How many use Vintage Hi-Fi systems?

I was wondering, how many here use a Vintage Hi-Fi as their main stereo? Please give details as to your equipment. I use Citation 17 preamp, Citation 16A amplifier, Sony TC-755 reel to reel, Dual 1229 (with Grace 747 tonearm), Nakamichi OMS4 CD player Advent 201A cassette and Definitive Technologies BP10 speakers. I have many audiophile friends who trade up constantly. I bought a system that I enjoy and have kept it. Oh, and I still love it! Friends are floored by how musical it is. Your thoughts please.
I use old gear for vinyl. I mean, have we literally reinvented the wheel over the past couple of years? I hear someone is going to start advertising a turntable as "Now! More round!"
My beloved main system is still my McIntosh MX110 tuner/pre, Mc2505 amp, Linn Lp12 and Klipsch speakers. I'm tempted to try the Cain & Cain Abby speakers, but I'll keep the vintage electronics.
I have 5 systems in 5 rooms, though...I admit to being a bit of a gear wanker.
Those Citation pieces are very, very nice. I had them and always move on...that doesn't necessarily mean "up". I'd get better speakers for your system. That Grace arm is gorgeous too...(had one of those too).
Stringreen, better speakers? Not that there aren't any, there are many. The BP 10s still sing. I have my eye on a pair of Quads, ESL that an audio buddie of mine will be parting with. Properly set up, they are really sweet. And yeah, the Grace arm is gorgeous.
Cafreeman, that is a beloved system. I had some Mac gear, a MA 6100 integrated, then later a C-29 and a MC-2300. I also had an LP 12, but I couldn't walk across the floor when playing a record. (needed a better support)
Nice to see that there are still those enjoying Vintage gear.

Grimace, enlighten me.. what old gear do you use?

Thanks Gentlemen!
I only have 1 current system setup and it is mostly vintage. Why vintage? For me is because I find quality vintage gear much more affordable and still very musically satisfying than new gear in my price range.

A pair of McIntosh MC40s, Conrad Johnson PV10-A, Altec 604-8G Model 17s, Technics SP-25 TT/ATP-12T arm, Denon 103R, Cinemag SUT, Marantz CC65SE CD.

For the cost of the above system, I don't think I could have done better. If I could, I haven't heard it yet.

I am also close to putting together a vintage mono system and have (more than enough) gear to do it, but the amp, preamp need recapped first. I also need a mono cartridge. It will consist of an old 1929 Victor (pre RCA) theatre amp, Brook Model 7 preamp, Electrovoice Georgian factory built speaker, Thorens 150 with SME 3009 arm. I realize this TT/arm/ cart will not be the best match, but it gives me something to start.

There are those of us who can't afford to play in new or lightly used gear, so thankfully there are some great vintage pieces to fill the void in our hobby.
I have a CJ PV5 and MV75 "in process" now, that I hope to receive by the end of the month. I also have an ARC SP8 that had some "upgrades" done, but I decided to push it a little further, and don't have it back yet. My turntable is a 25-year old Linn LP12, and I'm on my second Koetsu Black (although it is relatively new), and I have a 25 year old Koetsu step-up transformer.

In a sense, I suppose you could say that I'm "cheating" because almost all of these pieces have been/are being "updated." So be it--I don't think the basic tonal structure is changing. The irony is that, although these particular CJ and ARC pieces are new to me, they are virtually identical to the gear I used in the 80's...along with the Linn, Koetsu, etc. So I am more or less in the process of recreating the system I used 20-25 years ago...with, I hope, a bit cleaner sound, and perhaps some additional reliability.

