What to do With Old Stereo Equipment?

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Everyone has their different story to tell. These are just a few of them:

It was a beautiful day yesterday; sunny, the kids playing outside, I went to the garage to clean it, better say, to tidy it up. So, I started rearranging the tools, moved a few boxes, and found a bunch of old stereo equipment that my dad used to use. 

I am thinking of getting that new gramophone with a USB connection, I want to connect it to my computer.

(Talking with a friend) I just bought a digital FM/AM Stereo Tuner with a remote. My God, you can just sit on the sofa and listen to whatever you want without getting up!

A few days ago, I came back from work, changed into some comfy clothes, made one delicious cup of coffee, turned on my amp, opened the lid of my gramophone, wiped off the dust-covered Tubular bells vinyl, sat on the couch, and the music started. At a point, I began looking at those lamps on my amplifier

Have you ever been in a situation to wonder: What could I do with my old stereo equipment?

You don’t have to throw away your old stereo equipment (image source – WHARFEDALE)

What is a “Stereo Equipment”

Today, the most common use of a stereo amp in households is with an integrated radio tuner and preamp in one unit, and altogether is called an integrated amplifier (or stereo receiver). 

The integrated amplifier will be our starting point, and the rest that we add to it will be counted as the equipment. There we have radio receivers, CD players, gramophones, DAT machines, cassette tape decks, speakers, etc.

Intentions

Let’s go through some questions to determine your intentions regarding that device/devices, or maybe some intentions regarding the modifications of that device. 

Would you like to keep it, get rid of it, give it as a present, find more about what you have? Would it look good on a shelf as a vintage “thing”? Does it have some sentimental value?

Almost every audiophile will keep it in function, maintain it faithfully, will service it regularly, seldomly give it up, or may replace it with some other component with the same or similar characteristics.

Modern-day lifestyle and life pace may require owners of these older stereo systems to purchase devices featuring newer technology that have remote controls, USB inputs, optical inputs, just for convenience. An audiophile could, for example, decide to buy a device with newer technology because of his job, but not because of his enjoyment of music.

As for the old loudspeakers, there are speakers with various dimensions and weights. Some are taller than 3 feet (1 meter) and heavier than 110lbs (50kg). They eradiate with quality and with design, and when they are not in function, they can be kept as part of the furniture, mostly because of its aesthetics.

Some vintage loudspeakers are just as popular today as they used to be 30 or 50 years ago

Condition

Functioning and usable stereos can have more purposes: you can put them in the kitchen, in the garage, in the basement, or even in the backyard, to have music while you are cooking, grilling, playing, or working on something. 

That’s when they are in one piece. 

Q: How do you mean “one piece”? 

A: If you have a degree in electrical engineering or electronics or if you’re an enthusiast for electronics, you can easily disassemble it and take useful parts. Just be careful with electricity. Always check if everything is powered off.

In cases that you have decided that you definitely do not want to keep that piece of equipment, or for some other reason, you cannot withhold it, there is an option to make contact with audiophiles or a friend, who streams to higher quality sound and equipment, that would be interested in buying or lending it from you, so that gear will continue to be in safe hands.

Quality

Whether you have a functioning or a non-functioning amp, tuner, tape deck, receiver, loudspeakers, it wouldn’t hurt to check online what type, what kind of quality and ranking is that equipment.

Vintage

Tube amps, transistor amps, turntables, manual radio receivers, CD players, DAT machines, cassette tape decks are mostly in the “vintage” category or heading that way.

Tube amps are rarely produced nowadays, spare parts for them also, but they have that something. It is beautiful to turn them on and look at how those tubes warm up with the lights dimmed.

Transistor amps are on their way to join the vintage family. They are being replaced by amps with integrated circuits, mostly because it is a newer tech and less expensive to manufacture. Integrated circuits can also replace 5, 6 to even 10 output transistors; they are smaller in dimensions, produce less heat, they can have more power, and produce a little bit different sound compared to a transistor. New tech is slowly displacing old technology and taking precedence in that field.

Magnetophons (magnetophones) are less practical because they require lots of space, need more time to find a specific song or part of the song compared to modern technologies.

Turntables (electrical gramophones) also went vintage, but slowly returning as retro-styled, as some manufacturers are making new turntables with new tech and more possibilities, such as connecting it via USB to a PC or Mac. Audiophiles enjoy listening to vintage gramophones, because of their unique cracking sound. The sound quality on vinyl does not have limitations like a CD has (in kbps: 56, 128, 192, 356) and that is why it is far better.

Conclusion & Opinions

Older stereo systems are generally of good or even higher quality than today’s, thus they are quite represented on the market. Some devices can be found going on from few tens to few thousands of dollars, depending on the manufacturer, condition, how much vintage it is. That piece of equipment (or extra equipment) can be bought or sold via online services, starting from Amazon, eBay, to local internet or paper ads. 

Stereo equipment that can’t find some sort of purpose may find a way to the EE waste.  The same applies to the loudspeakers. You can even donate that equipment to charity.

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