Vintage components, modern home use

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
I'm in the process of remodelling my home and will be wanting to replace my existing stereo equipment within the next couple of years. I've got the notion for something more aesthetically pleasing to go with the new room look. Deliberated on a modern microstack like a Denon M37 for a long time, but it feels a bit cold. I'm increasingly being seduced by the wood-enclosure and silver-face look of vintage equipment like 70s Marantz stuff. Don't want to go overboard on spending, but it seems to make logical sense to go for higher quality used stuff that has a bit of collectability to it (got a shock when my current system, for which my parents paid out the price of a small second hand car for my eighteenth in 1992, is worth about 20p!). Ideally, I'm looking for the following:

Amp (also preamp?)
-Two turntables (I already have one Rega Planar 3, a late 70s model I think - I'd like a second one so I can keep one set up permanently for 33RPM and one at 45RPM, so I'll obviously need some sort of A/B box - or would I be better putting them into separate channels on the amp?)
-CD player
-Radio Tuner - I know a lot of vintage amps have FM/MW built in, but I want to have a DAB band as well.[EDIT: Am I likely ever to have a use for DAB+? I find DAB gives me a better signal in my home than FM, by a long chalk; is DAB+ a white elephant, or worth buying a tuner that has that in it?]

Don't need ipod docking or anything of that nature, don't need cassettes, or anything else. No worries about movie sound, as I'll be building a separate, dedicated home cinema system. [EDIT: is that the answer to the DAB/DAB+ question - wire up a tuner for that sort of radio to the AV receiver and listen to radio via that?] The one modern touch I think I would like, though, is a subwoofer.... is that possible? Is it worth it if I have good quality vintage hifi running through two speakers as designed?

Looking for some suggestions on equipment I could/should be looking into, in particular with a view to mixing older and more modern components (thinking specifically of the CD & DAB). Will I need some sort of digital to analogue box?

Budget wise, spending less is always preferable, but I suppose realistically I could see me being prepared to go up to a grand over time. I'll be looking to build up the system over a period of couple of years; amp and speakers are where I'd like to start, to have vinyl up and running.

If anyone is able to point me towards some ideas of where I might go looking, specialist dealers, and such, I'd be most grateful. Also, any published guides as to what and how to look for with this sort of thing. I've had a hunt all ove the web, but not managed to turn much up so far - which may be my novice ignorance of the right search terms to use.... I'm afraid I'm new to doing much more here than setting up a boxed system per manual and plugging it in, but we've all got to learn, right?
 
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lindsayt

Active Member
The world is your oyster. Loads of great choices in vintage gear for not much money. I like German and US ebay.

There are battleship receivers like the Pioneer SA-9800. Sony ES series amps are great too for the money you can buy them at. Also Onkyo Integra, Kenwood / Trio amps. Marantz did some fine sounding amps too in the '70's.

Speakers are a very personal choice. Get ones with big enough drivers and you won't need a sub. And you'll get properly integrated stereo bass too.

Try a solidly engineered Japanese vintage direct drive. Again plenty to choose from. Sony PSX 6750's, Pioneer PL71's etc. With direct drives you don't need two turntables as speed change is in an instant at the push of a button. You should also expect sound quality better than an Linn LP12, as well as Rega Planar 3.


For £1000 you can put together a really good sounding vintage system. Something at least on a par with a typical modern £10,000 system.

Don't be afraid to take a punt on something that's selling at the right price. If you don't like it, sell it on.
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
We need to know the working budget?

No speakers??? I don't see them listed.

Steve/bluewizard

oops.... yes, I'll need speakers. My dad has a pair of Kenwood KL4040s - I think that's the model number, they're a dead ringer for these:

1_57024b41718ef2eece947a4eac9fc28a.jpg


...sitting in the garage, unused.... for me they'd be perfect aesthetically, but I assume they'd sound good too(!)... seem to be highly thought of from what I hear. I'm probably looking at an upper end of a grand, sterling, for a budget, spread across a couple of years.

There are battleship receivers like the Pioneer SA-9800. Sony ES series amps are great too for the money you can buy them at. Also Onkyo Integra, Kenwood / Trio amps. Marantz did some fine sounding amps too in the '70's.

The Marantz is really appealing to me, if I can find the right one, but I'm not exclusively fixed on it.

Speakers are a very personal choice. Get ones with big enough drivers and you won't need a sub. And you'll get properly integrated stereo bass too.

Ah, cool. What sort of size drivers are we talking? I'm more familiar with guitar amps, but I figure 10 and 12 inches are a bit big for hifi?

