. I suppose about the only thing you could do is connect a resistor in series with a standard speaker, to give you the right ohms rating.
No worry about that, I scrapped the stereo. It was a freebee and all I wanted was the changer.
If someone needs 45 ohm, 5 1/4 inch speakers, PM me.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:00 PM
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Cosmetically, this set has a photofinish that isn't in the best of shape (the cabinet looks to be made of real wood). On the top, there are a couple of nasty round circles where it looks like someone sat something wet on it. I tried darkening the circles where the finish was gone; but, it still does not look good at all.

I'm not a fan of painting these things; but, this one might look better painted. A friend did that with a little GE console that was photofinished and he wanted to fix it up for his young daughter. The photofinish was rough; so, he sanded down the cabinet, primed it, and painted it with decent paint. I'll probably do something similar with this one; but, I don't want it looking like the typical sloppy paint job that some of these flea market vendors do, in order to make a quick dollar.
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