Newer is Always Better. Or it is?

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SET Man

Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« on: 20 Mar 2021, 05:22 am »
Hey!

    I was listening to music tonight. As I flipped switches on my SET amps and look around I realized that many of my components have been with me for a long time now. Some have been with me for literally half of my life and more! I'm 43 by the way. Some of them are already have a status of being "vintage"

     And that reminded me of my recent conversation with my audio friend here in NYC, he told me about taking an old amp to the tech guy to be restore. I remembered saying "That is a nice amp and probably still complete well or even better than some newer amps today" and "What else is new in audio the past 25 years with amps anyway"

    I do like the sound of my system. And I have heard a good number of systems from simple affordable to super expensive in the past, especially after I joined Audio Circle when the NY group was still active, at audio stores and also at audio shows over the years. But after it all, I have to say that at the end of the day I have no problem coming back home and just sink into the music with my system.

    So, is newer always better? Maybe not, at least in my case. My system actually based on "old techs" I still spin vinyls on my now 50 years old turntable. My amps are SET amp of which are based on audio technology from the early days of audio back in the 1920's and 1930's and my speaker are back horn loaded single driver TQWT that is pretty much a Voigt Pipe design theory from 1930's. I'm now in 2021! I got very interested in Hi End audio when I was around 16 I think. And I thought to myself that if I go back in time and tell my 16 years old self that one day in the future you will have speaker with 6" driver that cover bass to high and 18wpc tube amps. I'm sure my younger self will be confused because back than I was dreaming of having high power amp and bigger speaker.

     Anyway, I have no plan of any major change to my system anytime soon. Is still sound good to me after all these years. And during this pandemic, with the uncertainty of the future, at least for now  I have to say that I am fortunate that I still can spend time listen to my music and shut the outside world for awhile.

Here's list of my system...

Turntable: Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference and SME 3009 II. Both made around 1971-72. Bought used in 2011. Recently with Ortofon Super OM10 and now Hana EL with Cinemag 3440AH SUT.

CD Player: Sony CDR-W33 CD Recorder. This one was made in 2000. Bought used in 2012. Using as transport.

DAC: NOS TDA1543 DAC. Bought new as kit on eBay in 2006.

Pre-amp: Audio Note M1 Phono. Bought new in 1997 or 98.

Amp: Welborne Labs Apollo. Bought new as kit in 1999. On my third pair of KR Audio tubes now, the 842VHD.

Amp 2: Bel Canto SET 40. Made around 1998 or 1999(?) Bought used in 2012.

Speaker: Single Driver back horn loaded TQWT with 6" Fostex drivers no xover and Fostex FT17H as super tweeter. I built these in 2002.

Cables: Most of my RCA, speaker and power cables are home rolled. I think I made most of them back in 2004.

Power: PS Audio P600. Bought new in 2002. This power the whole system.

Other Misc:  '90s JVC TD-V662 tape deck, '70s Nakamich 1000, 1935 Philco 84B Cathedral Radio, 1902 Victor Type E Talking Machine. I don't use these often, but always fun when I do especially the Victor.

   Anyway, am I just stuck in the past? So, is newer always better to you?

Buddy


SteveFord

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Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #1 on: 20 Mar 2021, 10:13 am »
It seems to me that speakers and cartridges have really improved over the years.
I'm sure that digital and solid state have as well but don't really pay that much attention to it.


toocool4

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #2 on: 20 Mar 2021, 10:14 am »
Newer is not always better, sometimes it’s just different. Some of those old early designs have not been surpassed today.

I do believe speaker designs have moved on a lot, older speakers although still sounding good can’t keep up with newer designs.

orthobiz

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #3 on: 21 Mar 2021, 01:31 am »
I still have my 1977 Dahlquist DQ-10 and my 1977 Linn LP12 (although it only has three screws and a top plate and outer platter that are original).

I plan on keeping them, obviously.

Paul

Freo-1

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #4 on: 21 Mar 2021, 01:45 am »
It seems to me that speakers and cartridges have really improved over the years.
I'm sure that digital and solid state have as well but don't really pay that much attention to it.


Digital has made huge gains.  Take a listen to the Chord M-Scaler with a Chord TT2 DAC, and one will hear a world of difference compared to DACs with off the shelf DAC chips of today, and vintage Digital is even further behind. 

Freo-1

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #5 on: 21 Mar 2021, 01:48 am »
The advent of computer aided design has really improved speakers over the last 15 to 20 years. 

Anji12305

Utility displaces romance
« Reply #6 on: 23 Mar 2021, 11:31 pm »
The advent of digital signal path amplification certainly makes things physically smaller.

What isn't immediately obvious is modeling of drivers, enclosures and the processing of playback signals to get *very* good sound at reasonable expense - without dedicated rooms, power conditioners and ventilation (for amps that generate considerable heat).

I suspect what's lost is the sense of mastery gained from getting every step optimized.  When home audio first became affordable - it was genuinely complicated and "tetchy".

I doubt our Grandfathers felt nostalgic about the Edison Phonograph the way we do about VOT driven by Direct heated triodes. 

namlook

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Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #7 on: 13 May 2021, 06:18 pm »
New stuff is usually harder to work on if it needs repair. Lots of stuff has gone surface mount, which makes it harder to service. I assume they use it because it's cheaper to assemble with robotics.

S Clark

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Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #8 on: 14 May 2021, 12:12 am »
I think we are beginning to understand cables better than in the past. 
Old amps can be competitive, old turntables compete up to a point, speakers moved up a notch 10-15 years ago. 
IMHO.

