Archive for the ‘Retro’ Category

Hack an old Boombox to give line in

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

The execution’s a bit sloppy and as some commenters have pointed out, he could probably have just used the DIN socket, but the concept’s good:

Hacking a line-in socket into an 80s radio and cassette player

As well as allowing connection of phones and other media players, it will allow playback of the PS-F5/9 through the boombox speakers.  A relatively inexpensive way of getting good quality sound (good quality boomboxes can be had for some very reasonable prices on eBay) with the bonus of keeping your kit in the right decade 😉

Posted in Accessories, analogue, ebay, Retro, Weird & Wonderful | No Comments »

Super Midget

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Not seen one of these before. I like the design, but the build quality looks pretty crumby.


Posted in All things vinyl, analogue, Related Devices, Retro | No Comments »

retr0bright instructions

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

I’ve started gathering the ingredients to mix up some retr0bright, but still some way off. Today I found this Google translated French article describing the process:

Retr0bright on Obligement.

Posted in Retro, Weird & Wonderful | No Comments »

Thorens Excelda Portable Gramophone

Monday, March 7th, 2011

This week I visited the Ardingly Antiques Fair. While I left empty handed, I did spot one of these Thorens portable turntables:

View a 3D rotating image from the British Museum here

It looked like it was complete, but wasn’t in great condition. Originally made in Switzerland in the 1920s, surely this has to be one of the earliest small portable turntables made. It was known as a CameraPhone due to the fact that it looked like a folding camera when folded up. So it was the first Camera Phone too 😉

Thorens Exelda “CameraPhone” Portable Phonograph ~ Switzerland c1920 What a cool little device this is: a hand cranked motorized portable phonograph that stores in a case that masquerades as a folding camera. Made in Switzerland by Thorens of St. Croix, this is the Exelda 78 rpm portable gramophone often referred to as the CameraPhone. Measuring only 28 x 12 x 6 cm (11 x 4.5 x 2.3 inch,) the turntable tone arm, head, and crank all store neatly inside the ornately painted metal case. The turntable has a nut that holds the record in place and it also acts as a closing lock for the case. There is an on/off speed lever on the inside and it comes with a packet of extra needles. It is in excellent condition and plays perfectly and is actually quite loud for such a little thing. Taken from Victor Phonogrpahs

While trying to find what it was online, I also found this portable Thorens, which is the best looking suitcase turntable that I’ve seen:


View more images of this suitcase turntable on Flickr

Posted in Related Devices, Retro | 1 Comment »

Columbia’s Portable Mixing Rig

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Recently spotted a Columbia GMX-3 mixer on eBay. A portable mixer from Japan which is designed to be used with a pair of GP-3 portable turntables. Interesting piece of kit, but from what I can find online the turntables are only mono although they do have pitch control and built in speaker. Each device runs on either 100/110VAC (with built in tranformer) or batteries.

Going on recent eBay prices it would cost over £350 (US$560) to buy a pair of turntables and a mixer.

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Posted in All things vinyl, analogue, Related Devices, Retro, video, Weird & Wonderful | No Comments »

A More Vintage Portable Turntable?

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010


(Thanks to Bill B for the image)

Posted in All things vinyl, analogue, Related Devices, Retro, Weird & Wonderful | No Comments »

Retr0Bright – De-yellow your Sony?

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

After the question posed by A.R. on this post, and my request for a “magical chemical solution” he did some amazing detective work and found a possible solution to the yellowing problem that many Sony PS-F5s and PS-F9s exhibit in their old age. This is mainly brought on by exposure to Ultra Violet radiation which reacts with chemicals in the ABS plastic of the case.

Some vintage gadget enthusiasts have come up with a home-brew chemical gel that can be applied to yellowed plastic which restores it to its original colour. This wonderful sounding product’s called Retr0bright.

“We have now proved on several forums that plastics yellowing can be completely reversed in hours without damage using our mixture.”

There are a number of recipes on their Wiki. Thankfully all of the chemicals involved are easily obtainable (at least here in the UK) and all are safe apart from Hydrogen Peroxide, which is the main ingredient in hair bleach and is to be treated with respect. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles and work in a well ventilated room.

I was initially concerned about any chemical solution affecting the printing on the case, but then I saw this Lego piece in the Retr0Bright gallery, which is painted. The paint appears unaffected by the process:

Although the Problems and Pitfalls page on the site does show some examples of label fade, the printing on the PS-F5 is generally of good quality with a heavy black ink, so hopefully this won’t be too much of an issue, especially if the Sony’s not too yellowed, and therefore doesn’t require many applications.

There are other examples in the gallery with stickers and paint too, all of which suggest that it should be safe. Something I’m not sure about is whether the smoked transparent plastic on the front of the case would need to be removed prior to applying the gel. Maybe masking would be safest, attempting to remove the glued in smoked panel may cause breakage.

I’d like to give this a try, but would really appreciate it if anyone out there has a spare case (or piece of case, ideally one with some printing) for their PS-F5 that they’re willing to experiment on and report back to the site so I can let everyone know for sure that this works on our Sonys and is safe.

“There were an incredible number of people at first that said this was impossible – that was until they saw the pictures, then tried it and proved it for themselves. The usual reaction was ‘No way!’ then ‘WOW!!’.

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Posted in Retro, Sony PS-F5, Sony PS-F9, Weird & Wonderful | 5 Comments »

Clean & Complete PS-F5 for sale on Craigslist

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

This looks to be a mighty fine example. I’ve seen worse go for more money on eBay. If you’re looking for a clean PS-F5 with all the trimmings (apart from a case & power supply) and have a spare 500 bucks to spend, this could well be for you.

The description reads “comes with original box,manual,rca cables,sony mdr-30t headphones,it plays record and sound good,clean battery compartment”

View the ad here

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Posted in Retro, Sony PS-F5 | 1 Comment »

Big Bird’s on the cut

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Think I saw one of these in a shop in Santa Cruz, California. Unfortunately it was closed.[youtube]SwfZac2s-XU[/youtube]

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Posted in All things vinyl, Related Devices, Retro | No Comments »

Baird Emerson Wondergram

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

First produced in London by Baird in 1960, this is probably the first portable record player to have a similar form factor to the PS-F5. Definitely a direct ancestor.

Emerson Ph1


The design is truly ingenious, open the lid, pop your disc onto the spindle and gently place the needle on the end of the tone arm into the groove and it starts playing. The record is spun by a pair of wheels set into the top of the case, they are spaced so that the innermost one drives 45s, and the out one drives LPs. To stop both wheels trying to drive the disc at the same time the inner one is slightly smaller, so that when you are playing an LP it doesn’t come into contact with the record. The speaker is on the underside, and you would think that the sound will be muffled, but they have that one covered. Three spring–loaded feet raise the player off he ground, allowing the three-transistor amplifier full reign to blast your socks off. Actually it’s not that loud but it’s enough to fill a small room – providing there’s not too much background noise…

From Dusty Gizmos.



Lots of photos and info on Electric Gramophone, including a complete strip-down.




Posted in All things vinyl, analogue, Related Devices, Retro | 3 Comments »