Modernized or Vintage systems

spotmandeux

Member
Messages
990
You dig today's technology or prefer the old school receivers, turntables & speakers you grew up with? Tell us what your using - bonus for pics.
 

Rex Anderson

Member
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5,528
For true fidelity, it's hard to beat modern technology, especially loudspeakers. Read some of my posts on Harman/JBL/Revel and the work done by Floyd Toole, Sean Olive etc. Any speaker designer that ignores their research and does not comply with their test procedures can not make speakers that perform as well in double blind testing. It's not snake oil, it's well documented research backed by statistical analysis.

Look at Stereophile reviews and measurements of Revel Ultima Salon2 and info on the JBL M2.

I have worked as an audio professional since 1976 and have been an avid audiophile since 1971, guitar player since 1965.

Gear produced by the best manufacturers (not the snake oil salesmen) has gotten better every year. Every new version of Bryston power amps I have used (NRB to ST to SST to SST2) sound and measure better than the previous one.

Current system is Revel Performa3 F208 speakers, Bryston SP2 preamp/ surround processor, Bryston 3B SST2 power amp, Oppo BDP-95 Blu Ray player.
 

Mighty Melvin

Member
Messages
2,711
I might disagree. I bought a new CD player when my previous one wore out. The new one, with 30 years of "new technology" was unlistenable and actually led me to stop listening to music for a while. I ended up getting a D-A converter with the previous machine's chips in it, which sounds very nice.

And then there's tubes.
.
 

Papanate

Member
Messages
19,820
You dig today's technology or prefer the old school receivers, turntables & speakers you grew up with? Tell us what your using - bonus for pics.

I don't have to make that choice. Re: Listening to Music: Old School Records, Turntables, and so on - has an unparalleled charm all it's own
- and 'todays' technology Entire Libraries on a single handheld device, access to the songs I want to hear instead of the tremendous amount
of filler, portability of my entire catalog of music around my houses, my cars, at hotels, near instant access to a trillion songs... and so on really
put 'todays' technology in prime time enjoyment.

Re: Making Recordings: I grew up recording to tape - the sound of which has not been equaled yet - but 'todays' technology is much less stressful
to record with. And the problems of the past - the tremendous amount of maintenance; tape splicing; Tape issues and so on - are
not even on a distance horizon. Right now at the current format rates that we can record at on a computer we have IMO the best of all worlds. Super efficiency and very little downtime.
 

Jonny Hotnuts

Member
Messages
2,009
(I am calling 'vintage' prior to 1980; after 1980 there was a technology shift and speakers made in the 80s [ADS, Polk and others made some really nice stuff that STILL sounds great if you can find them in good order]).

Most people never had an opportunity to listen to old school hifi properly set up.
Old school mid-fi was VERY blah if not horrible. IMO modern mid-fi speakers sound a billion times better than mid-fi speakers made prior to 1980. I feel most people lump in the mid fi crap with all speakers made in those decades.


I was given a pair of Klipsch Heresy IIs by a good friend and I power it with an old McIntosh 225 using modern sources. The Heresys have been in production since 1957 the Mac was made somewhere in the mid 60s. This is about as old school as you can get!

I recapped the Heresys with Sonicaps; this smoothed them out significantly and paired a have a nice sub (the Heresys dont go low). As an owner of Marantz, NAD, Dynaudio, Morel and KEF products I can say without a doubt its really hard to beat those modded Heresys with a small valve amp.

This being said there is a wonderful balance between new and old. There is nothing more convenient than using an Ipad (BT or plugged) or even CD.....but as much as I love old school speakers and amps I dont like analog sources...simply because they are such a pain to deal with but this is a personal thing and dont knock anyone for digging this stuff.


Old school hi-fi is nothing to take for granted and can hold its own with many very high end speakers and amps made today. This being said there is no comparison to mid level speakers made then and now.


~JH
 

Teal_66

Member
Messages
3,322
(I am calling 'vintage' prior to 1980; after 1980 there was a technology shift and speakers made in the 80s [ADS, Polk and others made some really nice stuff that STILL sounds great if you can find them in good order]).

