First proper hifi.
When an A 'level student in 1977, I had a 'rag-tag' lash up of a
system consisting of my brother's old Prinzsound amp and cassette deck
with no Dolby!
It had sliders and was a top-loader with piano key
style controls. The play button would only stay down by wedging a Bic
biro (it had to be Bic nothing else would work) between the play key
and the others!
I also had a Connoisseur BD1 turntable with 10" platter and idler wheel and some Shure cartridge.
amp had sliders too (crackly volume) and a wooden sleeve. The speakers
were some old Leak efforts with a metal trim around the grille.
about 18 months I worked Saturdays and holidays in a local hifi and
record shop (it sold TVs and the 'new' VHS recorders too) and it was
painful to sell all that gear but not be able to afford to buy any
I remember some 'stand-out' gear. An old Philips GA-212
turntable that was not on sale - too old by then and possibly a
stranded part exchange item - but it sounded great and was my chosen
'weapon' for demos of speakers and amps. No-one on the staff understood
this because they were all besotted by cheap, microphonic, plastic Sony
direct drives (none of the good Technics ones in our shop alas). I had
a lot of success using that bouncy deck to sell amps and speakers and
The other 'rage' in the late 1970s - apart from the
'rack system' - was the Music-centre. The best ones we stocked were JVC
and some monster Grundig thing that lit up like a disco. It had a good
Dual belt drive TT and Grundig versions of those Globe speakers that
JVC made. Very 'Abigails Party'.
Demis Roussos, Boney M's
Nightflight to Venus, Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene, Saturday Night Fever
and Dark Side of the Moon were all obligatory 'demo' albums -
regrettably - and I cannot listen to any of them ever again!
favourites out of the shop's regular products were the Celestion Ditton
44 loudspeakers with the bigger JVC amps like the JA-S44 or the
occasional Sansui SU-417. The JVC JA-S11 sounded pretty good with the
little Videoton Minimax 'speakers.
A little later and I
finished college, got a full-time job, and invested the whole of my
first monthly salary in a Sansui SR-222 Mk2 turntable with Grado F3+
cartridge, NAD3020 amplifier, Celestion County loudspeakers and
Sennheiser HD-414 headphones. (QED 42 strand cables as 79 strand would
not fit in the NAD's spring terminals and adjustable width metal
speaker stands that I removed the castors from.) The next month I got a
Technics cassette deck and threw away the Bic biro!
I christened the Sansui with John Martyn's 'Solid Air'.