Sold for: $575
I picked these up so cheaply because they were advertised as Bose S01s, not 501s. As soon as I saw them, I knew we had a winner. My seller this time was another immigrant family — Russians who spoke no English at all (but they understood the local currency). When I got them home, I pulled the covers off as I like to check all speaker surrounds before re-selling. Well, a couple of points to note for any buyers of this particular model; (1) the covers are not supposed to come off as they are stapled on rather than velcroed, lugged or domed (look at the photo taken without the covers and you’ll see that Bose didn’t intend for people to remove them); and (2) they do need to come off occasionally because like most Bose speakers, the foam surrounds will need replacing periodically. Luckily, both surrounds were in good condition and had been replaced within (guessing) the last 10 years. This also explained why the fabric covers were so badly attached when I bought them. To re-attach the covers I took them up to the local picture framing shop, and for $10 the elderley gentleman staple-gunned them back into position.
They are fantastic speakers — these early American-made Bose are superb. The cabinet itself is divided into two sections: the bottom part contains a 10″ woofer in an acoustic suspension design which is fully isolated from the 2 x 2″ mid/tweeters in the upper section. The two mid/tweeters are angled in different directions to give you that “stereo everywhere” feel. Does it work? Well, yes, kind of, in that it does create some interesting, often beguiling, sound effects with instruments seemingly being played in odd corners of the room. I actually like it but find it a little distracting when trying to work. But I could live with these as they are solid, heavy, powerful speakers. If only Bose had used real veneer instead of crappy vinyl.
To sell these, I decided to try a different approach, and listed them in the “Art Deco & Retro” furniture section instead of the audio section — I mean look at them, they are like a couple of retro seventies, ultra-cool sidetables. Well, it worked, as a couple of bidders went toe-to-toe, delivering several hundred dollars more than expected! Just goes to show that when selling, you’ve got to use your imagination!
100 watts RMS, 4 ohms.
Dimensions: 610h x 370w x 370d
Weight: heavy — 19 kgs (40lbs)
Sold for: $220
This turntable had been in storage for almost 20 years. It was sold by an English couple who had purchased it from Harrods in the early 1980s. When they immigrated to New Zealand in the 1990s, they never unpacked it. All of the Grundig gear I purchased from them still had the original English mains plugs, so the first task before any testing was to rewire to NZ 3-pin plugs. Donkey work, but some donkey has to do it.
While I generally prefer the aesthetics of the Japanese S-shaped tonearms, I grew to quite like the straightline, slim Euro styling on display here. Also, the stylus force meter is a useful adition to any record player as it saves mucking round balancing the tonearm. This TT is an exact clone of a Philips model. Did Philips own Grundig?
The needle was broken, however, but I managed to find a NOS Philips 400III in Portugal of all places, for US$3, which was delivered in less than a week. God, I love EBay! Apart from that, overall condition was near mint. There were a few scratches and marks on the dustcover but some plastic polish restored this in no time.
Needle installed and time to test the TT out through the Pioneer SA-9800. This is perhaps the quietest turntable I’ve ever tried — I turned the volume up to full (with nothing playing) and there was very little noise. Maybe there is something to said for these well-isolated plastic TTs. Turning it back down, I whacked on some Robert Cray. Again, I was presently surprised. For a standard needle (not elliptical), there was no real weak spots in the soundstage. Solid mids and tops with just a little missing at the bottom, but really, for a relatively lightweight table, you can’t go wrong!
One of the reasons why Technics outsold Pioneer by 4 to 1 in the 1980s. While Pioneer wandered off into strange plastic, computer-age gear, Technics stuck to the basics in terms of styling as well as offering more than most in terms of power. Also note how the Technics ads from this era are much more visually appealing that the dry, colorless Pioneer fare:
Sold for: $175
The value of these amps has been rising dramatically in the last year — they may not be quite up to the impressive solidity of the SA-x800 series but they are still beautifully constructed with brushed aluminium knobs and faceplates, as well as metal cases and bottoms. What they lack is an ability to play A+B speakers, and speakers need to be 6 ohms or more. But if you want an excellent, entry-level piece of vintage gear, then these are as good as it gets. AND, AND, AND, there is the blue fluroscan meters!!!
Literature on one of the greatest speakers ever made. One of my “customers” even offered me a pair of Yamaha NS1000M in exchange for these. I refused…
For more details and a video of these speakers, please go here.
Sold for: $176
Trio/Kenwood silverface equipment often flies beneath the radar and bargains can be had. This model was pretty much bottom of the range but it still fires out a respectable 25 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms. Thick aluminium faceplate and wacky styling — I’m always intrigued by the way in which the designers of 1970s amps never tried to achieve symmetry in their layouts. These machines sound pretty damn fine but note that they only take one set of speakers. Comes fully strapped with direct-coupled amplifier stages with Darlington Power modules. Like most ’70s amps, this can drive 4-ohm speakers (something most lower range ’80s amps cannot do).
This particular unit was delivered to me for free from down country by the owner who was coming up to the big city on vacation. The fascia was in near-mint condition (see photos) but the case was a little rough. I opened it up as soon as I got it to give the pots and switches a good rinsing. The damn thing smelt like a cat had pissed in it so I left it outside (under shelter) for a few days. The loudness button needed particular attention with some cleaner, as it was very noisy. Remember, its not just the pots that need spraying, its ALL the switches/contacts.
One week later, this got sold back down country to the very town that it had come from!
PS: this model also came in a black face with silver knobs and this version carries a 25% premium in terms of price.
Dimensions: 390w x 290d x 140h