Upgrading speakers of vintage GE console

ldhouston

ldhouston

Audiophyte
Hey AudioHollics,

First time user, first time poster from the hills of Vermont...

I'm in the middle of a restoration project where I'm looking to upgrade the look of a 1969 GE Console A533g. Its an ugly thing, but I think it has some potential to be a fun piece of nostalgia to have around. One of the things I'd like to do is upgrade the sound a little bit with little to medium intervention/$. The amp is weak and only dumps out about 12.4 watts/channel and I'm not going to mess with this old piece of "solid-state". The speakers are where I think I can make some improvements.

Here's what I'm thinking of doing:
1) keeping the speakers (which seem to be in great shape)
2) replacing the speakers with as close to spec as possible (thinking newer is better)
3) building new/modifying the speaker cabinet and create a tighter enclosure, better bracing, better dampening etc
4) doing 1+3 or 2+3

The things I'm struggling with:
1) I have no speaker specs to help with computing new speaker enclosures.
2) Coming up with replacement speakers that will not blow up the tiny amp. (In theory with new speakers I can get full specs to help build new enclosures).

I would really love to get help with:
1) finding original speaker specs/ figuring out what these speakers can do (see speaker info below)
2) the best options for replacements
3) speaker cabinet enclosure ideas

Thanks in advance for your help!!!
Lawrence of Vermont

The built-in pair of speakers consist of:
Driver 8", 4 ohm, unknown wattage (part numbers on speakers 933C279-3, 137 6815)
a533g_sub-driver-redux.jpg
Mid 3.5" horn 16 ohm, 5 watts (part numbers on speaker 933C4381 K6813)
a533g_mid-redux.jpg
Tweeter 3" 16 ohm, 4 watts (part numbers on speaker 933C398-1)
a533g-tweeter-redux.jpg
Speakers seem to be wired in parallel with a electrolytic crossover of 5uF 15volts
A533G-wireDia-redux.jpg
 
XEagleDriver

XEagleDriver

Senior Audioholic
Pics of the speaker fronts (to judge condition) and pics of console front would help.
Cheers,
XEagleDriver

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
Is it worth anything as-is, or as a strict restoration project? That would be my first thought.

But assuming it's something you're comfortable hacking into and modifying, then, sure, the speakers are the low hanging fruit. But then you need to decide how far you're willing to go.

A re-engineered multiway speaker using modern approaches and hardware will probably necessitate more power than that old amp section can provide, for example. If you're looking for the next project, it's all good, but if not?

You're probably going to have a hard time sourcing original drivers, or other parts for that matter, depending on what will be required for restoration of the rest of the electronics.

A simple solution to consider would be a wide band single driver to replace the existing speakers. That would require the drivers, new motor boards and internal panels to achieve appropriate box volume, and a few passive network bits for contouring the response.

There are quite a few options available from the likes of Markaudio, Tang Band, fostex, etc.

I've personally used the TB W8-1772, a fairly large 8", not exactly inexpensive, "full range" driver that models to have response to the 40's in a reflex enclosure, and even after bsc sported a legit 94db/w sensitivity. That's the sort of option that would not be precluded by presently upstream electronics, and probably sound far better than the original speakers too.
 
Last edited:
-Jim-

-Jim-

Senior Audioholic
This brings back memories of my Dad. He worked for Westinghouse for 37 years in one of their Industrial Divisions, and of course almost every appliance he bought from their "employee" store => including a console "stereo". (Surprisingly I worked for GE and still buy major appliances from their employee store.)

Anyway, after I started getting into Audio, even though he fought it, he noticed the striking better quality of my separate components (Marantz, Dual, TEAC, and Altecs at the time). Of course as Westinghouse didn't sell them, he didn't buy them. He also had a tough time with Mom, as the WAF for the beautiful console over "ugly" components with wires all over the place would never go into her Front Room. (Guests would see it!) I do admit the console was a very good piece of furniture.

When it was time for me to upgrade, I gave Dad the Marantz 2245 Receiver & Dual 1229 Turntable (with a Shure Cartridge no less!) with the caveat that he tear out the internals in the console and install them. As he was an Electrical Engineer and very handy, it was a simple task. I kept the Altecs & TEAC Reel to Reel as both were far too large to fit into the console. (They went to other family members later) Dad took some 3 way box speakers from a huge Ghetto Blaster which he mounted - still in their enclosures- behind the speaker cloth.

