I'm kind of surprised there aren't vintage audio clubs around yet. Maybe some exist and I just don't know about them. Maybe Audiogon should even have a special section for vintage gear?
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Great stuff! I would send the Scotts out to be made "healthy", while retaining the original sound, no extra mods. Magnum Dynalab ST2 antenna w/ adapter from coax to antenna terminals. Get an inexpensive cd player, (alot of good choices) that matches the Scott faceplate color. Next choose speakers from the same era, many greats to choose from. Then just enjoy! I just got a Fisher 500 mono receiver, (blond cab) Fisher's first. Then, an EV Centurion, (big, blond) speaker cab. Fisher is going out for service, and I'm filling the EV w/ their top 3-way stuff of the day. Then we'll have a contest who enjoys who's system the most.... we'll both win it! Again, enjoy!!
Vintage audio gear is fantastic from my (limited) personal experience. I believe that "they" do not make such type of audio gear anymore. One DOES have to be careful with which speakers one connects to the amps 'cuz most of the integrated amps cannot drive very hard loads (I suppose that hard load speakers were NOT the norm in the 1970s, 1980s).
Buy whatever suits your fancy or/& your budget &/or your nostalgia. There are some excellent brands out there (besides the Scott that you favour) - Marantz, Yamaha, Pioneer, Accuphase, Kenwood, Sansui, Rotel, Sony.....
Yes, Audiogon used to have a Vintage audio forum but it looks like they did not get much enthusiasm for it??
Some good places for info is www.thevintageknob.com & www.classicaudio.com. Also, like someone already wrote, there are several people discussing vimtage audio on www.audiokarma.org.
Go for it!
Although keep in mind that condition is a huge and unpredictable variable. Obviously patience may be required to find units that are in top condition, and/or significant expense may be required in some cases for professional restoration. But those investments will be rewarded with both gorgeous sound quality, and in the case of many tube tuners, with outstanding sensitivity and station-getting ability.
I would suggest that instead of seeking a second 350B, or other stereo tuner, you be on the lookout for a Scott 335 or LM35 multiplex adapter, or the similar Fisher model, the MPX-100. Finding one in good condition will require some patience, and perhaps a few hundred dollars, but having one will allow you to receive stereo on the many tuners from the late 1950's and early 1960's which are mono in themselves but provide a multiplex output jack. Those tuners sell for far less than the 1960's stereo tuners, allowing you to economically purchase several tuners if need be to find one that performs really well.
Among tuners that are mono with multiplex out, and that sell for reasonable prices, I would very strongly recommend the Scott 310D. Its sound quality, although not its sensitivity (which is very good nevertheless), approaches that of my multi-kilobuck REL Precedent (the best sounding tuner I've ever heard, and that includes two different Marantz 10B's). I have also had good results with a Fisher FM90X, a Scott 311D, and a Scott 310C, among others.
Also, should you encounter a Radiocraftsmen 10 or RC10 in good condition, grab it! They are from 1952, and mono only. Consequently they sell for very low prices. But if in good condition, and if fed a good signal, their sound quality is so beguiling you won't miss the stereo.
My experience with integrated amps of that period is limited to a Scott 299C, which I have been pleased with in a second system, but I haven't assessed it in my main system. Pilot gear, especially separate preamps and power amps, is also well worth looking out for.
FWIW though, I'll add that my limited experience with speakers of that period (mainly two different pairs of large Tannoys, that were apparently in excellent condition) has not been positive. My suspicion is that their very disappointing sound quality was due more to the cabinet design and technology of that time than to the drivers.
I got into Vintage about 6 years ago. At that time I wasn't sure if it was going to be a short term infatuation or long time love affair. So far, so good. I have not grown bored with it but I still have my modern system too.
I use modern speakers with my vintage components. I wanted to do vintage speakers with it and tried some AR's and Advents but preferred the newer stuff. Works great for me. It's good to stay hungry so if I ever get a chance to listen to something like the Altec Valencias or 19's, I'm hoping they will do it for me.
For the OP: Finding the right speaker will increase your enjoyment (8 ohms and decent efficiency helps). CD sounds fine. Have fun.
