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Setting up a vintage 1960's stereo set-up input (1 Viewer)

Nelson Au

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I wasn't sure where to post this, so I thought I'd try here first.

I had a possibly crazy idea last night. I was listening to The Byrds, Eight Miles High. And wondered what it would be like to listen on state of the art hifi gear from the 1960's. My house is vintage mid century modern built in 1967. So I thought it would be cool to set up a stereo system with vintage equipment. (Imagine what it might be like to teleport someone from the mid 60's to today and hear modern gear!)

In my very brief look into the subject, it looks like I'm not nuts and others are doing the same. I've done a little research and found that McIntosh has solid state gear from 1969 which could be interesting. I'm not opposed to finding vintage tube amplifiers either. But thought solid state might be easier to deal with. I don't know. I saw that Marantz was a big name of the era too. Though McIntosh gear is so well regarded, I'd be curious to try vintage McIntosh gear.

I have a pair B&W 805 from 1999 that are not being used so might use those speakers. Possibly will add a turntable but could use audio files first to get started. But for this experiment to really be authentic, I guess a turn table with real vinyl albums is the way to go.

I'd be interested in your input for preamp and amplifier options to hunt for. As for turn tables, I'd be in the dark for what to look for. It might be fun to use an iPod with ALAC files in the interim. And or high res files from a drive.

What will be interesting is that my current system is a Rotel digital amp with a Rotel pre-amp and B&W 804 speakers which do HT and music. An Oppo 105 is the source device for CDs and I hook up a drive wirh high res audio files. I'm pretty pleased with it. So would a vintage set up be different. I think so.
 

Bob Furmanek

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You're embarking on a great ride. About five years ago, I set up a dedicated Hi Fi room in my mid-century home. I've got a restored circa 1962 Fisher x100b tube amp and a pair of 1954 vintage Altec 604c speakers in the 606 corner cabinets. The vinyl is played on a Technics 1200 and the reel to reel is a Pioneer 701.

Fisher_X_100_on.jpg

altec6061.jpg

Technics-SL-1200MK21.jpg

pioneer_rt-701_front_panel.jpg


Needless to say, the sound on 50's and 60's records and tapes is truly phenomenal and many friends have been blown away with the sonic quality. There's a reason the term Audiophile entered the vernacular in the 1950's!
 

Nelson Au

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Hi Bob!

Thank you for the input. I'm surprised speakers from the 50's could still be viable! I'd have thought the drivers might have deteriorated. So that is very cool. That's a cool set-up you have.

I have some reading and research to do now. I'll look up those components you have to learn more about them. :)
 

Gary Seven

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Other than using tube amps, I don't see the point. Today, there are many quality turntables available today that would blow away anything from that era simply because tech allows for better, quieter, stable motors. I point you to Rega turntables as an example (I have the P3). I think you just need to add a turntable (and possibly a phono stage, depending on your receiver or amp) and you are good to go. My guess is if you go all 60's equipment, the result will be "well that was neat" and never use it again.
 
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Charles Smith

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I'm glad Bob posted what he has (I have some similar items) because these are wonderful pieces and the enjoyment value cannot be measured.

May I suggest, since we don't really get into it much here and it's not a competitive site, that you also check out www.vinylengine.com

And keep us informed as to what you decide to go with, and how you like it.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks Gary. This set up I'm pondering would be in a different room. So I was thinking it might be the ideal way to try some vintage hifi gear. Sure, it's possible I might get it set up and then loose interest. But it's in a family room next to the kitchen and it could be a nice way to play music while there.

Charles, thanks for the link to that site. I'll have a look. The enjoyment value will be interesting to measure. :).

About the Fisher amps. I looked them up. In the Hoffmann forums, it's well regarded and at the time of the post, examples were in the $450 range. That was 7 years ago, today they're three times that. I'll keep looking, I just started.

For sure, if this search goes anywhere, I'll post about it.
 

TJPC

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This thread reminds me of my own experiences in the early 1970s. I was an audiophile with equipment similar to what you show here in my living room.
I spent a lot of time in another room however with a Victrola, an Edison Diamond Disc machine and an Amberola cylinder player trying to re-create the sound of the 1920s!
 

Nelson Au

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Guys, I've been doing a lot of searching on eBay and reading in some forums.

So far I've been very narrow in the research because the Fisher amp seems to be so well regarded. The Fisher 800D in particular as it has a tuner and headphone jack. And multi inputs. And I like the wooden enclosure. Though a bit pricey. The 400 model seems very similar, might be a bit less money.

And I was surprised to learn that the Technics 1200 turntable is such a widely regarded one. A lot of rapper DJs use them I learned. And I learned that Technics discontinued them and recently reissued them at an outrageous price. eBay has a lot of examples of the older originals though which is good. I'm thinking I'd like to use the turntable to also do needledrops.

These two feel right. Though I've started to consider mid 1980's amps. The only reason is they are cheaper, and I have an NAD receiver that works great in my home office. Might consider one of those, but then it's not a tube amp. I'll keep reading and looking. :)
 

Scott Merryfield

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The early 1970's are a little before my time for building an audio system, but I remember really wanting a Linn turntable in the early 1980's. If you are looking for a vintage look to go with your setup, a Linn Sondek LP12 would be cool. I see one on sale on eBay for $395.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks Scott. The Linn gear wasn't something I was considering. It's in the higher end audiophile world, which I'm not opposed to. So thanks, that's a great idea. I took a look at eBay and working ones look like they're a little more then the $350.00. :)

This reminds me of a Wired magazine piece that showed the audio system Steve Jobs had in his house in the early 1980's. It was based on an iconic photo of him sitting in his mostly empty house with the hifi system in the room. Maybe there's some pieces there to look into. :)

This gets away from my original goal of a tube amp. But the turntable from the early 70's can be cool.
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks Scott. I didn't realize that was the auction. I saw that one but it's in need of a few parts! :)
 

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