|Project by Pags||posted 10-28-2016 04:10 PM||872 views||5 times favorited||20 comments|
I’ve always been fascinated with antique vacuum tube radios… especially those beautiful console radios from the 1930’s and 40’s. It goes back to the days of my childhood when I was fixated on my great-grandfather’s antique radio console while visiting him. While browsing them on eBay, I came across an old Philco console cabinet for sale that looked in tough shape but usable… and it was located not too far away from me. It was particularly appealing to me because of its art-deco design, and hidden control panel. I got an idea that I could outfit it with modern stereo equipment so I bid $40 on it and won the bid. Here’s what I started with.
For the audio equipment to do the restomod, I planned to primarily stream music to it, so all I really needed was a good amplifier. But I wanted to maintain its original look and feel, so, for the focal point, I elected to use a high quality vintage style table radio with stereo output (to the amp) and an auxiliary input (for streaming from an Apple Airport Express via Airplay) where the original AM/SW radio had been mounted. I choose the Tangent Audio Uno radio. (Tangent Audio no longer sells this radio, but you can get a cheaper version of it from Crosley Radio called the Solo). The other table style radio I had considered was the Model One from Tivoli Audio. This is a better quality radio than the Tangent Audio radio, but I was taken with the art-deco styled glass tuning dial of the Uno.
I installed a small 8” Polk Audio powered subwoofer where the original speaker was located and will also use two bookshelf speakers, mounted on shelves on the wall, for sound.
The most significant audio component is the vacuum tube stereo amp I built and installed from a kit. It is called the Dynakit ST35. It is a clone of the the Dynaco ST35 designed by Dave Hafler in the 1960’s nicknamed the “Baby Dynaco” in the early days of high fidelity. Also checkout this review for more information about this awsome little amp. I mounted this amp where the original phonograph was mounted. Tilting out the front access panel reveals it. This is a safer way to display this amp because there is exposure to high voltage.
The cabinet was salvageable but needed a lot of work to repair many cracks, and delaminating veneer. I wrote a 10-part blog on the entire process.
I’m really pleased with how this came out, and the quality of the sound of that vacuum tube stereo amp is just outstanding. I think I can say that this one of the coolest projects I’ve ever worked on for myself.