To me vintage is pre 1980. Yea, I really want to go back to speakers with rca jacks, amps with barrier strip outputs, back panel rca jacks that are galvanized metal. two prong connected power cords, woofers made of paper, woofers held in with 4 sheet metal screws,tons of speaker hiss that comes for who knows where, lamp cord speaker cables, two way speakers, amps with 30 watts and a S/N ratio 80, I really want 8 trak tapes too because i love music that last 3 plays and then gets eaten by the machine. I want to go down to Kmart and buy records that are as thin as the celopane(sp) wrapper.
I dont want to look back, but dont knock those who like it.
" Beware of "vintage" bpc. Onemalt "
BPC? Enlighten me please.
6550c - Agreed pre 1980. Definitely understand your misgivings about much of the old gear. I hope being selective, informed and heeding much of the good advice gleaned from you all I will avoid 8 track, barrier strips (few on the Scott integrateds) and crappy speakers. Speaking of which...
Stick to a pair that's easy to drive? 8 ohms? High sensitivity? Speakers don't necessarily have to be vintage.
I want to thank all of you for your responses so far...please keep them coming.
Almarg- not going for another 350B. Will keep your idea in mind. Just picked up a good condition original metal case with leatherette look for tuner. Logo in good condition. Now in search of a 222c, 299b or 299c.
All items will be brought to a reputable shop for the once over and repairs. Any recommendations for such in Central Texas? I asked in another post buy thought I'd ask again.
To me, Vintage gear means the late fifties and sixties, so the age of Stereo and Tubes. The Seventies saw the decline of tube for solid state, that went hand-in-hand with the explosion of the music scene and mass production. This mass production really hurt the industry, but at the same time it created many music lovers.
There may have been exceptions...Remember, GAS (Great American Sound)?...Ampzilla and the Son of Ampzilla, etc.!!!
I personally owned some mid-fi Sansui 717 series equipment, and still have my TU-717 Tuner. I recently inserted this tuner into my system, and it really sounds mid-fi, so completely non-involving, fat, and low-res. On the other hand, my 1964 McIntosh MR71 Tuner sounds wonderful.
I agree with Onemalt that the Eighties did make BPC, but this was already starting in the Seventies with BMC.
Going back to the Sixties and the Scott Sound question originally posted, I feel this equipment possessed the finest tone of any period which we still seek out today.
I have a Heathkit SA-3 stereo integrated single-ended 6bq5 @ 3 watts/channel, c 1961. I got a pair of EV Baronet 8" two-way empty cabinets, (same era) closed off the tweeter horn front mount port. Loaded in JBL D-216 (16 0hm) full range 8". The Heath is limited having just two inputs, tuner/phono, but does have speaker out in 4,8,16 ohm. It is a cute little amp which cost me $160 and functions properly, lucky me! Dont expect a good phono stage here, tho. I have run a Magnum Dynalab 106T (triode output) tuner and a Naim cd555 (through tuner inputs) with very satisfactory results. Also powered Beauhorn Virtuoso's (Lowther DX4) With either speaker match-up, volume was never past 4/10 with very satisfactory results! Would love to hear an update. Enjoy
Tuner arrived yesterday. Dusty, a few nicks and scratches but face very presentable. Much loss of screening on chassis.
Cleaned it today and brought it to a shop for the once over. Guy I bought it from says he powered it up and after wiggling a tube or two unit had great reception and sounded good.
Still thought it prudent to have it gone through.
Am now looking for a legend to identify missing printing for my records.
Will keep you advised.
Isochronism - The Heathkits may be the best of the low-watt vintage amps for high efficiency systems. Very nice.
Corazon - Congratulations, good luck, and enjoy.
My favorite component is my McIntosh MR71 Tuner because I found it in a used equipment store back in the Eighties, in a pile of junk, on a shelf, on the back wall. It looked like hell and barely worked when I got it.
I'm consistently surprised any members here buy into the "They just don't make them like this anymore" ad headline.
This is right up there with "Rare" and "Limited edition".
Time marches on! And so does technology.
There are classic amp designs, like Mac tube amps.
20 & 30 year old transistor amps are just not worth buying,
to me. The output transistors are on borrowed time, and if one channel goes, you might as well replace both channels.
