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When Was the “Golden Age” of Audio Hi-Fi?

by April 20, 2020

Over a span of more than 60 years, the hobby of audio has been a fascination for millions of people. It’s gone by several names over the years—hi-fi, stereo, audio, home theater—but however it’s known, the interest and pursuit of high-quality reproduced sound in the home has long been an enduring interest for a very large number of people. Is there one time period that can be said to be audio’s “Golden Age?” Does any particular era stand out from the rest?

Like any enthusiast interest that spans the decades, ardent aficionados are quick to proclaim that their era was the best, that the equipment from their time was the most well-made or adhered to the tenets of the hobby the closest or had company heads who were more concerned with advancing the state of the art than anything else and were therefore the least distracted by the destructive influences of greed and market-driven profit motives.

In reality, every era of audio has its charms, its undeniable appeal. Who’s to say that one time period is “superior” to another? While the simplicity and innocence of earlier times does have its specific attractions, the flat-out excellence and realism of modern audio equipment takes the experience to a whole different level.

Denon AVR-5805I am of “the age” where I have lived through and experienced each of these major audio time periods:

  • I lived through the transition from mono to stereo, from low-powered high-distortion tubes to early unreliable solid-state germanium transistors to later mainstream solid state with its bullet-proof silicon transistor reliability.
  • I went through the transition from high tracking pressure early stereo cartridges to the last-generation Shure Type V MR cartridges with their almost CD-like delicacy and detail combined with that classic analog warmth.
  • I went from two-channel audio to quadraphonic audio to early AV sound when we fed a 2-channel Hi-Fi VCR’s 20-20kHz audio outputs into our stereo systems.
  • I experienced first-hand those terrible, shoddily-built first-generation Sony and Pioneer “5-channel” Pro Logic home theater receivers and then those excellent early 2000’s mid-priced receivers from Marantz and Denon and those phenomenal high-end “super receivers” like the Denon AVR-5805. (this is still the favorite AV receiver of ALL time by Gene himself)
  • All the while during the emergence of great home theater, I observed (and still own and use daily) great high-end 2-channel electronics from the likes of Adcom, Parasound, Anthem and NAD.

And speakers? The first speakers I grew up with were 15-inch “triaxial” British Goodmans in custom floorstanding enclosures, then small bookshelf AR-4x’s. As a professional in the speaker business, I’ve heard, evaluated, dissected, enjoyed, marveled at, developed, marketed and sold every manner of speaker you can imagine for the last 30+ years. Seen them all, heard them all from the 60’s through today. So I have a good vantage point. I like every time period of audio. Let me give you a quick first-hand recap of each era as I see it.

The 1960’s

As I intimated above, I’m going to tell you a great tale of 1960’s speaker discovery and enlightenment. This was my eye-opener. I think I'm about 15-20 years older than Gene DellaSala, President of Audioholics, so my 'early audio' influences are from the audio era before his. My dad was super into his "hi-fi" from the 50's and he went from mono 1-ch to stereo 2-channel in 1960. It was a really big deal. Now, everything would be two channels, not one. Left, right and a phantom “center” channel. Imaging. Left-right panning. Three-dimensionality. Depth. Two channels opened up the concept of the lifelike soundstage in home listening, in a way that single-channel (mono) systems never could.

In my father's first stereo system, he had Allied Radio Knight kits tube separates, a Garrard RC-88 turntable and these 15" 3-way British Goodmans speakers--a 15" paper-cone woofer with an accordion-pleat cloth surround, a whizzer-cone mid with what they euphemistically called a "mechanical crossover" (that was just a vague description of where the whizzer cone's mid output began to dominate over the 15" driver's mid output) and an actual electrical crossover to a small horn tweeter.

1950s speaker1.jpg    1950s speaker2.jpg

1950’s-early 60’s staples: Full-range speaker with whizzer, infinite-baffle co-ax

This was a 'tri-axial' speaker. Raw, no enclosure. But Lafayette Radio (a national chain similar to Radio Shack that sold parts, accessories, their own ‘house brand’ stereo components along with national brands) offered a 36" floorstanding enclosure designed for raw 15" speakers. Remember, a lot of audio in those days was "roll your own." So I went with my dad and he bought those enclosures and put the Goodmans in them.

