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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Wed 13, 2013 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Feb Wed 13, 2013 1:14 am
Posts: 3
I am partial to the 37-116, a high tech set for its time but I don't feel the design served Philco well. These high performance sets were problematic for servicemen, had a reputation for being shop queens and I believe tarnished Philco's reputation. In following years Philco backed away from sets of this caliber and focused on much simpler designs. In my opinion engineering for show but not well thought out.
The Zenith 15 tube designs were far more sophisticated than they appear. High tube counts for marketing, sure; but dual rectifiers reduced the problems with cathode stripping in the rectifier tubes; a pair of 6j5s developed more gain and less distortion than a single hi mu triode (6F5, 6Q7); 4 6v6s produced less distortion and higher plate dissipation (64 watts) compared to a pair of 6l6s (38 watts) . If you look closely, the power transformers have electrostatic shielding. In 39 the introduction of the Radiogram tone control prompted Zenith to improve the fidelity of the tuner hence the permeability tuned dual ifs. I think the motivation was to produce a basic high performance, high reliability product.
Lastly, I find it hard to compare the Philco speaker to the Magnavox speaker used by Zenith. I have interchanged a Philco speaker with Magnavox and found a remarkable improvement in the sound quality of the Philco set.
The 116 is a performer but the 15 tube Zenith set developed a reputation that has survived 75 years and I call that engineering and marketing genius.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Wed 13, 2013 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3348
Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
Wow, I totally disagree with Flight. The Zenith sets used highly unreliable 6X5G rectifier tubes. The bandspread on the SW is FAR better and the vernier tuning WAY better than the Zenith. Also, I find the "Radiorgan" tone system clunky.

Now there are two totally different 37-116X models... the most common has the "Automatic Tuning" which today is a bitch to disassemble and make work perfect, but once done, its a wonderful tuner. The standard tune model is easier.

The Zenith used a tuning eye while Philco used the tuning meter. Guess which wears out faster? Yep, Zenith of course.

Oh and the original Zenith tuning belts wore out too (I now use only a rubber o ring that I use for all belt tuning radios, works great).

So, for longevity and reliability, the Philco wins hands down. And, performance it wins too. And today, as back then, Philco wins for VALUE, bang for the buck.

Did Zenith make some nice radios? Yes. Mostly the 1935 line. After that, they dont hold up to Philco and especially RCA or GE for performance and durability.

Mark Oppat
www.oldradioparts.net


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Wed 13, 2013 10:30 pm 
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Location: Seattle area, WA
I'm curious if anyone in this discussion has / had a Philco 37-675X? How does it compare to the 37-116X or the 15-U-269? I ask because I have one, and I'm wondering what to expect out of it.

Rodney

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Wed 13, 2013 11:20 pm 
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oldradioparts wrote:
Wow, I totally disagree with Flight. The Zenith sets used highly unreliable 6X5G rectifier tubes. The bandspread on the SW is FAR better and the vernier tuning WAY better than the Zenith. Also, I find the "Radiorgan" tone system clunky.

Now there are two totally different 37-116X models... the most common has the "Automatic Tuning" which today is a bitch to disassemble and make work perfect, but once done, its a wonderful tuner. The standard tune model is easier.

The Zenith used a tuning eye while Philco used the tuning meter. Guess which wears out faster? Yep, Zenith of course.

Oh and the original Zenith tuning belts wore out too (I now use only a rubber o ring that I use for all belt tuning radios, works great).

So, for longevity and reliability, the Philco wins hands down. And, performance it wins too. And today, as back then, Philco wins for VALUE, bang for the buck.

Did Zenith make some nice radios? Yes. Mostly the 1935 line. After that, they dont hold up to Philco and especially RCA or GE for performance and durability.