And this is a toss up, many output transistors are no longer available, or in stock from one vendor, who can set the price wherever they want.
This is exactly why Acoustat amps have just about disappeared.
I just can't seem to stop buying old stuff. Picked up a set of Infinity RS5 speakers early this year(5 bucks) for no good reason. Then I found a set of Pioneer CS88-A speakers for 10 bucks. Today it was a pair of JBL L-36's for 32 bucks. I have Altecs, Advents, and another pair of JBL's sitting in the basement not being used. Had to replace the surrounds on the RS5's woofers, the surrounds on the CS-88A's tweeters, along with new terminals, and the L-36's will need new surrounds on the woofers soon. I cover them up and there they sit in the basement. I just can't seem to let them go. I guess I have a thing for vintage gear. Can't stand to see them go to waste. Waste of time/money? Not in my book.
The 350B has returned with a good bill of health. Hooked it up and I will say I am pleased. I actually find I'm listening longer and not wanting to turn it down alot!
Tuner definitely has an ease to it. It is pleasurable. Only thing I changed in the system was the tuner, swapping out my Parasound tdq 1600, no slouch itself. I have noticed things in songs I never have noticed before
I've also purchased a 350 tuner because its chassis lettering is in much better shape. And it looks great!
Call me crazy but I purchased another 350B! Reason is it looks to be in even better shape than the 350 and it has the indicator light at the 6 o'clock position on the tuning dial like the 350? The other 350B does not have this feature. So it got my curiousity up and I got to see this. It is not a Scottkit either.
And to top it off I purchased a 299 and 299b integrated. Can't wait for these to arrive, both in what appears to be great condition.
As expected they will be sent out for the once over. Can't wait to hear them! Then I'll choose my favorites and say goodbye to the rest.
So far I must say I enjoy what I hear from the tuner. Even with a less than optimal antenna.
Will keep you informed.
Now looking for some speakers for the amps....
Well the amps and tuners have arrived.
The amps are in wonderful shape! Screening is excellent, very little oxidation. Faceplates in very good to excellent condition.
The tuners' screening is very good. Ones' faceplate is a little disappointing. Slightly twisted. Will need some work. All units to be sent out. Considering a local Austin guy and nosvalves.com
Once all back will let you know whats up.
I will probably try one of the tuners before sending it out but am hesitant hooking up the amps. Figure the tuners will wreak less havoc than the amps if they are so inclined.
This has been a very entertaining thread, with both the pro-vintage and anti-vintage folks making valid points. I caught the vintage (i.e. pre-1980)fever and have been stockpiling a veritable musueum of amps, tape decks and speakers (pioneer hpm, jbl lancer, klipsch, advent, etc). It's a harmless enough obsession--the gear is very inexpensive, looks cool and is uniformly well built. Soundwise, however, I've been more inclined to vote with the naysayers--in general most of the 70s stuff can't compete with good modern designs; 70s speakers in particular to my ears typically lack the high end detail and midrange presence of equivalent current speakers. Older SS amps look and feel ever so much better than ugly, modern utilitarian designs--I want to believe that thye sound better, but in truth my current Arcam is sonically superior in every respect to my old venerated Sansui, Pioneer etc. However, there are (often wholly unexpected) exceptions--I just got a pair of (1979) Polk Monitor 10b which look like thrift store castoffs but sound more transaparent and rich than my (very good) Polk LSi7s and much better than my Spendors. I'm also wildly impressed by a HarmanKardon HK 730 receiver ($30 on Craiglist), though how much is placebo I'm not sure. Anyway, that's the beauty of vintage--a real gem can pop up anywhere, and something old and cheap could, for no particular reason, sound significantly better than a technologically advanced modern piece.
Back to work...
Have been considering a pair of KLH model 6's, 1965 vintage. Perhaps though from your comment and those of another I should reconsider and look for something newer.
However, am interested in your thoughts on some of the speakers in your collection, your favorites and why(other than the Polks).
I have just received a wood and another Scott metal case, both in good condition. Have purchased owners manuals and photofacts for both amps. With the abundance of 350's out there it is amazing there is no literature available for them. I find it hard to believe an owners manual did not exist.
Well, I have just brought my first amp, a 299, to a shop in Austin.
