View Full Version : Squeezebox "Granada" Mod (50s radio)

2008-04-05, 11:53
I'm a big fan of those old, bulky, 50s/60s radios, those mono-tube-things we all might remember from our grandparents. Quite some time ago, I thought about adding a CD drive to one to allow some modern use, but never got around to do that. Lately, with most of my music ripped in mp3 and re-ripped in flac, I was thinking about it again, since it wouldn't mean slicing the housing for the CD slot.

Ok, first an important point: I would never have "destroyed" a working tube radio - that would be kind of an oldtimer, nearly antique ;) So I went to eBay and bought a broken radio, a Blaupunkt Granada. Only to let it set in a corner for a few months because I wasn't too sure how to mod it in a preserving way.

In the end, I decided I had to get rid of the old mono tube amplifier, so I went ahead and removed all the inner partly dead "life". Then, my next action was to remove the old front board canvas (looking and smelling like kitchen), and replace it with a new one (two layers of canvas, one fine to avoid that the wood could be seen, one coarse for the look).


At this point, I had to give up the Soundbridge, since it's housing was too thick, and bought and disassembled a Squeezebox instead:


Here's the housing part that is about to carry the Squeezebox, after lengthy hours of getting the right cuts into the thick metal, which is the main reason I gave up the Soundbridge: I would've had to use a flex to cut out a part as large as Soundbridge itself, and some of the attached structure behind it, and all in all created a way more difficult to mount mess.


And here's the Squeezebox mounted and playing:


Now, the important part left were the electrics; you've seen the amplifier (E-SA9, chosen for its small size I have to admit) in an earlier picture; I added two frequency crossovers and six Visaton speaker (two low midrange in the front, and two cone midrange and two dome tweeters for the sides); here's a non-final version of the mounted electrics:


Once that was playing (and the sound was much better than I had anticipated, very clear, no audible noise, and a really good stereo room feeling I never would've expected from both channels in the same housing), the only thing left was the front. I wanted to give it the antique radio feeling, keeping all the old buttons and control wheels, so my first thought was to replace the amplifiers potentionmeters with new ones mounted in place of the original ones. Changing the amplifier electrics could have unexpected influences on the sound though, so I ended up placing the amplifier control board exactly where I could just use an axle extension, and gave up treble and bass controls. With some slight modifications, I could solder the power cord to the old switches though, so that both volume and power are still the old way.

The final task was the front plate. The old radio scale wouldn't have allowed me to see the SBs display, so I went to a glazier's workshop. And nearly fell from my chair when he called me back with a cost estimate a week later. The whole mod wasn't a cheap one, but paying more than 200 bucks for a colored glass plate? I opted for a standard glass plate for a tenth of the price, and decided to "paint" it myself. Finding the proper paint was a bit challenging; the glazier told me a special paint imported from Australia would have to be used, but after some experiments that showed that standard spray paint doesn't attach itself very well to glas, I ended up with black car underbody protection spray, a cheap but absolutely perfect solution. No fancy colorful lines (that wouldn't have been in the glaziers version either), but a very nice black finish (sprayed on the inside, quite like the original, so that the front is easy to clean simple glas still).


And finally, everything mounted, about a year later (yes, I had a few "thinking" periods in which I forgot to continue the work ;) ), the final result, a Squeezebox-Granada combination that, except for the display and the slightly simpler front plate, doesn't show a clue that it's been updated 50 years into the present, and has working operation elements (though I mostly use the remote of course). The screensaver shown there was most fitting of the ones I tested; if you know about any third-party one that would even more "antique", please let me know.


2008-04-05, 12:23
Wow, impressive. I love retro-looking stuff with newer thecnology, looks great!

2008-04-07, 01:01
Nice mod CCRdude.

Very similar to some work in progress I'm doing to an old Bush bakelite case, a DAC90A if anyone's interested....

