Whatever Happened To SAE?

I remember in the seventies walking into a Cal Stereo store in the LA area and seeing the SAE equipment. I was a college student back then and owned a reciever. The SAE stuff with it's black metal and white graphics looked sooo imposing and impressive. Amp, preamp, tuner and EQ all in one stack....man, if I could ever own something like that one day! By the time I could afford decent equipment, SAE has been long gone.

Was their stuff any good?

What happened to them?

Oh yes, the Cal Stereo days. Tom Campbell and the constant commercials on KMET and KLOS. The cool rock days. What about Pacific Stereo, University Stereo, Federated Group, Music+, Licorice Pizza, The Wherehouse, etc? What we all wanted back then we would demote to using today as a door stop. Man oh man how things have changed.

Oh yes, and SAE made a cool parametric equalizer that I owned for a short while. It was fun to play with and alter the sound but even on my midfi setup at the time, it was clear that it did more harm than good. So I sold it through the old "recycler". Does that even exist any more?

I grew up in the South Bay and remember when Licorice Pizza, the Wherehouse flagship store and a great little stereo shop were all on the corner of Sepulveda and Hawthorne Blvd.

I'll never forget one Saturday in the late 1970s walking around that area and I heard Star Wars blasting from that stereo shop from across the street. I went inside and a bispectacled young salesman had the Star Wars theme blaring from a single Altec speaker with a horn tweeter and a 24" woofer. I remember him smiling and yelling, "doesn't it sound great?!!!!" Yes, it did.

Cassandra Peterson [Elvira] and Shadoe Stevens [FredRated] were both on KROQ, Frasier Smith was on KLOS and Jeff Gonzer was on KMET. Ahh, the days.
Didn't Bongiorno then go on to GAS "Great American Sound" then on to Sumo which effetley was SAE anyway? after they all at some point in time went BK.
KSAN in 1970-1 was playing all the good stuff at the time and when some squares bought the station,they handed them a square playlist which the DJ's refused to play.So,they locked and boarded up the studio door and kept playing the Dead,Janis,Quicksilver,Airplane etc. and they kept it up as the cops were breakin down the door.You could hear it all as they were still on the air!Ahh,the days....
There's still a big following for SAE gear out there. I still own some great pieces and also use two sae 2600 400 watt amps to drive my infinity rs1b's. If you want to refresh your memory on this classic gear take a look at this website: