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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, being a big fan of oldschool stuff myself, getting into audio around 1997 and the last functioning mobile audio system around 2004, i have always kept an eye on the scene. Now i have slowly drifted towards Sound Q oriented home audio and am currently delving into building a 7 watt vacuum tube powered set of back loaded frugel horns. This may be a silly question but what year would you say the term "old school equipment" actually became known...i began noticing it around 2005 or so...prior to this i had been already talking to my buddy about oldschool gear being better....so i'm thinking many of us fanatics were and it finally made it to the web. I think any fanatic whos company sold out overseas would refer to their favorite model lineup as oldschool. But was there a single big event that made it a craze? Also i'm curious if this site is the biggest hangout for oldschool fans and how it got to be so? It must be confusing for brand new audio enthusiasts to have to learn about oldschool stuff. Even though my entry in 1997 was late to many senior guys on here, i did manage to see the trailing off of many models which you guys like and probably the wind down of the american made brands. PPI was american, Soundstream brought in the rubicons and i had a 3.0, and there were a few refrence amps on the local shop's used table, including one of the older block shaped soundstreams, a phoenix octane, cyclones were in the shop, demo'd a clarion thunderdome, and ran the original OZ audio components back thenm saw MMATS take the scene by storm running strokers, big ported boxes and class D came to be....gosh i miss it!!!! The fella who got me into the scene got out of it in 1997, my cousin who got into it in the later 80's and was a hifonics fan:)
 

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well, i, too, came back into the scene recently to discover thei "old school" terminalogy....found that most of the stuff i bought new was now old, though still somewhat new in my head....... i watched the big move/consolodation happen, then slowly faded out. btw, i still have some matching oz candy purple stuff sitting on the shelf. just recently, i did some deep cleaning and found a slew of os stuff packed around my garage. i cannot say when it happened, just that i guess it was to be expected. just like the original pony and straitline cars moved from old crap to "classics" in the 80's and 90's, when new tech was at it's worst quality, the audio had the same effects. even nowadays, hardly anything is american, or should i specifically say us built, as there is still canadian mass production, and the cheapest materials/build plausible coming from mexico, which is technically "american" just about everything is "engineered" in spec, which sounds good on paper, but that doesn't mean that the ball i drew on paper is gonna bounce like the paper suggests. us products are about beefing things up to an obviously stout level, and putting heat/fun into it. that whole philosophy, you could say, is "old school" in it's own and rare to see on a noteable scale, so naturally, those who want it need to seek it where it is- in the past, where it was. i like reading the funny stuff on a board when i pop something open, i like that a "200watt" amp obviously looks to be missing a zero on the silkscreen. i like that my equipment doesn't just get the job done, but gives me wood and a reach-around, i like the values i was raised on. i keep my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness where i can find it. in America!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Right on man, i like your view of it, i agree totally! I kinda put this post up for fun just for the discussion of it, not to be a dork about it LoL. You're right! Some companies really do build "just to get the job done"....then you look at the other units and they go far and beyong by overbuilding with higher quality components and more of them...and awesome cosmetics...and the boards that actually look like sculptures and artwork vs just a slap together of parts to get the job done (24 karat gold plated phoenix's etc!) That makes me think...possibly the QUALITY of the technology will improve in the future and there will be a come back of overbuilt equipment. It must be hard for current manufacturers to overbuild when a majority of people want an amp to get loud sound done period, end of story...and for as cheap as possible. It's definitely a niche group us audiophiles and bassheads alike.
 

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Give or take around '94 many companies were bought out, went out, or changed to Asian production with cheaper builds. Previous to that most good equipment (US & Japanese) was well built, repairable, performed, and was expensive. The stuff still performs today though it can't work like class D for sheer output with efficiency, but still does a good job in its own right. I know I can slap a linear power, HK, SS, alpine, pyle, hifonics, RF, PG, etc, etc from back then in my car and get exactly what I expect. That is not to say all newer amps are junk, but a whole lot of them lacked the build quality of the early greats. In some ways it was forced as the companies that did not go cheaper went out of business. Amps are a commodity today like a toaster, the technology is simple short of a few things and its mostly a matter of bare bones manufacturing/pricing and your marketing.

