Hi Fi Sound test records

Hi Fi Sound stereo test record

Vinyl test records hold a certain amount of fascination for their often utilitarian packaging. This pair of albums issued in conjunction with Hi Fi Sound magazine turn up so often I thought I’d see what I could find out about them.
They are amongst many similar albums made for audiophiles in the sixties and seventies. The pursuit of ever better audio fidelity was a passion amongst a certain type of record buyer, usually male and with a reasonable amount of disposable income. Often it appears it was more important than the actual records they bought.
Hence test discs, designed to reveal any low points in the system, either on the deck, amplifier or speakers. The two here are typical, produced in conjunction with Hi Fi Sound magazine.  I’m not sure if they were sold via the magazine, or could be bought in hi-fi shops.
hifisound-magazineThe first was issued in 1969 (hence the catalogue number HFS69) and came in a bright orange sleeve with a drawing of a pick-up head looming above a turntable. It is generally still regarded as a useful album for hi-fi buffs, as many so called test records just consist of a few technical tracks followed by what is in effect a classical music sampler. Here tracks on pink noise, tone bursts, wow and flutter enabled users, along with the accompanying instructions sheet, to test their kit and impress their better halves.
Judging by the number of copies which still turn up, it must have been fairly popular.  So much so that in 1975 they repeated the experiment, with a “stronger emphasis on pick up test”.  And as the first sleeve had done such good service, they simply recycled in blue.  The Eurostyle title font remained contemporary but the album subtitle looked even more dated.
Disc two was the brainchild of Howland West, a company founded in 1969 to import high end Japanese audio kit. They also had some products made and badged under their own name (including apparently a set of quad headphones. The mind boggles!) As distributors, they figured a test record would be a good promotional item, though it was still linked to the magazine. Howland West was bought out in 2003, I’m not sure what happened to the magazine, it was probably incorporated into one of the newer titles.
One of our local pubs is advertising a ‘bring your own vinyl” evening, I’m tempted to take one of these along!

Hi Fi Sound stereo test record

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3 Responses to Hi Fi Sound test records

  1. Pingback: Put the needle on the record | ST33

  2. Jez Morewood says:

    Later to appear as:

  3. simon robinson says:

    Thanks for this Jez, I will have to try and find a copy of that!

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