Old or new amplifier?

grundig vintage amplifierOld or new amplifier? When I started listening to music in the ’70s, I had a Leek valve amplifier and loved the sound it produced. When I played my guitar, it was through a Vox AC 30 valve amplifier, and again I loved the sound it made. What do you think is the best? Should I buy an old or a new amplifier or just be content with what I have.

Old or new amplifier?

Valves are beautiful, and they give so much realism and life to the sound. And, a question often asked, is which do I prefer but is a personal preference.

old set up with tube 845 amplifiersI have used many different types of Valve amplifiers from old to new, and they all sound great. Some companies produce just new Valves which in many ways outperform the older generation Valves. The sound produced from a valve is still one of the most incredible listening experiences ever.

An old Valve amplifier can sound as good as a new valve amplifier. The old valve amplifier retains its simplicity and character, which is something that can never replace. A new valve amplifier has all the latest technology but in some ways seems to have a stiffer sound. A perfect option is an old valve amplifier fitted with new generation Valves which have cryogenic treatment. And, gives a fresh feel to the music but is down to personal preference as we all hear and feel things differently.


Hi end stereo system in VilniusOne day the transistor amplifier arrived and was something completely different. An amplifier that was able to give more power, speed and people were excited with the way the transistor amplifier sounded. The old transistor amplifiers have a particular sound. And, can sound better than some amplifiers produced today. Such examples are an early Luxman amplifier or first Grundig amplifier.

Today, some of the early amplifiers are still in excellent condition and are sought after by people who know what a good sound is. Technology moved forward, but the later amplifiers became very involved in the design. What they were able to offer was a faster sound, but in some cases, they seemed to have lost the musicality the older amplifiers had, and the sense of realism masked.


We are talking about two different mediums. An old Valve amplifier setup can sound fantastic. Also, a new valve amplifier setup can sound incredible. An old transistor setup can sound incredible and so can a new Solid-state amplifier set up. The type of valves used and the age of the valve play an essential part of sound quality. It all depends on what you prefer, and only you can decide.

A Picture

larger system at conceA picture says a thousand words, so here is an example for you to think. An artist paints a picture of a beautiful woman. And, a photograph taken, of that beautiful woman and you look.

The photograph has fantastic quality and detail but lacks the warmth and depth of the painting – so which do you prefer? 

Whatever system you have, I think the best thing is just to sit and relax and listen to music!

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So have amplifiers changed over the past seven years? And I would say only more expensive and filled with things that really do not make any audible difference.

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