It sound pretty good compared to the original (it wasn't hard to improve on that) and both Dad & Mom were impressed enough to use it for decades long after I moved out.

I suggest you try the same approach. I don't know your budget but if tight, used component bargains are all over Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Remove all the original components. Mount a Receiver vertically in place of the original, careful to ensure adequate ventilation.
As for speakers, you could mount some small Book Shelf types behind the existing speaker cloth, or again depending on budget, use "in Wall" speakers (Monoprice?) if the space works for them.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I hadn't thought about that system in ages. I'm certain the folks here will chime in with all sorts of suggestions. It's best if you ask for comment on equipment (details please) before purchasing it, so you get the best bang for your buck.

I hope this was helpful.
 
ldhouston

ldhouston

Audiophyte
So in answer to some of the recent comments/questions:
1) Thanks for the feedback!
2) I doubt this console is worth much (see pic) and I'm not looking to get much back in terms of $$. Just thought this would be a fun project where I learn a lot and hopefully come out with something better than I started with. Lastly knowing I won't get anything back in terms of $, spending loads of cash doesn't make much sense. I have decent wood working skills so reworking the cabinet and speaker boxes is a better option unless the speaker replacements are reasonably priced.
3) The vintage console also has a lot of great memories for me. My parents had an old Motorolla with some extension speakers. Many a family gathering was held where they would load up the record changer with as many 45s as it could hold and played for many hours at a time. Good times.
a533-console.jpg


Here are some pics of the speakers (dark ring on the driver is a shadow). Again, from what I can tell they are in good shape. The mid is a metal horn tweeter.
a533-driver-1.jpg
a533-tweeter.jpg
a533-cone-mid.jpg


I kinda like the single driver idea if replacing the speakers is not an option.

Thanks for the help! Have a great weekend!
Lawrence
 

Attachments

Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
1. You won't be able to get the drivers complete specs. That stereo cabinet was put on the market years before Thiele/Small speaker parameters were developed. Those speakers will never perform as well as the newer speaker designs.

2. The cabinet is a really poor design for a stereo system. The left and right speakers are about 2 feet apart, you have to sit on the floor with your feet reaching the cabinet, to hear any stereo effect.

I would just forget about the whole thing and build an entirely new stereo system with bookshelf speakers on stands, or even better with tower cabinets if the planned budget permits. As for electronics, I would suggest a reasonably priced Denon or Marantz receiver. It could even be a surround receiver, as you don't have to use all the inboard amplifiers if you only listen to stereo sound. A surround unit would allow you to go to a home theater system later should you wish.

If you don't want to get involved with the complexity of a receiver and you don't need access to radio, then I would recommend the Yamaha A-S501, a well built integrated stereo amplifier.
 
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ldhouston

ldhouston

Audiophyte
I'd like to throw out the following idea (being fully aware it could show that I'm a total dumb ass) of dumping the speakers thru the "raw wire" inputs of a separate small powered sub that I have (Sub website promo/specs below). Thinking this can add bass while not rocking the actual cabinet. Please give me your most polite "don't be stupid" comments or thoughts on how this can/cannot work with the original speaker setup (see prev portion of this thread) or with a new set of speakers.

Thanks!
Lawrence

Acoustic Audio by Goldwood PSW-8 Home Theater Powered Subwoofer
Integrated High Efficiency Power Amplifier with 300 watts peak power
Frequency response of 26 - 250 Hz with 97dB sensitivity at 8ohm
8" Down Firing long throw woofer with high rigidity PVA Treated cone
Signal Sensing Auto ON/OFF Control and 0 - 180 degree Phase Control Switches
Gain/Level Control and 40 - 140 Hz Crossover Control Knobs
Low Level standard dual RCA inputs for standard home theater receivers
Hi Level raw wire inputs and outputs for stereos will bypass the internal amp
Bottom Slotted Port for a full Deep Bass Effect
Bass Reflex cabinet design with vibration absorbing feet and black ash finish
High Quality CARB Compliant MDF wood cabinet with stability added internal bracing
Standing sub with feet size is (H x W x D) 12.4" × 9.4" × 10.2"
This Powered Subwoofer is NOT LFE Compatible
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
Hi Level raw wire inputs and outputs for stereos will bypass the internal amp
Won't work, if this is the case. That's really unusual btw, that the high level inputs bypass the sub's amp. It's a passive sub in that case. The console's amp is not designed to drive a passive sub.

