Vintage system

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by tmsorosk, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE Thread Starter

    Sprucegrove Canada
    Anybody else have a vintage system as well as a modern system ?
    How do they compare ?
    SandAndGlass and tmtomh like this.
  2. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    Define "vintage."

    Quality is quality, no matter when it was made. My hand-wired, restored Fisher 400 would be hard to beat with new gear without spending beaucoup bucks.
  3. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    I just set-up yesterday a tube amp that I modified driving a desktop computer speaker set at my office. It isn't the first or even the second time that I have done this. I also rotate some tube amps in and out of my home audio system for fun. I have sold the more "collectable" models that I had and now have a few of my own builds that I play with. It sounds very good, way better than the average Joe's rig, but it isn't as nice as the modern gear that I use there. Even when I am using the old school tube amp designs, I still have more modern sources and speakers these days.
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  4. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    I like the tonal quality of my old Bozaks as well as my modern speakers, though they don't have the detail or range. I get a little hum from my H.H. Scott tube amp, but, again the tone is so warm, and you can't really hear it when the music is playing. I actually use an 80s turntable with my vintage tube system, and relegate the truly vintage table to the hodgepodge vintage system I keep in my bonus room.
  5. I had a Pioneer SA-9500II Integrated Amp, Pioneer SG-9800 Graphic Equalizer, Klipsch Heresy speakers, Optonica dual cassette deck (forgot the Model #), Kenwood KT-8007 Tuner and a Revolver Red belt drive turntable. The only pieces I have left is the Kenwood tuner and the Revolver Red belt-drive turntable. I'll probably sell both as I simply don't have the room any longer for a second system.

    I enjoyed that combination a lot, and it was great fun to play, but it pales in comparison to my current modern system.
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  6. brent bomersbach

    brent bomersbach Forum Resident

    Midwestern US
    All 3 systems are currently vintage. The newest components are a Bellari vp130 and the cd players(Rotel,Parasound,Denon). The amps are all 60's or older.
  7. BigGame

    BigGame Forum Resident

    I have 3 systems and 2 are vintage, I love them more then new one.
    tmsorosk likes this.
  8. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    I use to run a modern and a vintage. Modern was modded B&K amp and pre with Vandersteen 1c and NAD CD player and an SL1200. I swapped in a Jolida 302 on advice from a friend and was unimpressed. I remembered tube gear sounding much more liquid and just a lot better so went back to the B&K gear. Then about 2 years ago I heard a Fisher tube receiver and was stunned at how good it sounded so I tried it with my Vandersteens and was blown away. So I grabbed a mint condition Fisher 500c and got it restored and retubed it and wow. The thing is amazing. I had always known vintage Mac tube gear and Leak amps and Citations sounded really good when restored, some of the older docs I work with have nice, pretty, high WAF rigs, but I never really considered going that route till I heard the Fisher. Ive since done a lot of listening to vintage and new tube gear and speakers and even a few record players and have come to the conclusion that you can't go wrong with good, properly restored vintage tube gear. I've compared my 500c to Jolida, Cayin and Rogue Audio directly and to really better the 500c you need to spend around 2k.

    As far as sources go I think new gear is where its at for both Digital and Analog rigs. Some older turntables can sound amazing but its just to much work for me. I like a more hassle free listening experience.

    For speakers it can be rough and you have to judge them individually based on your other gear. There are some amazing vintage speakers out there that will easily keep up if not best new speakers and for half the money or less. Speakers like Tannoy Monitor Golds and Altec Model 19 and JBL 001 load outs, and modded older Klipsch stuff are hard to beat for the money. There are also some pretty amazing new ones. I'm a big fan of the two Tekton speakers I've heard and Kef's new upper end stuff is a great deal. Those LS50s keep amazing me every time I hear them. New Tannoy is really nice as well.

    As for vintage solid state and digital gear, I tend to pass as I think most of it sounds terrible and is hard to work on.

    Either way take a listen for yourself and don't fall for the newer is better because its newer line. You get a lot of that in this hobby because well there is more money in selling new gear.
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  9. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE Thread Starter

    Sprucegrove Canada
    Not new. I guess for arguments sake we could say 25 plus years old, as technology changes so rapidly in this industry.

    " Quality is quality" not sure what you meant by that or how it pertains to this post as I was asking for opinions comparing older verses new.

