How to Choose a Vintage Stereo Console

How to Choose a Vintage Stereo Console

If you already know why you want to acquire a vintage stereo console, the next step is to figure out how to pick one. There are several choices that may be essential to you. Make an informed decision!

Size Of Cabinet

Stereo consoles typically measure 32 to 60 inches wide. Instead of those Ikea bookshelves you still have from your first apartment, it fits neatly beneath a wall-mounted flat-screen television. Because LPs are only 12 inches wide, the width is generally between 16 and 20 inches. This is an appropriate size for a standard living room.

Height ranges from 28 to 40 inches and is inversely proportionate to length, depending on the style. In other words, as the length increases, the height decreases, and vice versa. Consider if you have more or less room in the living area if you are intending to relocate soon.

Turnable Location

The optimal place for the turntable, in our view, is at the top. It’s far simpler to change a record, and it doesn’t add to the chiropractor’s charge. If you want to showcase items on top of the stereo or don’t plan to use the turntable much, front-loading turntables are a good choice. This decision may have a significant impact on your pleasure.

Control Location

We feel that the top electronics control placement is the preferable location, similar to the turntable location. It’s far easier to improve the world’s finest music discovery service of all time: the radio. Most stereos, on the other hand, have controls on the front, which looks nice in images but isn’t optimal. It’s like having dishes in a low cabinet: you have to constantly bend down to operate buttons or turn knobs. One advantage of this front-facing approach is that your pals will think it’s great but won’t bother finding out what each button does.


There is a distinct shift in the materials and finishes of the stereos every 3 or 4 years. This is quite similar to what was going on with automobiles at the same time.

Rounded edges, plastic knobs, and mono audio were all popular in the late 1950s. There is a lot of gold trim. Green and bronze tonearms are seen on several turntables. For any mono audio equipment, two channels are combined into one.

Angled lines, plastic materials, and stereo audio were all popular in the early 1960s. If sound quality is important to you, this is the earliest I would get a stereo. The turntables are a lighter brown color with stereo sound.

Mid-sixties — More straight lines, metallic buttons, and a “space-age” aesthetic on the outside, as well as the first circuit board layout on the inside. I like them because they have a good mix of audio quality and aesthetics. This is the last of the tube electronics in which there is a delay in hearing music after turning it on. Metal tonearms were used on black and silver turntables.

The late 1960s — Very space-age, with more silver than gold, and one of the earliest solid-state devices with no warm-up period before playing music.


The brand is a personal choice, keeping in mind the primary theme of how to pick a vintage stereo console. The HiFi Clinic has a soft spot for Grundig’s high-quality German products. This was our first one, and we were pleased with the aesthetic and craftsmanship. The original owners have a healthy secondhand market for these.

Zenith, a Chicago electronics juggernaut in the 1960s and 1970s, is another famous brand. The issue with them is that the style is fairly “heavy,” and it is evident that it was not inspired by Denmark’s superb mid-century design.

Telefunken and Motorola are a few additional brands that are available.

Cabinet Color

When you receive the cabinet you want and it already has the color you desire, it’s a major victory. It is feasible to refinish these consoles, however since the woods are all walnut veneer, there is a limited margin for error while sanding off the original finish.

Dark– I like this style since it is extremely trendy and covers dings and dents. This hue especially pops in images when paired with a glossy sheen.

Greenish/Light Brown — This is a really uncommon color, and it’s not one of my favorites. It’s somewhere in the center, with none of the drawbacks of either extreme.

Blonde — A wonderful finish that highlights the wood grain while being light enough to contrast with dark furnishings.

Custom — If your console has a flat coat, you may go with a custom color scheme. Because the wood veneer is just around 1/16″ thick, a few passes with a revolving sander are sufficient.

Record Storage Size

The majority of these stereos aren’t built to hold a lot of records. Internal reverberation space was necessary to give these machines the finest sound, which restricted the amount of record storage capacity available. There are, however, a few alternatives to consider:

75 – I haven’t seen any cabinets with more room for storing records. This is definitely useful while you begin your record collection, but it will plainly not be enough if you go too far. The disadvantage of so enormous record storage is that it will outgrow the minimal cabinet size required. There are a lot of different records storing possibilities, so tread cautiously.

25 – Because there isn’t a lot of space between sizes, this size is only suitable for a limited collection. Tape Drive – I’ve seen a lot of stereos with a tape drive on top that takes up a lot of space. I’m not a fan of squandering a unique component like this, but if it’s absent, one inventive approach is to utilize the space to save your top 5-10 recordings. They’ll usually be stored flat, which isn’t the best method to keep them, but it’s an alternative. Alternatively, we offer a tutorial on how to turn a reel-to-reel player into a streaming music player.

Bluetooth Input

If you wish to sometimes wander into the current era and listen to music via your stereo, this is a must-have. Your pals will be completely taken aback. This function should be included in any well-repaired stereo. Music streaming may have put an end to iTunes, but it can’t put an end to vinyl.

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