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 Post subject: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Fri 09, 2021 8:42 pm 
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Hi All,

I joined this forum because it seemed like the folks here might have the knowledge I lack. I recently inherited, or have the chance to (I can also sell it or give it away) a "Motorola High Fidelity" console with Cabinet by Drexel. My best guess is it dates from the early 60's and hasn't worked in I don't know how long. It's pretty sharp, albeit big, so I'd like to get it wokring again if possible. Any ideas what something like that might cost, or what it might be worth in a sale if I don't go that route? Attached a couple of pics for a little context. Thanks in advance for any ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Fri 09, 2021 8:47 pm 
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2nd pic I forgot to post the first time.


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Fri 09, 2021 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Shelton, WA
Just got finished restoring one for a client. Uses big buck tubes and wiring harness was bad plus phono idler wheel cartridge. Lots of time involved so it was pretty costly to do aside from sending the cabinet out to be completely refinished. Lots of time delay due to trying to obtain parts.

Good luck

billn


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Fri 09, 2021 11:31 pm 
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Location: Detroit, MI USA
Paying a professional technician to properly repair something of that complexity would easily cost several hundred. But the restored set ought to be worth several hundred to the right buyer, so this is one case where one might break even instead of losing money paying to have it serviced. As-is unrestored, it could even bring a couple hundred if there's no cabinet damage.

There are two good things going for it, one is the massive mid-century modern cabinet which is the most desirable of all styles for these units, the other is that it's a high end model of a well respected brand of that day.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sat 10, 2021 1:31 pm 
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Mr. Detrola wrote:
Paying a professional technician to properly repair something of that complexity would easily cost several hundred. But the restored set ought to be worth several hundred to the right buyer, so this is one case where one might break even instead of losing money paying to have it serviced. As-is unrestored, it could even bring a couple hundred if there's no cabinet damage.

There are two good things going for it, one is the massive mid-century modern cabinet which is the most desirable of all styles for these units, the other is that it's a high end model of a well respected brand of that day.


Dennis,

Could you go into more detail about the tubes used and why it's so complex?


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sat 10, 2021 1:43 pm 
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I would guess it is not that big of a deal to fix the receiver. Unless you don't have a generator for FM stereo alignment, and some of the parts may be difficult to find. And if it needed new audio tubes, well, can be big money. The record changer would be a handful unless you are mechanically adept. Yea, sometimes it is the dried up grease. Sometimes it is bits and parts that can be hard to get. i have been purposely avoiding someone that mentioned they had a big old console stereo they want overhauled. Setting around in an old house for who knows how long. I probably could deter them with a realistic estimate, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sat 10, 2021 6:29 pm 
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What a nice instrument! Well worth restoring correctly. Drexel cabinet, modern styling, Motorola, what's not to like? I wouldn't give it away under any circumstances. Value depends on where it's located. Console stereos in general have an avid, but limited, desirability. Some Motorola stereos used a 3DG4 rectifier, but the balance of the tubes should be no big deal. That one is as good as it gets unless you consider the "other M". Magnavox. Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sun 11, 2021 4:23 pm 
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Thanks for the responses and ideas. I had one more picture that I thought I'd add. I think that's Face Dances by the Who, so it looks like it might have been working into the 80/90's.


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sun 11, 2021 5:20 pm 
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Location: Eagan, Minnesota, USA
There are a lot of big console stereos that are not worth much, but that one has everything going for it. The cabinet has clean lines to it, and once cleaned and properly restored, would look great in a lot of rooms. This style is what a lot of current console stereo buyers want, and you just don't find them that often. There were a lot of gaudy designs sold back then. I think this style was considered Danish Modern according to brochures.

I don't know much about the electronics in the unit, but Motorola was a company that had an in house engineering department that developed audio products, and the quality was very good. I would expect just by looking at that console that it was an upper end unit, so it's worth the effort to have it properly restored by someone competent to do that.

The design of the turntable is really very nice, and brings back the 'vibe' of the era that that console was made. It can be restored, and should not be 'upgraded' to anything else.

Bottom line from my perspective is this. If you have a place to keep this console for some time going forward, and like it, then spend the money on properly having it restored. And you will be spending several hunderd dollars on the electronics, and maybe a hundred and a half on the turntable. Then depending upon how the cabinet cleans up, there is some money to spend there too. If you have any skills to do any of this yourself then it is simply time and effort, as the parts are not the biggest part of this project. Hiring labor will be.

Or, definitely clean this thing up and detail it. Don't try to run it because it needs some attention to safely do so. Then market it over the next few months. It may sell fast or it may time some time, but this set checks a lot of boxes for the person who is serious about owning one of these. The key thing here is that the cabinet design and the reputation of the manufacturer are the value in the unit. In any event, spend time cleaning this up then think about what you want to do with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sun 11, 2021 10:14 pm 
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Legs too short?

Should be about 10" off of the ground.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sun 11, 2021 10:21 pm 
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Motoroto, welcome to the board. Please see if you can locate the model number, which might be listed on a paper on the back of the cabinet. In that way we might be able to determine what tubes it uses, and advise on their cost.

Do you have any experience with cabinet or electronic restoration?

