Has anyone truly compared Vintage vs. Modern?

Hi all, 

I'm super curious with all the love for vintage gear, has anyone squared off say a vintage Mac, Luxman, Accuphase against their modern counterparts?  Heck i'm intrigued if anyone has tried a Pioneer SX-1250 or a Marantz 2285 vs a modern integrated, for example.  Just looking for real world feedback.  





I have listened to “Vintage” and newer equipment and there are a bunch of caveats. A lot of older kit sounded great in the day, but compared to today’s stuff might not sound as good. Not because it’s not good, but because capacitors dry up  or contacts become dirty or corroded or in the case of a couple  of my amplifier’s, the heat from the output tubes damaged some caps and resistors!  So that Sansui or pioneer receiver you bought in the 80s, might need hundreds of dollars to bring it back to spec and in the worse case the parts aren’t made any more. I just read of someone who was trying to figure out what he should do with some Audio Research amps.  The part he needs isn’t made anymore and now he has a door stop.

FWIW, I had the SX-1250 for seven years being bought brand new in 1977 and it was paired with JBL L65 speakers which are still in daily use after refoaming/maintenance in the late 1990s. Each successive newer amp I’ve had with my L65s has struck me as better than the 1250….I’m using a 35 wpc PrimaLuna tube integrated with them presently and I think it’s the best of the bunch. Sort of still with the vintage speakers but my experience with the much-loved silver faced behemoth from the 70s has been that it’s been clearly bettered by newer gear…

They don't make them like they used to...and it's a good thing. One thing of note is that the old power transistors are not made anymore. They have been replaced with better sounding designs. NPN/PNP/JFET/MOSFET/FET all have been designed and improved over the years. Some older designs were good in their day, but time has marched on. 

I have never done an A/B comparison, but a few years ago I enjoyed using a re-capped Accuphase E-303X. When I switched to modern amps (Hegel, GATO and now Circle Labs), though, I would say that it was clear that they were better.