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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Trade You for an iPod: 1979

Trade You for an iPod: 1979

It's a sobering thought that this accumulation of consumer audio gear, though approaching high-end levels but not all that esoteric for the period, may look as archaic to present-day eyes as those examples of enormous, steampunk-like telephone and radio contraptions we've see here on Shorpy. Maybe if it was all black enamel rather than brushed aluminum it wouldn't look so old-hat, er, I mean retro. Of all this stuff all I have left is the turntable; a visiting friend recently took out his cell phone and snapped a photo of it in action, then emailed it to his daughter. He said she'd never seen a record playing.

Lest anyone think that some form of perverse, fetishistic self-absorbtion inspired this as well as Beam Me Up, I took these photos as a status update for a fellow audio and video enthusiast friend who had moved out of state sometime previously.

A Kodachrome slide which, in keeping with the theme of nostalgic technological obsolescence, was processed by Fotomat. View full size.

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Is that a static gun?

Just bellow his right hand in the background.... a static gun for zapping away the snap-crackle-pop static before placing the vinyl record on the turntable. That WAS state of the art!

Gonna have to show this to the husband

He will genuflect, then get a certain far-away look in his eyes.


Tape squeal

Wow, I was born the year this was taken, and when I was growing up we had one of those cassette players on the second-from-the-bottom shelf. At least, it looks very similar to what I remember.

I hated it, though, in its later years while playing tapes it would randomly emit an extremely high-pitched, screeching, squealing noise. My parents couldn't hear it so one night when my dad put in a tape and it started squealing, he didn't believe that there was any and just thought I was covering my ears and begging for it to be turned off because I hated the music, until my brother came downstairs and asked what that screeching noise was.

Jogging the tterrace memory banks

Thank you sjmills, that was indeed an MXR equalizer, and exactly as you described it. I eventually connected it with mega-long cables so I could fiddle with it endlessly while sitting in my acoustic sweet spot. What's under the turntable is actually an Acousti-mount, a spring-footed platform designed to minimize low-frequency feedback from the speakers. I still use it. The outfit that made it, Netronics Research & Development, is still in business I see. The smaller cabinet at right was actually my first audio equipment cabinet; my folks got it for me c.1964. It was originally designed as a piece of bedroom furniture, and was solid wood, unlike the later composition-board larger one.

And rgraham, that's where the Fotomat was, and some gear did come from Pacific Stereo in SR, but the Phase Linears were beyond them; they came from some higher-end Marin place I've forgotten about.

The turntable plays only plays at 33 & 45. My online searches for replacement Shure V-15 styli usually only turn up outrageously expensive new old stock or alleged compatibles whose descriptions give me the willies.

Just within the past couple months my LP collection has shrunk from around 18 down to 4 linear feet.

Sorry for drooling into your gear

I always liked those Pioneer reel-to-reel decks, but still lust for a Teac. Nice Phase Linear stuff there. That's maybe an MXR EQ? Tiny, stiff sliders with rubber "knobs"? And a slide-out shelf for the turntable? But I think the real star here is the cabinet on the right with the neato doors.

Call me old school

All I need is a vintage Voice of Music turntable to fit in my restored 1950 Magnavox cabinet model 477P radio/record player. It never had the TV option installed so I put in an inexpensive small TV from Wally World, the cable box and wireless gear.

I have the Contemporary in mahogany.

Mice had been living on the original turntable. Construction of the cabinet is first rate.


Interesting though that you -- the clothes and hair -- would fit in just fine today. Men's clothes haven't changed much in 30 years. Sure there's newer styles, such as the stupid "falling down pants" with underwear hanging out and such, but the newer styles haven't replaced the old standbys. We tend to think of fashions of the past lasting for a long time, but if you look at any 30 year time period in the pictures on Shorpy you'll see that the fashions change drastically.

All in all, the picture looks like it could have been a picture of vintage equipment taken yesterday.

Reel to reel

I remember when "logic" was advertised as a technological breakthrough. I'm old.

Let me do some mind reading.

The Fotomat you took your film to was in the parking lot of Co-op shopping center in Corte Madera. Your stereo equipment was bought at Pacific Stereo in San Rafael. Or was it that high end place down at the Strawberry Shopping Center?

All very cool looking stuff. I have just broken into my old gear I bought back around 1975 at P.S. I'm currently listening to some old LPs that were my grandmother's. It's fun, and they do sound better than CDs.

As far as the stylus goes, check around online. There is quite a bit of interest and information about this hobby.

Oh, OK

Never had an Elcaset deck, nor 8-track. I do still have a MiniDisc deck, though.

Shelf-by-shelf going down:

Technics SL-1300 direct-drive turntable w/Shure V15 Type V cartridge; ZeroStat and Discwasher.

Phase Linear 4000 preamp; 10-band graphic equalizer whose details escape me for the nonce.

Concord outboard Dolby unit atop Pioneer RT-707 reel-to-reel tape deck.

Kenwood KX-1030 cassette deck.

Phase Linear 400 power amp.

Not shown: Infinity Monitors with the easy-to-blow-out Walsh tweeters.

Somebody tell me how to get a replacement stylus for the V15 Type V.

I Bet

Bet your turntable plays 78s and 16s as well as 45s and 33s. I have a cheap Garrard changer of about the same vintage that does all four... which came in rather handy when I started picking up 78s at the local Symphony's book and music sale a few years ago.

Ray Gun

I also have a nifty little anti-static-electron-spewing sparky gun, pictured to the right side of your "record player".

Questions, questions

Retro-audiophile lust!

1. Brands and model numbers please.
2. Where's your Elcaset deck?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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