Should You Buy a Vintage Home Stereo? One Expert Weighs In.

There's a lot of vintage gear out there right now

Vintage stereo
There are pros and cons that come with buying vintage equipment.
Immo Wegmann/Unsplash

For some people, the ideal home stereo is one where they can listen to their collection of physical media under the best conditions; for others, it’s about getting digital files or streaming audio to sound the best in their living space. Depending on the listener, it might even be both. While the way we listen to music had changed a lot over the decades, the equipment used for it hasn’t necessarily done the same. It’s not hard to connect a phone to a stereo receiver that’s been around since the 1970s, for instance.

That begs the question: if you’re in the market for a home stereo, does it make more sense to go brand new or embrace something vintage? In a recent interview at Aquarium Drunkard, Matt Reilly from Cambridge Audio delved in some of the biggest questions facing audiophiles looking to make a major purchase.

Why Vintage Hi-Fi Is Having a Moment — And How You Can Get in the Game
The market is booming for classic components that create that “warm” sound

Reilly makes a case for exercising caution when buying vintage gear. “While vintage classic components look great and create a recognizable warm sound that is pleasing to the ear, the challenge buyers often face is noisy stereo controls — adjusting the balance, volume or tone results in ugly scratchy interference noise,” he told Aquarium Drunkard.

He also raises an alarm over “dirty input selection switches,” which can keep music from sounding its best.

The whole interview is well worth checking out, and contains some useful information on getting the best sound out of your home system. “[T]hink of the sound first,” Reilly advises — which is an excellent way of remembering what matters when it comes to listening.

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