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Vintage hifi and modern

Discussion in 'audio' started by john martin, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. john martin

    john martin New Member

    I have recently purchased a Cyrus Lyric all in one and Focal Aria 926 floor standing speakers. I am very pleased with this set up but have to say that when compared to a vintage system I run in a holiday home I am very fortunate to own, the new system in terms of pure musicality is not as good as the 'vintage' set up. The vintage system comprises Cyrus 2 amp Cyrus FM7 Mission PCM 4000 CD player and Rogers SL7t speakers. All the components have been owned by me since the mid 1980s. The amp had a makeover a couple of years ago. I like listening to Radio 3 and I have to say the overall sound quality of the vintage system is superb. Of course it doesn't do all the other things the Lyric can, such as uncompressed streaming via Tidal, which I am very impressed with.

    I am also fortunate to own another partially vintage system comprising Quad 404 amp, pre amp and tuner which I play through Kef Ls50s in a study. This is also very good but I am not sure the Kef speakers would be so good in a larger room.

    Given the time that has elapsed since the vintage equipment was acquired, it is surprising that supposedly high end modern equipment is not a marked improvement, in the way that cars are for instance.

    Does anyone have any comments on the above. Perhaps the Lyric/Focal Aria set up is not as 'high end' as the vintage equipment was in its day. I remember selling my entire LP collection to a bloke in the pub for 50p each to get together the £350 the Rogers speakers cost in 1987!
     
  2. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I won't be so quick to dismiss older cars. Many of the better ones (Bavarians, for example) actually feel nicer and more communicative to drive. I blame electric steering and nanny systems.

    But on your point about vintage hifi, I firmly believe the problem with modern kit lie with loudspeakers, which are invariably designed to meet aesthetic demands as much as audio expectations of squeezing as much bandwidth as is possible from a physically constrained device. Except for my CD-P and cartridge, all my favoured kit are at least 25 years old. My amps and loudspeakers are closer to 40. They do a superb job of reproducing music that sounds natural, engaging and entire non-fatiguing.
     
  3. john martin

    john martin New Member

    I'm not really a car person, although I did own a 323i at the time of the 1980s purchases. It used to terrify me. I am happier with a Honda Jazz these days!

    I agree the problem is with the speakers. The Quad system I inherited from my Mother when she died in 2008. My Dad was the music lover really, but he died in 1989. When Mum died, to my eternal regret, we sent the Quad electrostatic speakers to the tip as the sheer size of them ruled them out. The sound, I remember was superb, though.
     
  4. winchman

    winchman pfm Member

    I still use the system I purchased new in the late 80s, can't fault it and would have to spend a lot more to better it.
    Its like trying to re invent the wheel, some things are difficult to beat
     
  5. Snoflo

    Snoflo Active Member

    I suppose my family had a pretty okay stereo back in the day: a Revox amp, Elac turntable, AR speakers. From a musical enjoyment standpoint that setup provided us with many hours of glorious sound. From a resolution standpoint my present setup just wipes the floor with the vintage components. Getting the pure enjoyment back has been harder and a long road. It's like some kind of mojo.
     
  6. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Arkless

    I wouldn't class any of that equipment as vintage personally. I tend to think of it in terms of the technology in use, the circuitry, the components and the techniques used in the build rather than simply age and stuff such as that named by the OP is no different from the latest gear in these areas.
     
  7. drummerman

    drummerman pfm Member

    Cyrus's FM7 is a warm sounding tuner. I had the 7.5.
     
  8. rashers10

    rashers10 pfm Member

    Interesting point about speakers. Had my doubts for a while re. latest ones.
    To expand the thread then, what would folks recommend to use now, from the old days?
    I loved my old Goodmans Achromat 400! Can't believe they would still sound good today!
    Thoughts?
     
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Can’t comprehend that someone actually tipped a pair of ESLs! Still better than about 98.5% of modern speakers IMHO and have never had a second-hand value less than £hundreds!

    PS Just for the record I will never stop accepting free ESLs!
     
  10. poco a poco

    poco a poco pfm Member

    Same here apart from a secondhand MF KR25 / DM25 CD player added about 10 years ago, that gets limited use compared to vinyl replay and the addition of a new SME V as a second arm on the turntable about 6 years ago, but these had been in production for quiet a few years before! ;)
     
  11. sunbeamgls

    sunbeamgls pfm Member

    There's a bit of an issue with longevity today - people have a short attention span. I think the older gear was designed with long term enjoyment in mind. Much of today's is designed to "wow" for a few minutes in a show room.
    Cynical perhaps, but there you are.
     
