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Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

M

mjr

Guest
It would be great to see some of your kit if you're able to photograph it you guys.

The thing I love about vintage stuff is that the aesthetic value is far beyond the monetary value in a lot of cases, here's a quick snap of my old Sony, despite it's lack of tapes until I can buy some, and it's only a lower model, but it was £20! Looks great I think.



There is obviously the pursuit of excellence, but there is also the simple pursuit of nice things to look at and collect, far more valuable to me. I had a chat with a friend the other week who was asking my view on cartridges, I asked what he was after and he said his limitation was no more than $10k, $10k!!! My entire kit cost less than 3 and sounds amazing, well in the context of my room and my ears of course.

Anyway, would be great to see what you guys have.

Mat
 

4season

Member
When I was a child in the 1960s, my folks had a Sony open-reel recorder (TC-201?). It was a consumer-grade thing covered in grey vinyl and included a couple of speakers and a pair of microphones, all of which could be snapped together into a large "suitcase". All vacuum tube, so it was heavy. My dad purchased a few prerecorded tapes for it, but I think he mostly bought it as a novelty. I recall the sonics of those tapes being very good. MJR, your Sony looks very similar, but I recall my dad's as having zippered storage pouches built into the speakers which held the mics and cables.

I recall purchasing this circa 1980 guide when it was new and feared the shop would see the word "Playboy" and refuse to sell it to a minor!





 
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M

mjr

Guest
Sounds very similar! This too packs like a case with the speakers on the outside, cables and mics are on the inside but snapped on. I like it purely because of the life it must have had, it's a lot of history and bits of electronics for the money.

Mat
 
I had a chat with a friend the other week who was asking my view on cartridges, I asked what he was after and he said his limitation was no more than $10k, $10k!!! My entire kit cost less than 3 and sounds amazing, well in the context of my room and my ears of course.
Back in the day, I was at a party and started talking with a couple when the subject of my profession came up. I explained where I worked and what I did and the man said: "We've been thinking of upgrading the stereo system we've owned since college. We're doing fairly well now, so are willing to spend as much as $5,000 for a new system ... what would you recommend?"

I paused for a moment and somewhat sheepishly, I replied: "I honestly have no idea, because I'm not very familiar with entry-level equipment."

The look on his face was one of abject shock and horror. But then he paused, smiled, and clarified: "No, I meant $5,000, not $500. If I said $500, then I was mistaken."

I sighed and explained to him that, Yes, I heard him say $5,000, but in the part of the audio world where I work and play, $5,000 was entry-level system money and just barely at that.

And that was in the mid-80s!

Needless to say, the couple was both embarrassed by having to publicly acknowledge their relative poverty and/or quickly decided I was some kind of nut -- Old joke: Q. What's the difference between a audiophile and a walnut? A. Nothing, because they're both nutcases! -- and sidled away to mingle with other people.

That was the precise moment when I realized just how far out of touch with reality I had become. <shrug>

Humorous anecdote: I was working part-time (4:00 to 10:00 am) as a janitor in a grocery store while also running a mail-order audio dealership with a friend and slowly working toward a Masters in Economics at ASU while still living at home with my parents. Around 5:30 am, I took my morning break and used the phone in the produce section to call the U.S. importer of Koetsu phono cartridges, who was located in Connecticut, hence three hours ahead of me in Arizona, to order a Koetsu Onyx cartridge at my dealer cost of $1,500. IIRC, this was in 1982 and the purchase left me with less than $50 combined in my checking and savings accounts. That's how foolish (or dedicated ... your choice) I was and, embarrassingly, this only got worse over the following decade, until I finally cold-turkeyed it and quit audio completly... <blushes>
 

4season

Member
Yes, I heard him say $5,000, but in the part of the audio world where I work and play, $5,000 was entry-level system money and just barely at that.

And that was in the mid-80s!
I never really got drawn into the TAS/Stereophile spheres of influence, but as an undergraduate student living at home and with a part-time job at a high-end shop, the early-mid 1980s were an amazing time to be be hooked on this stuff, and for me, part of it had to do with a sense that this was a gateway to an elite and super-desirable lifestyle. Maybe that was always pretentious B.S. (like calling one's store a "salon"!) but at the time I ate it up.

For a variety of reasons I don't really recall, I left the scene by the latter part of the 1980s; Maybe I was just ready to do something else.

In retrospect, one vintage audio product I'd really have liked to try would be Sony's PS-B80 "Biotracer" turntable, nor would I object to the full Technics SL1000 setup built around the SP10 Mk III motor unit.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
One thing I learned: If your 1/2 meter interconnects came in a box indistinguishable from a cigar humidor, you paid too much.
:facesmack:
Matt
 

docmoore

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Too much time on my hands ... cannot apologize enough for entering this discussion.

