RCA Loudspeaker 106 and what is it? - diyAudio
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Old 10th April 2013, 04:37 AM   #1
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Default RCA Loudspeaker 106 and what is it?

I am new to collecting vintage radio/stereo equipment. I find it very odd to find the things that I grew up with now being highly collectible. I often have those moments when I think...wow....my parents should have never let me have that...until I was 40 Or wow,l I wish I still had that item. Oh well...I guess that was a short vent session.

Anyways, I came across this item at a garage sale over the weekend. I had no idea what it was, the guy was asking $10 for it, and I got him down to $5. Anything that has vintage tube amps on it, always grabs my interest. So, I loaded it up in my car, and took it home. Upon looking at it, I know that wooden cabinet is a RCA Loudspeaker 106 from the badges on it. However, the original tapestry has been replaced with some other material. Also, there is not a speaker anywhere, just a hole on the center of the front side. Now....I have been googling this nonstop, and I just can't figure out the next piece. It came with what looks like a vintage tube amp. However, I can't see how or why this was needed. Is it possible that it's not a tube amp and its the power supply? Although I have never saw a power supply like this before? It has a power on/off button, and two dials that look like they might be volume control for something. I have cleaned the item up, and there are no markings on it anywhere. So, I am left wondering what it is? What it was used for? Who manufactured it?
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Old 10th April 2013, 06:23 AM   #2
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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I admit I do not know what it is. Hole in the front center? I'd assume the speaker USED to live there, until someone removed it for some purpose. At that age, I'd be thinking the speaker had been a field coil type, so ther would be a connector of at least four wires for that, maybe more. Some speakers of the era had the output transformer on the speaker rather than the amp chassis. All those tubes would not be needed for the field coil supply,so whatever the amplifier was for... Then again without knowing what else used to be there it is hard to say. Can you give us a list of the tube types across the chassis?

I don't think RCA was into organs, but it reminds me of a Hammond tone cabinet. But it could have been part of a larger system, perhaps a satellite speaker for some radio or record player.

get on an antique radio web site, see if they have some insight, and report back to us. I;d love to hear what you find.
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Old 10th April 2013, 06:29 AM   #3
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The tubes in this order are 5Z3, 2A3, 2A3, 56 and 56.


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Old 10th April 2013, 09:28 AM   #4
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I think I remember RCA 16 mm movie projectors from the 1950's when they used to show EB (Encylopedia Brittanica) films in elementary school. These would have had tubes in the sound portion. I remember the garbled sound when the teacher didn't install enough slack loop before the sound pickup bracket. The sound came from a speaker box on the lower level of the projector cart. When movies first became talkies, there were two sound systems - RCA and Western Electric. Some studios went with one and some with the other. You can see these brands in the movie credits at the beginning of VHS tapes. So this could have been school surplus, or from a small town movie house or something.
My mother bought a RCA stereo record player in 1965 with Top Value Stamps. So RCA was into manufacturing portable record players. This economy model had two tubes and a transformerless power supply. It damaged records so badly I was motivated to buy a used AR turntable and Dynakit amp before I owned a car.
edit-when I enlarged your picture I saw your box has feet and bulbous tubes. The 16mm projector sound boxes were about 12" x 12" x 6". So I think this console is more like from a forties movie house, unless it is actually a radio.
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Old 19th April 2013, 12:14 PM   #5
JMFahey is offline JMFahey  Argentina
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Tubes used strongly point to early forties.
Those inputs and corresponding volume controls might be a mike input (perhaps with an external preamp) and an "auxiliary" one.
Yes, this might be an auxiliary projector audio system or a booster for a radio, the "furniture" type cabinet hints more at a home living room installation than a more "commercial" one.
Since the typical radio used to have a 1 or 2 W RMS single ended output into a light 6" speaker mounted in a shoebox sized radio cabinet, a *push pull* 2A3 amp with, say, 10/15W into a 12" speaker and a large cabinet sure must have been something impressive.

EDIT: did I say early forties?
Should have said late thirties
And it's impressive 20W RMS !!! (Not joking here, that was *huge* power way back then).
This is a schematic for a similar one:
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Old 19th April 2013, 12:29 PM   #6
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I have a VERY similar radio. Mine is an Atwater Kent and they sourced out a lot of their cabinets to the Helmers Furniture Company. Is there any indication on the back of the cabinet at the top where a plaque once was? Tube lineup in mine is UY224 or C324 UY224 or C324 UY227 or C327 UY227 or C327 UX245 or CX345 UX245 or CX345 UX280 or CX380.
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