Hifi today – a German perspective from Lothar Kissinger

Generally: Now you see it, now you don't ..... and today you usually don't.

Remember the ‘good old days’ when there was a Hifi shop on every corner? Well, in Germany there weren’t as many as in the UK, but there were at least a handful in every middle sized town or even village. In the UK there were SO many you had a very hard time picking the right one for you!

They better ones (not box shifters) all went to great effort to wire up the system of your dreams and let you listen as long as you wanted. Best example being that in the early eighties I was in London again with a friend, and we visited a Hifi dealer, I think it was somewhere in Finchley. In a private flat he was operating part of his business.

This guy had just packed the complete Quad range to ship it to a US customer, including the huge speakers and all other Quad gear, pre and power amp, tuner and remote that weighed several kilos alone!

What did he do?

He unpacked it all again, wired it up and said we could listen as long as we wanted! And he KNEW I was absolutely NOT able to buy any of that stuff! That’s was what I call service!

Today?

You are extremely lucky if you can find someone who has got a choice of Hifi and is willing to demonstrate it. There are very few shops in the bigger cities, mainly without price tags attached because if you dare to enter then the presumption is that money should be no object for you!

And later you are even more blessed if you can find someone who does a good service and can repair your treasures if they ever fail you. The lack of parts being another problem .....

So the addresses of those magic people who still know what they are doing are swapped like state secrets! Few of them bother to advertise in the magazines. Before I have a look at all the different goodies that “old“ Hifi can offer, one more question

Am I an old-fashioned guy, living in the past? Yes and no. Quality old-fashioned yes – but not living in the past.

I do like mp3 players ..... somehow. I very occasionally use them, as they are convenient. Do they sound good? Yes ...... somehow. Do I like having plugs of any kind in my ears? No, No and NO ! And not unimportant either, are these devices a joy to look at or handle? Well, if you consider matchboxes as works of art, they ARE....somehow! So what is SO different with the old Hifi gear? I will try to explain in the next of this series. Thank you

LK