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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 2:24 pm   #1
GrimJosef
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Default Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

I recently acquired this lovely radiogram which I want to restore. The seller told me that it had been custom-made for the father of one of his friends (a doctor). The case is walnut veneered. It needs some minor damage fixing (scratches and digs mostly) which I plan to get done prefessionally. The electronics I know how to do myself, with the possible exception of RF work on the tuners, and I think I know someone local who can help with that. I haven't checked the speaker out yet, but it's never been kept anywhere unpleasant so provided the surround is OK I'm optimistic about that too.

My problem is the record deck. It appears that the 'gram was originally built in the mid 1950s (the serial numbers of the Quad units, including the Quad II amp, which I do have but which isn't shown in the pictures) are consistent with this. My guess is that the original owner was initially happy with a mono cartridge and that he would have bought a top quality deck and arm suitable for that. Then as microgroove and stereo records became the thing to have he decided that an upgrade was necessary. The current deck - a BSR HT-70 - was presumably fitted then. The quality of this deck and of the board it sits in don't match the very high standards of the rest of the unit. So I want to replace them with something that does. Can anyone tell me what deck and arm I should be searching for ?

I've got some constraints:

i) it should look the part - so it should come from the 50's or, at the latest, the early 60's

ii) the arm should be capable of housing a cartridge which can play stereo microgroove records without damaging them. The cartridge needn't be super hi-fi though - the speaker isn't, for example. It would be nice if it could play 78's too (I guess this would mean using a flip-over type - once again recommendations would be welcome) but if this is going to mean it wears away my 33's then I'll live without it,

iii) the deck can't be fabulously expensive. I could afford around £100 say, maybe a bit more, but if the right answer is a Garrard 301 or a Thorens TD124 then it's almost certainly beyond me (unless you've got one you could let me have for £100 or so ),

iv) I don't need an autochanger - I'd sooner spend the money on quality rather than complexity.

So what do you recommend ?

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 3:19 pm   #2
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

That case is from a 1940s/1950s Dynatron! I may be wrong but it looks very much like the one I had for a while.

It's crying out for a 301/401, SME arm and Shure V15. Lowering the budget the obvious choices are GL75 or any of that range, a Connoisseur turntable with SME or other decent arm etc, SP25 if you must, Dual CS505 which is a bit modern

For 78s, use interchangeable headshells. There is no such thing as a really top grade turnover cartridge. Sonotone 9TAHC is about the closest you'll get. Maybe you can pick a very old SME arm - I suspect the audiophools don't much like them.
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 3:25 pm   #3
Mikeymushradio
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

That IS a lovely radiogram and deserves a suitable deck i hope you unearth one at a reasonable price it really ought to have a 301 or Thorens or some other quality period deck.
It looks to me like the cabinet started out in 1946 as a Dynatron Ether Conqueror K129 but someone has done a superb job of fitting the Quad units.........good luck in your quest.

Mike
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 3:28 pm   #4
Alan Stepney
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

If it is not a Dynatron Ether (cant recall the model number but I have one-Similar to the P108) then someone has made a good copy of it.

If so, I am fairly sure it would have had a Garrard deck, but not one that you would want today.
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 3:52 pm   #5
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Yes, yet another Dynatron....& I was thinking that mine was unusual!

There is a link that someone has posted on my Dynatron K129 thread to a website with all the pictures of the different models & I think I've seen that square one with the double top lid on there.

Lovely looking gram.

Edit: here's the link. Bottom row first picture on the left is yours-

http://www.dynatronmuseum.org.uk/

Last edited by Techman; 23rd Jun 2010 at 3:56 pm. Reason: Link added
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 5:38 pm   #6
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Snap!

From another proud owner of one of these beauties...

Steve
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 6:02 pm   #7
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Well, as always, the forum comes up trumps ! I have to say I'm surprised that the case is second-hand (so to speak). I got the impression that the original owner wouldn't have been worried about cost - he simply wanted the best. But maybe in 1946 the Dynatron was pretty good, and the case would have made a fine home for the Quads 8 or 9 years later.