    When I first sit down to listen to my vintage system I find it warmer, more colored, less detailed, smoother, the word polite always comes to mind, but after a day of listening these things become irrelevant.
    My vintage system is all tube were the other systems are solid state so it's hard to make a clear comparison.
    I couldn't pick a winner if I was asked, but imo they all win. I stopped looking for faults and started listening for musical pleasure many years ago.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
    sunrayjack likes this.
  10. Fiddlefye

    Fiddlefye Forum Resident

    Around here I run several secondary systems that are pretty much pure "vintage" and a main system that is a mix of old and new. Then again, I listen to both digital and analogue sources including FM and RTR so modern isn't much part of the equation there. The modern gear is all tube and definitely has some capability the older SS doesn't quite come up to, but all are capable of some very serious musical enjoyment. Had I been able to afford the vintage set-ups I have now I might never have wandered into most of the other pieces I have now.
  11. new world man

    new world man Member

    These days, I'm putting this closer and closer to the 1980s. If you'd asked me this five years ago, I'd have gone for up to and including the 1970s.

    I had some Sansui gear that I really liked a few years ago. I'd bet that you stand a better chance on pre-80s gear lasting out over the 80s and 90s stuff better. Especially where you have new features or budget considerations coming in on the later gear. Cheaper parts, etc and the advent of the time when things were no longer designed to last, but wear out and be replaced.

    I watch with interest the various hifi resellers and secondhand retailers in the UK and still see Quad 33/303 pairings, freshly serviced, parts updated and still going strong. Likewise Garrard 301 and 401 turntables, never mind old Strathclydes, Lencos and Michell decks. I'm not quite so convinced I'll see much in the way of the gear from the 80s or 90s fifty years down the line.
    e.s. likes this.
  12. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    What I meant was good engineering is good engineering, no matter when it was designed. That's why people covet Thorens TD-124 turntables and McIntosh MC-275 amps; not necessarily because they're "vintage," but because they're excellent performers by any definition.

    I often hear descriptions like the above about vintage gear, and while that applies to some older pieces, I don't think it's fair to paint all vintage components with the same brush. My 1971 KLH Six speakers are quite neutral and transparent, as is my 1978 Yamaha CR-1020 receiver. Neither sounds especially "colored" - and definitely not warm - to my ears.
    nm_west and tmsorosk like this.
  13. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Eagle, Idaho
    Here is an interesting question:

    Would you be happier buying a stereo with gear you can get now? Or gear you could have found in 1979?

    Me, I can think of a LOT of gear from 1979 that sounded pretty damn good.
    e.s., 1970 and arisinwind like this.
  14. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Grand Rapids, MI
    I use a mix of vintage and modern - I generally like vintage or DIY amplifiers, but more modern preamplifiers and speakers. A lot of my love of vintage amplification comes from my first Dynaco 70 and the first time I saw McIntosh gear. Right now I'm using an ol' McIntosh MC2100 and I'm in no rush to replace it since this solid-state with autoformers walks a fine line between vintage tube "warmth" and the bass control of solid-state. It - and the MC250/2505 - is like a poor man's tube amplifier. Well maybe not that poor since prices have been rising on these as word gets out.

    Right now I'm constructing a brand new Dynaco PAS tube preamplifier - everything, including the chassis, is going to be brand spanking new - but the circuit is going to be old school vintage. And the tubes.
  15. Jasonb

    Jasonb Forum Resident

    There's some pretty nice stuff I wish I still had. Ariston turntable comes to mind, Linn Sara speakers.
  16. crimsondonkey

    crimsondonkey Forum Resident

    Midlands, UK
    Amongt my various set ups, includes Nakamichi 600 cassette deck (c'74); Revox B77 R2R (c'82); GATE 300B mono amps (c' 92); Impulse horn speakers (c'95).
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  17. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    Here are my "vintage amps" at the moment:


    They were made recently from a lot of old parts that I had stored for later use (transformers, chassis boxes, etc) and includes loads of new parts and circuit changes. So they are basically new amps, made in a vintage style and using vintage transformers. These are all P-P amps but I also have a couple of SE amps that I use to drive small monitors in my computer systems.
  18. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    I've got two turntables from the 80s, and they sound really nice, but both are finicky, and contain quartz speed regulators. In short, when something goes wrong, it's nearly impossible to find replacement parts.
    new world man likes this.
  19. Keim

    Keim Forum Resident

    I have a modern system and vintage. The vintage was top of the line when new in 1958, costing about $1000 in 1958 dollars (about $4-5k now). I took it apart and restored it last year.

