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Old 20th Aug 2018, 9:29 pm   #1
Colourstar
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Default Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

The range of HMV 'Stereomaster' transistorised consolette record players of the late 60s/early 70s is fairly well known- and fairly large too: There seem to be a huge number of variations on a theme. The common factors are a 4-speaker system with the tweeters facing forward and the mid/bass speakers firing sideways.

Despite being a BRC product, I've never seen these players badged as anything but HMV, so was intrigued to see a Ferguson version pop up on ebay. It looked a bit grubby, but a low 15 bid bagged it. I had to drive to a farm in the middle of nowhere to collect it. It was festering in an impressively damp barn with other forlorn house clearance detritus. Manhandling it into the car wasn't easy as a previous owner had boxed in the legs with chipboard (presumably to provide record storage) and mounted it on a wheeled base, all of which just about trebled the weight.

Driving home I quickly became aware that the Ferguson absolutely stank! I knew that it was grubby, but didn't appreciate that it was well steeped in stale nicotine, which combined with the damp atmosphere provided a rich bouquet with strong overtones of cat pee. So it was windows down all the way home....

Once wrestled from the car, I anticipated that freeing the Ferguson of it's ill-conceived home-brew chipboard cladding would be the work of minutes. Wrong! The rusty woodscrews were absolutely not for budging, so an unseemly battle raged, involving all manner of instruments from the back catalogue of Messrs Black & Decker, concluding with persuasive force of a lump hammer. Finally I found myself stood amidst a satisfying pile of splintered wood and ruptured castors, with the Fergy finally freed from it's chipboard prison and looking as BRC had intended.

So vile was the state of the cabinet that there was nothing for it but to sand it lightly back, being careful not to go through the veneer. A large plant pot ring stain was deeply ingrained, but it was possible to reduce it's appearance considerably. The cabinet was then treated to several coats of Danish oil, which provided a lovely rich colour with a classy sheen. The legs still bear screw holes (a legacy of the cabinet cladding) so will need filling. I'm toying with the idea of spraying them and the plinth they attach to with a black semi-matt finish.

The knobs with their perspex skirts came up beautifully in soapy water, as did the filthy control panel and the black vinyl interior of the record deck compartment and black inserts on the cabinet front. Even the original MK mains plug was given a bath and re-instated.

All these players feature a 6-knob amp configuration, with on/off, volume, bass, treble, stereo/mono and finally a gram/tape/radio selector for connection of an external source through a DIN plug (stereo tape) or 3.5mm jack (mono radio). Having recently serviced an HMV 2400 with this layout, I was surprised to find the Ferguson was quite different internally, with a simplified power supply and different amp pcb. The Ferguson is an early design, certainly pre 1970, with the red/black/green mains lead colouring. I reckon 1967/8 would be about right. The model number is 3018, incidentally.

The amp featured a mouldering selection of electrolytics and some change-on-sight black Callins, so this was fully re-capped before any power was applied. Happily it worked perfectly from the initial post re-cap application of mains.

The record deck is the expected BSR of the period and needed no more than the usual free-ing up and re-greasing (plus thorough soapy water treatment for the cosmetics) to restore it to health.

The finishing line was well in sight now, but casual investigation of the speaker enclosures revealed that one of the main drivers had a rubbing cone. Following advice on the forum, I was able to attempt to blow/vac out any magnetized debris particles from the coil below the dust cap. This stopped the rubbing, but not completely, so I am on the lookout for an 8x5 15 ohm speaker if anyone has one knocking around.

That niggle aside, I'm very pleased with the Ferguson. It's transformation from a festering box with B.O. to a fragrant addition to the room has been very satisfying and I really like the styling, perhaps more so than the HMV stablemates. It performs very well too, with more than enough volume to rattle the wndows without breaking sweat. I'm sure it's all of about 3w per channel- thus proving that it's not what you've got it's how you use it.

Some before, during and after pics to follow....

