SONY VINTAGE: The ‘compact lifestyle’ system, Sony vintage and the Rega RB300

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I read a feature on the Sony vintage amp and tuner combo and it has rekindled my interest in a vintage receiver for a non-serious system. I’m talking a silver fronted, wood panelled, yellow backlit hernia-inducing beast

I’ve realised how good some of these are and how much some manufacturers put into them which now make them a great way to spend the kind of money that would otherwise get you a breathless supermarket kitchen ‘mini system’. Most are laden with features including preamp outs, headphone sockets and decent phono stages. I feel a vintage Rotel, Technics or Marantz coming on–roll on the next audio jumble!

Secondly, I note that some are using a Denon DL103 with a Rega RB300 arm, claiming a ‘natural synergy’ I have the same arm and have considered this combo myself, but was always advised Rega arms don’t have the right mass for the 103 range of cartridges. Might this work because of the ISO the cartridge stabilisation upgrade? If so I’ll reconsider this in future. Thoughts please.

Vintage Sony systems can be very sweet; not really serious hardcore hi-fi of course, but spot on for a second system. Right now, the sense is that it's as though portable audio or compact systems never existed before the iPod, However … go to audio jumbles and you soon realise there was a whole world of 'compact lifestyle' equipment around decades ago. Some of it, such as the Sonys, was built so well that they work effectively even now. That's not something, I'm afraid, you can say about much of today's 'iDockStation' type stuff.

As an aside, Howard uses two heavy-duty vintage receivers in system #3 and #4. A Luxman FQ990 and a Yamaha CR2020. Both as you describe including the hernia inducing bit. He’s happy with these; his partner less so! Anyway, moving on …

A Rega RB300 with its 10gms effective mass will take a Denon DL103 quite happily. Arm/cartridge resonance lies around 10Hz on vertical modulation, which is spot on. Some here don’t rate the Denon especially highly in absolute terms but it’s popular and inexpensive. Otherwise, consider something from the Goldring range.

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