Anyone have any idea what would have been a state of the art system in 1974/75?
Maybe a Sansui amp, JBL speakers and a Thorens turntable?
I really don't know and wasn't knee deep in the audio stuff back then, though I do remember the passion between the Marantz and the Sansui camps and the quadraphonic craze.
I'll betcha WP and Jim Tevaglia have some educated opinions about this.
My first system consisted of a Fisher 500 TX receiver, Dynaco A-25 bookshelf speakers and a dual 1219 with a Pickering XV15-750, which was a dealer recommendation over the Shure V15II. I came close to a Benjamin-Miracord TT, but the tonearm seemed more massive than the Duals of the day. I did like their soft-touch push buttons for operation, fully auto.
Months later I added a top loading Teac 350 cassette deck/recorder for $400 in 1972? The first Advent 201 cassette deck with Dolby noise reduction was a homerun. Bic then introduced the first 2 speed cassette decks with double the 1 7/8 ips.
Sansui, Marantz, Pioneer, JVC, Technics were some of the better receiver brands. I know I am leaving out some great names.
In terms of high end I think Citation, Quad, Tandberg, CJ, McIntosh, AR 3s and was intgrigued by the AR LST, JBL 4300 series monitor speakers, Bozak, Klipsch, Dahlquist, Rectilinear, KLH, & EV speakers, Thorens TTs, Nakamichi ruled the cassette deck market with the introduction of their Dragon.
I will try and own something Mac before I kick. It was always Doctor/Lawyer gear and out of my league.
I then gravitated to the AR turntable and the Shure type III. I lusted after the beautiful, gold Empire 598 Troubador turntable. I did spend nutty money later for a Technics pro SP10 TT with 2 SME arms I had. Those I wish I still had. Technics started doing a great job in the direct-drive TT market in those days with numerous models either semi or fully auto. Dual added their 701 and 721 DD units. The 1200 today may be the biggest selling TT of all time. The DJ market would be the reason. The new massive chassis Denon TT intrigues me.
Later moved up to Polk Monitor 10's that my wife fell in love with. I had numerous Marants preamps and amps that I really liked. R2R from Tandberg, Pioneer and Teac. More money was the Revox and well worth it. If you are young you will not know that they actually sold prerecorded R2R tapes on 7" reels.
Klipsch is bring back the Classic series. It will be interesting to see how new manufacturing and updating drivers makes them sound today.
This hobby has come so far. The Rockport and Continuum turntables are proof of that. Maybe because I did not start with digital and have a different frame of reference about sound quality that I have a hard time complaining about anything audio these day. I played 78 records for my late father who had polio. I know he would think our complaining is foolish. Our glasses today are way more than half full. In comparison much of the mid-fi gear of today is better and cheaper then what my generation started with.
The Stereophile review of the Fisher 500c brought back some great memories. So did the Bozak Concert Grands.
The Altec Lansing 604 series studio monitors were a high-end sound in the late 60's when I started to get more serious about speakers. A friend of mine built a dedicated room to house a pair of them. He made a large walk-in closet as a simulated infinite volume behind them, and mounted the 604's in the wall between the room and the closet. Driven by an AR amplifier, this was the first "High End" system I was exposed to. The Ortofon cartridge in the turntable was my first exposure to alternatives to Shure in the tonearm.
Forgot to log in! That last post was me.
Wes is so right about needing to get into Stereophile earlier, as most of us who live by Stereo Review missed much, but Julian Hirsch sure got many of us started. He just thought that a bigger light bulb (more watts) was what we needed. I remember him gushing over the Phase Linear 400. Cool, huge power meters though. Carver did make some pretty good gear.
I see that Wes and some others have managed to cover most of the bases but there are still a few items which haven't been mentioned.
The Heil AMT tweeter/midrange driver. A pretty niffty design with a very clean sound but the tweeter did tend to blow out rather easily. The bass driver was not all that great which really hithered the overall sound.
JBL 100's - how is it that everyone else missed these? The JBL's were the king of the hill in the mid 1970's. Basically an AR3 which didn't require as much power and had plenty of bass. The dorm room speaker for anyone who's daddy had money or who dealt a lot of drugs.
Heathkit model ??, I forget the model number but it was the receiver to own if you were good with a soldering iron and could follow directions.
SEA preamp/equalizer - this combo unit had a 10 band graphic equalizer built into its preamp.
Crown amps - lots of power with absolutely no headroom. If the amp was rated for 100 watts it clipped at 101 watts.
Some of the units Wes mentioned really didn't come into play until the late 70's or early 80's. Pieces like the Kenwood turntable, DCM Time Window speakers and Nakamici tape decks or the great speaker wire and cable revolution.
Well, the Kenwood might have been a year or so after 1975 -- my roommate had one in 1978 and it sure wasn't new -- but the other stuff I mentioned certainly was. I didn't mention DCM or Nak, BTW.
I heard a lot of JBL 100s in dorm rooms, but they never struck me as SOTA, even when I hadn't heard all that much real high-end. They did play loud, however, which is mainly what UVA students seemed to want out of a loudspeaker at the time.
But who am I to cast stones? I bought a Sansui AU-555 integrated amp in 1972 because it had a midrange knob in addition to treble and bass, which, I reckoned, made it better. Around 1979, I traded it in on a Kenwood with a honking big volume knob and was stunned by how much better everything sounded.
It wasn't until I moved to NY and realized that you could buy used high-end components that it ever occurred to me that I could actually own some good stuff.
