Vintage

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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.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Oct 19, 2022
hfnvintageThe first CD player from the Japanese brand to boast real 'kerb appeal', this mid-'80s machine also inherited key technology from previous models. How does it sound today?

Any early Compact Disc player from Matsushita (Panasonic/Technics) holds a particular fascination. The company was excluded from the top table when the CD format was created, in spite of (or perhaps due to) its pre-eminent position as the world's largest producer of electronic consumer goods.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 23, 2022
hfnvintageAttractive, affordable and the first step on the hi-fi highway for many a budding audiophile, is this '70s amp now the perfect introduction to vintage? We find out

The instantly recognisable Trio/Kenwood KA-2002 is one of those products that is sure to have touched the lives of many readers of Hi-Fi News. A popular first move upmarket from record players and radiograms towards 'proper' hi-fi, this inexpensive amplifier was a frequent choice for enthusiasts taking their initial steps towards serious listening.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Aug 16, 2022
hfnvintageWhen it came to Lilliputian LP players Sony was late to the party, but is this early '80s deck with two motors and a tangential arm now an overlooked gem? We find out...

The 'small and square' turntables that appeared in the early 1980s were arguably the last important development in vinyl playback before CD arrived. Begun by Technics in 1979 with its SL-10 [HFN Apr '19], Japan's hi-fi industry rushed to produce something similar, with varying degrees of success.

Mike Barnes  |  Aug 03, 2022
Even though its title track was initially written for a rival group, the sophomore album from Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson transformed them from Billboard also-rans to international superstars – and helped define the Motown sound

By 1955 Berry Gordy Jnr [HFN Nov '17] had been a professional boxer, served in the US army, made an unsuccessful attempt at running a jazz record shop, and was working for the Ford Motor Company on its Detroit production line. But his real love was music.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jul 12, 2022
hfnvintageNot only did this '80s amp claim to tackle distortion using the company's new 'Super Feedforward System', it was also priced to have mass appeal. How does it sound today?

When the Sansui AU-D33 integrated amplifier was launched in 1982, it had a lot to live up to. Its predecessor, the AU-317II from 1980 [HFN Jun '15], delivered the sort of performance one would expect from a manufacturer of specialist hi-fi, thanks to its well engineered DC-coupled circuitry. The company's 'All hi-fi, everything hi-fi' slogan set out a clear manifesto – no transistor radios, no coffee machines, just quality audio products.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 14, 2022
hfnvintageThis late-'80s flagship CD player boasted no shortage of metal for your money while offering 4x oversampling to boot. But with few to be found, is it worth tracking down?

The law of diminishing returns was perhaps never more evident than when the CD player arrived in the early '80s. As more machines came to market in the years that followed, all but the crudest would offer a level of perfection unthinkable to the majority of audiophiles in the 1970s.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 24, 2022
hfnvintageBuy one of these late-'70s beauties secondhand today and you'll own an amp from a pedigree name with radio thrown in for 'free'. So, is this a receiver worth considering?

The receiver (tuner/amplifier) has always divided opinion, in the UK at least. While popular in Europe and the US, the British market never embraced these units to the degree it did separate tuners and amplifiers. And this wasn't because they could not rival a two-box counterpart on performance due to any technical reason. The real issue was that two top-quality units built into one housing could result in an indivisibly expensive product, one many consumers may not have been able to afford.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 08, 2022
hfnvintageThis compact '70s deck packed some clever tech when it came to speed control, but is it now an underappreciated classic? Time to find out as the GA 202 is put to the test...

When designing any turntable, ensuring that it maintains the correct and consistent speed is of paramount importance. Numerous techniques have been tried over the years, some with greater success than others. The Philips GA 202 Electronic turntable reviewed here was one of the first popular models to feature a motor controlled by an electronic servo, bringing easy operation and improved performance. This was the deck's key feature, but there were other striking aspects to the design.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Mar 21, 2022
hfnvintageIn 1975 one of the leading makers of budget turntables unveiled a fully automatic mid-priced deck with mighty ambitions. How will the package shape up today?

Any mention of Dual turntables usually brings one of the many incarnations of the company's CS 505 to mind. The original '505 was a typical Dual design, taking its cue from the basic turntables that had been around since the 1950s by being built on a sprung-steel plate. It was a budget deck, which sold mainly to those looking to take their first step on the audiophile ladder. But Dual made more ambitious models too.

Review: Tim Jarman, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 21, 2022
hfnvintageThey're British and they're obscure, but can these pre/power amplifiers lay claim to classic status when it comes to their all-out performance? It's time to find out...

British company Crimson Elektrik started life in the mid 1970s as a manufacturer of ready-built power amplifier modules. Using these, a home constructor could assemble a fairly decent and up-to-date piece of kit, needing only to add a power supply, connections and a cabinet. Complete amps followed in 1979, initially in kit form and later fully assembled. The latter, which were similar to the 1200 series amps seen here, were reviewed in the June '80 issue of HFN.

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