Vintage vs Modern Audio
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  1. #1
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    Vintage vs Modern Audio

    I've been an audiophile for most of my life, since I was about 16. A few years ago I found some of my dream equipment for sale cheap, Snell E3 and J3 speakers and a nice Marantz amp, high end philips CD player etc. It was a nice sounding system that I enjoyed for years but it was imposing.

    Last fall we redid our basement and I wanted to downsize and make it look a little less like a 70s audio room. I did a bit of research and ended up buying cheap but highly regarded pioneer "Andrew Jones" series speakers. They were regarded as punching well above their weight in sound quality. Two towers and a center for < 300 bucks. Then my marantz receiver quit so I found a lower end Yamaha AV receiver for < 200 bucks on the FB marketplace. I have my ripped music on a plex server and I can stream from Amazon with HD quality.

    This < 500 system blows away anything I've owned and IMHO is better than most anything I remember back in the day. The bass is excellent with my old Sony Sub and the Pioneers. Tighter and flatter than the Snells ever were. I think the technology of CAD and DSP audio is making it easy to get great sound for a lot of bucks. I think that the nostalgia factor is dead to me now.

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnA View Post
    I've been an audiophile for most of my life, since I was about 16. A few years ago I found some of my dream equipment for sale cheap, Snell E3 and J3 speakers and a nice Marantz amp, high end philips CD player etc. It was a nice sounding system that I enjoyed for years but it was imposing.

    Last fall we redid our basement and I wanted to downsize and make it look a little less like a 70s audio room. I did a bit of research and ended up buying cheap but highly regarded pioneer "Andrew Jones" series speakers. They were regarded as punching well above their weight in sound quality. Two towers and a center for < 300 bucks. Then my marantz receiver quit so I found a lower end Yamaha AV receiver for < 200 bucks on the FB marketplace. I have my ripped music on a plex server and I can stream from Amazon with HD quality.

    This < 500 system blows away anything I've owned and IMHO is better than most anything I remember back in the day. The bass is excellent with my old Sony Sub and the Pioneers. Tighter and flatter than the Snells ever were. I think the technology of CAD and DSP audio is making it easy to get great sound for a lot of bucks. I think that the nostalgia factor is dead to me now.

    Waiting for TOG to throw a MacIntosh at me..
    Iím still using stuff I bought in the 80s. Harmon Kardon T35 turntable and a Yamaha integrated amp. The turntable has a newer cartridge - Audio Technica AT440MLA. The oldest piece of equipment I have is the most recent purchase, a pair of Akai speakers from the days when they were considered high end - SW170. I like them a lot. I think in total I spent maybe $500. The speakers I found at a Salvation Army for $50

    Iíve thought about upgrading but until unless I can have a room dedicated just for listening there really isnít much point.
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  3. #3
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    In addition to vintage bicycles, I collect vintage audio. My website is filled with vintage gear - HiFi Collector. I enjoy both modern and vintage audio - modern is great for reliability, but the vintage stuff just has a mellow, warm sound that I can't seem to recreate with modern gear.

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    I somewhat recently replaced a 1982ish JVC Reciever and EPI Speakers. I can't remember what they cost but I was in high school making min. wage if that so they couldn't have been that high end.

    Replace with Cambridge Audio receiver ($450ish) and Logan Martin Speakers ($1000ish).

    My experience does not match yours. I'm happy with the new system but the early 80's stuff sounded every bit as good to me (before it just died).

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    I'll say it plain -- unless you are just plain preternaturally attached to the sound you currently get, modern audio equipment will indeed get you better sound. More life. More true tone. More understandable vocals. More sense of space and of being there...if of course the recording is either live-in-studio or live-in-concert.

    Vintagedude -- if you think modern audio equipment is too bright, try some modern tube equipment or Class A transistor stuff. Best of both worlds. Clarity without the edge. Punchy but not punishing. Sound you can veritably swim in.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  6. #6
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    I'll say it plain -- unless you are just plain preternaturally attached to the sound you currently get, modern audio equipment will indeed get you better sound. More life. More true tone. More understandable vocals. More sense of space and of being there...if of course the recording is either live-in-studio or live-in-concert.

    Vintagedude -- if you think modern audio equipment is too bright, try some modern tube equipment or Class A transistor stuff. Best of both worlds. Clarity without the edge. Punchy but not punishing. Sound you can veritably swim in.
    Thanks for posting this. It needed to be said.

    Remember, too, that this place is rife with folks whose superannuated ears have lost a lot of of their "hearing power," especially at the high-frequency end.
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  7. #7
    Spicy Dumpling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    I'll say it plain -- unless you are just plain preternaturally attached to the sound you currently get, modern audio equipment will indeed get you better sound. More life. More true tone. More understandable vocals. More sense of space and of being there...if of course the recording is either live-in-studio or live-in-concert.

    Vintagedude -- if you think modern audio equipment is too bright, try some modern tube equipment or Class A transistor stuff. Best of both worlds. Clarity without the edge. Punchy but not punishing. Sound you can veritably swim in.
    I agree, I went through a lot of tube stuff back in the day and it never really did anything for me. Yes, it was warm and comfortable but it didn't have the feeling of being a real performance like I get now. I think the closest thing that I listened to a lot was a pair of DCM time windows a friend had. Even high end B&W and KEF didn't give me this feeling in the 80s.

