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Vintage gear

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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I've got to be honest, I'm pretty disillusioned with modern, affordable hi-fi. There is always some feeling of it not quite being 'right' which I don't get with some of the vintage gear I've used - stuff like old Pioneer SA and Sansui AU amps, even the lower end stuff.

Anyone else lean towards the vintage stuff?
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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Not any more.

Too big and bulky.

I like backlit VU meters but they are still around if I were to be tempted...

http://www.teac-audio.eu/en/

I used to like the 'tone' of some old radios (Roberts and Hacker) but a Ruark is far better when played side by side.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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No. Loved my old Pioneer SA-706 but wouldn't buy to replace my newer set-up.

I think, as you're a piano player, you're looking for the ideal all-rounder. You, more than anyone, should know there's no such thing as the perfect set-up. A jack of all trades turns will always turn out to be a master of none.

Think you have to except, Matthew, that in your price bracket there'll always be little deficiencies. You really admire the PMC DB1is but even with an amp to justify them you'll get a little disillusioned after a couple of months.

Back to the wrinklies you'd have to buy the equivalent to a midrange/hi-end amp to achieve a similar result to your Denon. Then you have to factor in the reliability angle: If it's 30 years old how much time could you realistically get from it?

This is why I feared when you mentioned actives: You'll love them to begin with but after a couple of months your sig will change [again].

You say you're pretty disillusioned with your current bundles, but don't say which aspect of their presentation is coming up short.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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I haven't listened to them, but I'm occasionally tempted by the big old Sansui amps and older Luxman models that I see at more reasonable prices at 2nd hand dealers. If I had a bigger place I'd consider playing around with it as a 2nd or 3rd system. How vintage are we talking? Some of the kit I see from the 807s surprisingly doesn't sound too different when run through modern speakers, so are we talking vintage speakers too?

I kind of agree with Plastic Penguin, I think that sometimes you like change for the sake of change. You probably need to take a big leap up the chain. Whether that will satisfy you for longer, I couldn't say, but at least if you do it with vintage kit you should in theory be able to get higher end stuff for budget prices. If you've got the space I'm sure Lindsayt can reccommend you some impressive speakers.
 

eggontoast

Well-known member
Feb 23, 2011
451
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18,895
Yes definitely. I get quite a few amplifiers to listen to and I am regularly impressed by some of the vintage gear, especially the Sansui and Pioneer amplifiers you mentioned. I also rate the Stan Curtis era of Cambridge Audio amplifiers such as the P110 and P60, a well serviced one of these sounds great. Unfortunately I also listen to a lot of more modern amplifiers which fail to inspire, the build quality is rubbish and they sound bland.

plastic penguin said:
Then you have to factor in the reliability angle: If it's 30 years old how much time could you realistically get from it?
If you have it serviced properly probably another 30 years, it will certainly outlast a modern offering as they just aren't built to the same standard now. The 70's offered some of the golden era of Hi-Fidelity, granted there was also a lot of rubbish too but that is always true.
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
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I would like to listen to some older vintage hifi equipment as was tempted by a few Pioneer SA and SX receivers second hand. However, the oldest I've heard is my dads NAD 3020A which sounds good and is still running.

I'm personally happy with my affordable HiFi (most of which are 5 star reviewed products) and doubt I would benefit much from changing equipment at the same price bracket and wouldn't be tempted by vintage kit - due to loss of performance over time and generally poorer spec or reliability issues. Compared to the usual ipod docks etc I feel my hifi is very good.

IMO I think things like noise in the home or outside plus neighbours/ room-house size have a much greater impact on satisfying listenability. Maybe its time for the next step/price bracket?!
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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plastic penguin said:
Think Matthew needs to tell us what he doesn't like about his current stock before recommending any additional makes/brands.
Working with (and playing) pianos all day and regularly going to concerts, means that MP knows the power and emotion of the real thing......it's very hard to to get close to his with budget kit.....too many compromises.

I had the same problem, but found the answer in Class A, Valves and certain AB amps (usually highly biased in A) and certain "musical" speakers. The Devialet shows promise though....but the problem is, it's not cheap.