Most people never had an opportunity to listen to old school hifi properly set up.
Old school mid-fi was VERY blah if not horrible. IMO modern mid-fi speakers sound a billion times better than mid-fi speakers made prior to 1980. I feel most people lump in the mid fi crap with all speakers made in those decades.


I was given a pair of Klipsch Heresy IIs by a good friend and I power it with an old McIntosh 225 using modern sources. The Heresys have been in production since 1957 the Mac was made somewhere in the mid 60s. This is about as old school as you can get!

I recapped the Heresys with Sonicaps; this smoothed them out significantly and paired a have a nice sub (the Heresys dont go low). As an owner of Marantz, NAD, Dynaudio, Morel and KEF products I can say without a doubt its really hard to beat those modded Heresys with a small valve amp.

This being said there is a wonderful balance between new and old. There is nothing more convenient than using an Ipad (BT or plugged) or even CD.....but as much as I love old school speakers and amps I dont like analog sources...simply because they are such a pain to deal with but this is a personal thing and dont knock anyone for digging this stuff.


Old school hi-fi is nothing to take for granted and can hold its own with many very high end speakers and amps made today. This being said there is no comparison to mid level speakers made then and now.


~JH
I have a 1980/81 Marantz SR4000 50 watt receiver going through a pair of small bookshelf 80's JBL J2050 speakers. It just sounds SO good. I run anything through there: turntable or iPod, and it just sounds rich and deep. I have a newer Sony system that was being used for my surround system, but it sounds fake and cold to me. No comparison to my vintage Marantz system - man - not even in the same galaxy.
 

71strat

Member
Messages
10,335
I love my Altec Lansing 604s

ALTEC+17+B1.jpg


These are pretty nice.

JBL' K2 S9900.


new_jbl_k2_s9900-614x400.png
 

cardamonfrost

Member
Messages
2,244
Having run the entire gambit from ludicrous to reasonable, the most important thing is not to get too wrapped up in what it is.

Get wrapped up in how it sounds.

I went from a 2 channel system that was 30k to one that is 2k and derive as much joy, if not more. Don't even ask about the home theater, suffice to say, these days its 2 channel as well, with a mix of different stuff, and I am as happy as can be. No more worries about turning on amps and pres in the right order or wondering if I should move my front left tweeter 1/2 cm to the right (yup, I had separate speakers for tweeters and drivers), non of the distraction anymore.

I am way better off for it. And I don't care when someone else uses it.

C
 

chichi

Member
Messages
325
I was born to a audiophile family and I grew up with most of those famous vintage systems/models. Every time someone (audio expert) or magazine said a particular model is good, my father, uncles, or their friends....certainly one of them would go to buy it and shared with everyone.

If you look at the specs on most of those vintage pre/power amp models, especially tube amps. The T.H.D. spec (total harmonic distortion) could be as high as 1%. Compare to today's amps most of their T.H.D. are super low like 0.05%, 0.01% or even lower. I think all TGPers here have better ears than average music listeners (.....e.g., my grandmother). When compare them side-by-side you can tell the obvious difference of 1% vs 0.05%. We want guitar amp distorted, not hi-fi stereo.

Also since "subwoofer" came out I can't go back. It could be tricky to add subwoofer to vintage systems. Although most of today's subwoofers can route the power amp signal into it first then distribute filtered signals to L/R loudspeakers. When some audiophile friends see me doing this they will say "THIS IS NOT RIGHT, you cannot let the signals go into this subwoofer first because it is not vintage". Then what? Get a "vintage" crossover? Does any "vintage" crossover can filter out subwoofer frequencies?

There are things I like from the vintage speakers, such as horns and super tweeters. Horns make the sound "big and wide". I still keep a few JBL "slot" super tweeters to swap out the tweeters on many loud speakers I bought. I like the way they sounds, they can go to super high frequencies beyond my hearing capabilities. Again, if you have a chance to compare them with other tweeters side-by-side, you can hear the very obvious difference. When listening to heavy rock songs these super tweeters are just awesome!

Since I inherited some good old vintage audios. I will need to warn one thing to those who want to jump into vintage systems - maintenance and cost. It is just like taking care of vintage cars. The maintenance cost could be high and not too many "vintage repair shops" you can find. I had hard times dealing with these shops due to they normally have systems piled up waiting for service. And charges are not cheap.

