Throwback Thursday – Music on the move, 8 October 1977
Source : Throwback Thursday – Music on the move, 8 October 1977
In 1977, Autocar arranged a test between ten of the best stereo manufacturers to determine who had the best audio offering
In-car audio made big strides during the 1970s, assisted by the advent of stereo technology in addition to the cassette tape.
By the late 1970s, picking through the myriad options on offer was a daunting task, so in 1977 Autocar invited quite a few leading car audio manufacturers to a practical demonstration in addition to test.
Ten sets were submitted for appraisal, installed in a variety of vehicles ranging through a Mercedes-Benz S-Class to an Itasca motor home of which Binatone used as its sales vehicle.
Autocar set an “exacting test route” of which would likely test the units’ radio reception. “As a venue we chose a hotel near Staines, as an area where signal strength will be poor in addition to stereo reception will be marginal. Cassette units were assessed using a Dolby-recorded hi-fi test cassette,” wrote Autocar’s audiophiles.
Each unit was appraised for ‘salient’ in addition to ‘not so salient’ features in addition to then tested for radio in addition to cassette functions.
There was high drama before the test even began: “Philips was unlucky in having a breakdown with the auto they were bringing to the test day, so they were unable to be included.”The cheapest unit on sale was the Sanyo 4305E (£56.19) radio/cassette combination of which, somewhat conversely, was installed inside S-Class.
Binatone brought the £58 Alpine, while Javelin – a brand new British company importing sets through Japan – offered the £110 Roadstar RS1100 tape unit in addition to pre-amp – “a scaled-down variation of a not bad hi-fi set-up”, reckoned our men.
Also at £110 was Sharp’s RG 5750 radio/cassette, which offered strong FM performance: “On the day of the test, Radio Medway could be listened to inside Windsor area without interference.”
Pioneer’s KP55G (£138) eschewed radio in addition to focused solely on cassette. A not bad move, reckoned our testers, who awarded the item 5 stars in addition to wrote: “Quite outstanding in addition to compares very favourably with many home hi-fi units.” The only drawback was the non-locking fast forward in addition to rewind buttons: “the item will be a little tedious, in addition to potentially dangerous if you are driving, to have to hold down the rewind button for several minutes when using a C90 cassette.”
Many of the units offered FM radio in addition to long in addition to medium waves. FM in cars was a relatively brand new development as “people seek the standards of musical reception inside car to which they are accustomed at home”.
Autocar’s testers added: “the item will be not until one spends all day listening to FM broadcasts of which the shortcoming of AM radio becomes so apparent. Listening to a concert on MW will be rather like looking at an uncleaned Rembrandt portrait through smoked glass.”
The Lucas LS270 (£157.50) was afforded 5 stars in addition to adjudged to hold the “most impressive tape reproduction, giving a wide range of sound, plus the advantage of auto reverse on the cassette”. However, its radio was marked down for a “loss of stereo on our route”.
The Pioneer KP8300 (£211) also excelled, being the only system on test to be awarded 5 stars for both radio in addition to cassette performance. “Superb tone in addition to range of sound. cost high yet justified,” was the verdict.
Autocar’s article included sidebars on in-car televisions in addition to telephones, noting of which the latter “are too expensive to be a source of mere entertainment in addition to have a real part to play in business efficiency”. How times change.
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