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Vintage Receivers

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Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 18 Apr 2014 16:24

I have a few vintage receivers which I tend to like a lot more than some of the more modern ones around. I love the styling, the features and the tone.

If anyone has any vintage receivers they'd like to add here, maybe include a picture and a few words regarding what you like about it, it might be interesting to see.

I will start with my Sansui 2000X. The other day I removed the face-plate to clean some dust and grime from 40 plus years of existence, but that wasn't too hard once I "used my noodle". It was well worth it since it has a beautiful analogue-black out display. I love the tone of this receiver.

It weighs a ton. Has a nice wood case. Sansui built really nice equipment back then. It puts out about 40 watts RMS/side of good clean power.
Sansui 2000X Front4.jpg

sansui-2000X front.jpg

sansui-2000X front2.jpg

Sansui 2000X Front3.jpg

Sansui 2000 back.jpg
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby ginniegatrit » 18 Apr 2014 20:36

1970 Pioneer SX 770.
Cool blackface!
https://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb184/ginniegatrit/pioneerSX770_zpsa0e180f5.png

1978 Kenwood KT-3090
https://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb184/ginniegatrit/kenwoodKR3090_zpsdec5fc81.png

1986 Fisher CA-35 (was part of a rack system)
https://i204.photobucket.com/albums/bb184/ginniegatrit/fisherCA35_zpse2de5948.png
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 18 Apr 2014 21:43

Very nice Ginnie! The early Pioneers have a good build quality. The blue lights look pretty cool. I have a Pioneer TX-900 tuner from around that time frame.

I also like the Kenwoods from that era too.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby pcutter1 » 18 Apr 2014 22:18

I can agree with you about Sansui, it was a tragedy that they went the way they did, I had hoped that the resurrection that was tried recently would be successful, especially as some of the newly introduced gear got good reviews, unfortunately the next thing I knew was their new separates being knocked out at 1/2 price.
The UK is not, and never really has been a predominately Receiver market, unlike the USA, but my recollection of that period was the spec wars involving the Japanese manufacturers introducing equipment with (increasingly and competitively) lower and lower distortion levels (THD) while all the time they were getting increasingly worse reviews in the UK audio press. I have to admit that I've never used Japanese amps from that period, at the time I was using British (transistor and valve) and Norwegian, the original Electrocompaniet. I often look at the Valved Luxman equipment that gets advertised. Tape decks, CD players and so on were Japanese, the Sony Walkman Pro was a gem.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 19 Apr 2014 11:36

pcutter1 wrote:I can agree with you about Sansui, it was a tragedy that they went the way they did, I had hoped that the resurrection that was tried recently would be successful, especially as some of the newly introduced gear got good reviews, unfortunately the next thing I knew was their new separates being knocked out at 1/2 price.
The UK is not, and never really has been a predominately Receiver market, unlike the USA, but my recollection of that period was the spec wars involving the Japanese manufacturers introducing equipment with (increasingly and competitively) lower and lower distortion levels (THD) while all the time they were getting increasingly worse reviews in the UK audio press. I have to admit that I've never used Japanese amps from that period, at the time I was using British (transistor and valve) and Norwegian, the original Electrocompaniet. I often look at the Valved Luxman equipment that gets advertised. Tape decks, CD players and so on were Japanese, the Sony Walkman Pro was a gem.


I think there may have been some prejudice towards Japanese equipment involved with some of the domestic critics in the early days. At one time things produced in Japan may have been seen in the same light as some of the early recent stuff we have seen coming from China.

What they didn't see was the commitment to building the best that was cornerstone of some of the Japanese manufacturers at that time.

It was unfortunate that as time moved on past the 1970's that all the manufacturers had to cheapen their products in order to survive. To sell as high quality built equipment would have made them prohibitively expensive.

I think some of these all in one plasticized units that that passed as stereos into the 90's and beyond are basically disposable junk. If the slightest thing goes wrong with them they end up in the trash, since they aren't worth fixing.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby pcutter1 » 19 Apr 2014 22:23

I tend to agree with that point of view, the UK Hi-Fi press at the time was very prejudiced, and many of the British producers and their products were unworthy of the praises heaped on them, I used to be a user of a pair of amps made by a feted manufacturer of the time, their quality control was so bad that they had a return rate of over 100% and went bust. Having said that my TEAC CD transport managed a 300% in warranty return rate, but they are a multi national conglomerate so they didn't go to the wall.

The Japanese didn't turn to cheap mass produced audio units for their home market or the US, most of the equipment that they considered suitable for themselves were/are on a par with the best Europe or the US could/can produce. The main problem is the requirement to get CE approval for all electrical equipment imported into the EU, it adds a few pence to the mass produced pap that most people are happy to buy, use until it breaks and then throw away. In the case of the small quantities that would be imported in the case of a £20,000 amp and similarly priced CD and speakers etc. it would add vast amounts to the retail price. As an instance, in the 90's I decided to buy a top of the range Alesis power amp, no problem got hold of it quite easily, just went into a pro equipment shop in London, paid up and walked out with it, 6 months later I decided to bridge it and get another, the EU had, in the meantime, introduced the CE requirement, I had to scour the internet and eventually found the last available one in the country, they had stopped importing them as "We only sell a few of those each year so it's not worth having the CE testing done", they continued to import the mass market power amps as the sales made the cost worthwhile.
I presently use mass market equipment only for Blu Ray, even so it's not the bottom of the range, as I find that (like computers) it's obsolete before my card payment gets processed by the bank. I have recently used a couple of Japanese branded (made in Malaysia or China so the Japanese won't rush to buy it) AV receivers and found them to be very good both sound and features wise, certainly the current run of the mill gear is greatly improved in comparison to a top of the (UK) range unit from 7 or 8 years ago.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 24 Apr 2014 11:59

This is the Harman Kardon 330B which was produced from about 1973-74. It is pretty simple and basic, but also very well built.

