Affordable audio — 1969 vs. 2019 — what’s better? #audiophile

Read my CNET review of the $88 starter audio system, it’s soooo good!


ERIC Anderson says:

I was just applying similar logic to cars in terms of bang for your buck between a mid 90s popular midsize car and it’s 2018 version and although there’s a 4000 or so difference in price when new the features itemized cost far exceed said difference . It’s my opinion that some of this is at the expense of long term reliability (more stuff to go wrong adage ) but I don’t think that’s as high on the buyer motivation heirarchy as it once was as evidenced by the average trade in cycle of 5-7 ish years .

Kendall Anderson says:

My first real system wasn’t until 1973. I had a pair of ADS L810II speaks run by an Ampzilla IIA, Advent 300 as preamp, Thorens 110 with a Shure V15 III and I was in “pig heaven”!

spunkthecombo says:

Excellent! We are on the same wave length. Thanks.

Rick Bailey says:

Steve, I really enjoy your show!

Killian Smith says:

Got the lepai tri chip amp paired $30 with the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR Andrew Jones speakers for $130 bucks total. The Schiit Fulla ($100) paired to my phone and computer makes for a convenient way to listen to what ever I want at work. (A pair of AKG K240’s $60 for private listening.) We can listen to most songs ever recorded in human history with a quick search!

So for $300 total, the price some dumb bluetooth things are going for, you can be in the top 1% of listening set ups ever!

IntoIt Reviews says:

“It was better to be younger then” so so right… I wish I had a time machine.

Justin Parkman says:

the Audio hifi system might be but not the music . in 69 you had Abbey road now you’ve got noise .

James Willett says:

One of my main systems have first generation EPI 100 speakers from 1969 (driven by an early ’80s vintage NAD 3020)… and while I agree that modern audio can be amazingly good, it would cost a phenomenal amount of money to get something on the market today that would match the sound of my old EPIs… IMHO…

Rick C says:

So we’re comparing bargain ‘store brand’ with legit hi fi brands from today. I’d guess there’s maybe a 10x inflation factor, so Dynaco’s @ $80. Would be $1600. pr. – interesting there’s a kit from Seas spk. company they say is pretty much an upgraded copy of the 25’s. for $1300. a pr I think from an electronic hi fi parts shop ( like to see a comp. test of them.) Original Advents were $120. ea, I think at $ 2400. a pr they’d still be competitive today, better bass, less treble. 
the visuals, the pure ugly black stuff today – when Ya need to read a 100 pg manual to learn how to change the bass control, absurd. disqualifies the new stuff immediately. (Yea I know Yamaha makes a little known classic silver amp.) power, thou is clearly much bigger. early Pioneers were ten, fifteen w. per ( I have a sa500 integrated amp, still works fine.)

Mario Supa says:

Very cool video Steve. My first stereo system was a Lloyds receiver and speakers will a Garrard TT that I bought from Korvettes in Flushing Queens.

Vic Verdi says:

I’m not sure I agree with the premise that Audio as a hobby and industry has really improved all that much. Different maybe but not necessarily much better.
We seem to have developed higher resolution in our equipment but what has that really achieved except to exaggerate the flaws in renditions of our favorite music. How is that enjoyable to listen to? There’s little magic and enjoyment to be had in it and with the modern recording techniques of multi tracking and overdubbing, there are very few recordings of “live” musical events. It’s empty .. soul-less amalgamations of sounds but .. with higher resolution. “Can’t get no satisfaction” with it!
In the olden days of late ’50’s/early ’60’s tree of 3 condenser mics into two tracks of a tube mixing board onto tape resulted in recordings like “Kind of Blue” that we still enjoy and cherish. Higher res of this recording after a certain point is of little value. It’s the mood and performances I appreciate and not the spatial cues between instruments.
Vintage vacuum tube equipment like what these records are recorded on goes a long way to allowing these a romantic quality that is more lifelike.. that’s what older audio enthusiasts remember that’s missing and I’m not sure is captured by today’s audio equipment.. the romance is gone!

Sylvain Anselmo says:

psb vs elac what’s youre take

Ted Rinshed says:

What about turntables Steve? I keep hearing that modern tables can’t compete because of manufacturing costs and the less demand for records today. I would love to hear more about turntables and analog. Thanks.

Louis Perlman says:

My first system was purchased from Tech HiFi in 1978, and cost $425. It consisted of on 25 watt Rotel receiver, two way KLH bookshelf speakers with paper cone drivers, and a Phillips belt drive turntable. For the $1637 adjusted for inflation cost, there is far superior stuff available today.

Scott Lowell says:

Except for acoustic research, I really don’t like speakers until about 1976 KEF.

dsonyay says:

I really enjoy these videos.. it’s interesting to hear someone who’s been into hifi all these years talk about the older days . I can go back to mid-late 60s.. was a kid , but remember well the old gear my brother had. Fun times.

alexwow says:

Steve we are missing the old welcome phrase…. ;(

Joe Al says:

Amazing and ambitious companies back then … so many companies went out of business because of changing industry. SAE, Carver, Phase Linear, Tandberg … +
Anything superior these days is crazy expensive

Scott Lowell says:

Late 70’s with keF, ADS, Polk, Vandersteen , infinity, AR all had great stuff for the money.

John Doe says:

So spending even $250 for a power cord could be considered “excessive”?

GotSilver? Collecting coins comics and statues. says:

Korvetts in the Bronx? Near whitestone expy?….there was a Jack in the box across from there…lol

circuitsmith says:

In 1969 I was 10. My father’s hi-fi consisted of two (for stereo) Knight Kit 10W integrated amps, a Garrard turntable, a Webcor open reel tape recorder, and a pair of DIY speakers. The kits and speaker drivers came from the local Sielbern or Lafayette electronics stores.

Kevin Thomas says:

Rainbow tinted glasses.

Sonya says:

I would definitely consider 2019 equipment better than 1969, but if you want to compare, I would say late 70’s and early 80’s were quite comparable to equipment now in many ways. Quality was very good and always improving. Information (schematics), parts and repair access & availability actually seemed better for all brands/types of equipment back then. Many new ideas and possible formats were being introduced. The early 80’s were a lot like now, as there was growth and innovation everywhere. We do live in an interesting and wonderful time right now.

clone enolc says:

Is there a good (cheap) 2.1 Amp similar to that Lepai LP-2020TI? I would really love to have a subwoofer with my Klipsch R-51M.

Justin S. says:

I had old used gear and couldn’t afford the name brand stuff so I got parts from radio shack and built my own class AB amps and bought raw drivers to build my own speaker cabinets. My friends never would admit liking to listen to my collection of “junk” !

Stephen WONG says:

How about JLH 1969 Class A amp circuit? IMHO, JLH 1969 is still a great sounding amp despite the small wattage (10W rms).

Steve Earnshaw says:

Hey Steve, too bad you did not stumble into a real hiFi store in 1969 and get introduced to Dynaco, Accoustic Research, KLH, Shure, Koss, and other great brands of the day. This was my my system. By the way, I actually purchased these components from a hardware store!

Slosh Mike says:

There’s a lot of great stuff from back in the day, and there’s a lot of great stuff today, and vise-versa.  It will be interesting to see how well most of this stuff made in China today holds up in the next 30 or 40 years.

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