Can I ask Panrock or Techman what the original deck was ? If it's from '46 then it probably won't be compatible with modern discs unless I change the arm completely. And it looks like an autochanger, so that probably won't be either practical or aesthetically pleasing.

I was really hoping that you wouldn't say 301 or TD124 . But I'm afraid I suspected all along that that was the "right" answer. And if I fit anything else I'll just be glum every time I lift the lid. I guess I'll have to go treasure-hunting (car-boots, jumble-sales, charity shops here I come ...).

Thanks again for this wealth of info though.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 6:45 pm   #8
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Thorens 135 might suit - less exalted than the 124, but still good, and easy to mount. Cheaper, too. The arm is plenty good enough for a Shure 75 or similar.

Re Series One SMEs - have you seen the prices some fetch on eBay?
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 6:48 pm   #9
mickjjo
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

For a decent affordable deck how about the Goldring GL72:-

http://www.vinylengine.com/library/g...co/gl-72.shtml

This is the light platter version of the GL75, almost as good and usually cheaper to buy. There are a couple of GL72s on ebay at the moment.

Regards, Mick.
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 7:27 pm   #10
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

The Lenco G99 and Connoisseur BD1 'platter only' turntables are of very high quality, and remain fairly affordable. Either could be paired with a Decca arm (if you can find one), or something similar - even a home-made unipivot if you fancied it!
The Bogen arm fitted to Lenco GL59s is very good, too, if a lowish-compliance cartridge is used.
An alterrnative 'complete' deck would be the Collaro transcription model - I don't remember its designation offhand.

Addendum: Ironically, the original Dynatron amp would now be more sought-after than the Quad that's taken its place...
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 11:58 am   #11
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Collaro is 4T200 - mediocre. The TD135 is nearer contemporaneous than the GL72 or the BD1, which are late 1960s.
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 4:17 pm   #12
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

I'm going to be realistic about this now.

Like my version with the 'bow front', these are really lovely pieces of woodwork. I freely admit that I have probably spoiled mine by fitting a more modern Garrard SP25 MK2 record deck which replaced an earlier Philips which replaced the original Garrard, I wouldn't do it now, but this is the sort of thing that most people did with these old grams if they were to survive the scrap heap back then.

When I first got my Dynatron, it was totally original & from what I remember, the deck was one of those dark brown single speed autochangers with a big heavy old dark brown bakelite arm with a solid magnetic transducer pick up & a dark brown felt covered steel turntable. It's my opinion that quite a number of the grams shown on that Dynatron museum web page do NOT have their original record decks fitted from manufacture. Both your model & also mine shown on that page do not have their correct original decks fitted. It doesn't really matter, as there are not that many people left arround that will remember them from new anyway & what they were originally like - just a guess, but the website owner probably wasn't born when those grams were sold in any case. I should hasten to add, though, that it is an absolutely superb website with fantastic pictures & information. Interestingly though, it lists yours as a K219 which is exactly what mine is, but it lists mine as a K219 with a 'suffix' letter, which is incorrect, in my opinion.

I see that the metal label plate has been removed from the back of yours & the whole back has been painted mid brown, but you can just see the mark where it was fitted. This will have been done so that the builder/modifier could claim it as 'custom' & NOT a Dynatron. I see it also still has its original Dynatron/Goodmans 12" speaker held in place by the classic wing nuts & clamps, but sadly, has lost its cloth dust cover - & again, its label. Also, the layer of rust on the back of the speaker tells me that it has in fact spent some time stored in a shed or somewhere else that was damp...they are a very good speaker for the time, though.