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Mon 12, 2021 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Dec Wed 02, 2015 9:42 pm
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Location: Little Elm, Texas 75068
Here https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/motorola_sk52w_hs_823_hs_839_hs_862.html
and then here, https://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=253008
I too note that the legs have been cut. I don't know if that is a terrible thing, won't sound any different but may effect the sale price.
Sure look nice when restored.
Tomie


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Mon 12, 2021 6:12 pm 
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Nice MCM console. But I’d certainly upgrade the run-of-mill turntable if you have records you care about.


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Mon 12, 2021 7:16 pm 
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Good eyes there folks. I spoke to my father, and he claims he unscrewed the legs, and they should still be in the house. He says he did it back in 61 (don't ask me how he remembers the year), so we'll have to see on that. In about a week I'll be by to look for them, and also see if I can find the model # on the back.


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Tue 13, 2021 4:14 am 
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Artcurus wrote:
Mr. Detrola wrote:
Paying a professional technician to properly repair something of that complexity would easily cost several hundred. But the restored set ought to be worth several hundred to the right buyer, so this is one case where one might break even instead of losing money paying to have it serviced. As-is unrestored, it could even bring a couple hundred if there's no cabinet damage.

There are two good things going for it, one is the massive mid-century modern cabinet which is the most desirable of all styles for these units, the other is that it's a high end model of a well respected brand of that day.


Dennis,

Could you go into more detail about the tubes used and why it's so complex?


This set has 21 tubes, and a built in Vibrasonic reverberation unit. One of the most complex consumer consoles of it's day, having no less than 4 separate audio channels with a total of 8 audio output tubes including 6- 6BM8's and 2- 6BQ5's, which you'd want matched pairs for. Just replacing the output tubes with matched pairs of NOS could easily set you back $150 or more. Where are you going to find 3 matched pairs of NOS 6BM8's in one place if the ones in there now are all weak?

In addition to the expected left and right stereo channels, there's also a center channel for bass, and a separate channel with it's own speakers for the reverb.

You'd want someone with plenty of experience on similar units to do the repairs, and as already noted, paying a professional tech for what could be required has the potential to get costly in a hurry.

Hopefully the legs will turn up intact, because if you ever wanted to sell this and they were missing it would certainly affect the value.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Tue 13, 2021 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Feb Wed 04, 2015 12:26 am
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Mr. Detrola wrote:
Artcurus wrote:
Mr. Detrola wrote:
Paying a professional technician to properly repair something of that complexity would easily cost several hundred. But the restored set ought to be worth several hundred to the right buyer, so this is one case where one might break even instead of losing money paying to have it serviced. As-is unrestored, it could even bring a couple hundred if there's no cabinet damage.

There are two good things going for it, one is the massive mid-century modern cabinet which is the most desirable of all styles for these units, the other is that it's a high end model of a well respected brand of that day.


Dennis,

Could you go into more detail about the tubes used and why it's so complex?


This set has 21 tubes, and a built in Vibrasonic reverberation unit. One of the most complex consumer consoles of it's day, having no less than 4 separate audio channels with a total of 8 audio output tubes including 6- 6BM8's and 2- 6BQ5's, which you'd want matched pairs for. Just replacing the output tubes with matched pairs of NOS could easily set you back $150 or more. Where are you going to find 3 matched pairs of NOS 6BM8's in one place if the ones in there now are all weak?

In addition to the expected left and right stereo channels, there's also a center channel for bass, and a separate channel with it's own speakers for the reverb.

You'd want someone with plenty of experience on similar units to do the repairs, and as already noted, paying a professional tech for what could be required has the potential to get costly in a hurry.

Hopefully the legs will turn up intact, because if you ever wanted to sell this and they were missing it would certainly affect the value.



Oh man, those 6BM8 are NOT cheap by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact, $150 might be lowball.

Thanks for the explanation


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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Tue 13, 2021 11:29 pm 
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The ones I have seen have PP 6V6 X 3 channels. It is a really nice console.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sun 18, 2021 3:23 am 
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Took a pic of the model # on the back, and a couple of others if you can make anything out beyond the layers of dust. No luck on the missing
legs though yet.


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console1.jpg
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console3.jpg
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console2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Sun 18, 2021 3:29 pm 
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I found the amplifier from one of these at an auction; hummed - needed three electrolytic capacitors and a fuse to replace a bad circuit breaker. All tubes were fine.

I should have a scan of the Sams service info for the amp on my portable hard drive. The tuner is in a separate folder - chassis number isn't listed in that Sams folder, as I recall - you'll have to look inside.

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 Post subject: Re: Vintage Motorola High Fidelity Console Repair
PostPosted: Apr Mon 19, 2021 4:02 pm 
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I have an older version of this console as my daily driver in the living room. We use it for the TV sound. They are VERY well made. The GOOD thing about them is that unlike most sets of that era, almost all of the capacitors with the exception of the electrolytic capacitors are ceramic, meaning they don't have to be replaced. In fact, most of the time I've worked on one of these they still work just fine. If you are at all handy we can walk you through replacing the electrolytic capacitors. This one has a total of 7: 4 in the amp chassis, 3 in the tuner and pre-amp chassis. When you take it apart, make sure and carefully mark, photograph and document the wiring harnesses. Its super complicated and can get really confusing.

These guys have an insane sound quality. Mine will rattle the picture frames on the walls.


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