Those were the very first real 'hi-fi' speakers I heard. I thought they were the most amazing things I’d ever heard. Hey, I was just a kid. He kept them for 9 years, until 1969, when my mother finally said, "Out! I want those big ugly boxes out of my house!"

Luckily by the late 1960's, there was finally some real audio equipment. AR (Acoustic Research) was making great speakers and they'd just come out with their ground-breaking AR-4x 8" 2-way bookshelf speaker. It was $57 ea., a small 19" x 10" x 9" cabinet that would actually fit on a bookshelf. An 8" woofer in a sealed acoustic suspension enclosure and a 2 1/2" cone tweeter, both drivers designed and manufactured at AR's factory in Cambridge MA. Julian Hirsch of Stereo Review magazine reviewed it and said, "We have never encountered a frequency response like this....we know of no competitively-priced speaker that can compare with it."  He measured something like +/- 3dB on axis from 50-ish to 15kHz. Quite excellent for the late 1960s and $57.

But here's the "influence" part: My dad brings the 4x's home. Before he gives the Goodmans away to my older cousin's friend, we do an A-B in our den: the huge 15" Goodmans against the little 8" ARs.

The ARs stomped them, top to bottom, every which way from Sunday. Deeper, tighter bass. More extended highs and overall, just a far, far more modern, less colored sound.

I was awestruck, dumbfounded. How could that sound come out of those little boxes? Talk about influence! I was 15 at the time and that's when I realized that I wanted to know all I could possibly know about speakers and hi-fi.

Little did I know at the time that it would become my lifetime career for 50 years or so.

Hi Fi in the 60’s could be characterized as a middle-aged male hobby: The WWII vet with a modest house in the suburbs, a wife and two young children. A used Chevy and Studebaker in the driveway. Home music systems took their place alongside television as the staples of home entertainment electronics. Most of the electronics in the early part of the decade were separates—pre-amp, power amp and tuner—because they were tubes and receivers (all three components on a single chassis sharing a common power supply) were not yet practical or commonplace.

But by the late ‘60’s, the stereo systems were shaping up to be reasonably close to the equipment we feel comfortable with today. Speakers became increasingly refined and much improved in their sound and overall performance. The AR-3a bookshelf speaker of 1968 had a solid, convincing low-end of -3dB at 35Hz with well under 5% THD at a 90 dB SPL level—performance that is still quite good for a speaker whose enclosure was barely more than 1.5 cu. ft. in volume. Its frequency response varied by less than +/- 2 dB between 500 and 10kHz (according to Stereo Review magazine and their admittedly rough measurement techniques at the time) and its dispersion was so good from its dome mid-range and tweeter that it was down less than 5 dB at 60˚ off axis at 15kHz. This kind of dispersion is unheard of and absolutely unequalled by any single-tweeter forward-facing modern speaker. They sound good, even today. Pretty darn good. I know—I have a pair in a secondary system.

Now, to be clear about things—the 3a of 1968 had a lot of problems by today’s standards:

