HiFi-ZEILE: Pierre Wittig’s Sonic Odyssey

Written by | News, Vinyl, Vinyl Corner

Nestled in the legendary Worpswede artists’ colony, where creativity breathes through every cobblestone, HiFi-ZEILE stands as a sanctuary for the “art of hearing.” At the helm is Pierre Wittig, a seasoned audio technician whose journey in the realm of sound has been an immersive odyssey since 1982.

HiFi-ZEILE, under Wittig’s stewardship, has become synonymous with the meticulous restoration, repair, and enhancement of high-quality amplifiers, CD players, tuners, and vintage audio classics. Wittig’s mastery extends especially to the revered production years of audio giants like Accuphase, Revox, Luxman, Braun-Atelier, and Harman/Kardon. Today, the HiFi-ZEILE team is hailed as trusted custodians by owners of these irreplaceable HiFi treasures.

Within the historic confines of HiFi-ZEILE, hi-fi classics with rich histories unfold their full sonic potential. The expertise and passion invested in the restoration process breathe new life into vintage audio equipment, allowing them to resonate with the essence of their golden years. Beyond preserving the legacy of iconic brands, HiFi-ZEILE in Worpswede now surprises audiophiles with a curated selection of cutting-edge devices that hold the promise of becoming tomorrow’s HiFi classics.

In a strategic move in 2002, Pierre Wittig and the HiFi-ZEILE team made a resolute decision to focus exclusively on 2-channel stereo audio. This choice emerged from a commitment to meet the discerning expectations of hi-fi purists. The historic rooms of HiFi-ZEILE echo with the testimonials of those who have affirmed the correctness of this decision, celebrating the dedication to preserving the authenticity of stereo sound.


Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Pierre on a rainy afternoon in early January for an interview. As we sit with a pot of tea and chocolate squares, he shares the fascinating journey of his musical evolution.

Pierre’s journey into audio began at the age of 16, when he acquired his inaugural turntable, a pivotal moment recounted with alert eyes. Paired with a used Uher “Royal De Luxe” tape recorder featuring built-in speakers—also part of the author’s first music system—the setup served as his amplifier. Wittig’s ingenuity surfaced as he rewired the mono signal to produce sound from two speakers, creating a unique pseudo-stereo experience. This marked the genesis of his exploration into the world of music and hi-fi, a journey that unfolded parrall with the backdrop of the early 1970s, characterized by the era of Prog-Rock and iconic bands like Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis, and Jethro Tull.

Pierre recalls Deep Purple’s iconic album, “Made In Japan.” with it’s thunderous bass drum sound of Ian Paice shattered his makeshift stereo system, propelling him into a realm of experimentation. This sparked Pierre and a friend to become engrossed in crafting their own speakers further highlighting his passion for tinkering with audio setups. Pierre recalls being fascinated with hi-Fi equipment specifically mentioning quirky inventions such as the Dual turntable Dual with a distinctive center spindle, allowed him to stack LPs on top of each other. When released, they would cascade down with a rhythmic “clack, clack, clack” – a less-than-ideal scenario for the records but undeniably convenient. He also recalls experimenting with Heco kits to construct speakers of as he described “washing-machine” proportions.

His love of live music led him to diverse concert venues in and around Bremen including the Bremen “Stadthalle” where he witnessed many of these bands’ unforgettable performances and immersing him in the vibrant music scene. Two standout concerts from his formative years as a music enthusiast have left an indelible mark on him. The band Embryo, despite lacking LPs for the concert, presented audio cassettes, captivating Pierre’s attention. Embryo’s music and their unique lifestyle intrigued the 17-year-old Pierre, especially their commitment to vegetarianism—a rarity during those day’s and the trigger for his commitment to vegetarianism today. It’s an interesting sidenote that over 400 musicians have contributed to Embryo since 1969, forming personal ties with allied groups like Sparifankal and Ton Steine Scherben. The latter, in 1976, founded the label APRIL (later Schneeball).

Another memorable concert etched in Pierre’s memory hails from Deep Purple’s performance in Hamburg during the early years. The large hall near Hamburg Dammtor hosted four impressive support acts, creating an electrifying atmosphere. However, when Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, Ian Gillian, and Ian Paice took the stage, their 10,000-watt Marshall PA system, known for reaching up to 117 decibels, turned the iconic band into the world’s loudest pop group. Despite Deep Purple’s reputation for sonic intensity, the Hamburg performance took an unexpected turn. The sound, distorted and overwhelming, prompted the audience to demand an immediate reduction in volume. When this plea went unanswered, frustration led the spectators to hurl canned beers and various objects onto the stage. In response, the inebriated members of Deep Purple relinquished their instruments and retaliated by throwing everything back into the crowd, creating a chaotic uproar. Sensing the escalating chaos, Pierre swiftly gathered his friends, urging them to escape the tumultuous scene. Days later, Deep Purple disbanded, leaving behind a saga that resonates as a captivating and unforgettable tale in the annals of rock history.

