The Vintage HiFi thread on KKF

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by Matus, Oct 18, 2019.

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  1. Oct 18, 2019 #1
    I though it was about the time to start a thread on Vntage HiFi here on KKF. I know - there is a ton of fora and FB groups on this topic, but I would specifically like to discuss:
    • What Vitage HiFi setups or components do you have & use?
    • What is the best Vintage system you had a chance to experience first person?
    • Do you have plans to get to it or upgrade - what are you looking to get?
    • What style of music do you listen to?
    • How & Why did you get into vintage HiFi?
    Why am I asking? I plan to get a Vintage-centered HiFi setup myself - mainly because I have heard a few systems and was amazed what they can deliver for prices that are within reach (say a honyaki or two). I know that there are top end modern systems, but I would rather buy a Porsche instead if I had the dough.

    Currently the baseline I am looking at is Revox 250B paired with Inifinity Renaissance 90 loudspeakers (I heard the speakers and loved the clarity).
     
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  2. Oct 18, 2019 #2

    Lars

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    I not really into "high end" hifi, but I have an old B&O Beosystem 10 in the kitchen that I absolutely love.
    It's fed from a Apple Airport Express which lets me stream from my Itunes library where my music collection is stored.
    Very convenient and sounds awesome. I really enjoy listening to music while cooking.
    IMG_0187.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  3. Oct 20, 2019 #3

    DamageInc

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    I have some vintage TDL Reference Standard speakers from 1990.

    Still sound absolutely amazing.

    1355043531713.jpg
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Oct 20, 2019 #4

    Lars

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    70 kg a piece, nice!
     
  5. Oct 20, 2019 #5

    LostHighway

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    Most of my stereo system dates from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s but I don't really consider that "vintage". Vintage audio to me references the late 1950s through the mid-1960s: value/tube amps, idler drive turntables like the Thorens TD-124 or Garrard 301, and horn loudspeakers (Altec, Klipsch,...). Perhaps the dwindling numbers of us still interested in large footprint component audio from the 1950 through the 2000s might be more properly lumped together as dinosaur audio enthusiasts. I almost never encounter anyone under 50 interested in this type of audio systems. I do meet people under 50 who have relatively expensive systems but those systems are almost entirely built around headphone listening rather than loudspeakers and have a much smaller physical footprint. If they own loudspeakers at all they tend to be KEF Q50 size or smaller.
    I'm pressed for time right now but I'd be happy to return to this later.
     
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  6. Oct 20, 2019 #6

    WildBoar

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    I have a few pieces from the early-to-mid-'80s, and I do not consider them vintage either (a B&O turntable, a Nak tape deck, and Audible Illusions preamp). My Bryston amp and Von Schweikert speakers are close to 25 years old, and are definitely not vintage in my eyes. I did, however, recently pick up a Sony R2R, a Revox R2R, and a Fisher receiver, that are all from the late '60s. But I have not had time to get them cleaned up, etc. so I can try them out without damaging anything.
     
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  7. Oct 20, 2019 #7
    You guys are hard core on that term ‘vintage’ ... I like that! :p But how are we going to call that ‘neither-vintage-nor-modern-LoFi’ stuff?

    @LostHighway - I am looking forward hearing more from you when the time
     
  8. Oct 20, 2019 #8

    The Edge

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    Best speakers I've ever heard was at a CES convention in Las Vegas in 1997. We walked into a booth, and the guy said, "Hold on a second, stand right there!" Then, a symphony arose around us, and we were in the middle of a concert. The speakers were Aerial Acoustic model 10T's. If only I had the money or space. Nothing has come close since, though I don't normally get a chance to hear things like that. Not sure what they used to power those puppies, but still something I'll never forget. Probably not considered vintage, but world class none the less.
     
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  9. Oct 20, 2019 #9

    LostHighway

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    I'm about to leave on a trip but I've grabbed a spare minute or two.
    "value" in the above post was meant to read valve for the English terminology of what North Americans generally call tubes. My personal experience is that solid state gear didn't really even start to get sonically decent until the late 1970s although there were some quite good tuners produced in the 1970s. For the most part my personal opinion is that the best solid state gear finally caught up to the best tube gear in the 2000s. Differences remain and how you weight those differences may deliver a different judgement. Tube circuits tend to be simpler and easier to repair but most amplifiers will go at least a decade or two before needing work, IME most often the power supply capacitors deteriorate first.
    All for now.
     
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  10. Oct 20, 2019 #10

    WildBoar

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    There is a hi-fi show in the Washington, DC in a week or two. A local shop (Deja Vu) always has some very, very cool vintage gear. They build some of their own gear using reclaimed parts, including some very cool speakers using rebuilt vintage compression drivers. The 'vintage' system they had last year was incredible (and was well into 6 digits...). I'm hoping to carve out a few hours to go to the show again this year.
     
