Remembering the Hi-Fi's Heyday

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The International Collection of Interior Design, 1985Courtesy of Grosvenor Press

Wireless audio experiences are all well and good, but Supreme Interiors longs for clunky Hi-Fi systems and the cabinets custom-built to house them

There once was a time when, in order to listen to music in your home, you needed equipment. Lots of equipment. Big electronic equipment. Big bulky boxes with wires, leading to even bigger and bulkier boxes, which then in turn led to even bulkier and ever more cumbersome boxes. Home stereo systems were so large and deliberate that they would often require specially dedicated cabinets in order to house them. Specific furniture purchased or custom-made just to hold machines, giving you the ability listen to music at your leisure – something that is now accomplished with just an iPod and a bluetooth speaker.

While it is certainly easier to access and play music today, there's a definite allure to Hi-Fi systems of the past – bloated as they may be. There's the unmistakable vintage appeal of a Braun-esque chrome façade paired with a dark wood grain housing, so handsome! Often paired with turntables sporting smoked lucite covers, audio systems from the 1970s had the aesthetic game locked down. And their sound! The digital technology of today's music is certainly impressive, but there's really no comparison to the click and scratch sound of a vinyl record channelled into a gigantic set of cloth-covered pioneer speakers. 

Unfortunately we can't demonstrate the unique auditory experience of a vintage Hi-Fi system, but we can show you the brilliance of their design and the aesthetic mark they left on decades in recent history. This week we've pulled together the top now and then images from the Supreme Interiors archive, giving us a High Fidelity high. 

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