Did the Old Receivers Sound Good?

Before the high end started, we had all these receivers and integrated amps from Pioneer, Kenwood, Sansui, Sherwood, etc., all with incredible specs.  Then somehow we decided that specs didn't matter and we started moving to the more esoteric stuff from Ampzilla, Krell and whoever, but the specs were not as good.  My question is - Did the old Japanese stuff with the great specs sound better? I don't remember.  I'm asking because many seem to be moving back to the "specs are everything" mindset and I was thinking about all that old stuff with so many zeros to the right of the decimal point. 


Back in the early-mid 70’s I had a Marantz 1050 amp, but, remember a fellow dorm mate down the hall with a Sansui receiver, and I remember being impressed by it. He was very proud of that piece of equipment, and had every right to be.







I remember the spec wars… incredibly low distortion numbers for components that sounded terrible. I remember 70’s and 80’s Pioneer, Marantz, Yamaha, and Sansui… they do not hold a candle to high end equipment of the 80’s And 90’s let alone now. I owned / own some of that stuff. So much advancement has been made in better actual sound, ignoring specs it is incredible. It was a very dark time except for truly high end components… Threshold, Nakamichi, Audio Research… etc.

As a collector of ‘70’s integrated amplifier’s, I enjoy great pride of ownership from many pick-of-the-litter classics when expertly restored. It’s a blast finding speaker combinations that bring out their best.

Many components of this decade are well designed and built which easily lends itself to a quality rebuild including a Paul Hovenga modified Accuphase P-250 which is the daily driver of my Dynaudio Heritage Special loudspeakers.

The only receiver in my stash is a Marantz 2330 which is a sonic jewel with many loudspeakers. I also wouldn’t discard a Sansui G8000 after it had the Many Moons Audio treatment.

My guess it's like a 60's muscle car.  It was fun then and it's fun now.  And and VW GTI will outperform it in comfort in many ways (not all).

A month ago for the fun of I hooked up an old Adcom amp to my system - it was my friends and he had it for a while and in college it was my idea of audio bliss.

I hooked it up to my preamp and my speakers...it sound horrible.  It lacked the dynamics of my Moon amps - sound stage was smaller, bass was undefined and it was an experiment that lasted for 15 minutes.  And in college that amp with Boston Acoustics speakers was something I could and did listen to for hours.