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So why vintage?
Old 24th May 2006
  #1
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So why vintage?

So I was sitting on the ****ter last night flipping through "The Mixing Engineers Handbook" and I thought to myself. Why is it that everyone seems to be so crazy for "vintage" gear? I mean, has technology not progressed? Looking around and measuring the difference between todays technology and the sixties technology in general I would say definetely. Ok then why the obsession over vintage? Imprint theory would probably say that people prefer the sounds of albums back from when they were young or they remember back to the golden days when everything sounded "better". Did it sound better or was it the music that was better? And if it didn't sound better why the vintage rave?
Old 24th May 2006
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbm
So I was sitting on the ****ter last night flipping through "The Mixing Engineers Handbook" and I thought to myself. Why is it that everyone seems to be so crazy for "vintage" gear? I mean, has technology not progressed? Looking around and measuring the difference between todays technology and the sixties technology in general I would say definetely. Ok then why the obsession over vintage? Imprint theory would probably say that people prefer the sounds of albums back from when they were young or they remember back to the golden days when everything sounded "better". Did it sound better or was it the music that was better? And if it didn't sound better why the vintage rave?
One factor may be better quality metals which leads to better quality transformers. Same with audio tubes. They are making exact replicas at the same factories now, but they cannot get metal as pure as it was back in the day, and the tubes still aren't as good. That said, I don't mind the new stuff at all, especially as far as reliability.
Old 24th May 2006
  #3
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Cojo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbm
So I was sitting on the ****ter last night flipping through "The Mixing Engineers Handbook" and I thought to myself. Why is it that everyone seems to be so crazy for "vintage" gear? I mean, has technology not progressed? Looking around and measuring the difference between todays technology and the sixties technology in general I would say definetely. Ok then why the obsession over vintage? Imprint theory would probably say that people prefer the sounds of albums back from when they were young or they remember back to the golden days when everything sounded "better". Did it sound better or was it the music that was better? And if it didn't sound better why the vintage rave?
Hello!

I think it's not the vintage itself, it's how it is built. New gear can be as good, it's just that a lot of companies cut costs by taking cheap (read not so good) components instead of the best. In the old days there were not so many components to choose from (and the one to choose were good ones), it was more like;

- I want a resistor, please.

- OK, sir. Here you are.


Take this with a grain of salt, but I think there is some truth in it.

/Cojo
Old 24th May 2006
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Zeppelin4Life's Avatar
 

Its interesting, and I quite frankly have no idea.

But, it is interesting to think that our expensive and new digital technology will never be 'vintage'; by the time another 30 years comes around, it will be totally worthless...can't say that about the old 60/70s analog stuff!
Old 24th May 2006
  #5
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airmate's Avatar
 

here are a few hints:

a huge part of the vintage gear was real "pro" gear: not being designed for a prosumer mass market, many times cost was no object in order to build the best gear possible.

many vintage machines are not very versatile feature-wise. but they do the things they can do extraordinarily good.

most vintage gear consists of discrete class a circuits: ICs were developed much later. discrete class a can lead to extremely good sonic results, due to the known reasons.

at some point of history manufacturers began to sacrifice sound quality in order to cram as many features and functions in a box as possible. at some point marketing may have become more important than r&d...

i think it's a myth that *analog* technolgy has become far better in the past 30 years (in terms that are relevant for the sound itself).
perhaps circuits became more reliable, and people were able to build them with smaller parts (thus being able to put more features inside a single box).
but there are some major trade-offs: ****ty opamps that kill all transparence, for instance.

talking about microphones, preamps, compressors and EQs, i wouldn't hesitate to work only with vintage gear. in fact, a huge part of my setup consists of vintage gear.

that, being said, of course not every "old" piece of gear is cool due to the fact that it's "old". and any vintage gear that hasn't been well maintained, can be a real pain in the a**.
Old 24th May 2006
  #6
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
I mean, has technology not progressed?
People follow trends. Years ago we threw tube equipment in the dumpster to replace with solid-state. And when IC's appeared, was trendy to get huge consoles full of 'em, and dump the old ones. So, has technology not progressed? ..well, if you like the taste of Tasty Wheat, then I guess it has. But technically, you've never tasted Tasty Wheat.
Old 24th May 2006
  #7
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andre tchmil's Avatar
 

Making a Telefunken V76 today , same quality , mechanically and electronics,
What do you think it would cost ? heh
Old 24th May 2006
  #8
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Personally I don't like vintage gear
I like 80's gear like focusrite, DBX, Lexicon, AMS , eventide
valley People etc...