Mark Oppat
http://www.oldradioparts.net


Hi Mark --

To be fair, the 1938 15-tube Zeniths like the 15U269 didn't use the 6X5G or the radiogram tone system. That being said, I agree with you that the 1936-1938 Philcos generally outperformed their Zenith counterparts, and that 1935 was the true "glory year" for Zenith -- this coming from someone who collects Zeniths more than any other brand. Philco and Zenith both started going south though, beginning in 1939. Zenith still wins as far as looks between 1935 and 1938.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2013 12:41 am 
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Joined: Feb Thu 08, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: USA
!930's Philcos in general have outplayed Zenith for that time period. Zenith has the nicest cabinets and the eye catching bronze colored chassis but the engineering just isn't there side by side.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2013 12:56 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 80
I'd say the Philco, the Deco cabinet has a more of an aquired taste then the Zenith but the sound quality out of any high tube count Philco beats Zenith, just my opinion. Here's my 37-116 with standard dial and original finish.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2013 10:00 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3348
Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
sofaslug wrote:
oldradioparts wrote:
Wow, I totally disagree with Flight. The Zenith sets used highly unreliable 6X5G rectifier tubes. The bandspread on the SW is FAR better and the vernier tuning WAY better than the Zenith. Also, I find the "Radiorgan" tone system clunky.

Now there are two totally different 37-116X models... the most common has the "Automatic Tuning" which today is a bitch to disassemble and make work perfect, but once done, its a wonderful tuner. The standard tune model is easier.

The Zenith used a tuning eye while Philco used the tuning meter. Guess which wears out faster? Yep, Zenith of course.

Oh and the original Zenith tuning belts wore out too (I now use only a rubber o ring that I use for all belt tuning radios, works great).

So, for longevity and reliability, the Philco wins hands down. And, performance it wins too. And today, as back then, Philco wins for VALUE, bang for the buck.

Did Zenith make some nice radios? Yes. Mostly the 1935 line. After that, they dont hold up to Philco and especially RCA or GE for performance and durability.

Mark Oppat
http://www.oldradioparts.net


Hi Mark --

To be fair, the 1938 15-tube Zeniths like the 15U269 didn't use the 6X5G or the radiogram tone system. That being said, I agree with you that the 1936-1938 Philcos generally outperformed their Zenith counterparts, and that 1935 was the true "glory year" for Zenith -- this coming from someone who collects Zeniths more than any other brand. Philco and Zenith both started going south though, beginning in 1939. Zenith still wins as far as looks between 1935 and 1938.

Bob


Right you are... I was thinking of the 12 tube 1939-41 sets for sure regarding the 6X5G.

One other thing Zenith did right... the paper mache speaker bell... whats the name of it...crap I forget now. Anyway, its simple, user adjustable and it WORKS. Cant say that for any of the Philco acoustic gimmicks... the "tweeters" or passive radiators in the upper line sets. Those PR's would have required solid sealed backs to work and none of the cabinets had that. Otherwise, the build quality and engineering on Philco beats Zenith at all price points. Today more than ever you get way more value from a Philco per dollar. But, eye candy has value so if you just like some Zenith styles, then you will pay for it as most collectors seem to like them better too.

Mark Oppat


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2013 12:50 am 
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Joined: Jul Thu 12, 2012 1:33 am
Posts: 125
Hello Guys, Let me tell you my Philco 38-116 plays rings around my RCA 816k.. The rich full sound from my Philco is very surprising! I could not believe it. So I would have to say the high end radios that Philco built are among the best.


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2013 2:25 am 
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Joined: Oct Sat 20, 2007 3:36 am
Posts: 14393
Location: Southern NH, 03076
I started with Zenith black dial sets for the looks and while some sound very good then I discovered the big Philcos which are generally ugly....to me.... but wow, do they ever perform better than any Zenith I own that has been restored.

My first big Philco was a 116X at the curb on trash day in a neighbor town. As soon as I saw the 6A3's I knew I had a real radio.

Carl


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2013 5:55 am 
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Joined: Mar Thu 24, 2011 6:23 am
Posts: 104
That 37-116 is absolutely beautiful!
Does anyone in NJ have one they would part with? My preference would be for one with a nice cabinet and un-restored electronics.

I have a 38-690, but I've come to the realization that I am never going to get around to restoring it.

The 37-116 looks to be a reasonably close substitute.

