Vintage tube guys

I was an SS guy till not that long ago on vintage Klipsch Lascala's. (now with Duelund VSF and CAST caps)

After hearing a Fisher x101d and it blowing the doors off my SS pre and amp that was a $10k (new) combo. I kept the SS system for a few months thinking I would have second thoughts. Bought some more Fishers (after taking out the output transformer in the x101d) 500c x101st and x202 none have sounded as good as the x101d (do not know on the x202 as it is being fixed right now) but all better then my SS.

My question is you do not hear much from say Marantz 7c Fisher 400c guys etc. Are they happy? I was in Audio la la land till the output transformer went. Amp was so quiet I could hear around instruments!

The Marantz goes for big $ is that becuase collectible or sound reasons? Not much talk about them either? Is that because how can you be excited over 50yr old gear!

I am thinking about Fisher 400c or 400CX, CX-2. Any happy owners out there?
I think that one of the reasons that you aren't running into a lot of chatter about these products here is that this forum is primarily about using and listening to equipment/music.A lot of "classic" old tube stuff has been collected now for a good 15-20 years - but it's been collected - not necessarily much used .Now with the collector "bubble" being burst at least temporarily - more folks like you may get a chance to let these units sing again.
Some things to consider : 1.) Rarely are you going to encounter a classic tube unit that has been used continuously.Most have spent a decade or two as closet queens.Under these conditions a very fair assumption is that all the electrolytic caps are bad. Replacing these is a research challenge and tends to require a lot of labour ( expensive if you aren't doing it yourself).2.) Switches and pots were very high quality ( had something to do with Avery Fisher's habit of occasionally grabbing a service order off the NY city area pile and personally making a house call to the customer's home or business - if he found that the same part was failing -re-sourcing this part became a priority.Those were really different days!).Good as these parts were - they are inherently subject to wear and are at least 45 or more years old at this time.Replacements today are often times going to have to be salvaged out of a "carcass" identical unit - understandably this makes unique component parts for these units both very expensive and well used.The chances of any of us lucking into a "listenable as sits" or even listenable with new tubes - classic half century old unit from any of the great manufacturers are becoming more remote every year that passes.
Frankly - these units sound amazing given their age ,BUT something like a pair of Quicksilver mono-blocks aren't going to cost nearly as much as restoring a "classic" will.Mike is there to back his products if you have service issues.Most importantly - the Quickies have that effortless musicality that the classic tube units had when new(er) - plus much better bass performance.
If you decide to restore one or more of these classy glassies - please post your experience(s) here.
Dear Volleyguy,
You may find additional sources of information at the Klipsch forum, Audio Karma, Audio Circle, and Audio Asylum about vintage tube amps.. I am using a Art Audio Px-25 with my Klipsch's. This is a new amp but it uses an old tube (PX-25 ) that was developed in the 1920's.
One of the wonderful facts about Klipsch's is that they can sound so good with a few watts- my amp puts out 6 per channel. May I suggest looking at some single ended triode(SET) amps. If you get a set amp with a variable output you will not need a pre amp with your digital input. I think a system that is very simple: Cd player-interconnect-SET amp-speaker cables-speakers is a system that matches the Duelund philosphy.
Best wishes.
David Pritchard
Volleyguy, if you didn't like the 500C, I doubt a 400C would make you happy. You might want to do some research on a Scott LK150 or some of the older McIntosh MC amps, HK Citation II amps. These are enjoyed by many who like the vintage tube sound (like myself). A low powered SET amp like David suggested above would definately be worth investigating. That is where I am heading sometime in the near future with my Altec 604's or EV Georgians.

Also, like mentioned above, AudioAsylum and AudioKarma have 1000's who are knowledgeable and enjoy what vintage tube gear has to offer. So make sure you check those sites out.

I am having my tech guy check them out and told to replace anything that they need. Nothing to exciting though I just said go to Tempo Electric's site and use the top level parts available.

Thanks David I am looking into the SET route as well.

It was just the comment in Stereophile about the 500c.

"I've invested many years chasing the best cutting-edge gear our industry offers, yet I've never been more satisfied with music and audio since finding a home in yesteryear with all those dead guys with ears".

I have been to Audio Karma but to me seems a somewhat different crowd vintage for the sake of vintage. I had no old gear before the x101d except the old Klipsch. So not really a vintage person.

Audiogon seems more of a Audiophile site and that is why I was wondering was there anyone who had modern gear and went backwards???

In the Stereophile article they also said.

