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Home stereo -new vs vintage? Digital Converters
Old 29th January 2019
  #1
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Home stereo -new vs vintage?

Hello. I would for the first time like to have a decent home stereo for pleasure listening. For the amp/receiver, I wonder if I should buy new or vintage? Something like 70's Pioneer, Onkyo, etc? Budget up to about $1500.
I don't need a receiver, just as much accurate sound as I can afford. I like realistic sound for folk, jazz, etc. I don't like hype. Less expensive is better as it allows more for speakers. Which way would you go?
Old 29th January 2019
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory View Post
Hello. I would for the first time like to have a decent home stereo for pleasure listening. For the amp/receiver, I wonder if I should buy new or vintage? Something like 70's Pioneer, Onkyo, etc? Budget up to about $1500.
I don't need a receiver, just as much accurate sound as I can afford. I like realistic sound for folk, jazz, etc. I don't like hype. Less expensive is better as it allows more for speakers. Which way would you go?
The place where I get my electronics repaired is of the opinion that the 70s stuff smokes the new stuff. Don't know if it's true, but I'm still rocking my Sony receiver from back then.

Also, you may not need a receiver, but they were much more common than integrated amplifiers, so they may be easier to find.

The brands you mentioned are all consumer-level stuff. If you can find a Luxman integrated amp or receiver in good condition, you should be quite happy (a friend had Luxman gear and it sounded great). Or maybe Sansui.

For speakers, KEF were pretty good so I understand. I still have two pair of Tannoy Oxfords that sound great, but if you can find some dual-concentric Tannoys you should be very very happy with them.
Old 29th January 2019
  #3
I think I more or less agree with MikeInOttawa's tech... at least regarding consumer hi fi. The high end of the consumer range of component stereo amps/receivers in the early 70s produced some of the best sounding amplifiers and tuners that have been offered to consumers. They weren't cheap (adjust those prices for inflation and you'll see that a top consumer stereo rig could cost as much as the car you sent your kid to college in).

Modern mass market production shortcuts and compromises have a) delivered broadly featured electronics at very cheap prices but b) lowered the quality some of us once expected in a mid or top consumer tier.

Now, speakers, OTOH... a somewhat different matter: improved materials, computer assisted design, and improved understanding of how to milk relatively high performance out of small boxes -- as well as how to make compromises that keep prices and size small while trading off 'less noticeable' aspects of sonic quality for more 'impressive' overall effect.*

(For instance: I have this $13 USB/BT speaker that sounds pretty amazing for a 2.5 inch tall/round cylinder. Does it sound 'good'? Sure... for a 2.5 inch cylinder that cost $13. Happily it has a line in so you don't have to use BT, which does entail some sonic compromises, of course. That said, so does a 2.5 inch cylinder that costs $13. )

I haven't bought a turntable since the 1980s, so I'll sit out discussion of the relative merits of better TTs then and now. But I will say this: back in the 1970s, it was a typical play of big stereo chain stores (remember those?) to put a well-liked, desirable receiver in the middle of a 'package deal' that might also include a pair of often house brand/no-name speakers of unknown quality (let's just say that cheap speaker system makers then maybe didn't rush to whip out the slide rule when designing ported boxes to go around mass-market cheapo two and three way systems -- often with HP-only crossovers!) And the TT's that were included were all too often cheap-but-'sleek'-looking BIC changers (BIC was what happened to Garrard after they trashed their market reputation).
Old 29th January 2019
  #4
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Vintage gear has a certain quality about it that can be very pleasing but technology has certainly come a long way. The advantage to going vintage IMO is that you can step into a higher class of gear at a lower price point, however, often after 30 years Caps and other components need to be replaced, The unit may work fine but not perform as well as it could as a result.

As mentioned Luxman, Sansui or Marantz and some others made great hifi gear that is affordable. At the price point you have ~$1500 i think you can find a good set of speakers and an integrated amp that will sound excellent. Generally, you would want to spend about the same $ , give or take on your speakers as you do on your integrated, this will get you to the best performance level.

