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Calling All "Vintage" Integrated/Receiver Owners - Page 845

post #12661 of 16760

A real beauty.  Will be interested to hear how it compares to the 1050 when you get it back.  I have a 1250 undergoing recap (albeit slowly).

post #12662 of 16760

Can I ask something? What is it about vintage amps and receivers that people like so much when it comes to driving headphones? I've never tried a vintage piece for headphones, but most Marantz and other older stuff I've heard with speakers sounded considerably worse than todays amplifiers,  so why do people assume that their headphone outputs sound better than todays intergrated amp or receiver headphone outs? I've tried plenty of new integrateds and receivers and they all seemed to have excellent headphone outputs, especially with high impedance headphones like the T1's, HD650's or DT880's.

post #12663 of 16760
Two things. One, many if not most modern speaker amps do not derive the headphone output from the main power amplifier, but rather from a separate and often rather weak op-amp that's just to drive headphones. Vintage amps almost universally derive the headphone output from the main power amp, via a single dropping resistor.

Second, I think most people here would very strongly disagree with your assessment that most modern amps sound better than vintage ones. Cheap vintage amps sound cheap. High end vintage amps sound high end, if they are in good working order, and can very often deliver more high end sound dollar for dollar than a modern amp, because cheap modern amps sound even worse than cheap vintage amps, IMO anyway.
post #12664 of 16760

Well said.

 

Also, before the 80's hifi was more of a specialised hobby and this meant that they weren't as mass produced as they were later. With mass production, manufacturers inevitably have to cut corners to make money, so cheaper parts were used. If you know anything about components and how amplifiers work (even a little) take a look under the hood of a mid-price 70's Sansui, Pioneer for e.g and then compare it to a modern mid price amplifier (Marantz, Cambridge Audio) and there is no comparison with the parts used. 

 

Op-amps are a fabulous invention and they certainly have a place in modern equipment, but there is nothing like a pure discrete sound to give you a more dynamic and natural sound imo.  

 

You would have to pay well in 5 figures to get the same kind of quality you can get for even as low as 3 figures when buying vintage. 

 

But with anything old, maintenance is required to restore these oldies to sound as good as new again, so never judge a vintage amp that hasn't been restored. ;)

post #12665 of 16760

Certainly all vintage audio does not sound great, but most of the 70's Pioneer, Marantz, Sansui, Sherwood are pretty good.  Why?  In my view it all comes down to the power supply.  Massive transformers and huge filter caps for energy storage.   After all, an amplifier is really just modulating the PS.  If the PS is not good - the sound won't be good either.  Most of the mass produced stuff out there now has light weight, cheap power supplies driving switching amps (my ears hurt just thinking about it).

post #12666 of 16760
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post
  I've tried plenty of new integrateds and receivers and they all seemed to have excellent headphone outputs, especially with high impedance headphones like the T1's, HD650's or DT880's."

"plenty of the new integrateds and receivers have 'excellent' h/p outputs."  well, different opinions is what "makes a horserace", but c'mon.  i don't think you'll get majority agreement here with that statement.

 

i think you might should have said "... in my opinion", just before using the word "excellent."  "excellent" is your subjective opinion.

 

personally,i'm still looking for an integrated with an "excellent" h/p out, vintage or new  (and you've heard plenty of new ones with an "excellent" h/p out?)

 

 i'm not trying to be an ass, here.  i'm typing all this with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, and a wry smile on my face.   but, seriously:  list some of the new integrateds and receivers that you have found to be excellent.  (because one of those that you mention will probably be my next one!)


Edited by terry parr - 6/8/14 at 6:12pm
post #12667 of 16760
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post
 

 I've never tried a vintage piece for headphones, but

i'm not picking on you, but i think you owe it to yourself to check out how the headphone output sounds out of some of the older amps and receivers.  you'll probably be surprised at how good some of them sound.

 

reserve the "excellent" grade regarding h/p outs until you've widened your frame of reference a bit.

 

in my experience, "excellent" instantly becomes "not bad" when a truly superior-sounding piece of gear comes along.

 

as far as amps and receivers go (and the h/p output in them) i'm still looking for a truly "head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest" piece, myself.  and that goes for vintage or new. 


Edited by terry parr - 6/8/14 at 7:57pm
post #12668 of 16760
Quote:
Originally Posted by terry parr View Post
 

 

"plenty of the new integrateds and receivers have 'excellent' h/p outputs."  well, different opinions is what "makes a horserace", but c'mon.  i don't think you'll get majority agreement here with that statement.

