Regarding the record-wreckers pictured here:

ARE YOU KIDDING??? No sane person would play a record of any value to them or anyone else on these 

There is NO good way to drop records on top of each other! There is NO good "changer" that 
mechanically cues the stylus to the groove and there is NO tonearm pictured that can comfortably 
track at a non-destructable weight of 1.5g or less. Put them in the same cabinet as woofers, listen 
at reasonable volume in a reasonable sized room, and any light-tracking cartridge will pop out of 
the groove, despite the primative squishy springs semi-"isolating" the turntable platters (which are 
mostly pictured as resonant metal with thin ancient felt strips covering them). These things all 
come up against basic physics, so they are doomed from the get-go.

Enjoy your "antiques" (JUNK to some) but don't get these groove-chewers anywhere near any of my 

Now, as to the tuners and speakers and amplifiers in some of the better antique consoles, there was 
some very fine engineering and manufacturing. I cite specifically the Ampex super-expensive consoles 
sold in the early 60's through outlets like Neiman-Marcus. There were others. I've seen very high 
quality Jensen and JBL speaker components in the better consoles (albeit in open enclosures where if 
there is any bass playback ability, the record-wrecker NEEDS to track at 3 grams to avoid bouncing 
around). The top-line Ampex console had EL34 tubes and an ultralinear output transformer. The preamp 
was also a good design, with a phono EQ loop similar to the playback EQ loop design of the 351 tape 
deck. Alas, otherwise fine components were compromised by a Garrard record-wrecker and a junko Ampex 
A/900/1200/F-type tape deck.

Net-net, I prefer to sit on my furniture and have my stereo components specialized and separated. 
I've never heard an "integrated" or "console" speaker system that sounds anywhere as good as 
separate speakers.

The only really positive thing I can say about console stereos is that they may have a higher WAF 
(Wife Acceptance Factor) than a bunch of naked components connected by fat wires in the living room. 
A compromise is a nice-looking cabinet for the components that hides the wires and provides solid 
physics-based isolation for a turntable. Distance from the speakers is the best physics-based 

Old floor-standing radios are a different matter altogether. Aside from the fact that there's 
nothing worth hearing on most airwaves, they are neato antiques and restoring them can be a great 
way to master some electronics and furniture crafts. I have a great old Philco that I bought at a 
yard sale for a few bucks. I bought a little pocket AM transmitter and cobbled a hookup to my iPod. 
It's great fun to listen to OTR programs through the old from-the-time radio.

Despite my strong opinions about antique console stereos, there appears to be a market for a modern 
take on the idea:
I saw this at the NY Audio Show and it does sound quite good. However, because there is a subwoofer 
built into the support column, if one cranks up the volume, rumble and feedback travel into the 
turntable. This would be fine for a small apartment in Brooklyn, but not for a larger-sized room if 
one wants to listen at realistic SPLs. For that $18.5K, you could get a very nice separate-component 
system featuring a very fine pair of full-range speakers, a decent turntable and high-quality 
amplification, along with a good CD player and DAC.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Roger Kulp" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 6:27 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Need helping identifying a reel to reel deck

>I belong to a couple of online groups for enthusiasts of console radio/phonos.We are out there.The 
>better ones have tracking forces well under 4 grams,not record grinders at 
>isn't a one of us who would own a BSR.They are universally considered cheap junk,associated with 
>bottom of the barrel console brands like Lloyds.BIC is another such brand.Roger > Date: Wed, 3 Jul 
>2013 16:30:01 -0400> From: [log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Need helping identifying a 
>reel to reel deck> To: [log in to unmask]> > Ditto. Had a BSR in'72. Had a Lafayette amp - 
>soldered it myself. Had Criterion 100B loudspeakers. Actually, one to start with, then another one 
>the next Christmas. Still had them up to a couple years ago. They were absolutely dreadful.> 
> > -----Original Message-----> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List 
>[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine> Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 3:42 PM> 
>To: [log in to unmask]> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Need helping identifying a reel to reel 
>deck> > Hey -- Lafayette -- my first "stereo system" was from there. 10th birthday present. A 
>little transistor amp, a BSR record-wrecker with a ceramic cartridge and two little particle-board 
>with wood veneer speakers. This is the system on which I discovered the Beatles and Beethoven.> 
> > -- Tom Fine> > ----- Original Message -----> From: "Michael Biel" <[log in to unmask]>> To: 
><[log in to unmask]>> Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 2:44 PM> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Need 
>helping identifying a reel to reel deck> > > > My set of Lafayette catalogs and flyers (complete 
>1957-end, with a few> > from the late 30s to early 50s) are in my warehouse so I am glad Richard> > 
>found these ads.  Especially glad since it is great to find a suburban> > NYC paper on-line.  I've 
>needed access to ads like this for my research!> > Like Richard I was a regular at Lafayette, but 
>at the Route 17 Paramus> > NJ store.  I'd fill out a blank for parts I needed and turn it in to 
>the> > counter and they NEVER had all of what I needed and I had to do a mail> > order anyway!  My 
>first ten reels of tape are Lafayette brand, bought in> > the Paramus store in Jan 1960 and STILL 
>in fine playable condition.> > 1-1/2 mil acetate 1200 feet in a blue box.  I have one Lafayette 
>orange> > box 1 mil mylar 1800 feet and it also is in great playable condition.> > Lots of Jack 
>Paar shows including his final Tonight Show.> >> >> > Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]> >> >> >  --------  
>Original Message --------> > Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Need helping identifying a reel to reel deck> 
> > From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>> > Date: Wed, July 03, 2013 2:21 pm> > To: 
>[log in to unmask]> >> > Hi, Peter,> >> > I remember going with my father to Lafayette 
>Radio -- and later my mom> > took me -- when they were still in Jamaica, NY. They had a 
>multi-story> > old factory-type building there--I remember an old wood water tower on> > it, but I 
>could be mis-remembering. Later they moved to Syosset and> > expanded into a multi-store chain and 
>then collapsed.> >> > For the Washington's Birthday Sale in 1968, they were selling the> > machine 
>for $99.88 "Save Over $30".> >> > 
> >> > Later, on May 1, 1968 they were advertising their Gala 47th Anniversary> >> > with this 
>machine at $99.95 "Save $30".> >> > 
> >> > It was a three-speed machine 1.88, 3.75, 7.5.> >> > The Sams Photofact is now available. I'm 
>glad to see Sams