It makes a great receiver for an office, a bedroom or a smaller area. The specs are modest, but in reviews it performed as well as much more expensive receivers. It cost about 200 dollars and my version was built in Japan.

Rated at 17 watts RMS per channel over full range,or 21 Watts at 1 Khz. Some tests have measured the output at 39 W/channel.

Features, tuning meter, one tape monitor, one phono input, one aux input, contour (loudness) on/off, stereo/mono selector, speakers 1 and 2 selectors on/off, AM, FM, FM stereo, phono, and tape amp/aux selectors. Also separate bass and treble controls.

Great build quality and really nice tone.

Harman Kardon 330B Front.jpg

Harman Kardon 330B Back.jpg
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby KentT » 24 Apr 2014 16:38

Main problem with Japanese better gear in the USA is this. Most common brands here are sold in discount outlets. High end gear from same brand as a result is unmarketable as the cheaper products from that make hurt sales of higher end products. So, the best Japanese brands get lumped together. Yamaha especially suffers from this as they have no high end brand to sell at US specialty Hi Fi shops. Denon and Marantz are among the few which are mainly sold at better dealers. Japan does not have this issue.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 30 Apr 2014 11:54

This is my Harman Kardon 75+ Quad receiver. It was built about 1973 and was part of the Twin Powered receiver series which featured 2 power transformers. It was based on their philosophy of producing clean power over a wide bandwith.

In Quad mode it puts out 18 watts per channel RMS at 8 ohms. I have it set up for stereo mode where it produces 45 watts per channel. It has some nice stereo and matrix modes and features a joystick for balancing the speaker output.

It has phono, auxiliary and a couple of tape inputs. It has a wonderful tonal quality in either FM or turntable use.

HarmanKardon75+Front.jpg


HarmanKardon75+Back.jpg
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby katana1100 » 30 Apr 2014 15:05

Any thoughts on this Hitachi that is for sale in my area?

http://reno.craigslist.org/eld/4401541476.html
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 30 Apr 2014 18:03

katana1100 wrote:Any thoughts on this Hitachi that is for sale in my area?

http://reno.craigslist.org/eld/4401541476.html


It is probably a good receiver, but he is asking outrageous money for what would be considered an "off brand" as far as stereo equipment is concerned. Hitachi wasn't noted for their receivers and amps to the same degree as Sansui, Pioneer, Marantz, Yamaha, Kenwood, Luxman, etc..

They mention other brands and models in the ad, all of which would be much more desirable and which would have a bigger market and better resale values.

With something like the Hitachi receiver advertised, they probably didn't sell very many of them and getting parts for it would be next to impossible. Besides all of that I don't think you really need that much power for other than specialized applications. It was probably from the wattage wars, when everyone was trying to outdo the next guy for bragging rights. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby katana1100 » 01 May 2014 15:10

Tinkaroo wrote:
katana1100 wrote:With something like the Hitachi receiver advertised, they probably didn't sell very many of them and getting parts for it would be next to impossible. Besides all of that I don't think you really need that much power for other than specialized applications. It was probably from the wattage wars, when everyone was trying to outdo the next guy for bragging rights. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better.


Well, I bet it would likely sound better than the king of power wars (that 300+ watt Technics).
He has ad for electronic repairs that he does out of his house part time, he originally listed it at $1600, then $1400, now $1200. It does have a lot of stuff on it, but I wouldn't spend $600 on it, much less $1200 just cuz I'm cheap! As it is, I have a pretty nice Realistic 2100d that is pretty neglected, sitting in the bedroom, rarely used.
I also have a never used Realistic SA2001 amp and nos Realistic TA 1001 tuner (got off ebay for $75, came in box with original packaging and looked like it was never taken out) and those things were made by Hitachi, so I guess I have my fill of Hitachi stuff (they are made quite well, love the real walnut veneer cabinets).
I bet that receiver sounds great and is well made, just happens to be the product that no one asked about- more or less, an "orphan receiver".
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 01 May 2014 15:38

I'm sure that your Realistic receivers sound great. I read that some were made by a company called Foster.

The highest power amp I have is a Denon which puts out about 120 Watts/channel. I rarely turn it up past 1/4. For most home applications depending on speakers 40 watts is plenty of power. My 20 watt/channel Harman Kardon sounds great as I'm sure most 20 watt/channel Marantz receivers do.

It isn't cheap to seek out the best value for your money, it is sensible. I would rather get something good for a bargain, than spend twice what it is realistic for the same item.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Argon66 » 01 May 2014 21:57

Not a receiver...but my vintage Sansui AU5900.

It absolutely blows away my modern Yamaha for 2ch stereo. No setting on the Yammie, even pure direct, can come remotely close to what the Sansui does across the board (stage, slam, warmth, detail, etc).

Not sure what I would have to spend in todays market to match the quality I am getting from this beauty, but I'm pretty sure it would be out of reach for my budget.

Every day I throw the switch, I hold my breath for a red light and 2 channel bliss.
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Re: Vintage Receivers

Postby Tinkaroo » 01 May 2014 22:03

Argon66 wrote:My Sansui AU5900.

It absolutely blows away my Yamaha for 2ch stereo. Not sure what I would have to spend in todays market to match the quality I am getting from this beauty, but I'm pretty sure it would be out of reach.


It looks great and probably sounds amazing too. Do you have a tuner to go with it?

I've owned a Sansui 8080 and currently a 2000X, and hopefully will find a nice Sansui amp someday too.
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