Going second hand does have it's attractions....but also its dangers.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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CnoEvil said:
plastic penguin said:
Think Matthew needs to tell us what he doesn't like about his current stock before recommending any additional makes/brands.
Working with (and playing) pianos all day and regularly going to concerts, means that MP knows the power and emotion of the real thing......it's very hard to to get close to his with budget kit.....too many compromises.

I had the same problem, but found the answer in Class A, Valves and certain AB amps (usually highly biased in A) and certain "musical" speakers. The Devialet shows promise though....but the problem is, it's not cheap.

Going second hand does have it's attractions....but also its dangers.
I'm with you (and Mathew?) on this, spending most of my adult life involved with live music of one kind or another seems to give you a different slant on things.

Like Mathew, I find that most inexpensive hi-fi simply does not sound 'right' to me, and strangely it all fails to 'sound right' in exactly the same way. Sure, there are differences in presentation, sometimes big ones, but the fundamental limitations remain which I think is why I (and maybe Mathew too) tend to look for different solutions particularly at the budget end of the spectrum.

Mathew is looking at vintage gear, Cno at valves and class A amplifiers (not that budget) and I find myself looking at active speakers for the simple reason that it is one way of putting together a cheap system that does not sound like the kind of everyday budget gear that is the norm.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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davedotco said:
CnoEvil said:
plastic penguin said:
Think Matthew needs to tell us what he doesn't like about his current stock before recommending any additional makes/brands.
Working with (and playing) pianos all day and regularly going to concerts, means that MP knows the power and emotion of the real thing......it's very hard to to get close to his with budget kit.....too many compromises.

I had the same problem, but found the answer in Class A, Valves and certain AB amps (usually highly biased in A) and certain "musical" speakers. The Devialet shows promise though....but the problem is, it's not cheap.

Going second hand does have it's attractions....but also its dangers.
I'm with you (and Mathew?) on this, spending most of my adult life involved with live music of one kind or another seems to give you a different slant on things.

Like Mathew, I find that most inexpensive hi-fi simply does not sound 'right' to me, and strangely it all fails to 'sound right' in exactly the same way. Sure, there are differences in presentation, sometimes big ones, but the fundamental limitations remain which I think is why I (and maybe Mathew too) tend to look for different solutions particularly at the budget end of the spectrum.

Mathew is looking at vintage gear, Cno at valves and class A amplifiers (not that budget) and I find myself looking at active speakers for the simple reason that it is one way of putting together a cheap system that does not sound like the kind of everyday budget gear that is the norm.
I found this when demoing gear, there was always something wrong, most of the items were around about the £500-£1,000 mark so not exactly cheap, the best I found was AVI 9RSSs so thats what I bought, did not seem to have any of the matching problems the other systems had, also had a lot more clarity and dynamics.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
447
271
19,270
davedotco said:
CnoEvil said:
plastic penguin said:
Think Matthew needs to tell us what he doesn't like about his current stock before recommending any additional makes/brands.
Working with (and playing) pianos all day and regularly going to concerts, means that MP knows the power and emotion of the real thing......it's very hard to to get close to his with budget kit.....too many compromises.

I had the same problem, but found the answer in Class A, Valves and certain AB amps (usually highly biased in A) and certain "musical" speakers. The Devialet shows promise though....but the problem is, it's not cheap.

Going second hand does have it's attractions....but also its dangers.
I'm with you (and Mathew?) on this, spending most of my adult life involved with live music of one kind or another seems to give you a different slant on things.

Like Mathew, I find that most inexpensive hi-fi simply does not sound 'right' to me, and strangely it all fails to 'sound right' in exactly the same way. Sure, there are differences in presentation, sometimes big ones, but the fundamental limitations remain which I think is why I (and maybe Mathew too) tend to look for different solutions particularly at the budget end of the spectrum.