Steve
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Last edited by Colourstar; 20th Aug 2018 at 9:47 pm.
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 9:34 pm   #2
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Work in progress....
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 9:35 pm   #3
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

The cabinet after re-finishing...
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 9:37 pm   #4
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Together and looking and sound good, bar that pesky speaker....
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Old 21st Aug 2018, 9:38 am   #5
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Hopefully a suitable speaker will turn up, it looks good. Lots of similar equipment made in the late 60’s early 70’s that provided much enjoyment for their owners. It’s a good size for the room as well, fits in very well.
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Old 21st Aug 2018, 9:52 am   #6
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

A very credible result, Steve! Looks fantastic. All that cleaning would have pushed me over the edge though..
I've had good success in the past with grating or distorted speakers by carefully wedging pieces of foam between the metal frame and the back of the cone. It takes some experimenting to get it in just the right place.
My Hacker radio has worked for years with a chunk of washing up sponge poked in the speaker. It sounded horrible when I first got it. Give it a go- it might just work for you.
All the best
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Old 21st Aug 2018, 10:06 am   #7
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

That came up nice! I’ll admit I never give these things a second glance as I walk by them in antique centres, and when offered on the forum. Mostly because I don’t want anything else big!

I have a Bush SRP31D with a similar deck in it, very good deck, nice stable speed and works well.

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Old 21st Aug 2018, 10:15 am   #8
dave walsh
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Great write up and photos for context Steve. Reading this sort of thing is like getting your favourite Radio Mag delivered

Dave
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Old 21st Aug 2018, 7:19 pm   #9
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Thank you all for the kind words.

I suppose it's just a case of something grabbing your interest sufficiently for you to see beyond the grime. Personally speaking, I find the cleaning is the most rewarding part!

I'll have a further play with the errant speaker. It's really only noticeable on speech at low volumes, but irritating nonetheless.

Looking at the dirt on the controls as originally found, I dread to think what the rest of the house it came from was like....

Steve
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Old 21st Aug 2018, 9:14 pm   #10
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

To be fair, there's a sort of mould which tends to grow on slightly-damp items which looks much like dirt.
Nice restoration, anyway!
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Old 22nd Aug 2018, 4:47 pm   #11
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colourstar View Post
Thank you all for the kind words.

I suppose it's just a case of something grabbing your interest sufficiently for you to see beyond the grime. Personally speaking, I find the cleaning is the most rewarding part!

I'll have a further play with the errant speaker. It's really only noticeable on speech at low volumes, but irritating nonetheless.

Looking at the dirt on the controls as originally found, I dread to think what the rest of the house it came from was like....

Steve
You can do my refinishing and detailing work anytime. Really a great job and attention to detail.
Made a silk purse from a sow's ear!
Dave, Midwest USA.
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Old 22nd Aug 2018, 11:44 pm   #12
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Hi Steve, its looking and no doubt smelling a lot better than it did when you first found it. ive recently bought a Bush SRG129 which has scruffy legs and marks mainly on the bottom of the cabinet but its nowhere near as bad as your gram was. I would probably have given up with that one and broken it up so again good work.. Cheers Neil.
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 7:08 am   #13
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Hi Dave, it was a bit of a sow's ear, but luckily it wasn't a swine to work on

Hi Neil, Good luck with your Bush SRG129. That should be a nice unit when done. Keep us posted with progress!

Steve
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 9:29 am   #14
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

You have done an amazing job bringing this back from what it was. Good luck finding a suitable speaker replacement,
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Old 28th Aug 2018, 11:55 pm   #15
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

So nice to see this era of kit appreciated. The UA15SS-3d is a great deck - nice size platter, auto record size detection, and a lightweight tubular arm. Well done!
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 5:16 pm   #16
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

I have just seen 2 x NOS Goodmans 8" x 5" 15 ohm speakers for sale on eBay.
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Old 29th Aug 2018, 9:23 pm   #17
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Hi Simon and Ben, thank you for the positive comments. I really like this era of equipment and some of the BRC record players, both portable and consolette, are really rather well made and sound decent too. I have since acquired a scruffy Ultra portable, circa 1969, which I'll be having a go at shortly.

Hello Edward. Duly noted!

Steve
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Old 31st Aug 2018, 5:23 pm   #18
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

That's come up a treat Steve. Very nice.

Andy
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Old 3rd Sep 2018, 9:47 pm   #19
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Excellent work Steve.
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Old 17th Sep 2018, 4:02 pm   #20
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Default Re: Ferguson 'Stereomaster' - 98% success!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colourstar View Post
The range of HMV 'Stereomaster' transistorised consolette record players of the late 60s/early 70s is fairly well known- and fairly large too: There seem to be a huge number of variations on a theme. The common factors are a 4-speaker system with the tweeters facing forward and the mid/bass speakers firing sideways.

Despite being a BRC product, I've never seen these players badged as anything but HMV, so was intrigued to see a Ferguson version pop up on ebay.
It's near identical to the Marconiphone 4018 'Maestro Major' I once owned. It was made around 1966.

Sounded quite good, really. Wish I still had it.
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