• We’re excited to be up and running and seeing visitors old and new! For those returning, reset your password and you’re good to go! For new members, introduce yourself here. You can also be in with a chance to win a set of Fyne Audio Speakers and try to become a part of our Ultimate Audiophile Playlist here!

The Retro / Classic HiFi Enthusiasts Club

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.


Well-known member
Feb 17, 2013
I know there is a small but resilient group of us on here who are enthusiasts of older HiFi equipment, even are still using older HiFi equipment, even though manufacturers of new equipment would probably wish we didn’t. There have been a few individual threads about older equipment and obsolete formats, so I thought ‘why not pull it all together in one place?’

So if you own, use, or otherwise have something enthusiastic to say about older HiFi (let’s have 1999 as a sensible cut-off), this thread is for you. You and your 80s and 90s CD players. You and your cassette decks, open reel recorders, DCCs, MDs and Elcasets (anyone got one of those??). You and your Garrard 401s, EMTs and GL75 turntables. You and your BBC LS3/5A, DC15 and Celestion SL6 speakers. You and your classic valve amps and big Japanese over-engineered integrateds built like proverbial outside WCs with illuminated VU meters and fluorescent bar-scales. Or even you and your 3020-series NADs and minimalistic early Quad and Mission-Cyrus shoeboxes. Not to forget you and your multitude of classic FM tuners.

Though of course it doesn’t have to be ‘cult kit’. This thread is about capturing discussions about any kit made last century which can be remotely deemed to be HiFi-related. So that’s a pretty wide net.

Tell us about the kit you have, the kit you had, the kit you wish you owned, or wish you still owned. Tell us your thrills and your traumas, your unexpected successes and your doomed-from-the-start failures.

The only thing I specifically bring your attention to is one certain key word in the title of this thread: "enthusiasts". If you really have nothing enthusiastic to post because you think obsolete HiFi sucks, I’d prefer you just moved on, because this is not the thread for you.
Takes me back!!
How are you, and how is the system? I believe it was a Mac Mini with Audioquest DAC??
Regards: Freddy


Nov 24, 2013
Retro hifi?

I have a mostly retro set up in my listening room which gives me so much pleasure for minimal outlay :-

Pioneer SX535 receiver : Given to me by a friend who'd had it in his loft for years, I got it serviced and cleaned it up and it works like new. Low power but has such a soulful depth and musicality sound wise. Looks great too.
CEC CD480 cd player : Donated by same friend and again not used since the early 1990's (it still had the protective plastic intact on its case) looks to be based on early Phillips cdps and sounds very very nice extremely analogue.
Technics SL B210 TT : Same as above donated by same chap, very basic deck just needed a clean and service plus a new belt and cart. It's definitely the weak link but still does a decent job
Celestion Ditton 33 speakers : Cost me £120 ex fleabay, in time capsule condition, they sound and look great and compliment the Pioneer receiver perfectly. The Atacama stands they sit on cost more than the speakers.....

I also stream into this set up using a Sonos Connect through an Arcam rplay dac again bought for buttons second hand. Ironically for a retro set up this is my main source but works very well and the Sonos house sound is pretty retro anyway.

If you have a spare space and a few spare pounds you could do a lot worse than going retro. Very satisfying sub hobby to the main hifi thing
  • Like
Reactions: Fred_Barker


Well-known member
Dec 26, 2012
I do have a few bits of older hi fi. Since the cut off for this thread is anything up to 1999, I’ll have a little talk about about my Sony CD Player from 1999 and my NAD 4020A Tuner from 1983.

Firstly my Sony.

It’s probably from the last of the really good era of Sony gear. It’s a CDP-XB930 with their up market at the time Fixed Pickup Mechanism transport system. It‘s their transport which used to keep the laser stationary, and move the disc across the laser to be read. A magnetic puck is needed to go on top of the CD to hold the disc in place. It was touted at the time, that it made the data reading more accurate, in reality it didn’t make any difference.

However the build quality of the transport and the machine in general is absolutely fantastic. The drawer is super slick and silent as it opens and closes. The machine is all aluminium casework including the facia panel.

it weighs about 7 or 8 kg. It has all of the luxuries of the format, CD Text, optical and coax outputs. A switchable digital filter, a jog dial for quick track selection. It even reads CD-RW discs. It still feels like a quality bit of kit and after 20 years of ownership and use, is still like new and working perfectly.

I‘ve owned it for half of my life and it’s still part of my main system in my living room. I still enjoy the CD format and this machine seems to bring a sense of occasion to playing a CD almost like dropping a tone arm to a LP.

I hope to have it in my system always.

Next my NAD 4020A.

I bought this FM tuner for £40 on eBay a few years ago as a means of cheaply and easily adding radio to my system. It’s very basic, but it works perfectly. It’s circa 1983, so pretty old now.

I love it’s simplicity and the glow of the tuning scale. It has a tuning dial, no PLL synthesisers and preset memories here.

I have a network player for internet radio, but sometimes I don’t think you can beat just pressing power on, turning a dial and having nothing else to bother about.


Active member
Nov 1, 2019
Much the same is true of speakers, while the material used in construction may have changed, the basic design of a moving coil loudspeaker is as old as the hills.


Crossover design is probably the biggest leap the industry has made in speaker design in the last 20 years, with better driver integration. That said, many contemporary speakers on the market today are designed to sound very bright and toppy, with a rather dull mid-band. I personally don't like this as I think it sounds tiring. But it seems to sell units, as people hear top-end definition and mistake that for detail and resolution.


Active member
Nov 1, 2019
My HB1's are still going strong with my main setup. I also still use cassettes, and have a Nakamichi RX-202 and 505 (latter for recording, former for playback). Wonderful machines!
  • Like
Reactions: insider9



Latest posts