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The Purist/vintage hi-fi thread

Feb 18, 2015
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After a couple of posts on another thread this subject came up and I think it would be interesting to get you folks to compile a list of a few vintage/Purist hi-fi bits n bobs that are still up there in terms of sound quality and vfm although it's all subjective..I'm sure Lindsay will have a few contributions....and not just the good stuff as it's always useful to know what to avoid.

With My kids/teenager hopefully flying the nest in the future...a couple of rooms would be made vacant and I would like a dedicated room for hi-fi and I already have a lovely compact system in my living room/lounge.....so toying with the idea of something a bit different in one of these rooms....vintage kit appeals very much to me.

So...speakers,amps,turntables and cd players can now even come under the vintage label.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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I think most of the popular Dual turntables are worthy of consideration here. Not sure if anyone services them properly anymore, but the basic design was good and not complex. Using spring for tracking force meant they aren't bothered by levelling, in fact I used to demo them by propping one side up in the adjacent amplifier!

I suppose that means the original NAD 3020 has to be included too! What I don't know is how long these amps last with the original components, like capacitors.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,233
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nopiano said:
I think most of the popular Dual turntables are worthy of consideration here. Not sure if anyone services them properly anymore ...
... but they are still made, in Germany and available brand-new. (About £550 upwards for the standard version plus delivery depending on the value of the Euro.)

They haven't changed in 30 years since the original CS505-3 and CS505-4 versions, so they are 'purist'.
 

Macspur

Well-known member
May 3, 2010
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If you can get your hands on a pair of Heybrook HB1's, they would do nicely.

Mac

www.realmusicnet.wordpress.com
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
324
126
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nopiano said:
I think most of the popular Dual turntables are worthy of consideration here. Not sure if anyone services them properly anymore, but the basic design was good and not complex. Using spring for tracking force meant they aren't bothered by levelling, in fact I used to demo them by propping one side up in the adjacent amplifier!
Most f Duals are incredibly complicated designs, especially the fully automatic ones with record changing facilities. I have a CS1249 that I inherited that needs servicing because it doesn't run properly anymore. I have tried to service it myself but you wouldn't believe the inside of the machine.

If you can find a CS601 (belt drive) or CS701 (direct drive) you have a wonderful and stable machine. Fully automatic turntables, like most Dual, but without the changing faciitly.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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Dual 505's are not purist. They are cheap plasticky turntables and this is reflected in the sound.

The earlier Dual idler and direct drives are more purist.

Heybrook HB1's aren't purist. They were bottom of the Heybrook range.

What they offer is good sound quality for the money. The money being £20 for a pair with rotten mid-bass surrounds plus £20 for a refoam kit.

The trouble with threads like this is that whenever a great sound quality for the money product get's mentioned on a hi-fi forum, the price goes up a little bit.

For example, EMT 950's could be had for nothing out of skips outside BBC premises in the 1990's. Then people started cottoning on that they were purist turntables. Designed for radio DJ use AND best possible sound quality that EMT could do. They started becoming collectable and prices started going up. In the 2000's I bought my refurbished EMT 950 for £2250, including a low hours TSD 15 SFL. These days you're looking at £5000ish for the same thing.

At £2250 I would heartily recommend an EMT 950 with TSD15. At £5000 I would be reluctant to do so. And I feel partially responsible for this state of affairs because I went on forums saying how good it was compared to my Linn LP12 and I took it to a couple of bake-offs. As my small contribution to the EMT 950 hype.

I would gently encourage anyone reading this to make their own purist, great sound quality for the money discoveries.

Try not to get oneitis, where you focus on a single product. Keep your mind open and look out for bargains.

Look for stuff with genuine purist engineering content. And not something that has been mareketed / hyped way beyond its' actual abilities.