Now, all I need is my Dahlquist DQ-10's...
I own old Quad II mono valve amps, the Quad 3 Preamp and the Valve Tuners in the housing of the 3-Series, it is a nice sounding electronic.
I got a Micro Seiki 5000 with FR-Arms and FR cartridge, this is special, very special, I like it very much. But most of the time I listen to a "modern" System.
I have several "vintage" speakers I keep for kicks.. just acquired a pair of circa 1983 KEF 103's I'm going to play with...
I was going to have a vintage system.
My Father-in-law uncovered a Fairchild 255 amp and a 240 preamp in his attic, that his Father had bought, while looking for tubes for me. He mailed it in 3 packages. It was to be our dreamy, glowy, bedroom love system. The preamp arrived, the tubes arrived, ( but they were all dead, probably why it ended up in the attic) and the beautiful, mint, 50's tube amplifier........ went to the bottom of the ocean just off Kauai when a mail plane went down this January.
With no amplifier, I sold the preamp to a collector in Japan ( Dad didn't want it back), tossed the tubes, and cried myself to sleep. So in answer to your question, no I don't, but I'd still like too.
Newer is often not better, especially if price is a consideration, besides, some designs just work better in certain setups than others. My rule of thumb is to be up to date on fast moving technology- digital stuff- and go for classic analog.
What is the point in having a new tube amp or FM tuner? It is doubly satisfying to own equipment that holds its value and looks cool.
I use a 1961 McIntosh MC240. That is my only piece of vintage gear today but I absolutely love it. I had a pair of Klipsch Heresy I for a while too but since sold them.

you are not cheating.......some of the vintage gear sounds great after parts upgrades. BTW, on the PV5, if you vishay out the entire phono section, it will be an eye opener as to the resolution improvement you'll get.

I used to have a PV5, moved on to the PV8, and later PV12. The 12 was more open sounding than the PV5, but I could not conclude the 12 was better than the PV5. The PV5 allowed one to get lost in the music and enjoy one's self.
Hi Guys, when I think about all of the old great vintage gear that I have had in the last forty years of this obsession, and either traded or sold ( Scott, Fisher, Technics SP-10 w/arm,Mac.,KLH and many others) that I would love to have back now, it makes me want to cry. Musically, we have not gained a whole lot if at all during this time.
All that I now have of vintage gear that I love is a Marantz 2275 Receiver, two pair of excellent condition, all original AR 3 speakers ,one pair of mint large Advents, a Dual 1229 tt., a Mitsubishi DA-F20 tuner and a Teac RA-40S open reel recorder.
Sometimes when I listen to my large modern system, and always tweaking in order to wring every ounce of" being there" with the musicians out of it, I want to say "the hell with it" and go back to my vintage stuff and really "enjoy the Music"
Great thread Norman, thanks for starting it.
Man you are spot on. It seems that all of us, somewhere in time lost the entire notion that it is all about the music. The system that I mentioned is one that I have owned for over 30 years. However, it wasn't the only one I listened too in all that time. I was caught up in upgrade Hell for years. Went through thousands of dollars and in the end, was never more satisfied than with the system that I use now. So, like everyone else, I sold gear at a massive loss only to end up appreciating, and throughly enjoying the system that I always went back too. The Citations. My upgrade days are OVER. I am content. When this revelation finally hit me, I began once again to just enjoy the music. I listen every day, and love what I am hearing.
Great post Carter...

Man, I am going to pour a double scotch tonight and cry with you. Sorry about the loss. But, cheer up! Lots of good Conrad Johnson, McIntosh, Citation, Dynaco, marantz, etc.. to be found. Go for it. You'll have the time of your life, and your wallet will thank you.

Great discussion! I have a "quasi vintage" system at our ski chalet. Yamaha 2010 amp _ cost me $250 and it has both mm and mc phono with variable loading etc etc. Very sweet and punchy sound. Sources are Micro-Seiki BL 51, ADC arm and Empire 750 cart for vinyl and Granite Audio tube CD player - not really vintage but I do have a Philips Bitstream 850 CD player that sort of qualifies as 'vintage'.

Speakers are home designed MTM transmission lines.

I am always blown away by how musical this modest investment sounds. No, it is not the ultimate in detail, or even transparency, but wow it it never fails to excite the musicality in the LP or CD. Relaxed would be a hallmark descriptor, that Yamaha has drive and control so it begs the question of what makes a great musical experience in the home?

With this type of equipment there is no hype, just pure enjoyment and system synergy.


My eldest son uses a Vintage Yamaha hifi. C2 pre-amp and a m40 amplifier that he runs in class A mode. It is a very sweet set up, no disappointments. He uses a set of EPI 100's with a POLK subwoofer. The Yamaha pre-amp is really impressive, at least as good as if not better than my Citation 17. And the phono section is what really stands out to me. You're right, NO HYPE, just pure enjoyment... for years now.. with minimal cost.

