Author Topic: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?  (Read 3855 times)

Offline darrylo

Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« on: June 18, 2012, 10:00:05 AM »
As example I'll use my Leak stereo 20.

I'm torn between doing a complete strip down, repaint, new caps and resistors and silkscreen graphics. Option 2 is just live with the blemished paintworks and do the minimum electrical work using NOS and salvaged components to keep it as original as possible.

Would a complete rebuild add to or detract from its value ? I dont plan of selling it but I want to preserver my investment.

regards
Always Looking for Heathkit, AVO and Leak
"I refuse to prove that my cables will make your system sound better", says the snake oil vendor, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, you will hear nothing."

Offline Kent Kassler

Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2012, 10:24:15 AM »
...do what has to be done and no more ;)
Audiophile Sound Sommelier Extraordinaire....aka Manic Depressive Temporary Void Filler Deluxe.

Offline Captain Ahab

Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2012, 11:40:29 AM »
I would do the latter.

Offline Shonver

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Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2012, 11:45:15 AM »
If it is an investment for later resale, then you'd do well to check what collectors of the item look out for.
If it is an investment "to have and to hold... blah blah", then do as you please!
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Offline skollie

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Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2012, 12:14:34 PM »
I still have 'ambitions' to strip and repaint. Fortunately, all the wonky bits were replaced some years ago and there are no empty holes where things used to be. What I have here is a much loved vintage amp which surprises me each time I use it so the old gal deserves a tittivation.

Fortunately, I can strip, prepare, mask and paint surfaces but I'm worried about re-applying legends. I have a little knowledge about silkscreen process but a previous diy attempt turned into a costly disaster but not with the Leak.

At the time, I 'consulted' with a local repro house to silkscreen logos on something else and the firm I ended up with somewhere in Woodstock were uncooperative, disdainful, slow and it was with much difficulty that I finally got the wherewithall to do the job myself.

This was despite the fact that I made the silkscreen frames complete with register locators for them as it was to have been a two colour job.

The problem seems to have been their inability to understand that I wanted to do the job myself.

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Offline Agaton Sax

Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 02:04:10 PM »
My opinion. Leave as is or replace with the same components. 2 Examples. I used to have 2 TL 12.1 s . They were nice sounding but I had to change,so in went new resistors Polypropylene caps etc. The result was  much improved on first listen but on extended audition the magic was gone. I have a number of Studer A80  Matering tape machines. On one I had all caps replaced with Black Gates and other items in fashion. It sounded magnificent. The other day one output amp blew so in went  an old unmolested unit. The sound became a little less sharp but rich  wholesome and natural.

All the vogue nowadays are the Shindo electronics. His secret? NOS components,Allen Bradley carbon resistors, Sprague and Visconol caps etc. Lesson: Restore do not modernise.

http://www.toneimports.com/shindo/shindoamplifiers.html.

Offline darrylo

Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 02:39:30 PM »
I am thinking along the lines of doing a cosmetic restoration, If and only if I can match the paint and graphics 99%. I honestly dont thin it will take away value from a amp with paint chips scratches and rusty corners.

I however agree that changing the components can change the character of the amp.

The only issue is the original TCC caps are not readily available. Can I use the russian PIO caps ? and can I use modern carbon or metal film resistors without changing the sound ?
Always Looking for Heathkit, AVO and Leak
"I refuse to prove that my cables will make your system sound better", says the snake oil vendor, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, you will hear nothing."

Offline Ampdog

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Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 04:55:18 AM »
Darryl,

I often have to ask this very decision to be made by many folks coming to me for restoration. (I believe I spoke to you about this when you visited some time ago.)

It is a purely personal decision (my explanation is going to be a bit long). As said, if you might re-sell to vintage collectors, matters might then be as with Dinky toys. (I understand original 'blemished' condition is far more valuable than a pristine restored example.) But as I might have said at the time, it is often a question of either having an original unit or a (properly) working one. I respect a guy's interest in 'original' - after all, it is his amplifier - but wherever there is no such interest, I restore with present-day components. To my mind this is what the designer would have done had he produced the unit today. There has been monumental progress in materials research (just look at a modern 50F/450V electrolytic capacitor; it is a <quarter the size of the vintage model, and far more reliable). One bought the amplifier after all to experience the original sound, not as an artifact like a Queen Anne tea-pot (when the components were new and hopefully within spec - not gone 50% wild like in some cases.)

Agaton S once complimented me on something despite "mostly disagreeing with me" as he put it. I appreciated that and will most respectfully disagree in turn on the use of some NOS components! This is not my experience or wisdom; there are enough comments out there about 'decay' (in a broad sense) of characteristics - and we mostly know by now what value to attach to promotional blurb. Those things were simply not made to be prim in 60 years time; they could not have been. (I have read nasty test results on so-called "audio class" capacitors or "paper-in-oil", and particularly electrolytics - re the latter, it is a little bit more involved than checking capacitance and reforming 'boere'-variac-style  :blah:  ... but not to get long-winded here. Googling lab tests will reveal the whole story.) Lastly, e.g., a say 16F/400V capacitor was not chosen because of some optimality; it was 'then' simply not economical  to go for higher, or they simply did not exist, etc. etc. (One can mostly increase power supply capacitors with audible advantage.)

I apologise for a longer comment than you asked for, but this matter comes up every now and then, and perhaps my comments will be valuable also for others.

Good luck with your undertaking!
Audio must be the only branch of engineering where lack of basics' knowledge is considered a superior form of wisdom. (Anon)

Offline charles

Re: Vintage kit: to restore or preserve as is ?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 10:20:05 PM »
Dear darrylo,

The restoring of the electronic parts is an "easy" task. I have restored the chassis of a PYE PF91 and a Radford STA 15. This is not an easy job as one needs to re-duco it professionally so that it matched an original one exactly. Some chassis are made of aluminium alloy so bonding agents/special undercoats have to be used. It took me months to restore these chassis.  I still have a Radford STA12 with a rusted chassis to be restored.

Hope this will help.

Kind Regards

Charles