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1 hour ago, Rexp said:

Best of times for who? Back when 8 track was around most folks had hifi's capable of decent playback. Now most folks have dreadful sounding digital systems. 

And now we have dreadfully and purposefully mismastered CDs and digital streams.

 

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Re-arranging and mis-quoting someone's words in an attempt to make their words sound ridiculous has been tried before. Even outside of politics;  it seems. I said that Andy Singer in an online interview said that the Snell Type A III was "one of the best speakers of all time." NOT that they were THE BEST THING EVER as you state was said, which a quick look back would prove to be a deception.. If there weren't many exceptional products of the past I doubt if guys with "real ears" like Nelson Pass and others would be shelling out big bucks for vintage greats of the past. Do you think your average speaker of today has even one half of the openness, transparency, purity and naturalness of the original Quad 57 speaker from 1957?  Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound said that after a close comparison that the Quad 57, within its limits, sounded more like music than the much more recent over $100,00 Infinity IRS speaker. So its not that there hasn't been much progress; its more that there are a lot of vintage products that are, as Panasonics old slogan, "slightly ahead of our time." Actually more than "slightly". There has been nice progress in speaker driver technology and the drivers in many modern speakers are a far cry from the drivers the "average" speakers of many decades ago used. But there were "above average" speakers back then; which are easily still good speakers today. You mentioned Thorens and an older Thorens turntable. That table used steel in places that more modern Thorens tables used cheaper more compromised materials which are more cost saving. That vintage table is not a turntable one buys for nostalgia only, its bought for great design, materials and sound, when many companies went all out, regardless of cost. The cost of shipping weighty items from both overseas and domestically, was only a smidgen of shipping costs today, and that also is a BIG factor in how something is built and what it is built with. The original owner of Thorens, if he is still alive, was known to have 1969 KLH model 9 electrostatics as his speakers of choice ( he has 4 of them). What about the Marantz model 9 (amps) from the early 1960s (or before)? Do you think those would be far outclassed by modern technology? They go for $25,000 and more, and are bought by knowledgeable audiophiles, who know their sound quality and what music sounds like. Overall much of today's equipment is more advanced and sounds a lot better in certain ways at least, but a lot of the equipment that was great equipment back then is still great equipment today. 

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34 minutes ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

Re-arranging and mis-quoting someone's words in an attempt to make their words sound ridiculous has been tried before. Even outside of politics;  it seems. I said that Andy Singer in an online interview said that the Snell Type A III was "one of the best speakers of all time." NOT that they were THE BEST THING EVER as you state was said, which a quick look back would prove to be a deception.. If there weren't many exceptional products of the past I doubt if guys with "real ears" like Nelson Pass and others would be shelling out big bucks for vintage greats of the past. Do you think your average speaker of today has even one half of the openness, transparency, purity and naturalness of the original Quad 57 speaker from 1957?  Harry Pearson of The Absolute Sound said that after a close comparison that the Quad 57, within its limits, sounded more like music than the much more recent over $100,00 Infinity IRS speaker. So its not that there hasn't been much progress; its more that there are a lot of vintage products that are, as Panasonics old slogan, "slightly ahead of our time." Actually more than "slightly". There has been nice progress in speaker driver technology and the drivers in many modern speakers are a far cry from the drivers the "average" speakers of many decades ago used. But there were "above average" speakers back then; which are easily still good speakers today. You mentioned Thorens and an older Thorens turntable. That table used steel in places that more modern Thorens tables used cheaper more compromised materials which are more cost saving. That vintage table is not a turntable one buys for nostalgia only, its bought for great design, materials and sound, when many companies went all out, regardless of cost. The cost of shipping weighty items from both overseas and domestically, was only a smidgen of shipping costs today, and that also is a BIG factor in how something is built and what it is built with. The original owner of Thorens, if he is still alive, was known to have 1969 KLH model 9 electrostatics as his speakers of choice ( he has 4 of them). What about the Marantz model 9 (amps) from the early 1960s (or before)? Do you think those would be far outclassed by modern technology? They go for $25,000 and more, and are bought by knowledgeable audiophiles, who know their sound quality and what music sounds like. Overall much of today's equipment is more advanced and sounds a lot better in certain ways at least, but a lot of the equipment that was great equipment back then is still great equipment today. 

Nostalgia is all well and good - but it's exactly that.

 

For some inexplicable reason every single industry seems to have made considerable change and improvement over the past few decades except for stereo systems.  To my mind, that simply can't be true.

 

Those older Thorens turntables were never meant to be anything other than a cheap, affordable turntable using the materials available at the time.  Everything is built to a price point - that's basic manufacturing.  

