Steve Morris, founder of Streamline HiFi, shows off his record collection and Mojo console in his Truckee home, photo by Ryan Salm

Building Heirlooms for Audiophiles

Truckee woodworker Steve Morris launches Streamline HiFi, crafting state-of-the-art music consoles with mid-century modern style


Streamline HiFi’s Rambler stereo console pays homage to the Space Race era that began in the mid-1950s, when American cars flaunted prominent fins and bold designs, courtesy photo

It’s a Tuesday morning and Truckee resident Steve Morris is sitting inside his woodshop, softly nodding his head.

Two Against Nature, Steely Dan’s Grammy Award-winning album, is pumping through nearby stereo speakers, reverberating the small room with snappy drumbeats and funky guitar licks.

“It feels like a sound blanket wrapped around you,” Morris says, cracking a smile as he turns up the volume.

The warm, layered music isn’t thumping out of any ordinary stereo system. The sounds are spilling out of a large wooden music console—about 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide—that looks like a refurbished relic.

Except it isn’t. Morris built this music console with his bare hands.

“I love the old stereo consoles, so I thought, why don’t I make my own designs?” says Morris, a longtime woodworker who took audio recording classes as an undergrad. “Technology has come a long way—we have better speakers, better quality cables, turntable needles are better—so why not take all that new technology and put it into an awesome design?”

The Crossroads, the smallest of Streamline HiFi’s three models, embodies the perfect balance of form and function, courtesy photo

The console spinning Steely Dan was designed and handcrafted by Morris using black walnut. The deep brown cabinet, emulating a musical treasure chest, includes areas carved out for a turntable and storage space for everything from vinyl records to beverage containers.

“There’s a little drink shelf for a whiskey decanter and glasses,” Morris says, pointing to a spot where bottles and glasses can be properly stored.

Inside the wooden console, “the guts,” as Morris calls it, is a custom-designed sound system—a Class A tube pre-amplifier paired with a Class D amplifier—that would make any sound-quality snob’s ears perk up. He also added Bluetooth capabilities so people can stream music through the console with their mobile device.

“It’s got the warmth and detail from the tubes, with the power and bass for modern sound from the amplifier,” Morris says. “It’s an audiophile’s level in a custom piece of woodworking.”

And Morris is not only building these pieces for himself. He’s building a business out of them. His company, Streamline HiFi, is based in Truckee, where he lives with his family.

Launched in 2023, Streamline HiFi sold its first consoles at the end of last year. In 2024, Morris hopes to attract more business from music and audio aficionados who appreciate high fidelity and old traditions.

“I want the conversation in people’s homes to move away from the TV being on all the time and get back to playing music as the centerpiece of the family living room,” Morris says. “I wanted to create something that’ll be around and passed down.”


Go West, Young Man

Morris, 45, was born in Denver, but his family moved to Northern Michigan when he was 12. He spent his formative years in Cheboygan, a dot of a town in the northernmost part of the state, just below the Upper Peninsula.

After high school, Morris attended a few community colleges in Michigan before deciding he “wanted to get back to the mountains.” For years, he meandered across the West, working odd jobs—serving drinks, waiting tables, swinging a hammer—and taking more college courses.

Streamline HiFi founder Steve Morris, then a 21-year-old intern, at a recording studio in Lansing, Michigan, courtesy photo

He moved back to the Denver area, bounced over to Bozeman, Montana, and then migrated south to Arizona and enrolled at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences. That landed him an internship at Crescendo Studios in San Francisco, where he did everything from fetch coffee to edit commercials. 

During that time, Morris’ father and younger brother also moved to Northern California. His dad, a professor, took a job at Sierra College in Roseville and his brother had just graduated high school and tagged along. They moved to Auburn. After a year, Morris’ brother, an avid snowboarder, moved to a historic ski town up the hill with a big reputation: Truckee. He got a job at Northstar.

“I started visiting to snowboard with my brother, and that’s when I decided I was moving to Truckee,” Morris says with a shrug. “When I got done with my internship in San Francisco, I came out here and have been here ever since. 

“It’s kind of the same story as a lot of people: You come for the snow, you stay for the summers.”

An experienced woodworker, Morris quickly carved out a career working for contractors building high-end custom homes in the Tahoe region. When the Great Recession hit in 2007 and work slowed, he met his future wife, Penny, while visiting his cousin in Santa Cruz. They married in 2014 and now have two daughters, Lilly and Stella.


