Vintage Whine

Electric City

So: what does a professional audio nerd do on a day off? Check out an audio dealer, of course! I’d seen Craigslist ads for Electric City in Westminster, Colorado, for months–and finally went the 30 miles or so to check it out. One of the things that separates Electric City from your average Craigslist seller of vintage gear is that they’re a service and repair company—and everything they sell has been checked out and brought up to original spec.

The store has everything from portables to full systems. I was taken by this homemade jambox—the audio equivalent of folk art, no?

This shows the range of gear you’ll find at Electric City—from a funky ’50s Philco console with separate stereo speaker to ’90s B&O Uni-phase speakers.

Several rather worn tube console radios shared space with the unmistakable Philco Predicta. Hmmm–how do I make it hi-res?

A little bit of everything on this rack, from a Perreaux preamp to a cute Harmon-Kardon tube combo.

Anyone want a Crown DC-300 for $199? It’ll sound like broken glass, but it’ll last forever!

Some interesting-looking Knight tube amps (with cages off) atop who-knows-what ’50s speakers.

There are reel-to-reel decks all over the shop.

The enclosures are obviously Karlsons—but what on Earth are those drivers with the Darth Vader/Electrolux horn?

Back in the day we talked about receivers with a high “KPD” factor—knobs per dollar. Here’re the speaker equivalent, massive ’70s 6-ways? 7-ways? from Kenwood.

A wide range of cassette decks, including a Nak and a big Pioneer.


A couple very nice Tandberg cassette decks.


I’m not a big Pioneer fan, but this rack full of silver faces was pretty impressive.

I’d never seen a Nakamichi System One in the flesh/metal before. From the top down, the DS-200 Program Timer, that allowed you to program recordings off the air from FM; the 630 FM Tuner/preamp; the 600 Cassette console; a System One bridge adapter and a pair of bridged 620 power amps. This is a rare variant of a rare system: most had a 610 control preamp and only one 620 power amp. Priced at $2,000, it doesn’t strike me as totally outrageous. According to the 1977 Audio Annual equipment Directory, the 630 tuner/pre was $630; the 600 cassette was $550 in matte black; and the 620 amps were $630 each. That’s $2440 in 1977 dollars, and doesn’t include the rack, timer, or bridging adapters.