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post #1 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 05:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi

I recently bought one of those old vintage stereo consoles. Its a good size, with a turntable and a reciever. It also has 2 subwoofers and 2 horn tweeters on both sides.

I plan on keeping the turntable for now, but will be using my own receiver and getting a Sonos Connect for access to all my music as well on internet radio, etc.

My question to you all is this. I plan on using this unit specifically for music, therefore the 2 channels. However, I need to replace the speaker system, as its over 30 years old. What would you recommend I do? And how would I set it up.

There are crossovers on each side to split the signal. But would you recommend just a sub and tweeter? Or go for a midrange too?

Thank you all for your help! This is my first foray into 2 channel audio.
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jchusky77 View Post

Hi

I recently bought one of those old vintage stereo consoles. Its a good size, with a turntable and a reciever. It also has 2 subwoofers and 2 horn tweeters on both sides.

Subwoofers in a console stereo? Surely you jest! The turntable would be in acoustic feedback city if those big light drivers had any serious bass.
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I plan on keeping the turntable for now

By modern standards, the turntables in the old consoles were groove busters.
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but will be using my own receiver and getting a Sonos Connect for access to all my music as well on internet radio, etc.

That can work.
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My question to you all is this. I plan on using this unit specifically for music, therefore the 2 channels. However, I need to replace the speaker system, as its over 30 years old. What would you recommend I do? And how would I set it up.

Hmmm. I'd be prone to use the old console's speaker enclosures as mounting places for contemporary speakers in their enclosures that fill as much of the front as possible. Remove the old grille cloths, and cut the existing speaker holes into a framework that the drivers from the new speakers have clean shots through.
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 05:54 AM
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Like Arny says.

I never saw a console with a quality turntable in it, either. I don't think I've seen a console since visiting an elderly relative's house many years ago....is the console for furniture purposes?

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post #4 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

Like Arny says.

I never saw a console with a quality turntable in it, either. I don't think I've seen a console since visiting an elderly relative's house many years ago....is the console for furniture purposes?

An audio friend and I do the estate/moving sale thing on Friday mornings. So of course even just lately I've seen all sorts of cheap old consoles, probably one per week. In general the quality of the speakers, the turntable, and the electronics is horrible even by the HiFi standards of those old days. I know there are exceptions - custom built equipment cabinets in the same format with quality components (MacIntosh, Marantz) inside because I remember seeing them in the day. But in my recent travels not so much.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 06:03 AM
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Yes, I've heard there are quality units but when I was growing up they were mostly about the furniture (WAF back in the day) and no one I knew had one of those. They usually sounded like crap, especially if you wanted any real volume. Poor positioning of speakers probably had something to do with it altho that never occurred to me back then. I preferred components even back in my teens....

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post #6 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 07:06 AM
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It is very unlikely that there is anything there worth saving.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I wasnt going to save the speakers. The turntable Im keeping for now but it won't get used very much.

It is mainly for furniture but I'd like to replace the speakers and use current electronics.

Just wondering what speaker type to put in there.

I only paid 50 for it. So not out a lot of money.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 07:21 AM
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What are the measurements of the space replacement speakers (complete boxed speakers that is) can fit in? I'd look for a decent two-way. Trying to replace individual drivers, crossovers, etc probably isn't worth it....

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post #9 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jchusky77 View Post

I wasnt going to save the speakers. The turntable Im keeping for now but it won't get used very much.

It is mainly for furniture but I'd like to replace the speakers and use current electronics.

Just wondering what speaker type to put in there.

I only paid 50 for it. So not out a lot of money.


A 30-year -old turntable and cartridge might just damage all of your records and render them unplayable.

It is probably not in good mechanical condition, and that can be damaging.

Is that a good idea?
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I was going to buy a new cartridge anyways. But I do have a newer tt that I can put in. . It just didn't fit where I wanted it to go lol

I may just buy bookshelf speakers and put them in.
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post #11 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Well. .I may also just forgo the speakers all together And get a sound bar. .. is that word blasphemous in this forum? Lol
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post #12 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 08:20 AM
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Yes, you'll have to take it to the soundbar forum now.... wink.gif

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post #13 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jchusky77 View Post

I was going to buy a new cartridge anyways. But I do have a newer tt that I can put in. . It just didn't fit where I wanted it to go lol

I may just buy bookshelf speakers and put them in.

