The future of home audio in 1969

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From the Auckland Star, July 31, 1969

Today's better sound quality is a result of a quiet revolution in electronic sound. The development of transistors has made today's standard systems the equal of the very best of those in the pre-television era.

And technological improvements in sound will contine as more people buy better class equipment, encouraging research and mass production, which in turn lead to still better quality and lower prices. Today, every New Zealand household has at least one radio, many have a gramophone and an increasing number of people are buying tape recorders for a still wider choice of programmes recorded from radio, gramophone records or microphone.

Overseas, tape recorder ownership is increasing rapidly. The impetus for this has been the introduction of stereo cassette tape recorders and of stereo cassette recordings with the same programme material as is offered on gramophone discs. This last factor, when introduced in New Zealand, will bring with it a new dimension to home sound systems.

Cassette recorders are as easy to use as gramophones, are usually capable of being used separately as a portable unit. give Similar quality sound to LP records, and can make recordings. Overseas, they are widely fitted to cars and integrated into radio receivers.

Recently, home sound equipment has become available in a wider variety of forms. Modular units, where the turntable, amplifier, radio and speakers are in separate cabinets, have been the innovation. These allow the buyer to design his own system.

Most people, however, prefer to buy integrated units where the turntable and amplifier are combined. -sometimes with a radio- in one clabinet. Integrated units in a floor-standing cabinet and with record storage space are also becoming more numerous. So stereograms are now available with one or both speakers able to be separated.

For the same sound quality, integrated units are cheaper as there are fewer cabinets, plugs and sockets. And they are more easily installed than separate units as they require less space and have fewer cords.

The future of audio in 1969

Ten watt systems are becoming the standard. They offer greater volume, less distortion and superior tone to systems of a few years ago, many reaching high fidelity specificauons. No doubt, as has happened in the US, power rating will rise and 15 and 20 watt systems will become more common. Such systems, in modular and stereo form. cost from $250 - $400.

Speakers particularly. should improve as more research is done. Ceramic pick - ups have so improved in recent years that only the best magnetic pick-ups warrant the extra cost. For most people, the better ceramic pick-ups fitted to integrated systems are adequate.

Many people are now tending to follow the lead of high fidelity enthusiasts who are using single player turn-tables instead of automatic disc changers, as thy are reuslt in considerale less rumble.