 

I'm not saying that vintage equipment has no value - a premium item yesterday could still be competitive with some product lines.  If you want to make comparisons then do it with items of relative value adjusted for inflation. 

 

Stating that someone is willing to buy a Marantz 9 amplifier from the 60's for $25K implies that it will be competitive with a modern day amplifier at the same cost.  That, I would find unlikely.  People buy things for different reasons.  Nostalgia is fine and good but shouldn't be confused with how a system truly sounds. 

 

To use your example, if Quad 57's are so wonderful then why aren't they being sold today?  There are people who buy stereo gear because they want a great sound.  I think you will find many of them here.

 

Thanks for your comments.

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1 hour ago, Rexp said:

Best of times for who? Back when 8 track was around most folks had hifi's capable of decent playback. Now most folks have dreadful sounding digital systems. 

I certainly don't want to debate the merits of analog over digital.  I digitized all my LPs and play them that way.  I think it sounds great.  I still have a turntable and use it all the time, but the amplifiers I'm using digitize all inputs so there's no longer a "pure" analog path.  And I'm fine with that.  

 

Best of times for people who want a great sound at a good price.  Those HiFi systems that people had back in the 70's and 80's were mostly high powered and sounded OK.  My first "real" stereo system that I bought in 1978 cost me $3,500.  That would be roughly $15K today adjusted for inflation only.  Could I buy a better than decent system for $15K today?  Maybe that should be the question, whether on the new or used market.

 

I suppose one of the things that isn't often mentioned but that many people here will know is that when you start making improvements, that extra 10% increase in sound quality comes with a cost at least 3 to 5 times more - rough numbers of course but I'm sure you get the point.  

 

I'm talking about sound systems with resolution, soundstage, depth, detail and accurate positioning - where all components need to be in the same general area of quality and development.  That's not what I recall from systems back in the day.  

 

 

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4 minutes ago, SJK said:

I certainly don't want to debate the merits of analog over digital.  I digitized all my LPs and play them that way.  I think it sounds great.  I still have a turntable and use it all the time, but the amplifiers I'm using digitize all inputs so there's no longer a "pure" analog path.  And I'm fine with that.  

 

Best of times for people who want a great sound at a good price.  Those HiFi systems that people had back in the 70's and 80's were mostly high powered and sounded OK.  My first "real" stereo system that I bought in 1978 cost me $3,500.  That would be roughly $15K today adjusted for inflation only.  Could I buy a better than decent system for $15K today?  Maybe that should be the question, whether on the new or used market.

 

I suppose one of the things that isn't often mentioned but that many people here will know is that when you start making improvements, that extra 10% increase in sound quality comes with a cost at least 3 to 5 times more - rough numbers of course but I'm sure you get the point.  

 

I'm talking about sound systems with resolution, soundstage, depth, detail and accurate positioning - where all components need to be in the same general area of quality and development.  That's not what I recall from systems back in the day.  

 

 

90% of the population spend less than a $1000 on their hifi systems, are they getting better sound now v 1978?

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Once again, you tried to slip one in there, that simply wasn't ever said. I never said there hasn't been considerable progress in audio. That there were wonderful examples of great equipment from the past, doesn't mean that at all. Is a 1977 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow a piece of junk compared to a Hyundai, because the Hyundai was built more recently?  Hint: the Rolls is built worlds better and rides better and is quieter, despite being built in less "advanced" times. When barreling down the road the clock is supposed to be the loudest noise you hear.  I suppose the Quad 57 isn't built anymore because I suppose its like anything else. Its near record breaking number of years in production has run its course. I cannot think of too many things that haven't run there course long before that long a span; except the Klipschorn, which is meant to be placed in a corner. The Quads wide physical profile with its slanted legs and its decidedly 1950s look, ( no longer in style) were considerations too. Around 1981 or so they replaced the model after an incredibly long run with the Quad 63, which many people commented didn't have the midrange magic or clarity of the original, despite a few other pluses. That's the 1st time I've heard someone try to use as an argument that "if its so good, why don't they make it anymore" concerning a product that was made for around two decades and a half and that is considered the single most influential speaker of all time. Things are not nearly as "simple" as that.

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8 hours ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

It didn't' feel like work at all making mincemeat out of the absurdly silly logic of someone picking on Quad 57's. It tops virtually every list of most influential audio product ever. DUDE?

Most influential doesn't necessarily mean you'd still want to listen to it today if you had a choice. 

 

Dynaco amps from the 60's? Possibly the "most influential" amp ever. But even fully refurbished don't hold a candle to some very modestly priced stuff being made now. 

