Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ampex Mid Century Modern Console Score

I collect mid century modern furniture as well as stereo gear so this fits right in. It is an Ampex A423 console. I think it dates to the mid 50's. It makes some sound but not much. The goal will be to make it sound ok and be functional. The turntable is a Garrard RC33 which is a bummer but maybe I'll find something else to go in there like a 4HF. The console will likely go in a spare bedroom. I'm just glad it didn't go to the dump.
The RTR doesn't work so I'll try to lube it and replace belts if that doesn't work I'll start looking for one on ebay. It isn't high end so it should cost too much. If something else would fit I'd use a different RTR but that seems to be more trouble than its worth.
The speakers are interesting. They are some form JBL D260 or D216 or some predecessor to the LE8. These are the only drivers in the console. They are pretty heavy for 8 inchers. The mids sound surprisingly nice but not much HF. A period JBL tweeter might make it sound pretty good.
I was hoping for better amps but they came with a pair of 6V6 monoblocks. I'm sure they are ok for these speakers. They actually work pretty well right now.
It is a tight fit in there. The hard part will be getting everything out for a check up. It looks like the tuner and preamp are on the same piece. This appears to be the preamp for the RTR so it is separate. That is a guess we will see when I get in there.
The Ampex badge designates it as the A423.
The console came out of an old money 1950's mid century modern home. I doubt the console has moved since mid 50's. The funny things is that I drove right past 311 Main St to get it to my house :). Now that location is a Jazz Club which I'll have to check out soon.
The condition is pretty good the wood is solid and the thing must weigh around 250lbs. It was heavy. Not sure what the grain is but it is pretty.
Anyhow not bad for $40.

This post originated at retro vintage modern hi-fi http://itishifi.blogspot.com


  1. O man! That's a beauty (and a steal, too)!

  2. It was surely worth saving, if only for the beautiful cabinet.

  3. The A423 was probably the very first stereo console on the market, and collectible for that reason. You might want to do some research at AudioKarma before changing any major parts.

  4. Well DAM Sam now I have to keep it original..... Perhaps there was a better turntable used in some of them. Anything but the Garrard RC88.... LOL..

    Wow first stereo console!!! Cool.

  5. did you ever get a schematic for the monoblocks?
    I have one of these, and am having a DICKENS of a time.

    1. Brendan I have not located a schematic yet. If you find one please let me know. I'll keep a look out.

    2. Actually is this it ?

  6. I think this is closer. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ybKbOWYhoIs/UUkhuvPPLZI/AAAAAAAAIzs/1iIpqf9BB1Y/s1600/AmpexEL34Schematic.jpg. This one has the two diodes in it for rectification, as opposed to the 6ax5 rectifier.

  7. hey, Iain- what are the dimensions of your a-423?