Where did my whole HiFi malarky start? Let me tell you! Here’s a run down of my first ever system, piece by piece, component by component (as memory will allow, at any rate)
This is a meandering, rambling, ‘let’s shoot the breeze’-type of video but if you need to move around, don’t forget the chapter headings in the Description.
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Chris Maley25th July 2022 at 2:06 pm
Hi PauL…..Remember it well from 1977, the year after my Mum/Dad bought their first proper HIFI. Mine comprised of a Yamaha CA-410 amplifier, Sansui SR-222 Mk1 with Shure M95ED and Monitor Audio Ma7’s. Mum/Dad’s was a Leak 2000 Receiver, Goldring GL85 with Shure M95EJ and Leak 2030’s. Would you believe, I still have the M95ED (45 years old) on my Techy SL-1200 Mk2 with SME series 3 (SECOND deck for old Pop/DJ 45’s). Still love the old Leak speakers and use the superb, big 2075’s as my MAIN speakers now and would put them against many High End speakers today ? The 2030’s and 2060’s still sound good IMO. They were realistically bright, clear but without the edginess (passing as detail) of many modern speakers. Bet I knew about the 2075’s before Adam Smith did……I am 66.
Paul Rigby25th July 2022 at 6:11 pm
Some classic hardware in that lot, Chris 🙂
Chris Maley25th July 2022 at 11:19 pm
Thanks Paul. Many memories for me there. Shame to think many young people have never really heard a good hifi and find smartphones and low quality earbuds acceptable.
Dave Barlow25th July 2022 at 2:29 pm
Hi Paul, Thank you for the excellent video and trip down memory lane. My story was very similar back then and I persuaded my dad to get a Pioneer rack of separates. I didn’t read hifi magazines however. So it was in 1979 and I can’t recall all the model numbers but the system looked something like this without the equalizer :
The speakers were Celestion Dittons I think but I can’t recall which ones. I was over the moon with that system, I think the amp was 25 WPC and I used to max the volume out when my parents were out like yourself. I took this hifi to my first place when I left home and had about 12 years out of it in total then gave it away to a relative in favour of some Technics separates and Mordaunt Short speakers which I have only recently upgraded to my current set up which is a Yamaha RN803D, Pro-Ject Carbon Evo, Pro-Ject valve phono amp and Monitor Audio Silver 300 speakers. I also have a Yamaha RN602 and Fyne Audio F302 in the bedroom. Happy days then and now!
Paul Rigby25th July 2022 at 6:14 pm
Absolutely, Dave. There’s nothing quite like that first HiFi, I reckon. There’s some serious aluminium in that Pioneer system.
Dave Barlow25th July 2022 at 6:58 pm
Thanks Paul, I should have added that it came from Lasky as well lol. Also I still have my Technics CD player from the nineties in my current system, I couldn’t justify replacing it, still performing perfectly.
B Sorensen25th July 2022 at 2:30 pm
Real fun to listen to, can regonize much of the journey towards where i am now.
Will consider sharing my journey which started in the mid 1970´s
Paul Rigby25th July 2022 at 6:09 pm
Thank you very much – and please do!
AEB25th July 2022 at 6:28 pm
Great topic, Paul. Brought back memories of my first system. I know Zerostats were red, because I had one, too.
System included a Fisher 800C AM/FM stereo receiver, Dual 1019 turntable with Shure cartridge, and Wharfedale bookshelf speakers.
These sat on left over pieces of carpet for isolation from the shelf, and were wired with 16-gauge zip cord, a step up from the more common and smaller 18-gauge.
And it sounded wonderful to me then!
Paul Rigby26th July 2022 at 12:02 pm
Many thanks – I checked out the Fisher because it intrigued me – that was a meaty piece of kit you had there 🙂
AEB26th July 2022 at 6:19 pm
It was a meaty piece of kit. The chassis had 19 tubes, which were needed for the combined amplifier (75 watts), preamp, and tuner. The amplifier used 4 300B tubes, in push/pull configuration at rear of chassis. These were replaced once and back then, were very inexpensive. They were GE tubes, and unlike today, could be bought for less than $10 US per tube.
Simon Henstock25th July 2022 at 10:48 pm
I didn’t put a Hi-Fi system together until 2019 and every component has been changed at least once since then. Mistakes were definitely made; the most critical one I feel was using cheap used amplifiers. They would work fine for a while and then the volume levels would start dropping and the sound would turn to distorted mush. I learned that the amplifier is the one component that can mess up everything else in the Hi-Fi chain and having to troubleshoot intermittent playback issues is a torment I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
I haven’t felt the upgrade itch for about 15 months now so I must have done something right with my last build. I also helped a friend upgrade from his old Kenwood to a system that brings him much enjoyment (Cambridge amp and CD player combo with Focal speakers). Lessons have been learned and I’m reaping the rewards.