Generally the purist stuff was expensive to hugely expensive when new. It also tends to be heavy.
 

knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
193
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18,670
I have a Marantz CD48 which sounds so so good and never misses a beat - apparently has a fabled Philips DAC only produced in 1994. I prefer it to my rrp 3.5k Roksan cdp. It cost me 40 English pounds...
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
823
375
5,270
Mark Rose-Smith said:
I do see your point Lindsay...keep it secret...keep the prices down.lol.
That's why we need a PM facility ;)

But I do wholeheartedly agree let's stick to asking about specifics and not give away all the goodies. I want to try many things and don't want to have to pay through the teeth for the privilege.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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Good call Knaithrover. When did you buy your CD48, by the way?

I see CD players as an exception to the expensive and heavy rule.

A good DAC chip with simple analogue circuitry is a recipe for a good sounding CD player. The Phillips made Marantz CD48 fits the bill. And at £20 to £40 is good value for money.

Another example of an exception to the "expensive when new and heavy" rule is pre-amplifiers. All ifs and buts here. For some a traditional active pre-amp will be the way to go. For others passive is best. All depends on the sources, power amps and cables. If your system is passive-pre amp friendly, a Shinkoh resistor stepped attenuator would be a purist solution that's relatively cheap (compared to active pre-amps) and lightweight.
 

Al ears

Moderator
lindsayt said:
Dual 505's are not purist. They are cheap plasticky turntables and this is reflected in the sound.

The earlier Dual idler and direct drives are more purist.

Heybrook HB1's aren't purist. They were bottom of the Heybrook range.

What they offer is good sound quality for the money. The money being £20 for a pair with rotten mid-bass surrounds plus £20 for a refoam kit.

The trouble with threads like this is that whenever a great sound quality for the money product get's mentioned on a hi-fi forum, the price goes up a little bit.

For example, EMT 950's could be had for nothing out of skips outside BBC premises in the 1990's. Then people started cottoning on that they were purist turntables. Designed for radio DJ use AND best possible sound quality that EMT could do. They started becoming collectable and prices started going up. In the 2000's I bought my refurbished EMT 950 for £2250, including a low hours TSD 15 SFL. These days you're looking at £5000ish for the same thing.

At £2250 I would heartily recommend an EMT 950 with TSD15. At £5000 I would be reluctant to do so. And I feel partially responsible for this state of affairs because I went on forums saying how good it was compared to my Linn LP12 and I took it to a couple of bake-offs. As my small contribution to the EMT 950 hype.

I would gently encourage anyone reading this to make their own purist, great sound quality for the money discoveries.

Try not to get oneitis, where you focus on a single product. Keep your mind open and look out for bargains.

Look for stuff with genuine purist engineering content. And not something that has been mareketed / hyped way beyond its' actual abilities.

Generally the purist stuff was expensive to hugely expensive when new. It also tends to be heavy.
You obviously didn't read the 'Vintage' bit...

I am still waiting for someone to give a concise definition of what the heck 'purist' means...... all I have so far is anything old, expensive and heavy...

Perhaps a new thread is required on what people think is the definition of 'purist' as I am sure none of us are exactly singing from the same hymnsheet. ;-)

Some high-end valve amps haven't changed design in years, is this purist or simply archaic?
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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Mark Rose-Smith said:
I do see your point Lindsay...keep it secret...keep the prices down.lol.
And there are so many great sounding purist hi-fi components that have been made in the last 100 years, that even if this thread stretched to a 1000 posts it'd only be the tip of the iceberg.

I'm discovering new candidates all the time.

For example last week: a pair of EV Six speakers for 700 bucks.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
559
337
19,270
iMark said:
nopiano said:
I think most of the popular Dual turntables are worthy of consideration here. Not sure if anyone services them properly anymore, but the basic design was good and not complex. Using spring for tracking force meant they aren't bothered by levelling, in fact I used to demo them by propping one side up in the adjacent amplifier!
Most f Duals are incredibly complicated designs, especially the fully automatic ones with record changing facilities. I have a CS1249 that I inherited that needs servicing because it doesn't run properly anymore. I have tried to service it myself but you wouldn't believe the inside of the machine.

If you can find a CS601 (belt drive) or CS701 (direct drive) you have a wonderful and stable machine. Fully automatic turntables, like most Dual, but without the changing faciitly.
I've still got my CS601, which as you know, came with a Shure V15/III. Trouble is the motor is seizing as has never been serviced. Would love to get it fixed if you know any experts?