    Even a live stream from an online concert a few days ago blew me away with the realism. I think it's a combination of the computer designed speakers and the room compensation systems. It's come a long way IMHO.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    if you think modern audio equipment is too bright, try some modern tube equipment or Class A transistor stuff. Best of both worlds. Clarity without the edge. Punchy but not punishing. Sound you can veritably swim in.
    Vintage audio gear were good in its day but compared to today's audio gear, they are inferior in terms of hi-fi capability. What I mean by hi-fi is the high degree of fidelity to the source signal (recorded & mastered sound).

    Vintage audio gear like tube amplifiers have tapered off high frequency sound due to their limitations and people perceived that as warm sounding. If the listeners prefer such sound, it's their right but when being used to such sound and suddenly exposed to contemporary audio gear with "flat" frequency response (from 20Hz) to 20KHz, they feel that it's too bright despite it being higher fidelity sound than the vintage ones they are used to.

    With the advent of digital audio, the contemporary audio replay system is way above the vintage stuff in terms of portraying the source signal accurately. Some don't like it and the reasons I've seen are often due to the use of poor quality speakers or set up in bad room acoustics or some times both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    If the listeners prefer such sound, it's their right but when being used to such sound and suddenly exposed to contemporary audio gear with "flat" frequency response (from 20Hz) to 20KHz, they feel that it's too bright despite it being higher fidelity sound than the vintage ones they are used to.
    That was case with me switching from vintage to modern, I think. I listen to a lot of jazz and to put it in simple terms the trumpet would be blaring but I could barely hear the stand-up base. Piano and drums sounded about right.

    I was close to returning the stuff because of that I describe above (I like bass) but then I read that the speakers I had require some 'break-in' so I decided to give it time. That worked. Maybe I just got used to it but I'm pretty sure the bass has become more prominent since I got the speakers.

    To elaborate on my first post. For low to moderate volume listening to quality music (jazz or classical) this new system is definitely way better than my my old one. I'm hearing things on songs I'd heard a million times that I never knew where there. And more nuance to the things I did know where there. But if I want to put on something like Led Zep 2 and really shake the house the old one has it beat there.

  10. #10
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    I have a Yamaha AV receiver hooked up to a restored pair of top-line Advents speakers in my TV room, and the sound quality is phenomenal.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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    B4 mp3...

    Ct-F1000.jpg



    LP...

    LT-5V.jpg



    Rack..

    SAE.JPG


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Vintage audio gear were good in its day but compared to today's audio gear, they are inferior in terms of hi-fi capability. What I mean by hi-fi is the high degree of fidelity to the source signal (recorded & mastered sound).

    Vintage audio gear like tube amplifiers have tapered off high frequency sound due to their limitations and people perceived that as warm sounding. If the listeners prefer such sound, it's their right but when being used to such sound and suddenly exposed to contemporary audio gear with "flat" frequency response (from 20Hz) to 20KHz, they feel that it's too bright despite it being higher fidelity sound than the vintage ones they are used to.

    With the advent of digital audio, the contemporary audio replay system is way above the vintage stuff in terms of portraying the source signal accurately. Some don't like it and the reasons I've seen are often due to the use of poor quality speakers or set up in bad room acoustics or some times both.
    What is funny....Is that for any electro-acoustic type music, basically all bands (still) uses tube-amps to start with, with mics in front of the woofer(s) at point-blank range. So what you get out of a recording DDD is already attenuated a la vacuum-tube anyway.

    Of course, most people doing such things are going for what they want it to sound like....not what it actually sounded like in the first place, live in the hall; which for electro-acoustic music is generally a 747 on take off at 200ft.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Of course, most people doing such things are going for what they want it to sound like....not what it actually sounded like in the first place, live in the hall; which for electro-acoustic music is generally a 747 on take off at 200ft.
    Well, that's what the artist want to produce so that's what the listeners get. As for reproducing it, as in home audio, it should be as accurate to that distorted sound as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Well, that's what the artist want to produce so that's what the listeners get. As for reproducing it, as in home audio, it should be as accurate to that distorted sound as possible.
    I like my distortion played back as pristine as possible. I think for most rock music the difference between an amp with .1% distortion and .001% is irrelevant

  15. #15
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    Look what the cat drug in! Things must be hot over on FB! Hope all is well in the Ďburg.

    My hearing has gotten so bad and tinnitus ever present so I think high end audio is wasted on me. My Sonos system and the 10 year old TDK speakers with woofer on my Mac deliver the highest end sound my ears can handle. I have often thought though, that stock car audio systems are as good, if not better than the stuff we scraped to put in our cars when we were kids.

    On a related note (pun intended) though, my Ď86 Gibson SG got dusted off during pandemic isolation. I decided I wanted to record rhythm tracks so I could play solos and got a FocusRite Scarlett Solo to play through GarageBand on my Mac. So now Iím playing using different amps and effects setups that would have cost me way, way more than I could ever afford when I was a teenager, all for a $100 gadget investment. Amazing times we live in.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Well, that's what the artist want to produce so that's what the listeners get. As for reproducing it, as in home audio, it should be as accurate to that distorted sound as possible.
    Only if your structure is built well enough.

