Buy new integrated or vintage?

Hi Group,
Hoping to get a few thoughts on the buying of new or "vintage gear". Newcomer here so apologies if this is a haggard question. I have been looking for over a year now for a well built 2 channel integrated and have even sent a few back that I have been dissapointed with. Looking in the under a grand range. Its amazing that I keep getting side tracked into older used gear because it looks so much better built. I am coming from a 25 year old Sony ES integrated which has been an amazing value and trouble free. Should I replace filter caps and a cranky Alps "blue" pot and call it a day? I would appreciate any thoughts from those who have waffled over this situation.
Thanks, Smitty
If you like you current integrated, and are searching for another' as good', then by all means get the one you have fixed.
Save yourself the problem of loking for the same one all over again.
(Or, just watch for another of the same one you own. it could take awhile, but then you would have a spare.)
hey man there's what appears to be a bangin Marantz integrated on *new 2 days* RIGHT NOW for 150.00! with upgrades. WELL WORTH IT i am certain. (dec 14, 2010)

for my own money, there are a LOT of options out there on the vintage market, but it doesn't seem as tho this is the place to get a lot of support for such things. you really have to know what you want. in your case, there are vintage integrated amps all over the place. i'd be wary of some but on others, you just can't go wrong. some that will always hold some interest are the 70s Marantz for example, also look at Sansuis.

i was warned off some older amps that either nobody wants to work on or that might not be of interest to others if you want to re-sell. some problems might be leaky caps, for example. look closely, ask the right questions and do your homework and you should be OK. not all brands that were considered *high end* back in their day have any real cred now, bear that in mind as you search... but others are still considered to be worthy. you have to remember that the modern stuff is really hot, if not expensive- but that's the comparison base for a lot of folks here at A-gon.

one thing i WILL say about the folks here is that they are VERY helpful, knowledgeable and friendly, also very honest. this is great for neophytes and newbs. ask up front so you won't be disappointed in the end.

good luck to you!

What sound are you looking for, fast, clean and airy, warm, sweet and dimensional, lots of Pace Rhythm and timing, etc?

This should be more important than new versus old.

One comment, I find many of the vintage Japanese amps from the seventies to be a little bright and glossy sounding, at least thirtyfive years hence.

Two suggestions for solid state amps used: the Naim Nait or Portal Panache. Both very good.
Thanks for your thoughts. I am a professional musician and owner of a small project studio. I have also worked in live sound reinforcement for years, so I am familar with accurate sound reproduction. The reason for my question was one more concerned with build quality. It seems good integrated amps from years passed had beefy power supplies, chassis and in my opinon, better esthetic (metal knobs switches etc). Now it could be I am a bit of a relic of a passed era but much that I have looked at (esoteric exotica excluded) in the Grand and under catagory looks like a step back. Is this the case and I should just get over it or am I missing something?
On the technical end, other than the power supply are there things to be concerned with when purchasing an older amp?
If you're looking for great build, longetivity, excellent customer support, and accurate sound, Bryston should be at the top of your list IMO. Owning a small project studio, you may have heard the name before, as they're a very popular studio and audiophile brand.

I own a B60, so I can tell you it's built like a tank. Solid metal chassis, tight knobs, etc. It's a true dual mono amp - it uses one power transformer for each channel, and on and on. And it sounds phenominal IMO. Very transparent and musical sounding.

The B60 integrated can be found within your budget. There's one currently listed for $725 - no connection to the seller.

Bryston has a 20 year transferrable warranty, and when that expires, they'll fix anything they've ever made for a great price.

The Naim Nait is also a great integrated amp. If it weren't for the B60, that's the amp I'd own.

Not sure what speakers you're driving nor how big the room is. The B60 is 60 watts, and the Nait is 50. From my experience with both, they can drive any realistic speaker to realistic volumes in normal sized rooms. My B60 can drive my Audio Physic Yara bookshelves louder than I can for them too withough straining. If you're looking to drive something like a Totem Mani-2 in a big room to rock concert levels, they're not going to get the job done.
I think I understand what you like: Old school build quality or "Beefiness" e.g., robust parts made of metal and chosen for their operational and structural integrity that easily exceeds any demands that will be placed upon them through normal and probably even excessive use. I'd be surprised if you could find that in a new component for under, or anywhere near, a grand nowadays.

One guy who shares your values is Andy from "Vintage Tube Services". He might be willing to advise you if you give him a call.