 

i think you might should have said "... in my opinion", just before using the word "excellent."  "excellent" is your subjective opinion.

 

personally,i'm still looking for an integrated with an "excellent" h/p out, vintage or new  (and you've heard plenty of new ones with an "excellent" h/p out?)

 

 i'm not trying to be an ass, here.  i'm typing all this with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, and a wry smile on my face.   but, seriously:  list some of the new integrateds and receivers that you have found to be excellent.  (because one of those that you mention will probably be my next one!)

 

 

 

Well, I did test out over 30 intergrated amplifiers and receivers with my T1's, and most of them sounded better than any of the <500 dollar headphone amps I've heard and had SIGNIFICANTLY more power as well, so I don't think I'm talking out of my ass. I just didn't try any old vintage ones and wonder what is it about them that makes them so good compared to new ones.  Of the ones that I found good....pretty much every Marantz, NAD, Cambridge Audio, Naim, Denon, Onkyo, etc., from entry level 400 dollar ones to higher end ones. I particularly remember the NAD 356BEE sounding very good, and some Naim (don't remember the model, but it was around 1500€) which actually made the T1's sound better than I've ever heard them sound before, incredibly smooth and effortless. With DT880 600 ohms and HD650's I  specifically A-B tested the Asus Xonar Essence One, Nuforce HDP and Cambridge Audio DAC Magic Plus to several amps they had in the store, and they all sounded slightly to significantly better than those dedicated headamp/DAC's, for same money, that's why I ended up buying an Onkyo A-5VL some time ago, it was simply better for headphones than any headphone amp/DAC in the price range that I've tried, plus it drives speakers very well too. It literally made the Cambridge Audo DAC Magic Plus's headphone output sound like crap, without exaggerating. Totally thin, lifeless, harsh, no body, no soundstage, bright, etc. The only one that could hold it's own was the Essence One, but that had nowhere near as power as any of the integrated amps or receivers, and was actually priced higher than the Onkyo A-5VL. Now I have the Musical Fidelity M1HPAP as my main headphone amp, which costs twice as much as the Onkyo, but actually has far less power and only sounds marginally better. I literally have to A-B test them to find that MF sounds very slightly more airy and a bit tighter, but I'm really talking about a VERY small difference. Onkyo has an in-built DAC as well, which is actually better than the in-built one in the M1HPAP, so used with their internal DAC's, the gap between them actually goes in favor of the Onkyo. Also, MF M1 on full volume with T1's is on about the same level as the Onkyo on 40%, plus, with M1 there's a slight hiss at over 3 o'clock on the volume, while with Onkyo there is no hiss at all, not even at full volume.  The only disadvantage of the Onkyo is running the low impedance headphones, especailly IEMs which totally don't work at all, they sound like loose boomy mess. But anything harder to drive, even low impedance like K701's and Q701's works really well, and Sennheiser HD650 as well as all the Beyers work wonderfully and virtually as good as out of a much more expensive headphone amp.

post #12669 of 16760
Quote:
Originally Posted by terry parr View Post
 

i'm not picking on you, but i think you owe it to yourself to check out how the headphone output sounds out of some of the older amps and receivers.  you'll probably be surprised at how good some of them sound.

 

reserve the "excellent" grade regarding h/p outs until you've widened your frame of reference a bit.

 

in my experience, "excellent" instantly becomes "not bad" when a truly superior-sounding piece of gear comes along.

 

as far as amps and receivers go (and the h/p output in them) i'm still looking for a truly "head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest" piece, myself.  and that goes for vintage or new. 

 

Well, I've heard my T1's on some of the best headphone amps out there, tube and SS, including the Beyerdynamic A1, Violectrics, Lehmann BCL, several Bursons, several tube amps, etc. , so I don't think I can widen my frame of reference much more, since I pretty much know how they sound when powered by a high end amp and DAC, and I have a pretty good reference to be able to tell what sounds good and what doesn't. I've owned more than 10 various headphone amps in the last 2 years ranging from cheap to over 1000 dollar, as well as over 50 pairs of headphones, including all higher end Beyers, AKG's, Sennheisers (apart from HD800), etc., so I think my experience is big enough.

