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Thread: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

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    Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Morning!

    One positive to the state of the world at the moment has been that I have had time to indulge in my other passion, vintage audio and music. Anyone here got some nice old kit to show? I have Pink Floyd on this morning, something wonderful about playing vinyl through an old system. I don't have anything really great just stuff I have picked up over the years because I liked it.

    Blimey needs a bit of a clean! A very early LP12 from 1974 I believe, largely original except updated tonearm and power supply.

    http://matrichardson.com/
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    More 1970's goodness!

    Pioneer Spec 1 preamp from late 70's, back then it was the best they produced, with the Spec 4 power amp it sounds amazing. Also got a turntable from Pioneer, an old PL-71 which sounds great too, nowhere near as good as the LP12 but probably largely to do with the pickup. Good for classical though. Excuse the crappy pictures, should really photograph it properly.

    http://matrichardson.com/
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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Unfortunately, my vinyl, over 800, and systems are stuck in storage. Been there for years as I don't have the space to set everything up. I have some old Tandberg gear as well as some 90s Decware tube amps. Gave up my Apogee speakers a while back, but nothing sounds like them for sure.

    Love your Linn Sondek. It's a classic.

    Joel

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Thanks Joel, the Linn is indeed a classic, probably not this one as there are so many updates and improvements that could be done to it, but it sounds lovely anyway.

    I hope you get chance top get all your old kit back out at some point, I don't think it's just nostalgia, this stuff sounds fantastic!

    Mat

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Music has always been a big part of my life (all my father's side of the family were/are in the profession on one way or the other).
    However - being more of a 'visual' person my initial hi-fi purchases were based on looks .

    Hence my first turntable was a Michell Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference Turntable
    (the prototype of which, used in "A Clockwork Orange" is now in MOMA, but that needs fact checking!)

    The other stuff was B&O because I liked the way it looked .

    In 1981 I moved on to a Linn Sondek LP12 with an Ittok LvII arm, Meridian Active Speakers with their pre-amp and tuner,
    and a Nakamich cassette deck.

    They are still in current everyday use, although I MUCH prefer CDs to vinyl .

    I'm not at all sure about the worth of top end hi-fi in a domestic setting ........ but that's a discussion for another day .
    Ian.

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Thanks for replying, I think maybe I put this in the wrong place, was hoping to see nice pictures of people's kit!

    Visual is a priority for me too, I love the way older kit looks, although I have had plenty of modern stuff too, my kit now has stuck long term. Nothing wrong with identifying what you like and going with that. Living in Sweden there is plenty of B&O kit around, I have been tempted many times but it's maybe a bit too sleek for me as I have never been cool!

    As for high end audio, it's no different in my eyes to high end anything, bottom line has to be what it does for people. If it gives you pleasure having the best of what you can afford or want, then it has done its job, whether it's necessary or relevant or completely pointless should be the least of anyone's concern, have what you want!

    I love my kit but it's not high end, it was all good stuff back in the day for sure, but illuminated, dancing VU meters, shiny metal and wood, all amazing stuff! The fact it sounds pretty good too is a nice bonus. I have plenty of cd's and a decent player but it doesn't have anything on vinyl for me, I think I listen differently. If I am doing stuff, wandering in and out I stick on a cd or stream, but in the evening, with a nice whisky then it's vinyl every time, even though I have some albums on multiple formats.

    Anyway, it's all good, enjoying what you have is the whole reason for having it!

    Ahh, a glorious sight, more kit should have VU meters for sure.

    http://matrichardson.com/
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Mat,

    I once had visually ... stunning ... speakers. They were Apogee Divas, about six feet tall, three feet wide, and three inches thick. Instead of the silver-grey of most Apogee speakers, though, these had been painted a faux orange marble. They were hideous. I paid $2,000 for the pair - about 10% of their list price. The sound was everything I had ever hoped for (at least since I'd first heard some Divas in a showroom).

    Then I met my wife. Hence no pictures.

    Matt

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Haha, great story Matt, I've not owned anything hideous before, I feel a challenge coming on though!

    I hope you're staying safe over there.

    Mat

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    Ahh, a glorious sight, more kit should have VU meters for sure.
    VU meters adds to the experience, the bigger the better

    Which is why I still hold on to my, now vintage, Technics SE-CA1080 kit. Sound isn't that great, but it's good and it's such a cool system. Unfortunately, there are so many issues with it now that I should find someone who can repair it.

