Do vintage receivers sound better than new ones?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by 12" 45rpm, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    After adjusting for inflation, my Audio Research CA50 wasn’t all that much more expensive than the Marantz 2325 which I owned for 30 years. The Marantz was nice looking, but ultimately not my cup o’ tea when I started pursuing better sound quality.
     
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  2. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    This sounds like my approach, except that I have merged the system to do everything that I want, the way that I want it. My main system combines audio with video, but serves both equally well. Video signal goes directly to the TV as I don't use an AV receiver or processor. I have a hi-fi stereo audio path that is used for both audio only sources (Lp and CD) and the audio portion of video sources (DVD, Bluray, Cable, Streaming). By optimizing the system for two channel audio, it does not compromise my signals for either audio only or AV sources, so my record collection and my movie viewing are both as good as they can be.

    I use a vacuum tube preamp (Rogue Audio Perseus Magnum) with remote control, so that it provides great sound quality and the convenience of the remote volume feature for video sources that can be changing in level from clip to clip. It also features an excellent MM / MC phono section. This has provided the drive for many amplifiers switched through the system. I have had both pure vacuum tube and solid state versions of several topologies, ranging from 20wpc to 100wpc.
    -Bill
     
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  3. Bobby 2 Times

    Bobby 2 Times Member

    Location:
    Nashville
    I have a Denon x3300, and just bought a Sony 6800 sd. I have to say the Denon sounds so accurate that unless the recording is great it doesn’t sound as good as the Sony. The 6800 seems to have more “color”. 2 channel music is in my opinion better on the old stuff, that may have some roots in me falling in love with music on a silver face as a young lad!
     
  4. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
    I got a new audio rack so finally was able to swap out my modern Onkyo receiver with the vintage Pioneer. Unfortunately, I don't like the sound. It sounds "colored" if that's the right word. The Onkyo sounded more musical.. With the Pioneer the music has that "everything sounds the same" kind of sound..

    Of course , it might be out of spec. I do notice sometimes one channel completely dies. I have to turn it off/on to fix that.. It does look good though:

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
    I have a Sansui 2000X receiver [circa 1970] that was restored about 6 years ago. Before I found a competent tech to restore it I bought a brand new Marantz PM5004 integrated amp. I liked it just fine however once the Sansui was restored the choice was obvious: the Marantz went into the closet. Eventually I sold it. About one year ago I purchased a well cared for, one owner Pioneer SX-880. There was some known issue with these back in the day but the owner assured me that was remedied by Pioneer via a service bulletin shortly after he bought it. This Pioneer has not given me any trouble and I cannot decide whether I like the Sansui or the Pioneer better. They both have very different sound signatures and I love them both. So both are keepers and in active, daily use. I do not miss the new Marantz at all, in fact the idea is laughable.
     
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  6. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
    Restore the Pioneer and report back!
     
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  7. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Get it fixed and it'll sound a bit more transparent. It'll still have a warmer than neutral tone but sound quite nice. Certainly the equal of the Onkyo, just a view from a different window. If you don't get it serviced, it'll likely die one day soon.
    -Bill
     
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  8. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    I agree 100%, but don't think that based just on those examples that all vintage gear sounds better than all modern gear. The vintage gear you have way outclasses the Marantz. Get a couple pieces of really nice sounding modern gear and things will be made more clear, pun intended. Good gear is good gear, and modern gear has the benefit of both technology and hindsight. Of course there is plenty of modern junk being cranked out for the sheeple. ;)
    -Bill
     
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  9. Ctiger2

    Ctiger2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USSA
    Have the Pioneer restored/checked out and then leave it as your main for 3-6mo. Then switchout for the Onkyo and see if you still feel the same. Might, might not. Sometimes subtle changes can take a while to get used to them.
     
  10. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York City
    Do people even service these things anymore? I am guessing it would not be cheap. This amp as is would probably sell for no more than $50.. Hard to justify spending $$$ on something worth that little...
     
  11. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Yes, they still service them. A full service taking no short cuts won't be cheap. As is you wouldn't get much out of it you're right. Guessing range would be $300 - $700, it ranges a lot on the tech and whether he has overhead or works out of his garage. Parts are <$60 of that. I'm pretty certain it would easily beat out your Onkyo for SQ easily if brought back to original or better working condition.

    They go for more than 50 bucks on Ebay, esp sercived however. A 650 though is not a lot of power and does not bring big prices. A 1050 or larger are worth more now than when new, not adjusting for inflation.

    If you are not interested in bringing it back to spec you are better off unloading it now while it still works mostly.
     
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  12. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn New York
    The Marantz cost me $500. The restored Sansui cost me $625 total. The Pioneer I payed next to nothing for but restored it's roughly a $5oo unit. I agree that the Sansui and Pioneer outclass the Marantz sound-wise which makes vintage in this case far superior. I mean of course one could always buy more expensive gear to best another that's obvious. But within this particular price range vintage is the way to go.
     