Now for the bad news about uprating the record deck. The truth is that the deck that's in it is probably ideal. As you may have read on my other Dynatron thread, I can speak with some experience on building/bodging, modifying radiograms. I'm afraid you will have to forget such things as Lenco, SME & Shure M75 EDs etc. etc., if you're going to carry on using it as a radiogram 'as is'. The vibration from the speaker transmitted through the woodwork of the cabinet means that anything above quiet listening volume with VERY reduced bass will cause the stylus to be all over the place in the record groove, especially with the added 'poke' of that Quad amplifier. The record deck that you've got & the SP25 that I have in mine is about the best that you can hope for & you will need to track at at least 5 grams if you want any sort of tone & volume out of it.

I am actually thinking of going backwards with mine & fitting a good 'clunky' old autochanger from the 50s-60s. Let's face it, unless you're going to use it as a piece of furniture & perhaps rather wastefully just use it to house the record deck, Quad amp & radio tuner, then you could fit a better quality deck & have a large, separate, floor standing speaker (or speakers), which could be how the previous owner/s operated it.

When people come to my house & ask about the 'old' radiogram & I tell them it's 1940s, what they like is when you play your old classic 45s or 78s. What is a lot less impressive is when you have to keep getting up to lift the lid every 2 or 3 minutes to change to the next record. Unless anyone askes, it doesn't matter what type of autochanger is fitted, so long as it looks darkish in colour (but not 70s black like the present SP25) & looks old enough to realistically 'go' with the period of the gram - folk love to see an old autochanger 'clunking' away playing all those old Shadows/Beatles etc. 45s or those 1952 super rhythm style series jazz 78s etc. etc. etc., because for "serious" listening you're not going to be playing your good quality LPs on it unless you fit a better deck & have a separate speaker/s away from the gram itself.

Last edited by Techman; 24th Jun 2010 at 4:44 pm.
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 5:12 pm   #13
Peter.N.
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

We used to sell those Quad amps when I worked in London in the '50s they use a pair of KT66s if my memory serves me - at all. Beautiful sound, I don't think they have improved on it.

Peter
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 5:25 pm   #14
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

I'd say, fit a BSR UA8.

It uses two-hole cartridge mounting, so you could even fit a magnetic cartridge (subject to suitable preamplifier; an SC12H otherwise) and although it is a changer, it isn't half as fiddly as something like, say, a Collaro Conquest. Just needs regreasing every 20 years or so to keep it playing sweetly
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 5:47 pm   #15
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

For a good, solid changer that looks the part, and in the right colour, I'd go for a Garrard RC88, or for the bit better quality RC98. Both in dark brown and cream, but the latter has a variable speed control, handy for those old 80rpm discs. Both have removable headshells, so enabling a wide choice of cartridge options.

Barry
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Old 24th Jun 2010, 11:44 pm   #16
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Yes, what about a Collaro? I was starting to wonder what was wrong with them as they are hardly ever mentioned on here. I used to quite like them. A school mate had one in a table top radiogram, can't remember the make right now but could have been Bush or Murphy. I remember we used to play all his older brothers 45s on it when I went round to his house.

The Garrard RC88 & 98 were suggested on here & by Ben over on my thread - I can see us both fighting over an RC88/98 I remember one deck I pulled out of an old gram when I was a kid, had a large copper disc which revolved between two pole pieces with a governor consisting of three balls which spun out & pulled a brass disc against an adjustable felt pad - just the same as on a 'wind-up' acoustic gramophone. This could have been one that my Grandmother threw out. I remember the heavy bakelite arm had a grub screw in the pickup head to hold in 'proper' steel needles...that must have been an early one!

Something I noticed & forgot to mention in my other post - The bottom of the record deck should be closed off from the rest of the inside of the cabinet by a slide in bottom board. Check if it's still there, because it looks like this mat black piece of board may have been removed & used to mount the deck on, although I could be wrong. When I did mine, I did a very small amount of cutting to the original deck board & then cut a nice piece of shiny dark wood from the top of a large 50s TV cabinet & with the appropriate cut out for the new deck, fitted this on top of the original board.

