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Vintage gear

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ID.

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Feb 22, 2010
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I try not to think of what level of kit he could have bought using the funds from all those "upgrades" that were probably just sideways moves to similar budget kit...
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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ID. said:
I try not to think of what level of kit he could have bought using the funds from all those "upgrades" that were probably just sideways moves to similar budget kit...
For many enthusiasts 'box swapping' is an integral part of the hobby as is the pursuit of a better sound. People in the industry are often the worse offenders, changing equipment on a weekly basis but eventually, if you really like your music, you come out of the other side.

The downside, for some of us anyway, is that during our hi-fi travels we have come across products that are simply on a different plain from everything else and I have touched on this elsewhere. The problem is simply that having heard what these products are capable of, it is hard to be satisfied with anything else.

This is not entirely a price thing, though the really good stuff is not cheap, but an ability to cut through the technical limitations that effect all hi-fi and simply get straight to the music. Just a quick example, Electrocompaniet, Sugden and Devialet do it for me but Chord, Krell and Bryston do not.

There is some fun to be had in finding cheaper equipment that can come close (in some respects at least) but there is an awful lot of very ordinairy equipment out there and the real gems are hard to find. Back in the 90s, the Onix OA21 paired with the mark 1 Epos ES14s was a great example of such product, fantastic for the money.

To give some perspective the combination cost slightly less than a Nait 2 and Kans, a very popular combination at the time.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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davedotco said:
ID. said:
I try not to think of what level of kit he could have bought using the funds from all those "upgrades" that were probably just sideways moves to similar budget kit...
This is not entirely a price thing, though the really good stuff is not cheap, but an ability to cut through the technical limitations that effect all hi-fi and simply get straight to the music. Just a quick example, Electrocompaniet, Sugden and Devialet do it for me but Chord, Krell and Bryston do not.
Seems we have similar preferences. Whenever I've heard Chord I've wondered what all the fuss is about. I haven't heard Devialet but I've loved the sound of Electrocompaniet and Sugden when I've heard them. Just way outside by pocket.

The box swapping has always largely been self funding - selling kit to buy kit.
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
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davedotco said:
Covenanter said:
Matthew is absolutely right in saying that it's the music that's important. I get the feeling that for many posters to this forum it's the kit that's important. I suspect that if you spend say £2k on your hifi setup (and avoid stupid mismatches) you are going to get something that is perfectly good at reproducing music. After that you can doubtless get improvements but they will cost you a lot and get you very little.

Chris
Not for me.

There is nothing that I can think of that can be bought with that budget that will do it for me, 3 or 4 times that I would say.

I think the really big step up comes in systems in the £5-10k region, personal I know, and I admit that I am no longer that conversant with that much in the way of expensive gear, but in broard terms those are the sort of figures I would be looking at should I want something new and good.
We will have to agree to differ then!

Chris
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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matthewpiano said:
The box swapping has always largely been self funding - selling kit to buy kit.
I think part of your problem is your amp. which maybe a good amp. for its price but its about £250, the problem is getting something much better you will probably need to spend 2-3x that amount. Have you heard the Creek 50A? Your speakers are also budget ones. It all depends how much you want to spend. As others have suggested I would try to hear something different like valve amps and an active system.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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Covenanter said:
Matthew is absolutely right in saying that it's the music that's important. I get the feeling that for many posters to this forum it's the kit that's important. I suspect that if you spend say £2k on your hifi setup (and avoid stupid mismatches) you are going to get something that is perfectly good at reproducing music. After that you can doubtless get improvements but they will cost you a lot and get you very little.

Chris
I have heard lots of £2-£3K systems, to me most of them had problems, many were unbalanced and unmusical, you make it sound so easy to get a good system for £2K.

So what would your recommended £2K systems be?
 

altruistic.lemon

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Jul 25, 2011
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I'm not convinced, having tried amps ranging from a couple of thousand to a couple of hundred with my current speakers. The amp that sounded the worst was one that didn't match the speaker power specs, all the rest, if I'm honest, sounded not a mile different.

