Ariston RD11S TT. Bought new in 1977 without arm ($280). First arm: SME 3009. Next arms: JH Formula 4, Keith Monks, Lustre GST-1. Present arm is a Grace 707. Denon DL103. TT mat: Hiraoka Diskmat SE-22 (bought new in '77 - $20). Still a wonderful sounding TT!
Tandberg 3014A x 2 , Tandberg TD20A SE and Nakamichi 1000ZXL and my heavily modified EAR 834p phono stage. These four pieces are irreplaceable for me and they've been part of my system for the past 5 yrs.
Judging on how long I've owned them: My Conrad Johnson Premier 12 tube monoblock amps. I bought them in the late 90's as I remember and they've been my main amplifiers since. Such a hard to find combo of tube lushness yet focused, punchy and well controlled from top to bottom on whatever speakers I put on them.
I've had my amp since 2005 and preamp since 2006 both custom tubed pieces from Deja Vu Audio. Recapped the amp about 5 years ago and it sounds better than ever I don't see replacing either anytime soon.
Definitely not ever going anywhere: Nakamichi Dragon, bought brand around 1991 McIntosh MR78 tuner, bought used about 10 years ago Technics 1508 R2R, bought used about 8 years ago The above sound amazing, superb condition, loads of fun! Probably not going anywhere: Zu Definition 4 speakers, bought new about 6 years ago. IMO, competes with speakers costing 2x,s the price. Small footprint, built in subwoofers brings them down to 16hz, full range drivers with no crossovers, high efficiency, huge sound, works well with 1 watt amp all the way up to 400 watts.
Sound Lab A-2 electrostatic speakers. Purchased used in 1985. Refurbished in the early '90s. C.A.T. SL-1 Mk II, Used 1991. I am about to sell it, too many preamps. Musical Fidelity NuVista Preamp, new 1998. Musical Fidelity NuVusta 300 amp, new 1999. Thinking about selling this too. Altec 755a speakers, used 1999, they are 61 years old. Pink Triangle Anniversary turntable, used 1996. Linn ITTOK shortly after, followed by an EKOS. That's the primary list, my newest stuff consists of a Lampizator DAC/Passive preamp that is only a couple of years old and a DIY Amp Camp Amp that I assembled a couple of months ago. Also a RAAL tweeter that I built into a speaker with the 755s and a pair of Altec 515s that I have also owned for around 20 or so years but never used until recently.
All of this equipment is in regular use except for the C.A.T., although that gets used occasionally too. Several years back I bought something from an A-gon member, and he was curious why I could have been a member for so long and not have more feedback. Answer, as you can probably tell, I rarely sell anything.
Acoustat Spectra 33 Electrostatic Speakers, purchased new in 1988. My current room has never suited them, too small. I also have a California Audio Laboratory (CAL) Alpha DAC from the early 90's which is something special. https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/cal-alpha-info
An original Well-Tempered turntable and arm that I bought new. That would have been back in the 80's. Still, the only one I own and feel no need to upgrade at all.
ARC Classic 60 amplifier that I keep on hand as a spare. Had it gone through by a tech about a year ago. Hooked it up and it was really ... really good. Bought the Classic 60 used from a friend back in the 80’s.
Legacy Signature III’s. Had them for about ten years now ... and I will never sell them. Once a system is totally locked in, they are wonderful. My speakers for life.
Do records count? I know they can be considered as "components" as well. If so, I still have many of the jazz albums I started collecting as a kid back in the 50's. Same with 4 track reel to reel tapes.
The only "permanents" are my LPs and CDs. My current system meets my needs so well that I can't see selling it. However, if I come into a windfall, I'll probably start wondering how I can "improve" it.
The SOTA Sapphire turntable and Magnepan Unitrac tonearm I purchased in 1983 still work as well as the day I bought them. Given the prices of high quality turntables and tonearms these days; the hassle and risk that would be involved in sending the table in for the upgrades that are available; and my increasing gravitation toward digital sources, I have no plans to replace them in the foreseeable future.
Also, I don’t envision replacing the Stax Lambda Pro headphones I purchased in the mid-1980s. The foam in their earpads which covered the electrostatic elements started to disintegrate a few years ago, and I replaced the earpad/foam assemblies with genuine Stax originals I bought from Audiocubes.com. Some years ago I also replaced the Stax solid state headphone amplifier I had been using for many years with a 1980s tube-based Stax amplifier I purchased used, which was a very nice improvement.
