Welcome to the website for The Bedford Consultancy, featuring BEDFORD VINTAGE HI-FI. Here we explore the audio technology of the past with a view towards enhancing the appreciation of the equipment and engineering that captures and transmits the magic of great performances. We focus on the joy of listening and how this can be achieved with a minimum of size, expense and technical complications.
The Bedford companies originated in the mid-1980s when Lewis Frisch began researching the history of magnetic recording. After 20 years of recording both as a hobby and as a profession, Frisch became fascinated with the development and marketing of the equipment he had used in the 1960s and 1970s. His initial research focused on understanding the dynamics of technological change in audio - the process by which creative artists and engineers influenced the development of recording technology. The motto adopted by Bedford was "Insight from the Past - Vision for the Future."
The landmark remastering of the Mercury Living Presence recordings by Wilma Cozart Fine and Dennis Drake, which began in 1988, directed our attention to the great recordings of that first decade of stereo. By the late 1990s the study of these recordings, both classical and popular, became the primary focus of The Bedford Consultancy.
It was only a matter of time before the Internet made it possible for us to start re-acquiring much of the playback equipment and media from the 60s through 80s that so many of us had discarded in the rush to embrace newer technologies. Starting in 2007/2008 we began to set up these systems in our home and play both vinyl and pre-recorded tapes for family and friends. We received so many enthusiastic comments on how life-like, big and real these 40 year old media and electronics sounded.
Yet the playback systems we demonstrated were all originally modestly priced components from that first generation of US made solid state consumer hi-fi and also later products that represented the "silver" period of high quality Japanese consumer electronics (1975-1982). Listening to tape, vinyl and high quality CD and SACD remasterings on them can be a most satisfying emotional experience.
Can we fully appreciate the remarkable analog music and recordings of that era if we only get to hear them on the most modern equipment? Doesn't the wide-range accuracy of contemporary digital playback equipment significantly alter the listening experience and negatively impact the emotional content that those early analog stereo recordings were intended to convey?
This is what BEDFORD VINTAGE HI-FI is all about - delivering to a new generation the simple, attractive and modestly priced equipment that exemplified high fidelity in the years when "stereo" became an important component of mainstream culture.
You will be amazed at how good music can sound when played back through many of the modestly priced integrated systems, components and speakers that were common in apartments, college dorm rooms, and middle class homes during the 60s, 70s and early 80s. Their classic Mid-Century designs are a welcome alternative to sterility and clutter of contemporary digital electronics.
BEDFORD VINTAGE HI-FI takes the guesswork out of buying these components and systems. We take great pleasure in providing you with working systems that are just plain fun to use and listen to. The enjoyment/cost ration on these products is outstanding and you will experience real pride of ownership.
BEDFORD VINTAGE HI-FI plays a major part in The Bedford Consultancy's mission to expand the horizons of active and joyful listening while helping to foster the re-integration of professional audio and "high fidelity." While professional recording engineers and consumer audiophiles had much in common through the 1970s, they sadly moved apart into different worlds and both are poorer for the change.
We help put the fun back into listening!