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Can someone elaborate on the superiority of Vintage receivers?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I find myself in the position of asking something in the audiophile no-no square, Objective measurements. Can someone give objective proof that receivers from the medieval times are better, Like THD%, S/N Ratio, material/durability, and all the other factors that add up to a great receiver?

post #2 of 19

In terms of their value as headphone amps, they vary depending on the implementation of the headphone circuit.  

 

Can be entirely pleasing driving a set of speakers, but entirely disappointing for headphones.  On the other hand every vintage receiver in my experience at least included headphone output.

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gallade475 View Post

I find myself in the position of asking something in the audiophile no-no square, Objective measurements. Can someone give objective proof that receivers from the medieval times are better, Like THD%, S/N Ratio, material/durability, and all the other factors that add up to a great receiver?

An old receiver was a lot simpler feature wise. it was really just a simple 2-channel amplifier, all analog, nothing digital about them (so no need for DACs), all discrete components.

With using discrete components, I would guess there would be less electrical noise and less interference between the components to deal with (cleaner signal).

Where as modern A/V receivers have lots of features integrated into as few parts as possible, which I causes interference (and crosstalk?) problems that have to be dealt with.

Modern A/V receivers are designed to have the most features for the price, not necessarily the greatest sound quality.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah, i know that the vintage receivers are no-frills items(I love that design philosophy), But I'm comparing these to things like All-Analog stereo receivers and not HT Recievers. I'm becoming convinced that vintage is the way to go, so what do you guys think would be the best reciever to go with Hifiman He-400s and BIC Dv64 Floorstanding Speakers? I like a neutral (Not Cold, not warm) sound with some brightness in the top end. Would the pioneer SX series fit my needs, or sansui? I've ruled out marantz, because they're just too warm for me.


Edited by Gallade475 - 10/20/12 at 2:22pm
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

bump
 

post #6 of 19
Generally speaking they have an output impedance of anywhere from 150 Ohms to 470 Ohms.

Personally, no thanks!
post #7 of 19
Superiority versus what? There are no universal rules to be applied here.

Potential advantages of a vintage receiver (or integrated amplifier) are that their headphone outputs are almost always derived directly from the main power amplifier, and as such, have the exact same sonic qualities. It also means that many of them will have a LOT of output power on their headphone jacks. Modern integrated amps and receivers very often have their headphone outs driven by cheap, low-power, noisy op-amps, not off the main power amp.

As Chris J mentioned, they also tend to have inline resistors on the headphone out in order to not have TOO much power. So the output impedance is usually high. This does not matter for a purely resistive load like the Audeze and HiFiMan planar headphones. And in the case of those headphones, the high output power is a benefit. The high-ish output impedance also doesn't matter as much for 600 ohm headphones, which are also sometimes difficult for some headphone amps to drive well, so the available power can again be helpful.

Headphones which are both high efficiency and low impedance may not be very good choices with vintage amps.

Finally, in the era of multi-kilobuck headphone amps, vintage amps and receivers can often be very cost effective.
Edited by Skylab - 10/26/12 at 2:17pm
post #8 of 19

I am a simple man and like OT's question.

 

Cf. "Potential advantages of a vintage receiver (or integrated amplifier) are that their headphone outputs are almost always derived directly from the main owner amplifier, and as such, have the exact same sonic qualities".

 

I have browsed several threads, but I find the lack of such information (i.e. factual) missing. I really hope the quoted statement was more elaborated (i.e documented / debated / mentioned). 

post #9 of 19
Sorry, that should have said "main power amplifier" biggrin.gif

But there is no debating that the headphone out of vintage amps is almost exclusively derived from the main power amplifier. It is simple fact. At the time these units were made, inexpensive op-amps did not exist, and building a separate discrete headphone amplifier inside of the main amplifier would have been absurd.
post #10 of 19

I see, but I got the impression that a simple resistor was inserted - much as is today.

post #11 of 19
Yes, there is typically a dropping resistor - but what do you mean "much as is today"? This is not typical of today's designs.
post #12 of 19

Resistor confirmed then. Thanks, Skylab.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies guys. I'll be using hifiman he400, which is isodynamic, thus damping factor does not really play a role, even if they are low impedance(35ohms)

 

     Also, i do no think a resistor is a bad thing when lowering the power of the amplifier as long as it is of high quality and not cheapy chinese fake laptop stuff


Edited by Gallade475 - 10/26/12 at 4:22pm
post #14 of 19
Another thing about the vintage receivers/integrateds are the fact the manufacturers were in a race to build the biggest, baddest, best sounding component money can build. This often resulted in receivers being over build(the reason why a lot 30+ year old gear is still pumping strong today). The totl stuff weighs anywhere from 50-100lbs and have massive trannies, dual power supplies and are discrete designs with no generic or cheap part. I like vintage gear because it allows me to have an amp for every pair of headphones I have, and each amp can go toe to toe with multi-thousand dollar headphones amps(trust me, I've already tried and tested that theory). So instead of investing thousands in a flagship amp to use with all of my cans, I now can have a highend headphone rig in each room in my house(well most of them).

That's something I couldn't afford to do with modern dedicated headphone amps. I would have to go the route of one highend amp followed by a few budget to midtier amps for my other setups. Now when I go from room to room, I don't lose a drop of performance. Unfortunately, the rule hasn't applied when it comes to sources though. I know there are vintage source lovers out there, but I have too many highrez files to be limited to 16/44.1. But vintage gear has it's flaws. First, know what you are getting. Sometimes it can cost more to repair something than what you paid for it, so make sure that what you are getting has either been refurbished or in at least mint condition. But even if it has to be completely refurbished, the performance you'll be getting will still greatly outweigh the investment.
post #15 of 19

Vintage gear:

 

dirty scratchy pots

 

dirty noisy selector switches

 

dirty, corroded input and output jacks

 

they are very large when compared to a wee little dedicated headphone amp

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