<VV> Corvair Radio/Speakers
tonyu at roava.net
Mon Oct 3 03:39:58 EDT 2005
At 05:58 hours 10/02/2005, Russ Moorhouse wrote:
>My '65 coupe has the original AM/FM with rear seat speaker in
>it. The original owner replaced the stock speakers with Clark's
>replacement speakers at some point, but he doesn't remember when.
>The problem I have with the radio is it doesn't hold well on a
>station when it's set on FM. It shifts slightly and you have to
>deep adjusting the tuner knob. Also the sound doesn't have much in
>the way of frequency range. It's rather tinny sounding, about equal
>to an old hand held transistor radio,
>Is this normal for these radios to be this way? I don't remember my
>'64 Olds F-85 sounding like this and it only had an AM radio, the
>same with my '65 Impala. Did they just use a very basic radio on the Corvair?
They weren't bad for the times. They were in fact well made and
tough, durable, etc. But after a couple dozen years the
electrolytic caps dry out and performance really falters, and
depending on which capacitors fail, the sound quality can indeed get
lousy and tinny sounding accompanied with off--channel "flutter" and
motorboating etc depending on which ones fail.
The caps and some alignment (which drifts over the years) will
usually perk a marginal old Delco AM or AM/FM right up.
There is also a trick or two that can be pulled which will crispen up
the sound quality on FM. Seems many radio manufacturers would clamp
the high freqs in these radios by shunting some of the higher freq
audio to ground with capacitors along the low level audio
pathway. It helped "smooth out" the sound which was pleasing to the
jaundiced ear of the sort of prospective buyer who would be prone to
listening to what was generally heard on FM at the time... which was
elevator music for the most part; that, and classical, both of which
were regarded as being better when played "smooth"... or
something. And of course Delco didn't help things with those
original speakers which had zero response over around 5k or
thereabouts. But for the FM customer of the day, it was perfectly
acceptable for FM to sound like AM...
Today this notion is long since gone.
And yes, the Corvair AM/FM Delco radio can be "crisped up" a bit with
some careful attention to swapping out a couple of audio bypass
capacitors with a couple more with about 1/4 the value. It still
drops a bit of the background "hiss" which germanium transistor tech
tended to generate, but it allows the higher audio frequencies to
come through... providing you do something about the original factory
design speakers GM was putting in Corvairs which were terrible. An
8 ohm coax speaker of decent quality can make a "perked" Corvair
AM/FM sound a lot better than it ever did out of the box.
Don't give up on that factory radio just yet...
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