vintage/retro/plain cool hifi advice pls!

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  • vintage/retro/plain cool hifi advice pls!
  • i have no idea what i have done to make the wife happy, but she has decided to let me replace a tasteless dab all in one with an amp, tuner (regular, not dab, we don’t get dab signal anyway) and speakers. and ultimatly a cd and cassette player too.

    thing is though, the room its for is small so the speakers will have to be bookshelf. and the whole lot needs to be bargain hunters stuff. the idea of it all being quality old… if that makes sense.

    to poss explain better, i showed her some early 70’s wharfedale denton speakers that you can get off ebay for peanuts, i’d read a few forum posts where folk reckoned they were a great older buy with good sound, and thats what got the ball rolling.

    so if anyones got any suggestions for amps etc to go looking for please post them up.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    Gotta be a Cyrus or a Sugden amp

    matthew_h
    Member

    I’ve got a Musical Fidelity X-A1 amp that has been superseded so is now going spare. It’s one of these:

    I’ve owned it since new and has always been really well looked after. Condition is absolutely spot on and it sounds great. Got some CableTalk Talk3 biwire speaker cable that could be included too.

    Looking for about £175 for the amp (was £500 new in about 1997) if you’re interested.

    matthew@screamingjaffa.co.uk

    Premier Icon parkesie
    Subscriber

    I like my cyrus one amp thats been in a box for 6 years how i miss it 🙁

    winston_dog
    Member

    Whats your budget?

    Naim is always expensive, even retro.

    epicsteve
    Member

    There are a couple of Naim bargains – the Nait 3 for example, or a 92/90 pre/power combination.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    A cracking little speaker if you can get them would be Acoustic Energy AE100 from the early 90s, or Acoustic Research AR18s a bit older. Rotel amps, maybe 820, or a NAD3020. Some lovely Yamaha stuff around from that period. I had one driving the AR18s, then switched to Arcam Alpha3 amp on AE100 speakers, both still going strong.

    i moan at my wife because she chooses how something looks over how it sounds… so no idea what that x-a1 sounds like but damn it looks nice.

    in the new year matthew_h i would definitely be interested.

    Whats your budget?

    i have 2 budgets. one, what i actually spend and two) what i tell the wife i spend. matthew’s amp would be 75quid for instance on budget 2. ; )

    seriously though i like the challenge of keeping the spend on the low side. hunting down bargains. i had a quick look at naim and its a bit too high.

    winston_dog
    Member

    +1 on the AE100’s.

    I still have mine in my office to an Arcam AV 50 amp, Alpha 8 CD and Alpha 7 tuner. I love the look of the old Arcam from the 90’s. Still sounds good as well.

    slackalice
    Member

    +1 for the NAD 3020, from memory, most of the NAD amps from the 70’s were very good.

    matthew_h
    Member

    I’m in no great hurry at all

    winston_dog
    Member

    Search Ebay for stuff close to you that is on “Collection Only” the best way to grab the real bargains.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    NAIM

    Everything else is just cheese.

    epicsteve
    Member

    Search Ebay for stuff close to you that is on “Collection Only” the best way to grab the real bargains

    Very good advice. I got a lovely LP12 for £250 doing that.

    cynic-al
    Member

    Lots of good, old stuff remains good. NAD, Musical Fidelity, Arcam, old Mission Cyrus, Alchemist all made good amps. Old speakers can be good but I wouldn’t go back to the 70s without hearing them – some are very warm in tonal balance. If you can find some NVA Neutrons and a source/amp good enough you will have a lot of pleasure.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AVI-Neutron-Main-Stereo-Speakers-/111189815686?pt=UK_AudioVideoElectronics_HomeAudioHiFi_HiFiSpeakers&hash=item19e36df186

    Naim is pricey and has a certain sound that’s not for everyone, IMO SH it’s way overpriced.

    lovely, thanks chaps.

    JonEdwards
    Member

    Quad.

    Bombproof build, and everything is serviceable/fixable. Even the stuff that’s over 60 years old.

    It’s not always the sharpest sounding stuff out there, but it does work very nicely and is as happy to burble along in the back ground as background music as it is to do all-out listening sessions.

    I had a 34/biamped 306 setup for a while, then chopped it on for a 99CDP and 909, mostly just for more grunt.

    a 34 or 44 preamp, 306 or 406 power, and an FM44 (one of the truly great FM radios) would make a really nice system with a source and speakers of your choice.

    cynic-al
    Member

    JonEdwards – Member
    Quad.

    It’s not always the sharpest sounding stuff out there

    Which is why a lot of really old kit will make certain music sound pretty crap.

    Premier Icon Blackhound
    Subscriber

    Naim Nait 2? I had one for 15 years and sold it for abut £50 less then I paid. Could be a bit cheaper than the later ones and can be repaired if necessary.

    Ideal match for it would be Linn Kan II’s. Again, no idea on current price.

    Premier Icon Blackhound
    Subscriber

    Whoops! Just checked a Nait 2 price at random on ebay and one has gone for £395. They were ~£340 new in 1988 and I got mine for £260 as they changed the box to a silver surround. That is surely crazy money.

    maxtorque
    Member

    Any good with a soldering iron? Lots of “broken” classic stuff is just old electrolytic caps drying out, and old amps are very simply laid out internally so easy to fix with descrete components!

