Vintage amps: my experience so far

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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby snorg » 2018-5-24 @ 01:14

I've never touched Rotel. They are/were a pretty high-end brand, no? In the same realm as McIntosh? I wouldn't mind picking up an older McIntosh amp as a "stereo only" system (no AV and so on) but I'd have to buy a busted one and repair it to be able to afford. The new ones are so out of my range it is not even funny (seriously McIntosh Labs, $4,000 US for a headphone amp??). I do love the way they look though. Very sexy stuff. I must content myself with the iPhone/iPad media player app, :D LOL.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby NJRoadfan » 2018-5-24 @ 12:47

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:
gdjacobs wrote:Never owned a set, so I can't really comment.

So.... I replaced the Sansui A40 with vastly more powerful Yamaha RX-V663 AV receiver. And the B&W DM302 sounded much better ever since! Thanks, gdjacobs! I think the 25 WPC Sansui just couldn't handle the 3 ohm impedance drop, while the 95 WPC Yamaha can.


Its always better to have more amplifier power then you need, particularly when driving 4ohm speakers. I had struggled with many "pip squeak" amps that fell flat on their face trying to drive my EPI 250s even at moderate volume (sound stage isn't a problem with these, and the design allows flexibility in optimal placement depending on the room). I haven't had a problem since moving to a Marantz SR-940, which is officially rated (at least in the ads!) to run a 4ohm load.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-5-24 @ 19:08

snorg wrote:I've never touched Rotel. They are/were a pretty high-end brand, no? In the same realm as McIntosh? I wouldn't mind picking up an older McIntosh amp as a "stereo only" system (no AV and so on) but I'd have to buy a busted one and repair it to be able to afford. The new ones are so out of my range it is not even funny (seriously McIntosh Labs, $4,000 US for a headphone amp??). I do love the way they look though. Very sexy stuff. I must content myself with the iPhone/iPad media player app, :D LOL.


McIntosh is part of my bucket list. I'd also love to work on some of the higher end Carver gear, and Levinson as well.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2018-7-25 @ 17:59

Anyway, anyone tried speaker level to line level converter before? Any audible distortion?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-27 @ 05:54

It could potentially be okay. Speaker level outputs are usually pretty clean unless they're driven hard, and a voltage divider trailing into an opamp should be a fairly light load.

However, what about creating a buffered output from the internal preamp channels?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2018-7-29 @ 06:40

gdjacobs wrote:It could potentially be okay. Speaker level outputs are usually pretty clean unless they're driven hard, and a voltage divider trailing into an opamp should be a fairly light load.

Indeed. Common audiophile belief is speaker level to line level converter introduces distortions, but listeners' experience seems to debunk the belief. Of course there is distortion, but whether the distortion is audible or not is another thing.


gdjacobs wrote:However, what about creating a buffered output from the internal preamp channels?

Such mod seems to be doable, albeit perhaps not easy.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-7-30 @ 17:00

It's almost always doable (unless the preamp stage is inaccessible behind an IC casing).

In your case, I'd first have a look at the input to the two F2436 boards.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2019-9-05 @ 14:57

My Sansui is back! :)

Yes, after went out of service in late 2013, it is finally restored. Now it drives my NHT SuperZeros, and I'm in audiophile nirvana.

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The venerable Sansui AU-7900, still great-sounding as usual.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby SirNickity » 2019-9-05 @ 18:10

It warms my heart to see people who still care enough about audio to dedicate room to a non-PWM amplifier, and speakers capable of moving a little bit of air.

My game room / office / lab is in dire need of an audio upgrade. Currently using a class D micro amp and some nearly-free HTIB speakers on my workbench to listen to podcasts while I work on things. It's just sad, though. I'm using the TV's built-in speakers for audio from my game consoles and PCs. Egch. It's actually surprisingly... not bad... (LG 4K TV) but that's no excuse. Young me would not approve at all, and older me would have to agree.

I miss my stack of components I had in the 90s .. at the time, a Kenwood DPL receiver, dual-well tape deck, and a 6-disc magazine + 1 drawer-loading CD player. The only thing I still have from back then is the CD player, so I've been dropping by the local thrift shops to build up a new stack of components like I wanted in the 90s... Sony carousel 5-CD changer, an older 80s single-disc player (because optical discs were so futuristic back then! and the manufacturers' excitement comes through in the design), a MiniDisc player, and a nice tape deck with actual Dolby NR .. not the hipster junk circulating these days that no self-respecting music fan would've touched in 1990. :-D

Also need to get a turntable. Haven't had one since I was a kid, and I've got a couple albums that either aren't available on CD or (I hope) aren't compressed to death like their digital releases. I feel like I need to reconnect with the experience of playing music again. Putting a disc in a tray, or flipping over an album. Watching tape spool and enjoying the flaws as much as the things they bring to the table. It's not about technical superiority -- you're not going to improve upon high-bitrate PCM if you want accuracy. It's visceral. Music is emotion. It should be visceral.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-9-05 @ 19:16

My newest setup is a Yamaha R-500 paired with my Polk TSi100s, a Pioneer turntable with AudioTechnica cartridge, and a Behringer DAC hooked up to my main PC -- plus a Sound Blaster 16 in my new Dell 486 that I'm playing around with. Sounds nice and crisp.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby henryVK » 2019-9-06 @ 11:45

Not the greatest setup in the world but works and it makes me happy :happy:
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby ShovelKnight » 2019-9-06 @ 12:08

Are amplifiers made in the 90s already considered vintage?

