Stonehenge Stereo Speakers, Circa 1975

Exhibit / September 28, 2016

Object Name: Stonehenge stereo speakers
Maker and Year: Altec, circa 1975
Object Type: Loudspeakers
Description: (Richard McKenna and K.E. Roberts)

Along with Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, and several ancient monoliths attributed to alien astronauts in Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods? (1968), Stonehenge became a symbol of occult mystery in the 1970s, a subject of novels, films, albums, and even a music festival. Various manufacturers also appropriated the name to confer upon their products a mystique that transcended the commercial arena, as demonstrated by these speakers from Altec, a California company catering to a new breed of consumer following the consolidation of hi-fi—the audiophile. Billed as “a classic of contemporary technology” inspired by “an ancient mystery,” the three Stonehenge models (I, II, III) were of impressive size and allegedly capable of producing devastatingly loud volume, the original model housed in a cabinet made of “luxurious hand-rubbed Afromosian Teak.”

8 thoughts on “Stonehenge Stereo Speakers, Circa 1975

  1. So I would imagine that this was the precursor to the Altec Lansing speaker company we know of today?

    It’s amazing how times have changed. Through the ’70s and ’80s there was this big push for booming systems with tons of bass and dynamic range. From home stereo hi-fis to car stereos. Heck, I even remember the names for the top-selling brands just because everyone talked about ’em so much. Rockford Fosgate. Kickers. Bazooka Tubes. Cerwin-Vegas. JBL 6x9s (the absolute minimum setup for a decent car stereo system, apparently). Nowadays there’s a basic contentment with streaming audio and perhaps a nice, compact Bluetooth speaker. Seems the only audiophiles left are the 40-something Gen-Xers and boomers who remember and relish the grand old sound of Hi-Fi systems.

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  6. When I was at college at Penn State in about 1980, its hard to remember exactly, 🙂
    I went into a small stereo store that was very kind of upscale back then, no longer there now.
    But i listened to the salesman play something on a pair of Altecs, all they were was a 15 inch
    woofer, and say 3 inch paper tweeter, well this is my memory. But as I walked around the
    room the thing that hit me was the complete and distributed dispersion of the sound, it
    sounded pretty much the same no matter where you stood.
    It pretty much changed my life on that day regarding audio and sound.

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