I have been in this hobby long enough to know to never say never.
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My Marantz 2270 receiver which I use only as a tuner in an all modern Audio Research/Wilson Sasha system. But that is purely for sentimental reasons---looks, sound and the fact that I purchased it in 1971 as a phase out for $209.00 and it was my receiver in high school, college and beyond. Everything else is fair game.
My Great American Sound Son of Ampzilla. This was my first high end amp and I have held onto it since. After all the amps I have owned it is the one I have always keep coming back to. Besides, I am a sucker for meters, even if they don't mean a thing.
Now that I've had it updated by Mike Bettinger at GAS Audio, it will be in my will to remain in the family!
There is not a single piece of commercially available gear I have that I could say that I would never sell. I do have a pair of custom built pair of Fried C3L with D2 woofer modules that my dad and I built from solid black walnut a couple of years ago. Although they are not cosmetically perfect, they sound pretty damn good and are never, ever going anywhere other than with me for as long as I am alive. Nothing will displace spending that time with him and creating them together.
While there are other speakers I would like to own (raidho, soundlab, and Magico) I don't think I could ever sell my TAD CR1's. They are small enough that perhaps taken off stands could end up as a bedroom system or near field monitor for a rather large computer system. Even before I augmented them with a 'stat tweeter on top and subs,. I've heard them turn standard tracks that sounded poor on a system that was stellar with audiophile cuts - into audiophile sounding tracks with great inner detail and musical realism. As the ancillary gear gets better so do the TAd's. I've has musicians over to hear their own music and were amazed at the realism and agreed they could mix their music on them, even at low volumes.
They are not the last word on imaging or depth, perhaps not the best choice for large orchestral works, but as someone who hears live acoustic music from up close often, they seem to come closest to the live experience for me and present music as a hologram, often even with poor recordings, and even recently with some tracks recorded on an iPad!
I'll go with my amp, Deja Vu Audio amp, a push-pull EL34 amp putting out 17 watts per side. I love this amp especially since the Aerovox cap upgrade I did last year. It's reliable, sounds fantastic, and is cheap to retube just 4 EL34's 3 6sn7's and a rectifier tube. The same 3 6sn7's have been in there for about 5 years. Power tubes right now are Psvane but I also use Gold Lion KT-77's. A classic and a keeper.
I dream of one day having THE system where nothing needs replacing, but I suspect that really IS a dream. That said, I own a SMcAudio VRE-1 preamp that I consider the finest piece of equipment in my rig, and certainly the preamp I will likely keep for the rest of my days. I've some gear that I have owned longer (a Naim Nait II still sees some use but I am neither wed to it or motivated to sell it, which is not the same as wanting to keep it forever). The VRE-1 though, is just special and I long to feel the same way about other components in my rig.
Without a doubt my Sansui AU-111! I have owned and collected audio gear for years now and have owned Scott, marantz, other sansui amplifiers, conrad johnson, rogue audio, and many other audio gear, which I admired each in their own way, but if I had to narrow my collection to only one amplifier, it would be the Sansui AU-111. Nothing I have ever owned ever bested this amplifer, vintage or new. And for this reason, I will never part with it!
My first little stereo out of high school was a Scott 299-B that I now have another one of and hope never to part with. I have owned so much vintage gear it made my head spin, and I am sad to see it now worth so much that the hobby is no fun anymore for me. After so many other Scotts etc etc, the 299-B has such a sweet, nice sound with the right speakers and is the only way to listen to old Beach Boys LPs
I , in all likelyhood will hold onto my very good deals --- A gone through (by S.Sank) Museatex CD-D & my PS Audio Lambda --both transports only and use the last of the quality Philips mechanisms... CDM 1 mkii and CDM 9 pro respectively. I also will unlikely let go of my tuners--- Kenwood 600t and 2 Sony's. ST-A6b and a ST-J75- The Kenwood and ST-A6b were both gone through by B. Ammons. The ST-J75 completely gone through including a re-pot of the tranny by ASL.. That was $500 restoration that was done for free ( its a story) I gave 100 toward parts. I cant see parting with that because I would never get good money out of it---even though the 75 is a bit of a sleeper.. It sells for only 100 give or take on the used market.
The ST-A6B is really a sleeper. It is right up there with the best I have ever heard --some of which are: Accuphase T-100, MR74, Hitachi and others. Its a 6 gang tuner which usually was offered in much pricier tuners back in the day.
That being said and not to hijack the thread ---Zavato--- Does that Zerostat really work for you? I bought a brand new one and it doesnt seem to do a thing. Im having an issue with my vintage Technics DD 1600mkii with static .. And it has never had this problem before and I keep testing to see if the issue in question is coming from the table itself or discs. Some of my discs seem to have a lot of static. I guess I will have to use the spin easy or whatever it is called. Never used it yet, lol. just doesnt seem like my vinyl is dirty to warrant it although I will say some records seem to have an inordinate amount of static.
Just to mention---the good deals on the transports being that it happens sometimes with the advent of music servers and the like. I scored my Lambda and Museatex for 400 and 300 respectively. And I did have the PSA perfect wave which I did not like the noisy mechanism---although a good sounding transport no doubt.
My Audio Research Corporation Ref. 10 preamp, because it is a once a lifetime piece. Given the new direction of ARC and limited parts availablity for the Ref 10, I fear the magic of this component will not be reproduced once the mold is broken. Everyone, as noted in the testimonials above, has a keeper. This one is mine.
I bought my Michell GyroDec in September of 1983 while on my honeymoon in London. The Linn Itock LVII tonearm was purchased one week after returning from London. That wife is gone, girlfriends have come and gone. A lot of equipment has gone threw the revolving door including several different cartridges but the GyroDec & Linn are still here 33 years later. I've done some of the factory upgrades and still have 2 to go but I think I can say with certainty that it isn't going anywhere! I also have a pair of Magnepan MG1.0 imp speakers now serving as my rear speakers in the living room system that I bought in 1982. They are also here to stay.
No such thing as never. if someone came with a suitcase full of cash, say one million dollars, or if you want to be really ridiculous, twenty million dollars, every piece of equipment I own would be gone immediately.
I restored a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda. Ground up restoration, every bolt, nut, screw, etc. was either restored or new. Beautiful restoration. Took five years to complete. In-violet purple. At large car shows, people would ask me if I would sell the car. My answer was always no. However, if someone walked up with a million dollars in cash, that car was gone.
So, I can appreciate equipment that has sentimental value or really makes you smile and appreciate music all over again. But, since with enough cash I know I can replace every piece I own with something better. There is no never.
enjoy the equipment
enjoy the music and the experience