For our first post, we’ll ask and seek to answer the first obvious question.
What is vintage audio?
In short, I would define vintage audio as any piece of audio equipment that predates the 1980s. Sure, there will be some exceptions from the early 80′s, but in general this time period covers 95% of the coveted vintage pieces. In fact, most of the great vintage audio can be confined to just three decades – the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s.
The 50′s. During this period many of the great US manufacturers were producing excellent equipment. Names such as Western Electric, Altec, Fairchild, Fisher, Dynaco and many, many more were producing excellent quality vacuum tube equipment.
The 60′s. The early sixties saw the birth of Stereo! Amazingly, stereo is still the standard for audio listening today. Furthermore, the 60′s signified another huge change in the audio industry – the chance from vacuum tube technology to solid state, transistorized audio equipment. In the early sixities, there was a brief period of overlap between the new Stereo technology and the existing vacuum electron tube tech. Some of the most sought after vacuum tube, and stereo amplifiers and preamplifiers were produced during this time. Examples such as the Mcintosh C20, MX-110, MC240, Dynaco PAS-2 and Dynaco ST-70 stand out among many others.
The 70′s. The 70′s saw another huge change in the industry – namely, the rise of Japanese manufacturers such as Sansui, Pioneer and Yamaha, and a general decline in many US manufacturers such as Fisher, RCA, Packard Bell, and RCA. The 70′s brought on the ‘monster receiver’ wars – a race to create the most powerful stereo receiver. Pioneer, Sansui, Marantz and Yamaha each outdid each other my producing increasingly powerful (measured in watts per channel) receivers. Ultimately topping out at about 200 watts per channel with models such as Pioneer’s SX-1980 and the monster Marantz 2600.