OUR TAKE ON ‘CLASSIC AMPS VERSUS MODERN AMPS’

In a nutshell, it comes down to dollars!

Quality amplifiers in the 70’s & 80’s, on average, cost about 1/2 the price of an average motor vehicle!

Spend that sort of money today & you’ll get yourself a truly ‘killer’ amp.

Spend $500 to $800 today on a quality classic amp compared to the same value on a modern amp, and the difference will be like chalk & cheese – just the weight of the old amp will indicate quality – to smooth out our rough old 240v power supply, you need transformers & copper wire that’s heavy – pick up a modern amp for that value & it’ll be like a black empty shoe-box! Pick up a quality modern amp (say $10,000 worth) & it’ll be heavy, really heavy.

These quality issues also extend to nearly every other part in the amp – the capacitors, transistors, resistors etc. Whereas in modern budget amps mostly made in Asia somewhere, are just that – a budget product for a fast living, disposable orientated consumer.

To the retro buyer, quality and style oozes out of the classic amps – steel chassis, steel covers, solid alloy fronts & knobs, VU meters, timber cases, all things beautiful!  Play with the front of a modern budget amp (say under $1000) & it’s all plastic.

What about the sound they produce? The sort of classic quality amps we stock, offer a wonderful tonal warmth only the highest quality amps produced today can offer.

Here’s some un-solictored words from a recent client who bought a gorgeous old Linear Design amp –

“just want to say how pleased i am with it – it is a beautiful amp in every way and compliments my ancient honky old speakers beautifully. i put it to the test – which means both sides of yes’s “close to the edge” on vinyl quite loud and it really delivered. it even makes those silly little CDs sound good. i couldn’t be happier. thanx again.”

WATTS AINT WATTS!

 

When helping our customers selecting an amplifier, we often explain that ‘Watts aint Watts!’

As mentioned elsewhere in this Notice Board, usually, the power or watts that an amplifier generates is nearly the last consideration.

How loud an amp can sound depends on a number of other factors, including the input source level and more importantly the efficiency of the speakers that the amp is driving – if speakers are efficient, it won’t take much power to drive them to ear-shattering levels, but if speakers are in-efficient, a very powerful amp is needed to get a modest volume out of them!

Broadly speaking, modern speakers are less efficient than those from the 60s,70s,80s, mainly because in those days, the amps made then, were much more modest in output.

But rated volume outputs of amplifiers expressed in Watts RMS (Root Mean Square referring to the mathematical calculation where it’s worked out!) can’t be used to compare amps either! Constantly we come across amps rated in the 1000’s watts, that aren’t as powerful as a modest 35w amp from the 70s! It all depends on the parameters an amp manufacturer use’s when quoting power – some are only using middle frequencies (the easiest power to achieve), or momentary peak power without reference to distortion, or even with one channel driven.

The only way to tell, is to compare ‘apples with apples’, that is delivery of full rated power continuously, through the audible frequency range, into 8ohm speakers with both L&R channel s driven.

Yes, it’s great to have full power at the extreme audio frequencies which give life and excitement to music, but then there’s the neighbours!  In todays more confined living environments, big thumping audio systems can be the source of dis-course, even feuds!

Don’t judge an amp by it’s quoted power, or distortion, or frequency range – judge it by how it sounds to you into the speakers it will be driving.