Nostalgic Indian Audio Gear – HMV, Cosmic, EEI, etc

santaji

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Hi guys,

I am doing some research for an article on audio gear and brands in pre-90s India. Very interested in learning about what equipment was popular in those days in terms of record-players, amplifiers, etc...

I know that HMV Fiesta and Philips 242 were some popular turntables during those days. Cosmic amplifiers were also popular. What other equipment would you consider iconic in an Indian context?

Would love to hear your thoughts. Would also like to see any old ads, brochures, etc related to audio if anyone has any.

Looking foward to your responses...
 

Kannan

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There were so many in those days. Among branded, Arphi made good speakers, though their Aquarius was very popular and a party favorite, they made one bookshelf (dont remember model number) which was a wonderful sounding speaker.
Philips made some great gears, then there was Murphy, Sonodyne, Enbee was superb.
Because of the popularity of 'Electronics For You', many young enthusiasts built all kinds of gears like amps, preamps and speakers.

When i was in Mumbai in the early 80s, there was a concentrated community of audiophiles in Dadar area where I have seen ownership of many DIY avatars with huge speakers and tube amps.
 

skroderider

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Panasonic cassette players (2-in-1s) and Philips "transistor" radios. I fondly remember the pretty heavy Panasonic my dad had during the 80s - it had this equally heavy handle to pick up, ran on both batteries (4 C-size) and AC, a VU meter with a light which fascinated me no end when the needle moved with the music, and a backlit radio dial (for the times when there was a power cut due to load shedding or whatever).

I remember all this equipment was solidly built - really tough plastic and components.
 

Bhaskar Jyoti Talapatra

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Some FMs have already described great Indian electronics. I liked urenus of sonodyne. It had a very nice sound signature. Philips power house that came in 90's was also a great product. Philips transistors were always loveable stuff. Besides this ,Philips hi q international record player which I have till date is a fantastic record player. Can also remember Murphy transistors. All those were durable and great products.
 

ShantaramChari

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There were so many in those days. Among branded, Arphi made good speakers, though their Aquarius was very popular and a party favorite, they made one bookshelf (dont remember model number) which was a wonderful sounding speaker.
Philips made some great gears, then there was Murphy, Sonodyne, Enbee was superb.
Because of the popularity of 'Electronics For You', many young enthusiasts built all kinds of gears like amps, preamps and speakers.

When i was in Mumbai in the early 80s, there was a concentrated community of audiophiles in Dadar area where I have seen ownership of many DIY avatars with huge speakers and tube amps.
Arphi's bookshelf speaker was the Micro Monitor. It was a 2 way speaker with bass radiator on the top. Top notch sound quality of till today.
 

santaji

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Does anybody have any information of the early tube amplifiers available in India in the 60s? I have seen some pics of old PA amps by Ahuja, Philips, Electronic Service Co. Madras.. but no info as to their history or specs...
 

Shammi Dang

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Hi guys,

I am doing some research for an article on audio gear and brands in pre-90s India. Very interested in learning about what equipment was popular in those days in terms of record-players, amplifiers, etc...

I know that HMV Fiesta and Philips 242 were some popular turntables during those days. Cosmic amplifiers were also popular. What other equipment would you consider iconic in an Indian context?

Would love to hear your thoughts. Would also like to see any old ads, brochures, etc related to audio if anyone has any.

Looking foward to your responses...
Few polular ones - Philips, Norge, Arphi, woodstock, cosmic, sonodyne ,Akai Bush, Sony, HMV. I have used Philips cassette ampli deck in 1985-1991. Few of my friends use to have separate integrated amplifiers, turntables, cassette deck by philips, cosmic, woodstock etc. I had also experienced Arphi amplifier and speakers in 1990's era. Late 1980's to early 1990's India saw invasion of compact systems in various forms and sizes and the separate's components became Niche, almost died. I used to have pics and catalogues but with time these got lost. U can see few videos on you tube as few ppl still have these components in running condition.
 

General_sound

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India had a number of manufacturers of audio equipment in the seventies and eighties. Cosmic, Sonodyne and Woodstock were known for their fine sounding speakers and amplifiers. Solidaire made some good amps. In my younger days I owned a a Sonodyne Super Jetline and SCR 4030 amps ,as also a Solidaire 40+40 watt amp. I confess that Solidare had the best bass! Arphi , Murphy of India, Nelco, Norge and Pulz also marketed some fine amps. A small(then) town like Jabalpur had Lallan Brothers who hand assembled 'Universal' brand Amps and speakers which could blow off ur ears! The good old days.
 

Hiten

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NELCO
Nelco was one of the top companies from TATA. It would have survived longer as well as their contemporaries. Some political party's union leader unreasonable quarrel didnt help either. Should not have bit the hands that feed. Ratan Tata still managed to make it profitable and at later stage closed it with taking good care of its workers.
https://vivifychangecatalyst.wordpr...tan-tata-and-nelco-crucible-the-untold-story/
Regards
 

Sugar

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Hi guys,

I am doing some research for an article on audio gear and brands in pre-90s India. Very interested in learning about what equipment was popular in those days in terms of record-players, amplifiers, etc...

I know that HMV Fiesta and Philips 242 were some popular turntables during those days. Cosmic amplifiers were also popular. What other equipment would you consider iconic in an Indian context?

Would love to hear your thoughts. Would also like to see any old ads, brochures, etc related to audio if anyone has any.

Looking foward to your responses...
I used to own an Arphi graphic EQ - which gave me trouble free service for so many years. It even had a phono pre amp. Loved the sound.
The other brand that was pretty high end in the late 70's and early 80s was ENBEE. I think they were mainly focused on Amps. What beautiful sound! Then there was a Cosmic Direct Drive Turntable - another beauty. Loved the sound so much.
 