I have yet to hear, a substantial improvement in any new 'state of the art' system from what was available twenty or thirty years ago. In fact, isn't that what everyone is now discovering? Idler drive turntables, reel to reel, tube amps? We got it right long ago... we just didn't know it until digital came around and we discovered 'listening fatigue'.

Keep the faith.. vintage is where its at.

I use vintage speakers (Quad ESLs) and an early LP12 which is kinda vintage, right? Everything else is modern.
Quad IIs (GT Audio rebuilt), Decca London cartridge (Garrott Brothers rebuild), Nakamichi Dragon, Revox G36, Meridian 206B CD player are the old bits in my system.

Kicking around also are a pair of LS3/5As, a pair of old 1960s Mordaunt Arundel speakers (Decca ribbons with a 10 inch cone).

I have recently been down sizing and selling off many amps and preamps, tape decks etc.  Before letting them go, I have been listening to them one last time.  =)  What fun!

Recently, I inserted my ancient but pristine Sansui 9090DB, and WOW!
I had forgotten how good this thing is.  I am aghast that I am enjoying a receiver so much, but the phono is wonderful.  The soundstage is glorious and at the moment I can't seem to bring myself to pull it from my system.  It sounds absolutely wonderful and effortless.  Smooth and airy.  No fatigue whatsoever and very dynamic.

I have been having everyone audio friend I know come for a listen.  We are all surprised.  I bought this in 1977, and didn't use is long as I began using Mac separates and got on the upgrade wheel.  I am liking it so much I may send it in for a quick CLA and keep it.  

Just saying, it seems to do everything just right and it's beautifully  built.

 I have lots of vintage gear,mainly because it just holds it value or appreciates if you buy the right stuff...but none of it sounds as good as modern stuff IMO

Well that certainly hasn't been my experience.  In fact in many cases just the opposite.  You'll find many music enthusiast who prefer vintage.  Bear in mind, the gear has to be in top working condition. 

Loving the Sansui at the moment.  


I have four systems operating in my home, one of which is vintage, more or less: H/K 430 receiver with ADS L1290 MkII speakers and a Nak BX300 deck. It sounds really, really good. But it's still the lowest rung.
  I only run a P+E turntable in my main system as 2nd table next to my Rega but it sounds remarkably well for over 40 years old with my Signet AM50 I bought over 20 years ago.This post makes me want to replace and get a set of KLH 17's I had bought in the 60's.I just recently bought a couple old recievers,a Rotel and a Harmon Kardon for less than 20 bucks each and hooked the Rotel up in my main system to Paradigm studio 60V5's after unhooking my Bryston B100 just to hear if I could tolerate it if my Bryston had to go back to factory for repair.I was surprised,I could listen to it,it wasn't a beamy no sound field piece of trash.

Depending on the model, your P+E might actually be a Dual in wolfs clothing.  Dual bought P+E in the early 70's.  Flip it over and look at the bottom of the motor.  If it has Dual stamped in it, then it was built by Dual after P+E closed.  In any regard, they are really good turntables.

I am curious how your Harmon Kardon sounds?  Those were pretty nice receivers, even the little ones sounded smooth.  I have no experience with Rotel, other than a few of their CD players both of which went up in flames.  (no really)  But they sounded nice.

If the Rotel was that harsh, it probably needed servicing. 

I love old KLH speakers.  Had a pair of sixes once.  

How do you define "vintage"?  The hi-fi era is now arguably 65 years old, if you date the onset to around 1950.  So, vintage could be something from the 50s, but also arguably something from the 80s. Something conceived and marketed in 1985 is now 30 years old.  Anyway, a few years ago I acquired a pair of Beveridge 2SW speakers just out of a longstanding curiosity.  These are unconventional ESLs (they are in a closed 7-foot vertical cabinet to absorb the back wave and the sound output is focused by a vertical lens in front; the panels are not biased with high DC voltage, so the direct-drive amp applies signal to the screen as well as to the stators).  My pair was built in 1979. The "SW" stands for sub-woofer, so you need an external woofer to supply bass below 100Hz.  Once I got the Bevs so they would produce sound, I decided to go vintage with the rest of the system.  The subwoofers are very large transmission line cabinets using the old KEF B139 woofer; I built these myself in 1970.  They don't go super low in frequency, but they are fast enough to mate seamlessly with the Beveridges. The woofer amplifier is a 50W Threshold built in the late 80s (maybe not vintage??). The crossover for the woofers is a Dahlquist DLPQ (or something like that).  The preamp is either a Klyne 6LX (w/phono) or an early full function Quicksilver built in 1986.  I can add or subtract a Silvaweld SWH550 phono stage. The turntable is a much modified Lenco L75 with a Dynavector DV505 tonearm, currently bearing either a Grace Ruby or Acutex LPM320 cartridge.  This secondary system resides in our basement where it is not a bother to my dear wife, even at 2 AM playing LOUD.

