I have the following vintage equipment,which is definitely amongst the best sounding equipment:
Thorens TD-124/SME 3012 turntable
Fisher 400-CX-2 preamp
Leak TL12.1 amp
Fisher KM-60 tuner
used to have QUAD ESL57s.
There are people who prefer the sound of good vintage equipment over anything made today.
If it sounds highend it is highend
Having owned Fisher gear of this vintage (and listened to Leak gear of the same era), my recollection is that it's pretty "colored" by today's more neutral standard for high-end gear. That does not mean it's not very pleasant -- just not terribly accurate. But the bottom line is: do you enjoy what you're hearing? If so, stay with what you already own. If you have not had the preamp/amp/tuner reconditioned by someone who's well qualified, it might be worth the money to have the key components upgraded. Over time, components such as capacitors, transformers, etc., decline in performance.
Raytheprinter's right, it's what it does, not what it cost or how old it is. After all would we still be using old gear, if it wasn't any good?
My opinion is that the short answer is yes. I have listened to the Braun L-810 loudspeaker since the 70's and in many respects (IMHO) they compete well with good quality gear manufactured recently. The Braun L-810's were the prototype/model for the ADS speaker of the same designation. However, I remember the dealer at the time telling me that the drivers in the Brauns were superior to those in the ADS (I certainly do recall the price was significantly higher). The drivers truly are exceptional. Easily heard as superior to 2 very well known similarly sized higher-fi speakers of recent vintage, which actually sounded quite good themselves. The downside: not the last word in bottom octave extension, and their physical appearance (plain white box with aluminum grill) doesn't have the highest WAF factor ever achieved. This is a sincere evaluation of a product I've used happily for many, many years. However, in the interest in full disclosure I'll state that I'll be selling both my pairs of L-810s here on Audiogon soon, as I recently took delivery of a pair of Silverline Boleros. Thanks to all participants, Happy New Year, and good listening.
the age dont really matter it's how the gear was built to begin with,i actually prefer vintage speakers over most newer model's,i think speaker builder's/designer's have lost their way in the last 20 year's or so.
Bought some small Electro-voice spks. for my dad which were made in the 60's and I was suprised to hear how good they sounded. The ADS L-500's from the 70's are a fantastic 2-way spk. I remember the Braun loudspeakers. Sold audio equip. many yrs. ago and I remember the Braun's were superb sounding.
Humm, Quad ESL57's and 63's can be some of the most pleasing speakers I've ever hear when used within their limitations. I guess that makes them high-end, even by todays standards.
If it was designed well to begin with (as my HK 730 was), upgrading the caps, transistors and wiring with high quality parts is something many reputable techs do. An LP12 feeds the Hk. There's nothing I've heard recently (that didn't cost a bazillion dollars) I'd trade it for. So much of the "accurate" sound is also dry, analytical and unmusical. Color me vintage.
Absolutely; many audiophiles are still using the older gear (the old Marantz 9 comes to mind). I've been told that the "iron" in the older tube gear is of a much higher quality than what is being used nowadays. The only thing that an older piece may need though is to have the capacitors replaced in the power supply. I disconnected the old leaky caps on my Marantz 8 and replaced them with new 100mF 450V electrolytic caps run in series; made a tremendous sonic improvement.
Have had the pleasure of hearing a 1964 Sansui Tube amp (40 watts or so) driving the Martin Logan CLS effortlessly. The sound to my ears was way superior to a Krell 300i which I heard in the same combo.
I own the Chartwell LS3/5a circa 1979 and when compared with my Kef Reference 2 (main speakers) it beats the crap out of Kef in terms of midrange resolution (where most of the music resides).
So yes, some vintage gear should not be underestimated. However, personal preference plays a very important role in the realms of hifi.