 

Yes,there are people that like them. Doesn't mean they really compare SQ wise to good modern and even inexpensive stuff. 

I can sure understand that someone who got into audio in the 60's or 70's might want to listen to a Dual or Thorens TT with a Dynaco amp - because it has that nostalgic sound.

Good sound? Yes. But better SQ than what you get today? No Way. 

 

Yeah, the Thorens was well made. Doesn't mean it didn't have shortcomings that we've learned to engineer out in the last 50 years. And don't forget that cartridges have also gotten a lot better in the meantime. 

 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Some equip. from way back when like Quad 57, Marantz tube equip., KLH 9's, some Tannoy, even some Heath are way better than most equipment of today. Which is not to say that someone who is rich enough or someone into frittering away their money couldn't fritter away enough of it to beat equipment like that in at least some ways. I hear the Quads are still very hard to beat for natural sounding clarity and believability and Don't knock the Marantz model 9 amps; they are truly something special; even to this day. Even vintage Large Advents. I remember a local salon had a used pair always hooked up, (he was keeping them) and he liked to do a little thing where people would bring in their much more up to date, more expensive and supposedly advanced speakers, and when switching back and forth the Advents made virtually every one of them sound very nasal in the midrange. 

 

 Once again, I never said all or most vintage equipment beats the sound quality of current equipment. I don't recall anyone ever thinking or saying Dynaco was the best equipment. You bought it if you couldn't afford Marantz. But for the equivalent of $200 today adjusted for inflation, you would be surprised how it would run up and down stuff that costs $200 today, if there still is any halfway serious equipment at that price.

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Re: the post a few up. I haven't compared vintage Dynaco amps to more modern inexpensive offerings (By inexpensive, I assume you mean unfamiliar Chinese brands advertised mainly on ebay). Like I say I can't comment, but once again most people have not heard all their different vintage amps and certainly they haven't heard all their vintage modification jobs done by many different people on Dynaco's. Their best power amp was actually their lowest powered amp the ST35, which came later and had better advanced transformers, and could teach some of their higher powered amps a lesson in naturalness and sweetness. They had surprising bass punch also.

 

 Most vintage speakers (pre 1975) had lesser drivers (quality wise) than good modern speakers. They also could have used some cabinet bracing. However almost all of them were designed to have an honest flat frequency response, and the little peak here and a little peak there, to spotlight clarity, was not nearly as common as it is today. They also had generous bass and warmth and I cannot recall one vintage speaker (except the ridiculously cheap) that ever sounded thin, which today is not an uncommon problem at all. For generally cleaner sounding drivers I usually prefer modern speakers; but not always, on the overall sound.

 

 One of the two major U.S. high end magazines did an interesting group comparison review, years ago. They compared a combination of vintage and non vintage preamps and in their comparisons tried to pick the favorites. On the solid state side was Spectral, Perreaux, Nova JFet, (a Robert E. Green reference for years). On the tube side was an updated Marantz 7 tube preamp, a Conrad Johnson preamp and something else?. The Conrad Johnson ( don't recall model) was the one they seemed to prefer by a slight margin over the vintage early 1960ish Marantz 7 design. Amazing how many people after decades of frequent upgrading, end up with Conrad Johnson as their final stage equipment. 

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38 minutes ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

By inexpensive, I assume you mean unfamiliar Chinese brands advertised mainly on ebay).

No. There are very good amps of non Chinese brands  that cost in the hundreds to $2000 that are very good. The ST-70 at it's original price would cost about $900 today, and it has less power than most of these amps. Sometimes orders of magnitude less. 

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Yeah. I saw some video reviews of some of these amps, but by cheap I thought you meant really cheap.  An old acquaintance of mine said he remembered Dynakit tube amp kits being closed out on sale for $35 back in the 1960s. That would be only a few hundred dollars now. I will re-visit my ST-35 some day. The last time I heard it, I thought it didn't have that purity which tickles you on every note, that I like, but smooth tonally and what a sense of space, and I couldn't get over how it had more bass punch with less than 20 tube Watts per channel than the over 100 watt per channel transistor amp I had just removed.

 

 I can't say I spent much time listening to the Thorens 124 turntable, but I have heared their   model 125 many times and it sounded great. He was using an SME arm and a Shure V15 V MR cartridge. The 124 if I'm correct is supposed to be better than the model 125. 

