Vintage Clairtone Tube Stereo Console S601 S-600 "The Empress"

Well I just went to see a Clairtone 601 (S-600) that I saw in a craigslist ad andI’ll be bringing it home this Friday and I can’t wait to refurbish it.

It’s definitely a gorgeous console! I believe that this Clairtone model was called the “Empress” and the 601 was from 1961. There is a very nice coffee-table book on Clairtone called “The Art of Clairtonethat has a picture of the 1960 600-S on page 56. The caption reads:


The Empress, model 600-S, introduced in 1960, closely resembles Clairtone‘s first 100 series. This model boasted a 60-watt, 22 tube amplifier, a Garrard Type A turntable, and EMI speakers.

In 1962 the oiled walnut version sold for $699 and the teak model went for $749. The Empress model/600 series continued through 1963.

From a 1961 newspaper ad:

Clairtone Empress 601 Stereo Console Ad

Clairtone Empress 601 Stereo Console Ad

The S601 has 16 tubes and EMI speakers (a woofer and two tweeters on each side). As for the power, I am assuming that it delivers 17 watts with its PP 6BQ5/EL84. So, in the end it looks like I’m getting the S-600.

When I went to see it for the first time the woman was upset because a lot of people wanted to part out the receiver and ditch the cabinet. It was an original piece from her father and had been in the family for years, so it made her sad to see it chopped up.  When she realized I wanted to restore it, she was very happy about that.  In the end I didn’t negotiate on price, I’ll give her the full $50 that she was asking.  Here’s a pic of how it looks now:

Finally, here is my inspiration for how this beauty will look when she’s finished!!

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