Try a solidly engineered Japanese vintage direct drive. Again plenty to choose from. Sony PSX 6750's, Pioneer PL71's etc. With direct drives you don't need two turntables as speed change is in an instant at the push of a button. You should also expect sound quality better than an Linn LP12, as well as Rega Planar 3.

I'm considering something like that as an option (in particular if it means I'll also be able to play 78s, as I have a bunch of those somewhere), though I do still fancy wiring up the Rega if I can too... Something about the simplicity of a deck set to run single speed appeals. Ultimately, it may have to go to make way for something else or if I can make do with one TT.

For £1000 you can put together a really good sounding vintage system. Something at least on a par with a typical modern £10,000 system.

Don't be afraid to take a punt on something that's selling at the right price. If you don't like it, sell it on.

That's the plan.... plus the aesthetics of the early 70s stuff just appeals so much more. The tricksy bit is, I think, going to be making sure I can hook up both a DAB band tuner (I'm just planning to fit up a cheaper one, like the Cambridge Audio for that, assuming I can get the connection to the amp sorted) and a CD player..... A decent CD player will be a priority, as the majority of my current collection is CD based.
 

lindsayt

Active Member
12" drivers are fine for hi-fi. And so are multiple 12" drivers and 15" drivers and 18" drivers and 30" drivers.
 

amcluesent

Distinguished Member
it seems to make logical sense to go for higher quality used stuff that has a bit of collectability to it

Quad 34/306/FM4/CD66 stack? Still OK to use modern gear like streamers too!

IMGP0157_zps1bf062b3.jpg
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Certainly bigger names like Quad, Arcam, and similar are consistently good. However, in older equipment, I found Pioneer to be excellent, and I wouldn't say no to some older Marantz equipment either. I had an vintage Pioneer SA-7500-II Integrated Amp, I never had an amp I like better than this one. Sadly one channel started getting weak, but I bought it new in 1978, so I think I got my money's worth from it. Only 45w/ch but a very sweet amp. Today many of the higher powered Pioneer amps should be available.

Also, Pioneer turntables are still very much in demand. I bought mine (PL-35A) in 1978 and it is still working just fine. Mine is second from the bottom in that model year, but today, you should be able to find many of the better Pioneer Turntables for no more than a song.

As far as vintage speakers, in the good old day, back when Dinosaurs roamed the earth. If you had 8" speakers you were an amateur. If you have 10" speaker, you were only mildly serious about music. Twelve inch speakers were somewhat the standard back then, though a few hard core guys had 15". We laughingly called these 'bookshelf' speakers. Though there was never a bookshelf made capable of holding them. My alleged 'bookshelf' speakers weight 50 pounds each. Threw my back out more than once lifting them.

I still have a pair of 12" DIY speakers from the late 70's early 80's. They still sound fine. Though I have something of an open floor plan, they don't over power the room either. KLH, AR, and many other made fine speakers back then. I would guess in vintage speakers, you are going to find mostly 10" and 12" speakers, with perhaps a few 15".

Steve/bluewizard
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
Thanks for all the steers on this, folks: I'm starting to get a clearer idea of exactly what I want so I can start looking for prices.

The bits in the Quad stack above look nice, but not quite the aesthetic I'm after... The one thing I've discovered with hifi is that it's very much like my experience of suitcases.... There are components that are cheap, components that are exactly the aesthetic I'm after, and components that are good. Any two of those can exist together.... ;-) Early 70s vintage Marantz seems to come the closest I can find to "all three" within my budget... The only modern bits I really want to incorporate are a CD player, which I know I can do, and a DAB tuner (which I think I can do with a DAC.... I mostly listen to DAB at home as the signal's much better. EDIT: discovered the Roberts Sovereign DAB/DAB+ radio has a stereo line-out facility designed for connection to amplifiers, and it looks great, so....). Don't want streaming and so on - wouldn't have the likes of spotify in the house. I do use an iPod a lot, but that's for taking my collection on the move - at home I much prefer to listen to music on a "real" format, i.e. CD or vinyl. I might once in a blue moon want to plug up the Pod, but I'll do that so rarely that one of those cheap FM devices plugged into the player and the FM band on the tuner will do the job perfectly.