Thanks,
Rick


radioray wrote:
I'd say the Philco, the Deco cabinet has a more of an aquired taste then the Zenith but the sound quality out of any high tube count Philco beats Zenith, just my opinion. Here's my 37-116 with standard dial and original finish.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Sun 17, 2013 1:03 am 
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Joined: Oct Sun 24, 2010 8:12 pm
Posts: 1041
Location: Claremont, NH
Well I found mine this week! It is in excellent condition and all I have done so far is to GoJo the case and clean the dial glass. One of the bucket list ones found! These pics were taken before I cleaned the case.
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Gene


Last edited by Gene P on Feb Sun 17, 2013 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Sun 17, 2013 1:21 am 
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Location: Dayton Ohio
Gene, Congratulations! It looks to be in excellent condition!
She is a beauty!!!!

Yeah, it will be more difficult to restore than a 15 tube Zenith, but you will not be disappointed! :D

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Sun 17, 2013 3:28 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 13, 2013 1:14 am
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You guys are a hard bunch. The 37-116 is my all-time favorite period (especially with the shadow tuning indicator). The next up is the 36-116, the best in simplicity. Apples and oranges, the comparison of the 37-116 to any Zenith? Zenith stop competing at the 37-660, a 9 tube, 4 band that will run circles around any Zenith. The 37-116 was in a league all to its own. Philco’s midline offering was the 660 and Philco offered 3 or 4 models above the 37-660. I love the Zenith presentation but Philco had the technological edge.
Excuse my partiality to Zenith Radio, where the General Manager knew everyone on a first name basis. McDonald would hold weekly “donuts and coffee with the company president” with the line that won the weekly quality audit (and McDonald would carry the donuts and coffee thermos’ in arms into the plant). I was privileged to have firsthand accounts Zenith, I worked for them. Philco ran sweat shops with plenty of screaming and blaming. I think the appeal to Zenith products may have to do with the way they were created. The human element can’t be denied.
I love Philco products but Zenith has magic!


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Sun 17, 2013 3:43 am 
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Of all my radios, my 37-116 Delux is the one that sits in the living room - OK and a Zenith Walton ( hay, I'm a radio collector and I'm weak). And, the wife thinks that it is ok (but really likes the Walton).

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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Sun 17, 2013 9:43 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
PhilcoJohn wrote:
Hello Guys, Let me tell you my Philco 38-116 plays rings around my RCA 816k.. The rich full sound from my Philco is very surprising! I could not believe it. So I would have to say the high end radios that Philco built are among the best.


something is wrong with your RCA 816K then ! That radio should compete well, if not , beat the Philco in all realms. As would the 813K. Both those RCA's are barn burners.

Mark Oppat
www.oldradioparts.net


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Sun 17, 2013 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Jul Thu 12, 2012 1:33 am
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Mark thanks I guess I will have to check the RCA out. I will start with the tubes, maybe a week one in there. Has anyone else compaired the two consoles ?


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2013 12:23 am 
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Joined: Jul Thu 12, 2012 1:33 am
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Mark I changed out a couple of tubes and what a difference it made! My RCA works great now. I still love my Philco though. Since I took tubes out of my other radios to put into the 816k, where would I go to purchase new tube that I would need in the future? Again many thanks......


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2013 4:48 am 
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Bob Dobusch at www.findatube.com is a reliable source and has good prices.

_________________
Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with a chainsaw.
KG7EPW


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2013 8:09 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
my site doesnt have any listed yet but I stock most all the regular radio tube types. Just send a list anytime.
One of the nice things about the RCA sets is they run the METAL type tubes, which are the original octals invented by RCA/GE and issued first in the 1936 model year radios. No tube shields to replace (as often missing in Zenith and Philco and others) AND, way way lower cost than the tall G type tubes used by Philco and Zenith (and others of course) also.

So great performance and lower tube cost. Also, the cabinet finish was far better than Zenith so you find them with original finish usually in decent shape (except the dark edge trim, which is easier to re-do of course).
Mark Oppat
http://www.oldradioparts.net


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 Post subject: Re: Zenith 15 tube Console vs Philco 37-116x
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2013 4:52 pm 
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Location: Southern NH, 03076
Also a high percentage of metal tubes were used by the military so high availability results in low cost. Learn what those marked with VT numbers only really are which includes all types.
http://www.nostalgickitscentral.com/inf ... refvt.html

I came into a NIB 10 Special, for instance, that way at a hamfest for $5.

Carl


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