The frontier between ''vintage'' and ''junk'' ?

Seems that the word ''vintage'' is used more often than need be.

Once person's vintage may be another's junk, and vice-versa.

Is there a stretching of the word in your opinion ? When can an audio component be classified as true vintage?
Besides the condition, IMHO, it depends on whether component in question was considered to be of high quality when it first appeared.
Once person's vintage may be another's junk, and vice-versa
Not really, not in absolute terms. A vintage product i.e., one worthy of mention, is one that has something innovative or exceptional or rare, or...
TTs with outstanding and copious engineering, speaker drivers with powerful magnets, electronics with excellent design...
And then, there is stuff that had low intrinsic value even then...
People have misused the term 'vintage' for years.Look up the definition to see what it means.
Tpreaves, I don't think anyones has confused "vintage" with Asian boats either.
When it comes to stereo equipment, I guess vintage refers to a specific age. Whether or not it matters to you and me depends on the sound.
Sonicbeauty, I agree with your implied position.

Scanning posts on Vintage Asylum I'm amazed and amused by many of the products discussed. Lots of amps, receivers, speakers, etc. were not considered all that good when they were new so why get excited over them today?

It seems many folks use the vintage label strictly based on age, not quality or any other enduring qualities. Even age is arbitrary as some consider 5-10 year old equipment to be vintage.

So maybe it is like the evolution of antiques. I remember when an item must be 100+ years old to become an antique. That was adjusted to mean pre-WW 2. Now I see items from the '70s called antiques. So I guess vintage audio is just staying in step with the times.
It seems many folks use the vintage label strictly based on age, not quality or any other enduring qualities.
Which is arguably correct, as TPReaves and Rrog have indicated. "Vintage" can indicate superiority in the making of certain wines, such as Champagne, but outside of that particular context it arguably relates just to age and not to quality.

-- Al
Also, there is ambiguity in the term "vintage" even in the field of wine. For many kinds of fine wines, such as French Bordeaux, every year is considered to be a vintage, with some years considered to be great vintages, other years considered to be poor vintages, etc.

While with wines such as Port and Champagne only excellent years are declared to be "vintage years," and bottles so labelled will consist of wines that are just from the year indicated. Champagne that is bottled in non-vintage years, on the other hand, is usually a blend of wines from several different years.

-- Al
Almarg, your reference is interesting but my hard copy Webster's New
Collegiate Dictionary goes further with an additional definition -

"of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or

I read that to mean it requires more than age.

In the Realm of Audiophiledom, I believe the proper usage should be when referencing a piece that even by today's standards would be viable. Rogers LS3/5A speakers are vintage and quite viable. GAS Grandson amplifiers drive as well and better today than many products available. Linn tables spin vinyl well today and compete against newer designs. Much new product is quite ghastly.

The majority of audio products made after about 1990 and all home theatre components should be considered "junk", and will never achieve "vintage" status, regardless of their age or condition.

Aiwa tape deck 25 years old, listed for MORE than it cost new. A common cassette deck, at 25 years old or more, I would definitely classify it as just plain old junk and not "vintage", nor classic. I pity the fool who would buy it. When did AudiogoN become an eBay clone?
The use of "vintage" is arbitraily applied to good stuff and bad. The question is, does old garbage qualify for recognition just because it survived? I agree with those that say old junk, is still junk, and probably worse for wear.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Vintage midfi is old. Vintage state of are are clasics. Trust your ears.
90% of what is sold as vintage is junk!
90% of what is sold as new is junk!
I would modify that last phrase to: 90% of what is sold as new "will become junk soon enough, the other 10% will go on to become Classics"
Much better 'phrasology'
And since it will all still be sold long after it has stopped being manufactured.. the earlier phrase will ALSO apply:"of 100% of stuff sold" 90% of what is sold as vintage is junk. Perfect see?
We have a Winner! Junk that has become treasure.
The ad for a pair of XXXXXX speakers. 1968 famous.. look closely, chips, damaged.. Hmmm a little rough for the asking price of ONLY $120,000.00
Yes $120,000.00 NOT a misprint. Speakers the dude probably found at a rummage for $100. are being suddenly transformd from "junk" to "Treasured antique". I do not want to get into trouble here for 'dissing' someones ad so just say you gotta search for it. but not many have a price tag like this one.
I always find great deals at thrift stores, usually people get rid of his vintage stuff to buy modern hifi. They didnt know the treasure they got in their hands.
The word, which is largely a derivative from the world of wine, is overused simply in the name of salesmanship. In terms of how to define it, that is nebulous. That being said, I did snag a pair of speakers off of Craigslist that I would qualify as vintage: large Advents circa 1975.