Vintage 70's Stereo Equipment
Confessions of a Scrounger
How to Find, Sell, and Fix the best of Vintage Stereo
by Mark Gallagher
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receiver, Thorens TD-165 turntable, Thorens TD-126 turntable, JBL
L96 speakers, and Akai GX-266D reel to reel tape
goal of this project was to recreate a stereo system similar to the one I
owned in college in the early 70's. Stereo components of the 70's were
big and heavy with metal fronts and lots of knobs, switches
and lights. These vintage stereo systems were visually more beautiful than modern
equipment. And these systems were loud - designed to play rock music of the
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Vintage Stereo Collectible?
Comparing a Modern Marantz
with a Vintage Marantz
better illumination to the front panel of a vintage Marantz
2270 - before restoration
Marantz 2270 Receiver (circa 1973) with 70 watts per channel. Roger from
Arizona was the original owner and he generously offered to give me
the receiver. We worked out a plan where I would pay to have
it shipped to a tech to restore this fine
- the tech, lubricated all the controls, replaced a few caps
and replaced the diffuser paper.
paper (also called Vellum paper) replaced on the dial to improve
Photo: Dial lighting is much improved without
replacing the bulbs. More info, google the following: vintage
reciever diffuser paper.
Marantz 2270 after
speakers - a great late 70's rock speaker. Found
these at a garage sale near my home - a great find.
Zenith Royal 1000 Trans-Oceanic
from the early 1960's, I found this cool
short-wave radio at a garage sale. It was covered in dust and
the outside case had a little surface rust. When I got it
home, I opened it up and it was perfect inside. Replaced the
batteries and it works fine. What a cool radio of that era and
Zenith was a great Chicago company.
integrated amplifier and TU-717 tuner from 1977. This amp is
one of the best sounding amps I have heard. I had it restored with
all new caps and other work. It sounds fantastic with my
Sansui 4000 receiver from 1970, 45 watts per channel and one of the sweetest
sounding receivers I have ever heard. I use it with my Dynaco A-25
Dynaco A-25 speakers, these
are the relatively rare version, the A-25VW, made in the USA, late 70's, I
replaced the ugly brown grill cloth with new grill cloth from Parts
Express. These sound identical to the regular A25, one of the best
speakers of its time at an affordable price point.
These are rare JBL speakers from
1970, found these locally from the original owner, Summer, 2011..
JBL Aquarius II from 1970. (one
tweeter in front and two midrange and woofer in back)
Klipsch KG4 speakers (late
80's): 3-way speaker with passive woofer in the back. These speakers
sound terrific. The KG4 are off the radar for many vintage stereo collectors
and sell at much lower prices then the heritage line. But I think they sound
as good as the more collectible models.
Love this turntable and it sounds
Thorens TD 126 Electronic with
Stanton 681EEE cartridge. (late 1970's)
Note, I had it serviced by Evan
and he replaced the stock white bulbs (that illuminate the square button
controls) with blue LEDs giving the turntable a more modern look. I
think it looks very cool.
Recently picked this up from a
second hand store, a record changer pulled from and old console. Price was $4.
Cobra-Matic record changer
from Zenith console (circa 1962) made by Voice of Music Corp.
I plan to restore it, replace the needle and use it to stack 78s and
45s. Love the look and design of this record changer.
Debut Carbon Turntable - a new turntable sold
at Amazon and other retailers. I love the minimalist look
of this turntable. I bought the gray color and connected it
to my Sansui AU-717 amplifier.
No, it's not a stereo.
It's an IBM Selectric II
Typewriter I found at a garage sale for $10 and it works great. I
love the look and feel of this machine.
I am a good typist and the feel of
this keyboard is sweet. No, it has little practical utility, but I
love this puppy.
IBM Selectric II Typewriter
The famous IBM typing element
and self-correcting feature - the white correcting tape in the photo above
actually pulls the type off the page to make corrections - a clever
advancement on the old white-out method of correcting a typed page.
I've discovered tubes !!
There is no going back. The music
sounds richer, fuller, more beautiful when produced by gear using tubes..
Fisher 50b tuner from 1961,
I just picked this up on Ebay. It's fully restored and ready to
run. I always wanted a Fisher. I'm one happy camper.
A look inside the Fisher 50b
Pilot 245A amplifier (pulled
from a console) and the Fisher 50b tuner, this pair sounds
fantastic together. The Pilot is on loan to me from a friend.
Project - record some
classical albums to tape on this Reel to Reel tape deck from the 70's.
Akai GX-266D Reel to Reel
Tape Deck - Originally sold for $900 in late 70's,
this deck is big and sounds excellent. Records in either direction and has
great, solid clicking noises when you push the play / record buttons.
Large white VU meters. I paid $320 for this unit from Ebay in 1999 and paid an
additional $100 to a local service dealer to bring it up to spec. Recordings from this unit sound
AR 4X speakers from
about 1968 (purchased for $20 on Craig's List, April 2008)
These were beat-up and stained some odd grayish brown color. I decided to sand
Start sanding the cabinets to
restore them to original pine unfinished look.
Sanding about done.
These are about done - removed and
cleaned the original grill cloth with soap and water.
Now restored to the original pine cabinets, this was the least expensive model
of the 4X sold in the late 60's.
They sound great.
Recently, I've been looking
at vintage radios from the 50's and 60's.
RCA Victor AM Transistor
Radio, Globe Trotter, Model 3-RG-81, 8 transistors. Picked this radio
up at a Goodwill for 99 cents. Love the look of this radio and it works
great. It dates from the mid-60's.
Zenith AM/FM Tube Radio (Model
G730W) from the 1950's. This radio has 7 tubes and works very well. I
use it as a daily runner for listening to talk radio. The human voice has
a warm tone with this radio. I paid $7 for this radio at a local thrift.