Take a look at the monster Audiogon thread, "Building high-end 'tables cheap at Home Despot" in the Analog section. It concerns rehabilitating and remounting idler-wheel turntables...primarily Lenco, but also Garrard 301/401, Thorens TD-124 and the like. Yes, properly restored and mounted, these are high-end turntables, built before many of us were born. I lusted after the Garrards as a young kid, and now spin records on a 48-year old grease-bearing Garrard 301.
My whole system is vintage and I love it. All of the capacitors have been upgraded and they sound great to me. I can't afford the new stuff, so vintage was my only recourse. But having given it a try, I am well pleased. I have my system listen in budget if you wanna take a look.
It is what you think it is. Who cares what we think. Enjoy it.
Just starting people thinking . I never did care terribly much if people thought my system sounded good or not. I have been consumed by this hobby on and off for years but the term high end only became a common descriptor a few years ago. I personally think it stands for prestigious exclusive and expensive. I am trying to ferret outn what others view this to mean.
Over here in the UK they ran a car programme about the performance of old cars - a certain amount of money to buy an old italian sportscar - £10,000 if I rememeber correctly - so a Lamborghini, Alfa, and Ferrari of dubious vintages were selected (if I remember correctly).
Thedy then humiliated them in a series of performance tests. The overiding thought during this was that it didn't mater how slow they were, they sounded fabulous and they looked fabulous......yes, they broke, but who cares...
I'm sure the analogy crosses over!
Dmurfet, unfortunately your analogy does not 'cross over'. The performance gains claimed by present audio equipment is not nearly as great as the performance gains of automobiles. Apart from most speakers (Quads, Klipsch and a few others, excepted)and phono cartridges, vintage audio equipment is just as viable as present equipment.
PS. My BMW 2002tii, however, could still embarrass some current 'performance' cars!
"Can a vintage piece over 40 years old be Highend?"
I would certainly think so, provided that:
1) It was high end in the first place
2) It has been well maintained and is in pristine condition
3) The end user believes that it is "high end"
I STRONGLY agree with the notion expressed above that "high end" is a designation that should be used for PERFORMANCE, not price. The two tend to be related, but we all know that there are MANY exceptions to this "rule."
Also, I think that it's wise to remember that "newer" isn't always "better". The prototypical example for me at least is the legendary AR 9 speaker. (I never even got to hear it but remember that the AR 90 sounded great at the time, and the AR 9 was said to be even better). Other examples include one of the Parasound preamplifiers (I THINK it may be the PDL 2000, but am NOT certain of the model number) that is no longer made but is entirely class A and is still regarded by at least one of the more senior people at Parasound as the best preamp they ever made. Another example, with which I'll soon be getting my feet wet, is NOS tubes, or so I've been told.
I had heard the AR9 in the 80's and yes they were superb speakers. I also had the pleasure to listening to them very recently and my jaw dropped at the knowledge of what they were capable of. I am saying this is because when I first heard them I was not as knowledgeable as I am today about sound of different speaekers and my memory of them so long ago was faded.
I can also quote other examples like Magneplaner Tympani speakers which were produced long ago and still sound great. Tannoy Gold monitors, LS3/5a's, Nad 3020 amps etc etc.
Except for my Koetsu onyx, all of my equipment is between 30 (Futterman OTL3s, VPI HW 19 MK IV) and 60 (Altec 604Cs) years old. As another post pointed out, it’s good to have caps, etc replaced. About 5 years ago, I had all the caps in my amps, Beard P505 preamp and mastering lab crossovers replaced with Jensen audio grade caps. And the drivers have been re-coned with the Great Plains kit by Gabriel Sound in NJ.
Price is not the best measure of performance, Not is newness. Your ears are part of your “equipment”. No two people hear alike. Go with what sounds right to YOU. Use what others say for guidance only. In the end, trust your gut.
Mine is mostly old stuff too. Refurbished 60s tube amps with good tubes, 60s idler drive turntable and 30 year old cartridge and sweet matched pair of Quad ESLs. Tonearm and phono amp are newer. I haven’t heard a sound as good as it makes at any store or show.