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Old 11th Sep 2015, 7:51 pm   #1
thejazzageuk
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Having searched for ages, I've managed to get hold of a Beau Decca. Unfortunately it has been stripped of its workings- so is likely to be a long term project to get it back to operation. The cabinet is in lovely condition though. My limited budget will prevent me getting the missing bits immediately, but I'm happy to bide my time and see what comes up. Eventually I'l like to get all the original bits, but in the meantime perhaps I can get it part working using some temporary components. I'd welcome any advice as to what may be an affordable alternative to the original amp until I can acquire the genuine article.

I'm happy to use a non-original deck as I plan to use it lots and find 78s just too short- but the rest of it I would like to restore to original condition eventually.

Here are some photos of the 'project'. This unit was originally sold by MORGAN OF BONDGATE. Any help or information on the Beau Decca gratefully received.
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Old 11th Sep 2015, 8:21 pm   #2
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca



For a quick bodge, something '70s hidden inside or maybe the works from an unloved '50s p-p German radio?
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Old 11th Sep 2015, 9:09 pm   #3
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

As Herald says you've enough room to stick anything in there on a temporary basis from a salvaged unit or Hi Fi seperates to non-original period equivalents.

Of course you've got the case because the components are worth more separately and are likely to be hard to source-vandalism to most enthusiasts but then you may have saved the cabinet from destruction. Perhaps you could say more about what your really aiming at? You can get the "look" [with the lid closed] and play records to a good standard while you try to find the bits! If you want to use a decent valve amp [ie Quad 22] for example, that would not be cheap but very sell-able again for something more like the original. Youcan install the modern deck and perhaps mount some replacement spkrs on the original sites but have have you the skills there? There's lots of info on this site and more generally re the BD range.
Good luck with it i.
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I did once make a posting about fitting a discrete modern amp intro an older case and would anyone spot that? Some people seemed a bit intrigued by the notion. If you were familiar with listening to BD's very possibly but not many people are!
These RG's are very sought after and admired but I notice other opinions to the effect that they were for the very rich and possibly built up to a price although I've no idea either way Maybe you'll get some help [if you can do the work]. A chap on here is restoring a Vintage TV/Radio Unit which had the TV stripped out many years ago and people are finding bits and pieces.

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Old 11th Sep 2015, 9:35 pm   #4
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

Personally speaking, I would carefully remove the top panel and get rid of that low rent BSR turntable and fit some decent 1980's/90's hi-fi separates as a temporary measure, I reckon you could buy a decent belt drive turntable, amp and tuner for less than 100.
You could fit two speakers in to the cabinet and end up with a very nice sounding unit.

Unfortunately it would probably cost you more to replace the missing parts than you could buy a complete radiogram for
Sadly most of these are only bought for the amplifier, and the rest gets sold on an auction site.

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Old 11th Sep 2015, 9:38 pm   #5
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

The prices complete BD's turn up for is less than the amplifiers can be flogged for, otherwise empty cabinets would never turn up, so you would be more likely to find another set of innards already in place in complete machine affordable than another set of innards alone.

It all depends on what you believe in. It would be nice to restore the thing back to original, but I think getting the bits will take a very long time and would involve expensive fighting on the usual auction places.

Valves don't have a monopoly on good sound, though some people seem to believe so. It is certainly harder to design good amplifiers around transistors than it is around valves, but it is not impossible and some excellent examples exist. What's even better is that because fashion seems to point in the other direction, they can be found cheaply. You could go for a Quad 33/303 or 44/405 setup. I like the Sugden A48 rather a lot but mounted at that angle the separate preamp/power amp approach is attractive. Linsley-Hood class-A?

There are lots of choices that ought to be affordable and sound rather good.

Besides, it's rather good fun going against all the fashion and still winding up with a great sound.

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Old 11th Sep 2015, 9:45 pm   #6
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The case looks to be in good condition, well done in saving it.As to restoring it to original, the tuner unit could probably be found, I have seen them go for not very much at auction where someone has broken one of these up. It just drops in to the panel with a lead attached with a plug on the end that would have plugged in to the rest of the unit.
I cant really see you getting an original amp for it though, after all that is why these people break them up, its a real shame that it happens.

