It is well known that certain pieces of vintage equipment fetch very high prices in certain parts of the world. A recent thread on the popularity and currently very high prices commanded on LS 3/5a speakers, over on the Pink Fish Media forum offers a case in point.
The purpose of this thread is to request the comments of those who have experience with some of the so-sought-after vintage pieces. How do these pieces compare to current equipment or equipment of, say, middle vintage? Is the hype valid? Or simply the result of mass/shared beliefs?
Part of the reason I ask is that, near where I live, a JBL Paragon speaker system recently went up for auction, fetching over $9,000. Comparable pieces can be seen on Audiogon for 15k. On the Klipsch Forum a post said that some of these old pieces were sonically inferior to less expensive, newer pieces. It is understandable that old driver surrounds may have stiffened, or be damaged, but a further point is whether the fundamental design may have intrinsic limitations which would render the sound "dated" by comparison to new designs and technology.
From personal experience I can speak to the idea that some pieces of new equipment seem to be a breakthrough. I remember spending a day with a high quality passive preamp - it made the Naim 72/hicap I was comparing it to sound like a muffled, soggy muddle by comparison (note that I own and use a 72/hicap). But perhaps the sonic compromises with the 72/'cap were due to impedance mismatches between the preamp, interconnects and the vtl 225 tube amplifiers we were listening through? I don't know...
Sometimes equipment must be carefully matched to demonstrate its full potential and those who denigrate it have heard it incorrectly set up. Information about optimized setups would also be very interesting.
So, for those of you who have experience and can share them, having heard properly set up vintage gear, I'd very much appreciate reading your comments here. Of particular interest are the old JBL's, Altec 17s, 19s and other horn-based systems, tannoys, Klipschs, tubes, quads, electrostatics, etc.
I hope others will be as interested in this topic as I am. Thanks, in advance, to those who can share their experience.