Vintage

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Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 09, 2024
hfnvintageAutomatic arm, quartz-locked motor and a chassis that was a challenge to design... How will this one-time, top-tier direct-drive turntable from 1979 shape up today?

Every keen LP listener should try to experience the joys of a quality direct-drive turntable in their system at least once. Everyone knows the popular favourites, but in the past all the big Japanese names made one or two decks that should still fit the bill.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 05, 2024
hfnvintageWith the Danish company in the doldrums come the early '70s could this reimagined receiver with phase-locked loop decoder deliver on its promise of 'high fidelity' sound?

Bang & Olufsen's first move into the world of serious hi-fi came in 1967 with the introduction of the Beolab 5000 amplifier and Beomaster 5000 tuner [HFN Dec '12]. These defined the European state of the art at the time and were as successful as their high prices allowed. The company then distilled these two units into the Beomaster 3000, which offered similar qualities at a more accessible price. It lacked the sheer power and versatility of the Beolab 5000 but sold strongly throughout a long production run.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 08, 2023
hfnvintageThe aim was to cut costs, yet only by revisiting the tech that kickstarted the company's first entry into the CD market was no performance lost. We fire up this late '80s player

In recent Vintage Reviews we have looked at some of the more affordable CD players that arrived during 1986 and 1987. Taking advantage of new technology in order to popularise the format among the wider public, machines such as the Toshiba XR-J9 [HFN Jun '23] and Sony CDP-7F showed that the rigorous rationalisation of every aspect of a CD player's design could yield an attractively priced package that still gave consumers all the perceived benefits of digital audio.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 19, 2023
hfnvintageIt may have been bulky with no fewer than ten batteries housed in its brittle case, but this portable player had an ace up its sleeve – its price. How will it shape up today?

When enthusiasts see a product from Crown it's perhaps natural to assume it has come from the American amplifier manufacturer of that same name. Yet this compact CD player from 1987, launched to bring the cost of portable players down to a more affordable level, bears the branding of another company called Crown – the Crown Radio Corporation of Japan.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 19, 2023
hfnvintageWith retro styling currently all the rage how will this integrated compare, especially considering it was the most affordable amp in Luxman's mid-'70s lineup? We find out

The L-30 was the cheapest amplifier in Luxman's 1976 range. Not that it looked anything like a budget model – rather, it had an almost intangible feel of quality and superior finish that in terms of showroom appeal put it above all but the very best offerings from the Japanese big names at the time.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 04, 2023
hfnvintageWith full-sized CD players stealing a march on portables in the late 1980s it was left to Sony to step up with a palm-sized marvel of a machine. How would it fare today?

The appearance of portable CD players in the mid 1980s presented buyers with something of a dilemma. Should they purchase a full-width model or one of the mobile machines, almost all of which could easily be connected to a full-sized system? A portable would be more versatile, but a large player would be expected to offer more facilities and better sound quality.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 05, 2023
hfnvintageCompact, clever and priced to entice, this quirky little late-'80s machine caught the imagination of those buying into digital for the first time. How does it shape up today?

When Toshiba unveiled its lineup of new CD players in 1986 it was clear the format had come of age. Just three years after the first machines were launched onto the European market they'd gone from being exotic and expensive to something so accessible there was little point in any keen listener not owning one.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 09, 2023
hfnvintageOffering all the functionality of full-sized components, this petite five-part '90s system took micro to the max, spawning imitations industry-wide. How does it sound today?

The first time I saw a JVC UX-1 it was pictured on the side of a bus. The image was part of an ad that carried the simple message 'All features, Great, and Small'. And this turned out to be true, for the UX-1 micro system had every function imaginable, sounded like 'proper' hi-fi and was tiny.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 19, 2023
hfnvintageThis turntable from 1975 saw the company cut its costs by replacing digital logic with a system that included a lamp, a photocell and paint. Did sound quality suffer?

It certainly says something about the enduring appeal of a turntable when the company that made it buys up examples that are over 40 years old and sells them on to a new generation of buyers. It sounds remarkable, but this is precisely what Bang & Olufsen did recently with its 'Recreated Limited Edition' Beogram 4000c. Although offered as a revival of the Beogram 4000 [HFN Jul '14], it was actually the later Beogram 4002 that formed the basis of the project.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 18, 2023
hfnvintageAn unashamedly budget machine, this late '80s CD player had a mechanical trick up its sleeve that saw it take the fight to its rivals on price. But how will it shape-up today?

It has been ten years, shy of a month, since a Sanyo product last appeared in the HFN Vintage Review pages. This was the Fisher AD 800 [HFN Apr '13], the company's first ever CD player, which was marketed in the UK under the firm's specialist hi-fi and video brand.

Review: Tim Jarman  |  Mar 14, 2023
hfnvintageFrom a UK manufacturer quick to take advantage of the arrival of high-power transistors comes a '60s pre/power amp combo as curious as it is rare. How does it sound today?

Hands up those who have seen a Bryan amplifier before, let alone heard one. Me neither – until I unpacked the Mark III Model 500/700 pairing seen here. The first 500 arrived when higher-power transistors were beginning to be used in quality audio, yet while the technology became universal, British brand Bryan sank without trace.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 24, 2023
hfnvintageThis late '80s player may have been built to a price using a DAC suited to portables, but it promised few compromises when it came to sheer sound. How will it shape-up today?

One of the many impressive achievements of the early CD era was the way in which the price of players remained constant, or even fell, as the technology used inside them improved. The first machines were masterpieces, beautifully constructed utilising the best materials and processes. However, it was soon realised that when it came to the basic task of playing a disc, much could be stripped away, and in the years that followed the format's release this was exactly what began to happen.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jan 10, 2023
hfnvintageHandsome, affordable and boasting a top-notch tuner to boot, should this early '70s receiver top your list when it comes to securing a pre-cherished radio star? We find out

Almost all audio enthusiasts will know Goodmans for its range of loudspeakers. However, the company's other hi-fi products are less well remembered, despite the fact that more than one or two achieved considerable popularity among buyers.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Dec 14, 2022
hfnvintageBelieving portables to be as good as their full-sized rivals, many music lovers sought out the smallest – and this CD player was a compact king. How does it sound today?

Think about portable CD players and the chances are that the Sony Discman [HFN Jul '19] will come to mind. The company's ability to produce enchanting and compelling miniature versions of existing products has been pretty much unequalled, and 'the world's smallest' is a phrase that can often be seen in Sony's vintage catalogues. In comparison, the company's larger models were frequently bland and derivative.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Nov 15, 2022
hfnvintageFuss-free and highly affordable, this compact valve integrated was an early foray by the Dutch company into the '60s separates market. But how will it sound today?

How much power does your present amplifier produce? Expectations have risen over the years to the point that wattages in the three-figure range are no longer exceptional. But is this necessary? The Philips AG9016 seen here is rated at 2W per channel – not even sufficient to satisfy the fairly lax requirements of the DIN 45 500 'hi-fi' standard, which requires six watts.

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