I run a very nice Meridian 551 amplifier and it gives most recent integrated amplifiers a run for their money. It’s small in size but extremely heavy with full dual mono construction. It’s also the only solid state amplifier I know of which has a fully regulated power supply (yes, even for the power amp section).
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby SirNickity » 2019-9-06 @ 17:16

Regulated PSU? Interesting. But ... uh ... why?

If you think about it, all a regulator would do is ensure the rail voltage is consistent (as long as sufficient power is available), which means it will always clip at the same peak level, even if the supply technically had a little bit more headroom to give. Rail fluctuation doesn't mean much since the amp itself has an error feedback loop. As long as the transistors have enough rail voltage to make the input == output (x gain), then... ? What have I missed?

Regardless, I'm sure it's a heck of an amp. I remember looking at those in the late 90s. Couldn't even dream of affording one, but they sure were pretty.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2019-9-07 @ 11:27

ShovelKnight wrote:Are amplifiers made in the 90s already considered vintage?

As vintage as my NHT SuperZero loudspeakers, so I guess it is. :)


ShovelKnight wrote:I run a very nice Meridian 551 amplifier and it gives most recent integrated amplifiers a run for their money. It’s small in size but extremely heavy with full dual mono construction. It’s also the only solid state amplifier I know of which has a fully regulated power supply (yes, even for the power amp section).

Pics would be nice.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby ShovelKnight » 2019-9-08 @ 09:13

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:Pics would be nice.


Here you go! My cabling is a mess :-D

meridian - 1.jpg


The amp is very pretty with its glass top and minimalist design. The heatsinks on the left and right sides of the case are absolutely enormous, most of the inside of the case is taken by a massive toroidal transformer with separate windings for both power amp boards and the preamp section. To the left of the amp is my Raspberry Pi-based streamer (with Allo Boss I2S DAC).

I bought this amp because it's very advanced for its time. I especially like that you can adjust sensitivity of each input by 20 dB, this means that all of my sources play at the same volume.

The remote control (Meridian System Remote 2) was an optional extra, it can also control other components in the 2xx and 5xx range of hi-fi separates.

meridian - 2.jpg
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2019-9-13 @ 16:23

ShovelKnight wrote:
Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman wrote:Pics would be nice.


Here you go! My cabling is a mess :-D

meridian - 1.jpg


The amp is very pretty with its glass top and minimalist design. The heatsinks on the left and right sides of the case are absolutely enormous, most of the inside of the case is taken by a massive toroidal transformer with separate windings for both power amp boards and the preamp section. To the left of the amp is my Raspberry Pi-based streamer (with Allo Boss I2S DAC).

I bought this amp because it's very advanced for its time. I especially like that you can adjust sensitivity of each input by 20 dB, this means that all of my sources play at the same volume.

The remote control (Meridian System Remote 2) was an optional extra, it can also control other components in the 2xx and 5xx range of hi-fi separates.

meridian - 2.jpg

Beautiful!

What speakers do you drive with the Meridian amp? And could you describe the sound of the system?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby ShovelKnight » 2019-9-13 @ 17:07

Hi,

My speakers are quite modern -- Usher S-520: https://www.stereophile.com/standloudsp ... index.html

Very good sound in a very small package.

I would describe the sound of the system as "clean" and "precise". The amp has a very neutral sound quality, it doesn't sound "warm" or "toppy", but allows the quality of the recording to come through.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman » 2019-9-15 @ 04:14

ShovelKnight wrote:Hi,

My speakers are quite modern -- Usher S-520: https://www.stereophile.com/standloudsp ... index.html

Very good sound in a very small package.

I would describe the sound of the system as "clean" and "precise". The amp has a very neutral sound quality, it doesn't sound "warm" or "toppy", but allows the quality of the recording to come through.

Sounds nice. I haven't auditioned a Meridian amplifier myself, but kinda expect that from relatively modern gear. It seems a Meridian amp would mate well with warm-sounding speakers like B&W DM302.

Me, I have the opposite: warm, lush-sounding amplifier (Sansui AU-7900) driving a pair of transparent-sounding speakers (NHT SuperZeros). The combo worked well with JBL titanium domed loudspeakers.
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby SquallStrife » 2019-9-19 @ 06:01

WRT the OP, the fact that tube amps impart character to the sound means there is distortion. Distortion isn't inherently undesirable (and in some cases, such as the "buttery" tube sound, or guitar effects, is very desirable), but anything other than flat reproduction is, in fact, distortion.

That said, something I was blown away by was how the quality (?) of the phono preamp apparently impacts the sound of vinyl records.

I built a kit preamp with the view to connect my Connoisseur turntable to my home theatre amp (an upper-mid range Sony 7.1 system), and was disappointed by the resulting sound. It didn't matter whether I was listening to my older pressings with decent dynamic range, or the newer remasters with all their compression applied, the sound was lifeless and almost muffled. I have a Luxman L-3 integrated amp with a proper phono input, and with the same source and speakers, the sound is more like what I'd expect. For shits and giggles, I connected the Tape Monitor output from the Luxman to a line-in on the Sony, and was surprised that my records still sounded great.

I don't know whether this is simply a quality or design issue with the kit, or if the Luxman was applying the so-called RIAA EQ curve at the preamp stage, but the difference was night and day.

Thoughts?
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Re: Vintage amps: my experience so far

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-9-20 @ 21:36

What is the difference in sound quality like between a cheap, new amp and a 70s or 80s British or Japanese amp? I'd imagine quite a lot more noise / hiss but other than that...? my man cave is small so I won't need much volume, so I'm after high quality sound at low volumes.

I am thinking of replacing my "pretty good" Creative T40 speakers with a vintage amp and some bookshelf speakers (mounted to the wall).

Vintage Amp I am looking at

Sort of vintage amp I am looking at
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