It is similar to the muscle cars of the 60/70s, but their performance has been eclipsed while new amps don't necessarily have better sonic qualities. New cars last a lot longer in normal use in years and miles, while that is certainly not true of many new amps. Muscle cars are mostly a style and retro statement, or simply good memories.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Interesting! Wow circa '94...so my cousin was not joking when he told me in '97 upon my incoming that things were going downhill. That's why i really respect the people who go back farther than myself/more senior and have more experience with the origins of car audio as a whole. And then the professionals who do this for a living are a whole nother level to me (as long as they're fanatics about the stuff and not just doing as a job...as with anything). I guess i'm kind of a newer oldschooler being 1997-2004ish practicing in the hobby lol. And i've seen a huge downfall of quality with my fav companies, pretty scary.
 

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"Old School" I would consider it terminology along the lines of "antique" or "vintage."

You find the same use with bmx bicycles being old, mid or new school.

If I was qualifying car audio the same as bmx bikes, I would dub the equipment from the 70's to the late 90's as old school. Like sq said above, well built to last, American or Japanese made, quality equipment.

My experience is limited but, like yours, I was introduced around '97 and a lot of the stuff I had seen back then is still quality equipment and working today. I have a sort of admiration for the products I'd seen as a kid and much prefer those over anything produced today.
I wouldn't call it a craze. I think it's merely these pieces are now old enough to separate themselves from modern equipment much like searching for a vintage shirt or an antique lamp, you're looking for an old school amp.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
No fighting LoL! I love JL Audio, it was one of my first loves and still love it, actually if i were to get back into the scene it would be my first choice. But if we had to do a showdown this is the old dog i'd put up (don't own) but would think it could hold it's own! And it's from mid 90's....and would take any channel at 1/8 ohm all day i bet!!!! And was round $1,500 new! They're pretty close to the JL amp, although the "Technology" is definitely ahead on the JL, newer and more modern, impressive power supplies and such. It is a beautiful amp (the JL)

Soundstream Continuum -


Uncompromising Design and Construction

High Power / High Current Capability

ChassisinkTM Darlington Power Array

Staggered Asymmetrical Electronic Crossover

Rear Channel De-emphasis

PowerGrid Power Supply Design

Ultra-Low ESR Capacitance Bank

Smart Thermal Rollback

Unregulated Power Supply

Fault Monitor LED

½ Ohm Subwoofer Drive Ability

Six Dual Discrete Class A Drive Stages

Drive DelayTM Muted Turn-On/Off Circuit

Flexible Input Sensitivity


*Satellite Channel*

50W X 4 @ 4 Ohm

100W X 4 @ 2 Ohm
100W X 2 @ 8 Ohm (Bridged)

200W X 2 @ 4 Ohm (Bridged)


*Subwoofer Channel*

200W @ 4 Ohm, 300W @ 2 Ohm, 400W @ 1 Ohm (High Power)

100W @ 4 Ohm, 200W @ 2 Ohm, 300W @ 1 Ohm, 400W @ ½ Ohm (High Current)
THD : < 0.1%

S/N Ratio : > 100 dB

Frequency Response : 20 - 20,000 Hz,+/- 0.5 dB

Stereo Separation : > 90 dB

Damping : > 200
Input Sensitivity : 100 mV - 2.5 V

Input Impedance : 12k Ohm

LSE.Q : 0.7 - 2.8 Q (0 to +9 dB) Adjustment from 30 - 60 Hz

Crossover 2 Way : HighPass 12 dB/Oct 60-240 Hz, LowPass 24 dB/Oct 30-120 Hz

Crossover 3 Way : Tweeter High Pass/Midrange Low Pass 12 dB/Oct 1k-4k Hz, Midrange or MidbassHighPass 12 dB/Oct 60-240 Hz, Mid High Pass/Midbass Low Pass 12 dB/Oct 240-960 Hz, Subwoofer Lowpass 24 dB/Oct 30-120 Hz
 

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"oldschool" is overated. Don't tell me an amp from the 90s outperforms a JL HD900/5 for example.
It depends on what you value the most. You also have to carefully define what specific things you want to measure and compare. There is not a single amp that has the best spec for everything. (i.e. lowest distortion at rated power, highest damping factor, lowest impedance drive capability, highest efficiency, etc., etc...) For example, the JL amp you listed is only rated down to a 1.5 ohm load. An old school amp like a Lanzar Opti 50C, an Orion HCCA 250, or even a Soundstream Class A 6.0 are all more than capable of driving 0.25 ohm loads all day long. There is clearly no "best". Buy and use what ever best fits your needs and fits into your ideal install.
 