This leads me to think, and it's logical really, it's best to put the money into the speakers because these have 95% of the influence a component has on the sound. This was demonstrated to me with the Electrocompaniet up against a Naim. If it was marginally better, then it wasn't 3 times better (the price difference), more .01%.

Next time round I'll sink all my money into the speakers and buy the cheapest NAD that matches their specs!
 

altruistic.lemon

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Jul 25, 2011
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BigH said:
I have heard lots of £2-£3K systems, to me most of them had problems, many were unbalanced and unmusical, you make it sound so easy to get a good system for £2K.

So what would your recommended £2K systems be?
Sorry for the hijack, but Magnepan MG 12/NAD 356BEE/NAD CD player or Sony Blu-ray.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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altruistic.lemon said:
BigH said:
I have heard lots of £2-£3K systems, to me most of them had problems, many were unbalanced and unmusical, you make it sound so easy to get a good system for £2K.

So what would your recommended £2K systems be?
Sorry for the hijack, but Magnepan MG 12/NAD 356BEE/NAD CD player or Sony Blu-ray.
But Maggies need some space and the right size room, so maybe not suitable for many people. Also I hear they benefit from a powerful amp.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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Covenanter said:
davedotco said:
Covenanter said:
Matthew is absolutely right in saying that it's the music that's important. I get the feeling that for many posters to this forum it's the kit that's important. I suspect that if you spend say £2k on your hifi setup (and avoid stupid mismatches) you are going to get something that is perfectly good at reproducing music. After that you can doubtless get improvements but they will cost you a lot and get you very little.

Chris
Not for me.

There is nothing that I can think of that can be bought with that budget that will do it for me, 3 or 4 times that I would say.

I think the really big step up comes in systems in the £5-10k region, personal I know, and I admit that I am no longer that conversant with that much in the way of expensive gear, but in broard terms those are the sort of figures I would be looking at should I want something new and good.
We will have to agree to differ then!

Chris
Just to expand slightly, in case my original post came across as a bit arrogant or elitest which was not meant, (you just have to draw the line somewhere as Mason said to Dixon).

I have no doubt that you can put together a technically very decent system in the £2-3k region and in fact £2k-ish was what I was budgeting for my playback system last year when I thought, erroniously, that I was going to be able to to buy a new setup.

That was the reality I was faced with and I am pretty sure that I could have come up with a pretty decent amp/speaker combo for that sort of money but I knew that It would not be as capable as some of the really top class components that I have heard over the years and that the difference would be considerable.

If I had the funds and was buying now I would start with something along the lines of an Electrocompaniet integrated and SF Venere or Liuto models and go from there.
 

altruistic.lemon

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Jul 25, 2011
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BigH, you asked what was a balanced, musical system, which the one I've suggested is. The 356BEE is easily powerful enough - all NAD amps can ramp up the power considerably for short bursts, it's one of their design features.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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davedotco said:
I have no doubt that you can put together a technically very decent system in the £2-3k region and in fact £2k-ish was what I was budgeting for my playback system last year when I thought, erroniously, that I was going to be able to to buy a new setup.
What would you suggest for £2K?
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,233
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BigH said:
altruistic.lemon said:
BigH said:
I have heard lots of £2-£3K systems, to me most of them had problems, many were unbalanced and unmusical, you make it sound so easy to get a good system for £2K.

So what would your recommended £2K systems be?
Sorry for the hijack, but Magnepan MG 12/NAD 356BEE/NAD CD player or Sony Blu-ray.
But Maggies need some space and the right size room, so maybe not suitable for many people. Also I hear they benefit from a powerful amp.
The manufacturer recommends a class A/B type amp with good current delivery and a good quality power supply. As far as power is concerned they are non-committal and merely report that they get feedback from customers happy with everything from 50 to 1000 watt amps.