  • The tweeter wasn’t ferro-fluid cooled (an invention that AR introduced to the industry in 1975), so despite its great off-axis dispersion, it was down in level about 5 dB relative to the woofer, giving rise to AR’s characteristic 1960’s-70’s “reticent sound.”
  • There were a lot of cabinet diffraction issues and driver-placement issues. The 3a’s near-field response was, as one reviewer put it, “a cacophony of phase cancellations and driver interference.” In fairness to AR, the 3a was designed to deliver a smooth far-field power response, since that was what AR felt determined listening quality—the response at the listening position, 8-10 feet away from the speakers, not the sound one meter away on axis. That was their thinking in 1968, so that’s how and why the 3a was designed. AR themselves corrected all of the 3a’s issues with 1978’s AR9, the industry’s first speaker to have vertically-aligned drivers (a practice since copied by every single loudspeaker manufacturer), and close attention to cabinet diffraction and woofer/room interaction.
  • The 3a’s tweeter was made of a hard paper. Hard tweeters maintain better dispersion than soft tweeters because their domes maintain their shape better at higher frequencies than soft tweeters. When I was at Boston Acoustics, this was evident once again. Our 1” “Kortec” tweeter (cloth) had markedly poorer dispersion in the upper octave than our 1” Lynnfield aluminum tweeter, despite the fact that both tweeters were identical—identical (dimensions, faceplate, motor structure, everything)—except for the dome material. There may indeed be other issues at play, resonances etc., that make soft tweeters better in some respects, but AR’s own curves show that their own hard ¾” tweeter had better dispersion than their own ¾” soft tweeter. All of these were AR designs, so it’s not like they were criticizing someone else’s tweeter. Nonetheless, despite the slightly inferior dispersion, AR went to a soft ¾” tweeter in all their speakers following the 3a, since construction of the soft tweeter and its surround lent itself better to ferro-fluid cooling and the resonance-absorbing quality of the cloth diaphragm was a desirable quality.

So to sum up: The 3a was an excellent speaker in 1968 and is still enjoyable to listen to today. But in no way whatsoever am I representing that it is the overall equal of a modern speaker. Let’s be unequivocally clear about that.

But speakers like the late ‘60’s ARs (and the KLH’s like the 5, 6 and 17) with their tight bass and pretty accurate, fairly uncolored mids and highs were the exceptions, not the rule. There are precious few speakers from the 60’s that anyone would want to listen to on a serious, day-in/day-out basis today. Those floor-standing University speakers with their 60’s-style furniture legs? They sound exactly like they look like they sound.

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Acoustic Research AR-3a—1968

 University speakers.jpg

University Sound speaker with “Sphericon” tweeter—1963

Ditto the electronics. Direct-coupled solid-state output sections had not yet been devised (that wouldn’t happen until the early 1970’s), so amplifiers and receivers that could output full, low-distortion power at 20Hz were far and few between. Deep, clean, pounding high-SPL bass was not with us in 1966. And until Pioneer introduced the Phase-Locked Loop FM tuner around 1973, FM reception—especially in stereo—was often a noisy, staticky affair, where stations would drift in and out and the sound would never be mistaken for “high fidelity.”  Sure, a fully-functioning piece of stereo electronics from that decade is nostalgic fun, but it’s more fond memory and appreciation for its “Made in the USA” heritage than it is true high-performance audio.

 Knight kit tube amp.jpg 

Knight Kit tube components—1960

 Pioneer-tx9100-analog-tuner.jpg

Pioneer TX-9100 Tuner with Phase-Lock Loop—1973

The 1970’s-1980’s

This was a never-before-experienced time in American culture. After the end of World War II in 1945, the country had what came to be known as the Baby Boom from 1946-1964. Returning service people settled down, got married and started families. The economy boomed, suburbs sprang up as new residential developments were built in response to the huge, growing demand for housing, and the auto industry flourished again after taking the better part of four years off from 1941 to 1945 to produce tanks and aircraft.

The Baby Boomers came of age starting in the mid 1960’s, extending to the early 1980’s. But it was really in the 1970’s when the market impact of the Boomers was felt the most. They stormed onto college campuses in huge numbers, by the millions. And since there was no Internet or cell phones or laptops or iPods or ear buds or texting or You Tube or Twitter or Instagram then, audio was pretty much it—the only electronic entertainment equipment for kids to spend their money on. College kids went to lots and lots of live concerts and they bought millions of vinyl LPs—and they needed the equipment to play them on. Everything in analog audio was great then--the speakers, the turntables, the cartridges, the cassette decks. It was a grand time in audio. Even Radio Shack gear was 20-20kHz rated at great, low levels of distortion (page 26). Everything was really good, especially after the FTC power ruling in 1974.