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lol, stack that jl next to a bunch of old school beasts int he same trunk and compare it one at a time....... i'd bet it only survives a few of them before a driver ic craps out, as jl's like to do, but seriously, you are still paying for jl in the same way you pay for bose. they threw a little engineering tech in their cheap azz product and ride the name. sound good, you bet. built well, not a chance. but, that's not just jl. the real major turning point was more like y2k, or 01, where it all got bought up and consolidated, then moved to china. i still have some like new stuff from that period, and lots of used from before. but, mark my word, with the new tech booming, costs are going down enough as to make a better product without sacrifice. i've already seen some good progress in the semi-conductors alone, much less new circuit designs and principals.
 

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Yeah I should have kept my PK Ripper looptail, but I sold it and bought a car with part of the money. I have a cheap 'goose I ride around the yard once in a while, it weighs like 5 tons or so, it was free think maybe a walmart special.

Simple fact is in 10 years most of today's new amps will be in the landfill and most of the old school amps will still be going. JL are said to be pretty good today, but I don't run them or personally know of any. My kappa works great but does have a little flaw; I can make it crackle once if I turn the key off and back on with the right timing but the noise is fairly quiet.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I know this is off topic but i reallllly want to buy 6 of the new JL W3vs 10" subs and make 2 sealed boxes, small, like 11"x11"x33" with 3 subs inline in each firing back. I want to sit one behind the other in my accord's trunk and power this rig at 1.5 ohms mono off my old dusty modded mmats D300HC. That would make a nice oldschool powered new school street beater darnit. Alas i can not, i need trunk space :( LoL, sorry i just was daydreaming...

You guys are right about application specifics....those Class A's came to mind of the low ohm capability of the old amps...hands down if you want low ohms the old Soundstream Class A's will pretty much drive anything....as a fun expiriment a friend and i cut the cord off an old 120v corded drill for fun one time, bridged my Class A 3.0, played the dB Jams 60 HZ Sine and used it to pre-drill holes in my sub box i was building prior to switching it to run my components and induct my MMATS amp back when Class D came out!
 

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In my case I'm in an "old school throwback" with my system. What I mean by that is I recall the MONSTER amps that got me interested in car audio. I recall the fondest memories of reading the magazines seeing early pics of the KCG, more particularly Frank Rougeau and Mark Eldridge, running the Kicker gear.

I recall seeing my fisrt IASCA soundoff in Savannah at a skate contest in 1992. I recall seeing a fast back firebird walled off with a 30-someodd inch woofer taking up the entire rear of the vehicle...

I took the inspiration from the first memories of car audio and threw it into my sew system. I've got two monster A/B class amps (Arc Audio who? Love Arc though, no hating on my part at all) that are 36" long and 10" wide. RAWR! Are they as efficient as the new class D? Oh hell no. My system isn't about small chassis and efficiency, it's about the very thing that hooked me in the first place. The bad ass big boy surfboard amplifiers that makes onlookers do double takes when they look into the trunk.

I want to be able to influence one person like I was influenced in the beginning. Old school brings back fond memories...

...and no, I don't have any issues with my electrical system...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That's EXACTLY what i hope to do someday, build an SPL rig similar to what got me into the scene and influence someone/help teach newer people with our oldschool knowledge and learn the new info about the latest stuff from them. That's be alot of fun. I loved the comps that were a freindly group of enthusiasts all discussing and hearing their system, then going home with a new rig design in mind and being too broke to afford my new dream amp the other guy had or whatever! hahaa! Then working months to save up and buy it! I thought once i "grew up" i'd be able to afford all this equipment and drive around all day jamming it! I never anticipated spending all my money on house stuff and whatnot. I did get into high end home audio but it still doesn't give me the rush the old stuff did. Some of my fondest car audio memories were the adreneline rush of hooking up a new amp and firing it up and yelling "Wholllly sh*t!!!!" at my new found decibel level! My fondest ever i think was in my highschool parking lot working on my system with a good buddy who was also into audio. I had 3 10" JL W0's, 12 ohm at 4 ohms on a Phoenix Gold XS2500 in my Geo Metro. He had a Precision Power PC2150 driving 2 12" Kicker XPL's in his Ford Probe and we were about equal in dB, him a bit louder! Well we were bored and we had nothing to do so we decided to swap amps for fun to see what my Phoenix sounded like on his Kickers and his PPI on my JL's!!! We got the wiring done and both fired them up and yelled "WHolly sh*t!!!" both were SIGNIFICANTLY louder! We shook on it and decided to keep our swaps LOL!!! We never intended to do that!! NOW THAT was fun!!
 

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^THAT is exactly what it is to remenisce about "Old School" audio.

Geo Metro? Oh MAN! My first system was in a Geo Metro with a Coustic tape player and some god awful Blaupunkt amplifier on some MTX blue thunder 8" woofer. I don't even remember how it sounded...all I know is that I loved it.

