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Anonymous's picture
Re: The resurgence of Vintage kit?

This is an interesting thread, as I have an interest in alot of older equipment, which may be a nostalgia trip, or merely as a way to build a system on the cheap! I'm not sure yet. 

I'm currently using a Technics SL-1500 turntable, and to be honest I find it far more enjoyable to listen to than some well regarded modern equipment, and certainly in terms of build quality it looks like it could last another 30 years.

For me, that is part of the attraction of much older gear, especially the Japanese stuff. It feels nice to use, like a precision instrument, even the budget equipment, which unfortunately is not always the case these days, IMHO.

The sound quality can vary, as there was some awful sounding gear way back, but there were also some real gems, which can still hold their own against some current kit. As an example I had a Cyrus 1 Mk8, back in the early '90's, and I loved it, but ultimately I sold it and went "AV". I recently heard one at a neighbours, and it still sounded great!

Until recently I was using my AV amp, Yamaha RX-V2500, for both music and films, and it was very pleasant, but I bought a budget mid 80's Technics amp from a car-boot for £5.00, just to play with. i connected it up, and it just wipes the floor with the Yam, which I did not expect. I then bought a cheap pair of Gale speakers for the Yam, and now use the Technics into my Mission 750LE's as the music system. Next purchase was a Marantz CD63KI, from a car-boot (£25.00), which comfortably outperformed the Sony SCD-XB770 SACD player I also have (except on SACDs...)!

I'm currently searching for a "new", ie old but good, amplifier, and when I find it I will be truly happy!

Sorry to waffle on!



When does "Old" become "Vintage"? 20 years? 30 years?

I reckon my turntable is "vintage", but the amp and CD are merely "old".


Really interesting post's these.....the way I look at it: good is good regardless of age, and that applies to lots of products. For me it was reading post's by the likes of the RS who is quite into vintage kit. Anyway it got me talking to Steve from Steve's hifi in Hastings who specialises in good older kit. He explained a lot about older makes of amps and some of the Smoke and Mirrors in the hifi circles. We discussed how for some reasons( mainly money) Technics amps were never given good reviews in the 80's even though they made superbly constructed and great sounding products. In the end Technics showed two fingers to the HIFI industry in this country and off they went. Well I am glad I went with it and purchased said Technics suv40 Class AA, steve was right it's a absolute belter, with odles of drive. I paid £100 for an 80's amp! which sounds a lot for a product of this age. and having used it non stop since purchase I now realise I would have paid a lot more for it. So I have to thank him really. It's been cool mixing the Technics with the newer type of speakers....


the record spot's picture
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: 13/10/2007 - 14:36
Posts: 9238
Re: The resurgence of Vintage kit?

Glad you like the older stuff Dave. While there are plenty of devotees of newer stuff out there, ignoring the benefits of well designed and constructed older equipment is a mistake IMO. Each to their own, etc., but when I read posts by some folk on here saying "I don't like the way you continually post about old or used stuff" cracks me up (as a well known forum contributor did earlier this year). My take? As I said, each to their own...

Mr Morph's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: 16/08/2010 - 10:22
Posts: 206
Re: The resurgence of Vintage kit?

I've read things on this forum whereby people have 'had a go' at the 'reviewers' for their reviews.  But sometimes people fail to realise that 'reviewers' can only 'review' what is available.  Very rarely do they compare kit from generation to generation.  However, I believe the principles in building a good system are still the same even if the equipment isn't, and although I always valued the reviews, that is not the whole story.  Written below is my journey through hi-fi, and I hope the enclosed experience helps people find what they are looking for sooner.

Well, for what its worth here's my advice.  I started my system in 1986, and got through three CD players in three years. 2X, 4X, 8X over sampling machines.  And at odds with the reviewers of the time, I found that CD actually got worse the more they tried to advance it!  Although the early players weren't as smooth as the newer models, in my opinion they certainly had more clarity.  By the end of 1988 I had actually become so disillusioned I stopped buying equipment altogether, and didn't buy anything for another 8 years!

But far from 'leaving the scene', I did what I now consider to be my 'smartest move'.  Rather than rely on the 'reviewers' opinions, I started to read the 'technical articles' that some magazines provided at that time.  Not being an electrical engineer I wanted to learn what was considered to be 'good practice' in hi-fi design.  And I slowly started learning about the 'ingredients' that needed to be present throughout the entire system in order to produce a 'stunning sound'.