I only own one vintage preamp a neve 1066. Most Vintage gear sounds sloppy
to me
Old 24th May 2006
  #9
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So, due to your replies, I suppose it certainly is possible for current gear to be as good as or "better" than vintage gear?

I have been thinking about the whole vintage thing lately. About how there might never be bands as legendary as Zepplin or Floyd. Why....is it the music they played or just the time they happen to come up in? Or maybe its a trail blazing thing..... Maybe thats why the new *insert new boutique piece here* will never be quite as sweet as *insert sweet old vintage piece here*. Same thing with game systems. Sure Halo is fun, but will I really ever beat waking up on Sunday morning and popping in some damn Legend of Zelda or Mario?

That said, I really don't know a damn thing about making gear or vintage gear in general and was really just curious and decided to type it in.
Old 24th May 2006
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Many people's ideas about what recorded music is supposed to sound like are based on the records they listened to a lot or that were popular. These records formed our opinions about e.g. how should drums sound? How should the singer sound? The equipment and processes used to achieve those sounds are not objectively "better" or "worse" on the whole, they are just "what was done at the time", and therefore to recreate the sounds we've come to know as "good", the older vintage equipment can be used to achieve those sounds more easily.

I think it depends on what we grew up with. Personally, I hate the sound of 60s/70s records, especially the hallowed Led Zepplin or The Police drums. I grew up on 80s metal, and to me, lo-fi stuff just sound crappy, and heavily produced/processed (and yes "loud") just sounds better, because it sounds like the music I first heard.
Old 24th May 2006
  #11
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Well, what's missing in newer gear is a thing called "presence". This is where when you listen to the instrument, it sounds like it's actually the instrument, a warm rich sound, that is missing in a lot of newer gear. Not all old gear is great, but some is. Along with that old gear also came vacuum tubes which would burn out occassionaly, and would need to be replaced. Another thing was the speakers of the old days, some would have a 90 volt circuit going to them. We remember the warm rich sound, but forget the hiss, pops, crackles, that also came along with that stuff. True many of the components were of better quality, and over the years, have become cheaper due to customer demand. Which would you rather pay, $10 for a resistor or $ 1.00 ??

The costs of making components rises with inflation, so to reproduce and older design will cost more today than it did way back when, but are you willing to pay ??

So the compromise is cheaper components, cheaper sound in some cases.

The bright side is that there has been some new developements in circuit design, so the newer equipment can do a lot more than some older stuff. 30 years ago, most musicians didn't even now what a compressor was, although it's a basic thing today.
Old 24th May 2006
  #12
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allencollins's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbm
So, due to your replies, I suppose it certainly is possible for current gear to be as good as or "better" than vintage gear?

I have been thinking about the whole vintage thing lately. About how there might never be bands as legendary as Zepplin or Floyd. Why....is it the music they played or just the time they happen to come up in? Or maybe its a trail blazing thing..... Maybe thats why the new *insert new boutique piece here* will never be quite as sweet as *insert sweet old vintage piece here*. Same thing with game systems. Sure Halo is fun, but will I really ever beat waking up on Sunday morning and popping in some damn Legend of Zelda or Mario?

That said, I really don't know a damn thing about making gear or vintage gear in general and was really just curious and decided to type it in.
Go with what you or your customers like. I love Zeppelin's recordings but those guys could have recorded on a boom box and it would be great. Personally I always thought floyds production was weak. The drummer hit like a school girl some of the stuff wasn't mixed all that great.

I always thought bands like Kansas, RUSH and Boston had the best production from the
70's. But it's all what you like. Don't get sucked in by peoples opinons here or anywhere.

Listen to what people recommend and then check it out to decide for yourself what's best for you and your studio.