I'm looking for a seventies Marantz for the amp/(analogue) tuner. Looking particularly at the 22 series, also the 42. The big one with all the buzz is the 2270, though I see pretty much all of the 22 series, at least, seem to be held in universally high regard. I don't need something that is capable of particularly high volume, but I've fiddled with enough electric bass guitars over the years to appreciate the value of clean headroom... also, based on the limited searches I've been able to get to run, it looks like the bigger models are better suited to running multiple items through them as well as a turntable. An eBay search suggests that the going rate for most of these is in and around GBP400 on average. The significant majority of them seem to be in the US.... would that rule them out completey, or could I still use them with UK bits - turntable, cd, et cetera? Ideally, I'd prefer to buy from a dealer at home in London if I can find one at the right price, just to have some comeback if anything goes wrong, and to be sure it's been serviced right. but I'm also a fan of saving a couple of hundred quid too.... ;-)

One thing I've not been able to find out yet (in a hotel in Beijing this week and thus Google search is problematic, as ever - actually, this week the Golden Shield seems to have rendered it so slow it's hardly worth bothering with as most searches are timing out). What exactly is the "Quadradial" funtion? I've also noticed that the 22 series amps, at least those of which I've seen a diagram or photo of the rear panel, have provision for a second set of speakers (presumably doubling the stereo... or quadrupling the mono....), but I'm not clear on this quad feature. Thought it might have been for playing stuff recorded in quad band rather than stereo (I don't think I have anything of this nature in my collection anyhow), but not clear on that. Especially confused as I thought something along these lines is what differentiated the 42 series from the 22?

Another plus - I've discovered that the going rate for a tidy Rega Planar-3 with an RB300 has gone up a bit sicne I bought mine, so I can sell that one off with no loss to help fund this project. :) Been looking at turntables... I've seen a Pioneer PL570, which looks *lovely*, though I'm a bit wary of it being fully automatic (still got that old fear in my head that says "the more it does, the more there is to go wrong..." ha....).
 
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Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
Spend a good while trawling through The Vintage Knob - Online vintage audio museum, forum and image bank and enjoy your new addiction :) This is what I'm in to far more than modern hifi. Some of this stuff, especially a lot of what is listed on TVK, is pretty rare and pricy now but there's loads of classic hifi from the 70s through the 80s to the early 90s that are fantastic looking and performing pieces of kit. There is nothing wrong either with mixing old with new...

I wouldn't even know where to begin but Sony, Technics, Pioneer and Yamaha all did great hifi from that period. In fact, I'd say Japanese hifi is where it's at from the 60s through to the early 90s they pretty much made the best consumer electronics out there. Western hifi snobs can disagree all they like, but Sony were make PCM digital amps in the 70s, and they invented the highend, not Krell/Apogee/Mark Levinson. And that was in 1965.
 

Kurchatov

Banned
Sony invented the high end audio in 1965: I don't think so! My Quad els57 electrostatics were making high end audio well before that. Why do you think Sony's PCM work marks the birth of high end audio? Most would point to either Macintosh in the US or to Quad, Leak or Radford in the UK, back as far as the late 1940s.
 

Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
1965 was when Sony launched the first of its original ES range of components, which were explicitly designed as 'high end' before the concept itself really existed IMO. The PCM amp was the TA-N88 and that came out a decade later. Perhaps that was unclear... I would also concede that the Japanese did not have a monopoly on great speaker design, of course. However, I'm not about to get into a flamewar over this matter :)
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
Spend a good while trawling through The Vintage Knob - Online vintage audio museum, forum and image bank and enjoy your new addiction :) This is what I'm in to far more than modern hifi. Some of this stuff, especially a lot of what is listed on TVK, is pretty rare and pricy now but there's loads of classic hifi from the 70s through the 80s to the early 90s that are fantastic looking and performing pieces of kit. There is nothing wrong either with mixing old with new...

That is a superb website, thanks... It's definitely turning out that it's the Japanese stuff I'm looking at - both for sound quality for the price as well as aesthetics. I'm hoping for a Marantz 2270 at the right price, alongside a decent Japanese turntable. Still open-minded on the speaker front (though it seems vintage is my best bet for good sized drivers as much as anything). For the CD player, I'm eying the Marantz 6005 (don't need to go up to one of their SA series as I'm not interested in buying into that format. If DVDA ever becomes a significant thing, that'll most likely be best put through the TV system with 5.1 anyhow). I've decided for certain that for DAB I'm gonig to go with a Roberts Sovereign - half the time I suspect I'll put that on just itself, but it can be cabled into the amp via a DAC too. The bonus of not being in a major rush (I won't be setting the systme up until vmy room is finished) is that I can give it time and pick up the bits I want when the best price turns up.

