Picture of Retro Hi-Fi Project
Bought an old Webcor Hi-Fi at a thrift store for 30 bucks . . . it came with a broken record player and a blown out mono tube-amp. I decided out with the old and in with the new! It's now got a Sony 5-disc CD changer and a tripath amp along with a few other goodies. Total project took me about 100 hours over 6-months time. Normally I like to do things with a little more precision, but was too lazy to machine anything, so I just did everything rather crudely in my apartment. Overall sound with the tripath amp is excellent!

Step 1: Scoring a Nifty Lookin Hi-Fi

I found my Hi-Fi at a thrift store in San Francisco's Mission District, but don't just limit your search to thrift stores. Since starting this project, I've seen a lot of these things at antique stores and garage sales. I guess there's not much "perceived" use for low-quality record players and mono-amplifiers!

When buying your retro-stereo, try to have an idea in mind what you want to do with it, and make sure that the layout of your "antique" won't make your modifications impossible. My Hi-Fi originally had volume and tone knobs and a huge blank panel in-between where I'd eventually put the CD control buttons.

Have a vision . . . it'll make your life easier!
If Verbatim doesn't make these vinyl look CDs, EMTEC also have colored vinyl look CDs. They have rather small label size, in different colors.
mryoshisan3 years ago
Why not mount the speakers underneath in the void.

Nipper would be proud.

I love the old HIFI's... They don't make them like that anymore (that made me sound like an old fart!) Now get off my lawn!

Here's one of my old HiFi's

i have a old eico hf-81
waiting to get speakers right now
lemonie8 years ago
This is very nice.
As one finishing touch, how about spraying your CDs black, and adding custom old style LP labels to them?
(Or rather copies of your CDs)

thats what it says on the back of my TV thats been RCA's slogan for decades.
erfonz lemonie8 years ago
That dog and gramophone remind me of a Banksy.
jeffkobi (author)  lemonie8 years ago
Excellent idea! You got me motivated to do a quick search for labels, and I actually found blank vinyl CD's! from Verbatim:
Well I can't say I'm too suprised that someone sells them, but I would't have thought it if you hadn't brought this to my attention, thanks. L
canyonmn7 years ago
I'm sure what you've got works perfectly, but for future use, there are "clip-on" ribbon cable ends that you could have clipped on both cables and created your extension that way. I get a headache just thinking about how difficult that soldering job must have been .. :-)
jeffkobi (author)  canyonmn7 years ago
ahh, just looked those up . . . yep definitely would've helped! unfortunately, most of the work was done in the wee hours of the morning when stores weren't open, and i "just wanted to get it done." luckily, i got my first soldering iron when i was about 8 (RC cars), so i've had a lot of practice!
Yes .. I noticed, after reading through your instructable, that you enjoy soldering .. so it probably wasn't a bit deal for you .. :-) Great job!!
djslacker8 years ago
Using your instructable, how much time do you think that someone could cut off your 100 hours? Also, do you know how much all of the parts cost, besides the original cabinet and 6-disc changer???
jeffkobi (author)  djslacker8 years ago
You could probably cut it down to around 50 hours of total work time if you work quickly, and have a nice shop setup, rather than an apartment floor and jigsaw. Since I did it over a 6-month span, I often had to figure out where I left off! Other costs: Amp-$30 Amp power supply, regulator, capacitor - $18 Pushbuttons & switches - $25 Aluminum box for CD guts - $15 Everything else, I basically had laying around, misc wood/lexan, ethernet cable for wiring, power cords from old computers
xsmurf jeffkobi7 years ago
Where did you get the amp for $30? It seem to hoover around $60 to $80 :/
hernanai xsmurf7 years ago
lol... "hoover" you meant "hover..."
jeffkobi (author)  xsmurf7 years ago
the original t-amp sold for $30-$35 back in the day (i.e. last year) at parts express, but didn't come with a power supply ($25 extra). the new gen2 model comes with a power supply, so they upped the price . . .
hoganape7 years ago
Very nice! I've always been a fan of retro stereos. I have been keeping an eye out for a large cocktail style cabinet for just this type of thing, but I never can find one that I like. Beautiful project!
elcure7 years ago
Just GREAT! I really liked this one. I live in Mexico and round here there is a lot of old hi-fi devices lying arround. I will make one of those. Thanks for the great ideas.
Stegs7 years ago
awe inspiring. the switches and knobs look phenomenal.
Mr. Rig It8 years ago
I can think of so many compliments to give you on this project. Your 6 month process paid off. Great job A+ This one is a true favorite on my list.
Mr. Rig It8 years ago
Can you please tell me what is the job of the filtering capacitors is exactly? It's all Greek to me. Thank you.
mdmoose298 years ago
best instructable i have seen in a loooooong time. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I am definately going to have to resume some of my unfinished projects because of this. :)
PCvsMac8 years ago
Lovely! Also, there is a part of section twelve (like when you lean over it it sticks in your stomach, the bit that is protruding out and makes it look like a pinbll machine) where there dosen't seem to be anything. Rather than spoiling the looks with some dirty speakers on top, why not integrate it? (The section where I have shoddily described where it should be. If you DID follow this message, let me know, because even I don't think I followed it...) Or would it just spoil it? Or have you done this?
jeffkobi (author)  PCvsMac8 years ago
I originally wanted to integrate the speakers, but when I heard how fantastic the tripath amp actually was, I couldn't bring myself to destroy it's imaging by putting the L and R speakers next to each other! It's currently got a small plant sitting on top of it, with the speakers on stands in my living room. Absolutely amazing to listen to, but again, I give all the credit to the amp!
Cool Dude. Hmmm... Why not try to turn a tacky radio into a design from an earlier era? (I.e. Why not disasemble a radio and place it inside a box which resembles a 50's design? (Or whatever.) Seems like fun!
jeffkobi (author)  PCvsMac8 years ago
Have you seen this instructable (not one of mine): http://www.instructables.com/id/EYGHQAEF2XW9Q5N/ A very cool "vintage" take on internet radio!

Here's a preview of the next one I'll be posting, an Apple floppy drive amplifier . . . I'm a big fan of anachronisms, especially when it comes to good designs from the past!
SacTownSue8 years ago
Amazing. Impressive job. The black CD's are the perfect touch. Love it. Brings back memories of summers in the musty basement listening to 78's and 45's. Maybe I'll try something like this someday.
jeffkobi (author)  SacTownSue8 years ago
If you get around to making your own version, definitely let me know as I'd be more than happy to help in any way I can!
LasVegas8 years ago
Beautiful job. Sad that the original Webcor wasn't restorable. This is most definitely, a great reuse of the cabinet.
meddler8 years ago
Wow, this is cool.I'm no good with electronics, i do love the style of antique radios, so this is a neat thing to see.
I love it! Enter this into the Laser Cutter Contest!!!!!!
admanrocks8 years ago
this is really cool