On the glass issue, if you want to restore the original aesthetic, you can print up a 'dial' on acetate (overhead projector film) and attach it to the inside face of the glass, this might restore some of the old style graphics, feel etc. You may have to take a good digiphoto of the original, then work it a little in photoshop, with a few trial print on normal paper to try out size etc. It can be backlit with a small cold cathode tube that case modders use quite cheaply.
Also on the acetate theme, if you get a pack of coloured acetates from a craft shop, you can change the colour of the display, eg a red acetate gives quite a nice orange glow from the SB VFD, as I found the electric VFD colours clashed with the 'old style' on my project.

Nice project though, I've no more room for an amp in my setup, but it does house my server as well as the SB! I must post the pics here soon as its nearly there.

2008-04-08, 05:35
Thanks for the hint! Colored overhead projector film sounds good! Hope the black print will be thick enough and the film would stick even to the glas, but definitively worth a try! I'll probably try some vector graphics program instead of a photo. Might take more time, but I like it perfect then ;)

A DAC90A looks even more antique if I believe the google image search, I agree: please post pictures when it's done :)

2008-04-09, 02:00
Some very nice work there Dude :)

It's something I would be tempted with doing at some point. I just need to get some time (yeah, like thats going to happen).

Patrick Dixon
2008-04-09, 02:20
It looks very nice but I'm sure the guys on the vintage radio forums would have a fit! The original chassis, probably only needs some capacitors and maybe a valve to restore it to it's former glory.

If you can, try to make the mods reversible and keep hold of the original valve chassis and parts just in case.

2008-04-09, 07:04
"It looks very nice but I'm sure the guys on the vintage radio forums would have a fit!"

I wonder what they'd make of this then......not mine, but a mod on a similar model.

I agree with your point Patrick, and some of those forums and sites provide a great source of info and tips for anyone considering mods such as this. In my case I had to alter the outside shell of my radio, so it is kinda irreversible. My chassis, complete with original speaker, paper/wax(?) capacitors, valves, crumbling wire insulation, and a front speaker grill (that would have been live if I had powered it up!) is untouched and available for free to any interested parties. I'll even throw in the genuine vintage dead spiders!

2008-04-10, 07:47
Ah yes, it was kind of sad when I had to decide on the first irreversible steps. The speakers were still "easy" - even though it went from 3 to 6 speakers, I did just replace the whole front board, and the two additional holes in the sides are at least covered by blinds. But creating a completely new chassis did look a bit too challenging for me. Didn't have the tools for metal work, so I would have had to build it in wood. But even then, the buttons would not have fitted in, as their mechanics was behind the outlets of the SB, so I would have had to create new button mechanics...

Oh, and it had been abused before - the previous owner seemed to have added two additional power switches on the back and some other wires that looked newer than the rest inside. Ok, a pro could've very likely restored it anyway, so, enough of my excuses, I'll try to feel bad on occasion ;)

Re Anemone: the front really looks awesome, especially in action :) But I probably would've spent a few bucks more for a smaller mainboard. There are quite small PC boards available for industrial purposes (power isn't such a factor here, right? even if slimserver is ugly to the cpu ;) ), and that 'open' left side really kind of hurts.

2009-01-31, 17:48
Is there anyway you still have the glass (or know where I can find a replacement) My uncle gave me a granada from Germany in mint condition except for of course the glass.

also - nice job looks sharp.

2009-02-02, 04:34
How bad is the glass?

It might be worthwhile taking a photograph of it, then tidying up the image in photoshop, or similar software, and printing it on an acetate, then fix the acetate to a new piece of glass.

2009-02-05, 04:49
I still have the glass, but its condition is quite far from mint as well.
The picture here shows a few of its problems:
There's even an edge broken away.

BTW: There were different Granadas, with different plates. Are you sure this is the right one?

And how could such a fragile glass be shipped? That might be more expensive than the whole radio was o.O (which was less than 50 euros, maybe because it was broken and I had to to some work on the wood as well)

If I would give it away, I would have to find a way to scan its layout in som way to be able to create a "perfect" adjusted version if I really should decide on creating a better front plate than the current black one.

(btw, that spray I used might be useful to restore front plates where just the black has fallen off as well!)

2009-04-03, 00:01
I love this, excellent job! The glass could be made nicer but one also has to follow his budget I guess.