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Sinclair Hifi? I'd never heard of it.

Discussion in 'audio' started by kennyh, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    Plenty of nostalgia here. No love though!
  2. Radfordman

    Radfordman pfm Member

    The Sinclair X10, I still have copies of Practical Wireless from the 60's that advertised it.

    My first purchase of Sinclair audio was the Sinclair Micro 6 matchbox radio kit. When assembled it worked, just.
    Emlin and ian r like this.
  3. slavedata

    slavedata pfm Member

    It worked ... just was trademark Sinclair
    Emlin and ian r like this.
  4. julifriend

    julifriend pfm Member

    I had the amp with the sliding controls. It was the first piece of audio kit I owned other than a mono record player with an auto-changer. I cannot remember what speakers I had though.
  5. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    A friend at school assembled the tiny radio kit. I was impressed. In retrospect I should have been impressed that it worked.
  6. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I bought a Sinclair tuner and the local audio shop owner gave me a circuit for a power supply.
    Once built up it all worked faultlessly for years...
    Not so good were the Q16 speakers I bought. Initially impressive, the sound rather ‘wore me down’ after
    a while.
    I bought some Goodmans Ministers and they were so much better.
    Years later I discovered the Q16s used cheap elliptical drive units, of the type often used in televisions.
    I did think the Sinclair Neoteric amplifier looked good, but never heard one in action.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ve never heard any of the Sinclair audio kit, though I do own a Oxford 100 calculator, Microvision TV and a couple of ZX Spectrum+! Not sure if the TV still works as there is nothing to dial it into, but the calculator and Spectrums do (I’ve rebuilt one with fresh caps, a modern power regulator and an SD Card reader for games!).
  8. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I had a friend called Richard T.who worked for and with Clive S. in the sixties on matchbox radios and the early audio stuff; in Cambridge, I remember. I had a couple of items but the one I remember was (for C.S.) an upmarket amp with 'butterfly' in the name. It was pretty small and jam-packed full of components; it was also unreliable, as a fair bit of Sinclair stuff seemed to be at the time. Guess this was around '69/'70.
  9. Minio

    Minio pfm Member

    I can vouch for the unreliability. Clives hifi was small and cute but not very well built. I had the integrated 2000 which gave up on me, eventually came back from repair at Sinclair and then broke again.

    Thankfully I found a buyer for the duff amp. I then returned to Tottenham Court Road to purchase a Nikko which was a whole different kettles of fish and didn't look back!
  10. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    I've been a fan of Clive Sinclair since around 1959 when I bought a slim book on radio circuits. I think he was 19 when he wrote it and his ideas changed the way I viewed electronics. Two spring to mind a) using an OC71 (an audio transistor) as the RF stage for a radio receiver for Droitwich on 1500m and b) using a crystal radio voltage tripler tuned to Droitwich as a DC power supply that could be used to power a simple TRF radio (I lived not too far away).

    In the days of mono my younger brother built an amp using the z30 module and we used this at parties to great effect with my guitar speaker cabinet (I had my own band) that had two 12" units. Later I used two z50s to build a stereo power amp using top notch paper capacitors for the power supply and output decoupling. These caps were paper and HUGE but in those days we had the government surplus shops where you could pick these and other stuff up like radar units for peanuts.

    A friend of mine who was best man at my wedding and had an IQ of 186(!) was a member of the inner circle of MENSA and knew Clive Sinclair who was chairman at the time. He used to try out new questions on me and tried to get me to join but I just didn't have the time to spare. If only(!)


  11. suzywong

    suzywong pfm Member

    Goodness, this takes me back a few decades. I do wish I’d kept all my old copies of Practically Electronics.....
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The cheapness of construction continued into the computer age, though despite this they are surprisingly robust with shed-loads still working today. Dave Jones’s EEV Blog review of the ZX Spectrum is amusing:

    It highlights the corner-cutting etc and the difference in build between the Speccy and say a BBC B or Electron couldn’t be more obvious, though it was attempting to compete on bargain bucket price in a way the Acorn stuff didn’t really. I always felt Sinclair had stunningly good industrial design aesthetics, but the build quality was always pretty hideous. As an example here’s a Spectrum+


    Looks like it was designed by Dieter Rams, I really love the look, but it has a typing feel of some badly arranged tiddlywinks on top of some cat sick. The only computer keyboards I have used that are actually worse than this have also been badged ‘Sinclair’! A real icon of UK computer history nonetheless. Sinclair did for computing what he did for audio and opened it to a whole new low budget demographic, and in the case of the ZX machines genuinely changed the world as a result. It is impossible to overestimate the impact this (and the Beeb) had on the UK computing industry getting a whole generation into software design.


    Here’s my also working Sinclair Oxford 100 from about 1976. Again a lovely piece of design, albeit on that can drain a 9v battery in a way you’d expect it to have a black hole inside. It goes wonderfully mental if you divide by zero! Just gets stuck in a recursive loop...
    ian r, Snufkin and Emlin like this.
  13. fiveamp

    fiveamp Member

    The Oxford 100 was luxury in comparison to one of its predecessors, the Cambridge Scientific. One of my classmates built this as a kit at tremendous expense to make him the first calculator owner in school. Well done him - but they were banned for exam use back then.

    The worst thing was the crazy reverse polish notation (I can't explain it 40-odd years on - look it up). This made a slide rule easy to use in comparison, which I carried on using until exam questions wanted results in 5 sig figs. I can still use a slide rule but I'd be lost with a Cambridge Scientific.
  14. garyi

    garyi leave blank

    God though I remember playing my zx speccy, I had the uber version though the 128k with built in tape deck! Brill. I still remember Head Over Heels, RType, Jet Set Willy, great games. If you died, you died, start again damn!
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That would have been the Spectrum +2 produced after Sinclair had collapsed and bought out by Alan Sugar/Amstrad. The final humiliation for Clive! It had a half decent keyboard though (pretty much the same unit as the Amstrad CPC).
  16. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    Hewlett Packard calculators all used Reverse Polish notation too. They were pretty popular amongst my engineering and physics friends at uni. I could sort of use it - and if you do much programming RPN suddenly makes sense. It is a bit like speaking German or Latin, the action is at the end of the sentence.

    I was always buying top of the range TI calculators - still have a TI85 somewhere
  17. fiveamp

    fiveamp Member

    Here we go:


    Sure it makes sense, but a year or so before we were used to parenthesis in equations and a few years after we were used to calculators with parenthesis. My first calculator was a TI 1800 or something probably around 1977, which did everything. Somehow my main memory is turning the things upside down and making them display swear words.
  18. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    My TI-30 Solar scientific is still in daily use after 30 years
  19. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    I had a RTVC "30W" kit amplifier with a tiny transformer from the same era that did just that.
  20. cobbers

    cobbers pfm Member

    My first 'hifi',remember building I think it was the Project 605 into a Garrard SP25 mk3 along with self built speakers using EMI twin cone units,my first experience of separates as had used a cast off Dansette before.
    Didn't take photos of everything in those days - don't know if I even had a camera!

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