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 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.


Sorry, this is not a direct answer… but in every decade for the last five decades amps of the same relative value have sounded significantly better than the previous decades’. So, ergo, modern better by no small margin.

One can (depends on the circuit, and more) modernize the parts in a vintage amplifier and make it sound superior to just about anything else. Parts quality can be half the battle, if not more.

But that would be called a ’ringer’, and it’s not a truly fair test.

I re-did a NAD 3120, with premium non-magnetic resistors, film and foil caps, and 3 or 4 bits of unreleased technology, more actually (eg our unreleased fuse technology, for one..)..and I keep it around to mess with people. To hook it up and feign innocence, when it is compared to a $5-10k integrated.

To sit there and say ’gosh, it’s amazing how good that old stuff is and how new stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be’. Or some other such stuff.

All while I’m sitting beside some poor unsuspecting person, who is listening to this NAD 3120... who’s just blown $7k on an integrated, or what not. All while the little NAD is hanging in there and literally tripping up some sonic aspects of the $7k integrated.

Oh yes, it still has the $14.99 Value Village price sticker on it. Icing on the cake.

Oh, that such fun can be had in this world.

Of course I let them in on the joke. It wouldn’t be right to let it continue..

This is sort of a loaded question.  what year do you consider vintage to start? are we comparing vintage to modern supper expensive or similar price range (adjusted for inflation-time)? 

if you compare top quality vintage with mid-range current then you may be surprised (taking into account the vintage has been restored) how good the vintage is. 

Are we also comparing features? as many vintage items had more features but lack modern connectivity. 

I have Sansui CA 2000 preamp that's been fully restored, and it took me two years and big money to replace it (McIntosh C2700 supplanted it). 

So, in reality you need to ask the right questions about specific items as it depends so much on the two components you're comparing.  

@mtbiker29 Your question makes no sense... There are different kind of vintage amp and different kind of modern amp. You must specify which model and what period!