Hidden Gem

Years later, in 2019, Morris was back in Northern Michigan visiting family. At his mom’s house, he came across a piece of furniture collecting dust in her garage.

“It was this amazing, gorgeous 1950s stereo console from Germany,” says Morris, who learned that his stepbrother was remodeling a house he had bought and found it in the basement. “And he was just going to give it away to the thrift store.”

Fortunately, Morris’ mom, who “loves to keep old stuff and fix it up,” agreed to adopt the antique console. Temporarily.

Months later, when Morris turned 40, a birthday gift from his mom arrived on his doorstep in Truckee. Inside a massive wooden crate was the mid-century modern console he saw in her garage.

“I fixed it up,” Morris says. “And I just loved it so much that I started buying up old stereo consoles and fixing them up. But it’s really hard to find the good old ones.”


Music to His Ears

Morris decided to design and build his own. Handling the woodworking aspect would be no problem, but dialing in the audio would take some trial and error.

To test it out on a smaller scale, Morris, who plays guitar, built a guitar amp with a top-notch tube amplifier. The sound and power that emitted from the amp was nothing short of music to his ears.

The Rambler console includes a high-end turntable, record storage and an array of controls presented in a sleek design, photo by Ryan Salm

“That’s the day it clicked,” says Morris, reflecting on the moment from April 2022. “Stop looking for old stuff; just make my own.”

With that, Morris, who was working for a custom home builder at the time, quit his job and narrowed his focus on creating mid-century modern music consoles.

One of his tests involved taking the console outside in the summertime to measure frequencies without sounds reflecting off walls. He quickly received confirmation from his neighbors that he was onto something.

“I had three neighbors come by and be like, ‘I thought you had a band over here it sounded so good,’” Morris says. “I couldn’t have asked for better feedback.”


Quality Over Quantity

One of his neighbors, Tom Watts, is a fellow audiophile who owns Craft Productions, a Truckee-based audio/video company. Watts says he was eager for Morris to put his products on the market so he could become an early customer.

“He started showing me the concept of his first console and I was blown away,” Watts says. “Obviously, the mid-century modern design he’s got, and the beautiful hardwoods, are incredible. And the tube amps he’s putting into those things sound phenomenal. Having a console like that with that warmth and depth of sound is so fun to play with. I tell everybody I know about it.

Along with its turntable, the Mojo also stores records and an accompanying whiskey decanter and glasses, photo by Ryan Salm

“The coolest thing that I’ve been doing is getting my 7-year-old son into records.”

Watts bought the midsized console, the Rambler, which is roughly 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The smallest version, Crossroads, is about 3 feet by 3 feet, and the big console, Mojo, measures 3 by 5 feet.

“Yes, they’re expensive,” Morris admits. “But I think we’re all striving a little bit for that quality in products again. For people in the right position wanting something they’re willing to spend a bit more to get something that’s made right and thought through and not just cranked out in China.”

Morris says each console is built to order and takes around four months to complete. Over time, he wants to scale up “to an extent,” but keep them as boutique products.

“I’m not looking to make thousands of these,” he says. “I take my time on them. I want to make them perfect for people, so they’re around for as long as the old ’50s ones.”

Morris says it’s not just paying for a significantly richer and warmer listening experience. It’s an investment in a custom-built piece of furniture that’s sure to turn heads, strike up conversations, cut down on Netflix time and last for generations.

“I’m proud of this whole thing,” Morris says. “I know I’m partial, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything better sounding in someone’s house. It was a big challenge, but I’m so excited to be able to start to share it with people.”

Streamline HiFi’s “Rambler” console is available to observe in action at the Alpine Electric showroom in downtown Truckee. Contact Streamline HiFi to schedule an appointment:, (530) 608-0880,

Kaleb M. Roedel is a Reno-based writer and vinyl collector who thinks the Velvet Underground is criminally underappreciated.

  • wade souza
    Posted at 17:03h, 22 February Reply

    Very cool idea. I’ve seen guys retrofit old consoles that work well. But, building new ones like this so they are almost customized to one’s wants and uses quality hardwoods and electronic systems is a step up.

  • David
    Posted at 15:12h, 23 February Reply

    I have seen these first hand and they are amazing. Steve is very gifted and can’t wait to take one home and build my living room around it.

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