the 1970s much as he had the 1960s, producing
cheap hi-fi equipment such as amplifiers and
tuners. Although they were very inexpensive, the
quality was (perhaps inevitably) occasionally not
what it should have been.
Active Filter Unit, PZ8,
Q16, Stereo FM Tuner
These were all add-ons for the Project 60
hi-fi system, launched in 1969. They were,
respectively, a tuner, an amplifier, a
loudspeaker and another tuner. All were launched
between 1970 and 1972. The tuner came as a
complete chassis and fascia which needed only to
be put in a box; the Q16 was simply a version of
an earlier loudspeaker, the Q14, which had been
smartened up with a teak surround.
Launched in 1971, this was a
further development of 1969's highly successful Project 60
hi-fi amplifier. Sinclair's advert read:
easy way to buy and build Project 60
Project 605 is
one pack containing one PZ5, two Z30s, one
Stereo 60 and one Master Link. This new
module contains all the input sockets and
output components needed together with all
necessary leads cut to length and fitted with
neat little clips to plug straight on to the
modules. Thus all soldering and hunting for
the odd part is eliminated. You will be able
to add further Project 60 modules as they
become available adapted to the Project 605
method of connecting. Complete Project 605
pack with comprehensive manual, post free,
£29.95. All you need for a superb 30 watt
high fidelity stereo amplifier.
This was about half the price of
a comparable ready-made amplifier at the time.
The Project 605 was a well-designed piece of kit
and sold well.
Launched in December 1973, this
offered all the same facilities as the Project
60. It brought the earlier design up to date with
a black anodised aluminium fascia and sliders
rather than knobs (though sliders, people soon
found, caused ear-splitting crackles when the
dust got into them). The power amplifier had been
slightly uprated. The big feature of the Project
80, however, was its
"non-obtrusiveness" - it could be built
into a book end or the base of a lampshade (see
right), amongst other slightly weird ideas.
The Q30 was an unusual 'planar'
speaker, launched in the autumn of 1972. It used
what is known as the 'infinite baffle technique'.
It was given an extensive review in Hi-fi
Answers and compared with the Goodman's
Planax 2 although in fact they were not
technically comparable. Q3Os were unusual
eye-catching speakers which measured 331/2"
wide by 231/2" high by 4" deep - a
little inconvenient for anyone other than the
hi-fl enthusiast or someone with a very large
The Super IC-12 "high fidelity
monolithic integrated circuit amplifier" was
launched in June 1971. Its curious appearance was
due to the addition of an enormous (compared to
the size of the chip) heat sink, which led to the
device being nicknamed "the hedgehog".
For its advertisement, the Super IC-12 was
photographed next to the newly-introduced 50
The System 4000 amplifier
received a very favourable review in Tape
Magazine of June 1974. It looked very like
the System 3000, but the entire circuitry had
been redesigned. According to the reviewer,
result table shows that, in almost every
area, the amplifier exceeds its
manufacturer's specification. At the time of
testing it was mistakenly thought to be a 20
watt amplifier. None of the figures gave any
reason to doubt this and only when checking
the price with the manufacturers did it
emerge that the rated output was only 17
watts rms power.
amplifier intended to produce 20 watts per
channel the results would be good; for one of
17 watts rating they are generally excellent
This is an
amplifier that I would buy for myself if the
manufacturers could sort out one or two minor
problems with production. As it stands, the
System 4000 is a triumph of engineering and
design over production quality control.
This was to be a familiar story
in later years!
The Z-50 amplifier was added to
the Project 60 range in June 1970. The Z-30 was
rated at 30 watts, so Sinclair decided to
advertise the Z-50 as rated at 50 watts. However,
they blew at between 37-40 watts, so their
designer suggested 30 watts as a rating; the
final compromise was 40 watts. Not surprisingly,
the Z-50 did not prove completely reliable in