I think the best production was in the early 80s like 1981 to 1984
The drums sounds from that era are natural and huge and it's before reverb
and 'over' compression got silly

Now everything is sterile and overcompressed and the mixes are overlimited
I haven't heard one record come out in the last 10 years I thought sounded good. Maybe it's the gear or maybe the Bands and producers su$k
Old 24th May 2006
  #13
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbm
So, due to your replies, I suppose it certainly is possible for current gear to be as good as or "better" than vintage gear?
sure it's possible. vintage isn't necessarily = to quality, as people like fletcher have often said. but the good stuff stands the test of time, no matter when it's made.

i agree with airmate that in the old days pro stuff was usually 'pro' quality, but i also think there are plenty of people making great stuff now. fact is, there are more choices now than ever. i usually opt for vintage stuff because it looks cool and i think it's more likely to hold it's value, but there are new things i've bought that i'm just as happy with. and some of those 'new' things are now considered vintage!
Old 24th May 2006
  #14
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier
People follow trends. Years ago we threw tube equipment in the dumpster to replace with solid-state. And when IC's appeared, was trendy to get huge consoles full of 'em, and dump the old ones. So, has technology not progressed? ..well, if you like the taste of Tasty Wheat, then I guess it has. But technically, you've never tasted Tasty Wheat.
well said
Old 25th May 2006
  #15
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I landed a pair of early vintage AKG 451 EB mics with CK-1 capsules. Serial numbers in the 2000 area.

Makes my KM184's sound like cheap plastic. And makes the new 451B mics sound even worse.

Bottom line, these vintage mics own all.
Old 25th May 2006
  #16
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Push845's Avatar
 

Ditto to all...I Am fortunate enough to have decided where I wanted to be as a studio owner/engineer/Producer. I find that real hardware is exactly what you get. I still don't get the concept of "Plug-ins". To me...that's mental masturbation to buy "virtually" and still pretend it is the hardware your looking for. Now with that said....that is only MY opinion on what I prefer...To each his own...
Old 25th May 2006
  #17
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by andre tchmil
Making a Telefunken V76 today , same quality , mechanically and electronics,
What do you think it would cost ? heh
I think this, and a lot of the materials would be considered toxic today.
Old 25th May 2006
  #18
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wayne mox
I landed a pair of early vintage AKG 451 EB mics with CK-1 capsules. Serial numbers in the 2000 area.

Makes my KM184's sound like cheap plastic. And makes the new 451B mics sound even worse.

Bottom line, these vintage mics own all.
There are many modern mics (shoeps, DPA, Gefell...) that will make a vintage 451 sound like a cheap chinese immitation. Just because a manufacturer desided to cheapen the line in order to maximize profits and cash in on a "vintage" hype does not mean there are no modern manufactured mics which are better then any vintage bit of gear.
Do you believe that given a chandler LTD1 ( which is much cheaper then a neve ever been) the old records would have sounded any worst? The reason the old equipment is so expensive today is not because it is better (there is a lot more manufactured today with much higher quality control, better components which were simply unawailable in the past....) is because the collectors market has gotten out of control . I have seen Gibson LP'59 go for over $200k. That is utterly ridiculous. But it does not mean they are better then a new customshop Gibson. I have played my share of the old ones and own a few of the current crop and the new guitars a way, waay better.
You guys are buying into the hype. Modern equipment is heaps better, more reliable and has a WARRANTY. You just have to choose the good staff. Not a Neve/API/...immitation (driven by companies trying to cash in) but gear which suits you vision of sound.

Just an opinion

Yuri
Old 25th May 2006
  #19
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Yuri, I'm not buying into any hype. There is currently no small condensor mic you can buy brand new today that will equal the sound of a vintage pair of good sounding 451's with CK1. I know because I've tried them pretty much all of em.

Of course this is just on acoustic guitar. There's no way I or anyone can make a blanket statement concerning all gear. There may be some new mics that do certain things better than vintage, and vice versa.

I also own several vintage Neumann mics as well as some of the newer models. It's safe to say the older Neumann's really have something the newer ones don't. In some cases it may be the addition of transformers (KM84 versus KM184), or in other cases in may just be the type of mic which cannot be reproduced, (KM86, is there any equivalent).
Old 25th May 2006
  #20
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synthoid's Avatar
 

There's *so* much more emphasis on digital design among electrical engineers these days (in practice and in training). Take a look at EETimes.com and see how many articles you find on analog circuitry vs. digital. I talk to guys who worked with last-generation analog circuitry pretty regularly, and I think there was a lot of common knowledge a generation ago that is not common knowledge among EEs today... This matters a lot in audio where analog circuitry still plays a critical role.