    GJP
    Member

    If you have the budget then Naim, I would rather have an original unserviced one than one that has been tampered with. Buy wisely and you will not lose any money when you sell.

    Failing that a good Cyrus 1, but finding a good one can be a bit hit and miss. Exposure has it’s following.

    Arcam are plentiful, but lack character and have a plasticky build, their aesthetics have not faired well with time.

    roach
    Member

    This year I bought a used Rega Brio 3 for £200, a used pair of Naim Intro 2 speakers £200, and connected these up to a new Maplin DAC for £36.

    Proper good sound for less than £500 all in inc cables.

    CountZero
    Member

    The little Rotel RA820 amps were superb, very slim, and ideal for stacking, especially with the matching tuner. Pretty much the very first mass-market Japanese amps that were designed by British audio engineers for British musical tastes; Japanese music tends to be very ‘thin’ and lacking in bass, so the RA820 was a revelation, especially as it lacked all the flashy bells and whistles that amps were previously adorned with, so no graphic equalisers, balance controls, etc. (Balance is set with a concentric volume control).
    I used to sell lots of them, once a customer was given a demo with one using a Denon CD player, into a pair of B&W, Castle or KEF speakers, they pretty much sold themselves. Usually to a customer looking to replace an Amstrad ‘tower system’… 😛

    That’s the RA820BX2, there’s a BX4, too

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    Arcam are great as are Naim Cyrus Quad and Rega – pretty much any of their stuff is worth your money. It is very sought after and as mentioned above its got great resale value. Which depending on how you look at it is either a very good investment or more than you can afford!

    However, some early to mid-nineties Japanese stuff from Rotel and Marantz is superb and is essentially tuned to Brit amp style for a fraction of the price of the real Brit hi-fi.

    Jujuuk68
    Member

    Audiolab is quality kit thats well build, sounds great, and been around a while.

    An 8000a amp with its matching tuner would sort you out, and can be converted to pre/power later on too. I have one, with some Castle Durhams.

    The Linn Tuner (Kremlin?) was meant to be good too, and even the Linn 1 bos stuff might be affordable too now.

    RichPenny
    Member

    A quick look on Ebay confirms that a lot of the british stuff mentioned above does hold it’s value well and thus may not be the bargain you seem after. Classic retro stuff from the 70s like a nice Armstrong or Leak could be a better bet, though anything over 20 years old I’d be factoring in a service cost.

    Currently on ebay, an Armstrong 626 Receiver and a pair of Castle Kendal speakers, probably get them both for £75.

    Agree that the Japanese stuff doesn’t look that fashionable now so you could buy a pretty capable amp for not too much money.

    Speakers wise, plenty of british stuff to chose from.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    I never thought earlier. I have some old Wharfedale 420 speakers sat taking up shelf space, you’re welcome to them if you want. Chunky things, but were meant for bookshelf use. No grilles but I believe them to be still working well enough. I’ll wire them up tomorrow to check.

    Premier Icon Scapegoat
    Subscriber

    Another vote for Mission Cyrus amp, NAD cd player, Mission 762 speakers….. crackingly good bookshelf size.

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    Nad 3020 here driving some arcam solo speakers.

    Hasn’t been working for a bit bit had a poke around tonight and fixed a dodgy mute switch.

    CountZero
    Member

    Here’s a shit-load of RA820BX2’s, some for not a lot of money…
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/sis.html?_kw=Rotel+RA-820BX2+Minimalist+hifi+Amp+In+Mint+Cond+with+original+packing
    [edit] While searching for 820 info, I found this little piece on a forum, from someone looking to compare the Rotels with the NAD 3020; interesting reading…
    http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php?1707-Anyone-familiar-with-the-Rotel-RA-820A-integrated-amp-(circa-1986)

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    This place:
    Wilkinsons in Nelson, has a selection of secondhand stuff from the 70’s onward.
    Nice people to deal with too.

    They’ve a couple of Rotel 820’s and a some very nice Arcam & Quad stuff at the mo.
    I picked up a Marantz PM66SE KI from them about a year ago – it’s marvellous.
    Don’t underestimate the Marantz amps, they really are brilliant for the cash.

    I always preferred the Creek 4040/4140 at the time, finding the Arcam & NAD stuff a little too smooth & the Missions a bit thin.
    If you see a Creek, they are a wonderful amp.

    I got a pair of AR Cambridge A60 amps from a very nice chap on here whose name I sadly I can not for the life of me remember (Thank you, you’ll be pleased to know that they are still going strong and push my ’72 & ’74 Mordaunt Shorts wonderfully).

    I’m a big believer in as simple as possible when it comes to amps, the least caps and resistors as possible between the source and the speakers the better.

    If you have the space a lot of the larger cabinet sized MS, B&W, Splendor etc speakers sound incredible, again there is a lot to be said for a sold cabinet with a large volume.

    winston_dog
    Member

    Creek 4040 amps seem to go for about £70 on ebay.

    their aesthetics have not faired well with time.

    Very subjective! I have to disagree there, I love the look of them!

    Premier Icon finishthat
    Subscriber

    There is a very good point in the link posted above about the Rotel 8 a+b
    amps getting hot – I remember having one and it did get hot – burning hot – so watch out for that if anybody gets one .

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