Editorial Note: The 1974 FTC power ruling

The 1974 FTC Power Ratings mandate: As stereo grew in popularity by leaps and bounds through the 1960’s, the electronics manufacturers began to inflate and exaggerate their amplifier power ratings in a blatant attempt to win the attention of prospective new customers. Things got so bad (30 watt-per-channel RMS amplifiers were being advertised as having “240 watts of total system musical peak power!”) that by 1974, the Federal Government had to step in with amplifier rating guidelines to ensure that the manufacturers rated their equipment honestly.

One of the new guidelines was a 1/3-power “pre-conditioning” requirement, which stated that amplifiers had to be run at 1/3-power at 1000Hz for an hour before the power output and distortion measurements could be made. The rational, presumably, was that an amp that was properly “warmed up” would give more accurately-representative results than an amp that was measured “cold.”

The problem was this: the 1/3-power test made a class AB amplifier (which virtually all the amps were at that time) run very hot—especially at 4 ohms. Manufacturers found that they had to either modify existing equipment to increase the heatsinking or downgrade their power ratings so they’d run cooler at a lower power level. The very popular Dynaco SCA-80 integrated amplifier, for example, was downgraded from 40 watts RMS/channel to 30 watts after 1974.

For new equipment, the answer was simple: Simply don’t rate the amplifier into a 4-ohm load, since a 4-ohm load required too much expensive, heavy heatsinking, a beefy power supply and heavy-duty output transistors. Things were very competitive in the stereo biz and every dollar counted. If a manufacturer could save $10-20 by using less of that costly die-cast aluminum heatsinking, a less beefy power supply and cheaper, less robust output devices, that could easily translate into a retail price that was $50-100 lower. In a cutthroat market, there’s a world of difference between a receiver priced at $279 when your biggest marketplace rival is $369.00

In the 1970’s, amps and receivers could handle 4-ohm loads. There were some really great lower-priced units that were pretty gutsy. The Sherwood S-7100A could deliver 20-25 watts per channel into 4 ohms all day long and the entry-level Pioneer SX 424 and 525 were also quite comfortable with 4-ohm speakers. A very popular 4-ohm “budget” speaker in those days was the Smaller Advent Loudspeaker. “Small Advents,” as they were called, were deliberately designed to be 4-ohm speakers. Advent wanted the Smaller Advent to have essentially the same excellent bass response and deep extension (-3dB in the mid-40’s Hz) as the Large Advent. In order to achieve this, they needed a woofer with more mass (they mass-loaded the center of the woofer, under the dustcap), for a lower resonance to offset the smaller volume of air in its compact cabinet. It worked just fine, but at a severe penalty in sensitivity—the Small Advent needed a lot of power to drive to reasonably-loud levels. To offset that, Advent made it a 4-ohm speaker, so it would draw more power out of its companion receiver and “seem” just as loud for any given volume control setting as a bigger 8-ohm speaker.

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Sherwood S-7100A receiver—1972

This was clever engineering and marketing on Advent’s part, made possible only because modestly-priced receivers and integrated amplifiers existed at that time that could handle 4-ohm loads. There were thousands of Small Advents and Sherwood receivers happily signing away in dorm rooms all over the country in the 1970’s. Today’s inexpensive, entry-level electronics generally caution against using 4-ohm speakers. It’s usually not until you get into the middle-range models that low-impedance loads are acceptable (and then often only 6-ohm). But in the 1970’s, 4-ohm loads were perfectly acceptable for inexpensive electronics.

As the stereo market exploded in size among the college-aged consumer in the ‘‘70s, receivers became the dominant electronic component, supplanting the separate preamp/power amp configuration that was most popular among the middle-aged audio enthusiasts who comprised the majority of the market in the ‘50s thru mid-‘60s. Advances in electronic componentry, such as the widespread availability and low cost of reliable silicon transistors, made the design and manufacture of receivers feasible and popular. By combining three components—the power amplifier, preamplifier and tuner—onto a single chassis, using a single main power supply and only one cabinet, the manufacturer’s cost of production, shipping and warehousing plummeted.

 sx727.jpg

Vintage Pioneer SX-727 Receiver

Retail pricing could thus be lowered dramatically, and all this technological advancement fortuitously coincided with the emergence of the biggest population group in the country’s history (the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964) and a sustained economic strong period that lasted almost uninterrupted for decades, from the late ‘40s right through the ‘70s.