    I used to have the Beogram 4002 with that system, a turntable that was often critisised for being more of a design icon than real hifi. I couldn't disagree more! With one of B&O's good pickups it sounded great, and obviously nobody complained about the design. Unfortunately I sold mine when I moved to Thailand. Nowadays, they sell for serious money.

    I do need a new turntable though, but rather than go vintage, I consider the Technics SL-1500C, which in a way is vintage but new. A bargain for what it does. And if my old Technics kit can't be fixed... a good vintage Technics is almost as expensive as a new SU-G700... and they've kept the VU meters

    We will see

    No photo of the CA1080 unfortunately. It's in Pattaya and I'm in Bangkok. Here's a photo of my main source of music these days, the Hiby R3. It does sound rather good actually.


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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    I once had visually ... stunning ... speakers. They were Apogee Divas, about six feet tall, three feet wide, and three inches thick. Instead of the silver-grey of most Apogee speakers, though, these had been painted a faux orange marble. They were hideous. I paid $2,000 for the pair - about 10% of their list price. The sound was everything I had ever hoped for (at least since I'd first heard some Divas in a showroom).
    As an aside, I was surprised (and maybe even a bit shocked) when I was talking to the designer of the Apogee speakers at a CES and realized he was wearing a hearing aid.

    And this was back in the mid 80s, when hearing aids were nowhere near as advanced as they are today.

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    I had Apogees a few times in the past and the staging and separation are second to none. They are finicky and require a tank of an amp to drive, but if you've got the room for them, they are amazing. Actually, if you've never heard them, it is hard to explain, but even the small Stages sound great. Not only left and right separation, but the forward and backward staging is obvious.

    Joel

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoelM View Post
    I had Apogees a few times in the past and the staging and separation are second to none. They are finicky and require a tank of an amp to drive, but if you've got the room for them, they are amazing. Actually, if you've never heard them, it is hard to explain, but even the small Stages sound great. Not only left and right separation, but the forward and backward staging is obvious.

    Joel
    I had the Stages for a few years before I went for the Divas. The Stages were wonderful, but you needed to be sitting down. For the Divas, I got two steamer trunk sized stereo amps and Apogee's active crossover to drive the suckers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    As an aside, I was surprised (and maybe even a bit shocked) when I was talking to the designer of the Apogee speakers at a CES and realized he was wearing a hearing aid.

    And this was back in the mid 80s, when hearing aids were nowhere near as advanced as they are today.
    As for hearing aids, I don't care if they were designed by a brain in a box. The engineering, aside from being VERY power hungry, was stellar, and the best and most natural imaging I've heard before or since.

    More impressive, though, was Meyer Sound Labs. I was at an outdoor concert of computer music at Stanford in 1984. The sound was headphone quality, and LOUD. I went up to the speaker stacks and saw the Meyer Sound Labs name. Never heard of them. Turns out they were in Berkeley, so I called them up and got a factory tour. The made speakers for everything from sound studios to stadiums. They were one of the very early "make the speaker as efficient and bomb-proof as possible and let a computer sort out the sound" designers. So they would set up many speakers, measure the frequency and timing responses at multiple locations, and the calibrated result would be wonderful.

    At the factory (I called on a weekend, and only one guy was there), we went to the listening room, where there was a bowl of earplugs - for the sales-guys! Many of the sound engineers they dealt with were used to 120db levels, and the sales-guys didn't want permanent hearing damage. (The speaker's spec sheets didn't list great frequency response, until you realized that that frequency response was at 135db at 1 meter!) Anyway, I had never before heard a piano reproduced with the actual sound energy of a piano. It was impressive. When we put on some Bach Organ works, we set off the burglar alarm - of the building next door. It was awesome!

    Matt
    Last edited by MGrayson; 20th April 2020 at 09:26.
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    As for hearing aids, I don't care if they were designed by a brain in a box. The engineering, aside from being VERY power hungry, was stellar, and the best and most natural imaging I've heard before or since.
    I actually discussed his use of hearing aids with him. I was obviously not the first person to bring it up, because he gave me what was obviously a well-rehearsed answer: "I don't need to be able to fly to the moon in order to design a rocket that will do so." And as you know, he was (kind of/sort of) a very good rocket engineer, which he believed to support his point.

    Personally, I never much liked any of the Apogee speakers -- at the time, my preference among behemoth-class speakers was for the Infinity IRS, which were very different in character and, later, the WAMMs, which were very different in character than both the Apogees and the IRS -- although I was very intrigued by Apogee's technology and optimistic about their potential.

