Vintage Hi-Fi

Phil C

Active member
May 26, 2024
2
3
25
Visit site
I have some fairly vintage Hi-Fi and keep wondering whether the time has come to upgrade to something that will (hopefully) sound even better. The trouble is that my current setup sounds good to me and I worry that new gear may not actually be a significant improvement. Unfortunately I've never had chance to listen to any hi-fi other than my own so I really have no idea what might be possible in terms of improved sound. My current setup is a Technics SL-PG400A CD player (approx 1990), a Pioneer SA-508 amplifier (1980) and Celestion Ditton 15XR speakers (1980). I also have a Rega Planar 2 turntable. I've spent a fair bit on new cables, stands etc to provide the best possible conditions for my elderly equipment and all the gear has been regularly used and well cared for. Does anyone have any thoughts on all this? If I do go for new gear I'm currently thinking in terms of a Rega Saturn CD player / Rega Elex Mk4 amp or possibly Naim CD5si / Naim Nait 5si amp. I've no idea about speakers at the moment.
 
Welcome Phil.

It's tricky as the usual answer if you like the sound, there's no need to change. I've always said, if it isn't broke don't try and fix it.

I'm a big fan of old Pioneer amps, owned the SA-706 for 17 years until it fell to pieces.

However, amps have advanced in tonal quality & connectivity, especially for digital sources.

Certainly go and listen to a few different components, but ask yourself "can I live with a modern sound?"

I changed my Pioneer for Arcam amp, so that might be a good place to start.

I'd look at Arcam with Dali speakers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gray and Phil C

Gray

Well-known member
Hello Phil.
State your maximum budget and get ready for people to spend your money for you :)

My first speakers happened to be Ditton 22, I've been through plenty since, so can't remember their sound as such. But I can say with confidence that new speakers will sound significantly different.

You're likely to get a few quid for the Pioneer amp as enough people are mad for that stuff now.

Main advice is to listen to what's currently available - preferably in your own room if you can.

If the Technics CDP is working well, I'd be tempted to stick with that - if it comes to it, you could put its digital output through an external DAC (either standalone, or built into a new amp) to tune its sound.

Take your time to acclimatise to any new sound you try - as even if it's better, at first it might seem wrong, when compared to what you've become very familiar with.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phil C and DougK1

Stuart83

Well-known member
Jul 22, 2023
390
319
770
Visit site
I have some fairly vintage Hi-Fi and keep wondering whether the time has come to upgrade to something that will (hopefully) sound even better. The trouble is that my current setup sounds good to me and I worry that new gear may not actually be a significant improvement. Unfortunately I've never had chance to listen to any hi-fi other than my own so I really have no idea what might be possible in terms of improved sound. My current setup is a Technics SL-PG400A CD player (approx 1990), a Pioneer SA-508 amplifier (1980) and Celestion Ditton 15XR speakers (1980). I also have a Rega Planar 2 turntable. I've spent a fair bit on new cables, stands etc to provide the best possible conditions for my elderly equipment and all the gear has been regularly used and well cared for. Does anyone have any thoughts on all this? If I do go for new gear I'm currently thinking in terms of a Rega Saturn CD player / Rega Elex Mk4 amp or possibly Naim CD5si / Naim Nait 5si amp. I've no idea about speakers at the moment.
It's all in the demo room.
Can you get to a dealer and demo anything you may be interested in.
It will give you the experience of what newer gear has to offer.

I will say I regularly go from a modern hifi to a vintage second hifi in the living room which is a pioneer a400 and Marantz cd52 mk2 and I still consider it one of the best amps and CD players I've had even in comparison to amps and CDP's I've had, demoed and have got costing much more.

I've only seen connectivity and the way we listen to music change not the sonic quality improve much over quality vintage hifi.
My old mission 763i that belonged to the aforementioned CDP and amp took me ages and a few mistakes to finally improve on only recently.

A clean sweep of budget award winners from 1990-93 come to me and went backwards and replaced my modern equivalent with it until failures and needing to update connectivity prompted me into bettering it with modern equipment.
It cost a lot more to get there especially with the amp and speakers.

I'd certainly not buy deaf though and demo whatever it is that takes your fancy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gray and Phil C
It’s a bit like comparing a car from twenty or thirty years ago. They both get you from A to B, but they do so in different ways.

Your system probably sounds quite mild and warm by comparison with something much newer, but unsurprisingly many people don’t want to be grabbed by the collar, they’re happy to have the sound wash over them.

Book a demo, take a few LPs or CDs you know and see how a modern setup sounds to you. I’m sure you’ll either be surprised at the detail or find it all ‘too much’ - but we can’t predict that for you. Good luck.
 
Last edited:

Gray

Well-known member
It’s a bit like comparing a car from twenty or thirty years ago. They both get you from A to B, but they do so in different ways.

Your system probably sounds quite mild and warm by comparison with something much newer, but unsurprisingly many people don’t want to grabbed by the collar, they’re happy to have the sound wash over them.

Book a demo, take a few LPs or CDs you know and see how a modern setup sounds to you. I’m sure you’ll either be surprised at the detail or find it all ‘too much’ - but we can’t predict that for you. Good luck.
Well said @nopiano 👍
I've said it before but there should be something along the lines of a FAQ section, containing definitive posts like this as the answers.
 

Leon74

Well-known member
Apr 8, 2024
138
68
170
Visit site
Of course what nopiano said but I am sure a new amplifier can make a huge difference.
My husband still had an analog Luxman amp from the 70s, but a cheaper (more) digital Sony from the 90's I still had produces a more pleasing sound. And I am sure that since the nineties there have been more updates.
So yes, go out listening to the newer stuff and see if the difference is worth the money for you.

Having said that, I somehow believe often (not always) it's best to match the music and the decade. Of course one (at least most people) cannot have a different HiFi set for each decade, but of course e.g. music recorded in the sixties must sound quite differently on devices from that decade than when it's played with modern devices.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Phil C

Leon74

Well-known member
Apr 8, 2024
138
68
170
Visit site
Another thing to consider Phil, and I don't know if this my personal "taste" or others have a similar experience:
If you listen mainly to classical music, getting new devices might not be worth it: My personal experience is that a good amp, even if it is rather old usually gives a very satisfying sound when it comes to classical music.
In my personal opinion, it is the modern pop music that benefits most from moderner devices.

As for buying, like Stuart says, don't buy deaf, but even then: If possible after listening buy online so you can send it back if at home because of different accoustics it sounds quite differently from what you heard in the shop.
Of course if the shop owner would agree (and put it on paper!) for you to return the HiFi if you would be dissatisfied with the sound at home, that would be ok, too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phil C

Phil C

Active member
May 26, 2024
2
3
25
Visit site
Many thanks to everyone for your comments on this. It's given me a lot of very helpful food for thought. My inclination at the moment is to stick with what I already know and love, especially having just read the thread on members' experiences of demos!
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts