The vintage trend has reached our stereos, and the vinyl has been spun again. Now we want turntables with teak sockets, luminous amplifiers, and old CD players of luxury brands. Roger Hansson has followed the hi-fi fashion over the years but is now back in the 1960s and 70s where he started.
When his friends went to the toy store, Roger Hansson steered towards the radio shop. Sound systems are still his main interest, and to his great delight, a new generation has opened their eyes to older hi-fi. Now he helps old and new fans find the right stuff and build the vintage facility of their dreams.
I like to test things, to combine, listen and hear what sounds good. It is a fun hobby, and it does not have to be expensive, he assures.
Roger buys, sells, and collects stereo parts from the 1960s onwards. Three whole rooms in his villa are dedicated to the gadgets that are stacked along the walls. Some are waiting for repair, others are fully functional and are being tested in different constellations.
When you buy your first facility, you do not really know what you want or what you like, so start with something simple – then the journey begins.
Try and listen to different brands, pretty soon, you will find what suits you best, Roger suggests.
Feel free to listen to friends and acquaintances, and if you turn to a store or private seller, you may even be able to borrow a gadget because it differs a lot in how sound is experienced in different rooms. Could you find out how you want it to sound?
The Brand Is Not Everything
Roger mainly collects stuff from the 1960s to the 80s. I have always liked models in wood and Bang & Olufsen’s designs from the 1960s and 70s. Twenty years ago, you got that stuff cheap, but now it has become costly.
Well-known hi-fi brands that are considered good are, in addition to Bang & Olufsen, Pioneer, Marantz, and Luxman, among others – but they easily stand out in price because many are interested in them. Roger points out that many other brands can sound just as good but cost significantly less because the demand is not so great.
Flea markets can be worth visiting; sometimes, you will find something nice and cheap that sounds good.
Then it’s OK to be a little superficial also when it comes to vintage, says Roger.
I think the look also has a big part in it all. An older, beautiful amplifier with a wooden chassis is just so lovely!
The Speakers Are Most Important in the System
The most fun is speakers – they are also the most important. There is such a big difference that it is senseless. And a good speaker requires a sound amplifier, thinks Roger Hansson.
But the “reverse” also applies. If you have bad speakers, it does not help to have the world’s best amplifier; what comes out still does not sound good.
Roger’s favorites are a pair of JBL Olympus S8R that he got hold of through an acquaintance. They have stood as speaker monitors on Swedish Radio and weigh more than 80 kilos each.
They are the best I have ever had, and I will never get rid of them, even if they take up little space.
JBL is his favorite brand of speakers, but Roger points out that there are several good brands and that sound, like much else, is about taste.
I like JBL’s speakers because of their warm, comfortable sound and distinct bass, says Roger.
It All Started With a Radio
I bought my first radio when I was 14 years old, a Bang & Olufsen, and I cycled home with it under my arm. Then I cycled away with it to a radio repairman who installed a stereo decoder; it was not in them then, says Roger, who has a couple of years left until retirement.
Then I even listened to classical music for P2 was the only one who broadcast in stereo then. I still remember the space in the sound.
I bought my first natural stereo system in 1977 for SEK 2,700; it was a lot of money then. A Pioneer S18 turntable, a Marantz 2226 amplifier, and a pair of Wallin speakers. I had to borrow the stuff and try it out before I bought it, Roger Hansson remembers.
Anders Wallin was a local hi-fi retailer from Ängelholm in Skåne who started building quality speakers in the mid-1970s. Even then, they cost a penny, but nowadays, they are natural treasures at auctions and in retro stores.
After that, it just rolled on, but I was happy with my first facility for a long time. At least a few years says Roger and laughs.
Ordinary Marks Are Easier to Repair
Roger Hansson has a standing purchase ad online, and people get in touch. However, he has made some of his best purchases in other ways: Roger is an electrician, and sometimes he stumbles across old stereo stuff in customers’ basements and storage – and asks if they are for sale.
And someone should sit outside the tip; it’s so much fun to throw away! says, Roger.
People have generally been afraid of their stuff, but of course, some need to be repaired. I know a retired radio repairman to whom I leave things for electronics, but I fix the mechanical, drive belts, and other things I can change myself.
Therefore, it is good to choose regular hi-fi brands, it is easier to get spare parts, and you can more easily get help and instructions in online forums and groups. Here you will find, for example, pickups and needles.
I prefer to buy broken speakers. Often the base suspension is broken, and the edge of the diaphragm is broken. Then I buy new foam edges and glue them; it’s easy, says Roger.
It Is Ok to Mix New and Old
Roger Hansson likes all kinds of hifi, so of course, he has also tried new things.
I have, for example, tried Sonos, but I have not yet found anything new that can be compared to the older sound; I love it.
Vinyl is closest to my heart, but I also run Spotify a lot; I have connected a Google Chromecast Audio so that I can stream.
CD players and cassette players are also included in the collections, as well as tape recorders. But in the end, it’s about the experience, Roger thinks.
The best thing is to sit on the sofa in my music room when darkness has fallen and just let yourself be enveloped by the sound – it’s almost like being at a concert!