Choose a Vintage

Rotel RA 1312


Namely, regardless of the CD player or turntable. A GOOD RECORDING IS NECESSARY. There are unfortunately CDs and records or the quality of the recording is not the best effect and here at all times! And you may have a very good CD player, a very high-end amplifier, the most famous speakers and good acoustics in your room. IF THE RECORDING is not up to scratch, the restitution will be only mediocre.


An important consideration, it is better to choose a brand for its qualities, its seriousness in design, the musicality of its devices.
The important this is the ear!

AMPLIFIERS, TUNERS, RECEIVERS: Some good vintage brands and even very good for some: Accuphase, McIntosh, Luxman, Sansui, Marantz, Mark Levinson, Quad, Sae, Onkyo, Teac, Tandberg, Pioneer, Nikko, Rotel, Phase Linear, Nad, Scott, Yamaha, etc...

LOUDSPEAKERS: Tannoy, Bower Wilkins, Cabasse, Elipson, Kef, Jbl, Celestion, Klipsch, 3A, etc...

RECORDERS: Revox, Tascam, Nagra, Teac, Technics, Sony, etc...

TURNTABLES: Some brands of turntables: Thorens, Technics, Lenco, Dual, Barthe, etc...


It is best to choose, a model that does is not entry level. This is also true on a machine manufactured nowadays.


The golden age of High-Fidelity is the period from the late '60s to around 1985. The plastic began to appear at the end of the 70′s and the beautiful and thick aluminum facades, to disappear in the 80′s. Manufacturing to the economy and even perhaps planned obsolescence, began in the 80's. I think there is not much interest in buying old equipment if it has not been restored by a professional or a competent person, except perhaps for someone who has a collector′s soul in any case, not for the music lover. You really need to be aware that buying a vintage camera in its original state and aged 40 or over will probably lead to disappointment. You must listen to this device, it is the only way to know if it works well. Caution for a purchase on EBAY, there are good deals, but question your seller. Prefer restored devices in full, earlier than revised. Revised, that does not mean much! Generally the device will have its contacts cleaned (potentiometers, switches), probably dusting, and for a price that is not worth the candle! A device restored in the rules of the art, it is the guarantee to own a device which will have recovered all its musical qualities, it is a device where the components most sensitive to the aging will have been changed and where the risks of breakdown will have moved away. A revision only is Russian roulette, the breakdown is perhaps not very far, and a global cost (purchase, troubleshooting) in the end much more expensive.


With the speakers, listening is essential, pay attention to the state of the suspensions of speakers. It is possible to remake a membrane, even to change an original HP, but it is necessary that it can be available. That's the whole question! We must favor a very good state of conservation. Speakers of famous brands: JBL, CABASSE, KEF, BOWER WILKINS, ELIPSON, TANNOY, 3A, CELESTION... and favor the 3 channels. Otherwise go your way and head to new, very big progress has been made on the speakers but it′s a question of budget. Our ear perceiving the frequencies between 20 and 20 000 Hz, your loudspeaker will have to cover this widest possible frequency range. The frequency response curve is used to determine which sound frequencies will be reproduced by your speaker. Compare the response curve of a library speaker and a large speaker, and you′ll understand!


Preferably, the years 90 to 2000 for the vintage with the brands: PHILIPS, MARANTZ, SONY, TECHNICS, ONKYO, KENWOOD, PIONEER. Marantz CD 73, Philips CD 104, Sony CDP 101, Kenwood DP 2050, Philips CD 723 (TDA 1545). We avoid the first generation of CD players. Otherwise do not hesitate, the equipment sold today benefits from great technical progress, and often of greater musicality. Over time the CD player has improved!


Attention to the price, it′s not because it′s old that it′s necessarily better! To look at the external aspect of the stage, if it is not very damaged and complete is that the former owner was careful! What is his brand? Preferably a turntable maker: Thorens, Lenco, Garrard, Barthe, Goldring, for belt training. And others for direct training: Technics, Sony, Pioneer, Denon ..... Pay attention to the presence of the counterweight on the tonearm, if the arm must have one! What type of phono cell does it fix? Right arm or S arm? does not have much importance, more aesthetic order at the time. If the cell holder is standard, the most common, it will be easier to make a change of cell and benefits of cells will be able to mount on it.

