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 Post subject: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 4:51 pm 
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Hi all, first post here :-)

I'm in the market for a vintage table top "all-in-one" tube radio. Which make and model is the best sounding in your opinion.

Nordmende, Saba, Telefunken, Philips, Blunkpunkt, Grundig, Siemens or something else?

Mainly for AM/FM listening in my office while working. SW would be nice, but not mandatory.
Should have FM stereo Multiplex.

Great forum, thank you
Jamie :-)


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 5:19 pm 
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Saba Freiburg/400-9. Is monaural only but is still the best-sounding table radio that I have ever heard. If you want stereo/FM MPX a later model Saba might be a good choice, although some of these use expensive (i.e., hard to find) audio output tubes such as the ECLL800.


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 6:18 pm 
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Zenith H-845...

I HAD one, loved it but moved it on. Others have acclaimed it is a great sounding radio, massive speaker for a table set...

Modern enough so there should be no parts or repair problems.

Attachment:
Zenith table radio.jpg
Zenith table radio.jpg [ 18.77 KiB | Viewed 585 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 7:06 pm 
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Saba 11 tube stereo (no mpx). A multiplex adaptor was available.

More:

http://www.russoldradios.com/blog/40-old-radios

I might note that this might be the best table radio ever ;-) but it takes up the WHOLE table so it might as well be a console (but you asked).

P.S. The very similar domestic model (German) sold recently on Pay-Bay for a very reasonable price but note the shipping cost. Still, a good deal.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/132141506643?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT

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Last edited by phlogiston on Apr Wed 19, 2017 7:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 7:10 pm 
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Last edited by gateman on Apr Fri 21, 2017 3:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 8:22 pm 
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KLH model Eight. . . it's Fm only, but real high fidelity. Also, all the 8 tube Zenith's from 1955-67 are very impressive.

Here's my KLH article from ARC;

http://www.antiqueradio.com/Jun05_Hayden_KLH.html


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 9:34 pm 
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Location: homestead, fl
i love old americana but sound quality wise you cant beat a telefunken or blaupunkt stereo tube radio. a blaupunkt is the reason i'm in this radio hobby.

id be looking for one of the stereo sets that had either 8" or 6x9 woofers and separate tweeters. they are a pain to restore but sound amazing and the shortwave band can be fun at night with a long wire out the window. the cabinets are also beut when in good shape.


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Tube tabletop with MPX Stereo sound?

Well, then I guess that narrows things down quite a bit.

How about the Zenith MJ1035.

Image borrowed from ARF user Renslipevol.

-Steve


Attachments:
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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Wed 19, 2017 11:59 pm 
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Magnavox FM-28 and "Penthouse" stereo speaker.

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Attachment:
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FM28Back.jpg [ 50.22 KiB | Viewed 498 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 20, 2017 12:14 am 
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azenithnut wrote:
Tube tabletop with MPX Stereo sound?

Well, then I guess that narrows things down quite a bit.

How about the Zenith MJ1035.

Image borrowed from ARF user Renslipevol.

-Steve


Never thought of Zenith, interesting choice...Although by looking at it, even though its MPX stereo and space saving, I can't see it sounding as good as those SABA's or Telefunken's. They look like they have 4, 5 and possibly 6 separate speakers all in one cabinet. Interesting that Fisher, Scott and Mcintosh designed gear that integrated into console sets but not the table top market, wonder why...if so, that would have given the Germans a run for the money :D


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 20, 2017 12:37 am 
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Possibly not, but just mentioning it.

The Magnavox Ken posted might be a good choice too.

Zenith and General Electric independently designed the FM Stereo multiplex standard used today.
When the FCC went to choose a system, they noticed GE and Zenith's system were so close in concept, they considered it one and the same.

GE came out with their T1000 stereo table top not long after the GE/Zenith system was adopted.

-Steve


Attachments:
ge-t1000.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 20, 2017 1:05 am 
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[quote="phlogiston"]
Attachment:
20160903_114702MED.JPG


Saba 11 tube stereo (no mpx). A multiplex adaptor was available.

More:


I might note that this might be the best table radio ever ;-) but it takes up the WHOLE table so it might as well be a console (but you asked).

P.S. The very similar domestic model (German) sold recently on Pay-Bay for a very reasonable price but note the shipping cost. Still, a good deal.


Now that's a beauty :-) Is that the Freiberg model? 1959/60? its a beast! I bet it sounds great. I never heard one in person...What are your thoughts on Nordmende Parsifal c Stereo Multiplex 4 speaker?


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 20, 2017 5:13 am 
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Location: Medford OR
IT is a SABA; Villingen 400 Automatic Stereo 11. It has plugs for the wired remote control and the multiplex adaptor but I use the phono jack the most, driven by my Note 3.

As I mentioned on my blog, I have restored other German radios of the same period. They all sounded great - not like my HH Scott, but great for a table radio. And a little tough to work on.

I honestly can't answer your last question.

