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Paul McGowan "How Good was audio equipment of the 70s"

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by Tom Bombadil, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Tom Bombadil

    Tom Bombadil AK Member Subscriber

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  2. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    This is not going to be accepted by many an aker but it sounds like the truth to me. Sure there is a generalization when calling out Pioneer and Kenwood but there were many brands of better sounding gear than the standard gear from those two and more companies. He mentions many of these better sounding brands and well, they were better sounding. These two brands also had some great sounding gear but it wasn't their run-of-the-mill gear.

    He does agree that rebuilt vintage gear can be as new, something many here strive to achieve. But he states new gear is better and in our comparison of an Audio Research SP-3A to an SP-9 (1976 vs. 1991) the colorations he mentions on the 3 are correct, but the preamp still had the ARC sound. The SP-9 had similar sound signature just cleaned up a lot. Better newer gear and ARC has continued to improve their product.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  3. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    Had the opportunity when they were new to listen via the models SP-8, SP-9, SP-10 and SP-11. The older SP-8 wasn't as accurate as most, maybe all, of the others I mention, but it had more of what I think of as tube bloom, which I preferred. Of course, I wouldn't kick any of these out of my cabinet for eating crackers.
     
  4. Mark B

    Mark B Yamaha Fan Subscriber

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    There's some great Kenwood gear from that period. The Kenwood L series was excellent. Examples: L-09M, L-07D.
     
  5. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    There were a number of common brand high sound quality units produced. The Kenwood you mention, the full range of L- gear it seems as well as the Pioneer 20-series are well regarded.

    Back in the 70s there was so much stuff made it would be hard to tell about much of it as it would be difficult to listen to it all. Some companies just filled in the line with more of the same with a bit better sonics, you know preamps and power amps along with receivers and such. The Pioneer Spec series would be part of this. But Pioneer did make the 20-series, too.

    All depends on what units you are considering and whether it is the sound you like. If it is enjoyable to you, maybe you don't need anything other than that unit refreshed. We have a lot of that here on AK.
     
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  6. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I could easily live with a Sonus Blue/Transcriptors Vestigal on an LP-12 sourcing an Audio Research SP-6 with a Threshold Stasis 2 driving Dayton-Wright XG-8s.

    In 1981, my system was close using a Stasis 3 and Acoustat 2+2s. :)
     
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  7. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The cadence of this guys voice makes me crazy......he really likes to hear himself talk. "they poured honey on the sound....it had a sweet top end" Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??

    Douch-O-Matic
     
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  8. Roadrash

    Roadrash AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Pioneer, Kenwood, Sansui, et.al produced some seriously good gear, but it was for the most part not their consumer grade gear. My dad called that range of equipment "chain store crap", and while that might be a little harsh it was at least partially true. There are exceptions to every rule, and some very nice sounding mid grade gear came from the aforementioned companies. (the Kenwood C2 preamp springs right to mind) That being said, (and I believe already stated in this thread) Pioneer and Kenwood could definitely produce truly amazing gear when they decided to flex their muscles. I firmly believe that anyone who dismisses the L series Kenwood gear has never spent any time listening to it. The L-09Ms are incredible sounding and beautifully made amps.
     
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  9. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    Opinions. They're like sphincters.

    Sounds like Captain Obvious is stating the obvious. Big companies made cheap and affordable gear for the masses, occasionally making great signature pieces.
     
  10. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    Nail on the head. It's ridiculous. Even now you have the big companies making garbage as well as magnificence.

    For Example.... garbage....

    https://express.google.com/u/0/prod...MIuq71mMj63QIVU57ACh2J7ALSEAQYASABEgKdDPD_BwE

    and magnificence:

    https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/hifi_components/a-s3000/index.html
     
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  11. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow I gotta get me a new title

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    Yes, it may be obvious but many here believe that the General Motors stereo gear was the be all end all and well there was stuff in the soundroom that many don't remember because they were blinded by the Big SX when they bought the SX they could afford. With little experience with the sound room gear or even separates, some just haven't experienced that better sound and it seems to be the majority of the folks today. But that is fine because it was the majority of the gear back then, too. Good gear, not great gear, well built and easily repaired today to last decades more. There is nothing wrong with that.