I think I would find the correct tuner and a more affordable valve amp for it (that's not so sought after) some speakers wouldn't be a problem and then a suitable record deck for what sort of vinyl you want to play. I think the later models of these weren't 78 only
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Old 11th Sep 2015, 9:46 pm   #7
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

If it were me I'd look for an early 50s Garrard auto changer, or even a late 40s one, at least then it wouldn't look too out of place, especially if it was a dark one with the brown turntable felt.

Knobs and tuning glass can be improvised to a degree. Amp and radio wise I'd look for something from the 40s also. If you were electrically minded you could even try and lash together an amp using the same valve line up

My fear of putting high fidelity modern parts in there is you may well be disappointed when you do find the original parts!
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Old 11th Sep 2015, 9:47 pm   #8
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

Yes, good fun indeed, and no need to feel bad about gutting an original unit - someone else committed the crime.

Be aware that feedback can be a problem when making powerful one-cabinet record reproducers, and that the space for the record deck is quite limited, so lots of potential candidates might have to be ignored.

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Old 11th Sep 2015, 10:33 pm   #9
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

Here is a picture of the one I had, with correct deck. These are reasonably easy to come by but the claw foot cartridges are notorious for being open circuit. I have an O/C one somewhere you can have if you get the deck. If you can source that and a tuner which do come up often and cheaply -they are a separate unit in a wooden box on a long umbilical cord as they were an extra you will have a look-alike.. You might find the blanking plate in the cabinet somewhere.
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Old 12th Sep 2015, 6:29 pm   #10
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

Thanks to everone who contributed- lot of useful information here and it's helped me clear my thoughts a bit.
Looks like getting an original amp will have to be a very long term aim (if ever)- but I'm very interested in hearing from music-centre and PWH that it might be possible to get an original deck that plays 33RPM. With an original deck and radio it would then look absolutely authentic from the outside. PWH- I will certainly take you up on your kind offer if I can find a suitable deck.
For the amp, not yet decided- I think I would like a valve one to keep the 'feel' of the Beau Decca, but further than that I'm not sure, so any suggestions would definitely be welcome.
I guess the speakers I fit will depend on the amp so best hold off until that is settled?
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Old 12th Sep 2015, 7:55 pm   #11
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

Hi, try contacting Fernseh, he has restored at least one of these beasts.
If the pick up is the wound type they can be rewound, but it takes patience and 48SWG wire !

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Old 12th Sep 2015, 8:49 pm   #12
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Hi,
I would think something like a Garrard RC75 (3 speed) or a RC65 ( I am not sure if they were 78rpm only or 78/33rpm? ) would look the part but I could not see any info. on which decks were actually fitted to these grams. There are several members on the forum with a lot of knowledge on decks though who I am sure can advise what was an original fitment.
I guess it depends how original you would like to get it,a more recent deck is going to be kinder to the records.
Steve.
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Old 12th Sep 2015, 9:32 pm   #13
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

The correct deck is a Garrard RC10, 33,45,78 which had been modified so it took the special cartridge. So it was in 3 pieces one attached to the deck an extender and then the cartridge. Originally there were 3 speakers each slightly different. I would suggest you get or make an el84 push pull type amp check ebay. You may find an original amp without the PX4's or output transformer, but that can be dealt with. Murphymad can rewind the cartridge. But you will want one that matched whatever amp you put in.
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Old 12th Sep 2015, 10:03 pm   #14
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

The Garrard RC10 was a single speed 78 rpm only deck and not three speed.

The earliest deck to use if you want three speeds would be the RC72. These have three speeds, but are set to only play two record sizes, 10” and 12”, so although they have 45 rpm as one of the three speeds, you’ll struggle to play 7” singles should you want to.

An RC75 0r 80 in the dark brown colour would be the best choice, IMO.

I would fit something like a Mullard 5-10 type amplifier.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 9:17 am   #15
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Again- thanks for the info. Based on all that's been said it seems unlikely that I'll ever return it to fully original condition without a much bigger budget than I have. With this is mind I've tried to list my 'requirement spec' as follows:
ONE: I want it to look and function as close to the original as possible (taking TWO into account)
TWO: I want to play 33rpm records on it
THREE: I would like the amp to be a valve amp

If I'm never going to get the original amp, then I'm considering 'upgrading' it to a stereo amp. This would mainly be to play external devices (MP3s etc) via an AUX input. I like the garrard RC80/75 decks suggested by techman PWH and music-centre, it certainly looks the part. Is there a stereo valve amp that would work with these decks (in mono I presume) and give me an option to attach an aux. I could fit a couple of speakers and blank out the middle on to provide a limited stereo output.