You make a good point on how one defines 'vintage'.  I guess when I started the thread I was thinking 60 & 70's.  But as 80's are now long gone that would qualify as well.

Your system sounds awesome. I am wondering what model Threshold you are using? I really enjoyed Threshold amps, all of them.  Never heard a bad one.  Seems like it should be so much more than just powering the subs.  

I have a few vintage systems left mostly unassembled at the favorite is ads l1530 mated with a sansui a20000.   


Did you mean a Sansui 2000a?  I'm not familar withan a2000.  The 2000a however is a gem of a reciever, with wonderful textures and tone, power way beyond it's weight.. 

ads speakers were all good.  I remember seeing them used as nearfield monitors in recording studios.  

Sorry I had typed that on my phone I meant Au 20000 integarted amp. Cheers.

Norman,my Harmon Kardon is HK580i 45 watts per channel early 80's vintage.I barely remember searching for info on it when I bought it but found one for sale and the owner of the store said it was the best bargain in audio for his asking price of I something like a $100. or so.I remember hooking it up to my main system and would have to agree.
 The Rotel is a RX 304.It's like as new as you just bought it,all original packing,plastic,FM antenna,manual.
 I checked my P+E,motor says "made in germany".I doubt if it is Dual.I use it on my main system to play less than stellar sounding LP's.A pre Dual P+E sounds far better than any of my Duals.
 It's funny after responding to your post I said to my brother I'd like to have my first stereo receiver back as he still has his,an Eico.He found my same unit I bought in the 60's on ebay only 10 miles from me.I raced down and bought it.Beautiful cosmetic condition.Terrible awful sound but  I wanted it if only to look at.I still have my Dual 1019 from the 60's I bought new.Now I want my old KHL 17's back.
Love the story about your "eico".  I remember those being pretty nice actually. I think I'm remembering an old eico tube receiver that my cousin had and it was good.  He was driving Epi 202's with it.

Get the old girl serviced. You might be surprised. 

I still have my original first hi-fi.  It actually sounds pretty good. I could never sell it. Too many good memories and its a great bedroom system.

Back in November a neighbor gave me a pristine Dual 1019. I haven't done anything with it. I was thinking of setting it up as a mono table to play some of my 10" blue notes with. I need to tear it apart and give it a proper servicing first and see what it sounds like. I got a kick out of seeing the "16" speed on it.  I've never seen a 16 speed record..

Isn't this the greatest hobby of all time?  I hope you find your KLH 17's.  Sometimes memory lane is a blast. 


The AU2000 is an incredible piece. Great amp section and a fantastic pre-amp.  I love the phono section with built in varible loads..  Defintely a keeper..


I have 2 pairs of rebuilt EICO HF35s. Awesome!
Been selling off my collection of mostly amps and preamps as... Well you can only listen to one at a time, and some have'nt seen 
play time in years. Much of what I have let go, though admitedly older has been McIntosh, GAS, Krell, Phase Linear, Sumo, Mark Levinson ( goodbye ML-2's).  

It's been taking quite a while because I've been inserting each one into my main system for a listen.  As I do I quickly recall what it was that attracted my to the componet.  (sonically)

I am stunned that there are a few that are really hard to for me to take back out.  A pristine Sansui 9090DB that I put away nearly 40 years ago because well it wasn't "high-end" and I was becoming an audiophile.  So much did I enjoy the Sansui that today it went to a local shop for a once over.  I'm keeping it.

