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 Post subject: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Tue 22, 2012 12:17 am 
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Location: Wheat Ridge, CO
Today, at a yard sale, I bought something which I may regret later, but I couldn't resist for $25. I will post pix soon. Anyway, it is a totally bizarre Magnavox console that is in 2 separate cabinets. Both cabinets are black lacquer with sliding black glass doors in the front. The top of each cabinet has 2 sliding black and gold-veined mirrorred panels. Each cabinet has 4 speakers (one 15 inch., one 12 inch, and two 4 inch speakers) - a total of 8 speakers. Electronically, there is only a turntable (made in England) - no radio. There are 3 separate chassis units. One power supply chassis, one "main" chassis, and what looks like a preamp chassis with a few 12ax7s in it. It has a large gold front panel with 6 or so knobs that says "Magnificent Magnavox". This thing has either 6 or 8 6V6 tubes in it and 2 or 3 rectifiers. It is a real monster! I haven't looked real closely at it yet and will try and post pictures in a few days. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Tue 22, 2012 12:27 am 
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Sounds like something out of late 50's modern style (i.e., Peter Gunn vintage).

Looking forward to the pix.

Larry

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Tue 22, 2012 2:54 am 
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Here are some very rough pictures - the set is still in my workshop and I will need to move it. I have not cleaned the set up (it is still very dirty from its former basement home) and I could not get pix of the all the chassis (only part of it is shown in the picture and it is much bigger than the pictures show. Also, the chassis is pretty clean - the spots on it were mostly dirt and rubbed off). I could not yet get a picture of the 8 speakers. Anyway, the first picture is of both units end-to-end. Anyone ever seen one of these before?


Attachments:
mag1.jpg
mag1.jpg [ 125.18 KiB | Viewed 1946 times ]
mag4.jpg
mag4.jpg [ 106.6 KiB | Viewed 1946 times ]
mag2.jpg
mag2.jpg [ 50.01 KiB | Viewed 1946 times ]
mag3.jpg
mag3.jpg [ 127.84 KiB | Viewed 1946 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Tue 22, 2012 5:27 am 
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I found a single-cabinet Maggie like that, plugged in a CD player, and the Bass response was awesome, better than any subwoofer even when I played it outdoors. It was still working with its original capacitors.
Don

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Tue 22, 2012 1:00 pm 
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Late 1950's, all right. That dark-gold instrument panel says it all, and that gold-veined cabinet work reflects the "modern" styling of that day right down to the ground. "Cool school." Just the kind of thing a jazz-loving swinging bachelor would have in his pad.

Nice find! Hope you get it fixed up.

:wink: Larry

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Tue 22, 2012 6:11 pm 
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Very nice find.

I honestly believe that the bass in a lot of the bigger older consoles sounds so good because the bass is cleaner and more accurate than what a normal subwoofer can do as the subwoofer is usually made for high power handling so efficiency and accuracy suffer somewhat.


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Tue 22, 2012 8:58 pm 
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I have read that a small output transformer will tend to create a strong second harmonic for frequencies below its minimum. The ear hears this and figures there must be a fundamental one octave lower. Also, there is "pentode boom" and not much damping, so the low end will sound stronger than you would expect from a 10-watt per channel amplifier. Very efficient 12" and 15" speakers help a lot.
By the way, the label on the tape jacks seems to be mono in and out, you may want to re-wire and add jacks so it will be stereo in and out like the phono.
Don

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Wed 23, 2012 7:40 pm 
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Tube Radio wrote:
Very nice find.

I honestly believe that the bass in a lot of the bigger older consoles sounds so good because the bass is cleaner and more accurate than what a normal subwoofer can do as the subwoofer is usually made for high power handling so efficiency and accuracy suffer somewhat.



You might believe that, but it isn't really borne out by the facts. Most of the old consoles, even the ones with large woofers, don't produce very deep bass at all. Virtually all of them have open backed cabinets, so there is no resonant system there to provide any bass lift. At a fairly high frequency the front and rear radiation of the woofers start to cancel each other and produce rolloff. Given the dimensions of most console cabinets, that would start to occur at a little below 100Hz. You can compensate for this with amplifier equalization, but to keep the output constant, you would have to boost the bass by at least 6dB per octave, and this requires both power and a lot of woofer excursion. The first part is doable, but the speakers they used were anything but long throw and would run out of stroke very quickly. Bottom line, these consoles do produce bass, but not anywhere near as deep or as clean as a modern decent quality subwoofer, properly integrated with the main speakers (big caveat: this is seldom done and the subwoofer is usually run too loud).
You will also find that old fashioned console speakers add a lot of 2nd order harmonic distortion (doubling) which also gives an impression of more and warmer bass sound. Note that I'm only speaking in objective terms. Some people prefer the sound I'm describing over more modern speakers, and that's fine. But I've personally never heard a console come even close to the bass (and treble) capabilities of even a moderate quality vintage hi fi speaker like an AR 2, AR3, Large Advent, or Dyna A25.