Cameras and HiFi both lead one to Dante's Gate ...

Audio Research ... Quad ESL 63 ... vinyl ... approached for me the ability to place the
performer in the room ...

A never ending quest for a sound ... that always moved with the industry.

Thankfully I have a wife who did not appreciate nor enjoy music at high volume nor long
listening sessions.

Then I realized that there is such a volume of great music ... not vinyl ... and wonderful performances
that I was missing much of the beauty of Western civilization. Pablo Casals ... Louis Armstrong ... recordings in
mono from the 40s that had such life but not much in the way of HiFi.

So ARC to Stan Klyne SK3 ... now a very old Spectral Pre and Chord amp ... bookshelf speakers. I imagine that when
this world ends ... they will still be playing.

But I would recommend that you all look into Roon and Quoboz ... ultra fidelity ... streaming and unlimited access to
all the old great recordings ... almost.

Read about John Pryne's demise ... spent the better part of 8 hours listening to every album he made.

Great thing about Roon is that when you play an album or song ... it lists every person in the band and links to every
album or song they have recorded ... and every person on their album ... sort of a rabbit hole without an end. Then it lists
every performer who covered the song and every performer who has a similar reputation or volume of work.

And you can program a 12 hour playlist of all of those to play ...

Vinyl was warm smooth and engaging ... but the second best audio day of my life was when I sold my disc washer ...

Rant over ... back to normal programming.

Bob
 

MartinN

Member
Yes, audiophilia is a synonym for serious GAS.
I know, because I had a time when upgrading was the most important thing in my 'hobby'.
However, I now regret one 'upgrade' - going from Mark Levinson ML28 and ML27 to 'modern'
amplification. How idiotic can a man be, those were simply gems, and should have been kept
forever.
Oh but the great thing is that I am now almost cured from 'upgrading' and I can sit listening
without the need to constantly scan the net for impulses to upgrade.
 
M

mjr

Guest
Bob, what do you get from Roon? I am not sure I understand it, we can get Tidal here in Sweden but not Quoboz, how does Roon work over just the Tidal app? It's fairly expensive at $700 to just buy it, doesn't actually allow access to any music unless you add your own or a subscription from a streaming service, and you need roon ready components to play to, I am clearly missing something but I have no idea what it is! I saw a review on the Roon Nucleus too, looks a nicely built bit of kit, but even buying the standard version at $1400 doesn't come with the roon subscription, it all seems like a lot of money to play from a streaming service when they have their own apps included. What has been your experience with it?

I'm all for digital in my system, I have a HT receiver with Helos built in, it's pretty cool having an ipad on my desk and controlling internet radio, streaming and hard drive stored music, I am a big fan of a UK music station called BBC 6 music which I have on a lot, there's definitely something to be said for mixing old and new.

Mat
 

P. Chong

Member
I have gone totally to the dark side since I bought the Meridian Digital System - I have the whole works from the day (circa 1997) - DSP6000 main speakers, DSP5000C center speaker, 500 CD Transport, 562V Digital Switch, 565 Digital processor. For back channels, it fed an old Pioneer integrated amp, driving a pair of Cambridge Audio rear speakers. This was a migration from a system which comprised of the Pioneer D500 Transport, Wadia 2000 DSP, Jadis DP60 Preamp, Jadis Defy 7 poweramp and Wilson WATT2/Puppy system.

Now I consider myself a retired audiophile..the Meridian system is on standby, it has been for the last 15 years or so, with little usage. And I listen to Spotify via headphones - sometimes via the Stax headphones, but usually with some cheap China made wired ear buds, or Sennheiser PX100 when out and about.

Will try and dig out some pics when I can.
 

docmoore

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Bob, what do you get from Roon? I am not sure I understand it, we can get Tidal here in Sweden but not Quoboz, how does Roon work over just the Tidal app? It's fairly expensive at $700 to just buy it, doesn't actually allow access to any music unless you add your own or a subscription from a streaming service, and you need roon ready components to play to, I am clearly missing something but I have no idea what it is!

Mat
This is my second attempt to respond to your question ... looking up a link I lost an hour of reply ... probably in everyone's favor.