Any suggestions based on the above welcome- especially if anyone has made the adaption of one of these to stereo.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 12:12 pm   #16
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

There's a posting elsewhere on here about a Rogers Cadet 3 that might offer you some interesting possibilities for a deal.

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=119548
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 3:05 pm   #17
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Thanks Herald1360- Certainly looks a possibility. Will it operate with one for the gerrard RC80/75 decks? I've added a message to the post you found and will wait for a response.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 3:40 pm   #18
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The Rogers cadet III are a nice sounding amplifier, I used one for quite a while about 10 years ago, If I remember correctly the only disc input was for a Magnetic cartridge so possibly some work to make an input suitable for the Crystal/Ceramic cartridge that's going to be suitable for use in an old deck.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 4:26 pm   #19
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

You can’t ask the question “will it work with a Garrard RC80 deck”, as whether it will work or not will depend on the pickup head or cartridge in said head that you’re intending to use – basically as I’ve just noted ‘music-centre’ say in his post above.

Looking at the picture by PWH in post #9 it looks like it is actually an RC72 deck fitted, so I think he was getting confused (easily done) when he stated that the deck was an RC10 in post #13 – or am I just getting confused?

So, if you want originality, and as you state that you want 33 rpm but don’t mention needing 45 rpm, then this may be the deck to look out for. They also have a nice glossy deep dark brown paint finish like the RC80.

It should be mentioned that there are differences in the finish of the various models of this deck. The original brown RC80 with the glossy brown enamel and all the chrome and brass is as good as it gets! The RC75 was brought out as the ‘poverty-spec’ penny pinching version of the same deck with a poorer paint finish which I think almost has a slight purple tint to it, with painted metal parts rather than chrome, and black and silver plates rather than brass. The RC80M is another penny pinching deck, but with slightly up-dated modifications to the mechanics that you wouldn’t really notice and they’re just about always in 50s’ rock and roll’ cream enamel finish, so totally the wrong look for your gram. So a 1951 Garrard RC80b with all the chrome and brass would be a good ‘all-rounder’ to cover all record speeds and look right. However, an RC72b from 1949/50 would probably be more original if you’re not bothered about playing 45s automatically. It’s interesting to note that the RC72 in the picture in post #9 has its speed selector set to 45 rpm.

The pickup arm coax is actually twin core in the RC80 series decks, so a stereo signal can be run from the head if required, but the capacitance of this wiring can take the frequency response of crystal and ceramic cartridges down a bit, although you probably wouldn’t notice it on a thing like that anyway.

Although with a bit of careful fettling you can get the compliance of these decks quite good, you should still not be considering playing your most mint and valuable LPs on this kind of vintage deck.

Also, applicable to ALL these type of vintage autochangers with the side ‘pusher’ and ‘cranked spindle’ with ‘gap and shelf’, you should be aware that they can be fussy about playing certain types, ages and thicknesses of records. ALL 78s should be individually checked to make sure they’ll pass through the gap on the spindle. Some early ones (and some short production run specials) are too thick to pass through the gap and there’s enough power in the mechanism to snap a record in half, or at least take a chunk out of the edge or the centre hole! You could have a couple of different record spindles ‘adjusted’ for the different record thickness types, but as the spindle has to be removed BEFORE the records can be removed from the platter, they tend to get lost, so there are more decks around than there are spindles to fit them, so they’re rare and hard to find. You could make an adjustable spindle as they’re actually made in three parts. I once re-made one into an adjustable spindle with a small spacer that could be inserted into the gap and then the spindle put back together with a slightly wider gap on the shelf. Whatever, you should check the alignment of the RC80 type spindle on the template available in the manual as they often get bent when left in place in storage, thus closing up the available ‘gap’ – you can’t win, if it gets left in and stored then it gets bent, if it gets removed for safe keeping then it gets lost!
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 4:49 pm   #20
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Default Re: Restore a Beau Decca

You could always cut a couple of motor boards and have two decks, and swap between them in a few minutes at will. A nice, modernish single-play deck (Dual 505??) for your prized LPs, and a classic autochanger for everything else.
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