Should you retain or replace existing components?

In contrast to catching the flu bug, being infected by the hi-fi bug usually happens over the course of time and not suddenly. It is extremely rare that you suddenly get the urge overnight to put a completely new system together. Many hi-fi enthusiasts still have an old Thorens or Dual record-player sitting in the attic, cellar or storeroom somewhere – or a well-used Luxman integrated amplifier.
That raises the question as to whether you should buy new components to complement existing ones or really push the boat out and buy a completely new system. The answer is comparatively straightforward: In the past ten years a lot has happened in hi-fi technology. Especially as far as loudspeakers and amplifiers are concerned, it is normally no longer worthwhile keeping those old “gems”. If you can’t exactly call genuine “vintage equipment” your own – which can also be of interest in terms of resale value – you are much better off making a clean break and investing your money in new equipment.
Nowadays many companies make premium-sound-quality loudspeakers at surprisingly inexpensive prices. It’s a similar story with amplifiers. Even if your humdinger of an amp, which you bought 20 years ago at considerable expense, still cuts quite a visual dash – it’s highly likely that a modern amplifier priced in the hundreds will outperform it soundwise.
Therefore our advice is: you don’t have to get rid of it straightaway. Treat your existing hi-fi components to a few socially acceptable twilight years in your bedroom or dining room. And start to a certain extent from scratch in your actual listening space…

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