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Recommend me some vintage integrated amps

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Inspired by all the great deals some people have gotten, I'm going to my local Goodwill (never been there) next week to see if I can find anything useful. What should I be looking for? The only manufacturers I have in my head are NAD and McIntosh and I'm pretty sure I won't find the latter
post #2 of 31
There are a LOT of great vintage amps that will BLOW AWAY the dedictaed headamps that people rave about. Marantz (1060, 1070), Marantz receivers (2225, 2230, 2270), Sansui (au505, au5900, au7900), Tandberg 33012 Prte-amp, Adcom 565, and yes - lots of NADs (352, 350,370,372,325bee,1020b).
But the truth is it is all hit and miss... The vintage amps are finicky... some sound great with Grados some make Senns sing. Be prepared to be disappointed or blown away. But all that fun experimantation comes at a VERY low price.

My personal Nirvana..... Nikko NA-790 with Senn 600s - absolutely fantastic! And it sucks with lower-impedance cans. BUT it drives my Canton speakers to places that headphones struggle to reach.


Check out Ebay. Check out Craig's. My Nikko came delivered for $55 and sounds better than any headphone amp I have ever owned!
post #3 of 31
I have an NAD 3155 that I got at Goodwill for $20. It makes a great headphone amp. I'm also going to use it for the phono stage. I don't have speakers hooked up to it because my wife is hard of hearing and doesn't like my playing music aloud, hence head-fi.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks both of you!

Maybe I should add:

- I already have a phono stage
- Headphone amp is a big plus, but not totally required
post #5 of 31
You can also check your local craigslist too. I've seen lots of vintage amps on various craigslists in different cities. But it would be safest perhaps to deal with your local craigslist. Even ebay can be good too if you happen to find a lucky deal. I'm using the Marantz 2270 (1971 release).

To me, part of the fun is the hunt. It's part of this hobby.
post #6 of 31
my first vintage amp was a Sansui 6060 that I picked up from Craigslist. A great amp, but the previous owner smoked and I had to take it all apart and clean it out... it was pretty nasty.

I currently have a Marantz 1030 integrated that I got on ebay. It's in very good shape and other then checking it out and cleaning with deoxit I didn't have to do any repairs to it. worth every penny of the $100 shipped I paid for it.

Just a word of advice. There are several models that are very, very popular and go for crazy high prices. the Marantz 2200b's are like this, as are the 1060's and 1070's. Sansui 9090's are very expensive as well. If you look for the not-so-popular but still good units you can get them for much better prices. For example my Sansui 6060 was the little sibling of the 9090, it wasn't as powerful and didn't have the same power supply, but I got it for about 1/6th of the cost. My Marantz 1060 is very similar to the 1060, just less power and about half to 1/3rd the price
post #7 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by soloz2 View Post
my first vintage amp was a Sansui 6060 that I picked up from Craigslist. A great amp, but the previous owner smoked and I had to take it all apart and clean it out... it was pretty nasty.

I currently have a Marantz 1030 integrated that I got on ebay. It's in very good shape and other then checking it out and cleaning with deoxit I didn't have to do any repairs to it. worth every penny of the $100 shipped I paid for it.

Just a word of advice. There are several models that are very, very popular and go for crazy high prices. the Marantz 2200b's are like this, as are the 1060's and 1070's. Sansui 9090's are very expensive as well. If you look for the not-so-popular but still good units you can get them for much better prices. For example my Sansui 6060 was the little sibling of the 9090, it wasn't as powerful and didn't have the same power supply, but I got it for about 1/6th of the cost. My Marantz 1060 is very similar to the 1060, just less power and about half to 1/3rd the price
Hmm, this is not necessarily true. I picked up my Marantz 1060B and 2020 Tuner combo for only $120 shipped to Hawai'i! They both sounded great however, a word of warning; while components back then were built to much higher standards than those of today, you're buying something that's 30-40 years old already so caps dry out, volume pots get noisy, and things have a tendency to go wrong. I love vintage amps and the wonderful sound they make however, I've had three die on me (Pioneer, NAD, and Marantz) so just take the comparatively cheap price with a grain of salt.
post #8 of 31
I'm very fond of the Yamaha CA-**** series, they're all solid amps for speakers, with a resistor-limited headphone circuit, to boot. Usually very reasonably priced, too. I personally own a CA-800.
post #9 of 31
Nakamichi with STASIS. The design is licensed from Nelson Pass's Threshold.
post #10 of 31
When I got my vintage Marantz, I did get it serviced. I payed 3 hundred dollars to get it diagnosed and inspected by a vintage audio specialist. He repaired a minor crack in one of the boards, realigned the tuner, cleaned up the the insides and replaced the lamps with better quality ones. He said the caps were fine and did not need replacement. Maybe I payed too much, I don't know.

But it gave me peace of mind that my Marantz is working to it's potential and there are no internal defects. I don't think it's necessary to get an old vintage amp serviced and inspected by a professional but it's up to you if you have the money and if you highly regard the amp.

To me, I regard my vintage Marantz as a relic of history, an icon of the 70's so that was the reason why I went the extra mile of getting it inspected by a professional and serviced.

If you are on a budget, a 70's Kenwood amp usually goes for around $50-$60 more or less on Craigslist. They are considered to be fine amps as well. An old Yamaha amp is probably less than $100 and good too.
post #11 of 31
Funny. I just picked up a NAD 7125 and a 740 in the same week. Sound good and look cool!
post #12 of 31
Look for anything made by H.H. Scott... but only tube amps. Their solid state stuff was alright, but by then their quality dropped. Good luck. My restored H.H. Scott LK-48 can rival any $1000-$2000 integrated amp today and after everything I spent about $400 on it.
post #13 of 31
Almost anything with a Quad sticker on it will be a good amp but the only integrated model they made was the 77 (and the 77-Carbon). I ran a 33/303 combo for ages and was very happy with it, although I did have to replace some capacitors.
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post
Nakamichi with STASIS. The design is licensed from Nelson Pass's Threshold.
I have a Nak TA-4A which is the 100wpc tuner/amp with STASSIS. Just one step below the PA-7. The last of it's breed I also have a matching CR-4A Cassette recorder and both sound magical with my B&W DM-1800 loudspeakers. Don't know what this stuff goes for these days, but was quite a chunk of change when I bought it all new in the mid 80's. don't think I will be parting with any of it soon
post #15 of 31
Take a look at audiokarma.com. They know about vintage amps. But they don't have much to say about headphones.

BTW, I like headphones amped by vintage receivers, amps etc., let's say late 70's and older. But don't expect miracles. In general their sound is good to very good IMO, but don't come near the sound of better dedicated headphone amps.

In my experience, most of the older amps need work, and sometimes it ain't cheap. Be careful, and don't expect miracles.

Bottom line, if you're on a budget they MAY be a good alternative.
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