Remember Those Living Room Consoles?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Barnabas Collins, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. Barnabas Collins

    Barnabas Collins Forum Resident

    Location:
    Newport, NH USA
    Sorry, I'm not sure what else to call them. But I remember when I was a kid, I knew a lot of people who had these mammoth consoles in their living rooms that housed a turntable, an 8 track player and speakers in a big wooden cabinet. You sometimes see them in movies from the 60s and 70s. Sometimes, I think it'd be kind of cool to have one again, just for a conversation piece. ;) So what was the story on these things? How did they sound? Does anybody still use them??!!
  2. MikePh

    MikePh Song and Dance Man

    Interesting thread. I'd love to have one.

    Although before my time, I guess the idea was for entertaining guests ... as well as yourself. These days, no matter what the hardware, I can't imagine guests sitting and listening to music in someone else's home...We've personalized-internalized music so that everyone has their own. We'll share files on the net, but in these days if iPod, the audio console might just be considered vintage furniture...
  3. Pug

    Pug Elitist Snob

    Location:
    Illinois
    My aunt had one. I always thought that they were cool. As a kid I thought that they were the ultimate in stereo. :laugh: In reality, they sounded pretty bad.

    I'd love to pick one up for nostalgia's sake.
  4. vinnie

    vinnie Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    My family had one. Can't remember the brand, do I do remember it had AM, FM-Stereo and a stackable turntable. Also the speakers were on the sides - facing out - 180 degrees. We didn't care how it sounded, it was what we had and we used it.
  5. pdenny

    pdenny E Burris Stigano

    Location:
    Ask the NSA, narc
  6. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    Several years ago I had as many as three massive Magnavox consoles in my tiny studio apartment. I had 'rescued' them from thrift stores.

    Two of them were vintage early 60s tube models, "Magnificent Magnavox" they boasted, and had pre-stereo FM along with AM and the turntable. The main console would have one big speaker system, and there was another stand alone speaker unit with it's own built in tube amp for stereo separation. Gorgeous solid wood cabinetry, I loved them.

    The third one was solid state and probably late 60s era. It had a massive B&W TV built into the front. The TV didn't work but everything else did, and it sounded OK. The big older tube units sounded beautiful, in a warm fuzzy nostalgic way.

    I had to get rid of them when I moved. I wish I had kept at least one of them. :sigh:

    They were real back busters though, especially the one with the TV. OMG it was brutal moving that monster!

    dan c
  7. Marty Milton

    Marty Milton Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Urbana, Illinois
    There is still one at my parents' house. Of course, it hasn't worked in years. My father uses it to place family portraits on. My father also has a console TV that he purchased almost 25 years ago.
  8. i dream to have something like that some day to play bombastic 60s pop sounds on them. just for the sake of the sound overkill. the anti-thesis of high-end, i know. but still! i even want one of those more than a jukebox! :thumbsup:
  9. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    You can find these things cheap or free, as a lot of thrift stores won't even take them. There isn't any room for them for most resellers.
  10. Flatlander

    Flatlander Active Member

    Location:
    Indy
    I have an aunt (I'm old, she's ancient) who has one that still works. It's a Magnavov, self contained, with a tube stereo amp and separate mono AM/FM section and a BSR drop-in turntable on board, no tape. I've had my eyes on it for over 30 years and she has promised!

    I re-tubed it about 15 years ago for her and it was very nice sounding, although very cloudy.
    I have read of guys craving the old Magnavox speakers for Open Back use and even rebuilding the amps with modern parts. I understand some of the amps have excellent iron to build around. If you see one available, at the very least, grab the tubes out of it and send them to me. :goodie:
  11. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Harrisburg PA
    I saw one just the other day. In a retirement home.
  12. Danny

    Danny Active Member

    Location:
    USA
    My in laws still have one. A wedding present to each other from 1963. :agree:

    It still works, they still use it and I got them some new "needles" a while back.
  13. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Location:
    Fonthill, Ontario
    My dad had a nice one that I wish I had taken when he offered it to me. It was a Clairtone which was made in Canada on the east coast. Nice Gerrard Lab80 TT and a spot in the middle with sliding doors that my dad used to house his reel to reel.
  14. Allan Songer

    Allan Songer New Member

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Fisher made some really nice hi-fi consoles in the early 60's.

    But the single greatest "find" in all of my year hunting down old gear was a "console" I found in Palm Desert, CA about 10-15 years ago. Inside this "console" was a McIntsoh MC2105 amp, a C22 preamp (still in my sysetm), an MR71 tuner (still in my system) and a MI3 "Performance Scope." The console was a beautifully made walnut unit--really really nice. When I gutted it I didn't have the heart to throw it away for several years and it sat in the back of my garage until one day I tossed it. The turntable was a Garrard changer. I also snapped up the two Bozak speakers as part of the deal.