The key to Roon is its very deep metadata database and streaming engine ... it allows for unbelievable searches based on musician, composer,
band members, song and genre .... Integration with Tidal is very tight ... I moved to Quoboz as it has a better Jazz and Classical focus and they
recently offered very cheap rates in the US. My personal collection is about 800 CDs that I ripped to AAC format ( I am on MAC OS ) years ago.
For the Tidal/Quoboz fees I can explore music that I would not be exposed to otherwise. Leonard Cohen ---> Sean Rowe ... never would have found that
on my own. Additionally both T/Q offer high resolution streaming ... which works with Roon as a server.

The Roon Nucleus is at the top for endpoint and server all-in-one devices and is priced to reflect that positioning. But one can use ... as I do at the present time a Raspberry Pi 3/4 and music stored on your computer to the same end. Nucleus may sound a bit better but only if you listen very
closely.

Roon allows one to stream music from a server (computer, NAS, Nucleus) to a DAC at a very high bandwidth with little compression as it is done
over wired Ethernet in most cases. It uses a Ethernet to USB end-point to convert the stream to something DAC compatible. So your present system
would probably need a Raspberry Pi (~$45 USD) and a wired connection. Airplay has a very low data bandwidth ... in order to be streamed and one can hear a difference.

I had linked a number of reviews prior to losing my previous response ... here are the most pertinent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZVcNx-DlIc&t=303s

https://darko.audio/2018/07/a-short-film-about-roon-in-three-parts/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RZpjkjt3Z4&t=16s

https://darko.audio/2019/11/discover-new-music-more-easily-with-roon-v1-7/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BUjj2mZ4o0

https://ropieee.org/

Roon has a free 14 day trial ... so if you want to test it I would recommend you build your Raspberry Pi end-point based on Ropieee as that may take you a couple of days prior to starting the trial. Pricing looks like it is $10 USD per month at the present time or the lifetime $700. At this point I pass the break even point in less than a year ... the Roon software is continually and extensively improved and is very stable.

https://roonlabs.com/pricing

The major advantage for me is that I can branch out from my limited base of knowledge concerning performers, bands or works ... and find in minutes
great stuff that I would never have listened to otherwise.

Entry is pretty cheap to trial it ... after a number of years I am convinced it works for me.

Bob
 
M

mjr

Guest
Thanks Bob for taking the time to write all that, twice! I understand better now what it's for, it didn't really make sense to me as software that plays what you have, but as a tool to explore and discover then it makes more sense. I will have a look through your links for more info, thanks!

Mat
 

iiiNelson

Active member
Not really “vintage” and probably not even in the audiophile category but I did buy my wife a Fluance RT-81 turntable and a pair of their A40 Bookshelf speakers as one of her birthday gifts last fall. I’t a pretty affordable setup for someone wanting relatively good sound quality for a sub $500 price. As a point of value, the speakers also have Bluetooth built in so you can connect it to your media streaming service of choice as well (Tidal for me) so it makes for a good home office setup for vinyl and modern music.
 

Oren Grad

Member
With apologies for the mid-fi snapshot... the shelf unit in which it lives sits in pretty murky light.

Anyway: purchased new in Sept 1981... I was smitten by the built-in oscillator for bias fine-adjust :cool: and by the output level control, which allowed me to listen via headphones while I saved up for other components and eventually speakers. Alas, the Hafler amplifier and preamplifier which I built from kits a couple of years later are long gone.

 

Oren Grad

Member
IIRC, John Bicht also developed a few photographic products, such as an archival print washer or some such.
Afraid I don't do coffee, but I do have one of his print washers. A clever, sturdy design made of inexpensive parts, works as well as or better than many slicker, much more expensive washers.
 

Shashin

Well-known member
At one point I worked in commercial and college radio stations. My college station had a really great recording/mixing studio with a wonderful reel-to-reel deck. So, I guess I am an audio enthusiast, I just don't think I would describe myself as "vintage." :toocool:
 
M

mjr

Guest
Ha, I’m not sure I’m vintage either, it implies some sort of quality, I’m more just knackered!

Picked up an interesting set of speakers yesterday, Swedish made, Qln stand mounts from 1997, external passive crossover, in my room they sound awesome! Dodgy buying older speakers I have found but these are in excellent condition. Look really cool too. Will get some pics later.

Mat
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
Ha, I’m not sure I’m vintage either, it implies some sort of quality, I’m more just knackered!

Picked up an interesting set of speakers yesterday, Swedish made, Qln stand mounts from 1997, external passive crossover, in my room they sound awesome! Dodgy buying older speakers I have found but these are in excellent condition. Look really cool too. Will get some pics later.

Mat
I remember the old Qln speakers from the late seventies and early eighties. They were made from really, really thick wood. Made in Gothenburg, aren't they?
 
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