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 Post subject: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:04 pm 
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Victor O
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:09 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Buffalo, NY
My brother sent me some photos of some phonographs he found in a couple of local shops - a couple of credenzas, a Brunswick portable, a tabletop Victrola... and an Edison Amberola 30 in oak...They are asking $399 for it, and I am curious as to whether that's a fair price. I haven't been there to check it out mechanically yet, so I have no idea as to it's functionality. It DOES look pretty nice physically, though....What are the thoughts of the knowledgeable folks? What should I look for in terms of inherent issues with them when I go look it over?


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:50 pm 
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Victor IV
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"Did you ever stop to think that pleasure is a duty?" (Victor sales pamphlet)
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In my opinion $300.00 would be a fair antique shop price for an Amberola 30 in very good condition. The one pictured is an earlier model with exposed speed control knob and nickel finished reproducer. The grillcloth is a replacement.
Amberola 30s are robust little machines. By all means, play a cylinder and listen for excess motor noise. A good motor will run smoothly and quietly. Listen for "pre-echo" overtones during playback, which if present may indicate a worn diamond stylus. Replacements are available for about $110.00, but that should be factored into your purchase price if needed.
I'm sure there'll be other recommendations too. Good luck!
Bob
"Comparison is the thief of joy" Theodore Roosevelt


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:00 pm 
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Victor V
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:54 pm
Posts: 2641
$399 is not an absurd price for an antique shop, assuming it's running well and has a good stylus. However, you can get a 30 for more like $300 from virtually anyone on the board. I have 3 or 4 spares at the moment, all decent working machines.

I rather like the 30. It's a good performer for its size and a good first cylinder machine for anyone interested in getting started.


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:22 pm 
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Victor II
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Location: Riverside, California
I'm playing mine right now. Mine is extremely similar, wood finish looks the same, and the speed control knob is nice IMO. Mine doesn't even have the nickled reproducer. It all comes down to if the stylus is good. Do the listening test as suggested but also just let it run over some shiny part of a cylinder and make sure it doesn't leave obvious lines.

I play my Amberola 30 more than any other cylinder machine, despite its small horn. They're just really convenient and easy to move. Fun to tinker with, too. It's sitting on my bed now (I told you it gets moved around a lot) and despite being not level, it plays. Once you get everything in order, it's hard to get them to stop working.
"There are two kinds of people in this world: people who eat grapes in the grocery store and good people."


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:12 am 
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Victor O
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:09 pm
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Location: Buffalo, NY
barnettrp21122 wrote:
....Listen for "pre-echo" overtones during playback.....
Bob


I'm not sure what to be listening for - I've never heard that term before....


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:16 am 
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Victor VI
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andyjon100 wrote:
barnettrp21122 wrote:
....Listen for "pre-echo" overtones during playback.....
Bob


I'm not sure what to be listening for - I've never heard that term before....

When playing a cylinder record (make sure it's a true 4 minute record first - "plastic", NOT WAX) it'll sound like there's an echo, if the diamond stylus is chipped. You can also use a loupe to inspect the stylus - it should be evenly rounded and polished smooth.

Best of luck,
Fran
Francis; "i" for him, "e" for her
"Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while" - the unappreciative supervisor.


Last edited by fran604g on Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:54 am 
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Victor V
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My first cylinder machine was an early Amberola 30 with nickel reproducer, exposed speed control and original grille cloth. I never had any trouble with it.

One thing to watch out for is minor chips in the oak veneer. It is rare to find an Amberola 30 without some such damage.


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:36 pm 
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Victor IV
I've got both kinds of music--classical & rag-time.
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:39 am
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Location: South Carolina
And if you get it, it might sound okay, but the Diamond C reproducer is capable of so much more if it is rebuilt. The original diaphragms are not very good after all these years but they are reproduced. I love Amberola 30s and if I had room there would be quite a few of them in my collection. Their neat, trim Mission- or Arts-and-Crafts cases work as well in modern rooms as in period settings, and if you set one on a corner table in a modern house it would probably blend right in.

I have an extremely late Third Style of the Amberola 30, the highest serial number found so far. Hope there are more out there, but it's pretty steep. I guess it's a later 1920s model but the early 1915-1916 style machines are really nice with their good speed dials. (On mine the gear cover has to be removed so I can adjust it with a screwdriver.)

I have never used an exact replica diaphragm on mine, but I have used a TrueTone by Larry H. and an experimental model by Herman which is on mine now. The machine was in very poor condition when I bought it and had to be entirely rebuilt. Surprisingly, the motor still ran.

They're tough to set up at first but Herman's is a nice all-rounder with a good clean sound, lots of bright tone and clear voices. The TrueTone is amazing for dance records. It has about as big a bass tone as you can get from an old Edwardian-era gramophone and a good 78rpm disc record.

I had trouble fitting Herman's at first. The links on both are a fixed length so make sure the needle bar hook is open enough to fit the cord onto, and that you use the adjusting screw on top of the reproducer to adjust the hang on the big counterweight. With a Blue Amberol Record they shine, of course, but I find incredible sound from U-S Everlastings, Albany Indestructibles, Vulcans, and Edisonia Records as well.

If you could have only one phonograph an Amberola 30 isn't a bad little machine. No needles to change, no belt to slip, and only two levers to start it--why, it's almost like an electric. And the sound in a good room can be fabulous, though they do tend, with their tiny horns, to depend strongly on room acoustics.

I used to make veneer kits for them but ran out. Perhaps I shall resume production if there is enough demand--I was selling some that looked about like the Edison factory stuff & still know where to buy it in bulk.


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:48 pm 
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Victor VI
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If you can bargain the price down a bit, it would be a good buy.

My first machine was a 30 of the same vintage, a birthday present from my parents. They paid $40 for it - but that was over 45 years ago; and the poor thing was in wretched cosmetic shape. I learned a lot about basic restoration on that Amberola (like NOT disengaging the governor while the motor is wound up :oops: ); and now it looks quite presentable and plays wonderfully.

Besides rebuilding the reproducer, and using a good new diaphragm, you can improve the sound quality by insulating the horn suspension spring, as well as other points of contact between the horn and the rest of the machine.

Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Edison Amberola 30
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:15 am 
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Victor O
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:09 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Buffalo, NY
Thank you all for the tips. I'll report back as soon as I get the opportunity to get over and check it out, probably mid week.


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