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Thu 24, 2012 4:18 am 
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jmsent wrote:
Tube Radio wrote:
Very nice find.

I honestly believe that the bass in a lot of the bigger older consoles sounds so good because the bass is cleaner and more accurate than what a normal subwoofer can do as the subwoofer is usually made for high power handling so efficiency and accuracy suffer somewhat.



You might believe that, but it isn't really borne out by the facts. Most of the old consoles, even the ones with large woofers, don't produce very deep bass at all. Virtually all of them have open backed cabinets, so there is no resonant system there to provide any bass lift. At a fairly high frequency the front and rear radiation of the woofers start to cancel each other and produce rolloff. Given the dimensions of most console cabinets, that would start to occur at a little below 100Hz. You can compensate for this with amplifier equalization, but to keep the output constant, you would have to boost the bass by at least 6dB per octave, and this requires both power and a lot of woofer excursion. The first part is doable, but the speakers they used were anything but long throw and would run out of stroke very quickly. Bottom line, these consoles do produce bass, but not anywhere near as deep or as clean as a modern decent quality subwoofer, properly integrated with the main speakers (big caveat: this is seldom done and the subwoofer is usually run too loud).
You will also find that old fashioned console speakers add a lot of 2nd order harmonic distortion (doubling) which also gives an impression of more and warmer bass sound. Note that I'm only speaking in objective terms. Some people prefer the sound I'm describing over more modern speakers, and that's fine. But I've personally never heard a console come even close to the bass (and treble) capabilities of even a moderate quality vintage hi fi speaker like an AR 2, AR3, Large Advent, or Dyna A25.


All depends on the console. Some of the higher end consoles such as Ampex, Fisher & Magnavox can sound very impressive.


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Thu 24, 2012 4:36 am 
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In general, today's subwoofers are run with strong resonant peak(s). A que of 0.707 gives a great musical response, but, most modern subwoofer cabinets are nowhere 0.707 que. I once had a system in my van that ran right at 900 Watts RMS per channel and a 300 Watt center channel subwoofer. The cabinets were carefully built (by me) for a flat response. No "boom-boom" or buzz. It sounded instead like Miles Davis and Benny Goodman set up and played live in my mobile concert hall.
So, great bass response such as was heard in these old beauties doesn't go "boom-boom". It sounds like real music. Go figure..
Accuracy can be much better nowadays but most folks just don't care. Boom-boom. :roll:

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Thu 24, 2012 11:39 am 
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mescalero wrote:
In general, today's subwoofers are run with strong resonant peak(s). A que of 0.707 gives a great musical response, but, most modern subwoofer cabinets are nowhere 0.707 que. I once had a system in my van that ran right at 900 Watts RMS per channel and a 300 Watt center channel subwoofer. The cabinets were carefully built (by me) for a flat response. No "boom-boom" or buzz. It sounded instead like Miles Davis and Benny Goodman set up and played live in my mobile concert hall.
So, great bass response such as was heard in these old beauties doesn't go "boom-boom". It sounds like real music. Go figure..
Accuracy can be much better nowadays but most folks just don't care. Boom-boom. :roll:

:lol:


I agree there. I use a couple car audio subs fpr my home stereo and they produce deep good sounding bass, but I know a properly designed sub in a proper box will sound much better and still produce the deep bass.

My local skating rink has four JBL 4530 low frequency enclosures for the bass. Now the bass don't go to 20 Hz due to the limitations of the cabinets, but the bass is real clean and natural sounding.


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Thu 24, 2012 12:48 pm 
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Yeah, Crystal Method sounded pretty sweet too! It's amazing how much detail is lost down there in a typical (poorly equalized by design) installation. Some of the consoles simply paid good attention to acoustics. I understand that the "Magnificent Magnavox" consoles were some of their best and cost a good deal in their day. Today, they are relatively hard to find Edit - in that paint scheme. the consoles are fairly common.
I think it's striking appearance is pretty far out too. 8)
Nice score. Very nice. I recommend that you keep it intact.

Picture of it in an ad here:
http://shewasabird.blogspot.com/2012/03/return-of-magnificent-magnavox-guest.html?m=1

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Thu 24, 2012 1:30 pm 
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mescalero wrote:
Yeah, Crystal Method sounded pretty sweet too! It's amazing how much detail is lost down there in a typical (poorly equalized by design) installation. Some of the consoles simply paid good attention to acoustics. I understand that the "Magnificent Magnavox" consoles were some of their best and cost a good deal in their day. Today, they are relatively hard to find Edit - in that paint scheme. the consoles are fairly common.
I think it's striking appearance is pretty far out too. 8)
Nice score. Very nice. I recommend that you keep it intact.