Tonight I am listening to the, most lowly of my collection. A 1974 Sansui 551, with a whopping 16 watts rms. Laugh, scorn, jest, make fun of, but this little guy is so sweet. So silky smooth it's unnerving.  It is powering my much modified D-Tec BP10's which are a mean 3 ohm load. Volume is plenty good, bass while not Krell level is very good.  It has the ability  to render tones that are so captivating.  My wife, looks at me dumbfounded over these last few weeks.  She loves this little guy and the 9090db, as do I.  
She asked "you've had this how long and you've spent how much over the years when you had this?"

This was my first hi-fi, and I can't for the life of me beleive that I used it for so little a time.  Another keeper. 

With these last two Sansui's, I have been enjoying my music more than I can recall having done so in decades. Just saying, As I sit here in the early morning hours listeningn and sipping tea.. I am rethinking my audio decisions in a big way and having a blast listening..
Norman,I found a nice pair of KLH 17's,just picked them up sunday for 50 bucks.I put them upstairs on the econo rack I call it.My main system is downstairs.I have them hooked up to the Harman Kardon after taking the B+W's down.They sound good.I remember being happy to own them when I first set them up almost 50 years ago.I listened to the Doors and Frank Zappa on them and still have my original LP's.I will get my Eico up and my old Dual 1019 and listen to Zappa and the Doors,all my original stuff from back then on my KHL 17's. What a trip down memory lane.

"What a trip down memory lane."  I agree.  Life was simpler, times were different.  It's not just nostalgia though.  Listening to music through these old systems just 'sounds' right for some reason.  

I am not saying they are they are the last definition in slam, and micro dynamics, or soundstage, (because they're not) but they deliver the tunes in an effortless easy manner and are easy to listen too.

Loves KLH speakers!  Had a pair of sixes.   Enjoy, this is almost too must fun.

Back in the 70's the KLH 17 was the go-to speaker for  poor students of  classical music as well.
On classical beat out the EPI,AR, Advent ,Dynaco etc in their general price range  
I still own 2 "vintage" Pioneer SX series receivers,  an SX1050 and an SX950,  along with a Marantz 2252b receiver.

My girlfriend's house is where the SX950 stays upstairs mated to a pair of Usher bookshelf speakers,  and downstairs we have the SX950 paired with Meadowlark Kestrels....GREAT loudspeakers.

I will never let go of these because they represent where I started,  and where all this started 40 something years ago.  Back then Pioneer, Marantz,  Sansui receivers were the "stuff" to get.  I've maintained all of them over the years and yes,  they still sound good.

I have a better turntable now than I did back in those days,  so this is not precisely a vintage setup but...still sounds good!

I hear you.  I had a couple of Pioneers briefly and liked them. I actually prefer the SX1050 over the SX1250.  These were really built well.  I get tired of some audio buddies talking about how 'mid-fi' this is, but I don't agree at all.  How many of today's products will be around 40 years from now?  Not to many.  

Hi-Fi, that's what this is, not high end just Hi-Fi and it's extremely good.



I still own 2 "vintage" Pioneer SX series receivers,  an SX1050 and an SX950,  along with a Marantz 2252b receiver.

Out of these receivers which one do you prefer? I have a 2252B, Luxman R-1050 and a Sansui Model 8. Just curious if you prefer the Marantz over the Pioneer?  I have not done a critical or side by side test but if I would have to pick one right now it would be the Luxman followed by the Sansui.  Like I said I haven't performed a critical listening test and only listened to each playing through Tyler Acoustics speakers playing FM only but the Luxman is so smooth and has great bass punch for a receiver. The Marantz is the best looking no doubt and I actually play it the most because its so damn awesome in appearance especially with LED lights. One of these days I will hook up my turntable and do a comparison plus see which one has the best phonostage.

Sansui 8 is pretty amazing sounding with a sweet phono stage and I always loved the green dial lamp.

I prefer the Pioneers over the Marantz for a number of reasons, first and foremost that to my ears the separation seems better. Also, they're easier to maintain - labor on Marantz adds up quickly according to two separate techs I've had check things out. 

Secondly the Pioneers strike me as more "realistic" in their sonics; my experience with McIntosh solid state and tube amps is similar. I recently purchased the new MAC6700 solid state receiver and grew to dislike its tubelike voicing; I traded it back for the new Mc275 MKVI. If I want tube sound I might as well use a tube amp, right?

