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> RCA Magic Brain Victrola
tferbe
post Nov 20 2005, 03:50 AM
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I'm looking for info on the RCA Magic Brain Victrola/Radio. It was advertised as being able to play both sides of a record without turning it over and used a "jewel-lite scanner that eliminated the needle and you could stack up to 15 records at a time. Were these units any good? How was the sound quality and are they a worthwhile investment to restore?
Thanks for any help. unsure.gif unsure.gif unsure.gif
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dismuke
post Nov 20 2005, 07:59 PM
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QUOTE(tferbe @ Nov 19 2005, 09:50 PM)
I'm looking for info on the RCA Magic Brain Victrola/Radio. It was advertised as being able to play both sides of a record without turning it over and  used a "jewel-lite scanner that eliminated the needle and you could stack up to 15 records at a time. Were these units any good? How was the sound quality and are they a worthwhile investment to restore?
Thanks for any help. unsure.gif  unsure.gif  unsure.gif

Do you actually have one that needs restoration?

My understanding is that not very many were made because World War II came along and all production of record players came to an end for several years. As a result, I think they are pretty hard to find. I have read that they had an excellent sound to them but I have no first hand experience with them. The "Magic Brain" by the way, was the name that RCA gave to its radio tuner on its more expensive models starting sometime around 1934 or so. So there were also "Magic Brain" radios that did not come with a phonograph player.

As to whether they are a worthwhile investment to restore - well, that just depends. I have no idea as to what one would be worth if you tried to sell it. Obviously you would have to factor in the cost of any restoration.

There does not seem to be a major interest on the part of collectors in old radio/phono combination sets from the 1940s. I have several portable radio/phono sets from the late 1930s and early 1940s that are in need of restoration that I picked up for next to nothing and have had trouble simply giving them away as I am really not into restoring such things myself. I suspect, however, a Magic Brain unit would attract more interest. But I have been to auctions held by a local vintage radio club where certain models of very beautiful restored antique radios were sold for far less than it would cost to hire someone to restore one. For example, floor model radio - which I think are very attractive - seem to not be very popular with collectors. The smaller cathedral and table top radios from the same era, however, can be quite expensive.

My suggestion as to whether it is a worthwhile investment to restore such a machine is to ask yourself if you would get sufficient pleasure and use out of having one in full working condition. If so, then it is worthwhile even if you might not be able to get all of your money back if you put it up for sale. Some of the models I have seen in advertisements were rather attractive pieces of furniture - so that is certainly a value as well. If you are primarily concerned about making a monetary return on the investment, you would really need to study what such machines go for and what sort of demand there is for them. If you are merely looking for something to play your 78 rpm records on and have them sound great - you are probably better off buying modern specialized equipment. But, on the other hand, if most of your records are from the late '30s and '40s, there is a certain charm about playing them on vintage equipment that you really do not get from using modern equipment.
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tferbe
post Nov 21 2005, 01:09 AM
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Thanks for your input Dismuke. I saw one of these radio/players at a flea market in need of mechanical and cosmetic restoration for $50.00. I would want it as a collectible item in my home not for resale. Your information was very helpful. biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif
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dismuke
post Nov 21 2005, 01:52 AM
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QUOTE(tferbe @ Nov 20 2005, 07:09 PM)
Thanks for your input Dismuke. I saw one of these radio/players at a flea market in need of mechanical and cosmetic restoration for $50.00.  I would want it as a collectible item in my home not for resale. Your information was very helpful. biggrin.gif  biggrin.gif  biggrin.gif

That's neat. Is it a console model? Some of those looked really nice. If you end up getting it and restoring it, by all means keep us updated and perhaps even post some "before" and "after" photos if you can.

If you go that route, here is a resource that may be userful. It is the website of a vintage radio club local to my area: Vintage Radio And Phonograph Society. Click on "Site Map" and then on "Links" and you will find links to a list of part supply shops, a list of people who offer restoration services and other potentially useful links. These are links are not necessarily local to the Fort Worth/Dallas area so it is possible that you might find some that are local to you. Plus one can always do a lot of stuff by mail order.
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Mark Atnip
post Mar 27 2010, 05:26 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHIAa_J0Rqc

This is a youtube link to a V225 Magic Brain Changer. It shows the process pretty well. Enjoy
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dismuke
post Mar 27 2010, 04:38 PM
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QUOTE (Mark Atnip @ Mar 27 2010, 12:26 AM) *
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHIAa_J0Rqc

This is a youtube link to a V225 Magic Brain Changer. It shows the process pretty well. Enjoy



Neat!
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mcarter1
post Sep 2 2010, 04:15 PM
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I have one of these for sale.
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victrolajazz
post Sep 2 2010, 07:03 PM
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QUOTE (mcarter1 @ Sep 2 2010, 11:15 AM) *
I have one of these for sale.

Where is the machine and how much? What condition?

Eddie the Collector (victrolajazz)
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mcarter1
post Sep 3 2010, 12:09 AM
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QUOTE (victrolajazz @ Sep 2 2010, 07:03 PM) *
Where is the machine and how much? What condition?

Eddie the Collector (victrolajazz)


I live in Providence, Rhode Island. The unit I have is the RCA Victrola V-225 console, which plays 78 records one way, then upside down. The record then gets ejected into the chute on the bottom left. On the top right there is a radio with all the buttons intact. I also found two phono crystals, stock #39919 boxed, inside the unit. The cabinetry is in perfect condition, but the unit does not work. It belonged to my grandparents, and after they passed away it became mine. I remember it worked in the 1980's. A few years ago my husband tried to turn it on, and maybe one of the wires started smoking, so he cut the wire. Everything (except the cut wire) is in original condition. I would like to sell it, as we are downsizing. If anyone is interested, my email address is mmmgbc@cox.net. I can provide pictures.
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Guest_Emilie_*
post Sep 19 2010, 04:20 AM
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Does anyone know the value of the v-225? I have one that we bought for $80 because it "didn't work." It actually does work. We've had it for about 8 years. I didn't realize until recently that it is a rarer model. Is there a value for a working one that is in pretty good shape? Mine is not for sale. I'm just wondering what it's value is.
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Mark Atnip
post Sep 29 2010, 02:47 AM
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I have never seen a fully functional example for sale for less than $2000, however I have seen non-functioning examples for $200.

Dismuke is correct when the talks about the ability to enjoy a machine vs. the amount of effort to restore it. Restoring this machine is a herculean task. Restoration of the mechanics will take weeks, IF you have all the parts. This does NOT include having the crystals rebuilt. From what I understand, the crystals are rather pricey to have repaired, and even repaired examples can vary in their quality. Having two that produce equal audio can be a tough thing to accomplish. The two I use are the best matched pair from a selection of five. The final issue is the very UN-user-friendly nature of the final adjustment process. Fixing something such as the drop point of the needle on the record requires the user to go through a process of about a dozen adjustments, even if only one of those adjustments is desired. Plan a day for it.

My magic brain has been functioning well for about 10 years with minimal upkeep, however it has been babied in every way other than the actual playing of the records. It was sold to me by a very experienced collector and restoration expert who was more than happy to get rid of it given the amount of maintenance he had performed on it over the years.

I am guessing that the main points regarding value lie in two areas: The flawlessness of the cabinet and the FULL functionality of the unit. A unit that does not have full function wouldn't interest me unless it was a real bargain. Probably $250 range, although I am sure there are some restoration experts that would value it higher.

I hope this helps out a little bit.

Mark
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