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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 20, 2017 6:14 pm 
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The GE T1000 has amazing sound for what it is, but I prefer the German sets. I recently restored a Telefunken for a friend and included an iPod cable. The sound was outstanding.
I have a small Grundig AM/FM table radio which had amazingly good sound on AM, thanks to a very good local station (long gone).
I also have a Saba 300 Automatic which needs restoring, but I'll wait until I can dedicate some time for it. I have heard nothing but praise for Saba.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Thu 20, 2017 6:44 pm 
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Location: alameda,CA
I have four Sabas including a Freidberg 400. Yes- the Sabas sound impressive.... BUT.... They are getting very expensive. Someone gave me the 400 but as of now these cost $1,000-$1,500 and they are HUGE sets. Mine weighs over 70 pounds. I wouldn't qualify it as a true table top. Its a console with no legs.

I would in the end suggest the Zenith as mentioned before. Very nice sounding set with good, sensitive FM and many with audio input adapters. They are common and I've fixed many. Retail on these in good shape is around $50.


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Fri 21, 2017 2:12 am 
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bobwilson1977 wrote:
I have four Sabas including a Freidberg 400. Yes- the Sabas sound impressive.... BUT.... They are getting very expensive. Someone gave me the 400 but as of now these cost $1,000-$1,500 and they are HUGE sets. Mine weighs over 70 pounds. I wouldn't qualify it as a true table top. Its a console with no legs.

I would in the end suggest the Zenith as mentioned before. Very nice sounding set with good, sensitive FM and many with audio input adapters. They are common and I've fixed many. Retail on these in good shape is around $50.


Well, I don't agree. A SABA 400 is a table radio, plain and simple. It wasn't designed to have legs and was designed to sit on a table. Thus, a table radio, albeit a rather large one. The 410 Continental is even bigger. As for the other units mentioned, lets face it: they may be nice, but none of them comes close to the big Germans for sound quality. If you're concerned about the size of a SABA, there's always a Telefunken Opus or even a Grundig 5490. These also sound very good. Unlike the majority of American sets, these have power transformer based push pull audio with a decent amount of output power. The aforementioned Zenith and most of the others have output stages that are little different from your average AA5 table radio. The KLH 8 is an exception. But the single acoustic suspension still doesn't measure up to the dual 8" and 9" full rangers in the big SABA's, IMO.

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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Fri 21, 2017 3:23 pm 
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Location: Shiner ,Texas
Well..yep the German radios sound super..I have had the pleasure of a few..Siemens Super D7,Grundig 4004W and 4010W,Saba Konstanz,Telefunken Concerto. Graetz Sinfonia 422R...some oddball Tonfunks... I bought these way back...none cost over 100 bucks...I just believe the German FM sections and speaker quality are superior to most other sets... The midrange is outstandingly clear and detailed in all the German sets.I have an oddball Magnavox OFM26 that is not pretty..but has three chassis stuck in a tabletop..transformer and all the tubes in the amp section are labeled Magnavox made in Gt.Britain...and plays outstanding...I know everyone has their favorite....But my 1957 Graetz 422R with that midrange compressor firing out of both sides via dual metal tube,Two large woofer/mids with a dedicated center firing midrange makes the best sound of any of them...


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Fri 21, 2017 3:43 pm 
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Location: alameda,CA
Quote:
Well, I don't agree. A SABA 400 is a table radio, plain and simple. It wasn't designed to have legs and was designed to sit on a table. Thus, a table radio, albeit a rather large one

Yes, technically you are correct and I'm not going to disagree, but I do think a comparison is in order. If you look at the below picture of a few I have you'll see how massive these are compared to the other radios on the shelf. Yes, I love em' but good god they're ungainly things.


Image

And... I'd want to know what the OP's technical abilities are. Sabas are some of the most complicated things I've worked on. Just a real rats nest of stuff inside. Not exactly a great "first set" for anyone who doesn't know how to work on these. At the very least I've found that the automatic tuning usually doesn't work well initially: all of the tubes, caps and resistors in that circuit have to be absolutely perfect.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Fri 21, 2017 4:23 pm 
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I've got my eye on one of those saba's. The Freiburg would be my first choice but is enormous. There is a model called Wildbad which is stereo and a moderate size of 590 x 375 x 255 mm / 23.2 x 14.8 x 10 inches. There is also a Nordmende Parsifal stereo model which is moderately sized...

But i know they won't be cheap. I prefer a restored one if I can find one. I've seen some go for $1000 - 2000 us dollars...My DIY skills are low in electronics, but manageable, i can solder and follow schematics. I'm stronger on cabinet restoration, cleaning, etc...The German models do look a bit intimidating.

If worse comes to worse I've designed my own and will build the Speaker unit to place right ontop :D :)


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Last edited by jamiecantar on Apr Fri 21, 2017 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: IYHO - What's the best sounding table top Radio
PostPosted: Apr Fri 21, 2017 4:54 pm 
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Chas wrote:
Zenith H-845...

I HAD one, loved it but moved it on. Others have acclaimed it is a great sounding radio, massive speaker for a table set...

Modern enough so there should be no parts or repair problems.

Attachment:
Zenith table radio.jpg


Beware, that era of Zenith radios had SMD problems with the seven large IF transformers. I just ordered a pile of silver mica capacitors ($40 or so) last night to rebuild my H-845 set. The sound quality is excellent, no power transformer to burn out, and long-distance reception was the best when it was new, before all the modern interference.

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