The Roberts 1630 was the jewel of father's stereo equipment collection. He only brought it out on special occasions, typically on a Saturday afternoon when we were snowbound during a harsh Northern Ohio winter. No-one but my father was allowed to touch the Roberts 1630, in fact, only recently after my father had passed away did I actually handle it.
My father would place it under the front picture window in the living room, as this was where the only free outlet was available, thread one of his many tapes and soon the whole house would be filled with the sweet sounds of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. My father also listened to Glen Campbell and also had many "Big Band" recordings. One of my favorite songs my dad would play on the Roberts 1630 was Up, Up, and Away by The Fifth Dimension. I would ask him to replay this song over and over until he got frustrated and told be "The tape is going to wear out If I play that song one more time!" This was life in our 1970s household.
Then 1980 came, and the Roberts 1630 would stay banished in my father's closet for over 30 years until it came into my possession. Reasons for the banishment of the Roberts 1630 was that our family grew with the addition of my two younger siblings reducing "free time". In addition, this new fangled device called a cassette player became an addition to our household. It was much easier to plop a audio cassette in our new Panasonic tape deck then to fiddle with miles of open reel to reel tape. Dad even trusted even us young'uns with the cassette tape deck as it was simple operate and difficult, but not impossible, to break.
Threading the Roberts 1630
I inherited my dad's complete collection of reel to reel tapes along with his Roberts 1630. One of the first obstacles was to figure out how to thread the tape. As mentioned, I was never allowed to touch the Roberts 1630 as a kid and, growing up mainly in era of audio cassettes, never have done this before. After many failed attempts I "Googled" Roberts 1630 and found several pictures of this reel to reel model with a threaded tape. One of the first tapes I picked was a recording of me playing my interpretation of "Oh when the saints come marching in" on my Trumpet circa 1979. I was in fourth grade at the time.
The Roberts 1630 needs some cosmetic repair, as you can see the vinyl covering the front cabinet is curling at the edges. I want to restore it to its grandeur, like what it looked like when it was first removed from the box in 1964.
In addition, one of the posts that hold the Roberts logo has broken. This also needs to be repaired.
The rest of the case is in pretty good order with very few imperfections.
The original take-up reel and rubber caps that hold the real in place are still in pretty good shape. The take-up reel has yellowed over the years but that is to be expected.
Radio Restoration Books On Amazon
I consult books often during radio restoration. I grew up in the transistor and rectifier era and these books taught me a lot about vacuum tube and selium rectifier technology.
Below is a picture of the bottom of the Roberts 1630 with all its connections. Looks like you have the ability of using the built in or external speakers. You could also feed the output of the reel to reel into an external audio amplifier or you could use the Roberts 1630 as an amplifier for a phonograph or modular FM stereo receiver.
In the next couple months I will completely refurbish my father's vintage Roberts 1630 reel to reel tape recorder, inside and out. Stop back at http://www.radioboatanchor.com/ to the see restoration process and amazing results!
Who Writes This Blog?
John is an IT professional from Cleveland, OH who enjoys amateur radio, ham radio, metal detecting,
Copyright © 2017
Radio Boat Anchor
This page and all the pages on Radio Boat Anchor generate income based on an affiliate relationship with our partners including Zazzle, Amazon, and Google. Prices listed are subject to change without notice.