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Old 6th February 2004, 05:22 PM   #1
Regis is offline Regis  United States
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Default Retro-geek, old school fool?

While I'm new to this site and I'm sure this has been debated at one point or another, I'd like to know how many of you agree with the concept of "they don't build em' like that anymore". Going to your local big box Electronic store and perusing the electronics there has become a depressing experience. Acres of black plastic or downsized plastic silver stuff with LED's plastered everywhere. I guess I'm old school and I like my recievers big, heavy and silver. Please add sweet analog gauges and satisfying knobs and switches. That goes for the speakers as well. The new JBL line of speakers sure seems to have a lot of "Star Trek" plastic add-ons that are purely kitsch cosmetic. I owned the L-65's and am now rebuilding the L-110's from a garage sale and refurbishing them has become a pleasure, with great advice on the loudspeaker forum from some knowledgeable people. Just what is "surround sound"? Is it a way to sell one woofer as a pumping sub and six tiny speakers?

Analog baby! Maybe I'm wrong in defying the digitizing of life as we know it, but ask yourself how often a digital tuner has just plain ****ed you off? Damn it, I don't want the seek function to blazingly fly past dozens of stations that don't meed the microprocessors criteria as somewhere to stop. Or worse, just trying to tune in any station. What happened to the big silver, all metal weighted gyro-action tuning knob? Where you effortlessly tuned to your fav' FM Station and with forefinger and thumb, tweaked it, watching with pleasure as a fine red needle wavered, then centered itself in the center. Perfectly tuned.

That's why I'm eagerly awaiting the reciept of my Sansui G-9000 reciever I found on Ebay. I used to have a G-22000, but I just can't afford the $1000 and up prices that these 220wpc recievers command on Ebay. I'm sure the guys with tubes are bemoaning the same thing. It was kind of cool to stare in the back of the radios and see that orange glow of tubes in the dark. Heck, I still have my record collection and I plan on buying some kind of DD turntable (preferably Technics). CD's are good, but I'll stick with a single tray older unit. Any recommendations on single tray CD players that performed well?
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Old 6th February 2004, 05:42 PM   #2
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you may enjoy perusing these threads:

old classics

Anybody into older, classic looking gear?

there is evidence that you are not alone...

/andrew
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Old 6th February 2004, 06:06 PM   #3
Regis is offline Regis  United States
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Fascinating! The stories, recollections and photos were pretty stinking cool!
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Old 6th February 2004, 06:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Retro-geek, old school fool?

Quote:
Originally posted by Regis
I'd like to know how many of you agree with the concept of "they don't build em' like that anymore".

or is it more that "We don't like them the way we used to?"

Companies are in the business of making money, not heavy gears with silver plates, etc.

The market has changed, and technology has moved forward. Today's $5 mp3 recorder can probably ravel yesterdecades' $1000 reel-to-reel recorder, or a $200 Home-theater-in-a-box can outperform a $10,000 set of Marantz of 1950s, etc.

The point is that you don't need to spend as much money to get the same performance today.

and that created a huge problem for consumer electronics manufacturers: tailoring to the mass. As prices drop, it is harder and harder to market to the high-end and easier to market to the mid-fi / low-fi as that market will grow exponentially. So a $100 heatsink that you used to put on a $1000 amp isn't economical when you market a $50 amp.

Companies are forced to cut corners, rightfully so.

Who is to blame? us. Espcially those buyers of high-end equipment. Why aren't there more buyers of $40K amps? or $100K CD players? or $500K turn-tables? We are cheap.

If you want quality, you have to be willing to pay up.
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Old 6th February 2004, 06:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Retro-geek, old school fool?

Quote:
Originally posted by Regis
Any recommendations on single tray CD players that performed well?
Marantz CD-94 is a very good player. Needs modification to non oversampling and different output stage, but as a transport alone it's not that much behind CD-Pro2.
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Old 6th February 2004, 06:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Retro-geek, old school fool?

