1930 RCA Victor Orthophonic Portable Victrola Model VV 2-65



Check out these Videos recorded on the Victor 2-65:

A program by the great band leader of the 1920s and 1930s: Leo Reisman
Body and Soul (1930), Sweeter than Sweet, A Year from To-day,
Something to Remember You By (from the Helen Kane Talkie: Sweetie)

Irving Aaronson and his Commanders in the
1928 OUTSIDE risqué song

Giuseppina Huguet, Fernando de Lucia and Antonio Pini-Corsi in
1906 Milan Monarch Record of Barber of Seville: Oh qual colpo inaspetto




http://a.imageshack.us/img444/4042/hpim0907.jpg RCA-Victor                                      Model 2-65
1930 – 1933                                      Price  $35







18 lbs


16 5/8"


13 1/2"






Sound:     http://a.imageshack.us/img831/4241/5stars.jpg    Design:    http://a.imageshack.us/img529/4656/4stars.jpg


This is the last wind-up Victrola ever actually produced by Victor. There were RCA-badged portables sold after 1933, but they are generic models of very mediocre quality.


After the heavy 2-55, RCA Victor did a surprising redesign with the 2-65: Light wood construction lowered the weight to 18 lbs, polished lid, real gold plated hardware, and a dark green velvet covered turntable and interior make this a very attractive machine.





Inside the machine one finds a tag of “Stevens Manufacturing”, which most likely made the case and the molded cloth horn, which are of light construction and high quality, but motor and other hardware are original Victor parts.




We usually associate molded cloth horns with cheap portables, but the 2-65 demonstrates that careful manufacture will yield superior results. The horn is reinforced with wood in the high pressure area, and it is sealed in a way to provide and airtight passage. The gold plated “backsplash” at the horn opening not only serves holds tone arm and crank during transport, it also reflects the sound forward.

http://a.imageshack.us/img529/5176/hpim0899e.jpghttp://a.imageshack.us/img194/808/hpim9718.jpg http://a.imageshack.us/img176/6531/hpim9716.jpg


The motor of usual Victor quality, a triangular two-plate assembly that snugly fits inside the horn.

Victor’s proprietary angled crank not only makes winding easy, it also does not interfere with the horn.
Again, Victor quality means strong and smooth running motors for 5 minutes without slowing down.
The absence of wow and flutter is very impressive.


 http://a.imageshack.us/img189/9329/hpim9715i.jpg http://a.imageshack.us/img84/4525/hpim9712.jpg


As on the 2-55, the tone arm and bracket is a scaled down design from the full-size victrolas, this time with real gold plating: Its ball bearing base and solid drawn brass construction guarantee air tightness. The tone arm bracket (and the sound box) are the two pot metal parts in the machine, which are usually in very good condition. However, the wall thickness of the bracket is ludicrously thin, one dropped lid may crack the bracket.

However, broken brackets can be repaired and structurally strengthened.

One annoying thing of the 2-65 cost saving measures is the use of rivets instead of screws: The tone arm base and brake lever are riveted, as well as the spring barrel of the motor, which makes servicing a challenge. Nevertheless, the ball bearings need to be filled with heavy grease to ensure a full tone.




Another import from HMV is the novel on/off brake: It is entirely actuated by the tone arm: When the tone arm is pulled outside the diameter of the 12” record, the motor will start, the oval Victor end groove will stop the record with the usual ratchet brake.




For the 2-65, the famous Victor Orthophonic sound box was slightly modified by removing the spider and phasing plug. The face of the soundbox is covered a thin brass mesh in front of a felt pad to reduce needle talk. The RCA spiderless soundbox is actually very interesting, especially when used with a large machine like the Credenza: While it produces full range and full bass, the treble is much more prominent, and allows you to get a much more vivid rendition out of “dull” acoustic or early electric records


Victor Orthophonic Soundbox

RCA Spiderless Sound Box

1925 – 1929

1929 - 1933


The portable portable soundbox is a regular Orthophonic soundbox with a felt cover. It retains the diaphragm spider and the phasing plug. Finish is either reddish gold or gold paint.

http://a.imageshack.us/img697/6216/hpim0900x.jpg http://a.imageshack.us/img716/104/265m.jpg


The RCA portable soundbox is a modified Orthophonic soundbox: diaphragm spider and the phasing plug have been removed. The face is covered with a fine brass mesh. Finish usually is a greenish gold.




http://a.imageshack.us/img834/6991/hpim0751.jpg http://a.imageshack.us/img576/7326/hpim0769.jpg


On the 2-65, the portable sound boxes usually do not have pot metal problems. They are uncracked and have no swelling.

Indeed, in term of pot metal quality, these RCA soundboxes are some of the best ever produced.

However, the ball bearings in portable soundboxes need to be rebuilt: They were originally held in place with rubber cement, which has hardened and causes excessive friction. The inside of the solder joint in the RCA soundbox should be checked for air tightness.


As a rarely seen accessory, the VV 2-65 offered a record tray. This allowed to transport records within the machine, which is lacking a permanent record storage. A similar rack will be found later with the HMV 102 portable.





Other than the frequent problems with the bracket, the Victor 2-65 does not require any major work.
However, the Victor Fabrikoid cover material is problematic: The material has shrunk significantly, leaving flaps of material hanging loose, and there are usually wide gaps at the corners. Those can be filled and matched with appropriate materials.
Also, sometimes the filler material has started flaking from the fabric backing. The fabric can be strengthened with an appropriate binder.


I always welcome your comments and thoughts:

        sgimips1 “at” yahoo “dot” com