You could get a line level converter to extract a line level feed for that sub. Otherwise I don't see a way to use that sub, and don't recommend spending a dime for a different sub for this project.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Hey AudioHollics,

First time user, first time poster from the hills of Vermont...

I'm in the middle of a restoration project where I'm looking to upgrade the look of a 1969 GE Console A533g. Its an ugly thing, but I think it has some potential to be a fun piece of nostalgia to have around. One of the things I'd like to do is upgrade the sound a little bit with little to medium intervention/$. The amp is weak and only dumps out about 12.4 watts/channel and I'm not going to mess with this old piece of "solid-state". The speakers are where I think I can make some improvements.

Here's what I'm thinking of doing:
1) keeping the speakers (which seem to be in great shape)
2) replacing the speakers with as close to spec as possible (thinking newer is better)
3) building new/modifying the speaker cabinet and create a tighter enclosure, better bracing, better dampening etc
4) doing 1+3 or 2+3

The things I'm struggling with:
1) I have no speaker specs to help with computing new speaker enclosures.
2) Coming up with replacement speakers that will not blow up the tiny amp. (In theory with new speakers I can get full specs to help build new enclosures).

I would really love to get help with:
1) finding original speaker specs/ figuring out what these speakers can do (see speaker info below)
2) the best options for replacements
3) speaker cabinet enclosure ideas

Thanks in advance for your help!!!
Lawrence of Vermont

The built-in pair of speakers consist of:
Driver 8", 4 ohm, unknown wattage (part numbers on speakers 933C279-3, 137 6815)
View attachment 49922
Mid 3.5" horn 16 ohm, 5 watts (part numbers on speaker 933C4381 K6813)
View attachment 49923
Tweeter 3" 16 ohm, 4 watts (part numbers on speaker 933C398-1)
View attachment 49924
Speakers seem to be wired in parallel with a electrolytic crossover of 5uF 15volts
View attachment 49925
My advice is to leave that unit still working as is. There are collectors who will pay good money for units like that, that are not mucked about and in good cosmetic condition.

I'm surprised it is still working, few of those early solid state units are. I can tell you one thing, if you muck about changing speakers and change the load you have a good chance of blowing it up.

Really there are two ways of going with a unit like that. The first is to leave it alone. The other is to artfully replace the unit with good vintage gear of the period and use external speakers. People used to do that back then. So you would need something like a Garrard or Thorens turntable and mount it in the cabinet without plinth. Then acquire good vintage preamp and power amp, and FM tuner. Quad gear is really good for that, as it was designed to be easily panel mounted in a cabinet like that.

The problem is it would be costly. However with the gear I mentioned, the performance and durability would be superior to most modern analog gear and with good speakers would sound excellent. I have done that sort of thing in years past and still use those old techniques in my systems today.

These pictures might give the idea.



This was the living room system from our house we used to live in, in Grand Forks. This system was put together in 1976, and the only thing changed was to replace the Cassette player with a CD/Cassette player. So that is close to your period.

This is my current turntable case.



This is our current family room system again with some panel mounted items.



This is how Quad units panel mount.







It is a simple neat system.

Quad gear in those days was the best of the best. There is still plenty about and a selection to choose from on eBay. That is because most of the factories output is thought to be still working.

So those are my thoughts. Either leave it alone, or convert it to a superb period installation. I would use modern speakers though.
 
-Jim-

-Jim-

Senior Audioholic
These pictures might give the idea.



This was the living room system from our house we used to live in, in Grand Forks. This system was put together in 1976, and the only thing changed was to replace the Cassette player with a CD/Cassette player.
Grand Forks BC? Your TEAC Cassette looks just like mine, as I remember from so many years ago. Was it a 3 head machine? Mine was and I loved it.

