My New Project: RCA Victor New Orthophonic High Fidelity Model SHF-3

For a while now I thought it would be fun to find some sort of old tube amp to work on. I’ve been looking in local thrift shops and estate sales but so far nothing of interest has shown up. Last Friday as I was taking my daily walk I was passing by a house and noticed that they were putting items out on the driveway for a garage sale. I didn’t think to much of this at first as I see this sight almost every Friday but this time one item caught my eye. It was a cabinet that looked like it was from the 1950’s and looked like it might be a stereo system. I went over and took a look and sure enough it was a old RCA Orthophonic HiFi system and it looked to be in very good condition. I asked the fellow selling it how much he wanted to which he replied $50. I offered $30 and we agreed on $40. He said the unit worked the last time he turned it on but had a loud hum. He then started showing my some old records that he had. There were about a dozen records stored each in it own sleeve in contained in a larger album. The album holding the records was falling apart but the records themselves seemed to be in pretty good shape. I didn’t recognize most of the music on them but these were those wonderful old thick vinyl records. I realized that they just had to stay with the cabinet so I offered $50 for the all of it which he agreed to. So I stopped at the market on my way home to pick up a sandwich for lunch and some cash for my purchase and went back after lunch to pick up my new project. It fit nicely in my Subaru Forester which I took as a sign that it was meant to be. Continue reading

Speaker Repair Project

Many years ago I picked up a pair of speakers at a flea market. I don’t remember how much they were but since I probably didn’t have much money back then I’m guessing they had to be under $10. They were good solid cabinets but the drivers were way beyond repair. This seemed like a fun project and a cheap way to get ¬†some new speakers so I proceeded to pickup new 8″ woofers and a couple of piezo tweeters from Radio Shack (back when they still used to sell all kinds of cool electronic parts). I swapped out the old drivers with the new and had a fairly nice sounding pair of speakers. They were my main speakers for quite a while and finally got moved to my surround speakers (replaced with a pair of Bose AM5’s which I’d really like to retire). They’ve severed me well for the past 25 years or so.

A couple of months ago I started hearing strange buzzing noises coming from the surround speakers while watching movies. A few weeks ago I finally got around to investigating the noise and found the foam surrounds on the woofers had completely disintegrated, hence the unsavory sounds. Time to replace the drivers again. I had recently been introduced to Parts Express which has a great selection of parts for building (or re-building) speakers. I found some likely replacement candidates for the existing drivers. I decided to replace the tweeters as well even though they were still working well. I pulled out the old Radio Shack drivers, put in the new ones and once again I have a pretty good sounding pair of speakers. Ready for another 25 years of use.

At some point in the not to distant future I’d like to replace all the speakers in our living room. I’m currently considering the Intimus speakers from Aperion Audio. These look like they’re solidly build (kind of like my flea market boxes), the price is right and they’ve gotten very good reviews. At that point I’m thinking I’ll move the newly re-built speakers into my office where they can live on.