-synthoid
Old 25th May 2006
  #21
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Yuri Kogan's Avatar
 

Wayne, We have the vintage 451's in the inventory. We also have gefell, shoeps, sennheiser (MKH), violet and a few other SDs. In my opinion the 451 would be the last mic we would go for given others are available . I even prefer the SE3. But this of course does not take into account your vision and what sound you are after. By the way a lot of the older mics have been modded, or "improved", yours could be a successful mod.

Unfortunately Neumann went downhill since being taken over by sennheiser. That however does not mean that there arent many new mics which are as good or way better. As an example our Wagner u47's eat our vintage u47 for breakfast. The brauner VM1's are superb. The gefells arent too bad. I am not a fan of Soundelux but many find them very suitable. there are many other alternatives.

When you get a vintage peace of gear you unfortunately inherit all the problems like mods done by previous owners, part needed replacement but out of production, mics which were in moist environment and the capsules damaged as a result, pvc capsules which need to be retensioned and never sound the same, nikel capsules which are impossible to recreate...... What you want is a good sounding, reliable equipment which will be warrantied, suitably priced and work day in day out. There are many alternatives available to you today. You do not have to go vintage. But the option is still open of course.

Yuri
Old 25th May 2006
  #22
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vernier's Avatar
I finally got rid of all the solid-state gear.
Old 25th May 2006
  #23
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Gregg Sartiano's Avatar
 

It's probably simple economics. Even old NON -vintage gear used to cost $$$, but there was an economic infrastructure within the music industry which supported development and production -- think about what a DX-7 cost then in REAL (cost-adjusted) dollars and what it would cost now. Then think of the cost of a Synclavier...

Then remember that bearing these costs (or studio rental fees, which have REMAINED THE SAME despite a generation and a half of inflation)

...was the ONLY GAME IN TOWN if you were making a serious recording.

I mean, wasn't there some two year tax loophole for two years ('76-'78?) which allowed gear pimps to justify high-end studio purchases as tax-effective for the super-high-income crowd?

When's the last time somebody YOU know said, "we've got to build the best studio no matter WHAT it costs!" ?!?
Old 25th May 2006
  #24
Gear Addict
 
Jeff A. Roberts's Avatar
 

"The Gear Cycle".

1. Newest, greatest, state of the art

2. Ubiquitous, everyone has one or wants one

3. Market moves on to next newest, greatest, thing

4. Prices drop

5. Can't give 'em away

6. Many pieces junked and scrapped

7. Becomes rare

8. Used on a big selling project

9. People start to miss it

10. Buzz on the internet

11. Prices start to rise

12. And now it's rare, vintage, gear!!!!!

Or junk.
Old 25th May 2006
  #25
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Gregg Sartiano's Avatar
 

Better start snapping up 80's dayglo San Dimas-era Jackson guitars...
Old 25th May 2006
  #26
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
I think the best production was in the early 80s like 1981 to 1984
Actually, that era was worst. Digital in it's infancy (yuk), synth bass (boring), over-use of digital verbs, early sampled drums (limp) ..and everything through IC's (i.e. skinny sounding tracks). Cocktail music is what came from that era. heh
Old 25th May 2006
  #27
Gear Nut
 

Distressor, Fatso, Shadow Hills stuff...

Sherman Filterbank and a whole folder of plugins for soundmangling...

Huge sounding, uber-tweakable synths like the virus and poly evolver...

Call me odd, but I don't see what's so bad about modern stuff.
Old 25th May 2006
  #28
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Cojo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier
Actually, that era was worst. Digital in it's infancy (yuk), synth bass (boring), over-use of digital verbs, early sampled drums (limp) ..and everything through IC's (i.e. skinny sounding tracks). Cocktail music is what came from that era. heh
Just from my memory, here is som good records from that era:

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams
Kim Wilde - Kim Wilde
Depeche Mode - Speak & Spell
Yazoo - Upstairs at Eric's
Yazoo - You and Me Both

No sampling, No bad reverbs and no boring synths!

/Cojo
Old 25th May 2006
  #29
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I think there were always good and bad tools no matter which decade.
I think today there are good and bad records, done either with or without vintage gear.
I think at the end it's all about some strong creative heads... they are always rare, no matter which decade.

Andreas
Old 25th May 2006
  #30
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Cojo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas G
I think there were always good and bad tools no matter which decade.
I think today there are good and bad records, done either with or without vintage gear.
I think at the end it's all about some strong creative heads... they are always rare, no matter which decade.

Andreas
So true!

/Cojo
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