The fascination of vintage hi-fi: A Look Back

Is “top class” always “top class”? Not that easy to answer. By definition, a spike is the end of something. Whether with class or without it doesn't matter, at some point, it's over. Even top wines that have been kept under ideal storage conditions will one day change their state of aggregation. Also the tip of the iceberg. Which leads me to my buddy Werner. Referring to his favorite hobby, the fascinationwithf vintage hi-fi, he claims: "What used to be good can't be bad today."



"Vintage" means different things to different people. I'm not so interested in a mid-'70s era Japanese receiver. I'd be very interested in pre-WarII theatre-related loudspeakers and amplifiers/transformer and the like. 

What kind of "vintage" are you talking about?

Some equipment is enduring; some is cool for the period, but subject to the limitations at the time. Some probably isn't worth the trouble. 

What are you after?

Yeah, vintage to me is mid sixties through mid seventies.  I guess I am old…



@whart  agreed. 

I pulled a single International Projector Co. Horn and folded cab out of an old theater in my town. After some clean up, fresh wire and some sanding, in a word wow!

Friends and family are simply blown away not by it's size, but it's sound, in mono no less. 

I'm getting the feeling that we in this hobby spend a good deal of time chasing the new and shiny (myself included), whereas sometimes there's a hidden and unused gem somewhere. It might just take an enjoyable mini adventure to find it. That and a little elbow grease. 



+1 @doyle3433  

Any chance you can post a photo or two? It means either setting up a virtual system with link or using one of those third party photo hosting sites and linking from there. 

We like old stuff! 

Nice story @doyle3433.  I have heard an IPC horn setup, also mono, and it sounded great for sure.  I can understand your enthusiasm!

Count me among the vintage fans.  My speakers have horns from the late 1940s, drivers from the 50s and 60s, and crossover caps from the 50s and 60s.  And my main amplifiers are a copy of a Western Electric design from the 40s.  Just the system to play my 1950s jazz LPs!

Thank you for the nice comments my friends. I posted it on here in Virtual Systems. It's listed as doyle3433's horn system or something like that. I posted it Nov 3, 2021. A couple before shots and then finished shot of it in the house. it has a an altec crossover that i don't think is in the pics. I have it hooked up to a little 30w integrated. 

I'll never forget cleaning it up and ran a garden hose down the horn throat, the crud that came spilling out.. yuck.. (of course driver was removed, which feels like it weighs 60lbs)

Wow, that thing is a beast. Thanks for posting the images. I know zero about the manufacturer. Did you research it at some point?

I am a big fan of 1930-60 horn-compression midrange systems.  IPC compression drivers can be VERY good.  I particularly like Western Electric drivers and horns and some later Japanese copies, and designs inspired by, Western Electric. 

In my own system I run Western Electric 713b drivers and 12025 horns.  I have modern woofers, but they are old-school—twin 12” paper cone drivers with pleated surrounds and alnico magnets in an Onken cabinet.  The tweeters are modern (Fostex bullet tweeter).


There’s not much information I’ve been able to dig up. It seems the drivers themselves were made by Jensen, for sure the woofer was. I’ve been able to locate a few industry catalogs. They mostly show projectors etc.. but do show the drivers also. When I refinished the cab I left the stencil marking in the back, International Projector Co. NY. 
when I wrestled the horn and cab out of the theater it was mounted in a very substantial 2/4 and plywood mini wall behind the screen. I was covered head to toe in sweat and soot. 
it seems to me that per the catalog, the installation crew were left to their own creativity.

I’m now on the look out for more. My wive is thrilled.

Interesting, @doyle3433. In my very perfunctory research the name of the company came up on the Altec Heritage site indicating that Altec made woofers for some of these- but perhaps not the only supplier. 

What a great find! Enjoy it.