In the 1930s, Crosley designed a tone-volume expander circuit that would, in theory, add fidelity to the music that you were receiving from over-the-air radio AM transmitters. The circuit was said to boost the bass and expand the volume. It was used in some of their better 1930s Crosley console radios that are popular with radio collectors today.
I have no personal experience with the circuit because I do not service or work on Crosley radios, but a good friend of mine that services antique radios says that the circuit adds nothing of practical value and is tantamount to an early example of tech-snakeoil. Looking at the schematic, I am inclined to agree, but without any actual hands-on experience with the circuit, I would not want to prejudge it.
For those of you either servicing one of these radios, or who enjoy reading about esoteric circuit designs of yesteryear, [ this article ] from National Radio News, July 1936 issue, will be a good read. I scanned this article and cleaned it up with Photoshop as a courtesy to my readers.
I found an interesting tube-related article in the Dec-1955-Jan-1956 issue of NATIONAL RADIO-TV NEWS. The article exposed a supply-chain problem during the 1950s where unscrupulous vendors would buy “pull-outs” (duds or near-end-of-life tubes) from repair shops, then manipulate the tubes in a manner that would make them look reasonably new. The tubes were then resold to distributors and repair shops, who assumed that they were buying “factory seconds” or possibly even fresh inventory.
The defect rate was enormous. The first stealth order of 21 tubes showed 14 tubes to be defective; the second stealth order had 17 defects of 20 tubes purchased.
No doubt that some of these gems are still floating around today. While the article seems to suggest that many of the tubes were resold with their original brand name intact, I suspect that most of the “off-brand” or “private label” tubes were using the same unseemly source (pull-outs) for their inventory.
When I test vintage tubes labeled as “Standard Brand”, “Rad-Tel”, “Atomic”, etc…, the defect rate is far too high (in my opinion) for them to have been “factory seconds” or “quality used”. That doesn’t mean that all of them are duds, of course, but that they need to be carefully checked before selling or using.
I would point out that the advice at the end of the article is not completely relevant today, almost 60 years later. It is not uncommon for the tube designation to be hard to read, or completely missing, because some labeling can be EASILY wiped off while cleaning the glass envelope. Furthermore, it is common to find NOS tubes with oxidized tube pins that must be cleaned — sixty years and varying storage climates will “do that.”
[ Here is a PDF ] of the article that I scanned & cleaned up with Photoshop for good readability.
I find it exciting to discover a nice audiophile amp from a nondescript brand. In this article, I chronicle my rebuilding of a PACO preamp-amplifier model SA-50.
PACO is the Precision Apparatus Company, best known for building quality test equipment such as tube testers, signal generators, and oscilloscopes. The “PACO” branded gear (as opposed to gear that used the full name of “Precision Apparatus”) was sold as a build-it-yourself kit. During this rebuild and subsequent troubleshooting, I found two connections that were never soldered, and one loose solder joint. Those issues are extremely common to find when servicing vintage kit-built gear.
I do not have any paperwork or background information about this model. I did find a schematic for a model SA-40, which appears to be largely the same circuitry.
The SA-50 is a stereo preamp-amp with these design provisions: Read the rest of this entry »
My neighbor was thrilled to find someone local who could repair has Phase Linear audiophile gear. One of his friends was also a Phase fan, and his gear had been sitting for a longtime in disrepair. So now I had 3 more Phase Linear units to repair: a Phase Linear 2000 preamp, Phase Linear 200 power amp, and a Phase Linear 400 power amp.
All three units were very dirty (cigarette smoke yellowing) and dusty. After cleaning, each looks excellent. It was obvious that all three units had not been in use for many years.
Here is a summary of each repair:
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Here is something that I don’t see everyday… Phase Linear audiophile gear! In fact, this was my first opportunity to use, repair, and evaluate any Phase Linear gear.
While I only use tube audio gear, it is hard to argue with the exceptional quality of a premium audiophile solid-state amplifier such as this Phase Linear 700 Series Two. It makes me want to reconsider tube audio …at least for a day or two!
I agreed to tackle this Phase Linear gear for my neighbor, even though I do not typically service solid state gear. He had originally purchased this pair brand new back in 1979 — a Phase Linear 700 Series Two amplifier, and complimentary Phase Linear 4000 Series Two autocorrelation preamplifier. Both units had defects. My good buddy Donnie and I spent most of entire day working on this gear.
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