There were record stores everywhere and in areas with strong concentrations of college-aged kids—like Boston, NY, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.—it seemed like there was a stereo store on every street corner. Indeed, as a college kid in Boston in the mid-70’s, I remember there were no less than four stereo stores (and at least as many record stores) in Harvard Square, a trendy retail/dining section of Cambridge not bigger than a mile by a mile. I spent many a Saturday buying jazz albums and going from store to store, looking at all the new gear and bugging the salespeople.

Amplifiers really hit their stride in the 1970’s. Full-bandwidth 20-20khz power at extremely low distortion became commonplace. Whether it was the modest amplifier section in a mid-priced receiver like the Kenwood KR-5400 (35 watts/ch RMS from 20-20kHz at <0.5% THD) from 1974 or the Pioneer Spec 2 power amplifier from 1976 rated at 250 watts/ch 20-20kHz at <0.1% THD, amps in the 1970’s delivered the goods. Remember the receiver "power wars" that produced 150-200+ WPC, 20-20k, <.05% THD from Pioneer, Kenwood, Technics, Sansui and the others? Integrated amplifiers, too, hit their marketplace peak in the 1970’s. Pioneer, Kenwood and Sansui were the leaders in integrated amps with robust, full-featured, great-looking units that sounded great and operated flawlessly. I am actually using a 1972-vintage Kenwood KA-7002 in one of my systems now. It’s 48 years old and sounds great.

The decade of the 1970’s was unquestionably the Age of the Receiver. And what a Golden Age it was. Every year, major manufacturers like Pioneer, Kenwood, Sony, Sansui, JVC, Marantz and Sherwood introduced new and better models, with more features, more power, and lower prices. With there seeming to be no end to the growth and success of the audio market, manufacturers flourished and consumers benefitted from better and better gear at lower and lower prices.

Editorial Note: The Irrational Hysteria for Vintage Audio

Vintage 1960’s and 1970's audio gear in good shape, if properly refurbished with a meticulous eye towards preserving “originality,” commands insane prices these days. Classic speakers—especially the AR-1, AR-3, AR-3a and AR-LST from Acoustic Research and older KLH models like the 5, 6, 12 and 23—routinely sell for well over $1000-$2000 a pair. Sometimes more. These old speakers seem to be especially sought-after by collectors in the Far East and some of the prices have been truly stratospheric, beyond any sense of rationality. The preferred condition is original, unopened, with original drivers and grille cloth. There are many hobbyist sites like Classic Speaker Pages.net where aficionados and collectors swap info, buy, sell and assist each other with refurbishing the old speakers back to “like new” functionality, all with an eye to preserving as much of the original look and performance of these speakers as possible.

Another site, Classic Audio , specializes in refurbishing vintage electronic gear back to “like new” operating condition and even furnishes documentation showing that the unit has met or exceeded all of its original specs. These pieces sell for far more than their original list price, but they sell out in the blink of an eye.  

At least a case can be made for, say, a 1978-vintage Pioneer SX-1050 receiver. It’s a beautiful piece, built like a tank, has a superb FM section, a great pre-amp with wonderfully versatile tone controls and puts out 120 ultra-clean (.1% THD, 20-20kHz) watts RMS per channel (more, quite comfortably, into 4 ohms). It still sounds quite excellent today. Quite excellent.

Vintage Marantz and McIntosh separates also sell for astonishingly exorbitant prices (I just saw a Marantz 7T pre-amp sell for $2000 on a popular refurb site), but as with mainstream 70’s Pioneer/Kenwood/Sansui/Marantz receivers and integrated amps, at least a case can be made that these items will still actually sound good in addition to their nostalgic appeal.

