When most people think of auctions, they think of the sale of antiques or fine art. This kind of auctioneering is a major part of the business, but something does not need to be a painting or an antique farm implement to be auctioned. In reality, most anything can be, and is, sold at auction, from fine wine to beef cattle. At Nest Egg Auctions, one of the most intriguing types of object we sell is HiFi.
What is HiFi? HiFi is short for “High Fidelity”, and it refers to various pieces of audio equipment dedicated to reproducing sound of very high quality. While there have been leaps and bounds in much technological innovation in recent years, many audiophiles prefer the use of vintage pieces of HiFi. This has led to a strong secondary market for vintage HiFi components like turntables, radio tuners, preamplifiers, and power amplifiers. Nest Egg Auctions has sold multiple fine pieces of HiFi, and we are always looking for more to sell.
History of HiFi
Audio recording began in the late 19th century, but quality was never quite high. There would be gurgling, background noise, distortion, and a grainy sound that interfered with the listener’s experience. Nothing compared to actually being present for live music being played, and the desire to create a “high fidelity” sound was created. While quality steadily improved in the early 20th century, it was not until mid century that high fidelity was more or less achieved. A variety of advancements allowed this, but by the 1950s High Fidelity was the standard of audio recording rather than an exception. Many records were stamped with High Fidelity labels, and audio equipment began to be marketed at High Fidelity.
The difference from earlier recording techniques was palpable. For a demonstration, turn on a radio and listen to an AM radio station. AM radio is considered “low fidelity”. Now switch to an FM station. FM is considered “high fidelity”. Now you get the picture.
HiFi was popular throughout the midcentury, but by the 1990s the craze was starting to decline. With the advent of portable personal music players, beginning with the Walkman in the 1980s and continuing into the 2000s with the iPod, large HiFi setups began to become rarer and rarer. With this change in our audio habits, however, some true believers do remain. Dedicated audiophiles will still purchase vintage pieces of HiFi, such as preamps, power amps, and tuners, and they will pay a great amount of money for sought after pieces. Thus, the auction market for these pieces has grown in previous years.
There are various components to a HiFi setup. Let’s follow the sound. First, you need something to play or pick up the sound. Many setups include a turntable or another analog audio player (cassette, CD, etc.). Many audiophiles swear by vinyl records (33 ⅓ RPM LPs) as having the most faithful sound to the original master recordings. Besides a turntable or music player, you need a radio tuner or receiver. This can pick up FM or AM radio frequencies.
After the turntable or tuner, the audio will go to a preamplifier (or preamp). This component jacks up the sound to be fed into the power amplifier, and decreases the possibility of distortions. The power amplifier does exactly what its name suggests, and amplifies the sound waves to a level where it can then be played into speakers or into headphones.
All of these components have multiple settings and functionalities. Seasoned audiophiles can adjust certain aspects of the sound as it travels through each of these components to ensure the best quality sound. Ultimately, the goal is to have sound without any distortion. Ideally, it should sound like the band is playing right in front of you. While this might seem overkill to some, the actual product of this work is aurally stimulating and, to be honest, mind-blowing.
HiFi and Nest Egg Auctions
Nest Egg Auctions is a leader in selling vintage HiFi equipment. Not only do we sell them, but we are experienced in the use of these pieces. We understand the drive of collectors to purchase HiFi in pursuit of higher sound. Our knowledge of these pieces, and our world wide clientele, has allowed us to achieve excellent prices for HiFi.