Hartmut Jatzke-Wigand
Günter Staeffler: Braun audio Part II

Günter Staeffler

Braun audio Part II

The first part concerned audio sets (Braun+Design 12), introducing audio all the way to audio 310. The follow-up includes of all sets to the very end of the audio-era, to the audio-system 4000. We decided on this division because Braun abandoned the strict cubistic form after the audio 310 in 1973. Cockpit 250 and audio 308 partly received plastic casings for the first time. This required other forms including curves and bevels.


A general classification of audio in part II is no longer possible. The material, forms and measurements of these sets vary greatly. Common are the compact construction (receiver and record player were integrated), operating elements were placed on top and cover lids were made of plexiglass.


cockpit 250 and Cockpit 260 (TC 30)


Hifi stereo control with record player or record player with changer automatic. Cockpit sets were a side-line of the audio-development. They were introduced on the Düsseldorf hifi exhibition and termed as "the young generation's music set."


The concept's aim was to offer a mobile, young set at a favourable price and yet meet the minimum hifi requirements. However, the mobility originally planned could not be fully realized. A portable prototype with integrated handle had to be abandoned because of the record player 's high sensitivity to transport jolts.


For the first time all casing parts of a hifi set were made of plastic. Thus the material required curves and bevels, not common with Braun hifi sets at that time. The tilted scale allowed for better reading. There were versions with a light-grey base and black cover and with red base and black cover. The red version may have been demanded by the marketing department to attract young buyers.


The following cockpit versions were on offer:


cockpit 250 S


Control unit for FM, MW, short and long waves; cockpit 250 SK, control unit for FM, MW and short wave. Output for both 2 x 15 W sine power and 2 x 25 W music power. Record player P 250 x with 33 and 45 rpm.


cockpit 250 W


Equipped as 250 S and cockpit 250 WK as 250 SK, yet with record player P 280 x with changer automatic and 16, 33, 45 and 78 rpm. The record player fitted in these versions appeared very bulky. Measurements: 57 x 21 x 35 cm (w x h x d; height with record changer 35 cm). Colors: light grey/black and red/black. Prices: version with common record player DM 1.298,-- and DM 1.398,-- with changer automatic.


cockpit 260


Hifi stereo control unit with record player P 250 x. In 1972 cockpit 260 followed the 250 model. Equipment and measurements were identical. C 260 S was laid out for FM, MW and long wave, C 250 SK for FM, MW and short wave. Output 2 x 20 W sine power and 2 x 30 W music power. Colors: white / black and red/black.


The casing's base bore the graphics 'Cockpit 260'. A red control lamp was integrated in the casing edge, socket to take the headphone plug had been installed at the side. No version with record changer were available. The turn table is no longer black as with cockpit 250, but aluminium-colored. As complementary units to the cockpit set served the L 260 loudspeakers (corpus white, fronts black) with rounded surfaces and decorative front perforation due to the material used.


audio 308 - 8° system


In 1973 Braun introduced the new series 308 with the slogan: "The new Braun class: the 8° system." The characteristics of the programme were the plastic prefabricated construction and the operating unit tilted towards the user. The height of the casing was determined by the power transformator's measurements in the rear part of the set. To give the set a flat appearance, the upper part was reduced in size towards the front. The 8° angle thus achieved was the formal basis for a new audio generation consisting of audio 308, audio 308 S, regio 308, record player PS 358, record changer Ps 458 and L 308 loudspeakers.


audio 308


Hifi stereo compact system with record player P 350 x. The audio 308 was fitted with a receiver for FM, MW, long and short waves as well as a semi-automatic record player P 350 x. Output: 2 x 26 W sine power and 2 x 39 W music power. The clearly arranged operating parts consisted of lever, function-, range- and (for the first time) station selection keys. For easier use the knobs had small pressing moulds. The large - sized set (80 cm wide, 17 cm high, 36 cm deep) had a glass-fibre-reinforced white polystyrol casing. The upper casing part (also of polystyrol) was varnished black to cover the joints. Dust cover of plexiglass.