    Truth be told, the IRS weren't my absolute favorite speaker, either. Those would be the Stax F81 and its larger brother, the F83. They also presented amplifiers with a very difficult load, just as did many of the Apogees, and they were inefficient to boot, hence couldn't play very loudly. But within their sweet spot (and in combination with a pair of Entec powered subwoofers) they were, IMO, without peer.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, I still own a pair of each of the Stax, although I haven't listened to them since the 90s because I no longer have a room that does them justice. One of these days, though, I am hopeful this will change and I can listen to them again instead of my current more space-appropriate (modified) Rogers LS3/5A / Satterberg MW-2 woofer combo.

    How the mighty fall, eh? <sigh>
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    I actually discussed his use of hearing aids with him. I was obviously not the first person to bring it up, because he gave me what was obviously a well-rehearsed answer: "I don't need to be able to fly to the moon in order to design a rocket that will do so." And as you know, he was (kind of/sort of) a very good rocket engineer, which he believed to support his point.

    Personally, I never much liked any of the Apogee speakers -- at the time, my preference among behemoth-class speakers was for the Infinity IRS, which were very different in character and, later, the WAMMs, which were very different in character than both the Apogees and the IRS -- although I was very intrigued by Apogee's technology and optimistic about their potential.

    Truth be told, the IRS weren't my absolute favorite speaker, either. Those would be the Stax F81 and its larger brother, the F83. They also presented amplifiers with a very difficult load, just as did many of the Apogees, and they were inefficient to boot, hence couldn't play very loudly. But within their sweet spot (and in combination with a pair of Entec powered subwoofers) they were, IMO, without peer.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, I still own a pair of each of the Stax, although I haven't listened to them since the 90s because I no longer have a room that does them justice. One of these days, though, I am hopeful this will change and I can listen to them again instead of my current more space-appropriate (modified) Rogers LS3/5A / Satterberg MW-2 woofer combo.

    How the mighty fall, eh? <sigh>
    The Stax were wonderful! I owned some Infinity pre-ribbon-tweeter speakers, but always found their larger efforts too bright. Ditto for the Wilson Audio. Of course, that's like saying Fuji's are too red. A lot depends on the rest of the pipeline. Still sitting in my living room, but not connected to anything, are some Audio Physic Virgos. These days I play more than listen, and what I listen to is on YouTube and was recorded before 1950. <sigh, indeed>

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    I was mad about hifi in the 1970s and 80s and am still sufficiently geeky to immediately recognize that Linn LP12 as an earlier model (pre-1980?) due to the slot cut into the plinth! I owned an LP12/Ittok/Valhalla for many years.

    Today, I have a vintage-ish preamplifier: It's basic circuit dates back to the mid 1980s, though the circuit board and case designs are much newer, and after procrastinating for years, I finally completed assembly a few weeks ago: Works great!

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    You guys are talking about some great speakers there, I have never owned any electrostatic or ribbon speakers, always been a little out of my reach, I have been tempted recently though with a pair of Martin Logan CLS local to me, that have recent new panels and they seem to be reasonable value too, I don't know though. They do look cool which is a good thing!

    Anyone ever dabbled with reel to reel? I am fascinated by the machines but only have 1, an old Sony TC-200, just for show, don't have any tapes for it! I'd quite like a row of them one day.

    4season, great to see your pre-amp, yes my LP12 is pre 80's it's actually got a serial number close to 4500 which makes it very early, I believe it's 74ish, maybe a bit later. it has the first gen Akito arm and a first gen Lingo power supply, the Pioneer turntable I have is 70's too and listened alone sounds great, but then play on the LP12 and it's like you've been listening in another room and just opened the door!

    Speaker upgrade will be next for me, I have some Dynaudio stand mounts in great condition but they are on the small side for my room.

    All great fun, thanks for replying!

    Mat

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    You guys are talking about some great speakers there, I have never owned any electrostatic or ribbon speakers, always been a little out of my reach, I have been tempted recently though with a pair of Martin Logan CLS local to me, that have recent new panels and they seem to be reasonable value too, I don't know though. They do look cool which is a good thing!
    If it's any consolation, I was single at the time and living very frugally so I could afford to splurge on my audio equipment purchases. It also helped that I was able to buy new gear at dealer cost and/or industry accommodation (back then, this was typically 60% and 50% of MSRP, respectively), which meant I could often use it for a year or two effectively for free, provided I had the funds to make the initial purchases.

