Vintage amps/receivers are better then new? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Do you agree with this story?
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-20...than-new-ones/
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post #2 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 01:23 AM
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i'd say it might be true. i always have the feeling that old equipment has a better sound quality or 'sound feel' than newer stuff. it compensates with all those options to turn this up or that, but when it comes to the plain underlying soundfeel it might be true. i wouldn't want to miss the sound options of my receiver, though. AND it has a remote control
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post #3 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 03:09 AM
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I would not be surprised. In the early 90s some of those late 70 early 80s behemoths were revered for sound quality, didn't own one but heard a couple (Sherwood and Pioneer), and they sounded pretty good. And then I believe the Yamaha receiver I bought in early 90s sounded much better than one I bought in 2005. Features rule and cost pressure is real so the basic sound reproduction suffers. I am sure there will be some who doubt the validity of the blind testing.

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post #4 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 05:41 AM
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Well, some folk throw in the inflation calculator opinion, questioning, should a receiver that cost $500 thirty five years ago be compared to a receiver that today costs $500, or today costs $2000.

Just because there is a knob doesn't mean you should turn it.
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post #5 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 06:11 AM
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I had a Marantz 2226B I setup last year for some music listening. I switched back and forth between it and my Denon 3311 and I wouldn't give either one the upper hand. Both did an excellent job. The Marantz looks much better if that counts for anything (the link in my sig has a pic).
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post #6 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 06:34 AM
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From analog design standpoint neither of current generation of receivers is comparable to 1980s devices. All major manufacturers were bringing new design ideas (just look at the number of patents) in an effort to make their gear sounding better. Now it is most about feature set. I do not use almost half of features in my HT system. But I has to pay for them. Also do mot forget reliability. Many receivers from 20-30 years ago still operate within original specification. I can't expect it from current generation of devices. Moreover it looks like they are designed to die right after warranty is over.
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post #7 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 07:08 AM
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I agree with ap1 to a point. I think the sound evolution in the digital domain is still improving. Companies are constantly making new and better DACs and we're are seeing different type of amplification from ICE to pure digital. So while I'll say there's a feature race, there are companies trying to improve the sound amplification using completely different technology. There's still innovation in sound quality, but just in the most recent years.

One of the aspects that changed things for quite some time was CD's. They were limited to 16 bits and didn't contain as much information as analog which meant you weren't hearing everything that was contained in the original recording. We now have SACD and DVDAudio (which is pretty much dead) and they've improved over CD's, but they're not perfect. As long as we compress the sound to fit it on disc we're never going to have the same sound quality as in the past, but that's changing and some people like the sound of the newer stuff more.

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post #8 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwalsh View Post

One of the aspects that changed things for quite some time was CD's. They were limited to 16 bits and didn't contain as much information as analog which meant you weren't hearing everything that was contained in the original recording. We now have SACD and DVDAudio (which is pretty much dead) and they've improved over CD's, but they're not perfect. As long as we compress the sound to fit it on disc we're never going to have the same sound quality as in the past, but that's changing and some people like the sound of the newer stuff more.

technically speaking, that's incorrect... from a "technical standpoint", vinyl hasn't got a prayer against cd...

you don't have to "compress the sound" to fit it on a disk... if anything, you can put MORE on a disk (case in point, i know of NO vinyl that you can listen to the entire "chorale" upon without getting up at least 3 times)...

fwiw, 16 bits is transparent...

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edit: on topic... imo, no...

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post #9 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

technically speaking, that's incorrect... from a "technical standpoint", vinyl hasn't got a prayer against cd...

you don't have to "compress the sound" to fit it on a disk... if anything, you can put MORE on a disk (case in point, i know of NO vinyl that you can listen to the entire "chorale" upon without getting up at least 3 times)...

fwiw, 16 bits is transparent...

btw, KILLER sub build...

edit: on topic... imo, no...

I'm not sure if I agree with you technically, but I'm not technical enough to argue my point. My understanding is that a vinyl record played on the proper equipment will have a wider range of frequencies than a CD. However you'll have to have the proper equipment to eliminate crackles etc.

If 16 bit is transparent, then why do we have 24/32 bit etc discs and recordings. Isn't this not to capture more information from 44.1k to 96k. There's more clarity and depth in the higher bit rate recordings that CD's cannot capture, but analog gear like DAT's can capture.

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post #10 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwalsh View Post

If 16 bit is transparent, then why do we have 24/32 bit etc discs and recordings. Isn't this not to capture more information from 44.1k to 96k. There's more clarity and depth in the higher bit rate recordings that CD's cannot capture, but analog gear like DAT's can capture.

That's a bit like saying: why do we use normal passenger cars when the Humvee is available for sale? If the human ear cannot detect a difference and then hey what does it matter.

With the older amps I suspect the simple difference is they had a bit more current. Zon the other hand we have transparent preamping today which wasn't the case back then.

Add to that the prevalence of subwoofer usage now, even for 2-channel music and hey maybe the current isn't needed.
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post #11 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osamede View Post

That's a bit like saying: why do we use normal passenger cars when the Humvee is available for sale? If the human ear cannot detect a difference and then hey what does it matter.