These receivers still sound great, no matter who may have thought of them as "mid-fi" then or now. They still LOOK great, too.  Admittedly people dig the Marantz tuner dial more than they do the Pioneers', but that's what I dig about both - they still make people gawk and ask questions. 

A couple of years ago my girlfriend's daughter was getting her pre-ceremony wedding pictures taken in her living room. 
When the photographer and his two assistants saw the Marantz they begged to hear it. After obliging them they even offered to buy it for a pretty handsome sum. Of course we refused the offer. 

I had a Sansui 9090db once. I think it was my 3rd.  I didn't move into separates until much later -after I started reading the damned magazines!
Norman I have it hooked up in a bedroom system at the moment and I will rotate it back into my main system soon and hook up the TT.  I was attracted to the Marantz line of receivers because I always heard they were the cats meow plus that awesome industrial look. Well one receiver led to 3 once the bug hit but have stopped at this point because there is no reason to buy more. Would I like to have a Pioneer SX-series. Yes, but am having trouble justifying 3 in a sense.  I don't see the value going down so will keep all 3 and have fun. Plus they can't compete with my main amp or at least I hope not lol.  

Oblgny thanks for the response and your opinion and I know what you mean about people digging the Marantz and or vintage receivers. They are cool as hell and in my opinion will never be duplicated again especially in build quality alone. My Sansui Model 8 and the Models in that era are probably the best built receivers ever. Honestly I think we are lucky to have them now as that was the receiver war era.  
Not as old as some but still "rather vintage"...  Jeff Korneff SE 6550 power amp, Melos MA222 preamp, Sonic Frontiers SFP-1 Signature phono & Cinemag SUT, driving Lowther Fidelio speakers. I've owned them for years so can't say how they compare to newer products. In full disclosure, the front end is fairly new. I'm using a custom turntable (built it a couple years ago), Pole Star tonearm & a Denon DL-S1 cartridge. Also the Lowther drivers were just replaced (DX3's) due to age. Together they provide a nice balanced sound with a huge detailed stage. When the source allows it, musicians are in the room. There are some vintage pieces I wish I still owned. Most notably a Yamaha B1 amplifier & a Luxman C2 preamplifier. Sold both of them 20 plus years ago.  

I really enjoyed the Pioneers, had the 1150 and 1250. The 1150 seemed to me to have more power and I really like its sonics. I have never owned any marantz but had heard many for long periods. They are beautiful to look at and very well made. I think they sound a little darker then the Pioneers. 

I perfer the sound of Sansui to that of Pioneer. Sansui's especially the 9090db sound dynamic and very sweet. But that doesn't mean it's more accurate. It's just what I like. Truthfully the Pioneer is probably more accurate. 

I stopped listening to receivers when I started reading Audio and stereophile. I first bought a Mac MA 6100 which was beautiful and sounded nice, but it started me on a road of 40 years of upgrades and swaps. Much of what I had was very high end, but it wasn't until I got into using harman kardon citation gear that I found something that did everything well. 

When I rediscovered my Sansui 9090db I felt silly for ever having listened or believed that it wasn't good enough. It actually sounds way better overall than anything I've ever owned, including citation, McIntosh, Krell, Levinson etc. 

The Sansui just does everything well, and it's beautiful. I'm looking forward to getting it back from a check up and using it in my primary system. My snobby audio buddies couldn't believe how good it sounded. I can't either. 

You're Sansui 8 is legendary for its sound quality. Give it a serious listen. It will throw a huge soundstage and it has that sweetness that is hipnotic. 
If I had an 8 I would never sell it. 



I almost bought a Yamaha B1.  I ended up a few years later getting a Yamaha M-40 for its class A circuit instead. 

Sounds like you have a really nice system. Don't discount it because it's old. Some of the best sounding gear ever made is old, which is why from time to time they are reissued. 


I laughed at your magazine comment, because that's exactly what happened to me. The power of peers and the printed page!

Now I don't care. It's impossible to keep up and when you try it becomes more about the gear then the music. Now I'm enjoying something that is difficult to buy and sounds terrific. It's also great to look at. 

I'm really happy I never sold my 9090db. It's like having it all new again.