EH Scott Radio Enthusiasts

The Fine Things are Always Hand Made

Something Called A Magnavox Concert Grand I forgot to discuss!

With all my talk about the top radios we all love, I forgot to tell you about my Magnavox Concert Grand, the 1861 console phonograph that is considered by many the finest console stereo phonograph ever made. First there is the outstanding cabinet which is a beautiful piece of furniture in any of the styles which were released. Mine is the French Provincialin Mahogany and weighs about three hundred pounds and contains 42 (!) tubes. It has a turntable made by Collaro of Britain and uses two very heavy magnet woofers (about 50 ounces each with overweight paper and then two big horn tweeters of high quality. The radio is AM and FM and there are inputs for other devices. One outstanding feature is that it was built with a remote control system. The remote units are rather hard to find but operate well. Now, having said all that I will tell you that I have never heard one! I am going only by the opinions of people who swear by them (and it's a rather limited "club"). I do have a restored Magnavox Imperial Console that is quite nice looking and sounding but the Concert Grand is supposed to outperform it by a mile. I waited three long years to find one and then I made a deal with a man from Texas who had one on ebay that didn't sell right away. It came here demolished and I was beyond upset. Then an amazing thing happened. The guy from Texas located one that was in Kutztown, only an hour away from me. So, I promptly went and picked it up myself. But Chuck A. only recently started to restore it since he has been so behind with other orders. Then I did something really crazy. The very nice fellow who sold the second one to me needed money very badly and so I bought his personal Concert Grand as well. So, from nothing I went to three of them. We are waiting to settle a claim for the damage of the first, waiting to hear the second, and will have to sell the third. I have access to a remote for the third should the buyer want one. 

Has anyone here heard a Concert Grand? If so, what is your opinion? I know, of course, that it will not be as exciting as, say, a high level tube receiver or amp hooked up to a huge speaker system like those monster Bozaks. But they will never look like a good "Maggy" either!

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Comment by Norman S Braithwaite on August 18, 2015 at 12:03am

Yes, I and others here are familiar with the Magnavox Concert Grande.  It is, of course, not comparable to any Scott product but you may want to investigate the Ampex Signature and Fisher President consoles.  The tube count on the Magnavox is a little higher than necessary due to use of a large number of low power output tubes much like the Zenith Stratosphere compared to the Scott Full Range High Fidelity Receiver (AKA AW-23).

Comment by Sam Samuelian on August 18, 2015 at 7:32am

Thanks Norman for your reply. Do you happen to know the exact model numbers of both the Fisher President and Ampex Signature units? You also mentioned Scott. Did they make big consoles as well? 

Comment by Sam Samuelian on August 18, 2015 at 7:35am

PS. I do have a large and beautiful Capehart phonograph. Model 400M with that wonderful and unique automatic turntable. I didn't mean to confuse when I asked about the Scott. I know they made the 800B, but I was thinking about larger sets like the Magnavox. Model numbers?

Comment by Norman S Braithwaite on August 18, 2015 at 10:24am

Scott's largest models were the 40-, 42-, 48-, and 50-tube Quaranta receivers of 1936/1937.  Capehart's largest models were the 500 series of 1937-1942.  RCA made the Berkshire series of receivers in 1948 with varying numbers of tubes up to 69 (with television).  I don't have specific model numbers for the Ampex Signature or Fisher President.  They would have competed directly with the Magnavox Concert Grande.  You should be able to find information about these models using an internet search on the model name in quotes.

Norman

Comment by Sam Samuelian on August 18, 2015 at 11:14am

Thanks Norman. That Quaranta you have is glorious and one of the finest looking radios ever. I'd love to have the WLW and that side by side to compare sound! I will try to find the numbers of the others. Just looking up the names didn't work so I'll try with quotes. I have also seen Capehart's largest and fanciest set. Nowhere near the sound quality but gorgeous cabinetry. I have always enjoyed seeing Fred Rice's set. 

Comment by Y2K Bruce on August 22, 2015 at 3:16pm

Hi Sam Bruce in Moline here. Hope you are well. I had 2 Concert Grands last year but sold both. One went to a buyer in Texas and was a blonde 300H. Perhaps you have that one now ? If so I have some family history of it as I got it from the family of the original owners.

Comment by Sam Samuelian on August 22, 2015 at 3:23pm

Well hello there Bruce!! LONG time no talk to. In fact I wrote you a nice long letter that came back since you apparently changed your email address. If you can please give me the new one so I can send it again. I wanted to talk to you about McMurdo sets and many others. I did get mine from a guy in Texas but it was Mahogany. 

Comment by Sam Samuelian on August 22, 2015 at 6:13pm

Well here is some eye opening news for any of you who are critical of the Magnificent Magnavox Concert Grand, their 42 tube phonograph of the late fifties to the very early sixties. Some said to me "oh they are no big deal", while others said "they are not much better than the Magnavox Imperial phonograph, their one step down release, and still others said "you will never get good sound unless you buy separate components. Okay, enough!! I just auditioned my rebuilt set (Chuck Azzalina came today to install all the electronics) and I am going to tell you this is a GREAT set. I used their own demo record and got very low and distortion free bass. I used another record (Mario Lanza) and heard his voice ring out with vibrance that was exciting. And a third record (Peter Paul and Mary) had features of the other two while playing with verve and depth. The big horns inside are so heavy and good that there is an adjustment to tone them down. Mine are set half-way. I have the bass on full and the treble on full, while the "mood" control is about halfway. There is power to spare too. Haven't done much with FM yet, especially because I need a better antenna since we are in a low area where signals don't always come in very well. I put the back on and then realized I should have put in some cables with RCA ends to allow for testing other equipment through it. I think for now, I can be pleased simply with my rather large LP collection. Oh, and if you like 78s, they also play very well on the Concert Grand. The turntable uses a turnover cartridge that has two separate sides and of course two separate needles. I have an FM multiplexer for it that hasn't been rebuilt yet. And I have one of those very hard to find remote controls (has a motorized  radio, etc) that is like new but takes a 22 1/2 volt battery that is obsolete. I have written to a place called Battery Junction to see if they have something that will work. If anyone disagrees with my report, please write here and tell me your opinions. Thanks!  Sam

Comment by Sam Samuelian on August 25, 2015 at 6:21pm

Hi Bruce,

       I DO want to talk to you about my MPV in Clifton cabinet. I am against the wall with an important decision to make so please post or email me with you new email. I am sms@bee.net. Thanks so much, Sam

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