    I spoke earlier about the car analogy and there are the Bimmers, Benzes and Porsches for better gear, stuff that sounded good back then. And then there are the tweakers units, one you needed to know how to mess with stuff to use properly. A separate turntable/tonearm system would be something like that, the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the audio analogy.

    As far as gear today, I guess we can be glad there are companies still making something that doesn't need to plug into an iThingy to work right.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2018
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  12. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Because you are used to crumbs in bed?

    :)
     
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  13. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yeah, no.

    Just because many on here like 70s equipment does not mean they think it is the "end all" . I see that straw man argument all the time and it's bullshit. Many just like how it looks and sounds and yes, how it makes us remember our youth.

    The dude in the podcast is a great example of how "experts" can be ignorant. Calling mainstream gear from Kenwood and Pioneer "crap" is the height of snobbish ignorance. So much of that gear is still functiong now and that is a testament to conservative engineering and careful assembly.........hardly crap. But to a twitterpated snob like him, solid gear that many could afford is "crap". He cannot fathom why anybody would have a different opinion than he holds.

    He actually reminds me of Rex Reed the movie critic. I just read his review of the new "A Star Is Born" and it struck the same tone. Reed hated the music in the new movie because it was not Judy Garlands show tunes and that is so stupid since this is a modern movie. I like show tunes and I like Judy Garlands performances in A Star Is Born but they would be out of place in a modern re telling of the story. But that does not stop him from trashing the music......after all, his opinion is superior because he is a movie critic.
     
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  14. quiet

    quiet AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My old midline receivers do their intended job day in and day out. This stuff gets run 16 hours a day on average. Based on that I will say they are built very well. I don't think the Pioneer and Kenwood are significantly better or worse than any of the units I have. And I can choose from any of 24 with the push of the button. It's easy to draw conclusions when you have all the popular brands rounded up together. They all sound good just different. But I don't think I have any of the junk units that were common.
    I won't get into how much better something better would be. I just assume it would.


    P4190009.JPG
     
  15. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Pigamus Maximus Subscriber

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    Hook up those Kenwood and Pioneer receivers to vintage Apogee Scintillia, Acoustat 1+1, Martin Logan CLS, Infinity Kappa 9, early Thiel, or Celestion SL 600. You will find out what the build quality is in anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. Heck hook up a Kenwood L series amp, or Yamaha M series amp, and you are going to get the same result, but closer to the 6 month mark.

    Hook up an 80's or 90's era PS Audio amp to those same speakers, and you get different results. There is a different level of build and performance to those early American amplification companies like PS Audio, PSE, Audio Research, Conrad Johnson, Bedini, and so on and so forth.

    Nothing wrong with liking a nice mid tier receiver. Lets just not pretend its something different than what it is.

    Cheers
    Mister Pig
     
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  16. quiet

    quiet AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I won't get into how much better something better would be. I just assume it would.
     

     

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  17. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I had lower level gear in the 70's. What I could afford.
    It's all old now, even if rebuilt, as is memory, which can't be rebuilt. I think a lot of it is enhanced in memory.
    I give the daily Utube experts some slack. They can't be on thier A game on every vid.
     
  18. slow_jazz

    slow_jazz AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I still enjoy my Pioneer SX-450.

    It is not crap.

    Heck my first stereo an Electrophonic all in one still works great to this day and never has broken.

    Build quality back then was very high.
     
  19. Putterman

    Putterman Super Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the speakers cited had stated requirements from the makers that the recievers were not specified for, e.g. < 4 ohm or minimum wattage requirements at the high end of the receiver. Also these speakers cost several times what the receiver cost and were therefore unlikely to be used together.

    If on the other hand speakers in the same general price range as that of most of the mass market receivers with impedance and power ratings that met the amp specs, then they certainly could get the job done and provide enjoyment even if Mr. McGowan considers them 'garbage'.:eek:
     
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  20. ultumax

    ultumax Super Member

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    7 grand you gotta be rich like big meech to afford one. A godly amp tho!’ I can’t even find a job but that Yamaha is a dream amp! Now does emotiva compair?

    There’s always going to be junk brands, trying to rip people off in audio like Bose.
     

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