  11. Oct 20, 2019 #11

    GoodMagic

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    I’ve been into audio since high school, and have pretty much kept all the gear I’ve used over the years. I have a vintage dynaco integrated tube amp, audio research integrated tube amp, hafler pre amp and power amp, duntech pcl3 speakers that I’ve had for at least 25 yrs. I recently upgraded my power amp and pre amp to benchmark. I still use my rega CD player, Ayre dac and harbeth compact 7s, all approaching 15 yrs. not vintage, but getting close. I gravitate towards clean but warm sounding components that highlight midrange- voice and acoustic music, which I listen to most. Not sure why I keep the really old stuff, probably because I value them more than what I could sell them for.
     
  12. Oct 21, 2019 #12

    ACHiPo

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    Hmm not sure what "vintage" is, but I have two Atmasphere OTL monoblocks I built as a kit in the 90s--think the design goes back to 1980 or so--may be vintage? Also shown is a Well Tempered Turntable (definitely vintage--c. 1985). Oh, and it sounds pretty good--just ask Michi.;)
     

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  13. Oct 21, 2019 #13

    Michi

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    "Vintage" is anything I bought before I was 30 :)

    My stereo:
    • Sony TA-E80ES preamp
    • Sony TA-N330ES power amp
    • Sony CDP-XA50ES CD player
    • Sony ST-SB920 tuner
    • Nakamichi Dragon tape deck
    • Denon DP-57L turntable
    • JBL Ti5000 speakers
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  14. Oct 21, 2019 #14

    Michi

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    Yep, can confirm that. A little better than just "pretty good", actually ;)
     
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  15. Oct 21, 2019 #15

    Bill13

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    I had the same experience when I first heard the 10T's, powered by Spectral amps, and ended up buying a used pair about 15 years ago. My wife did not like the looks so those were sold and replaced by the Aerial 7B model which are now up in my office (powered by a MA 6200 integrated amplifier). Model 9's are now in the family room.
     
  16. Oct 21, 2019 #16

    Bill13

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    I had the same experience when I first heard the 10T's, powered by Spectral amps, and ended up buying a used pair about 15 years ago. My wife did not like the looks so those were sold and replaced by the Aerial 7B model which are now up in my office (powered by a MA 6200 integrated amplifier). Model 9's are now in the family room.
     
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  17. Oct 21, 2019 #17

    podzap

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    1992 circa Adcom amp and pre-amp, and Polk Audio speakers, both still in perfect condition.
     
  18. Oct 21, 2019 #18

    Chefget

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    My vintage stuff is from back when we called it 'Stereo' :) mainly mid to late 70's... I was a student (re: broke living on Mac& cheese and turning 1/4 lbs) so this equipment isn't as high end as some here

    GAS Thoebe preamp

    IMG_20191021_115405.jpg
    Dahlquist DQ10's that I configured into DQ10a's after Mr Dahlquist sent the parts

    IMG_20191021_114438.jpg
    Transcriptors table with the Vestigal tonearm, ADC XLM MkIII cartridge

    IMG_20191021_114226.jpg
    And a grail for me in college, the Harmon Kardon Rabco ST-7! Shure V15 Type III cartridge (Shure stopped making phono cartridges in 2018...this cartridge now sells for >$400, replacement stylus >$200 if you can find one!!).

    IMG_20191021_114129.jpg

    A little later Magneplanar MG3.6R (and a pair of Magnepans, both sitting in the corner :( )

    IMG_20191021_114329.jpg

    Oh, and a small pair of Magneplanar 'Wings')

    IMG_20191021_114352.jpg

    More up in the attic...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2019
  19. Oct 22, 2019 #19

    GoodMagic

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    I bet those Maggie’s sound great, shame they are not being used. I had smg a in college, with a hafler dh 200 amp and 110 preamp. First system that mesmerized me with its sound. I still miss the Maggie’s, and have almost bought a Lrs several times.

    I also remember those Dahlquests, way back in the 1980s.
     