Turntable with direct drive or belt?

The speed is irregular, a simple change of belt is inevitable but for a direct drive stage, the revision will have a cost. Mainly 2 choices that I will remember: the record player with a direct drive, (engine on the axis of the plate) and belt drive, (remote engine). The direct-drive record player is on the principle and in practice ideal on the new because its speed is much more regular and the training silent. It offers a very stable reading speed, the wow and flicker are reduced. But on vintage equipment, it must be borne in mind that the electronics of the motor servo will need a revision at a time, because the electrolytic capacitors will need to be changed, the potentiometers changed or cleaned, in short, a revision that will have a cost. The belt-driven record player is also interesting for the silence of its training, its operation, the belt absorbing vibrations. This mode of training offers a huge advantage, that of simplicity. This drive technique limits background noise and isolates the plate from engine vibration. Only a change of belt will be necessary, because it ends up relaxing. Hifi purists have long preferred belt training.

Automatic, semi-automatic or manual turntable?

On an automatic turntable, simply put your record on the board and press the switch: the arm gets up, is placed on the first furrow and goes down alone on your disc. When the reading is over, the arm returns to its place alone without your intervention. On a semi-automatic record player, it is you who put the diamond on the first furrow, and the arm returns automatically without your intervention, in its place at the end of reading. On a manual record player, your intervention is necessary from beginning to end. Purists in hi-fi have long preferred the record player manual.

What cell for my vintage turntable?

The record player does not make the sound but can damage it (vibrations, background noise, Rumble), against the cell, brings the sound to the preamplifier, it is important that its response curve among others is the widest, it This is why it is essential to invest in a good cell, it is the essential link. Again, do not hesitate to buy new, especially for the cell! The most important features are: frequency response and channel separation (dB).

Mobile magnet (MM): possibility to change the tip of reading and high sensitivity (2 to 5 mV) Example: Shure V15 III, Shure V15 IV, Stanton 681 EEE, Shure M97-XE......

Mobile Coil (MC): High price, the change of the tip of reading is done in factory. Generally lower output level, specific preamp. Use the furrow more than a moving magnet. Example: Denon DL103....

Three mounting systems depending on the type of tone arm:

T4 P, standard 1/2, Ortofon / SME. The standard 1/2 is the most widespread

The main forms of the reading tip (vintage).

Spherical / conical: entry level.
The most common form and the most economical.
Bandwidth less extensive.

Elliptical: outstanding audio performance.
Bandwidth more extensive, especially in the treble.
Finesse of restitution.
Diamond wear faster.
Favor on a good turntable.


Whether with an analog or digital dial, the most important features are:

The broadest frequency response for good musicality. FM sensitivity in µV for a signal-to-noise ratio of 50 dB, an FM sensitivity of preferences lower than 2 µV. The signal-to-noise ratio in stereo and the selectivity (dB). This selectivity concerns the rejection of a neighboring radio station of the one we want to listen to. CAUTION, be sure that the Stereo LED is working when receiving a stereo broadcast. If it does not work, two possible causes, the bulb is faulty or the stereo decoder circuit has failed!


Look at the external appearance of the amplifier, a test is important and trust your ear, preferably choose a device for its construction and musicality, at least a mid-range, a famous brand, a power RMS that 50 to 75% of your speakers. Attention to the price, it′s not because it′s old that it′s necessarily better! Do not expect great performance from a device that is in its own juice! In 40 years his musicality will be gone. Prefer restored devices in full, earlier than revised. A professional will usually guarantee his work, especially with invoice. Pay attention to the spitting of potentiometers and switches. Pay special attention to the fact that volume at 0, there must be no breath in the speakers, otherwise go your way! When turning off the amplifier, there should be no slamming in the speakers! Pay attention to the output impedance, that it is in agreement with that of the speakers. If the unit has meters, check that they work, as well as the lighting.