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David Swaffer - My Life History With Vintage HiFi
first_pioneer_hifi_components_thumb.jpg (2910 bytes)      My interest in what is now referred to as *Vintage HiFi* dates back to the mid 1970's when I acquired my first set of separates: an entry level Pioneer SA-6300 amplifier and TX-5300 tuner, a Pioneer CT-F2121 cassette deck, a Garrard SP-25 Mk II turntable, and Wharfedale Linton speakers. They sounded great, and introduced me to the world of HiFi.      Upon relocating to the United Kingdom in the early 1980's, I was persuaded by a local HiFi salesperson to replace all my 1970's Japanese equipment with 1980's separates from Naim Audio (an English company), and Linn (a Scottish company).
     At the back-end of that decade, while in Germany, I was able to upgrade certain components by replacing the amplifier and tuner with a Pioneer SX-1980 receiver... some upgrade! The speakers were replaced by Pioneer HPM-1500's, the cassette deck by an Akai GXC-570D Mk II, and the turntable with a Pioneer PL-630. Needless to say, the additional watts ensured that the neighbors were fully aware of my taste (or otherwise) in music!      This I did, and through several stages over three years, I upgraded to an active home theater speaker system comprising a Linn Sondek LP-12 turntable, with a Linn Ittok arm holding a Linn Karma moving coil cartridge; a Naim NAC 32-5 preamplifier; a Naim NAXO2 crossover; two Naim SNAPS power supplies, and two Naim NAP-250 power amplifiers driving Linn Sara active speakers.

     While there was no question in my mind (and ears) that the combination of these components yielded a superior sound to that of the Pioneer equipment they replaced, I still fondly recalled the warm sound of the Pioneer system, and of course, all those fascinating switches, knobs, and colored lights (sadly lacking from the rather austere Naim... but for good reason).

     Many years went by until, shortly after the turn of the new century, I discovered by chance while browsing through eBay, that all the vintage 1970's stereo equipment can still be purchased, albeit used and consequently, unlikely to be in brand new condition. Well, long story short, and after many adrenaline-rushing bids and several thousands of dollars "thrown down big", my appetite for vintage HiFi is almost replete (at least until the next mouth-watering auction).

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Click on any of the thumbnails for a full size picture.
system4_pioneer_tx-6800_sa-5800_ct-F750_thumb.jpg (3347 bytes)
ONE STACK!! Pioneer SX-580 through SX-1980
I now have five comprehensive systems, all solely comprising Pioneer equipment from the incomparable 1973 to 1980 era, and just for the hell of it, the complete series of Pioneer SX-580 through SX-1980 receivers.
     Such sweet music! Sadly however, equipment of this age is bound to fail ... and that's where Rick and his comprehensive range of vintage HiFi documentation comes in. Already my local HiFi repair specialist (Richard of Melrose Electronics, Phoenix, AZ) has used two of Rick's Service Manuals to breathe fresh life back into two of my treasured components.

     Doubtless there will be a need for others to be repaired which is why I have also purchased from Rick the Operating Instructions, Service Manuals, and Sales Brochures for each and every item of equipment I have. And if you have done so too, you will know that it is the quality of Rick's products that sets them aside from those available from all other suppliers ... including, I dare say, Pioneer. I wish you all good (vintage) listening!

Dave Swaffer, Arizona

Note from Rick:  I did not have any input into Dave's comments above. They are his alone and submitted without solicitation. As of this writing (early autumn, 2002) he has become our #1 customer. I hope his opinions continue to be so gracious towards us and our reproductions.

UPDATE: Shortly after this page was originally posted, Dave and I began a collaborative effort to produce what became our spectacular Pioneer 1970 - 1985 Pioneer HiFi Equipment Specifications Bible. In the process, we became good friends. You wouldn't believe my email archives of our many exchanges, not to mention the phone calls. Our initial intention was to produce something in the range of perhaps 50 pages or so by about December of 2002. The initial First Edition was not completed and published till April 2003... at an astounding (to us) 132 pages.

At that time, I mostly stepped aside and returned my full attention back We knew we would publish an updated, revised version sometime... when convenient. However, he (semi unbeknownst to me), continued to gather information and we published the 2nd Edition Pioneer 1970 - 1985 Pioneer HiFi Equipment Specifications Bible in July, 2003 at 153 pages.

Between the two of us, many, many thousands of dollars had been expended in acquiring the literature that provided the bulk of the information for the Spec Bible. When my time spent on the project and Dave's laborious and exhaustive efforts are factored in, we have no idea the true cost of producing it. We both agreed then that the Bible project was "put to bed" and any future changes would only be done to make corrections if mistakes were discovered.

Promise-breaker Dave must be obsessive compulsive or something... In early October, 2004, we published the (now renamed) New 3rd Edition Pioneer Spec Bible at 242 pages. In a former life, he was a Vice-President in a large international corporation. He must have left them to a life of semi-retirement just to buy vintage Pioneer audio gear and meet me. Upon deciding I needed something else to do, he suckered me into the Bible project (just joking). But now, he was about to return to the work-a-day world of being an executive with another large international corporation. So we both now "knew" the 3rd Edition was going to be "it" for quite awhile... perhaps several years

Wrong! A short delay in reporting to the new company gave him opportunity to dig up some additional Pioneer material. So even though the ink was barely dry on the initial production of the 3rd Edition, we published the New 4th Edition Pioneer Spec Bible (now at 288 pages) in January of 2005. God help us... the last and final edition! (Time will tell...)
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