A beautiful self contained bakelite case with carry handle. Polished to a brilliant shine.
Closeup of topside player mechanism. Shows a lot of reflection from the ultra smooth deck surface which is the original copper plating that has been clear coated with a specialized lacquer to preserve its luster.
Much of the hardware including the hinges were also originally copper plated. The case and copper is so shiny that the refection of the lid hinge can be seen on the edge of the case.
Original labels to most of the units out there are starting to deteriorate and flake off. The serial label you see is not the original, but a close facsimile to the original. The color and text are a close match; however, it is not reasonably possible to produce such a small label with gold foil text like the original.
The original tonearm rest is spring loaded so that the tonearm can rest without coming loose during travel. Originally very tight and hard to operate without both hands. This one has been modified slightly so that the tonearm can be set down with one hand with ease.
Front of unit with lid closed. The latch that holds the lid tight can be a little tricky at times, requiring a gentle push on the top of the lid in order to lock in place and other times a little patience when unlocking.
Closeup of front RCA Victor label. Has been painted with a brillant gold to look like it did when it was new.
Spring loaded handle automatically collapses to side of case.
"Golden Throat" label inside of bottom of case. Not the original but a close facsimile to the original. It seems like a lot of these are missing from units that I've seen. Hard to tell the difference between the original and the reproduction.
Side view opposite to the power cord.
Chassis label which is a reproduction to the original. In some repects a little better than the original, but not exact. Most of the original units out there have missing labels, or they are torn, flaked off, or stained. This one has been wrapped in plastic, but can be glued down without damage to the label since both sides have been clear coated with matte enamel. Originally at the factory the cord to the left was either routed through the label or off to the side. The cord is better through the hole, but didn't want to poke a hole through the label.
Bottom of chassis with speaker and tubes attached. The tubes are NOS (new old stock) and have never been used. The tube sockets have been deoxidized and retensioned. The magnetically shielded speaker was made in Germany and came with a two year warranty. The original speaker brackets have been replaced with heavy gauge iron rod that has been baked at a high temperature with an oil coating resulting in a polymerized finish. Very tough and corrosion free. The magnetic shielding is unnecessary, but is useful as a heat shield. The cone is poly coated. A better speaker than the original Alnico one in most respects, but not all.
The original pieces have been re-vulcanized through a special process UserX developed more than 20 years ago. Others have copied the idea, but never got the exact details to produce a superior product.
Bottom of chassis. Speaker output transformer has been rubber coated where leads come out of the windings. This will keep the connectors from getting weak and eventually breaking off. A common problem avoided. Also, connectors have been crimped on between components to make the unit easier to work on.
The cord and plug are new. The plug is as close to the original as possible. Interestingly, if you squeeze the blades together you can unhook the cord from the plug. The cloth covered wires have been rubbed with colored wax to strengthen the insulation. The PVC covered wires have been coated with a special chemical conditioner in order to keep the insulation from getting brittle.
On some of the earlier models copper plating was used on the bare metal pieces in order to get the factory paint to adhere better. The deck and most of the hardware including screws were done in this fashion. This is what the deck looks like without any paint. This particular unit has 3 coats of clear high grade lacquer. The finish is very smooth and has no orange peel commonly found even on automotive finishes.
Another photo of the copper plated deck under different lighting conditions.
Bottom of the deck which like the rest of the bakelite case has been polished several times in order to give a very smooth and brilliant shine.
Bottom side of the handle which has new cork inserts. The old cork was too hard to be of any real use. The new cork softens abrasions from lifting the handle and tends to be a little quieter.
This photo is an upside down view of the chassis with the speaker and tubes attached. Very difficult to find a speaker that would fit this unit and still sound as good or better than the original.
The original Astatic crystal cartridge with sapphire needle has been replaced with a new ceramic one with diamond needle. It is most certainly superior to the original. The original wiring had three aluminum wires coming off the cartridge, one being a ground. This has been replaced with new copper wire and insulated near the brass connectors. The housing from the original cartridge was modified in order to accomodate the new cartridge and has been placed in accordance with the original needle location to ensure proper tracking. Notice the metal cantilever on the new cartridge. Most are made of plastic. This one is much better. Should get about 800-1000 hours of play before the needle would need to be replaced. The original sapphire needle may have only lasted about 200-400 hours before needing to be replaced.
Top view of the chassis. All capacitors and resistors have been replaced with superior modern ones. Very clean and nicely done.
Closeup of the volume side electronics. The new electronic leads were wound into a small coil and tightly slipped over the leads of the old pieces. The soldering process avoided burning delicate pieces and a snap to remove if needed. A technique learned from veteran electronic techs who specialize in vintage audio. The volume potentiometer operates flawlessly since it has been deoxidized and lubricated.
Another closeup of the volume side electronics which reveal small amounts of cotton fibers from Q-Tips used to clean every little crevice. As you can see, classic carbon composition resistors have been used to give what some people would say a "warmer sound". Can't really tell the difference. Perhaps someone else could. It has been stated that metal film resistors last longer than carbon composition resistors; however, the difference between 20 years and 30 years makes little difference. They both last a long time.
A closeup view of the power cord side electronics. The working space is somewhat tight and the photos make it look like pieces are touching each other when they really aren't. Special care has been taken to keep pieces spread apart.
Bottom of deck mechanism with original copper plating. Each metal piece was painstakingly scrubbed, cleaned and lubricated. The motor is in excellent shape and shows no sign of bearing wear. The rotor was polished and lubricated on both ends. There is a small spring wire that pushes the tonearm that acts as a skating/antiskating device. This ensures proper tracking with less weight on the tonearm. This wire can be adjusted as needed.
This is what the typical amplifier looks like before any work is done. What a mess. Every capacitor and resistor should be replaced whether within specifications or not. Some restorers do not and this is most certainly wrong. Notice the label is still intact. Just sitting on a shelf for a few years it flaked off and was forced to make a reproduction one to replace it.
The mechanics are in good shape, but all parts need to be cleaned of all the congealed grease and re-lubricated to function properly again. The photo shows a digitization error as a horizontal purple line.
Lots of dirt and old grease makes for a lot of work to clean up since complete disassembly and re-assembly is required. More than 100 parts are involved in a complete unit.
If you look carefully it looks like the tube sockets are somewhat melted. This is not the case. In reality it's just a bunch of old dirt and grease. The original speaker looks O.K., but is actually starting to fall apart. It is paper and perhaps the unit was stuck in a damp basement for long periods of time. The tubes are old and should be replaced. It would be easy to test each tube once restoration is complete. If they work then keep them as backups; and if not, throw them away. It costs about $45 for new old stock tubes from a reputable dealer in the year 2017.
RCA 45-EY-3 Bakelite Record Player, Circa 1952
A collection of images from a finished restoration of a very fine and highly collectible three vacuum tube mono amplifier 45 multi-player capable of stacking 14 records. Some of the early models were copper plated so that the factory paint would stick to them better. This particular unit has had the paint stripped away to reveal a beautiful copper plated mechanism. This unit is not for sale, but others in the gallery are for sale.
The camera flash makes the unit look more dusty or dirty than it really is. You can zoom in on the images if you mouse over them. During autoplay zoom is disabled.
Valued in the range of $375 -$450.