1964 Sansui 1000a tube receiver. 50wpc beast completely restored 2 yrs ago. 1978 Thorens td-125 mark ii turntable w/ sme 3009 arm and Shure v-15 cart.. i just love the sound of this tt. 2 great vintage pieces I’ve had for decades.
I might have the record with my Harmon Kardon 930 receiver. This unit came twin powered @ 45 watts per channel and the that McIntosh traveling lab measured at .005 in 1972. I still use it as a second setup with a equally old mc 250. The hi has a preamp out.! Bought it new in 1972.
Given the mention of cassette decks in many of the responses, I’d thought I’d mention a currently produced deck some may wish to consider if and when their vintage deck develops a problem that isn’t worth fixing, or can’t be fixed.
The ca. 1980 Tandberg 3004 I purchased in the mid-1990s recently developed some problems, and given the expense that would be involved in getting it repaired (the SoundSmith website indicates a "maximum estimate" of $2250 for an overhaul of that very complex deck) I decided to purchase a pro-oriented dual well deck Tascam introduced just a few months ago, the 202MkVII, costing $500.
And I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with its sonics, not to mention that I expect it to provide much better reliability over the long term than the Tandberg would have if I were to get it repaired. Compared to the Tandberg (when it was working properly) there is some loss of definition in the highs, that is particularly evident on classical piano music. But that is pretty much the only significant negative I can cite regarding its sonics.
And on the other hand, I’ve just listened on the Tascam to a Connoisseur In Sync cassette I purchased in the 1980s featuring violinist Wanda Wilkomirska performing the famous Bach Chaconne and various pieces by other composers, the original recording having been made in 1974. Totally fantastic, musically and sonically! Most or all of the many cassettes that were issued on that label, btw, were duplicated in real time and on CrO2 tapes.
Also, btw, the deck provides a USB output, making it possible to do digital transfers to a computer.
Linn Sondek turntable that I bought in 1985 and still is the Valhalla version. At the time with a Linn Basik arm and an A&R P77 cartridge. I replaced that cartridge in 1989 with a Linn Karma that Andy Kim serviced 2 months ago with a new suspension, sapphire cantilever and micro ridge stylus (very different from the old aluminium cantilever and elliptical stylus and I am still trying to decide which I prefer - sometimes I am excited and other times mmm...I'm not so sure, but the memory is fading) and an Alphason HR100s arm. I changed cartridges to a Denon DL103R about a year ago, but that did not do it for me and therefore decided to service the Karma. I love my sound and at the cost of current turntables, arms and cartridges, the current setup will stay with me.
Thanks for your info on the 202MkVII Al. Good to know
I just wanted to let R2R and cassette deck owners know that there is another alternative to repairing these decks at a (probably) lower cost than Soundsmith or Willie Herman. I’ve used New Jersey Factory Service with great results for my R2R, but I see Russ does cassette decks as well.
My Klipschorns, bought used by my late father in 1980 and handed down to me in 1998.My KEF Transmission Line speakers which I built in1977. My Rega 3 TT, which I bought in 1981.My Mullard 10/10 amp, built in 1966, lightly used, still with the original valves that still measure well and sound awesome with both the Klipschorns and the KEFs.
Matching pair of Harman Kardon Citation II tube power amps completely restored with the best components (1961). Matching pair of Dynaco PAS-4 tube pre-amps (Panor version) completely restored (1995), Pioneer PL 50 turntable w/AT 8008 reference cartridge (`1975), Matching pair (quad) of Meadowlark Kestral coherent transmission line speakers (early 2000’s), pair of Martin Logan SL3 Electrostatic speakers (1996). Some of this is very old, but I’m older.
My oldest factory piece, still in use(since 1980): a Magnepan Unitrac I, tonearm. The only change made to that, was creating an adapter, to allow upgrading it’s interconnect cable. Now mated with a Soundsmith cartridge, a golden(maybe platinum) combo. Also, circa 1980, one of my customers requested an actively crossed over pair of 10" driver, folded, 8’ transmission line woofers, to mate with his Acoustat Model IIIs. After building his and hearing the results(with a modded Hafler DH-500, driving them), I built a pair for myself. They’ve been providing fast, dynamic/impactful, tuneful bottom end for me, ever since. A few years back, I swapped out their Milos Nestorovic sourced, 10" drivers, for Seas L26RO4Ys.
Just replaced (but still own) Dalquist DQ-20’s bought around 1989. Wonderful sounding speakers used and enjoyed for almost 30 years. Also, Conrad-Johnson PV11 preamp from ‘90s. Still using. Just had Teflon caps installed.