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linden518
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Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

Hi. I've been looking into vintage integrateds and would love your opinions on Luxman L 580 vs Sansui Au 11000 vs Accuphase E 202, how they perform sonically. I listen mostly to classical, with a lot of jazz and indie music mixed in.

Also, do you think I should go for these vintage amps or stick with used amps from more recent times, i.e. Rega, Atoll or Creek? Thank you.

KBK
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Re: Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

I think I found your choice!

Check this out:

http://buy.audiogon.com/cgia/cls.pl?ampstube&1202066389

Older integrateds are not such a good idea, from overall reliability standpoints.

As a tech guy, they present little to no issue to me. Like a vulture with just the right beak, fangs and talons, I can wait for the completely worn out and pissed off vintage item owner who is tired of it failing and giving them grief, and buy the given great item for a song. And then do the repairs myself and never worry that it may fail, as I can easily fix it myself.

As matter of fact, there was a time, for about 3 years, that I made a decent wage, doing exactly that.

I hope I've steered you away from the potential heartache or nightmare. The depth of knowledge of the entire field of audio, in all ways, which is required to make such purchases intelligently, is not to be trifled with, or underestimated.

If you are going to buy used, stick to the newer stuff. Otherwise, you may be opening a giant can of worms for yourself. That gear can be great, and immortal, but you've got to have some tech savvy to even begin considering it, with respects to daily usage.

Some of the raves about the sonic qualities of given specific vintage gear are correct, the rest are just old wankers with their dicks in their hands, thinking of their fond memories of the sonics of the given item. Newer gear does not necessarily sound better, older gear does not necessarily sound better. The problem is one of knowledge and wisdom. Sometimes you can nail the whole thing first time out of the gate and get a terrific used, vintage item, that will never fail you. Be aware it is a lottery or crap shoot, and the odds of winning are based on your knowledge, skills and background with respects to the industry on the whole and in minute detail. I daresay you are not in that position right now.

What I'm saying is I literally need to look at the insides of a given piece of gear to even begin to figure out how reliable the given unit is. This,in an individual item sense. For example, I just found some images of an older L580, as in the gutty-wuts, the insides. It looks well cosntructed. Nice it may be, but difficult to say if it sounds really good, or not. Cool looks, it's definitely got.

80's Luxman gear fails at a horrendous rate. This is due to all their internal cables and sockets. Due to that, they are easy to fix! For you, as an owner, with no knowledge of such....it would be a nightmare!

But the L580, comes from one design series before the ones I'm talking about, and their reliability is higher. The capacitors and switches are high quality..but are all very old, just as a initial set of potential issues, concerning reliability and sonic qualities. And that is just the beginning of the explanation. See what I mean?

If I had a working L-580 in front of me, I'd spend at least an entire day working on it, to make it failure proof, for another 30 years. This is the learned lore part.

The vast majority of techs will NOT do that as the reward for such work simply isn't there. So what you generally get, is old gear that needs to have these potential issues addressed.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

Is there a particular reason you're interested in older integrateds?

There are a few vintage products which truly deserve the status of "classic". Not many integrateds fall into that category. Most vintage gear, in terms of sonics, will be no better than what you can purchase today, only different - trading one set of colorations for another. Computer aided design, overall better parts and more interest in a mid priced market probably give the edge to contemporary integrateds, certainly so for reliability and convenience.

A reasonable web search should lead you towards products that are worth owning and those that are collectors items akin to a '62 Dodge Dart. If the push button transmission was something you thought was clever in your youth, then you'll find owning such an item of interest today for the memories it evokes and not for the performance it represents.

