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  1. #1

    Default RCA Victor Speakers

    A friend of mine recently picked up a pair of cylinder shaped RCA Victor speakers in a box of stuff at an auction and gave them to me because he had no use for them and he knows that I have an addiction, uh, I mean appreciation for speakers of all types and vintages. I'll have to admit I've never seen anything quite like them before, and have no idea what kind of "Hi-Fi" RCA system they would have originally been paired with or sold as an accessory.

    It's really tempting to do something to revamp them with current drivers, but if I did something like that I would completely remove the original wood framework and speakers so I could return them back to original if necessary.

    The maximum sealed enclosure size I could make that would fit in the original round covers would be 12.5" high X 6 1/4" wide X 4" deep (about .135 ft2 internal volume after subtracting wood thickness, etc). I doubt very much I could make a very decent sounding dipole speaker with those dimensions, but I suppose I could experiment a bit, or use a small full range driver and pair it with a small sub in an antique cabinet for a very retro look.

    Anybody have any info on these speakers, or a project idea? I'm open to all suggestions or ideas!

    BTW, sorry for all the dirt and dust on them, I haven't even bothered to clean them up yet, I was too busy tearing them apart to clean them properly!








  2. #2
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Fairlane,

    I've seen a few posts where people were experimenting/using PVC pipe as the speakers enclosure. I'd wonder what you could pull off with pipe as the enclosure and then making a new wooden top that was screened to hide the PVC speaker assembly. The idea being to bounce the music off the ceiling... It could be fun to experiment with as a surround speaker.

    Take it easy
    Jay
    "I like Brewski's threads, they always end up being hybrid beer/speaker threads based on the name of his newest creation." - Greywarden

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  3. #3

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Brewski View Post
    Fairlane,

    I've seen a few posts where people were experimenting/using PVC pipe as the speakers enclosure. I'd wonder what you could pull off with pipe as the enclosure and then making a new wooden top that was screened to hide the PVC speaker assembly. The idea being to bounce the music off the ceiling... It could be fun to experiment with as a surround speaker.

    Take it easy
    Jay
    That's an interesting idea... quite a few years ago I constructed several variations of John Cockroft's Simpline, which John described as "Short high density transmission line speaker that sports the close room coupling device of Roy Allison" (Speaker Builder magazine 2/93). In other words it was a straight pipe utilizing a modified Radio Shack FE-103 clone that leaned at an angle against a wall, with a rather high stuffing density and a simple RC equalizing filter to shape the high frequency response.

    While those little TL's have very low sensitivity, they sounded surprisingly good with very natural bass output for such a small driver. It was also an interesting experiment in having a driver pointing up towards the ceiling instead of in the more conventional manner of towards the listener. A later and more complex version of the original Simpline concept called Wallflower can still be found on the web here: http://www.t-linespeakers.org/projec...oft/index.html

    My first thought though would be to make something out of these that would point more towards the listener since I seem to prefer the improved imaging your normally get from that arrangement than the diffused sound of a less direct loudspeaker alignment, however I much appreciate the suggestion and it does give me some ideas about possible enclosure construction to fit inside the circular grill cloth...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Fairlane

    Now that's one I've never seen. Are they both in that condition? You know RCA Victor was one of the top names of the time. Before you chop these up you might consider restoring them to as close to original as possible. In fact if they are functional without doing anything I would consider selling them as collectibles - not for the profit motive but because there is interest in Mid-Century furnishings and these might be rare enough to be worth preserving.

    I'm not a collector but someone here might have more insight.

    CC

  5. #5

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by cpcarter View Post
    Fairlane

    Now that's one I've never seen. Are they both in that condition? You know RCA Victor was one of the top names of the time. Before you chop these up you might consider restoring them to as close to original as possible. In fact if they are functional without doing anything I would consider selling them as collectibles - not for the profit motive but because there is interest in Mid-Century furnishings and these might be rare enough to be worth preserving.

    I'm not a collector but someone here might have more insight.

    CC
    Yes, they are both in that condition, that's why if I did do any modifications to them, I would carefully remove (4 screws per speaker) the entire wood baffle board assembly with speakers intact, so they could be returned to original without any modifications. My thoughts was to make a whole new baffle board assembly that would replace the original so I don't damage them. However, before I do anything, I do want to try and find out more info on them. Unfortunately, the original stickers on the bottom of the speakers are gone, so I have no model number to go by to find out date of manufacturer, etc.

