If you spend any time visiting audiophile sites on the
Internet, you’ll quickly discover that a certain percentage of audiophiles
swear by vintage audio components. The Marantz 9, McIntosh 275, and the Scott
4310, come up first in my mind as universally lauded and accepted as KILLER
vintage components. But what about all the other vintage and semi-vintage gear
in the universe?
For almost every manufacturer who has ever made audio gear down
through the ages, there’s someone out there in cyber-land who swears it’s the
best; better than any au-current mega-buck temples to technology currently
available. And, they may be right…
I suspect that every audio firm that has remained in business
for more than, say, twenty years, has made some great and some less than great components.
Obviously, a firm such as Audio Research has very few “dog” products, and quite
a few legendary ones. But what about firms like Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood,
Sherwood, JVC, Technics, Panasonic, and other primarily “mid-fi” makers?
If you do some surfing you’ll soon find that for every company
I listed, there’s some small percentage of their output that gets the same, if
not more intense, adoration as a “legendary” audio component. While I agree
with many of the folks who claim that a particular Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood, Sherwood,
JVC, Technics, or Panasonic component sounds really good and works well. But,
with most of these firms, the number of “acorns” is far less than a company
such as Conrad Johnson, for instance.
Occasionally I read about a vintage component that I’ve heard, where
I was surprised that the author found that particular component to be so darned
good, because when I heard it, back in the day, I thought it sucked. I can’t
name names because I don’t like getting sued. But, most times I see the post or
article that raves about a particular “off-brand” piece of vintage audiophile
gear I think to myself, “even blind
squirrels find acorns once in a while.” Just don’t try to get all sonically
nostalgic with me about a Sony CDP-101 CD player…