For my part, I wouldn't go too vintage unless I had a good tech who I trusted.
are you looking to power your studio or just looking for a replacement for the house? if for the house, seriously, i'd look to see if that Marantz i mentioned yesterday is still there, for a buck fifty, bro. and like someone else said, i am no relation to the seller...
Arte Forma Audio Susan with remote controlled Dual lightspeed attenuators would be very high on my list of Integrated amps to try out! The only other Integrated amp that uses these lightspeed attenuators for a volume control is DartZeel and they are over $20,000 !! The Arte Forma amp is only $$1395 ! The lightspeed passive attenuator preamp are one of the best you can buy and from what I heard on the forums they sound alot better after you put them inside of a amp! I found out about this Arte Forma amp here.. They show some pictures of their new Susan model with the Dual lightspeed attenuators at the bottom of this thread.
Bryston is a name I am fimilar with having been in studios where they are the monitor power source. Thanks for the suggestion. My project studio has a Hafler power/monitor/system setup but I am looking for an integrated for a living area apart from the studio. It would however also be used to monitor mixes as well. It's always good to listen to mixes on "consumer grade" equipment as this will be the type of system the majority of listeners will have. I think Phaelon hits the nail on the head with the realization that I can not find the build quality I have without spending a lot more today! It seems however, that 1980 prices are not really relative to todays when electronics generally have gotten cheaper. My guess is supply and demand for two channel stereo is relativly small as apposed to flat screen TV's and I Pods.

Thanks for your suggestions, this is a great forum and feel fourtunate to have found it. I will be hanging around checking on gear for sale and probably asking a few more questions.

Which amps did you send back?
You might very well be able to score a used Anthem 225 for around $1K or so, and that is one heck of a great integrated amp. Tremendous value, and built like a tank.
I sent back a Yamaha A S700 which I was less than impressed with. It seemed like a step backwards from my 30 year old Sony ES. I also sent back the Onkyo a-9555 which I was very dissapointed with, given all the reviews and hype generated by this amp. I would have chosen the Yamaha over the Onkyo easily. In defense of the Onkyo, it was an inexpensive amp, I took the chance, foolishly fooled by all the hoopla!

The Anthem looks interesting, certainly has the look of a well made unit. Thanks for the tip.

Smitty - Anthems punch well above their weight class. One system in our home is a hybrid 2-channel/HT. The Anthem Statement A5 amplifier does double duty, and it is more than good enough to not be sonically embarrassed by the 2-channel gear, which consists of an ARC Ref-3, ARC PH7, Well Tempered Amadeus, McIntosh MCD500, Verity Fidelio Encores, and a Rel B2. When I first set this system up, I initially thought that the Anthem would not be able to hold its own with the other higher priced gear. But after a couple of months of listening, I realized that the A5, just like the Anthem 225, is another example of great sonic value. And Anthem (Sonic Frontiers) provides great customer service.
There is an NAD C375BEE on Agon right now for under a grand. This is plenty "beefy" with a conservative 150W per channel into 8ohms. A very nice sounding amp at this price. Sophistication of design far exceeds most of the big name solid state stuff from the 70's.

Other nice options at or below $1K:

Musical Fidelity A-1 class
Cambridge Audio 840A v2
Blue Circle CS (hand wired quality)
Kent Johnson of Positive-Feedback Online is doing a review on the Arte Forma Audio I-150 Integrated amp, this is last years model without the dual lightspeed attenuators... I'm hopping Kent will do a review on the Arte Forma Audio Susan model with the lightspeed attenuators next!
I have to agree with Knownothing's suggestion of the NAD C375BEE integrated. Very difficult to duplicate it's performance for such a reasonable amount of $$$. More powerful than ratings suggest with tons of punch and detail.

I am very surprized that no one has snatched this up. You want build quality, this 52+ pound beast has it. I wanted it but the wife put the brakes on me adding to my hobby(obsession) for a little while.

Thanks for the suggestions. Looks as if spending around a grand has opened a new can of worms, no shortage of nice looking integrateds to look into. Quick , easy decisions, have never been my strong point and I am sure I will spend too much time looking instead of enjoying a well thought out purchase. How do you all do it!!

I do a lot of research and then impulse buy when good deals and finances align.
"I do a lot of research and then impulse buy when good deals and finances align."

Me too. I knew that I should have patented it.
Funny, so do I. I spend all that time investigating the object and then, still torture myself about the purchase!
I have a sony 500ES and just put it up on the bench,noisy selector and phono switch.I looked real close and got some deoxit faderlube and gold sprayed in,trouble gone,nice and quiet.As for sound quality according to mine you would do better getting another amp,that's comparing it to my yamaha 3090 and bryston B100.But my 500ES has MC and MM phono input and a lot of cool features.I've been using it on my economy rack.My bryston is a whole new world but the price.I really don't need my Es anymore and am thinking of selling it,it's a well built unit.
Michael Gill (North American distributor for Arte Forma) is shipping one of the lightspeed version I-150 "Susan" integrated amps to me (should arrive 1/24/11). I'll be posting impressions on Audio Circle.
Does the I-150 "Susan" integrated have input select on the remote or just volume control?
Audiojlm, can you post the link to your review here when it is ready? Thanks.
I'd have the Sony recapped and cleaned. You might inquire over on Audiokarma, where vintage gear is king. I've got some 35-yr-old Kenwood Supreme vintage gear, all recapped by a tech over there named "Echowars." Highly recommended.