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  #76  
Old 06-04-2014, 10:22 PM
Jeffhs's Avatar
Jeffhs Jeffhs is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rca2000 View Post
That C-845 Zenith radio in your Avatar is MUCH more "bark than "BITE". It does have a nice speaker system--but a VERY piss-poor, single 35C5 tube to drive it !! I have one or two just like it around here...and have LONG wondered--WHY Zenith did not make it REAL--with one or even a PAIR of say--6BQ5 outs or P-P 6V6's--THEN--it would have PERFORMANCE--to match its LOOKS !!
The C845 in my avatar is one of the vintage Zenith radios I own (the picture was copied from an antique radio website several years ago). I've never turned mine up full blast (couldn't if I wanted to, since I live in an apartment building), so I did not know until now about the audio distortion at maximum volume you mention.

I suppose, however, this could be a plus for teenagers listening to their favorite loud FM rock station, distortion and all (until the amplifier and/or the speakers burned out or blew a fuse, or the kids' parents not-so-politely told them "Turn that #$%@! thing down!"), since most rock music today is mostly noise--the more distortion, the better. (!) I don't know how much undistorted audio output power the 35C5 is capable of producing at full volume, but from what you mention, it probably isn't good for more than a watt or two at best before the entire audio stage goes into severe distortion.

I wonder if any of these radios had to have one or both speakers replaced because they were run too long at full volume, burning out the voice coils. If an audio amplifier is driven into distortion it will, more often than not, produce even more output power than the speakers can safely handle. I had a Zenith integrated stereo system, five watts per channel, with this warning posted on the backs of both speaker enclosures; however, I never ran the system at full volume in the 17 years I owned it.

BTW: I agree with your statement that Zenith could have made the C845 a real hi-fi radio, even at full or close to full volume, if they had designed the set with push-pull 6BQ5s, 6V6s or other high-power audio output tubes rather than a single 35C5. I have a Zenith MJ-1035 (currently waiting for a new volume control) that uses two 50EH5 output tubes and a 12AX7 driver stage. When that radio was working, it sounded great. But the volume control was damaged in shipping (I got the set in 2008 from an antique radio collector and former VK member in Arizona), so I was constantly dealing with intermittent sound and other problems until the control eventually fell apart. This radio uses a special 2-megohm dual potentiometer as a volume control, which I have not yet been able to find. Is this value so rare that it cannot be found anymore, or would I be better off trying to find a junker set on eBay or CL with a good volume pot? I'm in no hurry to get the radio working again, but some day I'd like to do so just for the ducks of it.
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Last edited by Jeffhs; 06-04-2014 at 10:43 PM.
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  #77  
Old 06-04-2014, 11:11 PM
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Jeffhs Jeffhs is online now
<----Zenith C845
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieseljeep View Post
I thought the same thing. AM reception that was better than any other US built radio. FM reception, that was better than most, as well. It had the best AFC, that made it easier to tune and hold FM stations, with no drift.
I have an RCA AM-FM table radio from around the 1956 model year. It's rather impressive with the power transformer, 5Y3 rectifier and the 6V6 output tube. The receiver part, just isn't that impressive.
Zenith made several years of that model and were rather pricey. Most people that owned them, used them as daily drivers and were satisfied with the tone quality.

Yes, the Zenith C845 was very expensive when it was new in 1960, something like $130 or so in that era's dollars. However, I agree with you that the '845 had above-average AM and FM reception. I am 30+ miles east of Cleveland, and my C845 gets every one of the city's AM and FM stations just fine, using just the line-cord antenna. When the FM band opens up for DX in the spring and summer, this radio is a real station magnet. I live near Lake Erie, and can often get stations from southwestern Ontario, Canada and Detroit, et al. as clearly as if they were next door. At night on AM the '845's radio dial just lights up with stations, some of which are inaudible (or close to it) on newer sets. I attribute this to the 6BJ6 RF amplifier stage which is used both on AM and FM, to say nothing of the fact that the C-845, like all older Zenith radios, was built for DX and high fidelity audio (the latter somewhat limited by the single 35C5 audio output tube, as VK member rca2000 mentions in an earlier post).

I chalk up the C845's excellent FM reception to the use of a permeability-tuned (slug-tuned) FM tuner and two FM IF stages. The slug-tuned system is not used much anymore except, perhaps, in very high-end communications receivers (IIRC, Collins had at least one amateur-band receiver with such a tuning arrangement, but then again, their amateur equipment wasn't cheap and Collins was known for quality amateur gear in its heyday).
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  #78  
Old 06-04-2014, 11:36 PM
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rca2000 rca2000 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffhs View Post
Yes, the Zenith C845 was very expensive when it was new in 1960, something like $130 or so in that era's dollars. However, I agree with you that the '845 had above-average AM and FM reception. I am 30+ miles east of Cleveland, and my C845 gets every one of the city's AM and FM stations just fine, using just the line-cord antenna. When the FM band opens up for DX in the spring and summer, this radio is a real station magnet. I live near Lake Erie, and can often get stations from southwestern Ontario, Canada and Detroit, et al. as clearly as if they were next door. At night on AM the '845's radio dial just lights up with stations, some of which are inaudible (or close to it) on newer sets. I attribute this to the 6BJ6 RF amplifier stage which is used both on AM and FM, to say nothing of the fact that the C-845, like all older Zenith radios, was built for DX and high fidelity audio (the latter somewhat limited by the single 35C5 audio output tube, as VK member rca2000 mentions in an earlier post).

I chalk up the C845's excellent FM reception to the use of a permeability-tuned (slug-tuned) FM tuner and two FM IF stages. The slug-tuned system is not used much anymore except, perhaps, in very high-end communications receivers (IIRC, Collins had at least one amateur-band receiver with such a tuning arrangement, but then again, their amateur equipment wasn't cheap and Collins was known for quality amateur gear in its heyday).