  20. Oct 22, 2019 #20

    LostHighway

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    I worked in high end audio shops, primarily as a second job for the discounts, from the mid-1970 through 2000. The shops I worked for carried most although far from all of the major high end brands.
    For people considering buying 20th C equipment I strongly encourage you to look at repair-ability before any money changes hands. Some loudspeaker drivers are now unobtainable and repair/re-coning isn't always a viable option. Also, some of the semiconductors used during this period are no longer available. With tube/valve gear if the transformers are in good shape you are probably safe on the repair front although some tubes will now cost you hundreds of dollars.
    I'm not sure of the situation post Charles Hansen's death but Ayre Acoustics has always offered exemplary support. Bryston, Vandersteen and a few other have also been very good. Mark Levinson/Madrigal support deteriorated markedly after they were acquired by Harmon International . Harmon has in turn since been sold to Samsung. Audio Research was sold in 2008 after Bill Johnson's death and acquired by the same corporate umbrella that also own Sonus Faber, McIntosh, Wadi, and Sumiko. Quad, Mission, and Wharfdale were all sold off and some of those have changed hands a couple times. B&W was sold to EVA Automation. Definitive Technology, Classe (briefly owned by B&W)', Polk, and Marantz were all part of Sound United but Class' has since been sold again. Nelson Pass sold Threshold in 1997 and since then has designed and operated as Pass Labs. Dan D'Augustino and family members lost control of Krell in 2009 and he now operates as Dan D'Augustino Inc. The fortunes of high end audio have been declining for at least a couple decades and more sales and brand extinctions are near certain.
    Competent independent repair people for high end brands are quite rare, at least in North America, and I personally prefer to deal with the manufacturer when possible. I also don't want to deal with international shipping. These factors tend to bias me toward North American products. If I lived in the U.K. I'd be biased toward English and Scottish products.

    Over the years I've heard a ton of great products. The original Quad ESL 57s were remarkable in their day and still remarkable as part of the Levinson HQD system. I think the Atma-Sphere M-60s and MA-1s are great. The Nagra preamps where fairly amazing as were some of the Goldmund amps. The Spendor BC-1 which became the Spendor SP-1 and then the 1/2 were all great performance per dollar in their day. I was wowed by the Sequerra Metronome Pyramid system when it was new. Some of the Magneplanar models have been excellent.

    I'm happy to answer questions but I have definite biases so please take anything I have to say as just my opinion.
     
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  21. Oct 23, 2019 #21

    ashy2classy

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    Very cool thread. I was just checking to see if there's a HIFI thread on KKF because I was going to start one called All Things HiFi.
     
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  22. Oct 23, 2019 #22

    Chefget

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    Yep, got the Dahlquists in '74...had the woofers redone in the '90s. The Maggies still sound great, but they really can't compare to the GoldenEar Triton References now playing.... :)
     
  23. Oct 29, 2019 #23

    dafox

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    What music source/medium do most use now? I've got about 700 cd's sitting in boxes and listen to steaming music now.
     
  24. Oct 30, 2019 #24

    LostHighway

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    I listen to about 65% CDs, 25% vinyl, 5% FM radio and 5% streaming. I started a project to set up a server for 24 bit FLAC files but it bogged down for the moment.
     
  25. Oct 30, 2019 #25

    WildBoar

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    I ripped all of our CDs onto a desktop last winter, but I still play them 50% of the time vs streaming from the computer. Occasionally play an album, but my vinyl collection is tiny (CDs hit the market when I was building my music collection, and a friend worked at a music store and would give me good discounts on DCs). One of these days I'll give Tidal a try.
     
  26. Oct 30, 2019 #26

    ButlerHoosierChef

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    Well to start I have an old Victrola record player from the late 1890s early 1900s that I have had the pleasure of hearing once. After that I run an old marantz and old Onkyo Grand Integra power amps with 4 Energy Reference Connoisseurs as my fronts and backs in my surround sound system. I have used other speakers like advents cerwin Vega old JBLs Dahlquist etc but never been able to shake that sweet sound that I get from those ref cons. My budget can't afford much better yet. Haha.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
  27. Oct 30, 2019 #27

    GoodMagic

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    I remember those energy speakers too, they were a great product! Heard them in some upscale audio showroom in nyc probably 1982. Same time I heard duntech pcl-3s, which I own, and infinite slope, which became jospeh audio. Losthiway, I appreciate your comments. I have a original pair of spica tc 50s, but I rarely use them. Drivers are long since discontinued.
     
  28. Oct 30, 2019 #28

    Lars

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    All my CD's have been ripped into iTunes and get streamed to my living room stereo or my kitchen radio - or both.
    Remote controlled by an app on my phone. Couldn't be happier.
     
  29. Oct 30, 2019 #29

    Michi

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    When the first iPod with a 160 GB drive came out, I caved in because I could fit all of my CDs (north of 500) on it as high bit rate rips. Then I spent a few weeks ripping and tagging everything, a few disks at a time. It was worth it, even though it was a lot of work.
     
  30. Oct 30, 2019 #30

    Ryndunk

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    Streaming or vinyl.
    I've been using Tidal for streaming for a few years now and I really like it. Great sound quality and the library is pretty solid. Only been a few times they didn't have the recording I was looking for. I think if they have a weak link it's the classical library and that is only if you are looking for very specific recordings, that seems to be getting better too though. Give it a try.
     
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