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Fixing A Silvertone Record Player(circa 40's?) W/ Speaker//Help Me Through

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by canteenboy, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    I undertook this project yesterday. Bought a Sears Silvertone Stereo Console w/ Record Player, Speaker, and am/fm radio. The thing was only $40, so I figured, what the hell. I sanded and restored the wood all day yesterday and today. The 'hardware' looks great. Nice speaker, beautiful radio, and what looks like a mediocre record player. I want to get the record player and speaker working again. The speaker looks good and I'm guessing I can restore the record player with a bit of work. The wires on the radio are fried and otherwise a complete mess. The radio looks fantastic though. Any gear experts on here that can help me figure out my game plan? I'll post some pictures.
  2. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    20161024_114232. 20161024_115027. 20161024_231349. 20161025_085953.
  3. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    I haven’t worked on something that old since I was young! :D
  4. Hey! That shines up real nice!
    Taking into account the state of the electronics and likelihood of getting parts for the TT... and that it all closes up behind doors, have you considered something more modern for the TT and the electronics? Just a thought.
  5. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007

    This is my first time ever coming in contact with a record player. I know nothing about them. I hear the sound can be phenomenal. That's really what I'm looking for. I'm guessing the speaker sounds great (wishful thinking?). If buying a new TT is the best way to get the optimal sound, I'll definitely go for it.

    I think it shines up beautifully too. I did an extremely amateur job, and it still looks so good imo. If somebody with skills and tools put the work in, it would look amazing.
  6. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    I love that it's so damn old. I'll celebrate if I can get it to play again.
  7. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    Ha. Not trying to call you 'so damn old'. I'm speaking about the Silvertone. I never ever get my hands on something that is this old. My oldest 'gear' is from the 80's.
  8. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    When you are of “a certain age” you grew up with old stuff like that. One of the biggest problems I found with them was the rubber insulation on the wiring. Sometimes you just had to touch the wires for the insulation to flake off exposing the bare wire.
    ahc and Al Kraft like this.
  9. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    If you Google "Silvertone Repair, Restoration" or something similar you will come up with a ton of potential resources. BC Electronics in PA is just one example. It's surprising how many folks are in the business (or hobby) of restoring old Silvertone, Curtis Mathes, Philco, etc. stuff from days gone by. Good luck and have fun!
  10. If you've got fried wires and no experience in electronics repair, you're likely in over your head. What are your qualifications?

    Yes, the sound can be phenomenal. It won't meet that level of quality with what you've got here. My home setup was bought by my father in the 80s and would be over 4000$ to purchase today, although we have a modern turntable and receiver. Amazing, phenomenal audiophile quality sound comes at... well, audiophile prices.

    All that being said, it looks like a fun project. It could be worth your time but you'll probably end up upgrading anyways.
    petey293 and Lo-E like this.
  11. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I don't know fixing this one will give you "optimal sound", but it has mojo for DAYS!
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
    petey293 likes this.
  12. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    The wires are a disaster. Some look like the rubber fried through to the wire. I wish I was friends with electricians in Denver. I just moved her three months ago from LA. I knew some skilled guys. I could really use thier help now.
  13. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007

    No qualifications. I'm definitely gonna get outside help. Do you have any recs for how to get this set up to sound as quality as possible? I'm ok with replacing the TT. I'd really love to keep the speaker and have it wired to the TT. The Radio wiring is a disaster. That's very last on my list to fix.
  14. You'll need a pre-amp for the turntable, and it has to be specifically made for TT. Not just any sort of generic pre-amp will work. Then you'll need a power amp between the speaker and TT pre-amp. You have to be sure the speaker will work with the amp you have. They did weird things back in the day. Just because it's a speaker, it may be some odd impedance that was made only to work with the specific radio. Speakers and amps were't as universal as what we are used to today. Have you tried testing the speaker with a 1.5 volt battery (D-Cell) to see if it even makes noise?

    If you replace the electronics, you may also have to replace the speaker with something more suited to the new amp.