"I'm not an antique audio collector or an apologist for single-ended triodes (SETs). I coax great sound from solid-state and tubes. I would never go vintage because it's cool or hip. I'm gaga over vintage for the sound".

Which is what I was wondering were there any Audiophile's kind of peoplr who say I have tried everyhing and a Marantz 7C is still the best?

wwwrecords Oh I like the 500c a lot. I like the x101st (EL84 amp love that mid range) a lot as well all are better than my SS was and at chump change price! My 500c is just not as good as the x101d which is the same thing without the receiver. Might just be in better shape.

I am combing trying to find out whether to buy a Fisher 400c, CX or CXII if the difference was big as I could find no fault at all with the x101d linestage.
Dear Volleyguy,
Try posting at Audio Asylum on the SET or the Tube forum. Maybe Paul Joppa (SET'S) or Jim Mcshane (Tube Forum) will add their expertise to the question.
David Pritchard
I do not consider myself a Vintage guy, but my refrence at the moment are a pair of monoblock LeakTL12 0.1 amps, I have tried a LOT and I mean a lot of tube amps, vintage and current. I cannot say vintage is always better but some vintage models are really hard to beat once they are brought to date.
They do need a lot of parts changed to start sounding properly. I have changed all resistors for Caddocks mainly and all signal caps for Mundorf Silver-gold. the Power supply caps are the original paper in oil.
I have compared these amps to a lot of current amps also and I always liked them better.
Designs in tube amps dont really change that much, the quality of parts is important and point to point wiring, etc.

I also have a couple of Fisher amps somewhere on my closet and have tired some others, let me tell you IMHO the Fisher X100 (or X101) with the EL84 tubes is the best one.

Check out Mapleshade Audio web page...
I have vintage amps in my system - but while I have worked on more vintage amps than I care to think about, I have really very little romantic attachment to them as collector's items, or because of their past. I use them because they're better than any of the modern amps that I've used with my system.

I will say that many times, the amount of effort required to make a vintage piece truly work as well as it when it was new . . . this can be a very tedious endavour, even for a skilled and experienced technician. For example, it was pretty straightforward to get my Marantz Model 2s to "work" again . . . but to make them really come alive required lots of time measuring (sometimes out-of-circuit) EVERY resistor and capacitor to make absolutely sure they were all within tolerance . . . many had drifted. Some irreplaceable switches and potentiometers had to be removed, disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt, and then within the first 20-30 hours of operation some extremely subtle noises became audible just above the noise floor -- these turned out to be a few solder connections that had developed tiny cracks after 50 or so years of heat/cool cycles.

So when I hear people turn their nose up at the performance potential of vintage audio gear, it reminds me a bit of those who think that all 1950s and 1960s American cars handle poorly . . . you have to absolutely eliminate every trace of the decades of deterioration before making your conclusions - and there are lots of shiney hot-rods with rebuilt engines and beautiful bodywork . . . and old, worn-out vintage suspension.
Thanks very much Kirkus!

Kind of what I thought. I have wondered that with my 500c a tiny crack in the solder I expect. Just a slight noise above the noise floor.

I can understand the turning of the noses. Of the 5 Fishers I have all sound different if one had the worse one they might turn their nose. The best one just shocked me!

Give me a whole new appreciation of vintage.
I collect vintage have yet to find a old tube or SS amp as good as the ones built in the last 15 years or so. Owned a fischer 500c had the best tubes in it was completely rebuilt by a fischer pro sounded fine not great phone pre was lame. Cool stuff but if performance is your goal. I would look elsewhere. Still I use some vintage just for fun not because its the best choice for performance and yes the stuff I use is in working order stock or upgraded tried much. Have a marantz altec system I listen to have gear from 1895 up. Want some? Starting to pile up;)
I have a completely upgraded Scott 299B (rebuilt by Craig at NOSValves) and it sounds as good as anything I've heard, especially on horn speakers. I also have a pair of Quicksilver Horn Monos which are also awesome. I don't look at old vs. new, just what sounds good to me with the equipment I use in the room I use them with. Best of luck to you in your audio journey.
look for tad 1000k mono tubes or tad-60. paul uses 60's technology, with some sprucing up of his own creation, to give what he might say is the king of 60's hifi sound. i run my monos with the tad sig 150 pre-amp with a pair of acoustic zen adagios in my office.

work is hard to stay with, but it draws me to actually show up. all in all aw great sound. you do not have to suffer with the problems of old amps. a nice hobby if you do the work, to get thawt sixties tube hifi sound.