Some tubed stereo FM-devices




Nordmende type 3007 Grundig StereoMeister 3000 Aristona SA5210A

Philips B7X44A Philips B8X52A Philips tuner A5X93A

Aristona SA5234A Philips B6D31A Philips B6X43A

Telefunken Opus 2550 HiFi Telefunken RB45 HiFi speaker

click at each picture to enlarge
(All pictures are not in proportion to each other).

Brand and type: At row 1: from left to right: Nordmende type 3007 - Grundig StereoMeister 3000 - Aristona SA5210A.
At row 2: the Philips B7X44A, and the Philips B8X52A with the matching speakers type KD1034/01. At the right is the Philips-tuner A5X93A, so this one doesn't have power outputs but delivers a signal to feed to an external amplifier instead. It is in daily use in my living room.
At row 3: Aristona SA5234A, in the middle the German made Philips B6D31A, at the right the Philips B6X43A.
At row 4: Telefunken Opus 2550 Hifi, at the right the matching Telefunken speakerbox RB45 which has exactly the size of the radio. There's 2 of them of course, it's stereo.
All are able to receive stereo FM.

Very often, in spite of the word "stereo" on a dial, or a sign like this, only 2 output amplifiers are provided, without the necessary decoder for stereo FM-reception. The reason for this ridiculous (deceptive is a better word) measure was, that sometimes a radio could be upgraded later with an optional decoder, and thus the factory prematurely prepared the dial for the upgrade to come..... So you better not trust dial marks blindly in cases of "stereo FM-reception".

Produced: These are all representatives of the last tubed radio generation, dating from 1962/65. Philips and Aristona are Dutch makes (the B6D31A type-number indicates that it was produced in Germany). Aristona is a shadow brand of the Philips factories, sometimes the models are similar to the Philips models, or have some own gadgets. Nordmende, Telefunken and Grundig are of German origin.

Cabinet: Both the Aristonas, and the Philips radios B7X44A, B6X43A and B6D31A have built-in speakers. So for the rest you have to connect external ones. Actually, these should be called reciver instead of radio. The Nordmende has the word "Steuer-gerät" on its back, which means "driver device".
All cabinets are wooden or veneered presswood makes. The B7X44A has a distinguished appearance, it resembles a Greec temple somehow.
The Telefunken cabinet can be closed with a lid, which slides under the "ceiling" when in use.

Tubes: In these radios often exotic tubes can be found. Like the ECLL800 output tube, which both the German radios make use of. The Nordmende came with a new spare ECLL800 boxed in the cabinet. Or the EMM803 double-image magic eye in the same radio. The bigger part is for signal strenght, a small square indicates for stereo FM-reception. The others have a small bulb and a transistorized driver as a stereo indicator, except for the Aristona SA5234A and the Philips B6D31A which have a second EM87 for this purpose.The B8X52A has 2 ELL80 output tubes, as has the B6D. Furthermore real modern types like ECC803 and EAF801 are used in the Nordmende. The Aristona SA5210A has an oldfashioned EM80 magic eye aboard, as has the B6X43A. All the radios already have printed circuits on which the tube holders are mounted.
The Philips radios, except the B6D, and the Aristonas make use of transistorized stereo decoders.
The Telefunken has 14 tubes in total, 4 of them are outputs (EL95 types), 1 is the stereo decoder.

Power: They all have transformers suitable for mains supplies from 110V up to 240V AC and 50/60 Hz, so it was possible to use (and thus sell them) all over the world.

Bands: At all radios much of the same: Long-Medium-Shortwaves and FM. The B8X52A has 2 shortwave bands.

Controls: Of course the modern pushbuttons are found on all radios, and some have additional tonality switch-controls. And of course a mono/stereo switch. The Grundig has 5 FM presets.

Obtained: From flea markets or fellow collectors. The Nordmende I found at a sale of the local brass band, for a few guilders only, while the tubes alone are worth a fortune these days. All others also were not very expensive except for the tuner. But, these kind of radios are not widely spread. They have been in production for a short time only, being overruled by the all-transistor types which in a short period took over all functions. Including the last tubes bastion: power amplification. Nowadays only real audiophiles and guitar-players use these amps.
Once I had 2 otherTelefunken stereo's, both are sold.The same for 2 pcs. B7X44A and a B7X14A "stereo", without a decoder.

Condition: Apart from some tiny scratches they all are in good and complete condition. I have 2 more Saba stereo radios, they cannot be displayed yet for cosmetical reasons.

Working: All are in good working condition. Of course a good antenna or cable signal is needed for good stereo reception, the demands are higher then. The stereo indicator driver of the Philips and Aristona devices is a tricky part. It sometimes happens that a failing bulb ruins the driving transistors. And sometimes it just doesn't work, though all components are good, as are the other conditions. I seem to be the only person in the world having troubles with these indicators, as other collectors asured me that their radios were 100% OK, especially the indicators. Sure, I'll buy anything......
The Philips B6D31A produces a warm and brightly clear sound, in spite of the tiny output-transformers.
The Telefunken didn't need any repair after purchase, it works just great.
Both the Philips radios B7X and B8X have an interesting gimmick: a (spring driven) reverb-unit which gives a special sound when switched on. Luckily the effect is adjustable from hardly there, to a cathedral-like acoustic.