Country of Manufacture:United Kingdom
Release dates:1959 - 1962
Speeds: 1 7/8, 3 3/4, 7 1/2
Max Reel Size("): 7"
Number of heads: 2
Head Composition: Permalloy
Head Configuration: Mono - Half-Track
Frequency Response:(all 3 dB): 7½ ips: 50Hz - 14kHz
Wow and Flutter:better than 0.02% at 7½ ips
Sound quality rating:5 / 10
Long-term reliability rating: 5/ 10
Manufactured by Birmingham Electronic Products, the Norfield Consolette was a boldly designed console utilising a Motek K-9 deck.
Features included three speeds (7½, 3¾ & 17/8ips), monitoring mixing, 7″ reel capacity, straight-through amplifier with 3 watts output, 6 x 4 inch elliptical front-mounted speaker and a
cream and coffee coloured console cabinet with detachable legs.
Included in the price of 48 GNS (£50 8s) was an Acos 40 microphone,
a 1200 ft reel of EMI tape and a radio lead.
Long term speed stability: better than 0.5% / Rewind speed: 55 seconds for 1200ft / Audio output power: 3 watts / Inputs: microphone, radio / phono / Outputs: high impedance external amplifier, external speaker & headphones / Speaker(s): 6″ x 4″ elliptical / Dimensions: 17 x 16 x 8″ (432 x 406 x 203 mm) / Weight: 29 lbs (13.2 kg) / half-track mono
Tape Recording Fortnightly, 6th April, 1960
THE Norfield Consolette tape recorder is a unique British-made recorder, a good domestic-class instrument with a most elegant shape. It is dual purpose; it may be used as a completely portable recorder, or set up on three contemporary styled legs to bring it to the right height for comfortable armchair operation. This does away with the need for a table.
While I greatly favour the idea, I am not sure that I like the angle of the deck when the machine is set on its legs. The deck slopes towards the back of the recorder, making it a little difficult to read the tape position indicator.
A three-speed Motek deck is used, and tape travel is right to left, instead of the standard left to right. I have already reviewed this deck, and found it to be quite favourable. It carries the usual facilities of tape position indicator, pause control, fast forward and reverse re-wind (which it does in under a minute for a full 7-in. spool of tape).
Operation for record /playback and rewind is by push buttons which, on the machine sent for review, seemed a little stiff. The volume and tone control, the magic eye recording level indicator, and two output jacks are conveniently arranged on the amplifier panel, which is at the front of the cabinet.
Another good thought is the microphone and spare lead compartment also located at one end of the control panel. One doesn’t have to fiddle at the back for microphones and spare leads.
The microphone supplied with the recorder is one of the latest Acos crystal types, which has a good response for speech and, if one is not too critical, for music as well. The radio or pick-up input socket feeds directly into the recording amplifier and “through” monitoring is available when recording from this input.
The instrument may also be used as a record player by connecting to an external pick-up, this same “through” amplifier facility being available for the microphone as well.
The Consolette is supplied complete with. a 7-in. spool of tape, full instructions for operating and, of course, the microphone. The three all-metal legs are available at two guineas extra.
The colour scheme of the recorder is attractive, and employs a coffee and cream shaded dull leatherette covering, which is enriched by nicely-made gilt fittings. The deck itself is finished in similar colours.
These included the frequency response test, which for 7½ ips is shown in Fig. I and is within 3 dB or so of the specification at the extreme ends of the frequency range. At 3¾ ips the response falls gradually from about 5,000 cps and was – 5 dB at 10,000 cps.
The treble lift control provides approximately 10 dB lift at around 12,000 cps.
Music and speech reproduction is up to the standard of the better class domestic machines, but I found the hum and noise level to be -40 dB and not as quoted in the specification. This was contributed by grid hum rather than valve noise, which was well below the figure given above.
Wow and flutter were within specification, but pressure pads had a tendency to vibration at 7½ ips and I found tape spooling to be a little uneven, although central on the spools.
The controls all functioned properly and in accordance with the instructions. The digital tape position indicator was also checked and, like all these counter type indicators, was accurate enough to find a given position on the tape.
The amplifier consists of a printed circuit design using an ECC83 and ECL82 for audio function with a 6X4 rectifier for HT supply. An ECC82 provides the recording bias and, as this valve is operated as a “push-pull” oscillator, the very clean waveform produced by this type of circuit ensures noiseless and clean erasure.
The fitted loudspeaker is a 7 x4 in. elliptical type and, if desired, an extension speaker can be used while the internal speaker is switched off. A combination extra speaker socket and switch are fitted at the back of the recorder.
The Consolette should more than satisfy the demand for a very stylish recorder with a nice performance. My one final criticism concerns the lid, which I feel should be fitted with some kind of stay or strap to prevent it lying back with its weight carried on its hinges.
This instrument should find a place among the many new recorders now appearing on the market at prices a little more attractive to the majority of people, and it should certainly score points for its new conception of modern style.
The Norfield Consolette is manufactured and distributed by Birmingham Electronic Products Limited, 1, Lodge Road, Birmingham 18, and is priced at 48 guineas.
Mains voltage, AC 200-250 v 50 cps. Consumption, 80 watts.
Tape speeds, 1, 3¾ and 7½ ips.
Playing time (double track), 4 hrs. 16 mins., 2 hrs. 8 mins. and 1 hr. 4 mins.
Frequency response, 40 to 16,000 cps at 7½ ips; 40 to 10,000 cps at 3¾ ips; 40 to 6,000 cps at 1 ips.
Signal to noise ratio, better than 50 dB.
Wow and flutter, better than 0.25 per cent at 7½ ips.
Inputs, microphone, 5mV radio or P.U., 1 volt.
Power output, 3 watts.