Mathew is looking at vintage gear, Cno at valves and class A amplifiers (not that budget) and I find myself looking at active speakers for the simple reason that it is one way of putting together a cheap system that does not sound like the kind of everyday budget gear that is the norm.
Bingo. There is something I can't quite put my finger on. As you say there is the same feeling of things not being quite 'right' with a lot of affordable modern gear, even where there are differences of presentation.

I actually already own some vintage gear - Sansui AU4400, AU2900, AU2200, as well as some KEF C30 speakers from the 80s that are sealed boxes and surprisingly sensitive.

I'm going to have a play with them again over the next few days.
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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This is crux of the problem: The sound you're looking for isn't possible with a modest budget. Need to cash in your chips and splash a little on a valve or A class amp or something that'll give you distinct uplift.
 

mitch65

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2003
52
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BigH said:
I heard some good things about old Sony ES amps, how do you rate them?
Battleship build, powerful.......mines at least 20 years old and was serviced about 6 months ago. I am looking at other options but it will have to be a major step up
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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plastic penguin said:
This is crux of the problem: The sound you're looking for isn't possible with a modest budget. Need to cash in your chips and splash a little on a valve or A class amp or something that'll give you distinct uplift.
Or in my case active speakers.

I know they are different and I know that their are perfectly good reasons why some will never get on with them but the big advantage for me is that the strengths and weaknesses of such speakers are completly different from the strengths and weaknesses of comparably priced conventional passive amp speaker combinations.

They are cheap to, if you have a computer, a pair of very decent 6" , 120 watt actives and a dac can be had for well under £200, a pair of Adam A5x or Artist models and a Bushmaster dac for under £1k, and for a little more the outstanding Quested S7r and 'you know what' 9 come into the picture.

Would I prefer a Devialet 170 and a pair of Sonus Fabers, probably, but look at the difference in cost!
 

floyd droid

New member
Sep 5, 2008
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plastic penguin said:
This is crux of the problem: The sound you're looking for isn't possible with a modest budget.
:clap: .

Like most things, well pretty much most things ,you get what you pay for. Really good grain free trannie amps are flippin expensive

Not flying the valves flag here Matthew but it would be a good experiment if you could get your mits on a half decent valve amp be it SET or PP and live with it for a while to get attuned to the presentation, dosnt matter if its 10w or 60w. Then go back to trannies for a listen. I bet you will put your finger on it then.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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floyd droid said:
plastic penguin said:
This is crux of the problem: The sound you're looking for isn't possible with a modest budget.
:clap: .

Like most things, well pretty much most things ,you get what you pay for. Really good grain free trannie amps are flippin expensive

Not flying the valves flag here Matthew but it would be a good experiment if you could get your mits on a half decent valve amp be it SET or PP and live with it for a while to get attuned to the presentation, dosnt matter if its 10w or 60w. Then go back to trannies for a listen. I bet you will put your finger on it then.
The amplifier in my 'proper' system is an EL34 based model in push-pull. 30 or so watts a channel and a quite outstanding SQ.

Nothing unusual design wise, just phenomonally well built and 'voiced' by a master of the art. Far too expensive for me in normal circumstances but it was a gift and I am hanging on to it!
 

utomo

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2013
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I hear many still saying that old products still better than new ones.

many electronic still made in USA or europe and have good quality.

now many are made in china.

people also saying that old speaker also sound better than new ones.

Why not so many development on speaker ? meanwhile other part is evolving fast
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,233
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19,195
utomo said:
I hear many still saying that old products still better than new ones.

many electronic still made in USA or europe and have good quality.

now many are made in china.

people also saying that old speaker also sound better than new ones.

Why not so many development on speaker ? meanwhile other part is evolving fast
Whoosh...
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
1
0
utomo said:
I hear many still saying that old products still better than new ones.

many electronic still made in USA or europe and have good quality.

now many are made in china.

people also saying that old speaker also sound better than new ones.

Why not so many development on speaker ? meanwhile other part is evolving fast
Speakers have developed quite a bit over the last 20 years, just look at the new driver materials, different shape of cabinets, more active speakers available. What other parts do you mean? Amps and cd players are hardly changing.
 

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