Old school analog system

Does anyone care to discuss there old school analog system? What it is and what you like about it? Start with mine. This is my second system   
Onkyo A8087 Integrated amp with Onkyo T 4087 tuner ,TA2058 cassette deck, Phillips 777 turntable and KEF 104 AB. It sounds great and is a fun system. That I have had fora looooong time. Still makes me happy. Not as detailed as my main system but I still enjoy it. 


My first "good" stereo system was a NAD 3020 integrated amplifier, Dual 522 turntable with a Stanton 681EEE cartridge, a Teac cassette deck I bought in Japan, and Infinity Qe speakers. Only listen to the radio in the car.
Edit; the old Dual tables had spring loaded anti skate; you could play records at a 90 degree angle or even upside down, which was quite a hoot back in the day, especially after some "refreshments."
Interesting topic, thanks for bringing it up. Of course this is nostalgia for us old folks, but it's also relevant for younger people starting out on a budget. Because they might not be aware of how good some of the old stuff can sound, compared to similarly priced new gear. There's no doubt technology has marched forward relentlessly, but this doesn't always translate to better sound quality.

My 'old school' system consists of Acoustic Research AR-11 speakers (the last variation on the AR3a theme with better tweeter); Luxman M-4000 power amp and C-1010 preamp (the 50th Anniversary pieces from 1975 designed by Tim de Paravacini); Micro BL-91G turntable with gunmetal plateau, Fidelity Research FR-64fx tonearm with an assortiment of MC cartridges from the same era (with FR-7f as most frequent resident), Fidelity Research XG-5 step up transformer and finally Nakamichi TriTracer 700 mkII. All 70's, early 80's gear, although I did replace the standard cables with modern ones (although decidedly in the budget range). I hate to say it, but much progress has been made there, despite all the snake oil that has given that market a bad name.

This system still sounds remarkable after 40+ years. Sure, not as detailed or refined as my modern main system, but not the yawning chasm in quality you might expect. It makes music convincingly and is just plain fun.

My analog system consists of a Soundcraftsmen MA5002, 250w/ch (big vu meters,completely rebuilt, 58lbs) amp, Soundcraftsmen DX4000 (completely rebuilt) pre amp. I use the phono input for my AR ES1 turntable (totally rebuilt) with Shure V15 Type V-MR cart and Magnepan Unitrac I tonearm. The wiring from the cartridge, through the arm and then to the RCA sockets, has been replaced with Cardas 33 ga. .999999% purity multi-strand litz design.This wire runs from the “slide on” cartridge clips through the tone arm and into the wood base then into protective sheathing approximately 3‘ to male RCA plugs continuous with no breaks or cuts soldered or otherwise!!! The power supply has been separated into it's own enclosure.  The tone arm mounting board has been replaced with a custom 1/4” thick plate aluminum with beveled edges to match the angle of the platter edge. The mounting board is highly polished and lacquer coated.
The second turntable is a highly modified Thorens 160 Super with a custom cover from Vinyl Nirvana.  A custom cherry plinth by a Amish woodworker and Rega RB301 arm with Groovetracer counterweight, and a Goldring 1042 MM cartridge.  I run the Thorens to an Exposure VII preamp with an Exposure VI power supply and then to a input in the DX4000.  The speakers are Epicure 3.0 truncated pyramids.So from top to bottom the system is vintage.
Interesting topic, thanks for bringing it up. Of course this is nostalgia for us old folks, but it's also relevant for younger people starting out on a budget. Because they might not be aware of how good some of the old stuff can sound, compared to similarly priced new gear. There's no doubt technology has marched forward relentlessly, but this doesn't always translate to better sound quality.

No kidding.

My first real system was a Technics SL-1700 with Stanton 681EEE, Kenwood integrated and JBL L26 speakers. Pioneer RT something or other 10.5" open reel deck. Patch cords, lamp cord, and factory undetachable power cords, of course. Well this was 1976. All we had. Pretty sure the only other comparable system on the whole WSU campus belonged to my roommate Doug.

The Kenwood and JBLs kept going until 1990. By then the foam surrounds were disintegrating, and the Kenwood required a wooden peg to keep the power switch on. All my records had long since been dubbed to open reel, my precious turntable stored away in a box for years as I had made one of the bigger blunders of my audio life, switching to CD without even bothering to compare. Well cut me some slack. Crazy as it sounds today we were at the time told CD was "perfect sound forever!"

Like I said the Technics was boxed away. By 1991 though I had a good job, house, wife, and set about upgrading the disintegrating speakers an all. Eventually these upgrades were well along when it dawned on me hey, I still have that turntable. Wonder what it sounds like?

Dug it out, hooked it up. Which by then seemed a waste of time, flimsy patch cords and all. What the... how'd the stylus get bent???!?! Oh well, why they make needle nose... put on one of my remaining few records and.... what the....!!

At this time I had a California Audio Labs CD player, Linaeum Model 10 speakers, and the Kenwood serving as pre-amp for a McCormack DNA1. Pretty sure that's what it was. Or if not then the Dynaco ST400 I had built back in high school. Anyway, as far as source goes it was the CAL we were used to.

