1980's v now

dudywoxer

Looking for a bigger stirring stick
Wammer
Jul 19, 2005
10,280
1,271
0
sunny scunny
AKA
colin
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I was sat chatting with a mate over Christmas, and given that Van Morrision was being a miserable bastard on the system at the time, (Beautiful Vision) we started on hi-fi as a subject. Memory will doubtless have got the better of us, but around the same time as this album came out I had just moved away from a comet system to a Rega Planar 3, with a Nagoaka Cart (MP10?) a rotel integrated and some Royd Connistons. I think that lot at the time cost around £450.00 with a few cables chucked in the bag as a freebie . I think that we can assume the £450 then would be in the £1100 region now. The current price for a Planar 3 (RP3) is £475, a Rotel RA10 is £350, I suppose Q Acoustics 2020 could be a current speaker swap for the Connistons at about £220, and a Nagoaka MP110 comes in at around £100, so the system cost can be matched (£450 - £1145) Thing is, would the 2014 version of the cream of the crop vinyl replay system be any better than the 1980’s variant.

 

wynniaj

Wammer
Wammer
Nov 20, 2013
59
7
13
Sussex
AKA
Jonny
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I bought my first system back about then - similiar to you - RP3/SupexSM100e/Creek 4040/Kef Coda 2 and allowing for inflation at a multiple of say 2.75 I am not sure that today's options would be dramatically better, the Supex in particular was a very sweet cartridge

 

rmsshipbroker

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 4, 2012
5,600
160
108
Yorkshire
AKA
Steve
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
  2. No
Sounds like a great first proper system Colin.

I suspect the current Planar 3 would be noticeably better, not least through the replacement of the old S shaped tonearm.

However I doubt we'll ever know for sure as any comparison of 30 odd year old kit with new stuff wouldn't work.

Cheers

Steve

 

Beobloke

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 29, 2005
7,224
3,070
158
AKA
Adam
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Beautiful Vision came out in 1982 when I was 8 and it was around this time I made the upgrade step from a mono Bush SRP-31 to stereo, courtesy of the mighty Amstrad RP10 record player.

Of course, I now realise it was crap, but there's one on eBay here for £50. Now this may seem like a ridiculous sum of money for a piece of old tat, but I can't think of anything entry-level and modern for music reproduction that costs £50 that I'd rather have, to be honest.

On the basis of this highly scientific analysis, it appears everything audio has got worse since 1982.

 

RobHolt

Wammer
Wammer
Aug 28, 2006
942
30
0
East London
AKA
Rob
Good question.

Comparing an old Planar to a modern Rega is interesting - even a high end Rega like a P9.

Of course they are different but the big expensive deck doesn't have it all its own way.

The older Planars have a warmth, cohesion and swagger to the sound which is diluted on the more modern, crisper, tauter sounding versions. The older TT needs the solid mount, low vibration motor to stand comparison - but so fettled, stand it does.

So based on the fact that as a recent ex P9 user of some 5 years, I don't notice a large downgrade going to a Planar 3 I'd say a modern RP3 is a par for par substitute for the oldie.

For the amp, well I keep saying it, but there has been no progress in sonics because there can be no progress. So a modern Rotel or Cambridge budget amp will match ye old Rotel or NAD 3020 just fine.

The loudspeakers are a different story for two reasons. One, there is huge variation between models at all prices but secondly, I think overall voicing has changed and models today tend to be quite aggressive and forward compared to those of a few decades back.

But generally yes you can do as well today for a comparable inflation adjusted budget. I'd argue you can't do better (excluding digital) and that's because the technologies had already matured in the 70's, let alone the 80s.

As an aside, just for the measurists and because it's historically relevant ;-) I pulled out an old copy of HFN Jan 1980 the other day and read the amplifier group test review.

Martin Colloms did the in depth technical testing and arranged the blind listening panel tests.

All I'll say is that the test included Quad, Sony, Rogers, Exposure, Pioneer and Yamaha models from the tops of the range, and a newcomer in the shape of the NAD 3020. On line inputs....there was no audible difference between the group. Only on phono where RIAA differences came into play was there any real deviation in the panel scores, and not against the NAD.

 
V

Voice_Coil

Guest
Good question.Comparing an old Planar to a modern Rega is interesting - even a high end Rega like a P9.

Of course they are different but the big expensive deck doesn't have it all its own way.

The older Planars have a warmth, cohesion and swagger to the sound which is diluted on the more modern, crisper, tauter sounding versions. The older TT needs the solid mount, low vibration motor to stand comparison - but so fettled, stand it does.

So based on the fact that as a recent ex P9 user of some 5 years, I don't notice a large downgrade going to a Planar 3 I'd say a modern RP3 is a par for par substitute.

For the amp, well I keep saying it, but there has been no progress in sonics because there can be no progress. So a modern Rotel or Cambridge budget amp will match ye old Rotel or NAD 3020 just fine.

The loudspeakers are a different story for two reasons. One, there is huge variation between models at all prices but secondly, I think overall voicing has changed and models today tend to be quite aggressive and forward compared to those of a few decades back.

But generally yes you can do as well today for a comparable inflation adjusted budget. I'd argue you can't do better (excluding digital) and that's because the technologies had already matured in the 70's, let alone the 80s.
MUST all be fact. :D

 

rmsshipbroker

Wammer
Wammer
Feb 4, 2012
5,600
160
108
Yorkshire
AKA
Steve
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
  2. No
But generally yes you can do as well today for a comparable inflation adjusted budget. I'd argue you can't do better (excluding digital) and that's because the technologies had already matured in the 70's, let alone the 80s.
What about the advancement in material technologies?