    Vintage is a Grundig Konzertschranke 9068. View it here, and learn what I did to restore it:

    I also have a kit system I built about ten years ago. It is a Bottlehead system, with 2a3 monoblocks, a 12au7 based pre-amp, and a phono pre.. Looks a lot like this:

    The modern system blows away the Grundig.
  20. tmsorosk

    tmsorosk MORE MUSIC PLEASE Thread Starter

    Sprucegrove Canada
  21. Yes, I have both eras covered.
    My McIntosh and Marantz gear is from the mid 1970's.
    One pair of Klipsch Heresy speakers are also from that era. The other pair are from the late 1980's.
    My modern gear, Yamaha RXZ1, is fairly new and from about 2000 I think. While the Klipsch KLF-20's are from 1996.
    All the other gear; cassette tape players, CD/DVD players, TT, 8-track, VCR, are from the 70's to the 2000's.
    I like how they sound within the compromises of my set up.
    I think the vintage gear looks better than the newer gear.
    The newer stuff is plain, sleek, and basically flat on all sides. There is a flat panel that covers all the different knobs, switches and stuff on the RXZ1.
    The vintage gear is multi colored with knobs, switches, buttons, meters, lights and so looks neat when running as well as just sitting on the shelf.
    With the McIntosh gear up and running I get a nice blue glow from the meters and panel lights that looks fantastic in a darkened room.
    When the Yamaha is running you see an LED lit panel in gold/yellow letters/numbers and that is it. It looks boring in a darkened room.
    Because all the gear sounds pretty good I lean toward the aesthetic value to determine a "winner". The vintage gear leads this race by a long shot.
    tmsorosk likes this.
  22. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Washington, D.C.
    I don't quite know how to characterize my system. I own various vintage and non-vintage gear. Currently, I run what might be considered an all non-vintage system (depends on how one characterizes "vintage"), but, most of the key components are "vintage" in approach and in use of vintage parts. My turntable (Basis Debut vacuum, Vector III tonearm, Transfiguration Orpheus L cartridge) is not vintage. My phonostage (Viva fono) is a modern, still in production, component, but, it is an all-tube device that is therefore "vintage" in approach (not even solid state rectification in the power supply). My linestage was recently built and includes such modern conveniences as remote control of volume, but it is otherwise quite vintage--most of the parts are vintage, including transformers that are probably 70 or more years old). Like my linestage, my power amp is also recently built but it utilizes mostly old parts (input and output transformers are again 50-70 years old) and it is based on a very old Western Electric-designed circuit. My music server (Naim NDS/Uniti) is, of course, a modern component. My speakers are basically a modern design, but, it too, is old school in design. It utilizes alnico magnets, pleated paper surrounds on its woofers and has a compression driver/horn midrange. I have replaced the midrange driver/horn with a truly vintage Western Electric comression driver and horn; the compression driver was made around 1939.
  23. tmtomh

    tmtomh Forum Resident

    Yes - My primary system is modern - recent model Oppo disc playback and DAC, and 1990s Adcom amplification and B&W speakers. My secondary system uses modern speakers because of limited space (the little Pioneer BS22LRs) but is centered around a Marantz 2230 receiver.

    Everything I throw at the Marantz sounds good - pleasant, not grating, warm. Very easy to listen to, and perfect for the location and uses of my secondary system.

    My primary system, however, offers much more detail and more opportunities to really get involved in the music. It reveals the flaws of recordings, and so in that respect isn't as warm and cozy as the vintage system. But I would find my vintage setup unsatisfying for the solitary, extended listening I enjoy so much.

    (This is not a knock on vintage in general - my vintage setup is only partially vintage, and very modest. This is just my own individual experience.)
    tmsorosk likes this.
  24. djohannesen

    djohannesen Member

    Nice. I've got an old Heath kit sa2 that I'd love to convert to a power amp.
  25. Dentdog

    Dentdog Active Member

    I have a combo system, vintage and very modern in a sense. The amps are Macintosh MC 60s, '55 vintage but restored by Terry DeWick. TT is Trans Fi Audio Salvaton-Terminator linear tracker. Fidelity Research MC202 cart, NOS from 1980. Zesto Leto tube pre very current. BAT tube phono pre. Speakers are Zu Definition MK4, modern but designed along the lines of FRDs from yesteryear . NAD M5 CD. To me some things from the past can be hard to improve on, some modern things are a big leap forward. All balanced up to the run to the amps. A well plucked string is sublime. Believe it or not, the comment I get most often is how resolving it is.

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