I agree the auto part seems complex, but it was a brilliant arm for its time. I had all sorts in it, such as ADC, Ortofon and the Satin MC with a removeable stylus! Latterly in the mid-90s I used a Goldring 1006, which I might renew with a 1042 stylus and pop in the Rega arm!
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Al ears said:
I am still waiting for someone to give a concise definition of what the heck 'purist' means..
Purist: Following very traditional rules or ideas in a subject.

So, anything after about 1965 is not purist. *unknw* eg.

- Garrard TT

- Leak Troughline Valve Tuners

- Armstrong Valve Amps

- Large wooden speakers
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
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Al ears, I would consider a 40 year old EMT 950 to be vintage enough. Wouldn't you?

And surely for the purposes of this thread, age doesn't matter much, if at all?

If it's great engineering. If it sounds as good as anything on the planet. Then it's purist.

Below this World Class level of engineering excellence there's all sorts of grades of purism. So that it becomes a relative thing.

And you also have all sorts of purist designs that excel in one or more areas but fall down in others, making them less than world class. Where the intention from the designer was there, but the end product was wide of the mark. Nevertheless, at the right price these can still offer very good overall sound quality for the money.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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CnoEvil said:
Al ears said:
I am still waiting for someone to give a concise definition of what the heck 'purist' means..
Purist: Following very traditional rules or ideas in a subject.

So, anything after about 1965 is not purist. *unknw* eg.

- Garrard TT

- Leak Troughline Valve Tuners

- Armstrong Valve Amps

- Large wooden speakers
Garrard 301 and 401 are relatively purist, because they were the best sounding TT's Garrard could make.

The SP 25 isn't.

I would argue that purist designs can deviate the most from traditional ways of doing things. EG Quad ESL 57's, MBL Radialstrahlers.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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lindsayt said:
Garrard 301 and 401 are relatively purist, because they were the best sounding TT's Garrard could make.

The SP 25 isn't.

I would argue that purist designs can deviate the most from traditional ways of doing things. EG Quad ESL 57's, MBL Radialstrahlers.
My post was not meant to be taken (particularly) seriously.....purist is as subjective as anything else in hifi.
 

knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
193
75
18,670
lindsayt said:
Good call Knaithrover. When did you buy your CD48, by the way?

I see CD players as an exception to the expensive and heavy rule.

A good DAC chip with simple analogue circuitry is a recipe for a good sounding CD player. The Phillips made Marantz CD48 fits the bill. And at £20 to £40 is good value for money.

Another example of an exception to the "expensive when new and heavy" rule is pre-amplifiers. All ifs and buts here. For some a traditional active pre-amp will be the way to go. For others passive is best. All depends on the sources, power amps and cables. If your system is passive-pre amp friendly, a Shinkoh resistor stepped attenuator would be a purist solution that's relatively cheap (compared to active pre-amps) and lightweight.
I've had it about 6 months bought to replace a CD67 in my odds n sods cheap as chips garage system and can't believe how good it is
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
559
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I guess I could nominate any number of these. Let's go for classic Acoustic Research models, like the AR3a and the tiny AR7.

But not the ghastly Celestion and KEF that were similar vintage, though oddly they later made some quite decent speakers.

I suppose a two-way with just a capacitor to protect the tweeter is probably 'purist'?!
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
1,526
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lindsayt said:
Mark Rose-Smith said:
I do see your point Lindsay...keep it secret...keep the prices down.lol.
And there are so many great sounding purist hi-fi components that have been made in the last 100 years, that even if this thread stretched to a 1000 posts it'd only be the tip of the iceberg.

I'm discovering new candidates all the time.

For example last week: a pair of EV Six speakers for 700 bucks.
Years ago a Radio 1 roadshow was using EV PA speakers. Always remember how good they sounded. (Ironically the transmission itself was only AM I think)
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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To me I think AR speakers falls into this catagory. Always hankered after a pair, but back in the day they were beyond my means.

Also believe Thorens tables of the 70s and 80s deserve a nod.
 

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