Marantz 2330b receiver in wood
case (I recently restored the wood finish
with Howard Restore-a-Finish - walnut)
Inside the 2330b
My beloved Marantz 2330b
receiver (circa 1979). There is no receiver more beautiful. But
I burned out some output transistors testing my Infinity speakers, so I
had all eight replaced by a good tech (see
photo above, the transistors are in the middle of the heat sinks at the
bottom of the photo). I
originally bought this receiver on Ebay in 1999 for $175.
This Marantz produces 130 watts per channel
on this receiver). Originally sold in
late 70's, this puppy weighs 48 lbs. and has the classic Marantz metal
face, a metal push button or knob for every conceivable function, blue
lights and it came with a walnut wood case.
Sony Trinitron TV with
19" screen made in 1982. My latest Goodwill find for $20. I
cleaned the outside and inside and this thing looks like new. Love the
clean design of this TV. The picture quality and color are excellent.
Lava Lamp next to my
Dual 1228 Turntable and Carver preamp
(garage sale purchase, September 2007)
Allison CD-8 Speakers (circa 1985), three way speaker with woofers pointing
up. Purchased at a local garage sale in August, 2007 for $40.
These speakers sound excellent.
Roy Allison designed many of the most popular AR speakers in the late 60's and
70's before founding his own company. Allison speakers are "off the
radar" of a lot of vintage collectors, so you can sometimes find them at
low prices. They were high-end speakers when sold in the 80's.
The convex tweeter and midrange
drivers of the Allison CD-8 speakers. These speakers play with
The Allison CD-8
speakers with my Dual turntable and Marantz 2330b
Rectilinear III speakers
(highboys) from about 1975. Picked these up at local garage sale for
$50 in Sept. 2007.
Great speakers, full range, terrific east coast sound, I love these
speakers. I replaced the capacitors in the crossover (with help from
friend Bob) and they now sound like new - big sound, but smooth and accurate.
Rectilinear III speakers
(highboys) with the grill cloth taken off -
four tweeters, one midrange, one 12" woofer and one port.
Sherwood S-7100 receiver
from the early 1970's. I love the look of this receiver.
Picked it up at a church-sponsored garage sale for $15 (July 2007) and I
lubricated the controls and switches with Deoxit, cleaned the outside and
inside and it sounds very good. Love these vintage Sherwood receivers.
Thorens TD-165 turntable
Made a deal with Evan from Madison, Wisconsin. I traded my Infinity RS-II
speakers to Evan and he took my old Thorens and totally overhauled, repaired,
lubricated and updated the turntable and installed a Dynavector 10x cartridge.
It sounds fantastic and is now my main turntable connected to my Carver
electronics and Rectilinear speakers.
B&W DM14 speakers
(circa 1979). I sold these on Craig's List for $225 (August 2007). They
were great speakers, but I have too many speakers right now, so they had to
go. Beautiful wood cabinets and 3 drivers. I purchased these on Craig's
List in 2006 for $250.
B&W DM14 speakers
(grill cloth off)
My best find of 2007 - Altec
601-8D (12" duplex) speakers in Acousti-craft kit cabinets, circa
Fantastic sounding vintage Altec speakers, this was a very lucky find for
me. Purchased at an estate sale in Wheaton for $150 for the pair in June,
Back of the cabinet is open to
see the Altec 601-8D driver and crossover in green metal box, one port is
seen, this is an Acousti-craft kit cabinet that would be purchased separately
and assembled by the owner. I added some gray weather-stripping so the back
panel would fit better.
This is the speaker in the
cabinets above - the Altec 601-8D duplex speaker
("duplex" means the horn tweeter is combined with the woofer
into a single speaker)
JBL Decade L26 speakers.
Purchased these on Craig's List for $50 for the pair in July, 2007.
JBL Decade L26 speakers
with grill cloth off - two way speaker from mid-1970's
The woofer surrounds needed to
be replaced. I found a repair kit on Ebay for $25 and replaced them
Recap of JBL L26 speakers.
I replaced the old cap in the crossover with new caps - a Solen 8.2uF.
I left the old cap and just glued the new cap on top and cut and soldered
the two wires connected to the stock cap to the new caps. This recap
improves the sound definition and spaciousness of the JBL speakers and the
total parts for this project from Parts Express was about $15.
Klipsch Chorus speakers
(circa 1989), I sold these on Craig's List for $480. I love these
speakers, but I have too many speakers right now. These were
connected to my Super T Amp and a CD player.
Klipsch Chorus speaker with
grill cloth off, three way speaker, two horn drivers and 15" woofer - a
big, loud speaker.
Original Large Advent
Loudspeakers (circa 1972) in walnut cabinets.
I sold these on Craig's List for $100 in August, 2007.
The two-way drivers of the
large Advent speaker, the woofer is not original but a replacement built
by Jenson to exactly the same specs as the original Advent woofer. The
"fried egg tweeter" is original.
receiver from about 1972.
Picked this up on Craig's List for $40 (May, 2007) and I had it completely serviced by
a good tech including alignment of the FM tuner. It works great. The
early 70's Sherwood receivers have a warm, tube- like sound, although they are
solid state. This unit puts out about 35 watts per channel.
Dual 1228 Turntable - this unit dates to the late 1960's. I
did not need a second turntable, but I could not keep myself from bidding
on this unit when it came up on Ebay in 1999. I love the look and feel of these
old Duals. I put a new stylus on the Shure M91ED cartridge that came with
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Discussion Forum (vintage stereo forum),
Parts Express (great source for audio
Music Direct (records and
feedback / questions:
Last updated: January, 2020
photos are owned by Mark Gallagher and may be used only with his
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