I tried to get an insight in what is considered aged components in a pre amp. I look at a pre which is between 10-15 years old. Personally i kind of feel this is close to a no go. I get conflicting information with regards to service and age. Do we have any members here who could actually teach me something regarding components and age?
a pre which is between
10-15 years old. Personally i kind of feel this is close to a no go. I
get conflicting information with regards to service and age ...
It depends. There are components from companies such as ARC or Mac that are readily serviceable and that will last essentially a lifetime. There are also standard-grade consumer electronics that's junk the day after the warranty expires.
Yes - totally depends on the brand. I personally would not buy a component that old, but before buying any expensive used item I would contact someone who does service on those units and ask them whether the units can still be serviced. You can add Naim to the list of companies that service their components virtually forever.
Bryson, Mcintosh, Cary, ARC, CJ, VTL (tongue in cheek), Krell, Pass, Decware and a FEW more, ALL require cleaning and maintenance.
I have never had any issues with any of the manufactures other than VTL, it wasn't a service issue, it was an information issue. They have some of the fastest turn around times in the business actually.
I have Macs over 60 years old, Carys over 30, CJ over 30, VTL over 30, Bryson over 25, Pass designs (20-35) Threshold and Adcom, Decware over 10 years old.
I've serviced or had all the rest serviced. They all function as they should.
Honestly, 10 year old gear is just broke-in, in most cases. SOME people actually use their gear all the time, MOST don't.
Preamps don't generate a lot of heat unless they are tube. I would not buy a used tube anything and I can repair just about all audio equipment. Bryston is an excellent audio manufacturer and they have a great warranty.
Worst case scenario in a pre-amp or other line level device is very different than the worst case scenario in an amp.
With a PRE or DAC, for instance, worst case scenario is usually replacing bad caps. If your power supply caps on an amp fail, or the coupling caps near the output stages, etc. then you can get into a lot of expensive repairs, and if they used proprietary output transistors which are no longer made this could mean the end of the amp.
I have a CAT SL1 Signature preamp that I have been using every day for the past 28 years. Couple of years ago I measured the caps and all were to spec for micofarads and ESR.
So the answer is... it depends. But for the most part, preamps do not generate heat so the components spend their lives in their design 25C ambient air temperature, which makes them very relaxed and stress-free.
Before you buy an old preamp (or any other piece of equipment) one big concern is that some parts may no longer be manufactured. Toshiba had a lot of good transistors and current source jfets in the 80's and 90's that were retired in the early 2000's. So be careful poking around inside -- damage one of those semis and it cannot be replaced.
I have a question that may pertain to this post....If an older component has been dormant for a long time (maybe years) and not used, would that stop the maintenance/repair clock from ticking? I'm talking about electronic components such as caps, tubes, etc. Certainly there are items such as foam surrounds of some speakers that deteriorate with age regardless of use but does that hold true for electronics?
I buy mostly used gear downstream of my source components. If you are technically inclined, its not a big deal. If you are the type to wig out when a unit isnt perfect, keep it to1-5 years old. For mid-fi to high end, almost all equipment using standard electrolytic caps from 1990’s onwards are good to go. Just do a function test. Recaps from this period is seldom necessary as the quality of components dont fail like 80’s and earlier.
For units using paper and oil caps, I’d factor in that these may fail 10 years onwards. The neon green Jensen caps are really bad at this. I’d still buy it if I had a technician I can rely on handy. The caps cost any where from 25-75 bucks a pop, give or take. I’d still buy an old Audio Note amp if a good deal came my way.
I would not hesitate to buy an old turntable using the same rules.
My one exception is that I would avoid 90’s Audio Research tube power amps like the plague. Some of these fail over and over.
For digital, Im always looking at new or a couple of years old. I havent shopped for a disc transport.
I selectively bought some of Yamaha’s best equipment made. Serviced cleaned if needed and all in service without failure for 10+ years. I’ve two rooms using some duplicate equipment. If it’s reputable solid and top-of-the-line it will work better than most out there today. Top performing for a fraction of the price works for me !
In a backup system, I’m using a concept 4.5D receiver as a pre-amp. It was manufactured new, if memory serves, during the Carter administration. The unit works just dandy, as a preamp. The amplifier section takes a while to “warm up.” All original everything. Everyone’s different, but 10-15 years doesn’t scare this fella in the least.
Add it all up, certainly best to buy brand new with warranty and live with it forever. If your going to spend it money on used anything then have it serviced well that could add up to a brand new piece 😏 I guess add it up whatever your willing to spend..
I don’t understand all this hard and fast ’if it’s over 10 years old don’t buy it’ nonsense. Same for the people who are so completely sure that their new equipment, by virtue of its new engineering, is light years ahead of, let’s say for sake of argument, a fantastic, top of the line late ’90s/early ’00’s setup. In fact, as a benchmark, I rarely come across the thrill of capturing how good early Levinson sounded or Maggie 3.6's or the breathtaking magic of a Pass Aleph 3- for all the engineering evolution that gets touted by the new salesman who have some goods to sell and ads to place.
Depends on the manufacturer. Companies like Dynaco and Hafler seem timeless.
I built a Halfer DH-101 and DH-200 in college almost 40 years ago and they still work great. Built like a tank. I've since moved up the food chain, but did use them for many years as my main system, and have kept them for sentimental reasons.