Following a three-year apprenticeship as a telecommunications  technician, Pierre’s trajectory took an unexpected yet fortuitous turn. He found himself increasingly immersed in the repair of so-called “compact systems.” Expanding beyond television repairs, he ventured into the realm of stereo systems, acquiring defective units privately and skillfully restoring them to a condition surpassing their original functionality. The growing volume of devices led him to find a small space in Bremen that he transformed into a private workshop, housing an array of inventory ranging from emerging video players to recorders that were gaining popularity.

One day, an imposing 2-meter-tall customer in a Marine uniform walked into his workspace at some point. Pierre, who had refused military service and had also become a committed vegetarian as described earlier, had never come across anyone like him before! he declared. The person in question, who turned out to be a part-time DJ and had spotted a hard to find cassette recorder and while exploring the rest of Pierre’s workshop he called it the “land of plenty” and made the point that “All these treasures were valuable and should be available for sale.” The two quickly became friends, and the former Marine became Pierre’s partner and star salesman in a new commercial venture that became Hifi-Zeile.

With the company opening in 1982, Wittig had now become a company owner at precisely the time when the the Compact Disc, began its triumph over the analogue LP. In addition to the lucrative business of selling CD players, Pierre also accumulated a large collection of turntables, mostly from customers that were trading in there old turntables for the new technology. His bestseller was the legendary Japanese Technics SL-1210MK2 and the SL-1200MK2 in silver casing. These devices, as Pierre enthusiastically recounts, flew off the shelves like “hotcakes.” It is well known that these devices laid the foundation for the entire present DJ culture. DJs worked with Technics and produced new music on these devices.

As mentioned above, many of the customers who switched to CD players at that time sold their turntables to Pierre. He would then overhaul and refine them, repairing any defects. His Hi-Fi business gradually developed more towards Hi-End luxury systems, devices that are not mass-produced. Nakamichi cassette recorders, pre and power amplifiers from Harman & Kardon or Luxman, etc., were introduced. Together with a customer, who initially bought crossover components from Pierre, he also jointly developed his own high-end speakers. Many of the initial attempts initially failed; the tweeters repeatedly did not meet the desired result however after sourcing high-quality Dynaudio chassis from France finally these issues could be solved. The two then found an excellent carpenter who joined them, assembling the cabinets and an employee of a nearby company that painted cars agreed to paint the speakers on weekends in his free time. This area of the business continued to evolve allowing very specific customer requests that could be individually fulfilled.

Today, Pierre Wittig is among the few Hi-Fi specialists equipped with a workshop. His store, “Hifi-Zeile,” is now situated in the countryside in the idyllic village of Worpswede near Bremen. He loves music, particularly the act of listening to music, and that too with the best possible sound quality. He listens to both audiophile CDs and vinyl records. Professionally, he is constantly on the move, making this subject even more relevant for him. Ironically, Wittig’s obsession with good sound was deepened in his quest for tranquility. Half of his interest in audio revolves around noise avoidance. He is a person with finely tuned senses, fundamentally preferring peace in life and believes that the world’s acoustic pollution has dramatically increased that effects our quality of life. To make the time he spends on trains pleasant for his ears and to discern nuances in the repair of audio devices, he has acquired the best headphones possible with the ear peices encased with special foam that shields the ears from external noise. What Pierre Wittig loves in general: the feeling of immersion. Closing his eyes and being right in the midst of it, feeling like in a concert hall directly in front of the stage. He describes it as mental yoga.

From time to time, demonstrations and high-end shows take place in the thatched farmhouse and spacious rooms of his “Hifi-Zeile.” This will happen again in February 2024 where he will feature the reference turntable the “Orbiter,” that are handmade in Bremen and exclusively available for purchase from Hifi-Zeile.

For those readers that wish to find out more about Pierre and Hifi-Zeile you are welcome on February 24 & 25, 2024, in Worpswede to experience the best in Hi-Fi sound. Registration is encouraged to ensure your place and this can be done by sending an email with your details to info@hifizeile.de

More information can be found at the Hifi-Zeile website.

Last modified: February 6, 2024