In the fall of 1973, I started working at the Equine Center of the College of Veterinary Medicine. I stocked shelves, cleaned and sterilized instruments, fetched and carried, swept and mopped, and shoveled out many a stall. At the end of the semester, I spent most of what I had earned on my dream stereo system from Warehouse Sound in San Luis Obispo, California. A Garrard turntable, two really big ElectroVoice speakers, and this Pioneer amplifier. In those days, "Quadraphonic" was going to be the wave of the future, and this amp was "quad capable". Very few people recorded quadraphonic LPs and it would be decades before "Surround Sound" would really take off. On the other hand, being quad capable meant that the amp would handle two sets of speakers.
When my kids were little, the babysitter let them play with the turntable, which wasn’t too resilient to that kind of abuse, so it was the first to go. Ten years ago, the speakers seemed to be wasting away. I took off the grills and found that the paper cones had disintegrated. No wonder we just couldn’t get that great sound anymore. We bought bookshelf speakers (two sets, because we were quad capable) and the old Pioneer just soldiered on.
After thirty-three years, the old Pioneer quit putting out on the left stereo channel. I said good-bye to this relic of my youth (having said good-bye to my actual youth some years before) and bought a new amp.
I take solace in the knowing that a collector of antique stereos will soon be receiving the old warhorse and believes he can repair it. More power to him, and one less piece of toxic junk in the landfill.
Do they build them like they used to? I don’t know. The new amp sounds so much better now than my old one did, but how will it sound in 33 years?