Picture of it in an ad here:
http://shewasabird.blogspot.com/2012/03/return-of-magnificent-magnavox-guest.html?m=1


It's sad that a lot of Magnavox consoles are gutted for their amplifiers by the audiophool crowd.


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Fri 25, 2012 4:03 pm 
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Fantastic find, if you can keep it complete that would be great.
I dont think there are that many of those about anymore, been broken up by the audiophools.
I congratulate you on that console, very nice indeed.:)

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Fri 25, 2012 7:38 pm 
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What I don't understand is many audiophools get those Magnavox amps then make all sorts of mods to them yet they keep the original output transformers, yet say the amp sounds real good driving speakers not even thinking or caring that the original output transformers may distort the lower bass.


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Fri 25, 2012 8:02 pm 
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Phools and their pholly, big deal. No skin off our noses anyhow. Leave their antics to them, and don't waste perfectly good brainpower trying to figure them out. Save it for better things.

:wink: Larry

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Fri 25, 2012 8:04 pm 
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I agree there.


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Mon 28, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Man, is that an AMP132/142 AND an AMP164/169 in the same unit, down there in the bottom?

As for those who choose to extract and mod these amps- I think I may have a little more balanced perspective, than those who make assumptions about "audiophools" and such here. I've had MANY of these consoles, and the amps thereof, on the bench.

The main reasons to gut one of these Magnavox consoles? Where do I start?

First off, the preamps are HORRIBLE. Terrible tone control behavior (there is no such thing as 'flat', no matter where you set them), and they are noisy too. The tuners are no great shakes either- the sensitivity is not terribly good, and the frequency response on the tuners isn't too hot, either.

And, speaking as a professional speaker designer (who has done pro-audio/PA, studio and home-hi-fi speakers, ranging from a couple hundred bucks to over 10K per system)... the speakers in these are at most mediocre, usually worse. Especially primitive are the crossover networks. About the only "useful" item out of these speaker arrays are the horns, which can be re-purposed as good midrange drivers (though they need help in the top octave- a good supertweeter is a must). The woofers are entirely pedestrian- usually, super-high Qts (as in the range of 1.5 and up), so there's no such thing as flat bass response in any sort of enclosure, in stock form. They can be modded ("softening" and treating the surrounds) for better response, but in stock form, they just don't cut the mustard, in terms of producing accurate response.

The cabinets themselves are entirely too resonant (they usually have several annoying resonant peaks due to the structure), as well. And, with speakers facing out the sides and front, the sound is usually a muddled mess in terms of focus, too.

So, what's left? The amplifier, which is actually pretty competent in original form (and unlike those who speculate about output transformer behavior- I've actually MEASURED the response of them, using equipment like HP distortion analyzers). Sure, they're not high-power- but using them within their power limitations (about 10w/ch for the PP 6V6 units, and about 14w/ch for the EL84 units, which have larger transformer cores), they measure quite cleanly from 30-18000 Hz. And, the larger PPP units (using the 300-024 output transformer, such as the AMP101, AMP132, AMP142 and such) can produce a clean 20w/ch from 25Hz and up, without signs of saturation. Especially when they are converted to use a single pair of 6L6s instead of PPP 6V6s, per channel... they really do perform well.

As I said, I've BUILT these, and MEASURED them, so I actually have REAL DATA instead of just speculation...

Feel free to flame me- I won't give a $#!^, as I will be too busy building, listening to, and enjoying stuff like this, to care...

Regards,
Gordon.

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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Mon 28, 2012 6:41 pm 
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All depends on the particular person as to whether the console sounds good stock or not. I do agree on the horns though. The reason for the response not being flat is due to most of those Magnavox amps (namely the phono only amps) having the RIAA eq in the feedback loop and removing the preamp unfortunately will not help that.

I used a SEP 6BQ5 Magnavox amp once with the original tone controls and for awhile it sounded decent through its original speakers having a nice vintage sound. I never expected that setup to have super quality audiophile sound, but for what it was the setup did sound good to my ears and that is coming from someone who hates bad sounding systems. Also if it really did not sound good do you think Magnavox would have actually made it and even if they had made it do you think people would have bought it if it sounded as bad as GordonW says?


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 Post subject: Re: Monster Stereo Console - Any info?
PostPosted: May Mon 28, 2012 10:17 pm 
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Individuals who were critical of sound quality tended not to buy Magnavox consoles -- they bought component systems for less money. Those who bought Magnavox consoles wanted decent sound in a piece of fine furniture and were willing to pay for it.

IINM Magnavox consoles used ceramic cartridges. RIAA equalization is not necessary for ceramic cartridges because they are Constant Amplitude devices and their output will match the RIAA curve reasonably well just by terminating them correctly.

-David


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