They are happy to leave it up to the customer to research for themselves how much power they need for their size of room and volume requirements.

Their most pertinent comment is this one...

"You can get a lot of free advice in the chat rooms on the internet. Most of it is of very little value (or misleading). Often, their power recommendations are influenced by their listening habits and room conditions. If they have a strong opinion of what you need for power, take it with a grain of salt."

Amen.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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altruistic.lemon said:
BigH, you asked what was a balanced, musical system, which the one I've suggested is. The 356BEE is easily powerful enough - all NAD amps can ramp up the power considerably for short bursts, it's one of their design features.
I agree its one that maybe good but its not for everone, I suspect that for 90% of people it won't be suitable. The other problem is getting to hear Maggies in this country. But I agree if you have the room it should to be considered.
 

davedotco

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Apr 24, 2013
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BigH said:
davedotco said:
I have no doubt that you can put together a technically very decent system in the £2-3k region and in fact £2k-ish was what I was budgeting for my playback system last year when I thought, erroniously, that I was going to be able to to buy a new setup.
What would you suggest for £2K?
Bear in mind that I am talking about a playback system only, just dac, amp and speakers.

I was seriously considering a famous product from 'the dark side' as one option and more conventionally, looking to see what I could get, in budget, that would drive a pair of SF Venere 1.5s that I could get for about £1k at the time. Rather a fancied a go with the XTZ D100 but not easily arranged.

Anyway swimbo decided to turn our world upside down by buying a new flat (instead of renting) and 'my' £2k got spent on decorating and furniture.
 

Um

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Jun 17, 2013
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matthewpiano said:
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?
Am I missing something here? This post seems to be in direct contradiction to everything you've ever posted about budget hifi. Singin it's praises etc.
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
447
271
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Well, it isn't in direct contradiction to the amount of times I've swapped my kit. I do find a lot of the kit impressive initially, but over longer listening sessions the weaknesses only become more apparent. I'm not saying its rubbish now - only that it doesn't satisfy me musically over a longer period of time.
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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BigH said:
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.
Modern driver materials, cabinet shapes. Have these developments resulted in better sounding speakers when you take into account the widespread abondonment of sealed cabinets, large bass drivers, compression drivers? Or is it more a case of 2 steps forwards and 3 steps backwards?

I don't think that there are more active speakers available today than there were in the 1960's. Not amongst the higher end of the market Not as a proportion of speakers available. Every high end speaker I've come across from the 1960's - apart from Quad ESL 57's - has been designed to be easily converted from passive to active to passive again.

The proof of the pudding is in the listening. Compare cherry picked vintage speakers against cherry picked modern speakers and you can decide for yourself whether modern driver materials and cabinet shapes really have resulted in better sounding speakers or not.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,233
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matthewpiano said:
Well, it isn't in direct contradiction to the amount of times I've swapped my kit. I do find a lot of the kit impressive initially, but over longer listening sessions the weaknesses only become more apparent. I'm not saying its rubbish now - only that it doesn't satisfy me musically over a longer period of time.
I doubt anything ever will. Whatever your budget. You are just unfortunate in that way.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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chebby said:
matthewpiano said:
Well, it isn't in direct contradiction to the amount of times I've swapped my kit. I do find a lot of the kit impressive initially, but over longer listening sessions the weaknesses only become more apparent. I'm not saying its rubbish now - only that it doesn't satisfy me musically over a longer period of time.
I doubt anything ever will. Whatever your budget. You are just unfortunate in that way.
Maybe it is not the specific components that fail to satisfy but the kind of system you are buying.

'He who shall not be named' puts forward the view that all conventional passive systems are flawed by a combination of poor crossover design in the speakers and under powered amplification.

Maybe, stripped of all the attitude and hype, he has something there, certainly I find that there is an underlying 'sameness' to the budget systems that I hear that is not present in many active speakers I have tried. Active speakers may well have their issues, but sounding like budget passive systems is not one of them.