Can anyone recommend a good London dealer? I'm aware of Audiogold, gonig to have a look at what they've got. I want to see whether there's much of a difference buying some bits there over the likes of eBay; if not, it would be worth it for the additional support...
 

Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
DVD-Audio is dead in the water, and pointless anyway - just like SACD. Very few vintage components had the bandwidth for high-rez audio formats anyway.

There are plenty of classic CD players from the 80s worth pursuing, btw.

A 2270 or 2285 would be hard to come by to be honest. You are most likely to find one on eBay, but there are dealers who'll have them in rarely. If you have piles of cash, I recommend trawling through audioScope too :) The prices are sometimes insane, but match the condition and rarity of what he has in stock.
 

Kurchatov

Banned
1965 was when Sony launched the first of its original ES range of components, which were explicitly designed as 'high end' before the concept itself really existed IMO. The PCM amp was the TA-N88 and that came out a decade later. Perhaps that was unclear... I would also concede that the Japanese did not have a monopoly on great speaker design, of course. However, I'm not about to get into a flamewar over this matter :)

Doomlord, your posts are always interesting. If I had realised you were saying Sony were the first company to call yet another amplifier "high end" whilst macintosh, Radford, Leak, Quad and others had been making great amplifiers for years but just not used high end as a marketing banner, I would have agreed.

In any case, I thought your position in previous posts was that any competently designed amplifier would sound exactly like any other competently designed amplifier. If I remember correctly, you argued that premise for quite a time!

Like you, I'm not looking for a flame war; I just want to make sure Japanese marketing speak does doesn't confuse the issue.
 

Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
Without going to check, I don't think Sony marketed their ES system as 'high end' - that's a 70s/80s term. The ES logo itself - which applied over several years to a range of components - was variously used (by Sony, who were very inconsistent with marketing) to mean Enhanced Standard, Enhanced Specification... it just depended on what piece of paper you had in your hand from Sony. The first ES components were speakers - SS-3300s. The matching integrated amp was the TA-1120, which was very good for its time (1966 iirc...) but wouldn't interest an audiophile, only a collector like me. You also had the TA-4300 3-way active crossover and 3120 power amps as the 3300s were tri-ampable. Sources were the TTS-3000 turntable/arm/cart system and the ST-5000 tuner. Allegedly the TC-660 was the matching reel-to-reel but I can't find any confirmation of this. You also had, slightly later, the TA-2000 pre-amp and 3200 power amps... Sony did several ES ranges (I think six in total...).

I'm not going to even attempt to claim that Quad especially, but also Leak, Radford, Mac et al didn't build high quality equipment. But I think Sony have a claim to the idea of high end, even if they never actually claimed it.

My passion is for classic Japanese hifi, as maybe you can tell. But it's not about audiophile concerns like 'sound quality'. I don't even believe in 'sound quality'. What I love is the technology and the art of hifi. In my passion I also get to revel in the history and story of a country whose electronics industry didn't just dwarf the rest of the world's but annihalated it. Sony was profitably manufacturing and exporting worldwide equipment that european and american manufacturers couldn't even assemble in their workshops for less money... The Japanese were also highly innovative and inventive, and produced equipment at a quality rarely matched in the west. I'd take a classic Technics hifi over *anything* made by a British hifi company. Actually, I just happen to be putting together a National Panasonics system :)
 

Kurchatov

Banned
"I'm not going to even attempt to claim that Quad especially, but also Leak, Radford, Mac et al didn't build high quality equipment. But I think Sony have a claim to the idea of high end, even if they never actually claimed it."

What on Earth does that mean?
 

Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
I'm saying they were specifically aiming high, even though they didn't market their products that way.
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
DVD-Audio is dead in the water, and pointless anyway - just like SACD. Very few vintage components had the bandwidth for high-rez audio formats anyway.

There are plenty of classic CD players from the 80s worth pursuing, btw.

A 2270 or 2285 would be hard to come by to be honest. You are most likely to find one on eBay, but there are dealers who'll have them in rarely. If you have piles of cash, I recommend trawling through audioScope too :) The prices are sometimes insane, but match the condition and rarity of what he has in stock.


Some lovely stuff on that Audioscope website for sure!
 

Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
...and I can't be bothered to argue with your British hifi fanboy drivel, so I agree to leave it there :)
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
Doing some hunting around on eBay, the Marantz 2270 seems to be a hard one to find. Still the ideal, but I've discovered a lot of Pioneer SX and such Stereo Receivers selling for significantly less. They have a very similar aesthetic (I'm guessing that this was the sexy look of the high end stuff in the 70s, so it caught on across all price brackets?). How were these, quality wise? Worth looking at, or a cheap imitator?

