Unless you’ve been living under a stone for the past decade or so, you will have noticed that vinyl has become cool! In a world of instant gratification and convenience-over-quality, vinyl takes us back to when times were simpler, and in many ways sound was better!
But what do you play it on?
Maybe one of those retro looking Crosley things I can buy at Tesco for £60? Well If £60 is your max limit then by all means, but if you can spare a little more cash, we’ll show you a knockout vintage system that’ll do your vinyl justice, and won’t break the bank!
You could buy second hand, but let’s face it, most of us couldn’t tell a good example from a bad, so treat yourself to a new Pro-Ject Primary for £190 (review below). It’s well made, by a top brand that has been producing turntables for decades.
How above this lovely looking Technics SU-Z2 unit?! I love the lit up VU meters, where the needles bounce along to the bass-line, and the brushed aluminium face-plate is timeless.
It’s got an inbuilt phono-stage for your record player and a great ‘loudness’ button if you just want a little more bass. Best of all; you can pick them up on ebay for £100!
There are so many good vintage speakers out there, I’ve had to pick two!
KEF Reference 104AB
This is a classic British design from the 70’s and can be found for under £200. KEF have a fantastic ‘museum’ section on their website and there is lots of info at the link below, including the original brochure and manual:
Don’t be afraid that parts will fail as there are two great companies in England; namely Wilmslow Audio & Falcon Acoustics who can provide spare parts and info on restoration.
This was JBL’s top of the range consumer model in the 70’s and they sold by the truck load. It’s a high efficiency design with a lovely 12″ woofer. Furthermore, it just looks great!
These are rarer in the UK than the KEF’s and you can expect to pay a little more, circa £500 to £600.
Finally, there is one bit of modern kit I think our vintage set-up needs, and that’s a streamer. Sometimes you just want to put on a Spotify playlist and find some new music.
One of the best examples is the little SONOS Connect, which costs £350.
The SONOS interface is super easy to use and supports all the main streaming providers. It will also connect directly to your amplifier by way of a pair of RCA interconnects.
Now there is just one thing to do… sit back, relax and enjoy your awesome vintage Hifi!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog and if you’d like to provide any feedback, we’re all ears!
My name is Ceri Thomas and I run a small independent British Hifi company called Code Acoustics based in Woking, England.
If you’d like to have a look at our website it’s here:
We specialise in active speakers like the ones you see below:
Thanks for reading.
9 Replies to “Build a knockout retro Hifi for under £1k”
If you’re not looking for ‘reference’ sound, it’s amazing how pleasurable these vintage systems can be. I picked up an old Technics SU-V3 on eBay for £23! It runs a second system in my lounge, which is a cluttered and acoustically ‘difficult’ space, so there was no point splashing out a lot on gear for it. I was given a pair of surplus Tannoys, and stuck the whole lot on a heavy coffee table at the back of the room. It should sound terrible, but it’s shockingly great!
I’m surprised you found those old KEFs so cheap, though – they were great speakers. I might have to have a look… 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to read the article 🙂 I totally agree, there is some great vintage kit out there just waiting for a good home. Yeah, the KEF 104’s seem like such a good option given you can get replacement crossovers and drive units for them. My grandad still has a pair in his living room he built in the 70’s!
Hi, just read your blog and really liked it. I’ve just joins the vintage sound system revolution and this week purchased and old amp and some speakers. Strangely close to your recommendations! I had.looked at many Tecnics amps To go with a Technics 1200 mk2 turntable. Bit then found a Panasonic SU-2700, which is in fact the very same amp made by the Technics parent company (paid £70 and its unmarked and like new!). And the speakers i settled.on for my small music room were a lair of KEF Coda III. They were selling for arpimf £100-150 online, I was just about to buy them when a random search resulted in a pristine pair popping up in a charity shop 2 miles from my house for £25!!
I’ve never been so lucky! They make a great pairing and I couldn’t be happier with my first entry to the classic sound system world, £95 and a little speaker cable and the sound is so much richer and enjoyable! Everyone should do it…
Hi Mark, that’s fantastic, thanks for sharing your experiences 🙂 I couldn’t agree more! When I went to university I didn’t have a hifi, so scoured the free ads and came across an old chap who was selling a Technics SU-Z2 amp (the model I recommended), a pair of B&W DM4 speakers and a CD-Player for £250! The CD-Player wasn’t up to much by the amp and speakers were great.
Great article my system consists of a Sansui g-871 Receiver that I picked up at a car boot sale for 20 quid,a pair of kef 101 speakers that are going strong 30years since i brought them second hand a yahama yp500 turntable that cost 6quid from a car boot sale. I have picked lots of bits of Hifi gear over the years from various places and the best thing to do if just buy what you like the look of if it’s cheap enough buy it and try it if you like it kept until something better comes along if you don’t like just sell it on.There are always bargains out there.
Thanks Graham 🙂 That’s really cool, as you say … there is so much good kit out there for bargain basement prices! Just takes a keen eye and a little patience.
Dear, the jbl are not the L100, but without mistake 4311
You are absolutely right Jansen, great spot! Bit of brain fade on my part and the pic has now been changed 🙂