    When I suggested replacing the electronics, what I had in mind was to find a new, or newer and working, AM/FM receiver that also has a TT input. The TT input will include the TT pre-amp, and you'll have your radio and amplifier and it will do all of the switching in one box. If you can find something that will fit in the space then it's just a matter of probably doing a bit of modification to mount the AM/FM/TT system. It pretty much sounds like the old electronics is toast, and dangerous toast at that.

    Your new electronics will likely all be stereo, but that's OK. You can either mount two smaller speakers in place of the one, or if lucky, the electronics will have a mono switch and you can use one speaker, hopefully the one you have or the new one. There are other ways to get stereo down to one channel, but let's see how far this goes before we cross that bridge.

    I'm sure others will have some good ideas for your project and come up with even better ones than mine. But given the lack of experience and condition of the electronics, it sounds like restoring the radio/TT amp may be a bit more than you will want to take on.

    You've got a nice piece of furniture there and I wish you luck with the rest of it.
  15. Congrats on a good barn find. That said, you now have to make the decision on how far do you want to go. Repair up to the point of fully functioning will involve a great deal of time (labor) and money (parts). Full restoration is a pain staking effort that could eat up a small fortune which will never be returned in a profitable way. It can be personally rewarding despite the fact it could eventually feel like you are starting down a very deep rabbit hole. I know because I have restored a few of these stereo consoles in the past. Remember that these things were never designed to last this long, and that will be why you maybe virtually replacing almost every component in this thing. One source for grill cloth and some other parts will be Antique Electronic Supply. Start there and if your still enthusiastic about this project start looking for an RCA tube manual, your going to need one. Good luck.
  16. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007
    Man, thanks for all the input. The radio being in working order really isn't a need for me. I think it looks fantastic. I just planned on cleaning it up and polishing it. I kind of wanted to render it usless (which it probably already is), and pull out all the wires so it's clean and safe. No idea if that's a reasonable thing to do.

    I think I can handle the pre amp/amp situation, with some outside help. No way I can do electronics stuff on my own. Do you think this turntable is of a decent quality if I get it fixed up? I'm starting to think a new TT is the way to go. I really want to keep the speaker. No idea what shape it's in. I have a feeling that it should be salvageable.

    Thanks for taking the time to post. Very informative.
  17. canteenboy


    Jan 30, 2007

    Thanks a lot for the heads up/link. Do you know if the speakers are fairly resilient on these consoles?
  18. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    As long as you're OK with the restored product having around a 100Hz-8kHz response, go for it. These old consoles were high fidelity for their day, but that day is long ago.

    Check whether the turntable uses a stylus or a steel needle. You don't want the latter if you want to use this with modern vinyl.

    Also, check whether the radio has a power transformer. If it does not, you'll need an isolation transformer for AC power. Without it, the unit is DANGEROUS.

    Old gear can be cool, as long as you're careful and aware of the risks and costs.

  19. No prob.
    If you want to keep the radio and don't care that it works, all you really need to do is cut off the power cable, and the radio will be safe. As others have suggested, get in touch with any companies that sell parts for old turntables. Tell them what model you have and see how they feel about being able to find parts for it.
    If you're good with mechanical things... did you take apart watches or other intricate things when you were a kid, and most importantly, did it work when you put it back together?
    If you're a good mechanic and the potential for parts looks promising, then give it a go. If not, you might want to go with a new TT.
  20. The speakers in these things were made for the consumer market at the time. They some times had some odd sizes and shapes at the time these were being made as well as strange impedance's in use at that time. No doubt the post WW2 era had not much more than hard card stock infused paper cones in the early 1950's. I would date what you have there to the early 1950's, maybe even as early as 1948 when the first commercial FM broadcasts were being made after WW2. Most consoles before these type of models were lucky to have just an AM radio and TT. Stereo TT's were out before FM stereo broadcasts started. Flag ship or "Top of the line" models had multiband shortwave radios included even as early as the late 1930's. I remember my Dad telling me he was surprised in the late 1940's when he purchased a Montovani record in the late 1940's before stereo TT's were even in the stores. Back then 78's dominated the consumer record market and filled the juke boxes of the era. These same stores where you would buy one of these consoles which you have here, would be in a Mom and Pop shop where records, electronics, musical instruments, and even sheet music was sold and radio was piped into the street in front of the store. It is a interesting survivor of a bygone era.

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