Vintage

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Richard Holliss  |  Dec 22, 2014
In Tony Michaelson’s company started with one diminutive but memorable product, called simply ‘The Preamp’. He started by making them on his kitchen table… What made the product so eyecatching was the acrylic front, with the product name illuminated in red. In its original form, The Preamp had an appeal all of its own. It was so tiny, so simple, yet so businesslike.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
When the BC III was launched in 1973, Spendor’s ads described it as ‘An extension and refinement of theBC I and BC II’, while Thomas Heinitz, doyen of hi-fi consultants in those days, could not resist using the headline‘Hey, big Spendor’. The BC III was rooted in Spencer Hughes’ work at the BBC: he was part of the legendary BBC research team, working under both D E L Shorter and H D Harwood. It had an 8in driver with 40mm voice-coil, working in its own sealed chamber as a midrange unit while the 12in bass unit was reflex-loaded by a carefully designed port. The crossover point was 700Hz.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
In the early 1970s Sanyo was a UK market leader in the field of music centres that were extremely popular here, but its separate hi-fi units were not as successful. It was intended that the acquisition of the Fisher brand (in 1975) would solve this problem and less than a year after the CD format had first been made commercially available by Philips and Sony, it launched its first machine, offered in the UK as the Fisher AD 800. A vertical front loader, the AD 800 was a confident entry into the digital field. One reason Sanyo was able to bring this model to market so rapidly was its use of integrated circuits made by Sony.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
If you were just taking your first steps into the world of hi-fi in the early 1980s you’d give serious consideration to the Dual CS505. Often partnered with a NAD 3020 amp by the canny hi-fi buyer on a budget, these two components started many listeners on a path that would bring countless hours of enjoyment. In the 1960s and ’70s Dual occupied a similar place in the German market to BSR and Garrard in the UK, producing turntable units for music centres and combination units. Yet it retained audiophile credibility for the quality of its separate belt-drives, which sold well across Europe.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
A 10W design from the final years of the valve era, the original Rogers Cadet appeared in 1958 as an amplifier and control unit combination for mounting inside a cabinet. Its stereo successor, the Cadet II, appeared in 1962 and proved equally popular. With the version III, gain was increased so that magnetic cartridges like the Shure M44 and M75 series could be used. This was achieved by the use of special ECC807 valves and an extra stage, meaning that the Cadet III control unit became slightly wider.
Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Dec 22, 2014
The TA-1120 stereo amplifier was a step-ahead design which combined power, quality, reliability and compactness in a way that had not been seen before, but which in a few years would become ubiquitous across the ranges of Japan’s major hi-fi brands. In 1968 the original TA-1120 was replaced by the TA-1120A, as tested here, the addition of a headphone socket and the removal of a ‘safety’ indicator light being the only obvious external clues as to which model is which. Revisions were also made to the preamplifier circuit. The main selector lever gives a choice of phono 1 (MM) or tuner, along with a central position that selects a rotary control giving four further options, eg, mic, tape head, second MM turntable and line-level auxiliary input, which can be used to connect a CD player.
Steve Harris and Paul Miller  |  Dec 01, 2011
The original ‘Electro’ was a milestone design, even if it was not quite what it seemed. Does this legendary 25W pre/power combination really live up to its cult status? Back in 1966, a Norwegian pop band called Mojo Blues topped the local charts with their first single, a cover of The Stones’ ‘Lady Jane’. They followed up with more hits, but eventually disbanded. By 1972, Mojo Blues’ frontman Per ‘Abe’ Abrahamsen had started Electrocompaniet as a small business, importing cheap Bulgarian speakers and building basic PA electronics.
Paul Miller  |  Nov 19, 2011
Innovative when released, the Celestion is still capable of entertaining results Launched at the Harrogate Hi-Fi Show in 1981, the Celestion SL6 looked different, and it was more different than it looked. In essence, its all-new drive units had been designed with the help of Celestion’s then-unique and revolutionary laser-based vibration analysis measurement system. It was the first British speaker to use a metal-dome tweeter, but the bass unit was equally innovative. The laser analysis system used could scan the surface of a driver diaphragm, and produce still or animated images to show how the diaphragm was actually behaving.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
This clever little speaker still sounds more than respectable An audio pioneer, Jim Rogers possessed real acoustic engineering talent as well as in electronics. The original Rogers folded corner horn may not offer true stereophonic reproduction, but it’s a fine room-filling beast. And as for the later flat-to-the-wall Wafer speakers, based on Philips drive units and measuring just 2in thick, these are surprisingly magicalsounding. Then there’s the JR149.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
How does the original CD player stand up nearly thirty years after its introduction? It was in March 1983 that the compact disc system officially arrived in Europe. With it came the first European-made CD player, the top-loading Philips CD100. Four years before, in March 1979, Philips had given a first press demonstration of a Compact Disc player prototype, using 14-bit digital encoding. Philips was already marketing 30cm video discs but believed that there should be a separate, smaller disc format for audio.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
Revisiting the first British solid state amplifier Goodmans was one of the most prolific loudspeaker makers of the 1960s, also supplying the radio and television trade. The company ran from 1932, ending when the TGI group was broken up in 2004. But the brand name as such survives marketing a range of DVB set-top boxes and LCD TV sets. Introduced in 1966 with a price tag of £49 10s, this compact little amplifier, the Maxamp 30, measured just 10in tall, 5in wide and 7in deep.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
The ancestor of a modern classic still has much to commend it Author of a couple of 1967-8 HFN features comparing the operation of output stages in Class A and AB transistor amplifiers, Jim Sugden then owned a company producing lab and test equipment. But thanks to a collaboration with Richard Allan, a company making speakers based nearby in Yorkshire, the first Class A amplifier made by Sugden was marketed under the Richard Allan name. The A21 amplifier made its first public appearance at the ’68 London Audio Fair in London. A 10W-per-channel integrated, it sold for £52, like Leak’s Stereo 30.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 17, 2011
The first solid-state Quad remains a classic of the genre Exemplifying all that was admirable in British hi-fi, the 33 preamp (£43) and 303 power amp (£55) were Quad’s first commercial solid-state offerings, the company having waited for the new-fangled transistor to settle down before embracing it in 1967. It was in many ways ‘a solid-state Quad 22’. Any previous customer would have immediately recognised the control locations, the flushmounted rotaries, the balance control under the volume control, the press buttons that also offered Quad’s unique, fully cancellable filter and tone controls and RIAA selectors. In size, the 303 and the Quad II power amps were nearly interchangeable.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 16, 2011
As well as looking impressive, the Series 3 included some interesting features When JBE unveiled its Slatedeck in the late 1970s, it wasn’t just a turntable different for its time. It was a design that remains radical to this very day. Not only did its looks set it aside from its contemporaries (slightly Kubrick 2001 to our eyes) but it featured such niceties as a Japanese-sourced direct-drive motor system with a variable-pitch outboard electronic power supply – years before anyone else in the UK offered one at this price point. Construction was also unique, the solid non-sprung plinth was either manufactured from clear plastic acrylic, or (in sonic preference and name) slate quarried from North Wales.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 24, 2010
In 1955 Wireless World published articles by Quad’s Peter Walker on the practical and theoretical aspects of making a full range electrostatic speaker. That year, he demonstrated two different prototypes developing one for the first public demonstration at the 1956 Audio Fair. Due credit must be given to Walker for the huge amount of pioneering work involved and the brave decision to make it a commercial product. When first introduced, a single ESL would have set you back £52, yet demand was far greater than supply.

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