audio 308 S


Hifi sterio compact set with record player P 350 S. Same version as audio 308, yet with output 2 x 20 W sine power and 2 x 44 W music power as well as with a different cartridge system. The audio 308 S was manufactured with a black base and black upper part. A special model (limited number) was made of a black base and aluminium-colored upper part. The record player had a black turntable and black tone arm. They were only sold as a set together with L 320 loudspeakers.


regie 308


Hifi stereo receiver. Regie 308 was a combination of the radio and amplifier from the audio 308. The base was white, the cover black, the lid of plexiglass. Similar to the TS 45 the region 308 could be hung on the wall. Together with L 308 loudspeakers this turned out an interesting phono-combination. The regie 308 measured 46 x 17 x 36 (w x h x d). Price: approx. DM 1.300,--.


audio 400


Hifi stereo compact set with record player P 450 x. At the same time as the 308, the audio 400 was being developed with high technical resources and matching data. P 400 was related to the audio 308. Due to the trend then apparent unhandy slide discs were used which had to be placed on a desk-shaped slant.

The control unit with amplifier and radio for FM, MW, short and long waves were combined with a P 450 record player. In contrast to audio 308 this record player had an automatic cueing device. Output 2 x 30 W sine power and 2 x 45 W music power. The base and upper casing made of foamed polystyrol, mat-black varnish. Measurements: 77 x 36 x 17 cm (w x d x h). Plexiglass lid. Price approx. DM 1.800, -- .


audio 400 S


Hifi stereo compact set with P 450 x record player. Same as audio 400, however higher output of 2 x 40 W sine power and 2 x 50 W music power. There was a further model with different capacity: 2 x 45 sine power and 2 x 60 W music power.


audio system 4000


The last of the audio-series, the audio system 4000, was built. A typical feature was the arrangement of the operating part on the upper side. Three basic elements were integrated to one compact set: receiver amplifier, record player and cassette deck. The casing was made of cord profile. The sides were closed by plexiglass. A formally interesting and rational construction. Operating via feather-touch push-buttons.


audio system P 4000


Hifi stereo compact set with record player P 550 SX. The S 4000 audio system was also a combination consisting of receiver and record player. The radio was laid out for FM, MW, long and short waves. Six stations computable via sensors for FM and LED. The amplifier had an output of 2 x 40 sine power and 2 x 60 W music power. The base was made of metal steel plates overlaid in graphit; plexiglass lid. Measurement: 70 x 12 x 36 cm (w x h x d).


audio system C 4000


Hifi stereo cassette compact set. Receiver amplifier P 4000, in addition cassette deck TC 550 X. Measurements: 58,5 x 12 x 34 (w x h x d).


audio system PC 4000


Hifi stereo-phono-cassette compact set with record player P 550 SX. Like P 4000, however with additional TC 550 X cassette deck. Measurements: 87 x 12 x 34 cm (w x h x d). A very large set weighting 21 kg. Additionally available was a trolley, a compact piece of furniture, to set up the audio system PL 4000, with an extra shelf for records etc..


Hints for collectors


The cockpit 250 S/ SK and the regie 308 with the L 308 loudspeakers are interesting pieces for a collector. Audio P 4000 and audio PC 4000 are very aesthetic compact systems which round off an audio collection. The latest audio sets have also received countless national and international design awards as well as high-ranking recognition for their technical quality. The audio system 4000 was the last set of the audio range to be manufactured based on the HfG concept of Hans Gugelot and Herbert Lindinger. New radio and broadcast technologies allowed for new concepts and formal solutions which were introduced by Braun by means of integral elements.


Text and design: Günter Staeffler

Photos: Braun AG, Jo Klatt (2)



Staeffler, G.: The Braun audio Part 2. In: Braun+Design 12, Hamburg September 1989, 14-28

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