So you're saying there's no difference between a Honda Civic and a BMW 650i as long as they get you from point a to b? Perhaps the quality of ride and smoothness on the road etc make a difference.

If you cannot hear the difference then perhaps you are right, but many people can. However I think my point was more in frequency dynamics than clarity. If you're saying people can't tell the difference between CD's and SACD's, then you'll have a lot of people to argue with.

There are differences or no one would bother to record in the higher bit rate since it's more costly.

Also by your logic we have no need for HD audio and there's no difference. BS

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post #12 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 09:21 AM
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Just searching the net you can find arguments on both sides.

http://www.tweakheadz.com/16_vs_24_bit_audio.htm


I stand by what I say and you can disagree all you want, but it's subjective and technically what I am saying is correct.

Here's something on Vinyl vs CD. First link in google search.

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question487.htm

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post #13 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwalsh View Post

If 16 bit is transparent, then why do we have 24/32 bit etc discs and recordings. Isn't this not to capture more information from 44.1k to 96k. There's more clarity and depth in the higher bit rate recordings that CD's cannot capture, but analog gear like DAT's can capture.

First, DAT by its name obviously isn't "analog." (DAT = Digital Audio Tape.)

Second, those claims have not held up to scrutiny. See, e.g., Meyer and Moran, "Audibility of a CD-Standard A/DA/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback," 55 J. Audio Eng. Soc. 9 (2007), at 775.

Now, hi-rez multichannel is a different ballgame. Though even if it were losslessly-compressed 16/44.1 it would probably not sound any different from current multichannel formats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwalsh View Post

If you cannot hear the difference then perhaps you are right, but many people can.

That is not true. See Meyer and Moran, supra.

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post #14 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

First, DAT by its name obviously isn't "analog." (DAT = Digital Audio Tape.)

Second, those claims have not held up to scrutiny. See, e.g., Meyer and Moran, "Audibility of a CD-Standard A/DA/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback," 55 J. Audio Eng. Soc. 9 (2007), at 775.

Now, hi-rez multichannel is a different ballgame. Though even if it were losslessly-compressed 16/44.1 it would probably not sound any different from current multichannel formats.



That is not true. See Meyer and Moran, supra.

Ok... Well I stand corrected. Most of what I've been told is from studio engineers, but apparently they were wrong. It would be fun to take part in a listening test like that.

Man... that makes me mad cause I've purchased a lot of studio equipment that I didn't actually need. I got sold and I feel burned.

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post #15 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 10:35 AM
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From that study, this is interesting.

Though our tests failed to substantiate the claimed advantages of high-resolution encoding for two-channel audio, one trend became obvious very quickly and held up throughout our testing: virtually all of the SACD and
DVD-A recordings sounded better than most CDs
sometimes much better. Had we not degraded the sound
to CD quality and blind-tested for audible differences, we
would have been tempted to ascribe this sonic superiority
to the recording processes used to make them.
Plausible reasons for the remarkable sound quality of
these recordings emerged in discussions with some of the
engineers currently working on such projects. This portion of the business is a niche market in which the end users are
preselected, both for their aural acuity and for their willingness to buy expensive equipment, set it up correctly,
and listen carefully in a low-noise environment.
Partly because these recordings have not captured a
large portion of the consumer market for music, engineers
and producers are being given the freedom to produce
recordings that sound as good as they can make them,
without having to compress or equalize the signal to suit
lesser systems and casual listening conditions. These recordings seem to have been made with great care and
manifest affection, by engineers trying to please themselves and their peers. They sound like it, label after label.
High-resolution audio discs do not have the overwhelming
majority of the program material crammed into the top 20
(or even 10) dB of the available dynamic range, as so
many CDs today do.

Our test results indicate that all of these recordings
could be released on conventional CDs with no audible
difference. They would not, however, find such a reliable
conduit to the homes of those with the systems and listening habits to appreciate them. The secret, for two-channel
recordings at least, seems to lie not in the high-bit recording but in the high-bit market.

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post #16 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 11:39 AM
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Why turn this into a vinyl vs CD war? There's been other threads for that! (And for anyone new to this, it's been hashed out numerous times.)

As for older gear, it may be some of it was built better, or used a superior design.

That does not mean older gear is intrinsically better. Generalizations have their uses, but I don't think this is one of them.

Also, in my experience, the reliabilty of most electronics has improved quite a lot. As has the quality of manufacturing, overall.

The circuitry in amps, near as I can tell, has been the same general design for all of my lifetime. A three stage class AB amp with global feedback seems to be the most common amplifier. Of course in my lifetime, class D showed up in receivers, but the idea was not better sound, it was better efficiency, so I don't see where that enters into this discussion?

The coolest part of old gear is their look. I loved all the dials and switches. The good quality units used really nice mechnical parts, and had lovely user feedback. You don't get that with most modern gear.

Older stereo receivers did not have to drive 7 or more channels. The power supply only had to drive 2 channels, and some of those receivers were beasts. I seem to recall some of the old Kenwoods weighed over 50 pounds, and had impressive bench specs. It's not like all receivers were like that. Just like now, there was cheap junk.