MY FIRST "REAL SYSTEM" CONSISTED OF TWO PAIRS OF LARGE ADVENTS STACKED, EACH DRIVEN BY A PHASE LINEAR 400 AND A PAIR OF BOSE 901'S SERIES II DRIVEN BY A PHASE LINEAR 700B. I USED A CROWN IC150A PREAMP,ONKYO TUNER (I BELIEVE THE MODEL # WAS A 7055), AND A PHILIPS 212 TABLE WITH EMPIRE CARTRIDGE.THIS SYSTEM WOULD ROCK. BY THE WAY I STILL HAVE ONE OF THE PHASE 400'S, THE CROWN AND THE ONKYO THAT I'M USING IN MY GARAGE SYSTEM. SOME OF THE OLD STUFF JUST LASTS AND LASTS!
Well, I'm a bit hazy on my recollections of 1974...I was 14 and had "unilaterally moved" from Reno, NV to Santa Cruz, CA. Shared a room with too numerous to count "room mates" in a dilapidated giant old house (I mean giant, like 30 rooms spread over four stories with a basement - GIANT) and got a job at Odyssey Records. I had walked into the store and heard them playing "Catch a Fire" - it was my first Bob marley moment - and stayed on until "Natty Dread." Then the California and Nevada court systems decided that school should have been higher on my agenda than reggae and the ocean.
Anyway, to get back on topic, we used to go over to Monterey and go to the coolest Hi Fi shop, ever. Of course the name escapes me but it was in a cool hacienda style stucco building with knights in armor as wall decoration and lots of listening rooms...could it have been Gramophones and Things?
So, they had a way cool Pioneer amp and preamp combo being driven by an Empire turntable (I forget which incarnation, but they already had the wood/brushed gold/glass look) with, I'm sure, a Grace cartridge. I may be wrong on that. I also recall Stanton, Pickering, and Shure cartridges in that place.
Speakers included some Acoustic Research speakers with a striking appearing midrange...the 3a's?
They sounded a lot like the large Advents. The small Advents had been released, but they didn't do it for me.
McIntosh existed, but only for us to look at.
Audio research had a preamp back then, but it took so long to "warm up" after you wanted to listen that it seemed very impractical. I think they had already come out with a "stand by/play" switch, but it was still to slow to get warmed up.
I think B&W was there, too, but again, the haze.
Back then, it was easy to meet interesting people at the shop and go hear their rigs. There was plenty of Heathkit, Dynaco, Marantz, Fisher, Garrard (I can remember their "zero tracking error" arm,) Dual, even BIC.
Also, KLH and Quad already had their electrostatics in production. Got to hear them in various home environments and they were sweet but didn't "rock."
I vividly recall the Dahlquist DQ-10. It sounded smoooooth, but when you stood up, the treble disappeared.
The record shop had a Marantz integrated driving four Klipsch Heresy loudspeakers and we used a Technics SL-1200 turntable with a Stanton cartridge. That system was indestructible!
I spent all my non-substance budget on gear and got a Pioneer PLA-45 D belt drive turntable with an Audio Technica cartridge (same dealer), the Pioneer preamp and two amps (the preamp had four sets of amp outputs, so I could drive stacked speakers), and four early Magnum Opus speakers with a soft dome tweeter and two ten inch woofers that I got for 150 bucks for all four from a nice lady who owned a local Lafayette store. Stock interconnects that came with the table, and lamp cord for the speakers.
I still have the Pioneer gear and the turntable in "deep storage," but the speakers were abandoned to an ex-girlfriend who at the time I'd rather not have had to deal with than to try and get my speakers back.
Sorry, I waxed rhapsodic!
That concludes our brief hi fi tour of 1974.
I got hooked by audio in the late 50s and went through a number of systems until 1967 when I left mainland USA for my post doc. The system at that time consisted of:Empire 208 turntableADC 40 arm and ADC 1 cartridgeDyna PAS3 preampDyna Stereo 70 ampAltec A-7s in home-made cabsThe room was 20x25 and it sounded glorious.
Had to sell it all (except for TT/Arm) for the move. It was one of the few times in my audio journey I was not looking for any improvements.
How about Phase Linear 4000 preamp driving a Dynaco ST-400. Koss ESP-9 head phones, Garard Z100 with Shure V-15. Speakers JBL L100's. Still have the ESP-9's and L100's. Had a lot of great times listening to that system!!
I don't quite remember what I was using in the seventies. I was consuming lots of strange substances. I do remember my first real gear. In 1967 I purchased a Fisher KX90 (kit) amplifier. I used it with a Benjamin Miracord TT with a Shure cartridge and a pair of bookshelf speakers from Lafayette. The first LP I bought was Aretha Franklin's I Never Loved A Man. I still have the LP and it is still playable. Even way back then I knew that taking care of LP's was important.
I believe Accuphase was also in business from the mid 70'es. Great stuff
Quote:MY FIRST "REAL SYSTEM" CONSISTED OF TWO PAIRS OF LARGE ADVENTS STACKED, EACH DRIVEN BY A PHASE LINEAR 400 AND A PAIR OF BOSE 901'S SERIES II DRIVEN BY A PHASE LINEAR 700B. I USED A CROWN IC150A PREAMP,ONKYO TUNER (I BELIEVE THE MODEL # WAS A 7055), AND A PHILIPS 212 TABLE WITH EMPIRE CARTRIDGE.THIS SYSTEM WOULD ROCK. BY THE WAY I STILL HAVE ONE OF THE PHASE 400'S, THE CROWN AND THE ONKYO THAT I'M USING IN MY GARAGE SYSTEM. SOME OF THE OLD STUFF JUST LASTS AND LASTS!