Many vintage speakers have "foam ring" on the side and they certainly will be rotten away. Some paper cone will rip after certain years. There are replacement parts for them today and it is not difficult to replace them. But when you want to sell them, the buyer may criticize "Oh! the foam (or cone, diaphragm, etc.) is not ORIGINAL! So it does not worth the price you say!"
 
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MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,466
IMHO there are few reasonably priced speakers that can compete with vintage horn speakers such as Klipsch. I have a stock early 80s pair of Heresys (does not need recapping as it had dry film caps from the factory) and a recapped/slightly modified set of 70s La Scalas, and I love them both. The La Scalas best anything I've heard other than >$10k speakers. They are scary good in all audiophile ways.

Love old school amps as well, the vintage horn speakers have the efficiency to allow low power tube amps to work, and the results are great. I'm using electronics I built myself; the preamp is a Kondo M77 clone, and power amps are 211A class A mono locks I designed and built.

I have a VPI MkIII table with an external supply that kills, but my main source these days is a homemade digital server using a Raspberry Pi uC and a HiFiBerry DAC. The server, playing ripped wav files, actually gets around 90% of the quality of the turntable and LPs, amazing for a server that cost under $150 to build. Digital has come a LOONG way in the last few years.
 

Gradual

Member
Messages
17
I have a lot of stereo setups at my place along with a full blown recording studio. Used to even have a 2" 24 track tape machine. These days the studio is based around Reaper and an older Soundtracs console. But this thread is about home stereos, so..

My main stereo is a 1984 Sansui. I found the tuner, integrated amp, and working cassette at a flea market, and later found the matching 3 way 15" Sansui speakers. I had to replace the mid drivers and recap the crossovers. The amp's specs are very good 5Hz-65kHz and sounds like it. I added a Hosa bluetooth receiver to it and I have a Technics turntable connected as well.

I also have an 80s silver Akai receiver with a pair of Bose 141 in my kitchen. It's mainly used for playing iTunes off my Macbook Pro or connecting my guitar and using modeling software. I hang out in my kitchen a lot!

My bedroom system is a late 80s Sony. I have the matching turntable connected as well as a Teac cassette deck. The speakers on that system are Acoustic Research TSW-?? something. I can't remember the exact model numbers there.

To me the older home stereo gear is of higher quality and can sound better too depending on the condition. I've found the 80s Japanese made stuff is usually good sounding, reliable, and usually a lot less to purchase than the classic 70s stuff.

One final thing I could add is that I'm a computer technician by trade and digital music and the volatility of the computer is one reason I have swung back to buying mostly CDs or vinyl. I would never want a computer problem to keep me from hearing my music.
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,962
Vintage all the way for me. I don't care about technical data and "true fidelity", I care about what sounds pleasing to my ear. The old stuff does. And it's much more economical than new high end stuff in the first place, plus at least keeps its value or even appreciates.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,466
Other than digital sources, another huge improvement over the years is the sound quality and power vs. cost you can get using Class D and Class T power amps. Some of the digital amps, IME the Tripath and a few of the new Texas Instruments based amps (TPA3116), have absolutely staggering sound quality for the price. I have a Topping Tripath amp that kills every other amp I've had in my stereo except for the 211A based single ended triode monoblocks, and another amp using a SainSonic AB-03 board (TPA3116 IC, 2x50w, the board cost $14) sounded even better than the Tripath amp. I haven't heard any solid state amp other than a Mark Levinson ML-30 that was better than these cheap digital amps.

If I was assembling a stereo now, I would use one of the TPA3116 based power amps if it had the proper capacitors (hopefully polypropylene) rather than most any tube amp. I certainly would not have gone through the pain to build my huge expensive 211A monoblocks if the TPA3116 amps were available years ago.
 

jnovac1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,338
Other than digital sources, another huge improvement over the years is the sound quality and power vs. cost you can get using Class D and Class T power amps. Some of the digital amps, IME the Tripath and a few of the new Texas Instruments based amps (TPA3116), have absolutely staggering sound quality for the price. I have a Topping Tripath amp that kills every other amp I've had in my stereo except for the 211A based single ended triode monoblocks, and another amp using a SainSonic AB-03 board (TPA3116 IC, 2x50w, the board cost $14) sounded even better than the Tripath amp. I haven't heard any solid state amp other than a Mark Levinson ML-30 that was better than these cheap digital amps.