Overall I would equate your three selections with that Dodge. While each company was quite capable of producing excellent equipment that now has some degree of classic status, what typically reached the average consumer was not ever meant to be more than consumable product with a finite life span. If you are going to look into owning vintage audio, I would suggest you look at something worth refurbishing. The McIntosh integrateds are still popular and serviceable and a MA6200 can be had for a reasonable price which will maintain its value. The switches are of high enough quality that you can generally expect them to last for decades and replacement parts are fairly plentiful. The Scott integrateds are variable in quality but a quick search should weed out the crap. They also have a fairly good track record when it comes time to refurbish the gear. Keep in mind the three brands you mention, along with dozens of others, are no longer in the same business they were three or four decades ago; and for a company such as Luxman, Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz or Kenwood (who all quickly forgot they ever built certain products) there are no back up parts for anything other than salvage from another amplifier. So plan on buying two to listen to one.

If you do not understand troubleshooting and simple parts replacement, vintage gear can get quite expensive and quite frustrating. Most shops won't work on vintage gear for several reasons. Which leaves you with the option of hunting down the guy who will do vintage repair and paying for his services - I'll leave the details to your imagination.

You'll find more options and generally have better luck with vintage separates than with integrateds. A Marantz 7C, Dyna ST70, Quad 22 or a classic from Citation or McIntosh would be worth the trouble and expense. Read some of Art Dudley's recent columns about restoring vintage gear. I would generally advise against 1970-80's mass market equipment. The guy who claims he's never been so happy as when he had his Marantz 2270B is still remembering that push button transmission through a smoke filled haze. Buy something worth owning not just something that's old.

rvance
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Re: Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

I had a fling with a vintage Pioneer SX-950 10 years ago. Ebayed for $80 plus shipping. Looked and played beautifully for about a week. Return shipping to seller for "repair" (and back again - $90+). He packed it poorly on the 2nd trip, so UPS finished it off.

KBK and JV were absolutely correct.

linden518
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Re: Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

Yikes! Thanks for the warning, guys! This is why I ask here first because y'all look out for newbies like me. KBK, the Yaqin looks really exotic. I'm not familiar at all w/ tube amps, except that they're supposed to have a warmer, more natural sound. But aren't they also harder to repair? I've also heard that some models start to 'hum' after usage...

KBK
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Re: Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

I'm not sure about the yaqin, with respects to reliability. I have no reason to believe it will prematurely fail. There is no scuttlebutt in the industry of them suffering premature failure, or issues of any kind.

The fun part: Sonic upgrades are literally in your hands! You can change tubes, and upgrade the sonics yourself.

The interesting part:
The economics of the world as it stand right now, means that the price/vs value retention of that amplifier have completely bottomed out.

That amplifier's price has no where to go but UP. It WILL hold it's value. Two years from now, you could get $375 for it, maybe. Seriously. As the US dollar takes a fecal dive, and the Chinese economy slows down, the Euro etc, etc, the price of that amplifier has no where to go but UP.

If that amplifier was built completely in North America, it would be a solid $2.5-3k. I'm practically gasping for air looking at it for $549. And I've been in the business for the better part of my life, and involved in different businesses since the age of nine. That's a seriously insane deal, for $549.00.

Right now, everyone is collectively holding their breath. The economic #'s will be coming in after the seasonal rush, and then the world will change. It's sea change time.

If you buy it, we will school you in it's handling. It ain't that bad. After about a week, you'll love it. The smell of hot tubes is a smell unto it's own. That's a 'fond memory' comment, but it still holds. Your own little tuneage fireplace, while listening in the dark.

linden518
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Re: Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

I just exchanged emails with the seller and it looks as though I'm springing for the tubes! I am so excited! I will need EVERY guidance I can get, KBK (I'm grateful that you kind of mentored me through the process ever since I posted in this forum...)

Okay, now... I need some speaker recommendations. Before, I was thinking about Infinity P162 or PSB Alpha B1: will these not let me experience my amp properly? I would also kill for used Monitor Audio Silver RS6s in NYC. I was also intrigued by Magnepan MMG, but will Yaqin not be able to drive them, as I heard Magnepans require a lot of amp power?

linden518
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Re: Vintage Luxman, Sansui, Accuphase?

Another question (and this will definitely reveal my novice status): is it still possible to hook up my Squeezebox and DAC to this amp, along with CD source?

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