    FYI, I also worked for a few years in the mid-80s as the Technical Director of The Absolute Sound magazine and among my responsibilities was maintaining HP's various reference systems, which is how I came to know well the sonic signature of the IRS speakers. I also happened to live just two doors down the street from him, so I had ready access to all of these systems, especially when HP was traveling and I was house-sitting for him.

    The WAMMs were owned by a lawyer here in the Phoenix area and they were installed in a very large listening room in a house built on top of one of the mountains that ring the city. Owing to my (cough, choke) celebrity -- or was that notoriety? -- he invited me to his house several times to listen to them and, at least as he had them setup, they sounded very impressive. (As an aside, Dave Wilson told me this installation wasn't the best one he had ever done, but it was representative of how the speakers performed in most rooms.)

    I left the industry in late 1990 and was sufficiently burned out on audio that I never went back, although I do still own all of the equipment I was using back then. (Including, btw, three LP-12 turntables of varying vintage, two of which were extensively modified by me and one of those even has a replacement platter assembly that was designed and manufactured by Bruce Brisson's brother (Bruce, of course, being responsible for the MIT cable products.)

    I also have a Goldmund Studio / T-3F turntable / arm combo (although I'd be very surprised if it still works after all these years, because it was quite finicky and difficult to keep working properly even when new) and a review sample Sota Cosmos that's new-in-the-box because the company was sold while I had it, the new owners said it wasn't theirs, and I could never track down Robert Becker to return it to him.

    Alas, my memories of those years have started to fade away, but Ahhh, the stories I could once tell -- especially about HP, who was quite a character in real life, too! -- in a bar late at night were epic!

    Anyone ever dabbled with reel to reel? I am fascinated by the machines but only have 1, an old Sony TC-200, just for show, don't have any tapes for it! I'd quite like a row of them one day.
    Back in the day, I had several -- Revox A77 and B77 models, as well as large and small tubed Ampexes that still worked, but really needed rebuilding -- as well as a collection of about 80 RCA and Mercury half- and quarter-track tapes from the 50s and 60s, along with maybe another 50 tapes from other labels, and a dozen or so that I recorded myself -- not very well, I'm afraid -- using a rare B&O stereo ribbon microphone.

    Unfortunately, the tapes were deteriorating quickly -- the metal oxide coating was literally flaking off the polyester tape! -- and when I was made a few offers I couldn't refuse, I sold everything. I'm very fortunate to have been able to assemble a large collection of LPs (including several hundred golden-era RCA and Mercury LPs), although I believe the last time I bought an LP -- new or used -- was in the mid-90s. While I do still play them today, I don't do so anywhere nearly as often as I did back in the day. <sigh>

    Switching gears, I don't know if any of you have heard, but Art Dudley -- most recently a contributor to Stereophile magazine -- died last week of cancer. We worked together and shared an office at TAS for a year and he subsequently wrote for my magazine until it folded and he started one of his own. He was a great guy and we were good friends for a while, although we eventually drifted apart due to the passage of time and the geographical distance between us. (BTW, he was a heavy smoker back then, so I'm not surprised he ended up with cancer. He also had an older sister who was (IMO, anyway!) a knockout and we actually had a few dates until Art politely suggested I should back off while she addressed some personal issues.)

    Ah, well ... that's enough rambling and reminiscing for now!
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    I once walked in front of some rather large speakers at an outdoor Pink Floyd gig at Knebworth in the late 70s and was turned to wobbly jelly.
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    If it's any consolation, I was single at the time and living very frugally so I could afford to splurge on my audio equipment purchases. It also helped that I was able to buy new gear at dealer cost and/or industry accommodation (back then, this was typically 60% and 50% of MSRP, respectively), which meant I could often use it for a year or two effectively for free, provided I had the funds to make the initial purchases.

    FYI, I also worked for a few years in the mid-80s as the Technical Director of The Absolute Sound magazine and among my responsibilities was maintaining HP's various reference systems, which is how I came to know well the sonic signature of the IRS speakers. I also happened to live just two doors down the street from him, so I had ready access to all of these systems, especially when HP was traveling and I was house-sitting for him.

    The WAMMs were owned by a lawyer here in the Phoenix area and they were installed in a very large listening room in a house built on top of one of the mountains that ring the city. Owing to my (cough, choke) celebrity -- or was that notoriety? -- he invited me to his house several times to listen to them and, at least as he had them setup, they sounded very impressive. (As an aside, Dave Wilson told me this installation wasn't the best one he had ever done, but it was representative of how the speakers performed in most rooms.)