SteveFord

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Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #9 on: 19 May 2021, 10:27 am »
I just looked at a Chord M-Scaler - $4800.
I don't think so!
That will buy a LOT of albums.

Bemopti123

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #10 on: 19 May 2021, 01:53 pm »
I know Buddy's system well.  The fact is that while technology has advanced, somethings have stayed the same.  Most of the older vintage gear has discrete components, circuits that are easy to trace but newer components have surface mount components that tell you of the nightmare it would take to attempt to repair them.  Perhaps I am getting old, but, I just don't see the point of spending $$$$$ in components which will become obsolete once a SM components goes south.  Almost all components I own, are of the older vintage.  Hey, they work well, they can be fixed should a problem occur...  I just don't believe the hype that manufacturer's make when they claim that their wares, with SM components, are 'better'.  Sure for the short run not for the long run.  Some SOTA products from the mid 1980s are still unsurpassed.... BUT, there are newer, similarly made components, brand new...but you must be willing to sell your house or your car to be able to afford them! :thumb:
« Last Edit: 19 May 2021, 06:13 pm by Bemopti123 »

guf

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #11 on: 19 May 2021, 02:25 pm »
I'm in the same boat as you... all old stuff or old designed stuff.....my Altec speakers are older than me, my Belle's about the same age. My Lenco TT is from the 70's.I love my SPU cartridge. i'm using as little as power as possible. 

I recently purchased a pair of Rethm speakers made in 2018. Powered lower and mids, Single driver on top. I put them in and i was speechless, the depth and detail were incredible. my vintage horn speakers cant come close in those areas. I happily listened to those for months. A lot of that is single driver vs horn but I'm calling it modern and vintage comparison. I do have 2 arms and a few cartridges of the modern and "vintage" variety , a dac that I listen to recordings that are available digital only.

What i do notice is when i have a pieced together system thats lasts for months and months its usually when most of the components are of the vintage kind. i rarely choose all my modern stuff and have that last long. 

rollo

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Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #12 on: 19 May 2021, 03:15 pm »
  Great speaker choice. Which Rethm model ?

charles

guf

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #13 on: 20 May 2021, 05:45 am »
  Great speaker choice. Which Rethm model ?

charles
Maarga. they are perfect for wanting something different. :)

dB Cooper

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #14 on: 20 May 2021, 04:11 pm »
Equipment has changed and improved significantly over the years. And yet, it's as easy to tell 'live' from 'recorderd' as it ever was. Biggest improvements- and biggest room for further improvements- are in transducers. I have heard Klaus from Odyssey (and others) suggest that transducers account for 90% (Klaus' number) of the 'signature of a system. Competently designed vintage equipment can sound surprisingly good though. Many 'upgrades' are actually sidegrades.

Bemopti123

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #15 on: 20 May 2021, 06:20 pm »
Equipment has changed and improved significantly over the years. And yet, it's as easy to tell 'live' from 'recorderd' as it ever was. Biggest improvements- and biggest room for further improvements- are in transducers. I have heard Klaus from Odyssey (and others) suggest that transducers account for 90% (Klaus' number) of the 'signature of a system. Competently designed vintage equipment can sound surprisingly good though. Many 'upgrades' are actually sidegrades.

Which in itself is rather strange since some of the earliest recorded music, recorded using horns that translated the sonic waves into vinyl etc.... when played with an Edison phonograph, an example which Buddy right here has, it sounds like magic, of course, with all this frequency limitations. 

There is lots of incremental technology that has come and the companies that are pushing them, they need to embellish the narrative in order to sell....I get it, a company cannot keep afloat selling equipment that lasts 50 years and it is easily repaired...but then, there are some rare companies that do not seek to paint a picture that their latest and greatest, it the latest, earth shattering state of the art stuff.

In terms of transducers, I feel that earphones and headphones have really brought new technologies forward.   :thumb:


2bigears

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #16 on: 20 May 2021, 06:39 pm »
 :D good topic. I just bought an old amp. X250 from old grey haired Nelson Pass. I really hope I didn't just buy a 100 pound boat anchor ?    :D

Bemopti123

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #17 on: 20 May 2021, 08:17 pm »
:D good topic. I just bought an old amp. X250 from old grey haired Nelson Pass. I really hope I didn't just buy a 100 pound boat anchor ?    :D

Looking at the 1989 Threshold that was designed by the grey wizard pass, most pass lab stuff has discreet circuitry…meaning, they are easily repaired should it ever come to it.  I took my threshold to the tech to do an once over expecting it to need some recapping etc…. Nothing was even wrong!  I mean an amp that was 30+ years old, it shows you how these designs were made.  Direct coupled, state of the art stuff compare this with all these plethora of amps that are built with boards…class D designs….if something goes wrong with these packed amp boards, I guess you just hope to get a new board and replace and be on your merry way!  Pass laboratory stuff, very well made and extremely reliable.

rollo

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Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #18 on: 20 May 2021, 08:25 pm »
Maarga. they are perfect for wanting something different. :)


  I use Saadhana. They love 300B and 50 tube amps as well 211s. Enjoy.

charles

Freo-1

Re: Newer is Always Better. Or it is?
« Reply #19 on: 21 May 2021, 12:39 am »
It seems to me that speakers and cartridges have really improved over the years.
I'm sure that digital and solid state have as well but don't really pay that much attention to it.


Digital has improved by leaps and bounds.  The Chord M-Scaler/ Hugo-TT2 DAC setup is MUCH better than the vast majority of Digital solutions available,  and renders vinyl to history.   


Speakers have also improved,  due largely to computer aided designs.