  13. ronm

    ronm audiofreak

    Location:
    southern colo.
    I too prefer the more higher end modern(Yamaha RXV1-RXZ9) over vintage(unrestored) played through vintage speakers.I have a few totl vintage receivers and the newer just sounds cleaner not to mention more refined controls, especially the volume.I had a Pioneer SX838 that I really liked but the controls felt so primitive.Then there is the remote.If your going to do newer get as close to the top as you can.
     
  14. Fedot L

    Fedot L Forum Resident

    New receivers having better objective technical quality parameters than vintage ones, sound better than vintage ones in good technical condition.

    Vintage receivers in good technical condition having better objective technical quality parameters than new ones, sound better than new ones.
     
  15. cporcp

    cporcp Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kentucky
    I have an SX-950 as well, and swap it in occasionally - always impressed with the phono section.

    I also have an early 70’s Sansui system that’s still going strong. This gear is what I grew up listening to, no surprise that I still enjoy it - partly a nostalgia trip.
     
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  16. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    My point was that the vintage gear did cost more than the Marantz when new. One-off prices on second hand stuff accounts for nothing but circumstance. For instance, if you were given a full MBL system, you wouldn't say it was cheaper...

    Marantz PM5004 = $449 in 2017
    Pioneer SX-880 = $445 in 1978 (What cost $445 in 1978 would cost $1699.93 in 2017. From the inflation calculator)
    I'm not sure what the Sansui cost new, but you get the idea. :)
    -Bill
     
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  17. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    Indeed, and for $1,799 you can buy something new that is better than a SX-880. And if you take that same budget and buy something used, only a couple years old, you have something a mint SX-anything can't come close to.

    I love vintage stuff, own several pieces but its appeal is appearance (in some cases) and the potential value proposition. These monster receivers that go for $4,000 and up are complete nonsense. Like a Sansui G 9000, SX 1280 or Marantz whatever. Basically anything over 150 WPC, the prices reflect the collector value not the performance.
     
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  18. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    I agree. Heck, to those ends, a Rega Brio-R is only $995, and I'll bet it sounds better than the SX-880 (I have an SX-680 here). The prices seen for these old receivers are for collectors who are buying nostalgia. They might fool themselves into thinking they are getting more, but it is nostalgia that is driving that market. It's like an old Mobil gas sign; it might sell for a lot of money, and it might look really cool, and they may not make them like that anymore, but at the end of the day it has less performance than it has nostalgia. Nobody is opening up new Mobil gas stations equipped with original globe head pumps, but some people are buying the props.
    -Bill
     
  19. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Location:
    Ohio
    Ebay has kind of ruined the fun. Ten years ago you could find a Marntz 2270 for $50 or for free. I've seen two that were "serviced" not restored listed for $1,000 at two different record stores. 70 WPC is the minimum I'll go for a SS receiver, less than that and the risk of me blowing a speaker from clipping goes up quite a bit unless I'm using HE speakers.

    I recently helped a friend put together a budget system and found him a Pioneer SX-680 and a pair of Sansui floor speakers that look like end tables for about $450 all in. I really don't think there is a path buying new stuff that would have got him further for less.
     
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  20. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    So just by chance I found this HK690i for $60. My plan was to use it in my bedroom to play fm radio stations and maybe hook up a cheap old TT I have. But to test it I unplugged my D3020 and hooked up the HK690i to my Music Hall 2.3 and Paradigm mini monitor 7's. And what I can tell you is that this $60 HK blew the D3020 out of the water. Not even close, no comparison. Mids are better bass is fuller, separation is much better, and most importantly the music just sounds better. It could have something to do with the HK having 60W vs the NAD at only 30W, but I actually don't really care the sound is much better. I bought the D3020 mainly because I have a pretty extensive digital collection and the streaming is very handy to have. If you read some of my other posts I always thought I was missing something in my setup, so I ditched my Wharfedale 220's and replaced with the Paradigm's and I am glad I did, they have more detail and keep up with the music better, not quite as laid back as the 220's, which I guess I like. And now after hooking up the HK 690i I hear what I have been missing in my vinyl sound. I have not tried the built in Phono stage yet, but I will see how it compares to my MoFi StudioPhono this weekend. I will need to figure what I am going to do about getting my digital music to the HK but I can tell you as of right now I won't be going back to the D3020. I am not trashing it I just don't "love" the music I hear coming from it. My shock is actually how can this 1982 amp sound better? If I find the built in Phono stage sounds better I will be even more shocked. I would post a picture but I have problems with that I guess.
     
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  21. ronm

    ronm audiofreak

    Location:
    southern colo.
    I'll bet you'll like the HK phono stage better.This from an era when lps were king.Not like now where phono stages are an afterthought in most cases.
     
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  22. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Definitely. Vintage Sansui & Marantz have beautiful sound. But put it in a reputable shop to get serviced/new caps. They are prolly overdue.
     
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  23. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    I will for sure check it, but the Mofi does sound good and quiet as well as $249
     
  24. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    Might have to search for that nothing local for me unfortunately
     
  25. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    True dat. The West Coast is mecca for vintage Japanese gear! I go my Sansui 990DB for $500 from CL. Luscious brooding sound. Still my main SS amp.
     

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