70's receivers vs. newer models

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Hugh Brown
Hugh Brown's picture
70's receivers vs. newer models

  I recently took my Pioneer SX-939 receiver to the recycling center. It was 30 years old and after  a  $100 worth of repairs and a continuing problem I felt it had ran it's useful life. It had long since stopped be a main amp and was relegated to garage duties. Being bored, I googled about the amp and found that it was a respected commodity in certain circles. My question is , was I right in feeling that it had served me well and to retire it or should I have put more money into because "they don't make them like they used to" ? Thanks for your comments.

dans_repair_service
dans_repair_service's picture
One of my main activities in

One of my main activities in the repair business is the restoration of receivers of this vintage.  There are few of uis around that still repair these, but it is worth it.  You will not get thesound out of the "new" stuff that you get from the old.

Dan

Matt Whitlock
Matt Whitlock's picture
Okay Dan, call me a child of

Okay Dan, call me a child of the digital age or just devil's advocate for the time being, but tell me why "new" receivers in the marketplace don't compare to those of the vintage age. Is this simply a "they don't make them like they used to" argument, or is there something else about these receivers that really was lost somewhere along the way.

I do agree that amplifiers of yore have some unique sonic characteristics and can be quite nice in simple stereo setups, but when I compare some of these amplifiers to digital processing, 5.1 surround, LFE channel, digital and optical digital inputs, and other niceties on today's receivers (not the $149 surround receiver from K-Mart... I'm talking decent receivers here), I'm just not seeing the appeal of older amps compared to the new stuff. 

Enlighten me.  I'd love to hear some more thoughts on this topic.

dans_repair_service
dans_repair_service's picture
If you are listening to

If you are listening to something other than the current head-bangin' stuff, then you will find that the sound is much warmer.  The lows are better and even when you play the "new" stuff, the lows are usually more crisp when you play watt for watt.  The fundamental difference is in the power supply.  Most consumer machines these days use switch mode supplies that are lighter in weight and consume less power overall.  But, when it comes to loud sudden lows, you don't have the reserves like the older ones do.

If yuo look at the higher end stuff, you'll find that they utilize the "old fashioned" power supply designs and typically don't overdesign the audio path either.

Dan

Matt Whitlock
Matt Whitlock's picture
Good response! This is a

Good response! This is a great discussion.

So I'm with you on the warmer sound, but I'm still seeing that we're leaning toward 2 channel stereo setups. When using a powered subwoofer on a digital receiver that's been set up properly, sudden lows aren't a problem for a common switch mode power supply since it hands those off to the amp in the subwoofer. 

Wouldn't you say the speakers themselves play a bigger role on the tone more than the amplifier? I agree the receiver is a variable, but I think harsh speakers on a warm amp still equals harsh sound. Thoughts?

dwdownhill
dwdownhill's picture
not always....i've used my

not always....i've used my crisp jbl l100s with a solid state setup and get all the clarity their known for. Now i've also connected them to a tube setup and they definetly smoothed out a bit. not soft but a much lighter crispness

dwdownhill
dwdownhill's picture
not always....i've used my

not always....i've used my crisp jbl l100s with a solid state setup and get all the clarity their known for. Now i've also connected them to a tube setup and they definetly smoothed out a bit. not soft but a much lighter crispness

 

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