Mathew;

I believe you have 'dabbled' with the 'dark side' in the past and given much of what you have said in your recent posts, I strongly urge you to give it a serious go.
 

altruistic.lemon

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Jul 25, 2011
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DDC, you do go on about nothing sometimes! The problem is assuming that anything other than speakers is going to make a big difference, and unfortunately matthewpiano has apparently putting his money into budget sources and amp which means he has not been able to buy good quality speakers.

Had he bought something like Neats, the Sonus Fabers or whatever and coupled them with an appropriately powerful but budet amp, this thread would not have existed. Really, put the money into the bits that make the sound, that's where it is, the amps have little to do with it as long as they are in spec.
 

Blackdawn

Well-known member
May 7, 2010
86
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Always interesting to read on here what Matthewpiano is going to pick next. Good luck with the search. What about a headphone system? - eliminates problems with outside noise, wider, more linear frequency response, cheaper, forgetting the system -concentrating on the music etc or and all in one with no box swapping needed?
 

Covenanter

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2012
63
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18,540
BigH said:
Covenanter said:
Matthew is absolutely right in saying that it's the music that's important. I get the feeling that for many posters to this forum it's the kit that's important. I suspect that if you spend say £2k on your hifi setup (and avoid stupid mismatches) you are going to get something that is perfectly good at reproducing music. After that you can doubtless get improvements but they will cost you a lot and get you very little.

Chris
I have heard lots of £2-£3K systems, to me most of them had problems, many were unbalanced and unmusical, you make it sound so easy to get a good system for £2K.

So what would your recommended £2K systems be?
Well I'm not a hifi expert in that I've not heard loads of different pieces of kit. Some of the people who post here seem to have a view on everything under the sun and frankly I don't know how they find the time to have heard all this kit, they must do almost nothing else! So when I wanted a system last year I read a lot of reviews and studied the postings to some forums, including this one, drew up a shortlist with the budget I was willing to spend and found a dealer who had the stuff on that list. My criterion, and it was the only one, was did it reproduce music acceptably close to the sound I hear in a concert hall. The budget was up to £2k but with a contingency that I needed a good pair of headphones as I live in an apartment block and late night listening cannot be on speakers.

After an extended audition I came down to a Marantz CD6004/PM6004 combination driving Kef Q500s. Most of the audition was concentrated on the speakers as I found the Marantz kit to be the most neutral (the old "wire with gain" cliche). I found this combination capable of producing what I wanted and that impression has been sustained over a period of some 12 months. I was listening to the classic Aeolian Quartet recording of early Haydn String Quartets this morning and the sound was close to my aural memory of hearing this music in the Wigmore Hall some 30+ years ago. To complete the system I bought some AKG K702 headphones after reading the reviews on the headphone forum here (which are excellent) but also after looking at reviews elsewhere from mainly classical music lovers. They are also excellent albeit a bit too revealing in some live recordings where you can almost see the person unwrapping their toffee in the 3rd row! All in all, what with cables and other accessories, I spent less than £2k and have what I wanted, a system that reproduces music acceptably close to the sound I hear in a concert hall.

I did think of updating it all this year as I happened to have the money but I said to myself "Hey it's very good and you need (ie would like) a new car" so I bought a car instead. :grin:

Chris
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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altruistic.lemon said:
DDC, you do go on about nothing sometimes! The problem is assuming that anything other than speakers is going to make a big difference, and unfortunately matthewpiano has apparently putting his money into budget sources and amp which means he has not been able to buy good quality speakers.

Had he bought something like Neats, the Sonus Fabers or whatever and coupled them with an appropriately powerful but budet amp, this thread would not have existed. Really, put the money into the bits that make the sound, that's where it is, the amps have little to do with it as long as they are in spec.
I have spent a lot of time with both these brands and my experience is exactly the opposite. Both require good quality amplification to give of their very best.

Concise enough for you?
 

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