But while a circa 1968 KLH5 12-inch 3-way loudspeaker may have a certain emotional appeal and an old-world craftsmanship appearance with its beautiful wood-veneer picture-frame baffle cabinet, it’ll sound like, well, a 1968 loudspeaker. Good bass, with colored, slightly veiled mids and somewhat opaque, indistinct highs. But….52 years from now, an SVS Pinnacle tower or RBH SV-61R bookshelf—incomparably superior speakers—will long since be forgotten. Such is the inexplicable, but very real draw of vintage 1960’s-1970’s audio gear.

However, as good as the 1970’s were for audio, the 1980’s might have been even better. Very early in the decade (1982) Sony introduced the first CD player, Panasonic/Technics and others followed suit very quickly. Ok, maybe the very first CDs sounded a little harsh until recording/re-mastering engineers got their digital sea legs beneath them and learned how to best take advantage of the new medium without over-emphasizing the highs. But nonetheless, [see 10 biggest successes], the CD’s importance in the history of consumer electronics can’t really be overstated. Its introduction was the watershed moment, the pivot point, the line of demarcation as to how program material was produced and delivered to the listener.

Before the CD, everything was analog, Records, tapes, radio broadcasts—they were all analog formats. The CD launched the digital age and once that occurred, software production and delivery changed forever. Background noise, pops, clicks, static, hiss, restricted dynamic range, limited bass extension and all manner of other, shall we say, “distractions” were effectively reduced to the point of insignificance.

sony 101.jpg 

The First: Sony CDP-101 Compact Disc Player—1982

The CD was an instant smash success. The buying public recognized its attributes right away and sales of both CD players and the discs themselves simply took off. In so many ways, the CD was the ideal transition from the LP, the perfect way for consumers to be comfortable moving from one format to another. The CD resembled the LP—it was circular, the playback device spun the disc (somewhat similar to a turntable spinning an LP, thus easy to conceptualize) and it was removed from its “jacket” and placed in the player (again, similar to the LP). It even carried the same caution, in that the user should refrain from touching the playing surface of the disc, much like you weren’t supposed to put your greasy fingers on the LP’s grooves. It had cover art, liner notes with personnel and lyrics, everything the LP customer was comfortable with. A very easy switch from the turntable and vinyl LPs.

Speakers too, reached heights of engineering excellence combined with aesthetic refinement and beauty that had never been approached before. Speakers from top-level manufacturers sounded great and looked great. Polks, JBLs, ARs and many others were truly superb and are still quite excellent even by today’s standards.

Yamaha CR-1020 ReceiverAnd how much better could electronics have gotten? By the 1980’s, there was a widespread recognition that, yes, amplifiers could indeed sound different from each other, regardless of what the specs said. There was a far better understanding of how amplifiers interacted with speakers, reactive and resistive loads, and we now fully understood “hard clipping” and the importance of spectral analysis of the distortion products. Receivers like the Yamaha CR-1020 exemplified the beautiful-looking, smooth-operating, silky-sounding components that were readily available from the “good” manufacturers. No highly-regarded component from the 1980’s need make any apologies today whatsoever.

When you think about it, the 1980’s were the last decade where everything in general American society and culture was essentially the same as it had been for decades before. Sure, there were incremental changes like cable TV rivaling over-the-air broadcasts and cordless phones becoming mainstream and freeing the average person from being tethered to a 6-foot wall cable, but the huge, structural changes in communications and information delivery hadn’t yet occurred. Even the basic world order was unchanged from the 1950’s: For example, the Soviet Union was still our biggest international rival, there was still an East Germany and a West Germany (just like there had been since 1945) and America’s space program still captured the public’s imagination with the Space Shuttle, just like the first satellites did in the late 1950’s. (Today, the space program is totally invisible to most people.)  

