Well, my Dad was someone who loved gadgets (he may have passed this on). Everything was carefully researched and I find myself gradually acquiring all those old components and pieces. Here are some which thanks to the Internet still have pages about them.
The components that I remember from the 1960s really made an impression on me. He used Consumer Reports religiously to pick the very best components
- Acoustic Research AR-2ax. These were low-cost version of the AR-3a bookshelf speakers that made Acoustic Research famous. I remember them with a big base but not much treble, but heck I was just a kid then. Most of these are not much good anymore as the speakers were made of cardboard apparently, the full walnut cabinet was really beautiful (the x meant walnut basically vs vinyl). The AR-3a arrived in 1969 with improved tweeter and midrange. At one point it had 32% of the entire speaker market! These I remember as being really bassy compared with the EPI-100 below, so good for classical. it uses the first commercially available dome midrange. AR is till around as part of Audiovox (now called Voxx).
- Sherwood S-8600A. It's funny to remember it was a light-colored dial and a big volume know with momentum. So a little digging and just looking at images on the network and I found it! They made the first all-silicon audio receiver and I think we had that one. In looking at the manual it was 25 watts per channel into 8 ohms but sounds plenty good with AR-3's. As an interesting back story, Sherwood (now a brand owned by a Korean firm) started in 1953 as a high-volume but good-quality audio company. Also, it was hard to figure out the model we had. At first, I thought it was the Sherwood S-8800a or Sherwood S-7100 nor the S-8800 which had push buttons. The S-7050 is from 1974 or so, so it should be a lower number than that maybe S-6000 but this looks like a cassette deck. The S-5000 which is tube amplifier (no FM) is definitely way too old which dates from 1959.
- Dual 1219. I can't remember the phonograph at all for some reason, but remember what we got later on, but looking up the BIC and they mentioned the Dual and it range a bell
Then later on here are some of the components I remember. I can't remember the receiver for some reason. Was black. But I do remember some of the core components
- BIC 960 Turntable. I remember like it was yesterday than the day when we got this. Top rated in Consumer Reports. It was belt driven and straight-armed. Made in the mid-1970s, it was super simple and reliable.
- Shure V-15 Type III. The ultimate phone cartridge that we loved. I actually can't remember the record player, but we always treated our vinyl like it was gold. Still have most of it. The key thing back then was tracking weight, how little would you put down on it. I remember .25 grams was really light.
- Nakamichi 1000. This was one of the first foreign names that I can remember. This was a time when cassettes were the new magic and Dolby C was a big deal. I actually don't miss cassettes that much, but just the few I have left have the handwritten scrawl of mixtape labels. I remember so well the analog sliders. So neat.
- Discwasher. This was a really cool walnut handled kit for cleaning your LPs. You can still get it for $20. The cleaning fluid was awesome. I just got one and it looks basically the same but the walnut is definitely cheaper.
- Sennheiser 414. We had the one with the blue foam. You can actually still get these and they sound good. They were the first open ear headphones. I can still remembering putting it on and hearing magic. You can get a vintage set for $280 on eBay
- EPI M100W. These were the magical speakers of our later years. Made by Epicure Products Inc., there are still people restoring them. I remember them as being incredible. They actually made it with a real walnut veneer. Historically, it was designed by Winslow Burhoe as his first module speaker (hat tip to Human Speaker for this explanation). Since the tweeter and woofer have the same efficiency, you don't need a crossover, just a capacitor to protect the tweeter. It was highly recommended by Consumer Reports and you can rebuild it. Hat tip to Vinyl Engine for that.
Thing I wanted but could never quite get...
And then there were the components I lusted for but never quite had the money to buy but spent plenty of time lusting after them:
- McIntosh 1900. No not the Apple version, but a stereo receiver that was at the top of the top.
- Bose 901s. I remember exactly the guy down the street who had them. He had a really cool Camaro too. These are reflecting speakers that were made up to 2016 and they look so cool. Julian Hirsch's review in Stereo Review really set the world on fire back then.
Then there were the cameras...
Minolta SRT-101. This was his pride and joy and it was the first camera with a combination of features that back there were revolutionary including a much better metering through the lense. I was lucky enough to go to the camera store and buy up one for $100 and it's still usable. The biggest problem is the change in batteries from the old Mercury ones that are no longer available.