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Vintage Radio (domestic) Domestic vintage radio (wireless) receivers only.

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Old 19th Apr 2021, 2:27 pm   #1
Gabe001
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Default Keep radio original, or improve it?

My own experience with the speaker on my 1935 Defiant, which I was tempted to replace at one point, and some recent threads such as the 'Murphy with hum' have got me wondering.

How much of a compromise to sound quality and performance are people ready to tolerate for the sake of maintaining originality?

At what point does modifying a set to improve performance start to devalue it?

Gabriel
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 4:13 pm   #2
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

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How much of a compromise to sound quality and performance are people ready to tolerate for the sake of maintaining originality?
Too much, some sets are remarkably expensive (probably just a fad for a particular model), modify to make it better.

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At what point does modifying a set to improve performance start to devalue it?
I don't care, it is very unlikely to make money out of restoring old radios. A good radio is good, a better radio is better.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 4:19 pm   #3
Al (astral highway)
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

Unless you have a set that of such rarity and splendour to be of interest to a major auction house, thereís relatively little loss or gain either way. A set that doesnít communicate is just a relic, even if fascinating to us. One that works can continue to give us joy and thatís probably justification enough.

So Iím all for mods that provide this kind of joy, whether just for us or for others.

Amd of course itís nice to have a couple of sets that are intact, but there not intrinsic virtue in it. Our focus of attention is no more worthy than collecting lawn mowers or vintage camera lenses, horses for courses !
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 5:18 pm   #4
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

I'm a bit of a purest and like to get my radios looking and sounding as close to how they were when new or newish.
I think once you modify them you could risk losing the original essence and charm. Kind of like putting a high performance engine into a Morris Minor or putting double glazed windows in a Victorian house!
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 5:33 pm   #5
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

I do sometimes find the old 1930’s sets have slightly muffled sound, and ones with a tone control sound too shrill when you try to correct the muffled sound with it. I have been experimenting with a completely reversible mod, fitting a tweeter! In sets with large speakers you can easily hide it in front of the speaker just behind the cloth, and you can either connect it directly to the speaker terminals, or just run some wires with plugs on to the extension speaker sockets.

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Old 19th Apr 2021, 5:34 pm   #6
Gabe001
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

The thing is, Clive, I want to be able to enjoy the way they sound. If they sound too "mellow bellow" for example, they will end up being display pieces only.

Having said this, if it's a particularly valuable or old set I'd probably be quite a bit more conservative.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 5:39 pm   #7
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

Apart from curing a fault that has developed or replacing known trouble makers I can't see the point in wanting to make a manufactured radio receiver "better", the circuit design and the rest of it is what it is.

Lawrence.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 5:41 pm   #8
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

You wouldn't modify the DAC90A to make it sound better Lawrence?
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 5:54 pm   #9
ms660
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

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You wouldn't modify the DAC90a to make it sound better Lawrence?
It's years since I listened to a Bush DAC90A, probably at least 50 years since I repaired them in the trade back in the day, but as I recall they sounded ok, so why would I want to make one sound "better" ? No reason at all, so I guess the answer's no.

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Old 19th Apr 2021, 6:05 pm   #10
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Fair enough
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 6:20 pm   #11
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

Just snip that tone correction cap on a DAC90 and all that lost treble and clarity reappears. Want it original? Solder it again. Nothing wrong with sympathetic mods in my opinion, especially when they're easily reversed. Drop a trannie chassis into a thirties art deco set (for example) - no.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 6:43 pm   #12
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

I have an RGD radiogram that has undergone considerable modification to the amplifier. I wanted to be able to use it to provide as good a quality sound as was reasonably possible, whilst still keeping the electronics in tune with the period (1953). It is not one of the more valuable or rare types, otherwise it would have been kept original. However, I use it regularly and get much enjoyment from it.
It was in a bit of a state when I got it, the original output transformer was open circuit on the primary so that was my excuse to try and improve....
https://www.radios-tv.co.uk/communit...r-desecration/
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 7:12 pm   #13
Edward Huggins
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

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Originally Posted by Lloyd 1985 View Post
I do sometimes find the old 1930ís sets have slightly muffled sound, and ones with a tone control sound too shrill when you try to correct the muffled sound with it. I have been experimenting with a completely reversible mod, fitting a tweeter! In sets with large speakers you can easily hide it in front of the speaker just behind the cloth, and you can either connect it directly to the speaker terminals, or just run some wires with plugs on to the extension speaker sockets.

Regards
Lloyd
What would be the point of adding a Tweeter to an AM Radio? You would not be able to hear it! The only way that would make any sense is if it had variable IF Bandwidth.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 7:41 pm   #14
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What would be the point of adding a Tweeter to an AM Radio? You would not be able to hear it! The only way that would make any sense is if it had variable IF Bandwidth.
I wouldn't do it myself, but if you play it through gram could potentially make sense
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 8:07 pm   #15
Lloyd 1985
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

It does make a surprising difference! And yes, through the gram input is where it really makes a difference. I do tend to listen to a lot of heavy metal type music, which these sets weren't really designed to play! But last year when Absolute radio did their day of 'Absolute 40's' I had that playing in the garden on the Ekco AC86, without the tweeter mod, and it sounded really nice with the old 40's tunes playing, for that type of music it didn't need anything adding to it at all.

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Old 19th Apr 2021, 8:19 pm   #16
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

I can't see the sense of 'improving' vintage technology, it is what it is. If you want something better buy a new one!

Andy
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 8:38 pm   #17
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

Each to his own, but, yes, I'm another for whom an essential part of the joy of using vintage equipment is experiencing just the quality of sound its period design results in: which can include hearing the results when music of a later origin is played through that equipment. If any simple measure would significantly improve the sound quality of my main stereo system I'd probably be up for that, because although the system is bordering on vintage (40 year old amplifier, 55 year old speakers) it's in the house to produce the best listening experience I've seen fit to pay for. So I use it when I want to listen to music, and use a valve radio when I want to listen to a valve radio.

Paul
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 8:47 pm   #18
kalee20
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

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Originally Posted by Gabe001 View Post
You wouldn't modify the DAC90a to make it sound better Lawrence?
I would, and I have! See here.

Still uses original valves, just uses them better.

Last edited by kalee20; 19th Apr 2021 at 8:52 pm.
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 8:48 pm   #19
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

I'd just add a plea - if modifying the circuit in any way, glue a label with information as to the modification inside the case, so future repairers are not puzzled. I've had two or three sets on my bench that have been "improved" and all of them have given me the trouble of working out what some other chap has done with them!
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Old 19th Apr 2021, 11:00 pm   #20
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Default Re: Keep radio original, or improve it?

One man's improvement is another man's desecration.

If it's your equipment, it becomes your choice.

Whichever way you choose, there will be criticism from the opposite camp. Skin-thickening exercises are advised.

David
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