    Sage advice for sure cpcarter, I was really hoping somebody would be able to identify them, as I certainly don't want to damage them if they have collector value.

  6. #6

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Radio Shack part number 40-1197.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairlane64 View Post
    That's an interesting idea... quite a few years ago I constructed several variations of John Cockroft's Simpline, which John described as "Short high density transmission line speaker that sports the close room coupling device of Roy Allison" (Speaker Builder magazine 2/93). In other words it was a straight pipe utilizing a modified Radio Shack FE-103 clone that leaned at an angle against a wall, with a rather high stuffing density and a simple RC equalizing filter to shape the high frequency response.

    While those little TL's have very low sensitivity, they sounded surprisingly good with very natural bass output for such a small driver. It was also an interesting experiment in having a driver pointing up towards the ceiling instead of in the more conventional manner of towards the listener. A later and more complex version of the original Simpline concept called Wallflower can still be found on the web here: http://www.t-linespeakers.org/projec...oft/index.html

    My first thought though would be to make something out of these that would point more towards the listener since I seem to prefer the improved imaging your normally get from that arrangement than the diffused sound of a less direct loudspeaker alignment, however I much appreciate the suggestion and it does give me some ideas about possible enclosure construction to fit inside the circular grill cloth...

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    4,541

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Interesting. So it's not really a cylindrical enclosure. It's a U-frame open baffle, and the grille is a cylinder

    I have to say, that's a really stylish idea!

    Should you re-vamp them, keep this in mind: In a U-frame open baffle, you're going to get dipole roll off (-6 dB/octave) below about 300 Hz, based on the looks of what I'm seeing. So no bass.
    Come Get Down And Eat Best Food, Sharp. Cee? Sharp.

    Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects

  8. #8
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairlane64 View Post

    It's really tempting to do something to revamp them with current drivers,
    Don't even think about it. Sonically there's nothing special about them at all, but as a collector's item they could be quite valuable. I'd clean them up and store them away and let them appreciate further, but not without investigating first into their potential worth.

  9. #9

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    Radio Shack part number 40-1197.
    Yep, that's the part number. I still have a couple modified speakers (fish sinkers glued around the dust cover) laying around here somewhere from the days of building different Simpline inspired short TL's. If I remember right, I was buying them on sale from RS for about $3 each at the time.

  10. #10

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
    Don't even think about it. Sonically there's nothing special about them at all, but as a collector's item they could be quite valuable. I'd clean them up and store them away and let them appreciate further, but not without investigating first into their potential worth.
    Bill,

    I've been following your designs for years from the early days of Speaker Builder until today. If you say clean them up and store them away, then that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm in no hurry to sell them, and after thinking about it the last couple days I believe leaving them totally intact and original is the best idea after all. I could always build a clone of them if I wanted to do some sort of retro pair at a later date.

    You are correct, I did hook them up and listen to them, and they pretty much sound exactly like you would expect. Very little bass, muted highs, and a very AM radio like midrange, but I do have to smile when I listen to them because they are so unique.

    I've been searching the last couple days, and I'll be darned if I can't find any info or even another picture of something similar. It's too bad they don't have a model number on them, it would make the search a lot easier.

  11. #11

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Well, I'm getting closer, I found this image:



    So I at least know what model numbers I'm dealing with...

  12. #12
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Fairlane

    Found this at Radiomuseum.org. Schematic, pictures, etc. Circa~ 1959

    http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/rca_ps1...ch_rs_183.html

  13. #13
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Fairlane

    TheRadiomuseum.org. Schematic, pictures, specs, etc. are small size samples.

    Unfortunately full size pics, downloads, etc are available to members only.

    Application info here:
    http://www.radiomuseum.org/dsp_anmeldungskosten.cfm ($25 one time fee to join.)

    CC

  14. #14

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by cpcarter View Post
    Fairlane

    TheRadiomuseum.org. Schematic, pictures, specs, etc. are small size samples.

    Unfortunately full size pics, downloads, etc are available to members only.

    Application info here:
    http://www.radiomuseum.org/dsp_anmeldungskosten.cfm ($25 one time fee to join.)

