This is a post without many words. Mostly the aim is to offer drool-worthy, curious, or otherwise engaging advertisements from the peak hi-fi era of the 1970s, when competition for consumer dollars, coupled with overwhelming demand for home sound systems, generated gear that a half-century later endures.
To explore, say, High Fidelity magazine issues from 1973, is to experience desire for objects you never knew you needed. A display ad for, say, Altec’s array of speaker systems from that year, is likely to send you to Reverb or HiFiShark in search of possible deals.
A simple flip of the digital page reveals aesthetic feats like the JBL 88 Plus.
The Empire 598 II from 1973 is a covetable turntable that, five decades later, still generates wonder. Another Empire ad from the era celebrates the company’s 4000D four-channel phono cartridge by depicting it dancing atop a record.
“Whenever I played my stereo loud my wife made plans to move to her mother’s,” says this cigar-smoking, pinky-ring-wearing, hair-permed guy. “Then a Marantz dealer wised me up. It’s not playing your stereo loud that’s bugging her, he said. It’s the distortion that’s driving her cuckoo. Get a Marantz.”
“‘Where’s the flute Henry?’ my wife complained constantly. I was about ready to leave her. Then we saw a Marantz dealer. He told us that separation of sound is the true test of a speaker system … you get distortion-free sounds that are as pleasing as a nibble on the ear.”
The Sansui Corp’s advertising firm took copious amounts of LSD before crafting this campaign. What does the eye represent in this illustration? Shouldn’t it be an ear? Or a Sansui amplifier?
We’ll close with one more Sansui hallucination:
As always, a shoutout to WorldRadioHistory for maintaining their archives. It’s a remarkable resource.