My Main HiFi System is mainly concerned with playing vinyl, but it can also do that modern streaming thing and lots of other formats.
The equipment to do this was produced over a range of five decades. So let’s take a trip back in time from the newest component to the oldest.
My most recent purchase was a DragonFly Black USB DAC. This is used with my raspberry pi music streamer.
Stylus and, to a lesser extent, cartridges are consumables. I recently fitted an Audio Technica VM95EN. This came out in 2019.
Now it’s back 15 years to the next item. A Sony MDS-JE480 MiniDisc deck from 2002. MiniDisc features strongly in my portable audio portfolio. This deck is vital for feeding that habit with new recordings.
The next item takes us into The last century. The Sony CDP-XE220 (1998) CD player gets very little use, what with all my CD s being ripped to a NAS already.
Speakers now. 1995 saw the release of the Bowers & Wilkins DM 600i as an updated version of the already popular DM600. Mine cost me just £2 from a boot sale and were the latest of a long line of speakers to grace this system, including Denon, Mission, Castle and Gale. I love these speakers.
My favourite cassette deck is my 1975 Sony TC-204 SD which is in my second system. However in my main system I use a relatively new Yamaha KX-480. This 1994 machine offers facilities and a levels of recording quality not possible with the older machine. I record a lot of cassettes for use in my high end Sony Walkman, so quality counts.
My magnificent Mission Cyrus One amplifier harks from the turn of the decade. The original Cyrus One was manufactured from 1984 to 1991. Mine is one of the later variants. Indeed the circuit board carries a date stamp of October 1989, so I recon mine is probably a 1990 example. That’s 30 years old at the time of writing.
We are back into the 1980s now. NAD were major players at this time. They came to prominence with the budget classic NAD 3020 amplifier. I owned and enjoyed one of these for a while. It is the NAD 4225 tuner from 1988 which finds place in my system. It earned it’s place in my main system after I removed the cardboard which the previous owner had shoved inside. I listen to FM radio most days, so this is actually a very important part of my system.
Another company who made a massive impact in this decade were the German turntable manufacturer Dual. The 505-i was a game changer in budget quality. I bought a 505-ii soon after it’s release in 1984 with my first proper pay packet. This turntable now resides in a nice hardwood plinth of my own construction and is on it’s fourth cartridge. I have other turntables, including a Technics direct drive, but it’s the Dual 505 which continues to hold sway in my main system
The astute amongst you may have noticed that I have more equipment than my Cyrus One has sockets. Lack of inputs was a problem way back in the 1970’s. Sony brought out this SB-300 to allow the connection of up to three tape recorders. Now, I can connect a cassette deck, a MiniDisk deck, and this ..
Sony made this magnificent TC-377 from 1973-77. The oldest item in my system, and the subject of almost as much maintenance as my Cyrus. By far the most impressive in oh so many ways. It’s also about 55 years older than the DragonFly DAC.