    $500 all in. WHAT A DEAL!!!!
    Bill Hart likes this.
  15. jt1stcav

    jt1stcav Say It With Single-Ended Triodes

    My grandparents had an early '60s Motorola vacuum tube stereophonic console (model unknown) with an AM/FM stereo tuner and a Gerrard(?) record changer inside; the 2-way speaker system was on the bottom half of the solid walnut console, divided by a middle partition that held part of their vinyl collection. As a piece of furniture it was solidly built and very attractive, with its beautiful blonde cane grille cloth and a little orange neon pilot light next to the logo. As an audio system, though, I do recall it too sounding awful, with what may have been a spring reverb built into the electronics for it had a very mushy, ringing sound! Totally horrible to today's standards, no doubt 'bout that, but I also would've loved to have it today...alas, my grandmom sold it after my grandfather passed away in '81 for reasons unbeknownst to me, and I've never seen another one quite like it to this day.
  16. Tubeman

    Tubeman New Member

    Location:
    Texas
    When I was a kid my parent's had a big Magnavox in the living room and I remember getting excited when they would talk about going somewhere if they were going to be gone for a couple of hours. When they left I'd drag my drums into the living room with some of my records and have at it. :laugh: It played a lot louder than the little Zenith in my bedroom. Boy our neighbors must have hated when they saw Mom and Dad leave without me in the car. :laugh:
  17. kkchome

    kkchome Active Member

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    We had an old Magnavox console when I was growing up. It was a beautiful piece of furniture. I think it got thrown away when my mother remodeled the living room in the early 80's.
  18. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    ...grew up with one since (RCA) 1965...it finally died in the 70's...all my musical LP memories were on that monster! Great sound!
  19. Mike F

    Mike F Active Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    I remember them well.
    What an interesting DIY challenge for the carpenter/electrician/nostalgic audiophile to make an updated well performing modern version.
    :crazy: ?
  20. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member

    Location:
    Far East
    I have fond memories of our family's big old Magnavox console. I loved the glow of the one little red bulb on the front that let you know it was on. My parents had a fair number of records stored in the record compartment, but they weren't rock fans so there was only one rock album -- Ricky Nelson's second lp on Imperial. The others that I liked as a kid were the soundtracks to "Dr. Zhivago" and "Exodus." For Christmas 1964 my sister got "Meet The Beatles", "The Beatles Second Album" and "A Hard Days Night", but I couldn't touch them. I had to go get her and ask her to play them. We had that thing until 1975 or so. It was a heavy sucker. Also, it had to 'warm up' before playing. One thing I remember is that 'super separation' stereo sounded all right on these things (relatively speaking) due to the speakers being fairly close together...

    Dale
  21. ksmitty

    ksmitty Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Corona, California
    Heck Yeah I remember the console. That's how I used to listen to records before I got my own first little player when I was a kid. It was an Admiral Console. That thing didn't sound too bad either . I remember playing my Monkees, Beatles, Hermans Hermit's 45's on that thing. I also remember listening to my moms Elvis albums & 45's on it. Great memories from that Admiral console indeed !
  22. ManFromCouv

    ManFromCouv Employee #3541

    Sure we had one, but a 1960's version (no 8-track). I spent my early years sitting on the arm of the sofa listening to my brother's records on that thing. Let It Be (45), The Beatles '65, Guess Who 45's (Laughing, Undun, No Time), Badfinger's 'Come And Get It' (45), Wind's 45 (Groovin' With Mr Blow/Make Believe), R. Dean Taylor's 'Indiana Wants Me' (45), Lennon's 'Instant Karma', Perry Como's 'Home For The Holidays' LP....( :yikes: )
    When we moved in 1971, for some reason the old console didn't come with us. :(
  23. VinylSoul

    VinylSoul Active Member

    Location:
    Lake Erie
    My Father repaired TV/audio in the sixties and I would go along. I carried the tube caddy and the tube tester. I will always remember the enormus Fisher console owned by this well to do family. This console was at least 8 feet long included Large TV, stereo turntable/tuner and possibly rtr, all in a gorgeous cabinet. Fifteen years ago a friend gave me a Fisher 400 with all original tubes along with the EV 12 inch coax speakers that came out of a Fisher console that was out at the curb.
  24. rickl

    rickl Member

    Location:
    Minneapolis
    There is some interest in the maggie amps. These are 6v6 pp stereo pre/amp and with a little work can be made to sing. There are a bizillion of these console pulls on ebay.

    The console we had while growing up had a Kenwood receiver my dad installed. I had no idea what was in there before. He still has the Kenwood.

    rick
  25. Dave D

    Dave D Done!

    Location:
    Milton, Canada
    I loved ours! Big huge tuner that I swear had tubes in it because it had to warm up. Giant red "eye" that told you when you were perfectly tuned into the station. Dual turntable with automatic LP and 45 stacker. AND it had a bar to store your booze! :) Wore out all my Beatles LP's as a kid on that thing.

    Man, if things were better between me and my step mom, I'd love to get that thing. :shake: