Home Forums DIY Speakers and Subwoofers Vintage RCA Record Player Cabinet -Phase 2

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    Greetings from San Francisco!

    A few months back I introduced you to the vintage record player cabinet that my wife inherited from her grandparents.

     

    This is the piece of furniture that helped supply the soundtrack to her childhood. As a result there is a lot of nostalgia tied to the look of it and the function of it. She was not committed to keeping either it’s original record player as it had broken in transit or it’s speakers half of which did not function and the other half never sounded very good anyway.

    123 Toid, TVOR-Ceasar, and I had a very clarifying (and delightfully non-judgmental) conversation about how a noob, such as myself, might not just restore it to it’s former glory but also make it work in a modern world. 

    I had already completed what I will call Phase 1. This was just to replace the record player. Again the speakers didn’t really work and I didn’t have the budget for a record player and new speakers so I wired it into my flat screen tv so as to not just give my wife a turntable shaped brick for her birthday. Strangely this required also connecting a dummy cord into our blu-ray player since the audio wouldn’t play without a video signal, This did not inspire confidence in my gift but I kept saving and searching for deals and finally made it to…

    Phase 2: I combed the internet and found a great pair of DIY bookshelf speakers that I wanted to build. I chose these specifically because the crossover is designed to accommodate being located against a wall (this would allow for certain amounts of room gain to be built into the experience). I was just working out how to mount them inside the cabinet when black Friday came around and instead of getting a deal on the speakers I had chosen I found deals a previous version of my plan: A Sonos Amp and Sonance in-wall speakers. I know about the limitations of these products have but I am not an audiophile (yet) and this particular deal made it too hard to pass up!

    I started by removing the existing speakers and removing the old fabric from the two decorative center panels.

     

    Then I build new baffles to fit the MUCH smaller Sonance In-wall speakers. This was a bit of a nail-biter since a great big portion of our earlier discussion was about the how the original drivers might be salvaged and help the cabinet keep it’s historical charm. For anyone who might be concerned the fabric is the only thing that was destroyed in the process. The original drivers survive and are now in storage.

     

    I mounted the speakers (front loading) and then had to cover them with fabric (stapled into place) so access to them is less than desirable but the final product is worth it! (left panel is new fabric, right is original)

     

    As for the sound, It is so far superior to the speakers on the flat screen that I can’t even believe that it took me this long to upgrade! The Sonos Amp brings a great many benefits. It is compatible with our new turntable, with the television, with streaming services, and our Echo Dot. My wife reports that the tiny (by comparison) Sonance In-Walls are also many times better than the vintage drivers that were original to the cabinet.

    Future Phases will hopefully include:

    •  Finally building the bookshelf speakers I originally selected and moving the Sonance In-Walls into my actual walls to create a surround system.

    •  Building a center channel speaker to make a true 3.1 or 5.1 system. 

    •  Adding a true analog amp into the cabinet so that I can find out for myself the difference between digital and analog playback

    •  Converting the right center panel into a workable door with storage behind it to accomodate Blu-Ray/DVD storage

    •  Possibly replacing the now non-operational Tuner in the cabinet with something vintage looking but more useful? Suggestions appreciated!

    Let me know what you think! Good or Bad I am always interested in feedback and how to grow moving forward. Just be gentle!

    Cheers,

    -Dan

  • Vintage RCA Record Player Cabinet -Phase 2

  • tvor-ceasar

    Moderator
    January 27, 2020 at 2:51 am

    As Professor Farnsworth would say: ” Good news everyone!” 😀

    And I have to say Wow! She looks beautiful. That’s a really nice job on the acoustic fabric replacement. From the tenor of your post, I also see your confidence is much improved as well. (Welcome to the fold 😉 )

    I think that with today’s technology, you’ll find it’s closer to a plug and play type of hobby (addiction is a bit too strong, I think) rather than the long, drawn out process it used to be. Although, there are some who still like to do things the old fashioned way, me included. Keeps you grounded in how we got to this level.

    Glad to hear the other half is pleased with the outcome. Honor the past with the present and into the future.

    Onward and upward!


    Vintage RCA Record Player Cabinet -Phase 2