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OLD Equipment Reliability Question

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kfbkfb

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Life of Home A/V (electronic) Equipment:

In 1989-09, I bought 2 Pioneer stereo receivers (for Quad), both work fine as of today.

In 1989-03, I bought a Sony TV, it died 2018-12.

The majority of the Quad decoding hardware (receivers, standalone decoders) are
~40 years old and some are ~50 years old.

What's your experience with more than ~30 year old Home electronics in terms of
reliability?

Kirk Bayne
 
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timothyemerson

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Thems Pioneers sound like quality builds. I don't have anything that old but here's my 2 cents of my oldest purchases that are still behaving:

1. Sony VCR: Purchased in 1996 - still working and in great cosmetic shape. It's even got a pong-like game on it!

2. Rotel RCD-951 CD player: Purchased in 2000 and still my CD player. It plays HDCDs and it's only flaw appears to be that when you press play with the tray open and a CD in there, it'll sometimes jump to track 10 instead of track 1.

3. KEF Cresta 2 bookshelf speakers: Purchased in 2000 with the Rotel. These were my fronts but have been my surrounds since around 2006. Not a mark on 'em which is surprising when I consider the number of people who have put their phone on them over the years. "Ahem, what are you doing? Put it on the table. It'll just get vibrated off anyway." Non-hifi heads, man. I dunno...
 

Sonik Wiz

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Life of Home A/V (electronic) Equipment:

In 1989/09, I bought 2 Pioneer stereo receivers (for Quad), both work fine as of today.

In 1989-03, I bought a Sony TV, it died 2018-12.

The majority of the Quad decoding hardware (receivers, standalone decoders) are
~40 years old and some are ~50 years old.

What's your experience with more than ~30 year old Home electronics in terms of
reliability?

Kirk Bayne
Your question has turned out to be a lot more thought provoking then on first read. For us who love our music & movies it all depends on the technology of hardware & longevity is certainly part of that. In conversations like this my knee jerk reaction is always to point out that no one regrets buying the best quality they can afford. Whether today or 20 years ago if all someone does is shop the Sunday newspaper BB ads for bargains, they will be making repeat trips because something blew up, or they bought last gen close out & now they need something new to play something new. I admit I have an exception to that.

Anyway my Fosgate Tate 101A was purchased in '83 & my Sansui QSD-1000 in 85>86. Both are kaput. The Tate worked just fine except front panel pots got very noisy & didn't respond to cleaning. The Sansui exhibited directional anomalies so weird I could not figure out what was going wrong by ear. I got an estimated 20 years of good listening from both. They crapped out about the time DPL II came in and I got lazy & remote addicted.

As a side note I purchased a NOS Proton SD-1000 circa mid 80's on E bay about 1.5 years ago. Being new in an un-opened box it works perfect today. $1200 original retail price, $150 for me.

After the Fosgate/Sansui acted up I bought a Tag McLaren AV32R for about $4k in I think '97. I wanted DPL II & I did not want a receiver so the Tag was about the only stand alone unit that did that. The most expensive piece of gear I'v ever owned & one that lasted the shortest. After about only 7>8 years use , like the Sansui, it contracted some sort of Alzheimer & just stated acting weired & undependable. By then the company had gone of business & being digital I could not repair it. Ha Ha! Jokes on me!

I replaced the Tag with an Anthem AVM 30. It's been in service for about 15 years & has worked rock solid & perfect not a single glitch. Cost about half of the Tag. One of the things I like about this unit is its primarily an audio product with some video thrown in. Composite, S-Video, component no HDMI. My Oppo 105 plugs straight into my projector as does my AV work station PC so not a problem. It only has one set of 5.1 analog inputs but a Zektor switch box is the perfect fix for that.

My Pioneer LD player DVL-700 bought in '97 works perfect like brand new.

In 1988 I purchased an Adcom 555 preamp, two 555 power amps, Infinity Kappa 8's for front chs & Kappa 7 for rears. The power amps only needed the power switch replaced once, otherwise perfect operation. The Kappa's have had their woofers re-foamed once. Otherwise plays like new. In regards to the speakers, when HK bought Infinity they cheapened down the product line to pure trash in most respects . I always feel obligated to explain mine are the good Kappa speakers:

Infinity Kappa 8

The 8 is a 4 way system & the 7 is a 3 way, the only difference being no mid bass driver.

