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Vintage receivers vs. portable amps

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
budget=100$
SQ=the only important thing to me.
which would be the best value?
what brands\models of old receivers to look for?
post #2 of 20
I'd go with a vintage receiver, if only because it gives you many more options. Most have a radio receiver built in as well as a phono stage. If you get the itch for vinyl, you will save a few hundred on a phono stage.

I'm not terribly up on the models, but I think the Marantz receivers are awfully nice. You can find more here:

Tuner Information Center - Vintage Stereo Tuners
post #3 of 20
Vintage receivers from the 70's, Marantz, Kenwood or Yamaha. I owned several of these and all had good to very good headphone out.
post #4 of 20
Vintage all the way. and there's a quite nice choice of these in Israel

I've had a few from Marantz, Rotel, Kenwood, and others. All sound better than most headphone amps in the same price, and offer much more options.

I've used my Rotel RX-845 to drive headphones such as the K340's, K1000's and others. The great thing about the older amp is that the headphone stage is connected to the speakers stage with a resistor (so it wont short circuit when connecting the headphones plug) so it has real amplification unlike newer amps.

In fact, a friend of mine who owns a pair of modded K340s' and a modded DV336i actually prefers connecting the headphones to his vintage Rotel than to his DV when listening to fast music such as rock. In classical, jazz, and other soft/slower genres his all tubes
post #5 of 20
I want to do this exact thing. Run my iPod to a vintage Marantz receiver. I'll need to split the output from the mp3 player to a right and left RCA. Which method does everyone prefer for the output from the iPod - headphone jack or Dock Connector Port?
post #6 of 20
I have a very nice early 70s Harman Kardon integrated amp that sound terrific through speakers. Given the same source, it sounds "warmer" than my Headroom Airhead. That can be a good thing or you could see it as lacking clarity. It is a little bit of both, I suspect. But there is no question that the HK provides more power and more/better bottom end. Which is better? I think that might depend on your phones.

Lots of good vintage stuff out there with good headphone sections, though -- HK, Marantz, Sansui, Kenwood, Yamaha...

Budget to have it serviced immediately, though. Dirty contacts and pots and leaking caps can suck all the joy out of vintage.
Tim
post #7 of 20
While they are very hit-and-miss, vintage receivers are (can be?) the best value hp amps. I use a Nikko integrated and it is warm and detailed and has power to drive anything I have used with authority. They do not get too much respect here and someone will soon surely write how they are just an afterthought to the manufacturers, but I have heard severalk good ones and the Nikko I use daily competes with everything I have owned and is only equalled by the Doge I currently own outfitted w/ RCA blackplates. The Nikko cost me $55 delieverd to my door off fleabay.
post #8 of 20
Your sure bet to get the best sound quality / performance that you will prefer is to post a thread with your budget, your model of cans, your uses for the cans like gaming, movies, and types of music you listen to, your preference for a portable amp or amp/DAC, and then choose wisely. Otherwise, if buying vintage, your best bet would be to try out the amp with your headphones before buying, and that could be tough or impossible to do. If buying vintage, remember you will be dealing with analog connections.

I bought 2 different highly regarded vintage Marantz integrated amps on eBay and neither one drove my Sennheiser HD580 or HD650 as well as my HotUSB1 Amp/DAC that I bought recently for under $100. These vintage amps did drive my cans far louder than needed, which my HotUSB1 does not do. My vintage amps did drive my bookshelf speakers quite nicely though, in a pleasing and warm sounding way, but not nearly as well or as clean as my Panasonic XR55 digital receiver did.

Here were my concerns with my vintage amps. I had no way of knowing how long either were going to continue working since they had about 30 years on them, but neither broke down for the short time I had them. I did not know if the parts were original or had been replaced with something inferior. I did not want to learn how to tell for myself if the parts were original, just no interest in opening them up. I took the better sounding amp of the two to a local vintage audio shop for servicing, but I had no way of knowing if they replaced any original parts with something inferior. However, the shop owner did tell me its parts were original. If buying vintage again, I definitely would buy only after trying my headphones in the store, and only while comparing to a decent portable amp.

I am not suggesting vintage amps cannot be enjoyed, or that vintage amps or portable amps have better sound quality than the other. That's simply a matter of preference. You may find a vintage amp that you would prefer its sound to a portable amp, but then again you may not. Again, your best bet for sound quality / performance, and the sound quality that you will prefer is with a portable amp or amp/DAC.
post #9 of 20
One newbish question: What is the use of a receiver? Is it any help (SQ-wise) if I hook it to my home amp and CD player? Thanks.
post #10 of 20

Well the really good receivers of the bygone era are really expensiver like the Mcintosh around $500-1500 and then again you could buy a decent combo if DAc and amp for that price too. Only way to know is to try. Some people say lowend headphone amps like LittleDot MkIV pale in comparison to the Mcintosh, but then again the Mcintosh is pretty darn expensive.

post #11 of 20
if you have the desk space and don't mind the weight cause they tend to be out of high quality wood or metal and use heavy big power transformers and large high value uf caps then i would go vintage. just make sure all pots are clean and nothing is wrong with it cause lot of people do not know how to maintain and take care of things.

brand really doesn't matter and i'm not big fan of marantz and pioneer like lot of people here. i tend to be fond of kenwood,yamaha,sansui,rotel,Altec Lansing,Sony,Hitachi and Onkyo. i tend to favor sansui and yamaha the most tho from my personal experience while kenwood always has a special place for me and one of the most under-rated brands.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DNT View Post

One newbish question: What is the use of a receiver? Is it any help (SQ-wise) if I hook it to my home amp and CD player? Thanks.

all a receiver is, is basically same thing as an integrated amp but with a tuner section added. people tend not to believe in receivers cause they're ''all in one'' unit and believe in separates(power amp,pre-amp,tuner) but most of the receivers built in the 70's and 80's used all the same power amp and pre-amp sections as their separates most likely but were bit bigger casing and cost more cause it was more then just a power amp.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by senns&nonsense View Post

While they are very hit-and-miss, vintage receivers are (can be?) the best value hp amps. I use a Nikko integrated and it is warm and detailed and has power to drive anything I have used with authority. They do not get too much respect here and someone will soon surely write how they are just an afterthought to the manufacturers, but I have heard severalk good ones and the Nikko I use daily competes with everything I have owned and is only equalled by the Doge I currently own outfitted w/ RCA blackplates. The Nikko cost me $55 delieverd to my door off fleabay.


Nikko has the best value on the used market!

post #14 of 20

I can't believe nobody has mentioned any of the vintage pioneer receivers from the mid to late 70's quite possibly some of the best depending on what model you get and for what price you acquire it for. 

I might be biased though since I use a pioneer sx-939 as my main amp for cans, and it sounds fantastic.

post #15 of 20

If you do fancy a vintage receiver come over and check out this thread...

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/537704/calling-all-vintage-integrated-receiver-owners

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