Check out audiogon.com, its mostly higher end gear but there are some more affordable options and its a great place to learn about what is on the market. Generally hifi folks take better care of the gear too, versus ebay or craigslist (also great resources). Most of my gear ive picked up used at a local hifi dealer, over the years ive upgraded things here and there, now i have a well put together rig that makes me very happy. Mytek Brooklyn DAC/Classe CAP-150 int / B&W CM9 s2 towers.

I would NOT get a receiver, they are generally inferior to an integrated for 2 channel listening. Receivers have cheap square transformers, hifi int use torodial transformers, they will give you much higher performance when it comes to dynamics.

Also, consider what your source will be (laptop, cd player, records) as that may dictate the path to building your rig.
Old 29th January 2019
  #5
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EvilRoy's Avatar
$1500 is a good budget. I've always liked component stereos, easier to upgrade although an integrated amp (pre and amp with source switching) is cool. If ya want a radio tuner, add a tuner. Not gonna recommend any speakers, too many choices but I would recommend looking at amp types. Class D is noisy, Class A rules in my (and Rupert Neve's) opinion.

BTW - I have an old Nikko tuner from the early 80s you can have, no presets, just a big dial. PM if interested.
Old 29th January 2019
  #6
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I should have been clearer on budget. I'll consider up to $1500 for the right amp. (although ~$1000 would be more comfortable).
I do plan on modern speakers, hopefully a good deal on a recent used pair of something, maybe around 2K usd.

I doubt I'll be playing vinyl, and I'll be feeding the amp from my Lavry black DA10. I just need the most accurate sound this budget will allow, and I have no way to audition any of this stuff.
Old 29th January 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory View Post
Thanks for all the helpful replies. I should have been clearer on budget. I'll consider up to $1500 for the right amp. (although ~$1000 would be more comfortable).
I do plan on modern speakers, hopefully a good deal on a recent used pair of something, maybe around 2K usd.

I doubt I'll be playing vinyl, and I'll be feeding the amp from my Lavry black DA10. I just need the most accurate sound this budget will allow, and I have no way to audition any of this stuff.

This is the integrated i own, it sounds incredible, clean and precise. Class A/B, 150 wpc, flexible inputs with a balanced IN channel, heavy as hell. I highly recommend it, especially at this price point.

Classe CAP-151 Stereo Integrated Amplifier CAP151 (16199) | Solid state | Broomfield, Colorado 80020 | Audiogon


What sort of speaker are you leaning towards? Bookshelf, tower? What is your room size? how loud do want to be able to go?
Old 29th January 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redmoses View Post


What sort of speaker are you leaning towards? Bookshelf, tower? What is your room size? how loud do want to be able to go?
Leaning toward moderate size towers. Room is 16' 28' and more reflective than I would like.
Volume will usually be pretty moderate. I'll buy a big amp if it will sound better at low volume, but I don't believe I technically need a lot of power.
A tight and very present bass is what I'm after, but not hyped at all.

At present I'm using my old active Mackie HR824 mkI monitors for pleasure listening in this room.
Old 29th January 2019
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory View Post
Leaning toward moderate size towers. Room is 16' 28' and more reflective than I would like.
Volume will usually be pretty moderate. I'll buy a big amp if it will sound better at low volume, but I don't believe I technically need a lot of power.
A tight and very present bass is what I'm after, but not hyped at all.

At present I'm using my old active Mackie HR824 mkI monitors for pleasure listening in this room.

That is a good sized room, since your going towers i would not go below 100 wpc. You will need a decent amount of power to get that sized room bumping and the added power will definitely help with bass and overall control. The vintage stuff (unless your willing to spend some more) may be under powered.

If your looking for natural bass, stay away from speakers that have self powered subs...
Old 5th February 2019
  #10
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Here is a pic of my rig.
Attached Thumbnails
Home stereo -new vs vintage?-york-hifi-system.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Catching up... I certainly agree with redmoses that old electronic gear can develop problems... electronic components do age. When one is talking 1970, he is, after all, talking about nearly a half century ago.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Lives for gear
I have several older receivers, got tired of them developing little problems. Finally read some reviews and bought a Denon AVR-S740H. I think it was about $350. I'm driving a pair of KEF Q100's with it at the moment (love KEF speakers). It's been trouble free and sounding good for about a year and a half so far. Lots of bells and whistles I don't use, like room correction and wifi stuff. Most newer stuff will have things like that.
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