So it seems like it's a mixed bag when it comes to longevity. Maybe more related to the individual component than age itself. Even with the really old quad stuff since it's analog it has a greater chance of of repair than digital gear.
 

kfbkfb

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The most dramatic equipment failure was a Goldstar brand TV I bought in 1988.

It was repaired under warranty in 1989.

I was watching it in 1990 when it caught fire, I was able to get it out of the house
before it did any damage.


My oldest Quad device is an Electro-Voice Stereo-4 decoder, NOS, purchased for $10
in the mid-1970s (built in 1970/71).

I last used it in 1983, I took it, my Pioneer VP-1000 and my Stereo system to a friends
home, and, along with his Stereo system, we watched/listened (in sort of Dolby
Surround) to the (then newly released ) Star Trek II LaserDisc.

Kirk Bayne
 

Sonik Wiz

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Ha! Good story about the TV as I have a similar one as well. Way back in t late 60's my parent had a 25" B&W TV in their bedroom, huge beautiful wood cabinet. One summer when it was very humid the flyback xfmr started arcing & of course caught the cabinet on fire. I had to help my dad carry this smoking beast into the back yard where it died an ignoble death.

I also have an EV Stereo 4 decoder that I guess is also my oldest piece of quad gear. This was the first one not the "newer" universal decoder. Also I have a Heath kit decoder much like the EV unit. And a Panasonic & Clarion CD-4 demodulator and Integrex Ambisonic unit, a Fosgate Model 5 & a couple of Fosgate/Schieber Space Matrix decoder. I didn't list any of these first off because all I can say they worked fine last time I used them.

Carting a state of the art video player & quad decoder to your friends house sounds pretty cool. I bet they remember that day fondly as well.
 

Philip Spinner

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When we were kids we found an old TV in a large cabinet that someone threw out. We carried it out onto a bridge and chucked it over into the water. As it sank it started to smoke, then it caught fire and blew up. while going down bubbles of smoke would rise from under the water. Looked like one of those war ships sinking in those old movies. It was the coolest thing we ever saw.
 

Sonik Wiz

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When we were kids we found an old TV in a large cabinet that someone threw out. We carried it out onto a bridge and chucked it over into the water. As it sank it started to smoke, then it caught fire and blew up. while going down bubbles of smoke would rise from under the water. Looked like one of those war ships sinking in those old movies. It was the coolest thing we ever saw.
I can't account for all that bombastic activity you described. Maybe some charge left on capacitors? Certainly the CRT imploding would be a nifty FX. Or perhaps it was all those fireworks you stuffed in the back before giving it the heave ho?

At any rate I admire your creative efforts. It's exactly the kind of thing my friends & I would ~ 10 years old.
 

hobie1dog

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Too many failures for me in the 50 years. I detest old equipment, as I am too old and poor to be constantly screwing with equipment that has age related problems. Newer the better for me.
 

Q-Eight

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I don't have a many problems with my vintage equipment. My Pioneer QX-9900 I've had for almost 20 years now and the worst it needs from time to time is some De-Oxit on the intercouple switch and some lube on the front/rear fader. Heck, I even got all four level meters working just by cleaning them and getting rid of all the old cello tape that was holding them together. I guess they might've had a static charge with all the tape?

I think it's harder to find a competent repairman when you DO need things repaired then it is to find well cared for vintage equipment. But I think that's the big if.... knowing that the stuff has been cared for and not something that Bubba pulled outta the bayou last Tuesday.

I think the worst was my Akai reel. A $50 score that after a good cleaning, worked, but developed intermittent channels. A $175 bill at one place and it played for 45 minutes before the problem arose yet again. They refused to honor any warranty as they "no longer wanted to do work on reel to reels". Wish I'd known that going in. To their credit, they did forward me to a guy that deals ONLY in reels and another $400 for replacement of all transistors, 4 IC's and an alignment to ensure all channels are equal. Not terrible as I'm in as deep as a restored unit would cost me. However I still lie to myself and tell me that I'm ahead because my initial $50 investment included the original DIN to RCA cables, owners manual and remote control.
 

atrocity

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My primary turntable is a Sony PS-X75 I bought circa 1980. It still works perfectly, though I'm terrified of the day it stops because I don't have a clue who'd know how to work on that beast.

My reel to reel deck is a Pioneer RT-707 (because there was a time when everyone's stereo R2R was a 707) and it works fine though I bought it in 1978.

A friend of mine is still using my 1978 Lafayette receiver. It's got issues with its main power-speaker knob-switch, but other than that...

On the other hand, my Laserdisc players are not doing so well. And my Tate died.
 