    I left the industry in late 1990 and was sufficiently burned out on audio that I never went back, although I do still own all of the equipment I was using back then. (Including, btw, three LP-12 turntables of varying vintage, two of which were extensively modified by me and one of those even has a replacement platter assembly that was designed and manufactured by Bruce Brisson's brother (Bruce, of course, being responsible for the MIT cable products.)

    I also have a Goldmund Studio / T-3F turntable / arm combo (although I'd be very surprised if it still works after all these years, because it was quite finicky and difficult to keep working properly even when new) and a review sample Sota Cosmos that's new-in-the-box because the company was sold while I had it, the new owners said it wasn't theirs, and I could never track down Robert Becker to return it to him.

    Alas, my memories of those years have started to fade away, but Ahhh, the stories I could once tell -- especially about HP, who was quite a character in real life, too! -- in a bar late at night were epic!



    Back in the day, I had several -- Revox A77 and B77 models, as well as large and small tubed Ampexes that still worked, but really needed rebuilding -- as well as a collection of about 80 RCA and Mercury half- and quarter-track tapes from the 50s and 60s, along with maybe another 50 tapes from other labels, and a dozen or so that I recorded myself -- not very well, I'm afraid -- using a rare B&O stereo ribbon microphone.

    Unfortunately, the tapes were deteriorating quickly -- the metal oxide coating was literally flaking off the polyester tape! -- and when I was made a few offers I couldn't refuse, I sold everything. I'm very fortunate to have been able to assemble a large collection of LPs (including several hundred golden-era RCA and Mercury LPs), although I believe the last time I bought an LP -- new or used -- was in the mid-90s. While I do still play them today, I don't do so anywhere nearly as often as I did back in the day. <sigh>

    Switching gears, I don't know if any of you have heard, but Art Dudley -- most recently a contributor to Stereophile magazine -- died last week of cancer. We worked together and shared an office at TAS for a year and he subsequently wrote for my magazine until it folded and he started one of his own. He was a great guy and we were good friends for a while, although we eventually drifted apart due to the passage of time and the geographical distance between us. (BTW, he was a heavy smoker back then, so I'm not surprised he ended up with cancer. He also had an older sister who was (IMO, anyway!) a knockout and we actually had a few dates until Art politely suggested I should back off while she addressed some personal issues.)

    Ah, well ... that's enough rambling and reminiscing for now!
    Sorry to hear about Art Dudley. Fascinating about your time at TAS. I was always a bit under their budget, but it was a fun read.

    And to link two of our non-photographic hobbies, I had a Versalab coffee grinder until last year. The same people who made the turntables! The coffee grinder also had a belt drive, which was its weak point. Turntables don't need nearly as much torque.

    Oh, and I never actually heard the IRS in person. That was a BIG system that wasn't usually on display. They were famous for their rendering of the Telarc 1812 overture. Since I heard that piece live at an outdoor concert with anti-aircraft guns as the cannons, (Boston esplanade, July 4, 1976) I'ver never been impressed by any recording.

    Speaking of famous names in audio, I did meet Dick Sequerra at Lyric HiFi. I told him I had a pair of his Met 7's (tiny, but nice speakers). He said, and I quote, "You people are so gullible. You'll buy anything. Those speakers were sh*t."

    One final note on sound quality: Back in my cello playing days, I recorded myself with some Neumann mics and a Tascam DAT. When I played it back through the Stages, it sounded ... EXACTLY like a cello - frighteningly so. The lesson being that most of the degradation in sound quality comes from the choices made by the recording engineers, and that once you have decent equipment, you are faithfully reproducing the stuff (good or bad) that was pressed into your vinyl or CD. It's the audio equivalent of "if your light sucks, your pictures will suck."

    Speaking of coffee, need more...

    Matt
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by MGrayson View Post
    Sorry to hear about Art Dudley. Fascinating about your time at TAS. I was always a bit under their budget, but it was a fun read.
    The magazine's focus on ever more expensive equipment was one of the factors in my decision to leave (and later, to leave the industry as well), as I realized that despite owning more than $80k worth of equipment -- which was a lot back then! -- there was no way that I could ever hope to keep up. This was especially true as I became more knowledgeable about the industry and realized that a significant portion of the high prices for products increasingly had more to do with branding and marketing than it did actual performance or cost of production. And, of course, working for HP for nearly three years was plenty long enough for me, thank you!

