New mid-century stereo console project, need advise... - diyAudio
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Old 22nd December 2015, 04:16 PM   #1
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Default New mid-century stereo console project, need advise...

I picked up another project console. It's made by William Tell and I'm guessing it was made in the early 70's. The goal is to streamline the functionality and guts with modern Bluetooth and/or Sonos capability along with the ability to plug in a toslink digital audio cable from a TV as sources.

I'd like to remove the reel-to-reel since it's missing parts and inoperable. In it's place, I'll probably make a deep cavity to make a small bar area for decanters and glasses. I'd also use LED lighting to illuminate this area when the top-door is opened.

The turntable is missing parts as well and I think it would be easier to replace with something like a basic Orbit, if I choose to keep a turntable in there.

There is an outboard amplifier that you can see bolted to the bottom of the cabinet. I don't know how powerful it is, but I imagine it's not much. That could stay, (it works) and I found the input coming from the selector knob on the tuner. I can remove it and replace it with something better, see below....

If I keep the existing tuner portion, that can save some $$ but it is a bit "plasticy" plus the selector knob only has one Tape input available since the others are Phono and AM/FM. I was thinking about replacing the tuner and amp with something like this:

DDA120 Powerful integrated digital amp with Bluetooth receiver :: Optoma NuForce

Anyway, for the speakers, it came with a 12" woofer and (2) smaller drivers that look like paper 2" mounted on a sort of bridge or bracket in front of the woofer on each side with a 5uf cap. I guess one woofer went bad because it was replace with some Fisher 10" years ago....

There is no rear panels for the cabinet so I'd have to make new ones to seal it up. I was looking at either doing something like this Volt kits:
Volt-10-lxe coaxial speaker kit DIY Sound Group
by making an separate enclosure inside the console.

Or I was looking at making a modern version of whats there by replacing the 12" woofers and the paper tweeters with some sort of extended range driver and simple crossover. I'd need all new drivers and crossovers...

What would you do if your budget was under $200 for that portion?

If you need more clarification, just ask...


Click the image to open in full size.

Amplifier in Right cavity:
Click the image to open in full size.

Center Cavity where turntable is:
Click the image to open in full size.

Left Cavity:
Click the image to open in full size.

Full rear view:
Click the image to open in full size.

The cavity dimensions above, from left to right:
21.25" wide x 15" high x 17" deep

middle (where the TT is): 14.5" wide

Right side where the tape player is: 25.5" wide.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 05:40 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Cheshire
That is a beautiful looking console. Good find.

My advice is to remove everything and start from scratch. N.B. those vintage drivers and transformers may have value on eBay.

As far as refitting goes, how about this: It is not massively DIY, but why not make some new cabinets for your existing speakers. Just keep the front baffle width the same and make sure that the internal volume is also the same. Build a cabinet that you can slip in behind those great looking grilles from the back.

For amplification, you could just use a Sonos Connect Amp, together with a toslink DAC, so that you can use the Sonos's line level inputs to take a signal from the television. you can buy a Toslink DAC off ebay for under $20. Not how good these are.

There are many approaches to this, but perhaps none simpler.

Keep us informed of progress.

Good luck
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Old 22nd December 2015, 06:26 PM   #3
adason is offline adason  United States
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Good advice, I would get rid of all electronics. Especially those old solid state amplifiers were pretty bad sounding, class B almost.
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Old 23rd December 2015, 01:48 AM   #4
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I was leaning towards getting rid of all the electronics. Here's a picture of what it looks like under the lid.

Click the image to open in full size.

So if I go the route of replacing the original speakers with a similar design, I was thinking about something like this Dayton Audio DS315-8 12" Designer Series Woofer Speaker

Coupled with this in front of it, on a similar bracket to the existing tweeters:
FaitalPRO 3FE22 3" Neodymium Professional Full-Range Woofer 8 Ohm

What are your thoughts on a combination like that? If that looks like it may work well, then I would need help on the crossover design. Also, which alignment would be the way to go in terms of the woofer cabinets?


Last edited by ParadiseComm; 23rd December 2015 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 23rd December 2015, 05:46 PM   #5
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Location: Northland, New Zealand
Nice project! I would use Seas FA22RCZ. With a MiniDSP you can equalise for the open back cabinets.
The Seas drivers sound nicely vintage/modern and work really well in an open back cabinet.
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Old 23rd December 2015, 05:52 PM   #6
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Location: Northland, New Zealand
I AM D v200, Fx Audio d802, optimisation and TPA3116

My setup with the Seas FA22RCZ. Equalised, flat to 40Hz, beautiful spacious sound.
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Old 24th December 2015, 04:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input so far. So a couple of you are suggesting to use a 8" driver as opposed to using something larger? There is considerable space available so I'd like to take advantage of it and make this thing rock....

I looked at those miniDSP units and they look great, but they are $900! That would blow my budget, unfortunately.
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Old 24th December 2015, 05:08 PM   #8
mor2bz is offline mor2bz  United States
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mikey where did you get the bent ply baffles? are they chairs? they look ideal/
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Old 24th December 2015, 05:27 PM   #9
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They look like magazine racks on their side.
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Old 24th December 2015, 05:34 PM   #10
wesayso is offline wesayso  Netherlands
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How about some Synergy horns left and right hidden behind the grille...
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