Wife comes home, right away says something about how good it sounds. No clue, hadn't even seen the turntable yet. Strategically blocking her view I asked a few more questions. Just to be sure. Because we both had a hard time believing how much better than the CAL that old record player sounded.

The Kenwood, Pioneer and JBLs are long gone. The Technics I still have, still with the bent cantilever Stanton. Still plays just fine. Oh, and a Pioneer TX-9100 tuner I can never quite bring myself to sell, it just LOOKS SO GOOD! lol!
Glad to see us old audiophiles still look at the old days with fondness. I owned the AR11s, Pioneer, JBL, and yes the Stanton 681EEE with the ball and brush on the end. Fun times. I also owned the AR turntable only it had an infinity black widow tone arm on it   Good combo. 
My second system is a Marantz 2285b ($350 on craigslist a few years ago, then $300 more to get it recapped), Marantz 6300 turntable ($400 on craigslist) and Pioneer HPM 100's that i refinished (traded for my old beer can collection).  Super fun system and great for rock and roll.  Not very refined and it's set up mostly for looks but i still consider the system the best value i've spent in audio.  I've moved the 2285b into my big rig and really enjoyed the sound.  Beats my PrimaLuna in bass response but doesn't have the same amount of detail.  Love the sound though.
We moved a few years back, and before setting up my system I listened extensively to everything I owned.  Harman Kardon Citation, GAS, McIntosh, Phase Linear, Sansui, Marantz, Krell etc.  several units from each over an extended period.

My favorite really surprised me.  There were high points with all of them, but the consistent ‘does everything just right’ was my 1977 Sansui 9090DB.  I still switch it out with others from time to time, but not for long.  It just sounds right to me, and it’s beautiful.

My favorite turntable is a modified Dual 1229 with a Grace 747 tone arm. I use a Pioneer RT-1050 half track for reel to reel duties and an ADVENT 201A for cassette.  CD is a marantz player who’s model escapes me.  My Garrard 301/SME 3009 gets plenty of play time as welll

My system is 1/3 vintage, because all my turntables and nearly all my cartridges and tonearms are from the 70s/80s. But all my cables, amps, phono stages and speakers are new high-end. The only exception was for NOS tubes when i was using new high-end tube amps (not anymore). 

Honestly, my taste will not allow me to buy any new turntable, i can't even imagine any of them in my house, because the design is very important for me, i want to see those "real" top quality stylish vintage high-end turntables like Luxman PD-444 with many vintage tonearms on it. Or Technics SP-10mkII, SP-20, Denon DP-80 and Victor TT-101.

Actually i do not need more than two Luxman PD-444, but i am a proud owner of the DP-80 and TT-101. Here is one of the latest pics from the studio with vintage and new gear, custom made racks, acoustic treatment and some records. 

I adore vintage gear when it comes to tonearms, cartridges and turntables. In my opinion there is something wrong with modern design of the turntables and their prices, i wouldn't use them even for free (any of them).    


I completely agree with you.  Something is seriously wrong when turntables start weighing several hundred pounds and cost mid six figures. Really?

You couldn’t give me one. I do miss my EMT 927, but I love the performance of my Dual 1229 and Garrard 301.

Your luxman is one of the best looking tables ever.  I had a PD-272 briefly.  It was silky smooth and played beautifully.

Thanks for a kind words @normansizemore
The design of the Luxman PD-444 reminds me a cutting lathe for its monolith (22kg without arms). The rails with armboards for almost any tonearm is such a clever idea, so easy to use and adjust anytime. In comparison to my ex Technics SP-10 mkII the Luxman PD-444 is superior in my opinion. So this vintage machine is very well engineered by Micro Seiki specialists. This is a truly reference class DD turntable.
Denon DP-35F ( it’s replacement is a SOTA Sapphire I never seem to get to ), Nakagoka MP-110 into a CROFT RIAA - RS into a Mx-110 and into a MC240 into Theil 2.3 + or Quad ESL-63

chakster I need a tonearm for the SOTA....thoughts....thinking of a Dynavector Ruby or even a Decca...?????
chakster I need a tonearm for the SOTA....thoughts....thinking of a Dynavector Ruby or even a Decca...?????

Do you mean a cartridge for your Sota ?
Dynavector 23R Ruby is great, my version was with Micro Ridge stylus. 
I never tried Decca cartridges, they are not for every tonearm! 

@chakster yes a 23R but what arm ? we set them up with Souther but i don’t want to mess w that...
might follow @noromance lead and use Jelco 850L w Decca super gold as a fall back.....
@tomic601 for DV 23R you don't need a heavy tonearm, this is not a low compliance cartridge, the best for the money is Victor UA-7045 if we're discussing vintage tonearms. Fidelity-Research FR-64fx. Technics EPA-100. Or maybe those Dynavector tonearms. I have tested my DV23RS MR with Technics tonearms with great result.