About HiFi Collector

I created this site because I couldn't find many resources on the Web for vintage stereo collectors, enthusiasts like me that aren't as interested in the technical aspects of the equipment as the stories behind it. There are plenty of forums, which have their value, but I always want photos, personal stories about peoples' collections, and opinions on their sound. This site is an attempt by me to create what I've been looking for.

Unless otherwise noted, all the photos and videos you see are from systems I've owned, currently own, or from visitors who have submitted them.

I encourage comments on my posts as well as photos and video links of your vintage audio components along with their stories. You can email me your photos, video links, and stories by sending them to HiFiCollector88 [at] gmail.com.

This site is constantly growing; I have dozens of systems yet to post, so subscribe and check back often.

Thanks for visiting!

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Why I Collect Vintage Audio Gear

Through the many conversations I’ve had surrounding my passion for vintage audio, very few people ask why I began collecting. Most conversations surround finding the value of a piece of audio equipment that someone’s father left them or reflecting on the “good old days” when console stereos were the largest, heaviest piece of furniture in the living room. These are all fun conversations, but it’s only when I talk to a fellow HiFi collector that we delve into the question of “why we collect,” and, over the years, I’ve discovered some things about myself and collectors in general through the stories we share.
My passion for audio gear started in the mid-1970s and I can still remember the system that started it all. My brother purchased a Radio Shack-branded silver-faced amplifier and tuner that we believe may have been manufactured by Pioneer or Technics. The array of knobs and toggle switches were mesmerizing to me as a 15-year-old. When I had the opportunity to listen to the system, I couldn’t stop myself from sitting on floor and flipping the high-pass, low-pass filter switches and dialing in the bass, treble, midrange; and when I was away from the system – at school, for instance, I’d draw the front panels of each component by memory in as much detail as time would allow. Then I would add additional switches and knobs, creating my own amplifiers of yet unknown, but certainly magical capabilities and unequaled power. Yep – that’s an obsession; but to me it was perfectly normal. Not that I saw any of my friends doing that, but heck, who has time for socializing or listening to the teacher when there’s detailed technical drawings to be constructed?
As many of you are aware, the 1980s brought consumerism and mass production to audio gear, and many consider that decade one in which audio quality and industrial design suffered. There were still plenty of manufacturers who retained quality, however, although these were still out of reach for me while I budgeted for my college years. I did get one low-end receiver for Christmas in 1983, a Sansui 30 wpc model with a digital tuner readout and an odd knob labeled “Super Bass,” which I assumed was going to be awesome, until I read the specifications and saw that this particular model was rated at 30-20,000 Hz instead of the familiar 20-20,000. The “Super Bass,” therefore, was most likely an attempt by Sansui to bolster some low-end where none really existed. An odd choice and obviously a marketing ploy that worked for most people that don’t read specs. I kept that knob cranked all the way up. This receiver lasted for six years until my friends and I used it during a party to drive four three-way speakers  that were separated from the unit with 100 feet of 16 gauge speaker wire... you can do that math there. It literally fried the inner workings, and that Sansui and its Super Bass was laid to rest.
It wasn’t until the mid-1990s when I stumbled across a pair of Advent Loudspeakers (the industrial model) and a McIntosh 4100 receiver that my love for vintage gear rekindled. This started an almost non-stop cycle of buying and selling gear that still goes on to this day. I found that making friends with other collectors has benefits beyond sharing stories of acquiring gear, as they became my main sources for more gear, and I for them. We trade gear back and forth, often letting each other borrow pieces for a few months just to satisfy our need to have something new to tinker with, then rotate that gear out for something else. It’s been a fun two decades with no signs of slowing down. Many of the photos I have on HiFiCollector.com are from these trades. It affords me the opportunity to listen to many brands and models, keep some, trade others, sell what I don’t want – and write about them all.  
I get a lot of comments and feedback from HiFiCollector.com that are simply too technical for me to adequately answer, so I throw the questions back out to the HiFi community with hopes someone more knowledgeable will chime in. For me, the gear we collect is about stories, not technical details. I know some things about audio and have my opinions on what sounds good to me, but refuse to get caught up in “audiophile” esoterics or arguments about specifications. We collect for our own reasons. I collect because I can finally acquire some of the gear that I coveted 30 - 40 years ago; but I’ve discovered other reasons. I love simple, elegant industrial design in stereos, bicycles, cameras, and watches. I collect these items as well, which brings me back to the stories I hear from other collectors. 
There seems to be a common theme among HiFi collectors – one that runs deep, often without conscious recognition, and one that I’ve only recently discovered. To discover this theme for yourself, I pose this question: What else do you collect besides stereos? Do you see any commonalities? One wouldn’t think that stereos, bicycles, cameras, and watches have much in common – certainly nothing obvious if one looked too closely. So when I took a higher vantage and looked at my hobbies from the 10,000 foot level, I recognize these things for what they have in common – efficient technology, beautiful design, meticulous detail, and elegance. 

So sure, I collect these things because I’ve always loved them and didn’t always have the funds to purchase, but when I really ask myself why I loved them to begin with, what drew me to them at the very beginning, it’s the same thing that makes me smile when I see fine examples of them today. The technical details give way to design and elegance, and I’m right back to where I was 40 years ago, sitting on the carpet in my parent’s living room and staring at the knobs and switches with only the soft glow of the tuning dial to illuminate my world.  


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