A favorite of record collectors who want to hear their 1920s 78s exactly as they were intended to be heard, the Orthophonic Victrola represents the apex of development of the acoustic talking machine. Victor purchased patents from Western Electric for a horn which folded over itself increasing in exponential proportions -- this and the new process of electrical recording deepened the frequency range by about two octaves, yielding a rich, impressive bass heretofore unheard in acoustic machines.
The Credenza, introduced in 1925, was the largest of the Orthophonic models. Production was relatively high, so it's not exceedingly rare, but it has always been exceeding popular and collectible because of its unsurpassed sound.
Please do not confuse the Credenza offered here with a Credenza listed on ebay or some other venue. Credenzas are worthy machines, but there are a few factors you must consider before purchase.
The first thing you should be aware of is the reproducer, which is the heart of the machine. A few early Orthophonic Victrolas were equipped with brass reproducers, but most Orthophonics were sold with pot metal reproducers. The pot metal reproducers sounded great when they left the factory, but over the years the pot metal swelled, crumbled and disintegrated. A pot metal reproducer like this isn't rebuildable. You may get some sound, but the sound you will get will at best seem like listening through a tub of jello.
Because of this, because you want to fully enjoy your records, the brass reproducer is very desirable and represents a substantial part of your investment in the machine. . I have seen the brass reproducer alone sell for $600.
The Orthophonic Credenza here comes with a brass reproducer, and that is one way that it differs from a machine from some other venue.
The second factor you should be aware of involves the quadruple spring motor on these machine. This is a very good motor, Victor's largest, allowing for extended playing time, and when properly restored runs beautifully smooth. The problem here is that in this motor the old grease in the barrels seems particularly prone to drying up. The spring sticks to itself, then releases, causing the machine to speed up and slow down, and produces a terrifying thunder-like jolt from the barrel. The whole cabinet shakes. This probably isn't the way you want to enjoy your 1920s jazz.
The proper way to remedy this is to pull, clean and re-grease all four mainsprings, but this is a big, messy, expensive job. It's not something an ebay seller is going to do for you, even if he knows it should be done. It's also something I have done to the motor on this machine, and that is the second way that this Orthophonic Credenza differs from one on some other venue. And while I was doing this I also polished the governor shaft and re-lubricated the turntable shaft bearing just to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Besides all that, this Credenza has very decent original finish, original grille cloth, etc.
Looking for a Credenza? Get a good one.
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