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February 27, 2010

Comments

Michael S.

Sweet! Congratulations!

Radio Russ

What a find, Angelo. That cabinet is gorgeous. It has a lot to do with the great sound you're describing. How many speakers does it have? I can't tell from the picture if it has side speakers or not. My Philetta has a plastic cabinet and looks pretty good but your Graetz is like a piece of fine furniture.

I'm unfamiliar with Graetz radios except what I've seen on eBay. I bought a large wooden cabinet German radio from eBay once but it was an obscure brand I haven't seen since. The cabinet was the nicest thing about it because the electronics were a nightmare to keep operating. An old girlfriend still has it but doesn't plug it in. It looks incongruous amidst her traditional Latvian art collection but who can account for taste?

Tom Welch

Angelo, how did you handle the difference in household current in the USA vs Europe?

Tom Welch

If you go into a high end stereo shop, you'll find a lot of tube based gear.

Brian (Scooby214)

It is amazing how similar the designs of these radios are to my Blaupunkt Granada. Here is a link to a poor quality picture of my Granada:

http://i711.photobucket.com/albums/ww119/scooby214/front1.jpg

I picked up the Blaupunkt from the curb down the street, awaiting the garbage truck. I did a major recapping job on it, and now it sounds great.

On my radio, I can change the voltage with a rotary selector inside of the back cover.

Angelo

Tom: The seller in Germany took care of the voltage issue---apparently there is a switch in the radio, probably 110 or 220 ??? Anyway, he switched it to the North American setting and also gave me an adapter that converts the European prongs to a U.S. stlyle plug. It was an easy deal---plug it in, turn it on and enjoy.
Russ: Best I can tell, it only has one large front speaker, none on the sides. The cabinet and speaker cover attracted me to the radio. The finish isn't perfect---but to me, that's the charm of it. Overall, the presentation is remarkably good, but you do see that "alligator" cracking on the lacquer and a tiny bit of paint fade here and there. Funny----my wife loved "distressed" furniture. She'd buy brand new furniture from places like Domain or Crate and Barrel---brand new, but the finish roughed up and dinged here and there to make it look "distressed" or antique. Well, my Graetz radio got it's wear and tear the old fashioned way---but being over 50 years old!

Ed

OK, I have to add my big wooden tube radio, an AM-FM (only goes up to 100MHz!) Nordmende... it has two speakers, a woofer and tweeter, for gorgeous warm sound. I restored it with new power supply filter caps and it tubes. It helped that I had another spare one for parts.
http://s421.photobucket.com/albums/pp298/estrnad/?action=view&current=Nordemende.jpg

Radio Russ

Brian: They really are quite similar. There's probably a story about why this is the case. I wonder if it's like GM and their cookie-cutter cars from the 80s. One giant holding company with a "corporate chassis" selling several brands with superficial differences in trim and control layout.

Doug

Angelo, thanks for sharing this with us. Good to see some coverage of classic German tubers. I recently acquired a pair: a Tonfunk Westar that is 22" long and with a solid wood cabinet and a just slightly smaller Blaupunkt Verona. The Tonfunk has both bass and treble controls and a 4-position "Sound Register" with Voice, Hi-Fi, Orchestra, and Solo settings, sort of '50s equalizer. Like your Graetz, these radios have a huge, rich, full, warm and, for lack of a better term, "rounded" sound. And both are fine pieces of furniture, just beautiful to look at, even fondle! I gave my Tonfunk a treatment with Olde English classic that really brought out the grain (which, like yours has some of that alligator cracking but this just adds to its vintage cachet). I let it sit a couple of days, then put on a light coat of Meguiar's classic car wax, and buffed it up. What a change. It now has this rich, burnished luster to it. The wood just gleams. Thanks again for showing us your Graetz and getting this thread started.

Angelo

Yes, the old German tubers are a delight. And with all due respect to Bose, I think I'd rather have a timeless piece of furniture with broad, well rounded sound----and "warmer" than Bose will ever be. My observation about wooden cabinet radios in general (solid state or tube) is that in a weird way, with more and more use, they sound "better." I'm sure it's just my ears getting accustomed to the tone and not the sound actually changing. Funny thing though, some plastic cabinet radios (like the Bose at our office) seem to deteriorate over time, if only so slighty----almost like your ears take the sound for granted or get bored with the tone. On some woodies (even an old and relatively inexpensive Lloyds I have), I seem to enjoy them more with prolonged use. Hey, just maybe, like a good violn, the wood "seasons" on these old things over time.

Radio Russ

Angelo, this aging of wood with commensurate mellowing of the sound holds true for guitars as well. Some theorize that time and vibration does "something" to the molecular structure of the wood. Even electric guitars benefit from this somehow although not as dramatically.

Normand from Montreal

just got one for myself as well. What type of antenna would be required to enhance reception. What about restoring the wood, I am OK with the sanding, but what type of varnish to use?

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