    CC
    cpcarter,

    Thanks a bunch for the link, it's much appreciated! I was guessing the vintage to be somewhere around 1955 to 1960, so I guess I was fairly close. Kind of makes me wish I had the matching record player. Maybe if I find somebody who has a PS16, they might want the matching speakers. Seems like it would have been a fairly fancy "Hi-Fi" system for that era, makes me wonder what the original MSRP was for both the PS16 and KS16.

    Thanks again for the info.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Glad to help. I'll pass along anything else I can find.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairlane64 View Post
    A friend of mine recently picked up a pair of cylinder shaped RCA Victor speakers in a box of stuff at an auction and gave them to me because he had no use for them and he knows that I have an addiction, uh, I mean appreciation for speakers of all types and vintages. I'll have to admit I've never seen anything quite like them before, and have no idea what kind of "Hi-Fi" RCA system they would have originally been paired with or sold as an accessory.
    Those are pretty cool. Perhaps there was a separate bass unit mounted in the missing center console?

    I'd be tempted to keep the cap and base, and build a good cylindrical speaker replacement that fits between the two. A number of ideas come to mind - like bottom section that consists of a vented 8" in a cylinder, topped by an OB two-way, all hidden behind a cylindrical screen...

  17. #17
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Steele View Post
    Those are pretty cool. Perhaps there was a separate bass unit mounted in the missing center console?.
    Perhaps, though more likely full range than bass only. There were some DIY versions of the sub/satellite concept then, but AFAIK the first successful commercial versions were done by Henry Kloss 20 odd years later.

  18. #18

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
    Perhaps, though more likely full range than bass only. There were some DIY versions of the sub/satellite concept then, but AFAIK the first successful commercial versions were done by Henry Kloss 20 odd years later.
    I have a pair of these KS-16s without the stands.... Bought them at a thrift store $9. When I did a search on them i found the Sam's Photofact Folder on Ebay and bought it.

    According to the schematic - the power amp had a a left, right, and center channel (PS-16) and the center channel drove a one each 12" woofer - rca part no. 108658.

    Sounds like RCA beat Henry Kloss to the idea of a Satellite / Subwoofer by a few years.

    -- wayne --

  19. #19
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    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by portnoy View Post

    According to the schematic - the power amp had a a left, right, and center channel (PS-16) and the center channel drove a one each 12" woofer - rca part no. 108658.

    Sounds like RCA beat Henry Kloss to the idea of a Satellite / Subwoofer by a few years.

    -- wayne --
    Only if the center section was low-passed.
    I made a sub/satellite rig in 1972. The 'center' was a corner horn loaded with a pair of woofers, each low-passed at 100 Hz, each connected to one channel of the amp, so L/R summing was accomplished mechanically. The satellites were two-way bookshelves high-passed at 100 Hz. I did it that way because my apartment didn't have room for two corner horns. I'd seen rigs in the hi-fi mags where they summed the L/R to a full range center, in an effort to give better imaging. Where mine differed was running the center low-passed, as I wasn't after imaging from the center, I wanted the impact of horn-loading the bass. It sounded really good, and was well appreciated by visitors to my apartment. One of them was Henry Kloss. He offered me a job at Advent, Uncle Sam had other plans for me.

  20. #20

    Default Re: RCA Victor Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by billfitzmaurice View Post
    Only if the center section was low-passed.
    I made a sub/satellite rig in 1972. The 'center' was a corner horn loaded with a pair of woofers, each low-passed at 100 Hz, each connected to one channel of the amp, so L/R summing was accomplished mechanically. The satellites were two-way bookshelves high-passed at 100 Hz. I did it that way because my apartment didn't have room for two corner horns. I'd seen rigs in the hi-fi mags where they summed the L/R to a full range center, in an effort to give better imaging. Where mine differed was running the center low-passed, as I wasn't after imaging from the center, I wanted the impact of horn-loading the bass. It sounded really good, and was well appreciated by visitors to my apartment. One of them was Henry Kloss. He offered me a job at Advent, Uncle Sam had other plans for me.
    Bill, If you don't mind me asking, how did you run into Henry Kloss? I'm sure there's quite a few here who would love to hear that story! That would have been a real adventure to go to work for Advent during that timeframe.

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