As for Quad being the best of the best, back in the day I would have debated you for hours that Marantz was; whereas my brothers would say Pioneer => as they had those.

If you were to do anything with this old GE rig, I'd put more current stuff in it instead. Used it's easy to obtain, and typically at low cost. Even Thrift Stores sell stereo equipment around here for next to nothing.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Grand Forks BC? Your TEAC Cassette looks just like mine, as I remember from so many years ago. Was it a 3 head machine? Mine was and I loved it.

As for Quad being the best of the best, back in the day I would have debated you for hours that Marantz was; whereas my brothers would say Pioneer => as they had those.

If you were to do anything with this old GE rig, I'd put more current stuff in it instead. Used it's easy to obtain, and typically at low cost. Even Thrift Stores sell stereo equipment around here for next to nothing.
No Grand Forks ND. I maintain that Quad was the best of the best back then. As well as delivering superb performance, I can think of no other manufacturer that has such a huge proportion of its output working and in use, in many cases, longer than half a century. Peter Walker's designs were pure elegance and surprisingly simple when you looked at them. These seemingly simple and elegant designs with lower part counts then the competition are in my view the reason for their longevity.

When you get down to it nothing Marantz made back then was in any way comparable to Quad quality.
 
-Jim-

-Jim-

Senior Audioholic
No Grand Forks ND. I maintain that Quad was the best of the best back then. As well as delivering superb performance, I can think of no other manufacturer that has such a huge proportion of its output working and in use, in many cases, longer than half a century. Peter Walker's designs were pure elegance and surprisingly simple when you looked at them. These seemingly simple and elegant designs with lower part counts then the competition are in my view the reason for their longevity.

When you get down to it nothing Marantz made back then was in any way comparable to Quad quality.
Grand Forks ND is only 1200 miles east of Grand Forks BC. Just south of Winnipeg.

What about that TEAC Cassette Deck?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Grand Forks ND is only 1200 miles east of Grand Forks BC. Just south of Winnipeg.

What about that TEAC Cassette Deck?
The TEAC was a combo unit. The CD player performed well, but the cassette unit was not top of the line as it was a reversing unit, and do had azimuth errors.
 
ldhouston

ldhouston

Audiophyte
agreed, no extra $

TLS... that setup is dope. I won't be doing that with this old thing, but will do something like that with good gear and a better audiophile education (learning so much from all of you).
 
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Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic Samurai
Reading through this thread brings back the memories of my parents old Stromberg-Carlson console stereo, now 60 years old gathering dust in the back of my brothers garage. Perhaps I should get the urge..............
 
ldhouston

ldhouston

Audiophyte
Okay, one more last-one... I just rediscovered something about the console. It was set up with an additional output (using rca jacks) that goes to a "Porta-Fi" receiver. Could that output be routed to the inputs of the sub instead of trying to use a line-level converter?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Okay, one more last-one... I just rediscovered something about the console. It was set up with an additional output (using rca jacks) that goes to a "Porta-Fi" receiver. Could that output be routed to the inputs of the sub instead of trying to use a line-level converter?
Well I had to refresh my mind about those GE porta Fi powered speakers.

They were a pretty dreadful and potentially dangerous contraption. So those RCA outputs connected to the port Fi transmitter. You plugged this unit into a power receptacle, and the signal coming out of the console was transmitted over the house wiring. Then you plugged the portable speaker into any household power outlet and then lo and behold you heard what was playing on the console.

Here is a picture of the speaker and a transmitter.

1631741470931.jpeg


Here is a picture showing the tube amp powering the speaker.



I even managed to find the circuits.



So those sockets were connected to the grid of the input tube, via C1 and potentiometer R1.

So I would assume those sockets are line or close to line output, and so could be connected to a sub.

I did also find the circuit for the power amp in the portable speaker.



The output is a low powered single ended tube.

So that is a blast from the past, and a substitute for Bluetooth!
 
ldhouston

ldhouston

Audiophyte
Thanks for the Porta-fi info and answer to my question. I had thought of getting a set of porta-fi speakers to add to the nostalgia but decided against it. I admit it seemed like cool tech for the day.
 
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