Quote:
Originally posted by Regis
Analog baby! Maybe I'm wrong in defying the digitizing of life as we know it, but ask yourself how often a digital tuner has just plain ****ed you off? Damn it, I don't want the seek function to blazingly fly past dozens of stations that don't meed the microprocessors criteria as somewhere to stop.

if you really want to fine tune to a station, you are way better off with a ditial pll tuner. even those cheap tuners in cars allow manual tuning, don't they?

Now, if you are trying to tune to a shortwave station, a digital tuner is a life-saver, .
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Old 6th February 2004, 07:58 PM   #7
Regis is offline Regis  United States
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While I agree on some points Sir Millwood has, especially market considerations, I must digress as well. While there may be an economical facet to this and we're partially to blame, isn't there something else lurking underneath all that? It's called "what can we get away with". A classic example is how many American cars fail the front seat collapse test when getting rear-ended. Yet, the vehicles made in Europe do well. The engineers pared away at every part to save .0002 cents on each vehicle and used the smallest possible bolts that they could get away with, at the expense of safety.

Everything is disposable now. My wife and I, have gone through three phones, two printers and two fax machines in the last two years. While none of this was absolute "high-end", it was far from cheap. I used to be an electronics technician (I've forgotten more than I know) and I worked for Xerox Corporation on the early PC's (green screens and all). The floppy disk drives used to have cast frames and the Diablo Printers were die-cast, machined beasts. Sure technology has made things lighter, easier to transport, etc, etc. But I think they've carried that concept too far. The $%^%&#@ toaster I bought for $25 at Wally World two months ago has already had the left side die. Sunbeam no less. Little is built to last any longer. I'm not convinced that you can get the same "sound" from the newer units either. I look askance at the supposedly 120 wpc, newer Akai reciever and wonder if it really puts out a true 120 continous and secondly, does it do it as well as the "muscle" recievers of the mid 70's through 80's? You can get a 160 wpc black plastic reciever for $179 on Ebay no less, but is it nostalgia that makes buyers like me pay $500-700 for a 25 year old reciever, or is it distrust?
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Old 6th February 2004, 08:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Regis
It's called "what can we get away with".
but isn't that precisely the econimic facet? Companies don't want to get away with just so they can get away with. They minimize costs to the point of just being able to sell them. And who are buying them? the consumers. We the consumers decide what is worth buying and what isn't.

You can still buy cars that protect you better, or run faster, or carry more people. You just have to pay more. The buyers in your example collectively decided that it is NOT worth their dollars for those safety features. or they would have paid for the BMWs, or Volvos of the world (not that BMWs or Volvos are that much better.)

You can still buy printers with die-cast frames, or fax machines that last longer than a few decades, or amps with beefy transformers (PassLabs' amps for example). and it is very easy to do that.

you just need to pay more.

I am a firm believer that I am too poor to buy cheap stuff. And it is upon you and me to insist on "quality", whatever and however we define it, by voting our dollars (or Euros or Rands or whatever) the way we want the market to go. If we don't support manufactuers that produce quality goods that we like, they will go out of business and we will be left with the crap.

so if you think beefy transformers are important for you, buy amps with beefy transformers, and buy that $40K amp from Pass Labs.

Nothing short of that will do.
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Old 6th February 2004, 08:44 PM   #9
Regis is offline Regis  United States
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Good point and good post. You're right about buying "quality" and voting with our dollars. My main beef is that the manufacturers have gotten the "trimming" away to an art form (computerized design) and the majority of the goods are built to a standard of exactly the absolute minimum a manufacturer can "get away with", as opposed to the earlier 'guess-at-it' standard and maybe add a smidge more material so that the returns will be minimized. We just don't see that anymore on anything. You are correct in that we should take a close look at what we buy.
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Old 7th February 2004, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Regis
Going to your local big box Electronic store and perusing the electronics there has become a depressing experience.
What annoys me most is the ridiculous appearance of these mutations from outer space. SO many flashing lights and silly little fluorescent screens and claims of 2000 watts per channel etc. Claims of buzzword-type features splashed across the front. How is the uninformed consumer supposed make any sense of all this? Not that there *is* any sense to be found BTW.
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