Nordmende -Sterling Tannhauser USA
6 speakers, 7 tone controls, 11 tubes
This is definitely a boatanchor even if it isn't made of heavy metal. The Nordmende -Sterling Tannhauser USA has 11 tubes plus solid state rectifier and 6 speakers (separate woofers and tweeters on each side and two midrange in front), is 27 inches wide (think one and a half rack widths!) and covers long wave, BC, short wave and FM. It is designed for stereo from a phono turntable or tape recorder but does not have an internal FM multiplex adapter. To my knowledge, FM stereo was still experimental when this model was designed.
I bought this radio at an antique radio swapmeet. The prior owner had not been able to find a schematic and had been unable to repair it. I find it difficult to resist a repair challenge, especially in a radio with great styling in very good cosmetic condition. How many table model radios sport 11 tubes plus rectifier, have 6 speakers, and are as wide as an old Zenith console radio?
To control tone, the Tannhauser has 2 knobs (Alto and Treble) and 5 switches (Bass, Speech, Presence, Orchestra, Brilliant). The center push-keys are labeled Off, Phono, Tape Recorder, LW, Direction Finding, BC, SW, and FM. The "Direction Finding" key works with either LW or BC and switches in a rotating loop-stick rod antenna whose position is turned by the right hand knob.
Why my wife likes it
My Dutch-American XYL (XYL is ham radio parlance for wife). insists her grandparents had an identical set. This was confirmed by her visiting aunt who wondered how we had managed to obtain the radio.
The European version of the Nordmende "Tannhauser Stereo" can be found at this link. According to the site, the original price of the German version was 475 DM, serious money for a radio in 1960-61. I suspect this radio was intended for an upscale audience. Was there a European entertainment table radio with more tubes than this one?
B+ was missing. I found an open "thing" in the power supply feed. I thought at first that it was a diode, but determined it to be resistor of probably about 50 ohms, replaced it and solved the missing B+ problem. What had me puzzled at first was the location of the rectifier. I could not find a separate rectifier. I believe it to be integral with the power transformer and could see why the former owner could not solve the problem of the missing B+. He likely couldn't find the rectifier.
The radio also needed a thorough application of deoxit on all the various controls and switches.
After repairing the radio, I learned that schematics are available. Gary S. sent info that the schematic for the Tannhauser USA is included in Sams Photofacts (638, folder 12.)
Franck G. wrote that the schematics for the Tannhauser and other European radios are available for download. Look under Nordmende Tannhaueser 58.
Tube complement is EAA91 (6AL5), EBF89 (6DC8), ECC82 (12AU7), two ECC83 (12AX7), ECC85 (6AQ8), ECH81 (6AJ8), EF89 (6DA6), two ELL80 (6HU8), and EM84 (6FG6). European-American tube equivalent information starts at page 61 in the Allied Electronics Data Handbook available on-line from WA7ZOZ .
The name "Tannhauser"
I first thought this must have some German meaning such as "great tone in the house", especially with 6 speakers and 7 ways to control the tone. However, I learned that Wagner wrote an opera called "Tannhauser", and that this was the origin of the name. Tannhauser is the opera's chief character. It's interesting the things you learn as you investigate various radios. In any case, this radio does bring "great sound to the house" ;-)
The Lafayette KT-200 Receiver (HE-10) was the previous item on the bench.