If I was assembling a stereo now, I would use one of the TPA3116 based power amps if it had the proper capacitors (hopefully polypropylene) rather than most any tube amp. I certainly would not have gone through the pain to build my huge expensive 211A monoblocks if the TPA3116 amps were available years ago.
which topping amp?.
 

Wyzard

Neither Here Nor There
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,369
I have worked as an audio professional since 1976 and have been an avid audiophile since 1971, guitar player since 1965.

Pretty much as above, with a few career breaks; but I didn't start playing (mainly bass) until '76.

Gear produced by the best manufacturers (not the snake oil salesmen) has gotten better every year. Every new version of Bryston power amps I have used (NRB to ST to SST to SST2) sound and measure better than the previous one.
Current system is Revel Performa3 F208 speakers, Bryston SP2 preamp/ surround processor, Bryston 3B SST2 power amp, Oppo BDP-95 Blu Ray player.

I've preferred every successive generation of Bryston too.

The 14 in particular, and in its various incarnations, hovers at the back my consciousness like a Holdsworth solo hovers over changes.

TP20 MkII, unfortunately discontinued. The Tripath ICs are not made any more.

I'm having my tech build a Hypex later this year: it'll get used for a variety of things, from monitoring in the studio/rehearsal room to home hi-fi and speaker testing in the lab.
 
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finwhale

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1,413
no improvement at all with modern ....except that the lower end is all good now ...very few crap pieces of audio gear.
but if we are asking is the best from "now" better than the best from "50 years ago" ....no

50 years ago we had triode amps and field coil speakers ...we had electrostatic quad speakers .......we had turntables

I have heard all the new stuff and while some of it is very good such as MBL speakers it does not surpass the best of the old stuff

I will say that the class D amps are a game changer for the price but again they are no where near as good as the old large triode amps of past.

I base this on first hand listening experience listening to hundreds of systems over a 30 year period and meeting with folks like the legendary Dr Edger

if you want a lot of bang for buck on something new I would recommend something like this:

http://www.critesspeakers.com/cornscala.html
 
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jnovac1

Silver Supporting Member
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8,338
Other than digital sources, another huge improvement over the years is the sound quality and power vs. cost you can get using Class D and Class T power amps. Some of the digital amps, IME the Tripath and a few of the new Texas Instruments based amps (TPA3116), have absolutely staggering sound quality for the price. I have a Topping Tripath amp that kills every other amp I've had in my stereo except for the 211A based single ended triode monoblocks, and another amp using a SainSonic AB-03 board (TPA3116 IC, 2x50w, the board cost $14) sounded even better than the Tripath amp. I haven't heard any solid state amp other than a Mark Levinson ML-30 that was better than these cheap digital amps.

If I was assembling a stereo now, I would use one of the TPA3116 based power amps if it had the proper capacitors (hopefully polypropylene) rather than most any tube amp. I certainly would not have gone through the pain to build my huge expensive 211A monoblocks if the TPA3116 amps were available years ago.
just scored a tp20 mk2 forty bucks with ps and some cheap monster cables. will insert this behind my cj tube preamp, and will let ya know.
 
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MKB

Silver Supporting Member
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9,466
I base this on first hand listening experience listening to hundreds of systems over a 30 year period and meeting with folks like the legendary Dr Edger

if you want a lot of bang for buck on something new I would recommend something like this:

http://www.critesspeakers.com/cornscala.html
I've built several sets of Edgarhorns, and ended up with something similar to Cornscalas, but must admit horn loaded bass is very addicting. After moving from Heresys to La Scalas, non-horn loaded speakers sound too compressed. But you have to be very careful with the amps selected for Klipsch designs, the mids and tweeters can be laser death rays with poor amps, but they are very smooth sounding with the correct amps (they do favor tube amps, especially single ended).
 




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