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’m absolutely certain of this. In hindsight I think it all went wrong in the ‘flat earth’ era where quick subjective AB dems became the norm based entirely on a PRAT criteria. I’ve witnessed the end result of this where dealers and their loyal customer base end up down a most bizarre cul-de-sac chasing ever more spot-lit, forward and dry presentations as they (to my mind) mistake it for detail, pitch clarity and speed. After a cumulative series of AB dems based on this criteria alone, each taking the listener further down the path the presentation bares no resemblance whatsoever to real music. I just can’t be in a room with it.

    One of the few things I appreciate about the other current and most vocal fad of ‘evangelical objectivism’, ill thought out, crude and poorly implemented much of the “science” may be, it may at least take many listeners back to a more natural and non-hyped presentation, or at least recognise one when they hear it!

    TLDR; I don’t think the modern high-end audio industry (headphones aside) is in a very good place at present!
     
    lindsayt and narabdela like this.
  13. DavidS

    DavidS pfm Member

    I use to love my old Quad system then I got caught up in the flat earth thing and upgradeitis , I spent an awful lot of cash before bailing out.I now have a system more akin to the old one.
     
    narabdela and suzywong like this.
  14. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    I'm rather hoping they mix: using ESLs + MDAC + Laptop here, the aged Cyrus amp has just died. The plan was always to replace it with something better, but in the meantime I've 'won' a Technics SU700 on e-bay which should last a few months. Looking forward to finding out what '80s 'New Class A' sounds like.:)
     
  15. BobMaximus

    BobMaximus pfm Member

    I agree this is a matter of the more recent obsession with things like sound-stage depth, detail and tonal accuracy. Hence people, in the DIY room, putting film capacitors into Naim amps and saying how much better they think they now sound. Such things are obvious to anyone with two ears.

    However, none of the above provides the enjoyment I look for when listening to music (or even a radio play). In fact, it’s quite the opposite in my case. No one comes back from a live concert and comments on sound-stage depth as it’s just not relevant.

    It seems to me that those factors have to be sacrificed if the music is to be enjoyed (again by me). I once bought a pair of headphones on the basis of overwhelmingly positive comments everywhere (sound stage & etc. is amazing). They broke when I fell asleep wearing them.

    The messages above show I’m in a minority in such a spherical forum. I bloat you not.
     
  16. jair

    jair pfm Member

    Even if modern Hi-Fi is better, by that I only mean loudspeakers and turntables, there's still the dreadful state of the recording industry to consider.

    In pursuit of sales and a radio friendly sound we have been subjected to 25 years of dynamically compressed recordings. Even prestige remasterings often have the dynamics squashed out of them, see Dynamic Range Database
    http://dr.loudness-war.info

    Luckily its still possible to get hold of good digital recordings if you know where to look. No wonder vinyl is alive and well.
     
  17. Dougie2404

    Dougie2404 pfm Member

    I agree with sunbeam, post11 , I was buying a pair of speakers many moons ago. I found a dealer locally and the advice he gave me held true, never listen to more than 3 pairs in a session, and buy the ones that don't grab in the shop.

    The reasoning being, if you listen to too many at a time you get confused, and the ones that grab you will grow tiring in the long run.

    I'm afraid that I bought what looked as best value for money, which I sold less than 6 months later, and left a pair of ls3/5a's on the shelf. There was only about £10 between them.
     
  18. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    Surely that was the goal from the beginning of the stereo industry in the 50s? I'd agree that many of those things were thrown out of the window in the 80s by people like Linn, but they're the fundamentals that many people (myself includes) aspire to.

    Apologies if I've missed an attempt at being ironic on your part.
     
  19. tuga

    tuga pfm Member

    I agree with your assessment. I'd say that it's mostly a problem with the tonal balance, of exaggerated treble and not enough warmth.
     
  20. jair

    jair pfm Member

    Agree with every word. The future of the high-end audio industry will be very different.

    The so-called Millennials do seem to love their audiophile smartphones/ headphones/ headphone amps/ vinyl/ HD downloads.

    I'm not sure what all this holds for the future of the high end but at least there will still be one, but not as we know it.

    The important thing is that the number of people interested in good sound is increasing. That has to be good.
     
    narabdela likes this.

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