The owner Mike seems quite competent and knowledgable. Even so I left it there with a bit a trepidation, no one here had any input as far as his reputation and after many conversations with him I decided to give him a try. Also he's just dowm the road and I save shipping to someone else 2 times.
Restoration should take about a month. So we'll see how things go. If all goes well I have a 299B I may send him. But I have been thinking of sending it to NOS Valves. I just hate to chance shipping it 2 more times.
I will send Craig my 350/350B to be restored. Mike in Austin doesn't work on tuners much, he's more an amp guy.
Anyway I'm excited about the journey and result! Can't wait to hear it!
AR-7 bookshelves arrived 2 days ago. What fantastic shape they are in. A shout out to the seller Ladiluvsmusiq!
It is stated they are vinyl clad, but when I unpacked them I had to do a double take. I thought surely this is a veneer! Upon further inspection alas no! The vinyl looks that good!
Haven't heard them yet. Will hook 'em up on next day off.
Can't wait to hear them with the 299 which should be back in 2-3 weeks.
Will keep you posted.
If a vintage piece of equipment is able to give you hours of entertainment, and the joy of referbishing the piece yourself, that is almost thanks enough. But when one is able to bring an old piece back to life and actually sound good, it is pure happiness. I have redone an old Thorens TD160, and although it doesn't perform quite as good as my Nottingham, I have a special place in my heart for it, and hope to never part with it. Vintage is well worth it, after all, a lot of us are considered vintage too!
Ok, have hooked up the AR's and wow! I am very pleased with the overall sound.
I am currently listening to them as I write, Beethovens 9th, Academy of Ancient music. They have great tone. They just sound good.
I listened to a few tracks of Steely Dan, Two Against Nature, and again I was pleased. Just had a good overall sound. Had impact.
Listened to Shawn Colvin, Four Walls, my current reference. Her voice was great. Instruments sounded right. Again impact, immediacy.
Played a little Moody Blues. Every Good Boy Deserves Favor and as expected sounded like a typically not so good 70's recording. However it was more listenable through the AR's than the Audio Physics.
I usually use the 4 recordings above when wanting to compare. All listening done without the sub. It is great how good instruments sound. I even like how I notice some things, how they sound and the balance of the speaker.
So not quite as extended in the treble as the Audio Physics and maybe not as revealing. They are a little laid back, that New England sound? They have tuneful tight bass and good midrange qualities. They may not image as well as the Audio Physics, but do have depth, width and height. Instruments are a little more tied to the speaker but not at all distractingly so. Soundscape is pretty good. Non fatiguing. Not a better or worse presentation, just different.
Also these guys have, dare I say it, PRAT! Toe tapping, smile on the face non-fatiguing sound! I must say I am really pleased.
10/10ths high end sound? No but 9/10ths and really enjoyable.
I got to say, I'm not in this hobby to get all caught up in all the usual audio jargon, stress over whether or not my gear is doing all the things it is supposed to do according to whomever. Seems like a contradiction given my review but it was to illustrate that these things are really enjoyable regardless of how they measure up to the accepted norms by audio gods. If your favorite music sounds good, puts a smile on your face and you can forget all about what the gear is doing, then viola! You have arrived.
If you are interested in a little more info and review, here is a link provided by our fellow audionut, LoomisJohnson.
Can't wait to get my 299 back and hear that combo.
Thanks for reading my rant, will keep you posted.
i think older tube gear, e.g., cj mv 125, and older digital hardware, such as cal tempest and aria, as well as older panel speakers, such as dayton wright, klh 9, quad 57, etc, are preferable to anything produced today.
what i am saying is that a stereo system configured during the 1960's can afford more musical enjoyment (including older turntable/arm/cartridge), than any stereo syetm configured from in production components.
I think the answers to your original questions about vintage gear will be along the lines of 'it will sound good, provides excellent value for money, can be made even better with some updated parts, etc, but even then may not be the best that money can buy. But if you enjoy it, why not?'
