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Used gear: worth it?

As with every hobby, there is a market for classic or vintage gear. I have purchased some items myself over the years. Currently, I use a Kenwood VR-616 5.1 receiver for my speaker set up and inspiration for this article. While most people want the latest and greatest, lots of used gear from local resale or ebay can be a good option. My Kenwood receiver came to me via Ebay, purchased with no info other than "no remote included". I thought, a 5.1 receiver that has a digital in? Why not? I paired it with the only speakers I have, RB-42 from Micca and my Covo-S I use for rear speakers. While I don't use a center channel (yet....) or a subwoofer (I think that the RB-42s do a good job here) I find that it has a sound that I can't quite replicate.

I remember my first Hi Fi experience, 5 years old and dad brought home two speakers about 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. I sat in front of them as he fired up his Sony reciever he'd had in his parents house since the late 70's. The sound was warm, way better than his VW bus speakers, and the movies we would watch would sound crystal clear. Now, remembering that this was the early 90's, this isn't a sound that I can compare to today. We have speakers and headphones that can do all kinds of things these days. You want warm? Buy this speaker or use an eq. This Kenwood? It has four pre set eq's, "cinema eq", or Dolby II. That's it. No frills, take signal, convert, and play on speakers.

Yeah dude, but what about the sound? Warm, crisp, soothing. Going from using a modern dac/amp to a vintage receiver from the late 90's is a change of taste and style. Yes, style. While modern THX amps are pushing clean AF sound effortlessly, this big behemoth sounds like its skating. What I mean, this receiver sounds like it makes the sound exactly how you want to hear it. It doesn't change the sound, it doesn't try and eq it (unless you set it that way). It sounds exactly as you expect it. The sound is perfect to pair with my early 90's turntable (RCA 1200 in case you'r curious). While it does S-video, I don't ever intend to use if for video. Why? Why not.

Lastly, buying used gear has a few downsides. Like my display not working and I don't have a remote. The display was actually a flaw with the quality control, bad solder joint which I fixed. I also got a universal remote. Now, it's perfect.

So yes, get a vintage receiver. Go get a vintage set up. It's not at all like modern devices and can be cheap if you want it to be. But remember, it's a leap of faith.

(Photo taken from google images from electricaudiophile.com)

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