Vintage Equipment VS Modern High-End Tech

In terms of professional audio equipment and musical instruments, the word “vintage” can be described in different ways. For example, this word means a certain high quality from the past or a characteristic of the best period of a person or company. In other areas, this item can be called Antiques. Whether vintage objects are vintage microphones, hangers, guitars, basses, drums or something else, they are highly desirable because of their high quality:

  • sound;
  • music conversion;
  • skills;
  • age;
  • originals.

What makes a guitar worth $500,000? – The name of the famous person who played it, provided you can prove it. Does this $500,000 guitar play better than another similar guitar? Maybe not, but it has a history, and that is part of its value. The Shure SM7B can be a good microphone with fair market value unless it’s the SM7B that Michael Jackson used to record his vocals.

Is vintage equipment always better?

There is always a certain invisible character that accompanies vintage gear. There are Peter Frampton’s “Phenix” 1954 Les Paul Custom, Eddie Van Halen Frankenstein, or Brian May’s home guitar. They carry history, but you can get collector’s recreations (replicas) of those guitars that are impossible (or almost impossible) to distinguish from the original. And it can be extremely difficult to know if you’re looking at vintage or “replica” (designed to look like an old, intensely used instrument).

When it comes to studio equipment, does it have any acoustic value, do you sing to the original Telefunken ELA M 251E (worth $25,000) or to its exact replication? Does the original Pultec EQ sound better than an available copy of Pultec? Will anyone other than you sitting in a recording studio be able to hear the difference? Is it really possible to hear the difference between vintage and novelty?

What about vintage microphones?

Let’s take a look at the microphones. Vintage originals definitely have their place. The presence of a unique collection item not only has sound advantages (many of them were created by hand and are really unique) but can also have a psychological impact on the singer.

If someone takes out a $25,000 microphone to record your vocal or guitar, it’s something special! Especially if you find out that Dolly Parton, Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, or Aretha Franklin used the same microphone when they sang their best hits.

Vintage versus new

The old ones:
  1. Its importance will probably never diminish.
  2. It is a desirable tool that serves for decades and will serve as long.
  3. Its rarity increases its desirability and price.
  4. You will have the right to brag.
  5. The apparatus may be associated with respected artists or recordings.
New ones:
  1. You don’t have to worry about maintenance, repairs and spare parts.
  2. Usually, these are stronger and more reliable devices.
  3. Comes with factory warranty.
  4. You know the complete history of the item.
  5. Typically, the price will be lower.
  6. Support and public information available.
  7. Often have the best modern features.
  8. Can offer compatibility and features not found in older devices.
  9. May be easier to use.

You can make great recordings with almost any microphone. But you can also ruin the sound with a $30,000 compressor or a $6,000 EQ. The truth is, regardless of the age and origin of the microphone/equalizer/guitar/amplifier, the resulting sound is in the hands of an engineer or musician.


Interesting related article: “What is Technology?