My speakers are about 15yrs old. Everything else I am using is ~30yrs old. I like it. And value for money is great!
my ideal system, back in 1967, was 2 pair of stacked quads, a mac c 22 preamp, 2 pair of quad 15/watt per channel mono blocks, a thorens td 124, with ortofon arm and cartridge.
i found that system so timbrally accurate that i have not heard anything available today, which approaches the sound i had in 1967.
i think the problem stems from the design criteria of current manufacturers which focus upon resolution but is lacking in listenability.
many of the products in production are fatiguing after long term listening.
Can be very cool and worth it but it will depend on a lot of things IMO. Cost to get the vintage item, parts and repair costs to name a few. If you are a DIYer vintage gear is great. For me not being a DIYer repair and parts costs have been a pain. In some cases I overpaid to acquire the vintage gear but that fault was mine.
That being said I do enjoy the older pieces gear that I have. I just found a majority of the repair receipts and was thinking to myself DAMN!
Having been in this hobby since the early 1960s, I have owned much classic equipment. After years with tube equipment and harsh solid state gear, I no longer own any tube components. I sold my stash of about a thousand tubes also.
There are outstanding tube components today, such as the Ypsilons, but they are very expensive and are hardly classic gear.
Corazon, Sorry, I did not complete what I sought to say. I have found several manufacturers of excellent ss equipment. The Ypsilon and Bridge Audio equipment is certainly exemplary, but solid state no longer sounds as my Crown gear used to sound. When I hear my old tube gear, I hear the faults of tubes as well as its virtues, lush midrange. But they lack the soundstaging that so thrills me now. And I no longer have to face the harshness.
OK Boys and Girls....
Got a call today from the shop I took my 299 to for restoration and it is done. Hope to get up to Austin soon to pick it up. Can't wait to hear it!
The gentlemen told me it sounds great and a few of the tubes while still quite viable could be considered as candidates for replacement in the future.
So I have a few questions...
1. ECF80/6BL8: Driver tubes correct? European/American designations correct? Have been to the HH Scott site and verified these tubes are specific to the amp. Are there some other tubes that can be substituted for these that run as the originals would in the unit, voltages, temperatures, biasing etc?
2. 6BQ5/7189: Output tubes? European/American designations? Are there some other tubes that can be substituted for these? Have been to the HH Scott site and verified these tubes. I have read at Franks Electron site that the EL84 many claim to be a substitue for these is not correct and in fact could cause problems. It is the EL84M that would be the correct substitution. Apparently the 6BQ5/7189 runs at higher voltages than the EL84 does preventing it from being compatible.
I have been to Tubes and More and Upscale Audio looking around tonight. They seem to list the EL84 as a compatible substitute. What do you all know/think about this?
So.. substitute recommendations, sites/sources to find these tubes, the 7189 and 6BL8 seem to be a little scarce.
NOS vs. new? Brand recommendations and why. European vs. American.
I realize I am asking a lot but after perusing the forums here and with all the wealth of information posted and knowledge many of you have, I thought it prudent to post and ask.
Thanks in advance, I'll continue to update as my journey in vintage progresses!
Your findings are mostly correct. The 7189 and EL84M output tubes are rated to handle significantly higher plate and screen voltages than the 6BQ5 and EL84, and the Scott 299A and 299B designs run them at voltages that are above the limits for the 6BQ5/EL84.
The 6LN8 is listed in my old Sams Tube Substitution Handbook as being a substitute for the 6BL8/ECF80. I compared the technical specs of the 6LN8 and the 6BL8 in an old GE Tube Manual I have. The only difference was that the filament voltages that were listed were 6.0V for the 6LN8 and 6.3V for the 6BL8. I would not expect that 5% difference to be significant, especially considering that all of the other specs are the same, and the Sams listing.
(For the record, though, I'll mention that the Sams handbook indicates that the converse substitution, 6BL8 for 6LN8, would not be suitable in circuits having series wired filaments requiring controlled warmup times. That has no relevance to the Scott application, though).
Continued good luck!
Thanks for your response. I appreciate your time and help.
Researching I am discovering just how scare some of the NOS tubes are! They aren't inexpensive either! I've seen some going for the same amount as I spent on the restoration! Wow!
While there are new tubes available most reading I've done seems to suggest the older tubes really sound the best on these older amps.
Thanks to all for the great participation in this thread, I look forward to a lot more.
Will keep you up-to-date