Old school isn't about "when" alone per se, it's about the feeling of "when"...That made NO sense. I remember skating in high school when Tony Hawk had started to be THE name. I remember the "old school" Tommy Guerrero flaming dagger skateboard I had. I recall when the skate industry first started giving the boards lips for better ollies and kickflips...

Old school isn't about a specific time in this subject. It's about the feeling and emotion bak in the "good old days".
 

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I got into car audio around '87-'88. The first truly impressive aftermarket system I can remember was around 1985. Local guy had an Alpine amp, Alpine 6x9's and Alpine cassette deck in his RX7. Of course it blew all the Jensens and Sparkomatics away. Entered my first "Crank It Up" in '89. Got 3rd in my class with 2 Punch 45's, some Kicker Free-air subs and RF Punch Plates. Headunit was a Nakamichi cassette deck. All in a '79 Trans Am.
Put together two other systems then got out completely around '95. Got back into car audio a few years ago.
Don't think there was any one event that started the old school craze, if you can even call it that now. I do think alot of us guys that were into car audio when PPI, Orion, Soundstream, etc were all 100% American owned and built saw how many of the pioneers (no pun intended) of the industry were being ran into the ground. Many may have thought that the original gear that made those companies household names might be more desireable than the cheap knockoffs that companies like DEI were churning out. Also can't deny the nostalgia element.
I do think many in the industry have seen the light in regards to what the market wants and more importantly expects. Alot of people got tired of names like PPI being trashed and just quit buying the products. Now that the name has been reborn and the products seem to be living up to the standards of their glory days, people are rediscovering the old brands again.
 

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I think Old School is about the memories. My first memories were from the late 70's and early 80's when my Uncle would put systems in his custom vans. Pioneer Supertuner Cassette decks, Pioneer Amps(I think) and Jensen 6x9s. One guy used to cruise around the mall in a '70 Olds Cutlass. Don't know what amps he ran but the thing had ten JBL T595s in the rear deck. That thing was crazy!!! There was a high end audio shop(Home and Car) in the mall and I used to drool over all the A/D/S, Apline & Boston Acoustics equipment. They probably got tired of seeing me. I couldn't afford it!

My first system was around '88 or '89. I had a '78 280-Z with a Yamaha Cassette head unit, Alphasonik 100 watt per channel amp and a Pyle box with 8" woofers and horn tweeters. That is when I learned the value of good wires! LOL!!

My next system went into about 5 cars. Sony XR-7500 cassette with CD changer, PPI 4200AM(black), Boston PRO 6.2s, two Soundstream SS-12. Around '96 I bought a '91 300ZX TT. It had a Bose system and I didn't want to screw with it or lose my hatch. System sat boxed up for years. Then around 2000 I put it in the 300ZX. Sold the system with the car around 2004 and didn't look back.

I have a '69 Nova SS now and wanted to put an amp and 6x9s in it. I picked up a Soundstream Reference 300 off Ebay(because I always wanted one but couldn't afford it.) Next thing you know I am piecing together a system. Next thing you know I have become a collector of the equipment I owned or wanted to own back in the 90's. Sorry for rambling. Just taking a trip down memory lane.
 

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Lol, a friend of mine still has his old T/A, it has six 10s IB in the back and comps. Front I forget but mids and tweets at least. It has two three way xovers and an EQ, three coustic AMP300, an AMP 150, and 4 smaller linear power for highs. He had to put two extra batteries in the trunk to run it for a while after changing out to the biggest alt that would fit on the engine back then. Took the batteries out for daily use, thing has T tops too lol what a fun car. Sometimes wish I would have kept mine.
 

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"oldschool" is overated. Don't tell me an amp from the 90s outperforms a JL HD900/5 for example.
Alpine MRD-F752 Limited production Tripath amp.
Mine (1999) was factory measured @ 4 x 126w @ 4 ohms plus 1 x 272w sub channel on the birth certificate.
Dynaudio 3-way front stage was no problem. Made a very powerful, efficient SQ amp. :)
The Blaupunkt PA series of Tri-Path amps from early 2k were also very capable.
Both of these occasionally come up for sale at good prices even today.
 

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Old school for me is definitely about the memories, and now that I am grown up with a good job I can afford to buy all of the old gear that I lusted over but could never afford growing up.

But also there is a flip side. The good old school gear flies under the radar of the new generation of young car audio enthusiasts so you can get it for way cheaper than even mid-level stuff of today.... that is unless you are in a bid war with another old school fanatic!
 
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