What to be famous?
As a retro hi-fi enthusiast you may well have been interested in hi-fi for quite some time, chances being that your system has been built up over a number of years, and you are proud of it, right?
Here on Retro Hi-Fi, we are also interested, and we are sure that other visitors would also be interested. So why not take advantage of being able to show off. If you are interested in having your system displayed, then send me four pictures, with a description and some background information about it, in particular, how you became interested in hi-fi in the first place, and what it took to get your system together.  You can talk about your trials and tribulations as well as your jubilation.

Yes, please make me famous too

Retro Hi-Fi Visitors Systems


My name is Peter

I left School in 1970 and worked in a TV shop where I served as an apprentice for radio & TV servicing, which is when I became a hi-fi enthusiast. Through the 1970's I was purchasing 70's hi-fi, until 1980 when I started buying second hand valve amplifiers. In 1986 I purchased a pair of B.A.F amplifiers that came out of a cinema, two years later a pair of 120 watt Westrex amplifiers also from a cinema came my way. I rebuilt and modified the input of the Westrex amplifiers so a domestic pre-amplifier would work on them.  In 1989 I made a pre-amplifier to put on the Westrex amplifiers; I have since made these pre-amplifier for friends and family. The power amplifiers I make are based on Westrex & Western Electric.
The pictures here are of a replica of the Western Electric 91a amplifier on a 2mm stainless steel chassis that measures 40x15x3 inches. I have used military paper in oil capacitors plus carbon and wirewound resistors. The valves are 2x 6J7 2x 300B and 2x GZ34 Output power 9 Watts Per Channel.

For more information e-mail me at peter.hawthorne1@ntlworld.com


My name is Dave, and I have been interested in hi-fi for quite a few years now. As you can see, my system consists of a mixture of new and old, which all works well together. The powers amps are the Quad II's, the pre amplifier is the Quad 24. The turntable is the Girodec SE fitted with a RB300 and the Pickering XV-15 cartridge. CD player is the Marantz CD6000OSE Ki Signature. The speakers are Eltax liberty 5+ which are bi-amped, and the tuner is now changed from the Quad FM3 to the Pioneer F90.

This is just to see if anyone in the UK has seen this stereo or similar and just to share and a funny story about a piece of retro Hi - Fi and seek some technical info.  I know it's not a classic hi fi piece or a high end piece but maybe it's of interest.

The story starts in 1969 when my best friend's older brother bought his first stereo. It was an HMV 8 + 8   (see photos). It was marketed in Australia as a budget table top stereo and was enormously popular with teenagers and young adults because of its styling. It had the feel of a separates but was compact enough for a small room. It had a BSR turntable proudly proclaiming 'Made in England' and had a lifter for the arm only seen on more expensive turntables. With HMV and BSR many Australians thought they were buying a bit of class, imported and with connections to the old dart. Yet the cabinets were manufactured locally to spec for HMV.

In 1969 my friend and I were 9 years old, so we weren't 60's boomers, just grew up in it. But when friends' older brother was out, we used to sneak in and play this machine. It was the first time we heard Hendrix, the Doors, the Who, the Beatles and so on. It was the first time I had experienced stereo in close quarters and it's something you don't forget.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Ipods and Cd's. I collect singles, not albums, just singles. I have about 3,000 dating from the 50's to the last pressings in the 90's. I have a good turntable and amp and am pretty careful with them but it is a working collection, i.e. I play them regularly.

It was just out of curiosity I looked on ebay to see if I could find an '8+8' no luck but I found an HMV stereo for sale. Looking at the photo, there it was a thirty year blast from the past. I put a bid on it and won it. Anyone with e-bay experience would know it's always good to ask a question about its condition. Every time I asked a question about whether it worked, or any other query, it was a real mono syllabic answer like 'dunno' or 'know nutthin about it'. I took a punt and paid $50.00 (about 15 pounds). When I picked it up I found it was from a guy who was selling off all his fathers' stuff who had recently died.  He was a 20 something and didn't even know about records. I mean to him, this record player might as well have been a meat grinder. No idea of records which made sense from his answers on e-bay. Can't blame him, just a generation removed from records.

Anyway this unit was immaculate. It was like it just came out of the shop. I have never seen a Perspex lid absolutely scratch free. The big question was did it work? (As it came without speakers). Took it home, plugged it in threw a couple of speakers on it and it played. Not very well mind you.

So I rang a bloke who I bought an amp off when I was 18 and who still has a hi fi store in Dee Why (a wee suburb in Sydney). Now the funny thing is I have been overseas for 15 years and came back a couple of years ago  but this guy Dave Ryall (and an Englishman by the way) turned me onto hi fi as a lad and he still has a small shop in DY.

So there I am talking to a bloke I haven't spoken to in 25 years, and would he have a stylus for a crappy ceramic cartridge for an old BSR turntable? As it turned out he did. $20 dollars later with a new stylus installed and a pair of second hand speakers from St Vincent's de Paul it sounded as good I guess as it did 1969.

Now the only thing missing is an HMV logo on the Perspex lid and a rubber mat (I bought a mat off ebay so no probs. there was also the option of replacing the automatic spindle with a short spindle.  The clip is there but the spindle is not. If anyone knows where I could get these two parts please get in touch.

I had a query about the output on the front if anyone can help. The 8+8 styling put all the specifications on the front in text. So you get this rave on the front about the amplifier response and so on. On the front it has two mini jack outputs proudly proclaiming '600 ohm 8 volts r.m.s. max'. I assumed this would be the equivalent to a line out, so I made some leads up and plugged it into my amp and you get an output but it's a bit fuzzy, it doesn't sound right. What also I find strange is the output can be controlled by the volume control on the record player. Would anybody have any idea of what this output was intended to match?

Anyway there it is. The 8+8 interested to know if a similar model was made in England and this was based on it. It's not a high end piece but certainly brings back a lot of memories. The front panel cam in two versions a black front panel with silver text and silver knobs or as my one is a brushed aluminium front with black text and black knobs.


Conrad Mill
Oceania Communications
P.O. Box 5162 Wheelers Height 2097
Tel : (612) 9972 1771
Mob: 0431 967 365

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