Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

amplifiers, receivers and loudspeakers
Jim Leach
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Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Jim Leach » 08 Feb 2019 17:46

So, this is an expansion of some stuff I posted on the dumpster diver thread.

I want to put together a second office system of vintage components. My first thought was MCS as I have a connection to that stuff from when I was a kid, but thought maybe I should expand my options based on the vast experience here.

Kenwood was the first “other” name to cone to mind based on their continued high regard for ham radio stuff, followed by Nikko. Pioneer was also a big hitter back in the 70’s. Maybe better than Nikko?

So, any input on brands that had great sound, and decent build quality to stand the test of time?

I prefer to avoid anything “rare” or “unusual” just to keep cost down, but you never know what I might find in a pawn shop or thrift store... So if there is a “must have” piece I’ll keep a lookout for it.

Thanks! This should be fun!

Ottermel
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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Ottermel » 08 Feb 2019 18:36

I'd also look into Yamaha receivers and Amps/tuners!
600 series.

jdjohn
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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by jdjohn » 08 Feb 2019 18:40

Did you say separates? How about this Mitsubishi stack?
00J0J_7CYSvuKZ0Ts_600x450.jpg
(44.15 KiB) Downloaded 174 times
For sale here: https://nashville.craigslist.org/ele/d/ ... 28077.html
Wouldn't that be sweet to have? I know the seller, and he does ship, but would likely be cost-prohibitive for you. Still, some nice eye-candy! 8)

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Sunwire » 08 Feb 2019 19:17

All of the Japanese brands, including the less famous brands, made some excellent separates. The biggest differences are in the tuners. The second tier brands sometimes only made only one or two (or zero) great tuners. Great tuners are much harder to make than great preamps or power amps. Check out fmtunerinfo.com for reviews and details.
To save money, go with a second tier (but good) brand like Hitachi, Mitsubishi. You will usually pay more for the top brands like Technics, Pioneer, Kenwood, Sony, and Yamaha.

Jim Leach
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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Jim Leach » 08 Feb 2019 19:54

Great replies- thank you.

See, I had no idea regarding the tuner quality... I’ll read up a bit and see.

Who made the tuners for MCS? I know they had a few suppliers, including Panasonic,toward the end I believe.

Tinkaroo
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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Tinkaroo » 08 Feb 2019 19:55

I don't think anyone has mentioned Sansui yet.

You might want to look through the Vintage Receiver thread in case something catches your interest.

Since this is for an office you can probably get a bargain on the lower powered models on some series. The Kenwood KR-33 I showed in the Vintage Teceivers thread would be perfect for an office due to its size and adequate power. It also sounds great and has that unique vintage look too.

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by jdjohn » 08 Feb 2019 22:16

Tinkaroo wrote:
08 Feb 2019 19:55
I don't think anyone has mentioned Sansui yet.

You might want to look through the Vintage Receiver thread in case something catches your interest.

Since this is for an office you can probably get a bargain on the lower powered models on some series. The Kenwood KR-33 I showed in the Vintage Teceivers thread would be perfect for an office due to its size and adequate power. It also sounds great and has that unique vintage look too.
Tink, I'm not sure Sansui fits into the spirit of 'budget' category. I would add them, Marantz, McIntosh, probably a few others to the premium price list.

Toshiba might be a decent candidate in the budget realm, and possibly NAD and Rotel if you get lucky. Heck, ya might even find some bargain Adcom separates if one is willing to settle for a lower-powered amp; their big-boy amps are not cheap.

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Tinkaroo » 08 Feb 2019 22:48

If you can find one at a reasonable price the Harman Kardon 330B is a great little receiver that would be perfect for an office.

Also check out stuff from Realistic, Sanyo and Hitachi. Fisher and Sherwood are also worth checking out.

As far as the Sansui stuff I mentioned earlier I was thinking more along the lines of a Sansui 331 or 441, the lower powered members in a lineup.Vinyl Master can usually find lots of budget examples on local sites like Craig's. The auction site is usually overpriced but if you look around on it you can sometimes find reasonable deals.

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by jdjohn » 08 Feb 2019 22:59

Good stuff, but maybe I'm taking Jim's term 'separates' too literally :? I think of separates as a 'separate' pre-amp and power amp, and then possibly add a separate tuner, tape deck, etc. Perhaps he means only having a turntable separate from a receiver/amp as opposed to the all-in-one jobs? :-k

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Sunwire » 08 Feb 2019 23:49

At least a couple of MCS tuners were the same as NEC models. I'm not sure who manufactured them. They were "OK", but MUCH better tuners can be found for the same money you would spend on an MCS. They are mentioned on the fmtunerinfo.com site.
I think their preamp/power amps were probably OK.
The MCS turntables I'm aware of were made by Technics and are pretty good. I have one of them.
Some of the Yamaha tuners are real bargains because their general tuner quality was way above average and they sold a lot of them. It may be harder to find preamp/power amp pairs for low prices, however.

Do you have an overall budget in mind?

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by phivates » 09 Feb 2019 00:26

A tech once told me that Mitsubishi was bad at keeping parts available to the service trade. True?
Don't ignore JVC

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by phivates » 09 Feb 2019 00:54

Like the Adcom suggestion. Don't really know if JVC did separates. Maybe the first level of "separates" would be tuner+integrated amp. Or tuner-preamp+power amp, which is a common Adcom combo.

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 09 Feb 2019 00:56

Stole the words right out of my mouth....JVC..a contender for most bang for the buck title, and tend to be very reliable over time, moreso than many other brands. I always think of separates as integrated amp, turntable, speakers, cassette and CD decks. Pre's are fine detailing, receivers relaxing criteria a bit, but neither is foul or harm stigma. Again, some of the lesser known or less popular brands will have similar quality, but also will tend to lie on the outskirts of parts and serviceability (although the component does not know what name is on the front, so same techniques will apply to most), so a little more risky to acquire. Mid-80s stuff is all of similar quality, since the competition was so strong, but prime names will always demand higher prices. A lot of seriously good gear hides behind the Realistic brand name, where some research can reveal the true nature of the beast within. MCS is one of those brands as well. Sanyo parts hide under many "big name brands", and their better house branded components are very good from this era. It is very important to pay attention to the specific time period a component was manufactured. Almost anything late 80s and on is questionable at best, but prior to then, it is hard to go seriously wrong with any recognized manufacturer. Rarity, scarcity and absolute lack of parts must be considered as well. Hitachi, HK, Mitsubishi, NEC and many others all made very good product, but usually in a shorter time frame than the more well known names, largely as a function of scale of economy. Companies such as Matsushita-Panasonic had huge reserves of money and creative talent behind them, so are more recognizable as possible choices. Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer and others later became significant players as well. I think the important thing is to determine the look you like, make sure it falls in the category of quality builders of the era, then look for the absolute best examples you can find.....and embrace it. The look, the sound, the "history" of the marque is something only you have to be happy with. And sometimes, it feels good to be a rebel! Pick a card, any card! :lol:

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by AsOriginallyRecorded » 09 Feb 2019 01:00

JVC was huge at one time when it comes to separates. One of the big names at one time, and enjoyed a period of huge success before the BPC era hit so many manufacturers in the 90s. I'll repeat your sentiments....Don't Overlook JVC! Cheers, and good luck....now the fun begins!

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Re: Preference for vintage separates (on a budget)

Post by Sunwire » 09 Feb 2019 02:05

I've never seen a JVC preamp or power amp.
I think they are pretty rare in the U.S..
They did make a couple of very good tuners, though.

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