|[ Vintage audio equipment ]|
If you love hi-fi and the sound you get from valve equipment, if you have basic knowledge of electronics and love DIYing, your hobby should be the collection and restoration of vintage audio equipment. My interest for this kind of equipment began at the beginning of the 90s when I discovered the wonderful world of tube amps and I realized that vintage equipment had everything I wanted from hifi equipment. They sounded great and they gave me the exclusivity of owning them but also to know that they were made by audio geniuses. In fact this last point was the key, because this equipment reflects the work and craftmanship of audio visionaries in contrat with the impersonal systems we have today.
Vintage tube audio equipment is every audio component (amplifiers, tuners, power amplifiers, preamplifiers, etc) which uses vacuum tubes in their electronic circuit. This equipment was usually built from 1950 until the beginning of the 70's. In this period, the use of vacuum tubes in audio design was the rule, until the seventies when designers began to use transistors. Between 1950 and 1970 were built many audio components that still today are considered the best audio products in the hi-fi history. There were a lot of fantastic products like the QUAD 22 (Quad II mono power amps + Quad 22 preamp and Quad FM1 or FM2 tuner), the Mcintosh MC 275 power amplifier and Mcintosh C22 preamplifier (both one of the best, even better than the reeditions presented by Mcintosh Labs few years ago), etc.
My interest for vintage audio equipment was first focused on tube components but after learning more about it I also began to collect turntables and speakers. My main interest are still tube amps but I wouldn't say no to any other wonderful equipment.
If you are the lucky owner of one of these products or any of the components made by firms like Dynaco, Scott, Fisher, Marantz, Leak, Quad, Mcintosh or Thorens, congratulations!. If don't, do you want one of them?
If you live in the USA or in the UK you are lucky. It is easy to get equipment like this in your county. Garage sales, specialist dealers, internet auctions... All of them have vintage valve gear waiting for you. As you can see, the names I list above belong to tube audio manufacturers that were or are located in the USA or UK. So residents in the USA and the UK have more chances to put their hands on this stuff. For the rest of the world... we could try to buy this products in the net looking for dealers with export facilities or we could try to find this equipment in our countries. In Spain, for instance, it is very difficult to find vintage tube audio. We didn't import these components in the period between 1950-1970 because of our international isollation due dictatorship. So, many of the vintage components I own come from electronic repair shops.
The problem with vintage audio is that the prices of these equipment are increasing every day. There's more and more demand and the offer is limited. Some years ago the price of a good classic tube amplifier was almost nothing. But now it is very diffcult to find those bargains. So take it easy. First try at garage sales, or electronic repair shops, or in the internet (Ebay and so) but... be patience. Collecting is for patience people. You will need time. In five years I got only five amps and a turntable. This is one per year. Not too much.
When buying vintage audio check the equipment carefully. First of all be sure that the components fitted in the amp are in good condition. If they are in bad condition you will need to find spare parts to replace the old ones. And for doing this you will need as many information as you can about the equipment you want to buy. Almost everything is on the net. Information about Fisher, Mcintosh, Dynaco, Scott, Quad, Marantz, etc, etc is available in the net. There is a lot of people with this hobby that uses the net to share their knowledge. So get all the info, even prices for used gear, check the availability of spare parts (also in the net) and you will be ready to get into the world of vintage audio. It will be very useful if you have a little knowledge of electronics, but if you don't, try to find a repair shop with enough knowledge on vintage electronics. They will have the knowledge and you all the information about the equipment (schematics, parts list, where to find spares, etc) and that combination will be definitive to achieve the objective of restoration.
Since 1999, I have been buying vintage audio equipment from the UK. Here in Spain the prices of the vintage gear are increasing due to excess of demand and the poor offer. So I decided to look for this equipment in the UK. For european people, buying in the UK is like buying at the shop in the corner. We have a common market and we can purchase products everywhere in Europe without problems. There's a wide offer and the prices are reasonable. If you are interested in doing this, select a reputated dealer in a specialized UK journal. I selected The Emporium and I'm completely satisfied with their job. Come on, try it!
Remember also, as I said before the Vintage section of Ebay in its USA or UK versions (even Germany and France versions).
Following the explanation I have exposed above, I have collected the following equipment. If you want to know more about my vintage audio gear, click on the links below. I'm always looking for more things. So visit this section again to see what's new .
If you need more information about vintage audio equipment visit my links section.
If you want to know more about valve electronics, visit the section Valves, valves !!.