    By the end of my stint at TAS, I came to be more interested in what I referred to as "high intent" audio (a phrase a girlfriend coined at a cocktail party while slightly tipsy, but which actually described my thinking perfectly) where the goal remained exactly the same but the pursuit of it wasn't nearly as pyrrhic. The final factor behind my decision to leave TAS came after I assembled for my girlfriend a $500 system around carefully selected used components and found it very pleasant sounding and enjoyable to listen to, despite its numerous shortcomings and many colorations. It didn't scrupulously recreate the sound of live music, of course, but the sound it did produce was musically coherent and consonant, two things which many systems costing many multiples more money could not claim.

    And to link two of our non-photographic hobbies, I had a Versalab coffee grinder until last year. The same people who made the turntables! The coffee grinder also had a belt drive, which was its weak point. Turntables don't need nearly as much torque.
    IIRC, John Bicht also developed a few photographic products, such as an archival print washer or some such. He is truly a polymath, who knows surprising amounts about almost everything. (As an aside, for a time, I had a borderline crush on Laura Dearborn, the woman he later married. Although she wasn't an audiophile in the traditional sense, she had written a book called Good Sound that I thought was a brilliant primer about the high-end audio hobby and I spent a lot of time -- unsuccessfully, alas -- wooing her to write for my magazine.)

    Oh, and I never actually heard the IRS in person. That was a BIG system that wasn't usually on display. They were famous for their rendering of the Telarc 1812 overture. Since I heard that piece live at an outdoor concert with anti-aircraft guns as the cannons, (Boston esplanade, July 4, 1976) I'ver never been impressed by any recording.
    FYI, the IRS setup at Lyric Hi-Fi in NYC sucked by comparison to the one in Sea Cliff (and not just because I was responsible for tweaking and tuning the latter, either!) so even if you did hear them in person there, you probably wouldn't have truly heard them. Or at least not the same way I regularly did. <buffs nails on chest>

    Speaking of famous names in audio, I did meet Dick Sequerra at Lyric HiFi. I told him I had a pair of his Met 7's (tiny, but nice speakers). He said, and I quote, "You people are so gullible. You'll buy anything. Those speakers were sh*t."
    I saw him around at shows, but didn't have much reason to talk with him. However, I do recall consulting with him (as well as a few others) about how to optimally wire HP's listening rooms for a/c when his house was being rebuilt after the fire and he was very helpful. And I also have a pair of Met 7s as part of my garage system! I wouldn't call them sh*t, but there is a reason why they can be had inexpensively these days (or at least they could when I paid $175 for my used pair a dozen years ago) whereas LS3/5As have / continue to increase in price every year.

    One final note on sound quality: Back in my cello playing days, I recorded myself with some Neumann mics and a Tascam DAT. When I played it back through the Stages, it sounded ... EXACTLY like a cello - frighteningly so. The lesson being that most of the degradation in sound quality comes from the choices made by the recording engineers, and that once you have decent equipment, you are faithfully reproducing the stuff (good or bad) that was pressed into your vinyl or CD. It's the audio equivalent of "if your light sucks, your pictures will suck."
    I hear you and don't necessarily disagree with your conclusion. My handful of recordings are only so-so because I lacked experience with mic placement -- especially per the Blumlein technique, which seems simple enough on the surface, but proves quite tricky in practice -- and as the only thing I can play is the stereo, finding talented musicians and good spaces in which to record them was an additional challenge that ultimately served to limit my recording activities.

    Speaking of coffee, need more...
    I drink tea, not coffee, but you're correct that it's time for another cup this morning...
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  21. #21
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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

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    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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!





    Last edited by 4season; 21st April 2020 at 08:30.

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    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>

  25. #25
    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    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.

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

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

    Matt

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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.

  29. #29
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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.
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    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-...n-three-parts/

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

    https://darko.audio/2019/11/discover...ith-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
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  32. #32
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quick update ... from John Darko.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up2SE4BkDyI

    Bob

  34. #34
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Not really ďvintageĒ 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. Iít 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.
    Visible Light & IR Photographer
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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 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.

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    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.

  37. #37
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    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."
    Will

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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Ha, Iím not sure Iím vintage either, it implies some sort of quality, Iím 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
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    Re: Any vintage audio enthusiasts?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjr View Post
    Ha, Iím not sure Iím vintage either, it implies some sort of quality, Iím 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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