 

" i'm still looking for a truly "head-and-shoulders-above-the-rest" piece, myself" - I'm not looking for that. I'm just saying from my own experience, that I've never heard a, let's say <500€ headphone amp sound better than most <500€ integrated amps when used with high impedance headphones. Usually they're either so close that it's virtually impossible to tell them apart, or the integrated amp actually has an advantage. The point being, I'd rather pay for a 25 pound heavy piece of audio gear that can run 2 pairs of speakers + headphones than a small 1 pound plastic box with 15 dollars worth of components inside and a 500 dollar price tag, that might not sound any better, and in some cases worse. That's my point, and that's what I meant when I said that I think most new integrated amps and receivers have excellent headphone outputs, I didn't say that an entry level integrated amp will sound better than a high end headphone amp.


Edited by derbigpr - 6/9/14 at 3:21am
post #12670 of 16760
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post
 

 

The point being, I'd rather pay for a 25 pound heavy piece of audio gear that can run 2 pairs of speakers + headphones than a small 1 pound plastic box with 15 dollars worth of components inside and a 500 dollar price tag, that might not sound any better, and in some cases worse. 

 

That is pretty close to the description of a good vintage integrated or receiver.  One other comment to add - many of the vintage 70s pieces do require a recap to sound at their best - many of us in this forum either do it ourselves or pay for a refurb.  This will still let you come in cheaper than most of the good gear available today and will match or beat the sound.

post #12671 of 16760
Hi I bought a vintage pioneer. Sx680 or something like that. My issue is that on the headphone out, it sounds like the sound is louder out of the right ear than the left. If I use the left, right attenuation and go to left or right sound only. Clearly, the left channel is 2-3x quieter than the right.



Is there anything I can do to fix this?
post #12672 of 16760
Quote:
Originally Posted by LustLoveLuck View Post

Hi I bought a vintage pioneer. Sx680 or something like that. My issue is that on the headphone out, it sounds like the sound is louder out of the right ear than the left. If I use the left, right attenuation and go to left or right sound only. Clearly, the left channel is 2-3x quieter than the right.



Is there anything I can do to fix this?

I would recommend spraying some Deoxit inside all of the pots and switches. It probably just needs a clean up :) Theres loads of info how to do this on google - Audiokarma website

post #12673 of 16760
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post
 

I would recommend spraying some Deoxit inside all of the pots and switches. It probably just needs a clean up :) Theres loads of info how to do this on google - Audiokarma website


Here ya go.............http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=207005

post #12674 of 16760

well, it sounds like i'm the one who may need to expand my frame of reference a bit, compared to you.   if you have indeed listened to and evaluated the equipment that you listed, then it sounds like you would have an very informed opinion on various h/p outs on the new integrated amps and receivers, compared to dedicated h/p amps and dacs.

 

 judging by your experience that you write of, your knowledge of the current crop of equipment regarding h/p amplification and modern dacs certainly exceeds my current knowledge. (by a considerable degree).      

 

  my apologies, derbigpr.

 

and, thanks to your posting here, i'll be researching the Onkyo A-5VL.  i've never heard any Onkyo receiver or integrated, even though i've seen them and been aware of them for the past few years, at least.  looks like i'll be scheduling an audition pretty soon.

 

you may have just improved my listening experience with that one suggestion, who knows?

 

happy listening!        

post #12675 of 16760

Glad to see everyone is keeping it civil on here. As long as you like how your gear sounds, everyone gets to be in their happy place. :)

And photos - post those too haha.

 

Speaking of happy place, I've added a new receiver to my short list of amps of which I have no complaints about the sound. I've been listening to the sony str-6120 solid for about a week now and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it. The amp is just flawless to listen to. Infinite depth to the bass, flawless mids and highs, good imaging, and really exceptional stereo separation on FM (weird thing to mention, I know, but it's noticeable and makes a difference to someone who likes FM [me]). This is my third addition to the list after a few mcintosh separates. Yes, I know - the 1980 didn't make the cut and it's annoying me too. Maybe after it gets back from the complete restore it'll make the list, but it's just not a 10 yet. I hope the fisher 800c will also make the cut after it gets sorted out. Once you add in features and aesthetics though, I'm still never letting the 1980 go. Ever. I'll just have to keep the sony too...

 

Quick caveat, the sony has been lightly modded in the power supply to sort out what I think was a design shortfall. It's also been completely gone over, aligned and adjusted. I don't think it really changed the signature, but it probably makes a big difference compared to an unmodded and unserviced unit.

 

edit: yes I know I've mentioned this piece before. It's been a long road getting it running and the longer I listen to it, the more I like it and I can't help but share.


Edited by PhoenixG - 6/9/14 at 7:03pm
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