Would it be absurd to send an amp that I don’t have any particular complaints about back to the factory for a refresh? My CODA-built amp is from the late 90’s/early 2000’s and I’ve been toying with the idea, wondering if maybe I couldn’t be getting more out of it.
I have a Denon integrated amp in my second system from the mid-80s (still working) but some of the lights were burned out and I had some static noise on the volume control. I found a certified Denon service shop about 2 hours away from my home. I started with searching on the Denon website and they listed certified service shops in my state. It was pretty easy for me.
if its a quality piece,and in good condition, it can go for 40-50- years! The one exception is electrolytic capacitors which can be replaced,and ought to at about 30 years (for top notch high end stuff, sooner for cheaper stuff). Maybe some switches, but again most high end stuff ought to be sealed. Over 40 years the pots etc may NOT be sealed tho - now we're in the realm of obsolete. Tubes may be a different story both for the tubes themselves, the voltages inside and the results of both.
A preamp is typically both lower n cost and parts to re-cap.
BTW i am an EE, consulting/research engineer in my real field, and sideline audio designer with 100s of products out there, most 25-35 years old. So i have far more data points than most opinions are backed by.
Does old stuff break? Sure. Lightning, overheating, poor care, bad luck, under-specified part.
I forgot to mention, my Fisher 80Z 30wpc Tube Mono Blocks, made in 1958. Let's see, ... 63 years old, only 10 years younger than me.
Checked a few times since I inherited them in 1973. A few resistors, that's it. Surprised me. They sound great. In any SS/Tube comparison, they were the winner. Had a scary smelly 'puff' once, turned out to be a big fat spider got fried inside.
I bought a spare 80z, just to have the transformers which I imagine would be impossible to find. Spare parts should be part of the plan for very old stuff, I have a full set of my speaker's drivers, also made in 1958. Replaced the cones in the 15" woofers 3 times over the years, learned how to do it myself. Put in the spare, back to listening in an hour, replace the cone whenever, ready for the next cycle.
My existing Cayin tube amp sounds great with some remote features I occasionally use, and they are 45 wpc, not much more, but for Inna Gadda Da Vida ...
I should dig the Fishers out and have a listen compared to the Cayin just in memory of my Uncle. My friend has a variac.
For front ends, here in Cali, a well known outfit is George Meyer AV in the Los Angeles area; I seem to recall they are an authorized Mark Levinson, and Krell repair center. As for other service centers, a good reference is on the V-Cap website, seller of high end audio grade capacitors, where people write about their experiences, and there, writers post the name of the service provider who performed the re-capping service. And then of course, this forum... :)
McIntosh lasts a lifetime. I have purchased my main amp MC500 used from 1999, no issues. Others can be restored easily but if it’s within 20 years I wouldn’t worry with Mac and others like arc, Bryson.
I asked a dealer now, he says 10 year + units and you need to counterweight they would need atleast a see through service sooner than later. I think it seems reasonable that dust etc can be needed to cleaned out. Well, that is pretty much what i figured.
My Audio Research SP10 is iconic and 1983. Only re-valved.
My Krell KRS200 References are from 1985. Fully rebuilt once, mostly just new capacitors.
Both coming for 40 years old.
I am still getting great sound from both. Truthfully there has not been much advance in amplifier design since the 1980s, whatever today's designers try to tell you. This is mature tech.
And they've long since paid off what I laid down for them. Indeed, they're now worth more than I paid. So, free high-end listening from top-ranking vintage amps by top designers who were honest then. Don't listen to posts saying 'buy young'.
My Simon Yorke S10 with Aeroarm is 2008 and still state of the art. It will run forever. I just add a few drops of oil to the bearing once a year. Simon's previous S7 was Fremer's reference for 8 years. My Aeroarm is one of only five customer pieces and a huge improvement on the pivoted S7 arm Fremer had - that he changed for a Graham, I recall.
Don't buy the current spew of blingy, trophy chrome-plated turntables. Buy properly thought out engineering at a tenth of the price. Nothing wrong with vintage Garrards, Thorens etc either.
And @rird... If you ask a dealer about old equipment, what's he going to make out of it ?? He wants to sell you new stuff, at the biggest bucks he can persuade you to shell out.
I had issues with an older PMC active speaker, my ex Wadia 381 (repaired), my Krell KPS 25sc (repair and expensive as hell). So i have had my share of experiences. That Wadia cost about 1200 usd to repair and Krell device about 3000 usd.
I have had many pieces of used high end gear over the last 50 years. The only one needing repair was my tubed Sonic Frontier CD Player that would have the CD transport go out every few years (I bought that new). That is it. All others, some 30 years old by the time I traded them in had a problem.
+1 for Dynaco and Hafler. David was quite the amp engineer. My 51 year old Hafler DH-220 sounds sounds so right after Musical Concepts brought it up to modern specs on 12/31/1989, Then three months ago it was literally rebuilt, meaning very little original remained. I was nervous when it was being rebuilt for the second time.... wondering if it will still sound original (as close to tubes as you can get with MOSFETS.) Break in day.... OMG! It's ruined! A month later it is like it used to be but deeper bass, more guts, sweeter sounding mids and hi's.....