Vintage Receivers vs. Modern MidFi

As I was looking at classic tuners from Marantz I started to notice their receivers and I've become very interested. I'm curious what people here think about the comparision between these 'classic' receivers and modern midfi equipment. I've been considering an NAD c340 or Jolida 102b matched with a classic Marantz tuner or my current FT-11, but when I considered replacing my FT-11 I thought 'why not consider replacing my whole deal with one of these vintage receivers'. The more I look at these receivers the more I am struck by their beauty. I am too young to have ever owned one of these new, but I must admit that I am very drawn to them. In the end though it is about the sound, and I want the best I can afford. I've got about $600 to spend on tuner and amplification. So, should I get a classic Marantz(or McIntosh?) receiver or stick with my NAD/Jolida + Magnum/Classic Marantz combo, and how do these two paths match up sound wise? Your advice, concerns, confessions, and/or recommendations are warmly welcomed. Oh ya, if it matters I'm using AE Aegis speakers. Thanks. Carter.
I have tried out some vintage Scott equipment. I have been using a 1961 Scott 333 integrated that kills the Audio Refinement complete I previously had ($1000) this Scott can be had for $150. It would be perfect for your small speakers. But always listen before you buy.
Carter, there is a Discussion Forum for vintage audio at There are others that also are drawn to the look of those old receivers. If you go to that Web site, look up a user called BeatleFred, he knows a lot about the old receivers. I believe that you can get some good deals on some old receivers, but I also believe that there is equipment today that outperforms it, and rightly so. Although, for the most part, only low-end receivers have been produced for years, so in that arena a older high-end receiver may out perform many receivers of today. Magnum Dynalab's new receiver is the only high-end receiver that I know of and IMO it would easily outperform the vintage receivers, but then again it would cost you much more. BTW, your FT-11 is destined to be a classic!
Carter, I agree with Brian and would keep the FT-11. I do hear where you coming from -- I have always wanted a old reciever/system and have looked around the net. However, I go back to the purpose of the system and for me it's the music. I am currently using the NAD 317 which I feel is one of the best Integrateds on the market for the money ($600). I had the C340 which was great, but wanted more power. I like the NAD because of it's heritage and design philosophy. I have also owned a Mac Integrated ( 5200?), and it was decent but could not hold a candle to today's Integrateds IMHO. Good luck.
Hi Carter: A few of the older receivers that I remember sounding very good are the Marantz 2270 and the Luxman 1050. They are warm and smooth souding but do not have the detail of the modern couterparts, they do however sound very musical and are also very nice looking. Another option might be to go with a vintage tube reveiver like a Fisher 400C, you would have to research as Scott also made some good tube receivers. There is someone on the web that sells them (Fisher) reconditioned and with a warrenty within your price range. I do not know the sight offhand it is just something I ran accross while surfing. If you do vinyl in your system I would reccomend using an Advent 300 receiver (just the preamp and tuner section (the amplifier is just 15 watts per channel) and running a newer power amp of your choice from it. You could hide the power amp, and the Advent is very plain/modern but striking at the same time with a good tuner section and a killer preamp section. The advent/power amp combo should be well within your budget. I have used the Advent for vinyl with a pair of Dynaco Stereo 70's, Mac 30's, a Phase Linear 400, a Quad 306 and a Hafler 500 with excellent results. These amps are over your budget but are just to let you know that it works well with both tubes and solid state gear. Let us know what you get and how it sounds.
The best Receivers were the Japanese Receivers from the late 70s. They were built like Tanks. They used all metal parts. They will blow away the receivers today. The best receivers from the late 70s, were the The Pioneer SX 1980, SX1250 and SX1050. Kenwood, Kr 9600. Sansui made some amazing receivers. The G9000, 9090, 8080 Receivers. Sansui Also made great intergrated Amps and tuners back then. The AU 1100, AU 9900, AU 9500 intergrated Amps. TU 9900 Tuner. TU 7900 Tuners. Yamaha also made great Receivers back then. The Yamaha CR2020 and CR 1020 Receivers were great. You will see all these Receivers on Ebay. Type in Yamaha Receiver and click enter. Type in Sansui Receiver and click Enter. etc
Hi: I have had a Pioneer SX 1250 which is in mint condition, for approx. three months. I have done comparisons with my Harman/Kardon AVR 80II ($1,699.00 MSRP in 1997) using Dynaudio speakers. To put it mildly, there is smply no comparison between the two, IMHO. The SX 1250 is far more musical and offers the slam that the HK can only dream of. Build quality of the SX is also excellent and find the styling to be quite appealing as do my friends. The downside of the equation is that these units are getting old and reliability may be an issue at times. However, I would not hesitate to spend the cash to have the unit properly serviced should the need ever rise. BTW, the inputs also work well with TV and VCR should you have an interest in a bit of HT.
All of the above are good input to the question. The Magnum Dynalab MD-208 is state-of-the-art for the receiver catagory. The Advent is interesting as are the Stasis series Nakamichi, the SR and TA series....If you're looking for vintage romance..then the old receivers..are cool. If you looking for the best sound, keep your Magnum tuner and get a great recent model intergrated from...Classe, Bryston, SimAudio, Audio Research, C-J, and the list goes on..
