First Preamp ?

JPH-22 -- Thu, 01/29/2009 - 12:22

I have reason to believe that Marantz's model 7 was the first preamp, hence the first separate audio component. Does anyone know if this is correct ? If it is, then high-end audio began in 1953 - not '73.

Steven Stone -- Thu, 01/29/2009 - 13:27

 Do you mean first stereo preamp?
Marantz made earlier mono preamps. Many early stereo systems used two mono preamps for stereo.
The model 7 was certainly NOT the first mono pre or first separate component, I also do not beleive it was any earlier than Harmon Kardon's Citation 1 or Scott's 121. 
What facts have you to back up such a statement?

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JPH-22 -- Thu, 01/29/2009 - 14:46

Just searching the web....I saw that Sid Smith designed for Saul Marantz...or did Marantz make his own designs ? It was in the early 50's, the "Willie" I think, then the Model 7.
What was the first separate audio component ? This would be an historic product......

Steven Stone -- Thu, 01/29/2009 - 16:23

 I think you would have to go back to the radio age.
Speakers were separate from tuners and tuner sections were often separated from the amplifier sections.
Most mono systems were also separates. It was a hobbyist's game back then.
Yes, Sid designed for Saul. And Stu designed Sydney H., and Daniel designed for H.H. S.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JPH-22 -- Thu, 01/29/2009 - 21:55

So I guess the first separate preamps were in the 50's. That's what I was trying to decipher - because this event is when high-end truly began, in my opinion. This because most people did not buy separates...and by default, highlighted the first quality audio gear.
Another thing I found - at least three guys from the first Hi-Fi boom are still active. Sidney Harman on the business side and Dick Sequerra and Sidney Corderman on design. And Ed Vilchur is still living !!

Steven Stone -- Fri, 01/30/2009 - 10:38

 I interviewed Ed VIlchur by phone for several hours for my "Antique Collector" columns. He was, and is, an intellectually vigorous individual.
HIgh-fi was, from its very onset, an enthusiast hobbyist's game. Anything that was "high-end" required building it yourself.  It wasn't untill AR came along that folks who didn't "roll-your-own" could have top shelf cutting-edge technology. Before AR hi-fiers would get radio world or the latest audio mag and read articles that were basically how-tos for constructing gear. Canal street in downtown NYC was populated by rows of stores that sold nothing but electronics parts for DIYer's.
SIdney Harman's first successful product was actually devised by his wife - colored faceplates. She was the first person to suggest and realize that people wanted the facia of their gear to match the color schemes of their living rooms. His early mono receivers had interchangeable front faceplates. 

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

JPH-22 -- Fri, 01/30/2009 - 18:31

Thanks for the info...I didn't realize Hi-Fi was *that* hobbyist-based in the 50's - I thought it was always "sold in stores". But I wasn't born until the 70's.
In my view, high-end was born in the 1950's, not 70's. Separate preamps, dedicated circuit design and *two* ESLs - the Quads and the Janszen-designed speaker - 1954. I thought the Quads were the first ESL, I was wrong.
It must have been a fun time - only Dick Olsher gives you the old-world feel in his (online) reviews.....

seals (not verified) -- Sun, 03/21/2010 - 22:10

JPH-22. Look up & click on 'company' & u'll find the history. I'm fairly sure quad was the first electrostat.

manlie61 (not verified) -- Sat, 04/04/2009 - 23:35

i have here an old vintage pioneer receiver its a 1965 model pioneer SM-G204.i have no idea how much it worthed now a me guys...thanks!     manlie.

Steven Stone -- Mon, 04/06/2009 - 11:37

 Old Pioneer receivers are not valuable - probably less than $100, and that may be a a stretch.
Actually the tubes inside may be worth more than the receiver (if it has tubes), if no tubes its primary value may be for anchoring small craft in a lake.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound,, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

david (not verified) -- Mon, 08/03/2009 - 15:29
Mr. Stone;
Do you know off hand when the mono, tube Harman DPR-7 units fit "into the scheme of things?"
(picture/manual link above)
many thanks! -- Thu, 10/14/2010 - 15:13

You might consider the G-E upx-003 as a very early preamp my instruction sheet is dated 10-48. It was used basically for the G-E variable Reluctance Cartridge. I think there was an earlier version but can't confirm that. This was a one tube (6SC7) preamp. Along the HiFi history the best HiFi was heard on the radio on Sunday live music was broadcasted and my dad had his record cutting unit always ready to record. This was prior to 1947. Radio really wasn't HiFi in those days but it was the closest thing available.


MR.IMAX@COMCAST.NET -- Thu, 10/14/2010 - 19:37

I remember in high school, my best friend built a Heathkit amp or pre-amp, but it was in the early 60's and I can't remember if it was stereo or just mono. I think mono because my first phono cartridge on a "hobbyist" turntable was a GE and it was mono. If I had to guess, I'd say Dynaco was certainly one of the earliest available stereo component brands and they were also available in kit form.  
Early Playboy magazines had ads for hi-fi components and brands in the back of the magazine...they were small black & white ads-I guess the big color ads were way too expensive for the guys selling them. It was around the time I saw a similar ad for a Datsun which was $995!

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