Now this meant understanding a little about 'hi-fi basics', short signal paths, the importance of power-supplies, simplicity of circuits and cable construction, etc.

Also, if you took a trip to any hi-fi shop back then, you could get the manufacturers brochures for free, which were really instructive (as long as you avoided the 'hype'). While all this was going on I was also reading the 'reviews' and working out where the 'theory' was actually turning into 'reality'.  It was really just a question of waiting until well-engineered components came long.

In 1996 I started spending again, and within two years had completed my hi-fi!  And I didn't need to spend a fortune.  But I would not have bought those components if they had gone against proven techniques I knew were widely regarded as being 'state of the art'.  12 years on and my kit still surprises me on a regular basis, and have no wish to upgrade it.  In fact, I often read on this forum about people who sold components I still have in my system, only to be totally disappointed by the modern equivalent.  Which goes to prove that you can't beat a well-engineered product. 

I have always liked the phrase 'A fool chatters, while a wise man listens'.  In hi-fi I believe the phase 'A fool buys, without knowing what he is buying' applies.  You wouldn't buy a 'Ferrari' if you knew it had a 'Morris Minor' engine inside it, would you?    

And whatever you do, avoid the 'hype'.  Having the simplest knowledge about 'physics' and 'electrical engineering' helps you avoid the lies!


CDP-337ESD - MDS-JE520 - TU-1800DAB - Dacmagic 2i - PM66KI - LD50DMS

random7100's picture
Last seen: 4 years 7 months ago
Joined: 23/02/2013 - 13:13
Posts: 10
RE: The resurgence of Vintage kit?

For me its the combo of solid design and value for money. Ive got a great sounding 90s CD and amp combo that cost me £115 total. Was well rated bottom-mid range gear back in the day and still sounds great

chantay's picture
Last seen: 4 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 18/02/2012 - 20:30
Posts: 2
RE: The resurgence of Vintage kit?

I was a kid in the 70s and a young man with no money in the 80s so never bought a hi-fi at that time but never forgot the appeal of some of the stuff that i saw in the shops, now today with ebay at my mercy i have two beautiful mint condition vintage japanese systems at affordable prices, for me its all about looks as it was back then, lovely turned knobs and crafted toggle switches, left and right pumping meter's, open cassette decks and amps with plenty of bo----ks, and silver facia's that looked great when stacked.:grin:

fotaki's picture
Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: 09/06/2013 - 19:30
Posts: 1
RE: The resurgence of Vintage kit?

:wave: As a new 76 year old member to this forum I'm intrigued with this thread. Please bear with me as I explain a bit of history.

I've been interested in HiFi and audiophile stuff since I was 16 and have owned many systems - some good, some not so good. At the time top sound reproduction was important to me. At present, I still use mostly vintage kit but because I spend time in two locations I have to compromise a bit so as not to have to duplicate the media I listen to. In another location I use more up to date stuff such as a Marantz MCR603 with headphones.

So, what's my point.? Simply, that because of my age it's just not necessary to be so picky with equipment. I know that my hearing (although acceptable for my years) is failing. I find I am not now able to appreciate a lot of the nuances and subtleties of high-end gear, whether it be vintage or modern. Of course, I still get great pleasure in listening to well performed and well reproduced music from whatever source. It's just that my satisfaction is not now from metal boxes and cabinets with shiny knobs. Wink  

jorgea's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 week ago
Joined: 26/11/2011 - 19:07
Posts: 2
RE: The Resurgence of Vintage Kit

I can see your point and agree with you in owning vintage kits for collecting them.

a91gti's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 09/07/2009 - 09:54
Posts: 652
RE: The resurgence of Vintage kit?

For my tuppence I'm not a big fan of the sound of a lot of newer kit and what seems to be a tendency towards a brightness I can't live with. Granted I'm also limited by budget but for me the older kit sounds smoother. A failing of my ears probably (always loved the sound of Leak sarnies) I'm well aware that the left one isn't getting the transients as well anymore.

I have had experience of newer kit both in store and at leisure in my father's living room.

A parallel for me would be the Porsche 911 as I'd far rather drive the seventies/eighties variety over the more recent.


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