A reader writes .....
To answer my own question, to start with it was price. £100 carefully spent on vintage Hi-Fi would net something that sounded miles better than £100 worth of new equipment. Then I got drawn in, seeking out the better quality gear from the 1970s/80s.
To me the finances made sense. There is very little in the way of vintage top of the line equipment that after refurbishment costs as much as even a halfway decent modern system. Plus of course, the sound. Vintage sounds better! At least that was what I thought until I went to the Hi-Fi show outside Edinburgh late last year. Ok, when you see a vinyl deck that looks like it was designed as an optional accessory for the Tardis you're already halfway to being hooked but even so, listening to Pink Floyd and hearing it sound like I've always imagined it, was simply mind blowing. To the best of my knowledge nothing vintage will come close, but there are a couple of points here. First is "to the best of my knowledge". With a lot of help from Rob http://www.eraudio.com.au/ESL_Repair...dm_70_kit.html I've just started rebuilding the electrostatic units on a pair of DM70s. Given the right vintage amp and source (Goldring-Lenco G-78) these could come close. Second, when you add up the cost of the deck, amp, speakers and cables, the kind of new equipment I was listening to in Edinburgh would cost about the same as a new mid range family car.
Ok; you pays your money and makes your choices. With my 59 year old ears, the combination of build quality and almost top quality sound means it's vintage for me. Final icing on the cake is that if shit happens and you have to sell, it's likely that well looked after vintage equipment will return its purchase price. Hell, you might even make a profit