Paul Rigby26th July 2022 at 12:03 pm
If you’re like me, Simon, you’ll never stop learning, either. It’s one of those ‘the more you know, the more you realise how little you know’ kinda things 🙂
Paul Reichel26th July 2022 at 11:17 am
What?! No mention of the fabulous Pioneer PL12D?! Seriously, I do think that this product did more than any other to bring reasonable (lo?) hifi sound to the masses during its heyday. I still have one – yes fully functioning – which I use to audition second- hand vinyl which I buy, before letting it loose on the Sondek (and the Linn doesn’t have 45rpm so the PL12D is used for the odd single too). Magic thing it is – bit of hum after ca. 50 years – otherwise great!
Paul Rigby26th July 2022 at 12:04 pm
I do see lots of people who have run the PL12 turntable but it as never on my radar back then. I wish I’d known about it, actually. Are you able to sum up its performance? Be nice to know about its personality.
GARY DAY26th July 2022 at 11:36 am
Fabulous video Paul – thankyou for recapturing those great memories… I too spent many hours browsing the Hifi mags in WH Smiths & being steered towards their recommended products. I joined that queue back in 1985 when I was 15. I purchased a bundle from one of the major hifi retailers of the time that consisted of a Dual CS505-2 turntable, a NAD 3130 amp (surprisingly!) and Monitor Audio R352 (I think?) speakers. This allowed me to play vinyl in my bedroom (away from the parents’ vintage stereo console) and play them loud. It was an alright system but it sounded a bit too boomy for me which was probably more to do with my room acoustics / speaker positioning. I found my ideal speakers 3 or 4 year later which were Quad ESL57’s. Unfortunately I changed them for some 63’s on some duff advice and which I regretted for many years. However this morning I have just received a restored set of 57’s so I am now back in my hifi heaven!
Paul Rigby26th July 2022 at 12:07 pm
Thanks Gary, very nice of you. Ah, you got that Dual I was after 🙂 And I use 57 speakers now (well, with modded panels but even so)! I’m impressed you had them back then. And yes, I too prefer them to the 63s. And yes, go for those 57s! Give me a shout if you want upgraded panels. There’s a good UK contact out there.
GARY DAY26th July 2022 at 2:04 pm
I stumbled on the 57’s all those years ago when I was living in a bedsit in Shrewsbury. I used to pop into the local hifi shops and fantasise about owning some of their amazing stuff. There used to be a shop that sold new Quad equipment but alas all beyond my budget. I guess the salesman had be sussed and suggested I may be interested in a traded-in system he had stashed out the back. I think I paid around £900 for a Systemdek iiX turntable with Infinity Black Widow tonearm, Naim 42/110 amps, the ESL57’S and little black box attached to the turntable that looked like it had been knocked up in a shed. It sounded incredible to my ears! Is the UK contact – One Thing Audio? I got my 57’s from their sister company Aquadthing Audio…absolute stars…Andy is a real gent.
Paul Rigby27th July 2022 at 4:45 pm
A very nice system, Gary. Indeed, One Thing is the company I was thinking of 🙂 And yes, Andy is a nice guy.
Andy Hanson28th July 2022 at 10:14 am
Very enjoyable video Paul…thanks. I did manage to stretch to a pair of Linton’s but made the mistake of ‘upgrading’ them to a pair of Goodmans because they were bigger and hence better. Ahem! I too was somewhat seduced into the hi-fi mags of the day that made little mention of set up in order to get the best from what you have. Thus I remained frequently frustrated with systems that didn’t image properly and pulled to the left or the right. I also learned that more expensive systems had better leading edge transients and although I had no clue as to what they were, I knew I didn’t have them and so needed to remain frustrated. Its god then that the world has moved on, fewer hi-fi retailers know they have to offer a better level of service to secure a happy customer and through online selling, accessory items can be tried out at home and returned if they don’t prove successful or worth the money. Keep the videos coming…mistakes I’ve made on my journey could be a good one. Cheers!
Paul Rigby28th July 2022 at 11:05 am
Hehe – yes I read about transients in the mags and didn’t know what they were on about either back then 🙂 Agreed, retail has had to shift is perspective to survive. And thanks for the video idea. I’ll make a note.