I’m lucky to get to see and work on a lot of vintage radios and stereos at my small shop in Seattle, where I repair all kinds of gear from early tube radios going up to the modern era. This 1963 Zenith hi-fi stereo
console is one of my favorites. The classic styling would
look great with modern accents, too — it would look just
as good with a flat-screen TV on top instead of a
typewriter, and could even play its audio (Figure 1).
This was a top-of-the-line piece in its day, built by hand
in the USA with precision electronics, carefully selected
speakers, and a heavy wooden console cabinet made to
be a prominent piece of furniture in the home. With a
total of 19 tubes, it could really heat up a room.
This particular model came with a pair of efficient,
fantastic sounding three-way speakers with powerful
magnets driving a 12” woofer, twin smaller cone
midranges, and a horn tweeter. When running properly, it
sounds lively and musical — so when it started to sound
worse and worse and take a longer and longer time to
warm up, its owner knew something was going wrong. I
made a house call to remove the guts; there were two big
metal chassis: one for the amplifier and power supply; and
a second for the tuner and pre-amp (Figure 2).
The front control panel is a masterpiece of space age
design. It looks like the control panel of an old rocketship.
Vintage gear is really special.
There's just nothing like the unique
sound, look, and feel of an old tube
hi-fi glowing away and playing your
favorite record. Unlike a lot of
modern gear, they can still be
worked on and fixed up by a
MK2670 Stereo Repair
By J.W. Koebel
40 October 2014
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Figure 1. The patient: Zenith's
MK2670 stereo console.
Figure 2. What a beautiful space age dial!