A Guide to Low End Mini Systems
Good listening doesn't have to be expensive or involve complex equipment.
We invite you to explore our Analog Listening Lounge listings where we feature a wide variety of carefully selected vintage components that provide excellent listening experiences, appealing aesthetics and just plain fun.
The LOW END MINI-SYSTEMS pages that follow consist of 3 sections. MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE and MAXIMUM FUN discuss systems that we offer for sale. SPEAKERS is a guide to the many small speakers that we have used over the years in low-end systems, many of which are in stock for sale.
You could spend years working your way through hundreds of vintage components trying to find the most appealing systems for your particular tastes. Along the way, you'll go through way too many non-working components which is to be expected given their age and initial cost. We've already made that journey over the past ten years, so now you can benefit from our experience and expertise in these vintage markets.
BEDFORD VINTAGE HI-FI can be your guide through this maze, and you'll also have the security of knowing that components and systems purchased from us are in working condition, carefully packed and ready for you to use and enjoy.
In the first section, MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE, we discuss some relatively newer systems that provide a high-quality listening experience, in small and inexpensive packages. These are low end only in terms of price. Listening quality is surprisingly good on the basic systems and remarkable good on the suggested upgrades. These compact systems are perfect for everyday listening where simplicity of operation, good sound, minimum size and a nice "silver-era" aesthetic are important.
BEDFORD VINTAGE HI-FI helps you choose the "gems" from the world of mini-components by offering a variety of carefully selected systems and speaker options.
The second section, MAXIMUM FUN, explores the world of compact components that proliferated in stores and catalogs such as Radio Shack, Lafayette Electronics and Allied Electronics in the late 1960's and 1970's. These were always inexpensive but they sport some great mid-century aesthetics and design. In some cases they sound really good on SOME recorded material, especially the music popular during those years. Some are good enough for serious listening. Others are just for fun and looks.
Here in our own Analog Listening Lounge we typically have a dozen systems ready to fire up at any time, each with its own unique sound and appeal. Every so often the speakers, especially single driver models, just astonish you with their musicality and the way they reveal and highlight the strengths of certain recordings and performances.
The third section, SPEAKERS, is a guide to a large number of compact speakers of varying quality. Some are only useful in a few limited applications. Many are "all-arounders" that perform well in a variey of applications. All are inexpensive. Many have a great Mid-Century appearance. A few of them convey a truly appealing listening experience when paired with the right amplifier.
You can be assured that we have hundreds of hours of listening experience with these components and that we can help make it fun and safe to dive into the "low end of the pool." There's a lot of fun to be had at minimal cost.
Vinyl lovers should be aware that many of these components from the 1990's did not have phono inputs and that most of the older components had phono stages that were not up to current standards of good performance. We can supply the miniature VP-29 phono preamp from ROLLS which remedies this deficiency ($49). For those looking for a CD player to add to these low-end component systems we keep a stock of Technics SL-XP 300 portable CD players, an overlooked gem from 1991. Their low cost, small footprint and quality construction make them a perfect add-on for compact component systems.