Oh & lastly - it's true what 'dseymo1' says about the original Dynatron amp. As daft as it is, it would probably worth more than the rest of the gram if it were still in there - ask the previous owners if they know what happened to it
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Old 25th Jun 2010, 9:40 pm   #17
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Collaro decks do seem to be largely forgotten, which is a shame, because they are always superbly engineered and finished. The only problem with them is that the models with the tiny headhell will only take a very limited range of cartridges. I tried to fit a Ronette 105 stereo cartridge into a Conquest changer, and although it did work, there were constant problems with the pick-up connecting tags fouling the side of the headshell and pinging off. If you could get them, I would suggest the RC457, which has a removable 2 pin headshell, or the "Studio" which has a bigger headshell and a superb motor, as well as being made in two colour schemes, cream, and black.

Barry
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Old 25th Jun 2010, 11:09 pm   #18
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Hmmm ! Well thanks for the suggestions everyone - I really do appreciate it. I count 14 different decks (including some with votes both for and against !). I'm going to have to spend some time comparing and contrasting ...

I have to say I'm struck by Techman's advice concerning vibration from the speaker. I really hadn't thought about that. It pushes me strongly towards one of the older, more heavyweight decks. Another advantage of these is that they don't involve the stratospheric financial outlay associated with those that have acquired "legendary" status. (And it would be very disappointing if I shelled out for a 301 only to find that the arm needed to do it justice wouldn't behave once the volume was turned up.)

In the short term I've been offered a Garrard 4HF. I'm very inclined to go with this, at least to start with. It was put into production in 1957, so it's of about the right vintage (if only for the Quad amps and tuners) and the turntable at least looks the part. And the arm has a detachable headshell so (if I can find another one) I can play 33s and 78s using cartridges which are best-suited to each. The current owner points out that the arm doesn't do "light" though. According to my 1960 HiFi Year Book it will handle Garrard's GMC5 cartridge which needs about 5g, but I don't think it'll go much below that will it ?

So the next question is can I find a cartridge which will handle that weight but won't trash my vinyl ? The view from the interweb doesn't look promising. There's a good deal of opinion that says wear starts to happen above about 3.small grammes and most of the damage is done on the first play, so only using the deck once in a while won't help. If anyone has practical experience in this area I would appreciate any advice about which cartridge to go with and what the consequences for my records might be (a lot of them date back to my student days, so haven't had an easy life in any case). I won't blame you if it all goes pear-shaped. But I fear that I will know - I usually play my records using a Rega RB301 and an Ortofon 2M black now and they are, sadly, rather revealing ...

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 26th Jun 2010, 8:42 am   #19
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

The 4HF are sought after by a certain style of DJ (Hip-Hop?), who presumably use some reasonable carts in them. It might be worth finding out what they prefer (probably one of the Stanton 500 series).
I used to have a Garrard Lab A, which uses a very similar arm, and that was happy with a variety of lower-end mag carts. If you can find one, I guess a Shure M3D would be more or less in period, and should work well.
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Old 1st Jul 2010, 12:39 pm   #20
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Default Re: Which deck for this lovely radiogram ?

Blast ! And this was going so well ...

I took delivery of the 4HF (actually two 4HFs - very handsome !) earlier this week and began to think about getting them going. I downloaded the user manual from the vinylengine site. Reading this was the scheme's undoing. Garrard say that the deck needs a space 17.25" wide by 13.5" deep. The turntable bay in the Dynatron case is just 16" wide by 13" deep. Furthermore the front left corner is made slightly smaller by rounding. And the stay which holds the lid up also occupies a little bit of room. When I carried one of the 4HFs out to the gram it was obviously a non-starter .

I suppose the silver lining is that I discovered this before I invested any serious time or money in the 4HF (see, once in a while it does pay to read the instructions !). But it means the hunt for a suitable, more compact turntable is back on. I'll go through the list of recommendations above and draw up a table of pros and cons. But if anyone knows that there are other decks included there which definitely won't fit then I'd be grateful to hear.

Cheers,

GJ
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