It’s hard to imagine that when JazzTimes launched as Radio Free Jazz in 1970, transistors were still in the process of replacing tubes, mono records were still widely available and “portable audio” usually meant an AM pocket radio. Back then, one had to spend thousands of inflation-adjusted dollars to get decent sound. A good audio system took up a large chunk of a living room, required a lot of knowledge to set up and still didn’t sound all that great, at least compared to the gear we have now.
In honor of JT‘s 45th anniversary, let’s take a look back at the products that revolutionized home audio, presented in chronological order. Although they’re all great, these aren’t necessarily the best audio products of their time; rather, they’re the pieces of hardware that had the most impact on the systems audiophiles enjoy today.