Experience bringing older gear up to date ARC, CJ

If you've been into audio for a while, and have pleasant memories of some of the older tube gear (as I do for the ARC D-76a and SP8, or the CJ Premier 2 or MV-75a), you can't help but wonder what it would be like to bring some of that gear back to life, with various parts updated and upgraded, or maybe just replaced (to better keep the old sound?). A key issue would be reliability, particularly with amps, I would think. (I managed to blow up a few back in the 80's--I don't know how much of it might have been related to parts issues, design, or just my own stupidity.) Also, I got the sense, especially in the late 80's, that the tube gear manufacturers might have been fighting a little too hard to get a little too much out of the highs, with not entirely pleasant results. Maybe upgrades would flesh that out.

I'm wondering who's had experience with the "good ol' stuff" brought into the 21st century, and how it's worked out?
If that is what you are into you need to contact

Bill Thalman at Music Technology who was a former Engineer with C-J. Also may want to contact Great Northern Sound. I belive he does mods to ARC products.


Chuck, thank you. I've worked with GNSC (and Steve Huntley is excellent), and I'm now working with Bill Thalmann, but all of this has been on (relatively) newer gear. The only pre-90's piece I'm working with is an ARC SP8, which is still in process. I'm just curious to hear from people who've gone back to the 80's gear and made it usable. As noted, I'm particularly interested in reports about reliability (not to mention what the stuff sounds like in comparison to what we have nowdays).
Bill Thalman @ Music Technology did a super job with my ARC D-79 including upgrading the large capacitor bank with new caps from ARC.
He's the best.
Rgurney - Thanks - questions: How do you like the sound, compared to more current models (to the extent you've compared), and how is reliability?

Bob & Gary Backert, at RHB Sound Dezign did a fantastic job on my 15 year old CJ PV-12 preamp. www.rhbsounddezign.com
If you liked a D-76A or a SP-8 when they were new but you then change parts - even to "upgrade" to parts that are supposedly superior in some respect you might find that the sound that you liked with the original product is no longer what you will hear. It's my experience that that changing parts from the authentic design is a roll of the dice and the chances of achieving a better overall sound on the first (or second) roll is slim. I'd be more inclined to find an excellent vintage product in very good condition and replace any fatigued parts with exact replacements - which might or might not be possible - but if you could put all-time classics back to their original condition I think you would have a better result in most cases than twisting the dials on a few variables and hoping for a good result. YMMV
Hi_hifi - That's an absolutely fair comment--there is certainly a risk to "upgrading" older equipment. I wouldn't do it myself. To the extent I've done it, I've looked for people who seem to know the products involved really well, and put the job in their hands, let their judgment be in charge, and crossed my fingers.

Sometimes I've wished I could step into a time machine and go back 20 years and hear, with my ears today, the equipment I liked 20 years ago. I guess, in truth, I doubt that I would be so pleased with it, unless there had been some effective "upgrading". But I haven't really heard much of that equipment in stock form, it's true...although I have heard some of it, because it's still in the family. And, as I think about it, some of it I've still liked.
2xARC Classic 120's. 2xARC Classic 150's.Modified with Pabst motoren,Germany, type 4840n fans, hard wired mains cables & G.E. 6550A valves.
Started off mods to get rid of noisey fans, did some tube rolling and was lucky find enough NOS G.E. 6550A valves to bring these amps back to life.
Sweet music!