State of the Art Amplifier from 1922

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Professor Batty, May 15, 2024.

  1. Professor Batty

    Professor Batty Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Anoka Mn
    Magnavox AC-2-C:

    [​IMG]

    I had a chance to buy this, but it had been tampered with. Nice walnut cabinet, though:

    [​IMG]

    Originally had Western Electric 216-A tubes, big$ to re-tube it now.
     
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  2. Larry I

    Larry I Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    What kind of "tampering" did you detect? I suppose it hurts the collector value, but, does it affect the sound and do you know if it sounds good? I have heard some quite old amps that are among the very best amps I've ever heard, so it is not out of the realm of possibility that this Magnavox amp will deliver great sound. In any even, it looks really nice.

    The amp that blows my mind is a Western Electric 59A. It is THE best or close to the best amp I've ever heard (a custom-built OTL amp is the other great amp in the running). It was probably made in the early 1930's and it employs Western Electric 252 output tubes in pushpull. If you think the 216 is hard to find/afford, the 252 is WAY further out on the fringe. The owner of the amp I heard was offered something like $30k for the pair, plus a replacement pair, in trade for his meshplate version of the 252 tube. The 59A is extremely vivid and lively sounding in ways I have never heard amps running its cousin (300B) sound.
     
  3. Professor Batty

    Professor Batty Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Anoka Mn
    The inter-stage coupling transformers had been partially unwound. The link in the OP describes the amp in more detail. You would have to get a proper power supply (with A+, B+ and C+ taps) and an old horn-style speaker to make it work properly. Not a project for the faint-of-heart. Descriptions of restored AC-2s are not encouraging from a audio standpoint.
     
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  4. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    Still cool as hell, even if a static display piece, depending on what kind of money is being asked for it.
     
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  5. Larry I

    Larry I Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    A dealer in my area makes, or has builders make, their own tube amplifiers. Some are clones of classic Western Electric amps or rebuilds of Western Electric amps. They are meant to be used for making beautiful music and are not meant to be collector items. They have varying amounts of original Western Electric parts. My clone of a Western Electric 133 amp has, for example, the correct Western Electric input and output transformers and various vintage parts (vintage caps and resistors), though those parts may not have been from an original 133 amp, and modern power transformer and choke. The shop has a very rare pair of much more original condition pushpull 300B amps that have no caps in the signal chain (the input stage is present, but disabled because the amp otherwise has excess gain). Some other amps are Western Electric 124 clones with no original Western Electric parts; the gear is all over the map because they are working electronics, not museum pieces. I really don't care about how original is my amp. My linestage is "modern" because it does not even vaguely resemble an older model (it even has remotely controlled volume), but, it too utilizes old Western Electric input and output transformers and old Western Electric tubes. The tubes I run are all "collectible (four 349s and four 348s in the amplifier and four 310A and two 348s in the linestage), but they are still doing what they were meant to do--make music.
     
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  6. Professor Batty

    Professor Batty Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Anoka Mn
    That's great! I'm always amazed that those 100-year-old tubes still work, and work well.
     
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  7. jonwoody

    jonwoody Tragically Unhip

    Location:
    Washington DC
    Prof that looks like a great find what a gorgeous piece of audio history! And unwinding transformers how strange maybe seeking the secrets to transformer design?

    And I can't stop ogling those giant switches!
     
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  8. Larry I

    Larry I Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Perhaps to change the gain, or reduction, of voltage through the transformer.
     
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  9. Ampexed

    Ampexed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    This schematic from the linked thread doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense if this is the same amplifier. Maybe I'm missing something....

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. bluesky

    bluesky Senior Member

    Location:
    south florida, usa
    1922 is awhile back. The beginnings of 'The Delta Blues'.
     

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