For much of that time, phonograph speakers were small and sounded quite tinny. The entire experience changed when these vintage console stereos came on the market — cabinets that combined a record player, an amplifier and speakers (and often there was a built-in radio, too). They weren’t just technology — they were furniture, too.
Popular until the 1970s, when stereo components became the norm, these vintage stereo cabinets and decorative consoles helped bring marvelous music into millions of homes. Take a look!
Console stereos: A new experience in 360 high-fidelity, exclusive with Columbia (1957)
By exploring the whole universe of human hearing, both subconscious and conscious, Columbia now makes it possible for you and your family to experience the excitement of “Listening in Depth.”
Magnavox Continental AM-FM radio-phono stereo console (1957)
Small stereo cabinets from the 1950s
Ravinia High Fidelity Fonograf– “Magic Mind” Diskchanger. Three speakers–18-watts–50 to 15,000 cycles. Mahogany $239.95. Limed Oak or Cherry slightly higher. With AM-FM radio $339.95.
Overture High Fidelity Fonograf. Three speakers–8-watts– 50 to 15,000 cycles. Mahogany $189.95. Limed Oak or Cherry slightly higher. With AM- FM radio $289.95.
Prelude High Fidelity Fonograf–“Magic Mind” Diskchanger. Three speakers– powerful amplifier –50 to 15,000 cycles. Mahogany $169.95. Limed Oak or Cherry slightly higher. With AM radio $189.95.
Musicale High Fidelity Fonograf. Three speakers– powerful amplifier –50 to 15,000 cycles. Mahogany $149.95. Limed Oak or Cherry slightly higher. (Matching base or brass legs available.)
Console stereos: Packard Bell “Space-Age Stereo” cabinet(1960)
Here’s Stereo Hi-Fi “beyond the expected”! Packard Bell Stereo is engineered for total sound … custom-styled for Western homes.
You’ll agree it’s the most perfectly balanced stereophonic musical reproduction you’ve ever heard … in the best-looking selection of all-hardwood cabinets you’ve ever seen!
Now, wherever you sit, music surrounds you … you hear individual instruments as well as the entire orchestra with a rich resonance and clarity never before possible! The 4-speed phonograph with stereo cartridge and diamond needle plays all records … all sizes, all speeds.
Both regular monaural records and stereo records sound better. In addition, for listening variety, there’s a powerful AM-FM radio with AFC “no drift” tuning. Model RPC-8, with 3 sound sources, is available in four styles and finishes. Enjoy a demonstration of Space-Age Stereo at your Packard Bell dealer’s now.
Motorola Stereo Hi-Fi, in a stereo cabinet of the Drexel Declaration collection (1961)
This Motorola Stereo Hi-Fi matches perfectly all the fine-furniture pieces in Drexel’s Declaration grouping … and the charming simplicity of its Shaker-inspired design blends with any contemporary motif.
The exclusive Motorola Vibrasonic system bring you sound reverberation such as you hear in a “live” concert-hall performance. Three separate amplifiers and three separate speaker systems (instead of the usual two) assure unmatched tonal purity.
Motorola Stereo Hi-Fi and FM, in a console stereo cabinet of the Drexel Touraine collection (1962)
Gracious styling blends with the latest electronic advances — Stereo FM — to make Motorola’s Stereo Hi-Fi for 1962 the most exciting to see and hear.
Drexel Touraine is a delightful presentation of French Provincial design. The cabinet has all ex-posed solids and veneers of genuine walnut.
Tonal purity–whether from a stereo record or a Stereo FM broadcast–is achieved by Motorola’s use of three separate amplifiers and three separate speaker systems (instead of the usual two).
New Vibrasonic lets you dial the exact amount of reflected sound energy needed to compensate for the acoustical variations of your room.
New Motorola Stereo FM (optional) installs easily; may be added to the set now or later when Stereo FM broadcasting begins in your area.
SEE MORE MOTOROLA: 20 stunning space-age retro futuristic home concepts from the 60s
Vintage General Electric 10-speaker stereo cabinet (1962)
This 10-speaker stereo can send high-fidelity music through your household wiring to any other room where you plug in this receiver speaker.
Vintage Motorola console stereo hi-fi and radio coffee table (1963)
If you have an eye and ear for things that are more than run-of-the-mill, the stereo hi-fi Motorola has to offer should definitely impress you, whatever your thoughts on sound, size, or price…
Smart-looking console models come in a variety of styles and finishes for as low as $129.95. Many models give you the extra enjoyment of FM/AM and FM stereo radio. If fine furniture is just as important to you as stereo hi-fi sound, you’ll particularly appreciate Motorola’s exclusive Drexel models.
These unique pieces combine authentic Drexel craftsmanship with features like the Vibrasonic System that adds reflected sound energy to recorded music for alive vibrant sound, Dynamic Sound Focus, and Motorola’s famous three-channel sound output system.
Stereo hi-fi and FM /AM radio in a coffee table that’s as practical as it is good looking with a specially sealed fabric covering that’s mildew, stain and scuff resistant. Only $169.95. in choice of white or brown textured tweed.
