Culture Travel

Hey Joe, now you can listen to Jimi Hendrix’s Hi-Fi at London flat exhibition

Music fans now have the opportunity to listen to the same sound system used by Jimi Hendrix when he lived in London.

A partnership between Handel & Hendrix in London, Bang & Olufsen, Lowther and LEAK has recreated the exact listening experience Hendrix had at 23 Brook Street in Mayfair, when the legendary rock guitarist lived there between 1968-1969. 

Visitors to the Hendrix Flat exhibition in London can actually hear what Jimi heard back in his heyday, listening to records from the rock star’s collection on a system eerily similar to the one he owned, in the same room in which he wrote and listened to music.

Since opening to the public in 2016, music enthusiasts have been making the pilgrimage to 23 Brook Street in London to see the place the greatest guitarist of all time called home.  

Visitors to the Hendrix Flat exhibition can listen to records from the rock star’s collection on a system eerily similar to the one he owned…

The LEAK Stereo 130 amp offers retro styling now

Which brand of amplifier did rock genius Jimi Hendrix use when listening to his record collection? None other than LEAK, a legendary British audio company that was among the world’s finest during Hendrix’s heyday.

The company ceased production in the late Seventies, only to return in 2020 with its first new products for more than 40 years, including the LEAK Stereo 130 amplifier, which is a direct descendant of the amp Hendrix owned.

Hendrix used the amp while he was living in a flat at 23 Brook Street in Mayfair, London between 1968 and 1969. In 2016, ‘Handel & Hendrix in London’ opened a recreation of the flat at the same address, and now they’ve gone one further by recreating Jimi’s audio setup using authentic equipment of the type he owned at that time. 

Hendrix’s vinyl collection and the system he used

The recreation of the third floor Mayfair flat included painstaking research into how he would have listened to his extensive record collection revealed he had a Bang & Olufsen turntable connected to a LEAK amplifier and two Lowther speakers. Distinctly luxury at the time.

Hendrix also liked to listen to records loud. Kathy Etchingham, Jimi’s girlfriend at the time, recalled that they had to ‘stick a ha’penny with sellotape onto the turntable arm otherwise it would jump up and down the louder it got.’ 

These capable speakers occasionally even blew during parties and had to be taken for repair, showing how high Hendrix would set the volume.  

Up until now the exhibition has never had functioning models of Hendrix’s original audio setup but thanks to the combined efforts of the museum, Bang & Olufsen, Lowther and LEAK it will be possible to play records from Jimi Hendrix’s collection inside the very room where the 60s icon himself used to listen to, and write, music.  

For this project, Bang & Olufsen donated a fully-functioning, original 1960s Beogram 1000 turntable; Lowther supplied a set of their restored Acousta 115’s developed in the Sixties, the exact model owned and used by Jimi Hendrix, and LEAK supplied its new LEAK Stereo 130 integrated stereo amplifiers, modelled on the classic Stereo 30 from 1963, which Hendrix used.  

“It has been incredible to partner with three of the best audio companies around to authentically  recreate exactly how Jimi Hendrix’s would have listened to music at home; especially this  year, 50 years on from his death,” says Sean Doherty, Marketing Manager for Handel & Hendrix in London.

For more about Handel & Hendrix in London, and to arrange a visit here.

‘In a single street in London, separated by a wall, are the homes of two of history’s most  significant musical artists. 25 Brook Street is the house that belonged to George Frideric Handel and the place where he composed some of the world’s most enduring baroque music. On the top floor of 23 Brook Street is the flat where, two centuries later, Jimi Hendrix lived with his girlfriend, record player and guitar. Both were the homes of musical innovators who chose London and changed music forever.’  

About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice, Ideal Home, The Luxe Review, Channel News and the i newspaper. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI, and contributor to industry trade magazine ERT. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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