It wasn't that many years ago stereo systems were simple. A receiver—perhaps and integrated—a turntable and a pair of speakers were all you needed. And before that, a simple all-in-one cabinet. That was before we started separating the console and receiver into their multiple components—called separates. This level of added complexity came about because we wanted to be able to improve the pieces that made up the all-in-one solution, but they came with a new problem. All those separates started looking jumbled and took up more space in the home—something not appreciated by every family member. I remember the first separates system I heard. It was my father's and it came about because my mother refused to let dad put speaker boxes in their small living room. Dad had already accumulated a turntable, tube amplifier, and tuner which he planned on building into a cabinet, but with mom's adamant directive that there be no physical evidence of speakers in the room, a clever separates solution had to be found. That prompted my father to take over the hall closet for a built-in subwoofer, and the small space between the living room ceiling and walls to build speakers in. The family hi-fi in those days was mono, so he didn't have to have left and right channels covered. His plan was a simple one. The speaker box would be in the form of a long triangle that nestled unnoticed along the long wall. Wires were run through the walls and grille cloth covered the drivers. Those were the first on-wall and in-wall speakers I had ever seen and their use kept marital harmony amongst my folks.
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