Console stereos: Magnavox Astro-Sonic stereo in a French Provincial-style cabinet (1964)
5478 records later, you’ll be glad you bought a Philco (1964)
Have you ever figured that if you played just three records a day, you would total up 5,478 “plays” in five years. That’s why it just doesn’t pay to put good money into a second-rate, flimsily-constructed stereo phonograph.
Every Philco stereo, whether it be a compact portable or a Mastercraft console, is built to give you superb listening pleasure year after year, record after record. In fact, we encourage music lovers to load up a stack of records and enjoy background music all day.
One of Philco’s valuable features is a Background Sound Control that permits full-fidelity sound at low listening levels. Your records, too, will be glad you picked a Philco. You can actually drag the Scratch-Guard Floating Diamond Needle across a record without harm to the grooves. And the featherweight Philco tone arm practically eliminates wear.
If you have any idea of “going stereo,” we hope you’ll see a Philco dealer. The extra-lasting value of Philco products doesn’t make them more expensive; it just makes them more economical in the long run!
RCA Victor solid-state stereo cabinet (1965)
RCA Victor Stereo…for realism that rivals the concert hall
Critics heralded the opening of the Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center as a delight for the ear as well as the eye. The Pavilion’s architectural magnificence is apparent. Acoustically, it is brilliant.
Enjoy that same happy blend of form and function. At home. In your living room. With the sumptuous sight and sounds of an RCA Victor Solid State stereo. Your pleasure might be the Svalbard, shown. Its regal Danish manner belies its modest price tag. Just $349.95.
The Svalbard uses an all-transistor (no tube) stereo amplifier-56 watts of peak power for full-bodied, full-fidelity sound from both channels. The Studiomatic changer is gentle. Its Feather Action Tone Arm exerts only the lightest kind of pressure for optimum tracking. Solid State FM and AM radio, too — –with built-in FM Stereo.
“Signal Sentry” light tells you when FM Stereo broadcast is tuned in. You’ll hear it all, from radio or recording, as it was meant to be heard, through a six-speaker system that in-cludes two giant 15″ oval speakers.
Zenith home console stereo wood cabinet (1965)
Only Zenith gives you the perfect stereo blend — a 320 watt totally solid-state amplifier and tuning system powering eight matched and balanced speakers (including two giant 15″ woofers and two exponential horns) sealed in a full-width sound chamber — to create the most natural sound in home console stereo.
See the wide selection of Zenith quality stereo instruments — in the elegance of authentic fine furniture styling and exquisite hand-crafted cabinetry — at your Zenith dealer’s now.
Sylvania Spanish Provincial console stereo cabinet (1966)
Listen to our Spanish Provincial console. The music says superb stereo. The craftsmanship speaks for itself.
Thu music is unsurpassed by any comparable console stereo system available today. To the ear, Sylvania Classic Stereo is in a class by itself.
The 100-watt EIA all-transistor amplifier (160 watts peak power) handles music cleanly, without adding any unwanted characteristics. A new air-suspension speaker system eliminates all audible distortion. From records or FM stereo, music is crisp and alive at every level.
The furniture is styled in 17th Century Spanish Provincial. Carved in magnificent Pecan woods and veneers. Carefully handcrafted to express the period mood in the bench-made furniture tradition.
Top opens silently from the center and the furniture line is never broken to the eye. You’ll hear superb stereo inside elegant contemporary, provincial and traditional furniture at your Sylvania dealer’s.
Sylvania cabinet stereo (1969)
It sounds a lot better than it looks. What makes it sound so good is what you can’t see. The stuff we put inside.
Like our new FM tuner that pulls in weak stations more clearly, switches from monaural to stereo when tuning stations, and has the most efficient slide and pushbutton controls.
And our new amplifier that puts out a full 200 watts of EIA rated power so you don’t lose any high or low sound levels.
And our air-supension speakers with wide-angle sound that let you sit almost anywhere in the room and still get the full stereo effect.
And the Garrard SL 95 automatic turntable with Pickering cartridge for the smoothest sound reproduction you can get.
We put all these good things in because a great stereo should sound a lot better than it looks. And we think our new stereos look pretty good.
Zenith Natural Sound Stereo Cabinet (1969)
You are looking at two giant high-compliance woofers, four hard cone tweeters, a pair of exponential horns, a professional record changer with a scratchproof tone arm, a 320 watt solid-state amplifier, a solid-state AM, FM, Stereo FM radio, and an instant touch control panel.
You are looking at a Zenith. The world’s most advanced stereo components, blended and balanced by an exclusive, ultra-sensitive “Instant Touch” studio control panel.
If you appreciate fine music and beautiful furniture, don’t settle for less than Zenith Natural Sound Stereo.
Old-fashioned Magnavox console stereos (1974)
Magnavox stereo. When it’s not playing beautiful music, it’s still saying beautiful things about you.
A LATER GENERATION: Vintage 80s home stereo systems, personal stereos, TV sets and more