 

 I just think that there were some really good designers back in the last quarter of the last century. I don't think IQ's have particularly gotten better since then. I think a lot of things are considered better from back then. Ask 10 experienced tube rollers what's generally better sounding, new tubes or vintage 1950's/60's tubes and 9 out of 10 will tell you vintage, without a doubt. Music was certainly better in the 1960s and 1970s. It's probably gotten worse with each succeeding decade. TV shows were certainly more creative and clever with better plots, and actors with much more characater. I think things overall were more intelligent and creative and better done with much better standards and taste. At least some audio equipment from that era exemplifies this. They might not have had some of the sophisticated computer analysis or materials, but they had "ears" and pride in what they put out.  

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1 hour ago, Digi&Analog Fan said:

Music was certainly better in the 1960s and 1970s. It's probably gotten worse with each succeeding decade. TV shows were certainly more creative and clever with better plots, and actors with much more characater. I think things overall were more intelligent and creative and better done with much better standards and taste. At least some audio equipment from that era exemplifies this. They might not have had some of the sophisticated computer analysis or materials, but they had "ears" and pride in what they put out.  

Hey sonny boy, get off my lawn!

 

I disagree about music getting worse. 
 

I’ve toured many manufacturers’ and talked to many designers over the years. Almost every one of them has incredible pride in what they create. 
 

It may be helpful, or maybe I missed this part, for you to tell us about a single product that has no equal today. Limiting this to specifics could help the conversation. 
 

For example, Joe Sixpack from XYZ company has the best ears and more pride than anyone today. This is evidenced by his ABC amp that has no equal today. 

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First how about pointing out where I supposedly said that yesterdays equipment was better than current gear. I said "certain" equipment from long ago is still better than most of today's equipment, like Quad 57, KLH 9, etc. As I said, Harry Pearson (and everybody knows he had "ears") Harry said in print that Quad 57's within their limits sound more like music than the over $100,000 Infinity IRS, which he also owned. Let's put it this way, do you think a lot of speakers today would beat the IRS? What % of them would beat it? 10%, 1%, 0.1%. Now we might be getting a little more realistic.

 

You can sometimes see the IRS in the background if you watch P.S. Audios Paul McGowans daily videos. They even let people in to hear them. Tell him that there's a lot of speakers today that beat the IRS because the IRS is many decades old, yet alone Quad 57's.. It would bring a smile to his face and he'd motion you over to take a quick listen and it wouldn't't take long.

 

 What I do think is that adjusted for inflation a $700/PR. list price speaker of today would likely and usually beat a $200/PR. speaker from say the l970's. It would all depend on which speakers though. There would be closer calls than others. Would your average $700 list speaker of today beat something really good that cost $700 back then "not adjusted for inflation?" The answer would be much more often "no". In fact, there would be some ridiculous mis-matches I'm sure, with the best vintage speakers at that price back then. This has to do with reality, not nostalgia. Yesterdays great speakers are not today junk. Speakers of today limited in price and performanc, do not usually slay yesterdays Goliath's.  

 

 Why does this not even matter to me? Because I know what I am doing well as far as audio is concerned, and have put together a few systems for myself which image far better than anything I have ever heard at any price. I literally have palpable images on my ceiling, not just the singer in the middle, but instruments off to the extreme sides (a much tougher accomplishment). Listening to my systems you are obviously listening to a very elevated stage of musicians, with same kind of air front to back. I could not imagine my sound being any purer and cleaner sounding. I could imagine it being more extended in the bass, but out of choice I chose a sound like that, that isn't bass heavy and has too much warmth which causes murkiness in the midrange and decreases apparent transparency. I think its the thing to do. Also it is a known psych-acoustical fact that the absence of the lowest bass makes the mid and upper bass more intelligible, from the lack of booming lower down. This is the kind of sound I have always been after. Changing it any way would be like a nightmare to me, and I put this system together by using mostly select vintage equipment, bought used and modified with really great modern cables. I play several instruments and know their sound intimately and it gets their harmonic overtone structure just right. I have acoustics knowleedge also and have applied it to both listening rooms. People who have spent $80,000 on their stereo hear mine and feel dumb and sick and go away confused. Its possible to get my kind of sound without breaking the bank; if you're good. I'm happy, and happy for all the things I've learned through decades of experimentation. I would only have nostalgia for equipment that I had previously owned, if it bettered what I have nnw. Why would anyone have so called "nostalgia" for equipment they've never owned?

 

 

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If I remember correctly, Paul McGowans numbers show he has more video followers than just about anyone else; probably multitudes of people from on here too. He helps a lot of people understand things concerning audio. He's nice enough to answer a lot of peoples questions from around the world, and he's very successfull, lives a great full life and doesn't have to worry where his next ten million is coming from.

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Most of the time we're discussing digital sources on this site and I do think the future is bright, but so far, for the general population, digital has been a backward step. 

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