Better machinery manufacturing to finer tolerances?

Have either of these impacted on current gear at that price level?

 

dudywoxer

Looking for a bigger stirring stick
Wammer
Jul 19, 2005
10,280
1,271
0
sunny scunny
AKA
colin
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
What about the advancement in material technologies?Better machinery manufacturing to finer tolerances?

Have either of these impacted on current gear at that price level?
You also have the changes in solder used, maybe manufacturing improvements in one area are voided by changes in another.

 

FiftyPlus

Wammer
Wammer
Oct 5, 2007
518
10
0
, , United Kingdom
Beautiful Vision came out in 1982 when I was 8 and it was around this time I made the upgrade step from a mono Bush SRP-31 to stereo, courtesy of the mighty Amstrad RP10 record player.Of course, I now realise it was crap, but there's one on eBay here for £50. Now this may seem like a ridiculous sum of money for a piece of old tat, but I can't think of anything entry-level and modern for music reproduction that costs £50 that I'd rather have, to be honest.

On the basis of this highly scientific analysis, it appears everything audio has got worse since 1982.
Audio has got a whole lot BETTER since the early 80s. There was some seriously rubbish stuff around those days, of which most of it has become (thankfully) extinct. That's not to say there's no crap now, but most affordable hi-fi is worth checking out. It is possible to get good portable stuff if you avoid the "Beats" generation of stodgy bass dominated stuff that is a million miles away from real hi-fi (as indeed some so called hi-fi was back in the old days).

 

rockmeister

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 24, 2005
18,072
730
173
Scotland
AKA
John
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
its not a good question. It's daft (although obviously I still love you and want your babies).

Why do HiFi types have glasses with such a very rose pink rose tint.

I can't think of any component that isn't bettered, but our 'hobby' has become a tiny market and prices have risen to accommodate this fact.

I'd still wager the sound from my denon 2nd system against anything from 1980 tho.

 

zekezebra

Wammer
Wammer
Apr 15, 2009
407
201
73
Rotterdam
AKA
Paul
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Early 80’s was when I bought my first “proper” system: Rega 3, cartridge I can’t remember, Audiolab 8000a and Monitor Audio floor standers (horrible speakers). This replaced some thrown together system from Comet.

During the next few years the system became: Linn LP12, Ittok arm, Troika cartridge, Naim 42.5/110 with Proac Super Tablettes. Should have stuck with this but the temptation to “improve” got the better of me – probably the best (read most balanced) system I have had!

 

bamby

Wammer
Wammer
Dec 10, 2013
368
4
0
New Forest
AKA
Paul
Just too much choice these days days, eg interconnects + leads !!Lack of good dealers if you want something a cut above.Too much "home cinema" etc! Mind you, l'm very old !!

 

bandit pilot

Comfortably Numb
Staff member
Jul 19, 2007
15,300
2,666
173
North Nott's
AKA
Rick
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I disagree.

I would say some new things are different to those made in the 80's, but "better" is entirely subjective and down to the individual to decide. To say everything back then was rubbish is total stupidity.

 
  • Upvote
Reactions: Setting Son
Jan 11, 2006
18,967
224
0
Nad 3020 was my first amp.Lasted a day and took it back.

Paid the extra for a a&r A60 which sounded vastly better.

Maybe the nad didn't like the speakers.

 

Clubsport911

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 19, 2013
1,757
150
98
Cheltenham
AKA
Steve
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
For what it's worth, I started a lot lot earlier with HiFo but in my head, I'm young. This kind of question prompts me not to think (ever) of which is better. That's a technical discussion than can be proven or not based on materials, specs and so on....

No.

For me the question is always " comparing my Hifi in the 1980's [401, Sansui amp, Mission speakers etc] to now, did I get as much pleasure and enjoyment from the music ?

Example:-

Take Kate Bush "Never Forever". This LP was released in September 1980. I recall it so well, it was like yesterday. Forgetting the musical taste for a moment, I heard it on my girlfriends dad's system, my dad's system and my system. I enjoyed if everywhere and loved it.

2 weeks ago, for the first time in about 5 years, I spun it up on the current system (the same LP) and enjoyed now, as I did then, the sounds and how they made me feel.

I was immediately back in the 80's and it was great.

Technically, the systems do not matter for me as much as how they make me feel. Sorry if this doesn't answer your question but the pure technical answer is a little one dimensional.

 

SergeAuckland

Certified Measurist
Wammer
May 6, 2008
18,747
1,922
0
Bury St Edmunds, UK
AKA
Serge
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
MUST all be fact. :D
There wasn't any further progress possible in amplifiers once transparency was reached. This was achieved by the 1980s, if not years earlier. Since then, amplifiers have become more powerful, of much better technical performance but not sonic performance, or gone the opposite way, back to a time when amplifiers had much poorer technical and audible performance.

S

 

andreweast

Wammer
Wammer
Sep 17, 2009
1,922
111
108
London (SE)
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
One thing that was great in the 80s was budget integrated amps with very good built in phono stages. I started with a Creek 4140s2, which was pretty much a free gift with the LP12 and Energy speakers I bought. Then I moved on to an Onix 21S which I used for ages (I still have one in my office). I'd need to research price comparisons a bit, but you need to spend a fair bit to beat an Onix 21 now. A Rega Brio R is noticeably inferior, so the comparable shoebox amp would be something like a Heed Obelisk Si, which are about £1300.

 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
109,297
Messages
2,317,178
Members
69,450
Latest member
kelirich