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India had a number of manufacturers of audio equipment in the seventies and eighties. Cosmic, Sonodyne and Woodstock were known for their fine sounding speakers and amplifiers. Solidaire made some good amps. In my younger days I owned a a Sonodyne Super Jetline and SCR 4030 amps ,as also a Solidaire 40+40 watt amp. I confess that Solidare had the best bass! Arphi , Murphy of India, Nelco, Norge and Pulz also marketed some fine amps. A small(then) town like Jabalpur had Lallan Brothers who hand assembled 'Universal' brand Amps and speakers which could blow off ur ears! The good old days.
Wow! Wasn’t even aware of some of these names. What could m have led to the proliferation of home-made brands back then (60s-80s)? Was it the combination of industrial growth on one hand and green revolution on the other created a burgeoning middle class in the post-independence era - one that aspired for musical home entertainment beyond the ubiquitous radio?

And what led to their mass demise later? Quite likely the globalisation in the 90s when importing became easier and multinationals set up operations in India. We saw something similar in TV sets - the B&W era was dominated by local brands, and color TV (90s onwards) by international players.
 

Sugar

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Wow! Wasn’t even aware of some of these names. What could m have led to the proliferation of home-made brands back then (60s-80s)? Was it the combination of industrial growth on one hand and green revolution on the other created a burgeoning middle class in the post-independence era - one that aspired for musical home entertainment beyond the ubiquitous radio?

And what led to their mass demise later? Quite likely the globalisation in the 90s when importing became easier and multinationals set up operations in India. We saw something similar in TV sets - the B&W era was dominated by local brands, and color TV (90s onwards) by international players.
It was the proliferation of Japanese joint venture brands like Akai, Sony, Sansui dishing out systems that sounded terrible but with great marketing and silly PMPO numbers that killed these amazing Indian brands. I think Sonodyne survives but what they make today does not sound anything like what their old "real" systems sounded like. Also used to love the sound of Cosmic Lab Series amps.
 

manek

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NELCO
Nelco was one of the top companies from TATA. It would have survived longer as well as their contemporaries. Some political party's union leader unreasonable quarrel didnt help either. Should not have bit the hands that feed. Ratan Tata still managed to make it profitable and at later stage closed it with taking good care of its workers.
https://vivifychangecatalyst.wordpr...tan-tata-and-nelco-crucible-the-untold-story/
Regards
I had nelco portable radio that I would take everywhere on road trips out of town.

Also had a portable Bush radio which we used for decades. It looked like a ghetto blaster but had a very sweet sound. I still remember going to Sukh Sagar at the Bush service station for servicing it. That radio was something man. Take it to a hill station and one would get crystal clear BBC, Voice of America, Radio Ceylon and others.
We had rigged an external antenna(the same one used in old radiograms) to it in Mumbai and had a great time with it.

Murphy sold Garrard turntables(Garrard 3000 auto TT if I remember right), its own SS 30 watts a side amp as well. We had them. Again lasted a long long time.

Other than all the mentioned ones, There was one brand called Revox that was sold too if I mistake not. Mostly a tape deck and speakers.

Then there were Nova amplifiers.

Sony Orson used to sell sony stuff as well.
 

Hiten

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<snip>
Murphy sold Garrard turntables(Garrard 3000 auto TT if I remember right), its own SS 30 watts a side amp as well. We had them. Again lasted a long long time.
<snip>
Sony Orson used to sell sony stuff as well.
Murphy being foreign company had most of advanced technical aspects readily available to be made in India. (NELCO may be different case in that respect). But atleast one Murphy record player model had a tonearm design which was consulted to a Bombay based technically savvy person. Cosmic turntables had Akai Motor and Jelco Tonearm.
All this in early 80s changed to just importing and rebranding them. My Uncle had electronic shop here and used to sell Sony-Orson. A touch control sony separates (Amp+cassette player) was I think around 20-25K in mid 80s. Only lables were put on. May be some common parts made in India. Other Brand he had was Nordmende TV of Germany which was branded here as Digichrome. There were some mini screen TV branded as "Choice brand" probably manufactured in SE Asia Countries. For Home appliances he had Niki-Tasha brand.
regards
 

General_sound

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Cosmic, Emisonic and Sonodyne did market direct drive tts from Japanese companies ie Pioneer etc. These were often fitted with EEI mag carts. V nice sound. Murphy did market a idler drive ceramic cart tt with a 12 inch platter, besides a Garrard changer. There was an excellent tt made in Nagpur, as I recall. This had a very good thread weighted bais control arm. Around 2009, we had 'Astonia' amps,speakers and an excellent subwoofer. These were mfr in Mumbai and were reasonably priced. Wonder what happened to the company. Woodstock, of Delhi, made some superb amps and speakers. Sadly this company closed down around 2011. Bolton speaker components also gave us DIYers many hours of experimental happiness. Good old memories.
 

manek

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Cosmic, Emisonic and Sonodyne did market direct drive tts from Japanese companies ie Pioneer etc. These were often fitted with EEI mag carts. V nice sound. Murphy did market a idler drive ceramic cart tt with a 12 inch platter, besides a Garrard changer. There was an excellent tt made in Nagpur, as I recall. This had a very good thread weighted bais control arm. Around 2009, we had 'Astonia' amps,speakers and an excellent subwoofer. These were mfr in Mumbai and were reasonably priced. Wonder what happened to the company. Woodstock, of Delhi, made some superb amps and speakers. Sadly this company closed down around 2011. Bolton speaker components also gave us DIYers many hours of experimental happiness. Good old memories.
Astonia ?
Havent heard of them….
 
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