In terms of CDC players, are there any disadvantages to a good vintage model? I'm not worried about features like shuffle and programme play (when I put on an album, I like to listen to it as such), and now I think about it being able to listen to a disk of mp3s isn't an issue (I have the iPod for that format)... but it might be useful on occasion to be able to put in a CDR or such. Are there issues that make vintage CD players a bad idea, or - like turntables and receivers - will a good one always be good (and, more importantly, maintainable)?
 

EdwardMarlowe

Standard Member
Here's the sort of thing I mean on the Pioneer receivers... .... Auctiva Image Hosting

What I realise I'm not clear on is how to tell whether they have enough inputs for what I want. I'll need a phono (which they have, obviously) for the turntable, but I'll also need two more, one for the CD player and one for a DAB radio. Now that I plan to buy a Roberts Sovereign for the latter, I know I'll spend much of the time listening to that through its own speaker rather than plugged up to the system, but I'd still like to have the option of doing so (the Sovereign model has a stereo output feature, presumably designed with this sort of thing in mind). What do I need to be looking for in terms of input options?

Apologies for what I'm sure seem like idiotic newbie questions, but I've never worked with this type of component before - only more modern gear with it all designed with multiple formats and inputs in mind...
 

Doomlord_uk

Well-known Member
Some of the beefier Pioneer SX receivers are very popular still and can go for big money still - there is an SX9800 on ebay at the moment going for over a grand (but I don't think it will sell at quite that price......).

As for a silver amp that's interesting, Audioscope has an A-960 II still. It's not too pricy either (by their standards) at £370 and you can probably haggle the price a bit. It's a magnetic amp, but Yamaha didn't have the rights to the tech and had to cease production (same with the B6 power amp, the pyramid shaped one) so they're fairly rare. Decent power and, IMO, better looks than the Marantzs or Pioneers.

As for CD players, early ones were as able to play CD-Rs the same as later ones, however it's not always guaranteed that they will since it was never part of their spec to do so. My dream CD player, the Yamaha CD-1, struggles with CD-Rs I believe. If you got the A960-II then a modern Yamaha CD player would make a nice match aestheticall of course. Hell, if it's still there at the end of the year, I'm going to get that 960 myself :)

I must confess to being a bit of a Yamaha fan myself.... So maybe look for a CR2010, 2020 or 2030 receiver but be aware they are *big* and can be expensive in good condition. But, handsome and powerful.

Sony silverface gear, I'd say there you do need to look at the seventies more, they just made some damn nice stuff then that they didn't later... a TA-E86 and TA-N86 would not break the bank but are truly beautiful pieces of kit. If you can get them, the 88 components are a bit nicer and there are also the Esprit components that drop dead gorgeous too. But... be prepared to wait a long time to find them and pay real money when you do =/ More humbly, a TA-F6B integrated would be nice, if you like the look, and there are pre/powers with more oomph. Not all that easy to find though...
 

Cebolla

Member
Don't need ipod docking or anything of that nature, don't need cassettes, or anything else. No worries about movie sound, as I'll be building a separate, dedicated home cinema system. [EDIT: is that the answer to the DAB/DAB+ question - wire up a tuner for that sort of radio to the AV receiver and listen to radio via that?] The one modern touch I think I would like, though, is a subwoofer.... is that possible? Is it worth it if I have good quality vintage hifi running through two speakers as designed?

Looking for some suggestions on equipment I could/should be looking into, in particular with a view to mixing older and more modern components (thinking specifically of the CD & DAB). Will I need some sort of digital to analogue box?
With respect the idea that CD player is more modern than the rest of the kit, as a sort of contrast, doesn't really make sense. Even DAB technology is ~20 years old!

If you really do want to make that sort of statement then you don't even need another component for 'radio' & 'CD playing', as any half decent modern AVR, that you'll presumably be getting for the proposed home cinema system, streams internet radio and can playback CD file rips. So assuming you have a reasonably modern computer (to rip the CDs) internet and a network, probably the only extra kit you need is somewhere to store your CD rips (eg the same computer, NAS, etc). Being networked, that music file storage device doesn't even need to be in same room, let alone in sight.

UK DAB radio is currently on a downward slope, with many stations broadcasting in mono and even those that aren't do so at very low bit rates, with a sound quality much lower than you'd get from FM. If SQ is important to you, my advice would be to forget about connecting that Roberts DAB radio to the amp and think about a way of getting internet radio connected instead.
 
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