Soundfield

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The oldest bit of working gear I’ve got has to be my Sony SQD-2020 Decoder from c1974:
39033

The push buttons need regular cleaning but otherwise, despite the passage of time, all seems OK – although its rather more for show than anything else now as the Surround Master is my decoder of choice these days.

Also rather more for show than regular use is my pair of gold plated Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Quad II valve power amps, on display here in my workshop:
39034

From the limited production run of 600 in September 1996 this pair still work perfectly and sound wonderful. They’ve had a few sets of replacement valves and I’ve had them serviced by Quad just to ensure they are in tip top condition (Quad UK have a remarkable service dept. and will service any of their products dating back to the 1950’s!) so they should be good for another couple of decades.

Something that is still in daily use however is my Sony S505ES FM tuner:
39035

I know from the receipt stapled to the instruction manual that I bought this almost exactly 25 years ago (well, Fri 29/4/94 at 10:08 to be precise!) for £249. Expensive at the time but that’s worked out at less than ten quid a year! It’s worked flawlessly for all this time (and is probably one of the most sensitive and quietest tuners I’ve ever owned) – possibly because I’ve hardly ever switched it off (although there might have been one or two power failures in that time I suppose). I’m a great believer in not stressing electronic circuits by putting them through unnecessary on-off cycles so leave most low wattage stuff permanently on.
 

leevitalone1

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The older stuff holds up, the biggest issue is the caps get all dried out. I am blown away by the prices some of this stuff from the '70s is drawing. I have seen receivers go for more than what they cost new. I guess the sound quality is the key. My 1st Integra after about 12 yrs the center went out, started to get noise in it. I am kicking myself for not having it fixed. United Radio does most factory auth. service, flat fees like $42.00 and they go through them. I'm keeping that tidbit in mind the next time. man! That sucked went for $800.00 open box, my current was like $1000.00 new, now I got it brand new in the box - sealed at the factory for $100.00 new-old-stock. I love that stuff! You can get carried away easy as I did once, and it's obsolete a year later. Some hold value-like the Oppo does. But not much - mine has no HDMI only 7.1 analog that is fine for me, it works. United Radio, remember that name. They do all sorts of electronic factor auth. repairs.
 

holland123

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Don't kick yourself too hard leevit. It may not have been able to be repaired. I bought a top of the line Integra @2000 specifically to handle 6 analogs in for sacd and dvda, 10 years later it started popping in and out at random, took it to reputable shop near me n they said an ic chip fried that was no longer in production anywhere by anyone, could not be repaired, had to junk.
 

Philip Spinner

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I use 2 Pioneer SA-6500 II stereo amps to power the 4 corner speakers in my bedroom. I purchased them new when they were released after my Marantz quad receiver stopped working. Probably early 80's. Still using them today. The led's on the front to show that the power is on burnt out years ago. Using 2 stereo amps in my bedroom set up simplifies hooking up the Surround Master. I Just ran a cable from the tape loop output from the front amp to the SM. Gives me the ability to decode any stereo source through my system. Music, movies, everything. I can even extract center and low frequencies from the front channels of quad sources if so desired. Works great.
 

esimms86

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I don’t have any electronics even close to the ages that people have cited so far on this thread. Some stuff over the years became relatively obsolete as later releases were able to play nice with newer disc formats. I have no idea as to how long such components would have lasted as I sold/traded up before they died.

I do believe that speakers are likely in a different category than receivers, decoders, R2R’s, etc. I bought a pair of JBL Century L100’s back in 1972. I did have to replace the grills but they have otherwise tooled along just fine. For the past 8 years they’ve been the main speakers in my brother in-law’s home stereo system. I get to listen to them maybe 3-4 times a year.
 

Philip Spinner

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I don’t have any electronics even close to the ages that people have cited so far on this thread. Some stuff over the years became relatively obsolete as later releases were able to play nice with newer disc formats. I have no idea as to how long such components would have lasted as I sold/traded up before they died.

I do believe that speakers are likely in a different category than receivers, decoders, R2R’s, etc. I bought a pair of JBL Century L100’s back in 1972. I did have to replace the grills but they have otherwise tooled along just fine. For the past 8 years they’ve been the main speakers in my brother in-law’s home stereo system. I get to listen to them maybe 3-4 times a year.
I agree about speakers. I have 4 KLH speakers from the early 70's that I use in the bedroom. Still sound great. Had to remove the grills long ago because they were making an unpleasant vibrating sound.
 
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