If ONLY the audio section matched the tuning section....it would be something unforgettable.... and with the equivalent of about 1K in today's money--it SHOULD have had a good amp...and a cold chassis to match.

Last edited by rca2000; 06-04-2014 at 11:36 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #79  
Old 06-05-2014, 10:10 AM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Originally Posted by rca2000 View Post
The 845 DOES sound good at LOW volume....BUT if you give it ANY gas at all...it "pukes out", due to the amp clipping. If it had 5 or 10+ clean watts of power--it would NOT do so. with maybe 2 watts MAX_-it is like a tiny 4 cylinder 1980's hamster engine car--trying to go up a big hill with 2 large people in the car.....say a Ford exp.

In fact...a couple of people in my radio club call them "dentist-office radios". Seems they were-and maybe still ARE--often found there. Great sound--as long as you don't "gas it".

Adding a decent amp like a 6BQ5-and cold power supply would have turned a sensitive, good sounding at LOW volume radio--into a WORLD CLASS leader !!
I often referred to them as George Webb radios.
The was a hamburger restaurant chain in Milwaukee, That had a certain trademark, multiple Telechron 12" office wall clocks, all set to the same time.
They all seemed to have the Zenith C-845 radios, on a high shelf between the counter and the cooking area. They all were set on WEMP, an AM MOTR, music station. IIRC, they advertised a lot on that station.
A little Milwaukee trivia, as I lived there for 57 years.
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  #80  
Old 05-05-2016, 09:50 AM
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TUD1 TUD1 is offline
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I know this thread is 13 years old, but I just wanted to to know if the Zenith plant is still accessible. I'm going to Chicago this June, and I wanted to go take some pictures of the plant.
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Last edited by TUD1; 05-05-2016 at 10:15 AM.
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  #81  
Old 05-05-2016, 02:20 PM
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Steve D. Steve D. is offline
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I've posted these photos of the Zenith Rauland picture tube plant before. Just thought they would be of interest to those who haven't seen them.

-Steve D.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Unknown (1).jpg (25.4 KB, 81 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN4869-2 (1).jpg (55.8 KB, 88 views)
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  #82  
Old 05-05-2016, 10:55 PM
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It is a shame Doug's pictures are gone. Those of who signed up after the pictures were gone would love to see them.
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  #83  
Old 05-07-2016, 06:03 PM
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maxm maxm is offline
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I drove by the Zenith Austin / Dickens plant about a month ago and it looked pretty desolate. The Google Street View on Austin is pretty recent and gives an idea of its current condition.
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  #84  
Old 05-07-2016, 06:46 PM
kvflyer kvflyer is offline
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I know this is OT but hope you don't mind. It kinda goes along the same lines.

In 2003, my cousin's son went into the Air Force and was at the AF Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. I went there many times to visit. We found the AMPEX building, I think pre-recorded tapes, there. The building was unoccupied and the real heartbreaker (to me) was seeing all of the weeds growing up in the parking lot. We reflected on what had taken place over the decades there. But time marches on.

Back to your regularly scheduled program...
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  #85  
Old 05-22-2016, 09:44 AM
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KentTeffeteller KentTeffeteller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rca2000 View Post
The 845 DOES sound good at LOW volume....BUT if you give it ANY gas at all...it "pukes out", due to the amp clipping. If it had 5 or 10+ clean watts of power--it would NOT do so. with maybe 2 watts MAX_-it is like a tiny 4 cylinder 1980's hamster engine car--trying to go up a big hill with 2 large people in the car.....say a Ford exp.

In fact...a couple of people in my radio club call them "dentist-office radios". Seems they were-and maybe still ARE--often found there. Great sound--as long as you don't "gas it".

Adding a decent amp like a 6BQ5-and cold power supply would have turned a sensitive, good sounding at LOW volume radio--into a WORLD CLASS leader !!

Remember the times, and the era. FM airwaves were not a Rock and Roll centric medium. FM was then mostly MOR adult pop, Easy Listening, Beautiful Music, and Classical oriented. AM was the youth band. Most FM stations depended on the SCA subcarrier revenue for their livelihood and the AM sister to stay on the air. FM in cars was very rare. And there were areas of the country where FM was few and far between, in Eastern Tennessee, from the Tri-Cities to Chattanooga, there was less than one dozen FM stations on the air until the great FM build out of 1966/1967 and FM became commercially viable.
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  #86  
Old 05-29-2016, 11:59 AM
RayD1942 RayD1942 is offline
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Where are the Zenith factory pictures? I clicked both links, but did not see the photos to which everyone was referring.
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  #87  
Old 05-29-2016, 12:19 PM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxm View Post
I drove by the Zenith Austin / Dickens plant about a month ago and it looked pretty desolate. The Google Street View on Austin is pretty recent and gives an idea of its current condition.
The building is only one story or so.
The buildings that are three or four stories are being converted to residential, either condo or elderly housing.
Look what's happening to Motorola's Franklin Park building.
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  #88  
Old 05-29-2016, 04:38 PM
zeno zeno is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayD1942 View Post
Where are the Zenith factory pictures? I clicked both links, but did not see the photos to which everyone was referring.
Look in youtube. there were many ads, factory productions &
a great story from the CRT plant. May ads are dupes but they
can show you the changing strategy over the years.
Its too bad there is no dumping grounds for all this stuff.
IIRC there is not even a Zenith club ! For all the interest of there
products from the beginning to end this is a shame.
AND I know Zenith kept a large archive / history dept. Did GS just
dump it or pass it to some university library ??

73 Zeno
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