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post #17 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwalsh View Post

So you're saying there's no difference between a Honda Civic and a BMW 650i as long as they get you from point a to b? Perhaps the quality of ride and smoothness on the road etc make a difference.

If all the car has to do is get you 4 city blocks to the Tesco then yes the advantages of the 650i become near meaningless, yes. In the same vein if the average buyer shifts from listening to well engineered vinyl on full size 3
2-channel speakers - to running 5x satellites crossed over at 80hz augmented by a powered subwoofer.....some of the power in the old receivers will not be necessary or its absence noticed, obviously.
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post #18 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgwalsh View Post

Ok... Well I stand corrected. Most of what I've been told is from studio engineers, but apparently they were wrong. It would be fun to take part in a listening test like that.

Man... that makes me mad cause I've purchased a lot of studio equipment that I didn't actually need. I got sold and I feel burned.

There are some good reasons to use for higher bitrates in a studio setting, to be sure. But most of those have to do with being able to fix things, and aren't relevant to the music consumer.

Though given the cost of storage and modern players that can play multiple bitrates/sampling frequencies, one could also argue "why not just use 'em."

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

The coolest part of old gear is their look. I loved all the dials and switches. The good quality units used really nice mechnical parts, and had lovely user feedback. You don't get that with most modern gear.

Aesthetics are definitely in the eye of the beholder.

I don't really care for the look of that old Japanese stuff. Though I did recently buy a piece that could be considered "vintage" for my bedroom 2.1-channel system. I wanted something new, but found nothing that appealed to me in form factor and appearance as much as this integrated amp does:


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post #19 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osamede View Post

If all the car has to do is get you 4 city blocks to the Tesco then yes the advantages of the 650i become near meaningless, yes. In the same vein if the average buyer shifts from listening to well engineered vinyl on full size 3
2-channel speakers - to running 5x satellites crossed over at 80hz augmented by a powered subwoofer.....some of the power in the old receivers will not be necessary or its absence noticed, obviously.

While I'm obviously wrong about 16 vs 24 bit, I can't help but laugh at your car analogy, but I guess it depends on how you look at it.To me your analogy is like saying there's no difference between a set of Bose and MartinLogans. You can listen to music through both speakers, so it's meaningless.

You'll notice the quality and feel between a 650i and a Honda Civic or an Aston Martin and a Ford Fusion within 4 blocks. You'll notice the difference just by sitting in them and then driving them is a whole different experience, even in short distances. However, that's just me as I've driven all of those cars.

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post #20 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

There are some good reasons to use for higher bitrates in a studio setting, to be sure. But most of those have to do with being able to fix things, and aren't relevant to the music consumer.

Though given the cost of storage and modern players that can play multiple bitrates/sampling frequencies, one could also argue "why not just use 'em."

Most of the stuff I've been taught or told about is in the studio. However I've been absent from that area for some years. When 24bit came out it seemed you had to have it.

The most interesting thing I read about in that paper, beyond the core of it, is that it really depends a lot on the mastering and transfer. I often wonder what they're doing to CD's, like Dark Side of The Moon, when they remaster it? Is it just compression or are they just using better equipment to repress the cd's form the original recordings?

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post #21 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 01:13 PM
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They're recycling old stuff to get more money out of the consumers.

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post #22 of 26 Old 05-09-2012, 01:26 PM
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I think 24 bits is important when you are prcoessing audio. Each arithmetic operation on each word will accumulate errors, so you need some precision to begin with I think.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #23 of 26 Old 05-10-2012, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

I think 24 bits is important when you are prcoessing audio. Each arithmetic operation on each word will accumulate errors, so you need some precision to begin with I think.

That is why most digital audio workstations, as well as signal processsors operate with 32 bit floating point numbers.
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post #24 of 26 Old 05-10-2012, 07:25 AM
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This test is statistically irrelevant. The sample size was too small compared to only 4/6 picking the Pioneer, which statistically means very little. You feel you have to pick something, and with the chances of people picking the same receiver in such a small group at such a low percentage (2/3 is very low), it is statistically likely that people will "agree" on the same thing, even if not on purpose.

But the bigger issue here in my mind is features. Where is Audyssey on those old receivers? Where is digital audio of any sort, let alone advanced connections like HDMI? And if someone were to buy a vintage receiver, who's to say that the capacitors will still be in good shape? (Those are the reasons for my sig, but feel free to think of me as biased if you must.)

I have no beef with the fact that those people chose the Pioneer as their favorite. And the article did not try to claim that the Pioneer is better, which is good. It was a reasonably interesting read, but let us not assume too much from the "results."

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post #25 of 26 Old 05-10-2012, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

That is why most digital audio workstations, as well as signal processsors operate with 32 bit floating point numbers.

That makes sense

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #26 of 26 Old 05-10-2012, 06:36 PM
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My Yamaha 2090 sounds way better then anything newer I have owned or heard. My uncle has some mid 80's Technics equipment that sounds awesome.
Also have a 90's carver amp from my DJ days that still works.
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