Beware that a lot of these cheap console's tone arms are so bad that they will crush the stylus of a good cartridge. They are mostly designed for a kind of cartridge that doesn't need as sophisticated electronics as we now consider to be mainstream. So besides the cartridge, you would need that upgrade as well.

What brand names do you see on this old console?
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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It's a magnavox micromatic. But I found an Open box set Of bowers and Wilkins 5 1/2 bookshelf speakers for 250 i may pick up.
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post #15 of 18 Old 04-01-2014, 03:45 PM
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That seems to cover a range of models judging by this https://www.google.com/search?q=magnavox+micromatic&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=bEA7U4TkH6X42AW1roDYCg&ved=0CCUQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=771#imgdii=_

I wouldn't play my records with any of these....except maybe the ones with the semi good looking tonearm with cueing control....maybe.

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post #16 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

That seems to cover a range of models judging by this https://www.google.com/search?q=magnavox+micromatic&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=bEA7U4TkH6X42AW1roDYCg&ved=0CCUQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=771#imgdii=_

I wouldn't play my records with any of these....except maybe the ones with the semi good looking tonearm with cueing control....maybe.

the good news is that the turntables don't seem to be the Cheaper-than-dirt VM (Ironically Voice of Music) groove busters but are mostly Collaro (I believe Italian imports, many with real 4-pole motors) that are claimed to be good down to 2.5 grams.

Further study suggests that Electrovoice of nearby Buchanan Michigan (in the day) was the source of the cartridges and that they were either crystal or ceramic designs. That means that the console's electronics aren't capable of using a reasonable magnetic cartridge without some kind of add-on. the tone arm wiring is also 3 wire, so that would probably have to be upgraded to 4 wire.

There are people who seem to be offering refurbed Collaro changers on eBay for > $250. I wonder if any are actually changing hands at that price!
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-02-2014, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I took out the turntable anyways. I have a cheap turntable that I'll use for now. See how into the music I get before investing in a really good TT for now.
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post #18 of 18 Old 04-03-2014, 09:51 PM
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I thought many of the better consoles were fun to listen to! And by "fun" I don't mean accurate, but rather bass for example that could be rather boomy though quite powerful* and highs that were "laid back" and not exactly full of detail. So yes, lots of sonic coloration. And stereo imaging capabilities? Forget about it! :toothygrin: But despite all that I enjoyed listening to many of them, fully aware they weren't anything close to even a pair of entry-level Boston Acoustics. But as a secondary sound system IMO they can be a kick to have around.

That being said...........

I agree with other members and personally would not recommend using a typical console's TT to play your vinyl. Those heavy-tracking (usually) ceramic cartridges with those fat styluses always seemed like a dull icepick was being dragged through the grooves - no thank you. But if the TT utilized a magnetic cart - usually much lighter tracking force and more sophisticated stylus - I might think about it.

The speakers: most consoles' woofers almost always operated in an open-backed configuration & replacing them would be tricky since few woofers nowadays are designed to be used that way (i.e. stiff cone suspensions are needed) except for musical instrument woofers, which aren't exactly optimized for music playback. Plus console woofers were usually designed to be crossed over at rather high frequencies, IIRC usually from around 4kHz or higher - most modern 10" to 12" woofers can barely make it to @2kHz, if even that.

The tweeters probably still work O.K. but will very probably not sound that way because the super-simple crossover - which almost always consisted of a lone capacitor - has aged badly: capacitors that old, particularly electrolytics, will most probably have changed chemically and/or literally dried up. This almost always results in reduced output from the tweeter, and sometimes NO output. Plus the xover frequency can change too, again altering the system's overall sound quality.

BTW speaking of subwoofers: while not a true subwoofer, Motorolas and some other brands sometimes included a separate woofer with its own amplifier specifically for the lower notes. Here's an excellent example. And IIRC some better Magnavoxs operated their woofers in styrofoam(!) "enclosures" to improve their sound.


* most consoles have amps with only around 10-15 watts per channel max, but their woofers' cones are so light and basically dipolar in nature, not to mention even the 12" and 15" versions probably barely made it to 50Hz, the system can produce volume levels easily loud enough to fully prevent any normal/non-shouted conversation.
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