Seasoned ears only

I've got too much time on my hands. Like many audiophiles, I'm always trying to achieve that symbiotic system nirvana; the sound you remember from one place or another that you just can't seem to achieve again. I was thinking that several companies have introduced truly remarkable speakers in the last 30 years, but many of us are obsessed with the "newest thing."

Think of such speakers as the ugly but brilliant Yamaha NS-1000 monitors, the many Quad electrostatics, the AR-9, the original Von Schweikert VR-4. Some truly amazing speakers that you can find at a fraction of their original cost today.

How do those of you with the more seasoned ears think a pair of, for example, Von Schweikert VR-4 would match up with most of today's under $10,000 speakers? Sometimes I think the Quads, VR-4 and NS-1000 knocked my socks off at the time more than most speakers introduced today. Do you think we are being seduced into buying the "newest thing" because of our audio bug vulnerability, or are today's speakers really any better??
Interesting Question... I've owned some very good speakers over the years. I think my favorites were my Acoustat Monitor III's with custom-built tube servo-charge amplifiers. For sure they were not the most detailed or extended speakers available, but they were among the most harmonically coherent and musical. They reproduced male and female vocals like no other. I still miss them at times.

I have some newer speakers from NSR, the Sonata D3, and a pair of VMPS RM2 ribbon hybrid speakers. I like both of them but I don't know if either had the same kind of midrange magic as those Acoustats.

Curiously, I have a pair of Magnepan SMGa Series II speakers in a small room powered by a QuickSilver GLA tube amp and they give me a taste of the same kind of musical midrange magic.

There are a lot of super expensive speakers out there with crossovers and internal wiring that costs thousands of dollars by itself. Many of them have superb detailing, focus, and soundstaging qualities. But I don't think any of them are much better than some of the old classics at achieving midrange magic.

Anyway, my latest idea is to put a tube OTL amp on some Magnepans in my small room and see how that goes.
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Elizabeth is right about nostalgia. The Double Advents and Kenwood amp and pre that got me evicted from my first apartment in Santa Cruz over thirty years ago are now part of the best garage stereo in Capitola. Good thing I'm the landlord now!
I think when you spend a large amount of money and time in putting up a modern audiophile system you end up listening differently. You're more likely to listen to how the system performs than listen to the music. It's not as clear cut, night and day as my words describe, but a matter of degrees on a continuum. Your expectations of vintage equipment can allow you to relax more and just enjoy the music.
Elizabeth FTW. All we are is memory.

I swear the most musical moment of my experience of recorded music I got from orange plastic sports headphones plugged into a sony walkman, tucked into the handlebar bag of my road bike, spinning a cassette I recorded from Bowie's new Scary Monsters album, Robert Fripp soaring between my ears about Teenage Wildlife.

I get close to that, sometimes, with all this new gear I'm messing with.