In the ‘80’s, there was still no Internet or cell phones or laptops or iPods or ear buds or texting or You Tube or Twitter or Instagram or Zoom. In actuality, from an information/entertainment delivery standpoint and world political structural angle, the 1980’s were very much like the 1950’s, except that the cars were sleeker and audio gear was a lot better. But aside from the possibility of a CD player replacing a turntable, a “stereo system” was still comprised of some electronics, a source device (or two, with a tape machine) and a pair of speakers.

pioneer_ctf950.jpg   Technics SL-P500.jpg

Kappa_8A.jpg         yamaha_cr-1020.jpg

Excellent 1980’s system:
Yamaha CR-1020 receiver, Infinity Kappa 8A speakers, Technics SLP-500 CD player, Pioneer CFT-950 cassette deck

Conventional 2-channel audio for the masses, still a widespread hobby with a large retail presence, may have hit its peak in the 1980’s. If someone argued that the 80’s were the “Golden Age of Audio,” I’d be hard-pressed to disagree.

Editoral Note:The Emergence of Personal Audio
Although this is an article primarily about home audio and how it has progressed through the past six decades or so, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the huge cultural impact of the original Sony Walkman [see: 10 Biggest AV Successes]. The Walkman (originally to be called “Soundabout!”) made its debut in the late 1980’s and immediately transformed the entire notion of transportable audio.

No longer did people have to contend with bulky, intrusive boom boxes or make do with low-fidelity battery-powered AM/FM radios. The Walkman afforded people the ability to play their cassette tapes (either commercial pre-recorded tapes or the ones they made on their own high-quality home cassette recorder) through good-quality lightweight headphones and enjoy true high-fidelity music on the go. Today, such an experience is commonplace, but in 1987, the Sony Walkman revolutionized the way people enjoyed their music. It was a cultural pivot point.

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About the author:

Steve Feinstein is a long-time consumer electronics professional, with extended tenures at Panasonic, Boston Acoustics and Atlantic Technology. He has authored historical and educational articles for us as well as occasional loudspeaker reviews.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Sal1950 posts on May 12, 2020 12:47
Kingnoob, post: 1390123, member: 89775
Ruining audio world , Siri spy speakers always recording audio .
I gotta laugh, people have fought for decades against the government or whoever putting bugging devices in their homes. Now they're paying monthly to put them in the house themselves with no thought to who might be listening on the other side. No Thanks to the spybots.
Kingnoob posts on May 11, 2020 13:59
shadyJ, post: 1385050, member: 20472
Very good article, Steve. It's a shame and an irony that as hi-fi audio has evolved to such amazing levels of performance and sound quality, interest has increasingly waned. Nowadays it's basically a niche market and a hobby for a small fraction of the populace, even though the price of entry for amazing sound systems is lower than ever before. The highest selling loudspeakers are those dreadful blue tooth things, and monoaural sound is the new hotness.

Yeah Bluetooth speakers , soundbars a audio travesty . Ruining audio world , Siri spy speakers always recording audio .
I vote the 70s for golden age or audio .

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
davidscott posts on May 01, 2020 18:08
Now but I sure do miss those days in the 80s when I was looking for audio nirvana.
Bucknekked posts on May 01, 2020 12:57
I would vote in two directions just because I can.

For the music, hands down the decade of the 1960's (and a wee bit in to the 1970s) had the most vibrant music scene. Wonderful, songs, exciting change and colorful artists. That fifteen years between 1960 and 1975 was awesome for music.

For the technology of sound, I think we are in the hayday and golden age of tech for audio. I can walk around with a little tiny device in my pocket and wireless buds in my ears and listen to the highest quality audio that exists anywhere in the world. Entire libraries at my finger tips. At home, my music room creates sound that is world class at the press of a button. Again, the entire sound catalog of the world is accessible.
jinjuku posts on April 30, 2020 22:31
Golden age is Today. 8lb amps the sip electricity idle and measure incredibly well for $1/watt. DAC's that are $500 and well engineered. I can access Naxos entire library of Hi Res audio for free with my public library account. Streaming services that let me try music that I otherwise couldn't afford at all. Speakers are better than ever.
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