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What makes it a 'classic'?

Discussion in 'classic' started by Darren L, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    So what exactly makes a piece of hifi equipment a 'classic' ? Is it just age? Or is there stuff that's just old stuff and others that become classics?
    I know with motorcycles anything over 20-25 years old can be insured as a classic (but they're not all classics) though I'm not sure what's the most recent year of manufacture that would be considered a classic.
     
    Craig B likes this.
  2. RJohan

    RJohan pfm Member

    To me a classic is something that has survived the initial hype and come out of it with the colors still flying. LS3/5a's and NAD 3020 are products that has survived. But who remembers Fulton model J or B&W DM6?
     
  3. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    Thank you for the above.
    I consider my Spendor BC1s as classics, as they’re still relevant loudspeakers today.
    In some respects they outperform some modern speakers, especially in midrange reproduction.
     
    Gervais Cote likes this.
  4. jimpey

    jimpey pfm Member

    Age of course, but surely desirability is key - if there is little demand used it will disappear in short order.

    Jim
     
  5. RJohan

    RJohan pfm Member

    BC1's certainly count.
     
  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    A certain age, proven quality, serviceability, reputation, market value etc. There are countless old/vintage products that are anything but and you’d be lucky to give away!
     
  7. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    The AR XA is a classic. It will still outperform some modern turntables.
    Edgar Villchur knew his stuff...
     
    RJohan likes this.
  8. jimpey

    jimpey pfm Member

    Oh yes, have had a good few of those:)

    Jim
     
  9. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    I think of myself as a classic. The bathroom mirror is less kind.
     
    Nytechy and Mynamemynaim like this.
  10. Mynamemynaim

    Mynamemynaim 38yrs a Naim owner


    Try the hall mirror...for a second opinion!
     
  11. Gervais Cote

    Gervais Cote Predator

    Classics to me are good sounding, rather nice design and survive over time.
    We asked ourselves this question within our hi-fi enthusiastics group we all agreed on the followings :

    Linn LP12
    Naim 42/110
    LS3/5A
    Spendor BC1
    Sugden A48 mk II
    Quad 303 and 405
    Marantz vacuum tube tuner (don’t remember model number....maybe 10B ?)
    Revox reel to reel
    McIntosh vintage vacuum tube amplifiers
     
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’d through a whole shed load of horn speakers, ESLs, vintage valve amps, idler decks, arms, carts etc in that list too. Lots of other stuff there is clearly there now too, e.g. a lot of silver-face 70s receivers, direct drive decks. Much is still available too, e.g. Klipschorns have been in production in some form since 1948, the Ortofon SPU has been around forever, as has the Denon DL-103 and Mcintosh MC275.

    An interesting question is how recent a component can qualify? I’d certainly say ‘80s stuff is there now; chrome bumper Naim, ESL63s, Audio Research, Krell, Conrad Johnson, Apogee, Maggies, SME V, Rega RB300 etc.
     
  13. fiveamp

    fiveamp pfm Member

    Also interesting is how far do you go back before classics become antiques? Leak TL12 Point Ones, Quad IIS, Garrard 301s and so on are clearly classics, but anything much older than that, and into the pre-war era, while maybe valuable and desirable, are hardly hi-fi in most cases. Completely unlike classic cars, with early stuff going for millions and 1970s and 1980s Fords going for megabucks. Wish I'd kept my mk II Escort and not the A48II.
     
  14. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    I think these should be collectively referred to as 'classic mistakes'.
     
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I think with both it is all down to continued context, e.g. a pair of 1948 Klipschorn and a couple of similar era Leak TL12.1 or whatever can very easily be partnered with modern kit upstream and produce stunning results with any source up to and including the very best high-res streaming etc has to offer. They are still relevant, as is the 301, 3012, SPU etc, that would be just as happy playing the latest release from Emma Jean Thackray on bright yellow vinyl as playing Blue Notes etc of their era.

    Classic cars are far harder work, and as such you don’t see many Model T Fords, or even MkI Escorts in the Asda carpark. They have lost their usefulness to a large degree. That doesn’t make them irrelevant or undesirable, there is a whole vintage car culture that looks great fun (I tend to cycle to the big annual show at Hebden Bridge when it is on, lots of amazing stuff to see).
     
    MUTTY1 likes this.
  16. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Continued relevance is a good point. Not too many DAT recorders, minidisc recorders, DCC decks or 8-track players currently considered classics. But the Nakamichi Dragon and Walkman Pro are still desirable and useful tape decks.
     
    RJohan likes this.
  17. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    SB Touch is already classic, how old is it? 15 yo?
     
    Del monaco likes this.
  18. Bjork67

    Bjork67 pfm Member

    Frey bentos pie :oops: not as good as I remember.
     
  19. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    There maybe a classic analogue and classic digital divide needed here…?
     
  20. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    The distinction between classics and antiques is usability in the current context. Classics should be out of production, and so I'm not sure if the LP12 is a classic yet.
     

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