    Seriously.

    We have a renter whom we had to add an SPL clause to their rider. They cracked our walls with their noise. They actually surpassed our calibrated SPL measuring instrument's range (130dB), measured at 30m. For reference, physical pain is 120dB; and permanent hearing loss is in about 5 seconds at that SPL. Their audio "guy" doesn't even feel pain any more and walks around bare-eared.
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  17. #17
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    Akirasho -- Jeez! What a stack! Que the Giorgio Moroder

    Marc -- Jeez! Deafinitely not the right tinnitus tenant!
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  18. #18
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    Sigh, I have resigned myself to the fact that the weakest link in my or any stereo system, for that matter, has become my ears. Reproduction of frequencies that I can no longer hear serves no purpose for me.

    I used to listen to the Macintosh 2100 through a good set of speakers. When the Mac died for the second time, I set it aside and bought an Onkyo Integra,

    Now, for the most part, I use headphones, with the realization that I am usually sending mp3 to the system by Bluetooth. Mostly I skip the middle man and go straight from my Sansui tablet to either a set of Klipsch wired earbuds or, gasp, Bluetooth wireless ear buds.

    The music and lyrics have become the important part of, not the sound. I suspect that was the artists original intent.

    I have a few apps that allow me to tune the sound to the frequencies that I can still hear. For reference, the left channel needs to be substantially louder than the right as well.

    To drown out the tinnitus in that ear, I suspect that I would be doing more damage than good.
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    Thanks for posting this. It needed to be said.

    Remember, too, that this place is rife with folks whose superannuated ears have lost a lot of of their "hearing power," especially at the high-frequency end.
    What did you say?
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Well, that's what the artist want to produce so that's what the listeners get. As for reproducing it, as in home audio, it should be as accurate to that distorted sound as possible.
    Sounds like a crock to me. "what the artist want to produce" and what they do produce are definitely not the same thing in many cases.

    There are many bands I've seen many times and sometimes they sound great and sometimes they sound like crap. And they will be the first to tell you they sounded like crap and that they would definitely need to tinker with playing a recording to get it to sound as they intended.

    And if you asked a band of 5 how they wanted it to sound you'd probably get 5 different opinions neither of which match the actual results of a live performance.
    Last edited by Jay Strongbow; 05-17-2020 at 03:52 AM.

  21. #21
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    There are no absolutes when it comes to old stuff vs new stuff in audio. Great (and terrible) equipment has been produced in every era, itís really more a case of what you prefer, and/or system synergy.

    Case in point: Plenty of audiophiles seem to really like playing their digital audio through tube amps. Interesting (and often pleasing) marriage of old and new tech.


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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Sounds like a crock to me. "what the artist want to produce" and what they do produce are definitely not the same thing in many cases.
    I didn't say they are always successful. In cycling, how you want the ride to be and how it turned out aren't always the perfect match, are they?

    There are many bands I've seen many times and sometimes they sound great and sometimes they sound like crap.
    The sound quality to the listeners depends greatly on the listening location. This is all about the sound waves traveling to certain direction and they all have limitations, some (high frequency) more than others. One of those unlucky days, you may be stuck in crap location. C'est la vie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    I didn't say they are always successful. In cycling, how you want the ride to be and how it turned out aren't always the perfect match, are they?

    That analogy doesn't work. No record company or bootlegger making a decision on releasing recordings of my rides without regard to if my performance was as I intended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    No record company or bootlegger making a decision on releasing recordings of my rides without regard to if my performance was as I intended.
    The cycling example I cited was meant to depict the variations we always face when comparing the plan vs results in just about everything. Sure, the musician / artist would have the final say in how it sounds before releasing the album.

    Your negative experience at those band performances may have been isolated to you and perhaps a few other locations only. If the recording microphones were in ideal locations, the resulting sound quality of album may well be better than what you've perceived. Professional recording engineers would know where to record from.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by hfc View Post
    Look what the cat drug in! Things must be hot over on FB! Hope all is well in the Ďburg.

    ....
    On a related note (pun intended) though, my Ď86 Gibson SG got dusted off during pandemic isolation. I decided I wanted to record rhythm tracks so I could play solos and got a FocusRite Scarlett Solo to play through GarageBand on my Mac. So now Iím playing using different amps and effects setups that would have cost me way, way more than I could ever afford when I was a teenager, all for a $100 gadget investment. Amazing times we live in.

    Yep, I'm really enjoying coming back to the old 'hood'. And on a very related note I ended up getting a guitar for myself for Christmas. I've tried multiple times to learn with Mel Bay books back in the day. Got myself a cheap Orangewood acoustic and now I'm attempting to actually learn. Getting there slowly.

    And my hearing isn't the best but I do hear a difference. I had bought a SONOS beam to replace our old system and sent it back. It wasn't close to what I was used to, even from my older backup system.
    If I were to beat you senseless with a tire iron, what color would you bleed?..The Missus

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