I second what WHATJD had to say about Nak Sr and Ta series receivers.Pretty refined little goodies for the used price. Consider Revox,Tandberg and ADS receivers from the mid eighties up through early 90s.And the Yamaha Cr series was nice. I also owned and liked the Luxman R-113,R-115 and R-117 Receivers.I also agree that the Magnum tuners are very desireable, and that matching it with an interesting older or newer integrated would be a way to go.Doug
I've currently got in house a Luxman R1120A receiver driving a pair of a/d/s L1530's in the bedroom. Big sound from this old reciever! In my home office by the computer is a Yamaho CR-2040 with an a/d/s CD4 cd player (first generation!), Nakamichi 1000 tri-tracer cassette deck and an Akai GX747dbx reel deck. All this feeding a/d/s L9e 3 way speakers. One of my favorites to collect and sound great are the a/d/s atelier series components. All of them carry the same size, look and feel. Hard to find, but worth the trouble. I can't help myself, I'm a vintage junkie!
If you're going to go for a used Advent, I recommend trying before buying. I have a 15 year old one that I use in a 3rd system. As time has passed, the tuner section has had more of a tendency to drift and it takes about an hour of warm up for the tuner to be able to receive in stereo. Also, while the phono stage is ok, the linestage does not seem to match up well with cd players. Suggest you consider that many older receivers were designed before CD players became popular and the line stage sections may not match up well. There was a time when I used the Advent with a Hafler 120 amp as my second system. I replaced this combo with a NAD 710 receiver around 7 years ago which sounded a little better, had better FM reception and took up less space. The NAD also had a decent headphone amp, a rarity amoungst receivers. I did like the sound of the old Pioneer and Yamaha receivers that I owned in the 70's, but I would not trade the sound of my NAD for either of them.
As already said there were some very nice receivers made in the '70s. The Marantz' were my favorite line, especially the 2270 model which a buddy owned. Some have said that Sansui made good products which up to a point is true. BUT in the late '70s and early '80s they made some absolute JUNK! The store where I worked at the time carried their line. Even though they paid the highest commissions in the store, none of us sold Sansui because too many came back defective. In fact, almost ALL of them did! One customer insisted on buying the top of the line Sansui receiver even with the salesman discouraging him. He went through FIVE of them before finally giving up. I don't remember the model numbers involved, but if it has enough flashing lights to qualify for a disco dance floor, that's the ones to avoid.
Good point Joe_b. The last time I used the Advent in a system was in the mid 80's. I also did not use CD's as a source. When I jumped back into this hobby 3-4 months ago I pulled some old Quad solid state gear out of storage and thought I had it made. While properly stored for 15+ years it had developed an intermitent ffssssst sound at all volume levels. It sounded like some one was lighting one match after another across the room. I was told that the repair (rebuilding it with new parts) would cost more than I paid for the equipment. I traded the old gear (with full disclosure) for a painting and came out ahead, I think. I went with new gear for both reliability and sound, also to stay within my budget (repairs can be very costly). I purchased new Musical Fidelity X gear which with the right cable sounds a little like my old tube stuff, especialy in the midrange, but without the expense of maintenance. It is so odd looking that it will most likely become a classic in time. The integrated amp was only $500.00 (now discontinued but there is a new higher powered replacement) and I just located a pair of 50 watt monoblocks in Canada for around $800.00 shipped and taxed. The MF gear has a very distinctive sound Carter that is not for everyone, but if you are also looking for style, and are interested, you can view it at The new integrated is model X-A2 and is within your budget granted that you keep your current and highly praised tuner. Also, maybe start a thread on integrated amps for $600.00.
As the owner of several near mint Japanese receivers from the late '60s -mid '70s (I can't resist a very clean piece of old gear, even if I don't prefer it), I must respectfully disagree with comments asserting that they are sonically good equipment. I happen to have a mint SX1250 and it is beautifully built with a substantial power supply, a very good tuner, and excellent flexibility. But, sonically it is strident with a pervasive glare which makes listening for extended periods of time unpleasant. For passive listening it is fine. But I like sound reproduction to be relatively natural in effect and most receivers of that era just don't cut it. In fact, the earlier tubed receivers were sonically superior. Do some AB comparisons and I think that you'll agree.
The early NAD Receivers the 7060 and 7080 were damn near good as separates. Although nowhere near the cosmetic beauty of the Marantz units. Also to my ear the early NAD receivers were sonically superior to anything at that time.Being from 1978 to 1982.
Hi, you cannot beat older gear. I am currently using a Pioneer SX-1980, SX-1250 and a Pioneer Series 20 A-27 integrated amp. Thease are very well built receivers and amps. Sound quality and power superb. Can drive low impedance speaker loads with no problem. I use Infinity SM-225's (two pair hooked in parallel) 6 ohm speakers which means the amps are running at 3 ohm's. Also, Pioneer won the Receiver Power wars of 1980 beating out Marantz and Sansui with 270 watts per channel @8 ohm's but the sound quality of the SX-1250 and the SX-D7000 and the A-27 I think, is a little better. For not a hole lot of money, you can get more bang for your buck with older gear. Mike