Opinions on vintage receivers?
Mar 5, 2019 at 9:10 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

VocaloidDude

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There's one person on this forum who highly recommends them, and so does the music reviewer Anthony Fantano, AKA "The Needle Drop". I want a wider consensus though. Here are my questions.

- Are there comparably priced amps with better components and sound today?

- Are old school amps mostly about the cool vintage look?

- If there's a real advantage to them (especially considering some of them are powerful enough to blow out your bookshelf speakers, which mine peak at 100 watts), what would that advantage be?

I'm certainly intrigued, I just want more information. I will be using them mainly for bookshelf speakers, but it would be neat to hear them power high ohm headphones like the AKG K240 600ohm.
 
Mar 5, 2019 at 3:01 PM Post #2 of 16

LarryM

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My two cents' worth:

Are there comparably priced amps with better components and sound today?
Not that I'm aware of. Since most vintage receivers sell at used prices (typically $100-$300 in my neck of the woods), they are considerably cheaper than the cost of a new amp of similar or better quality (say, a Denon or Marantz receiver, which would run you $600 to $1000).

Are old school amps mostly about the cool vintage look?
Do you mean the appeal of buying a receiver from the 1970s? If so, no, many of them were well made and still sound pretty good, and as I already pointed out, buying, say, a Pioneer receiver from 1978 for $150 gives you better sound than spending $150 on a brand new audio amplifier. Consider the cost of inflation (at least in the U.S.) since 1978, and a new receiver that sold then for $200 would cost $900 in today's dollars.

And keep in mind that the audio consumer world was very different in 1978 than it is now. Having a good stereo was an expectation/aspiration far more widespread than it is now (again, speaking of the U.S.). There was more competition among more manufacturers for a far larger consumer demographic. So the motivation (profit motive) to make good sounding equipment was stronger. The bar was set higher.

If there's a real advantage to them (especially considering some of them are powerful enough to blow out your bookshelf speakers, which mine peak at 100 watts), what would that advantage be?
As I said, many of them were well built. (What percentage of today's mid-fi consumer electronics will still be working in 40 years?) Having too much power is better than having too little (as long as you don't harm your speakers or your ears with that extra power).

The disadvantage of vintage equipment is that they will need some work to sound as good as they're designed to. Electrolytic capacitors are not designed to last 40 years and will need to be replaced.
 
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Mar 5, 2019 at 3:34 PM Post #3 of 16

Monsterzero

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Mar 5, 2019 at 5:24 PM Post #4 of 16

Spareribs

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Overall, I like vintage receivers but there are some cautions:

I have a Marantz vintage receiver that was built around 1972. It sounds really good and the headphone jack is good too. But it cost around $300 to service it. A few years later, there’s problems again so it’s sitting in my basement in storage. I probably will get it serviced again eventually because I think they are cool. There’s definitely a coolness of the vintage receivers but keeping them in working condition can be annoying.
 
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Mar 5, 2019 at 5:31 PM Post #5 of 16

VocaloidDude

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Mar 5, 2019 at 5:33 PM Post #6 of 16

Monsterzero

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Overall, I like vintage receivers but there are some cautions:

I have a Marantz vintage receiver that was built around 1972. It sounds really good and the headphone jack is good too. But it cost around $300 to service it, a few years later. There’s problems again so it’s sitting in my basement in storage. I probably will get it serviced again eventually because I think they are cool. There’s definitely a coolness of the vintage receivers but keeping them in working condition can be annoying.

Yep. Two of my receivers need to see the tech,which usually runs me around $100-125.00 per receiver to get back up and running,unless a recap is needed,then its closer to $300.00
My Sansui 881 runs 7 days a week,15 hours per day and has only needed one trip to tech(when I first got it)and still sounds great three years later.


And keep in mind that the audio consumer world was very different in 1978 than it is now. Having a good stereo was an expectation/aspiration far more widespread than it is now (again, speaking of the U.S.). There was more competition among more manufacturers for a far larger consumer demographic. So the motivation (profit motive) to make good sounding equipment was stronger. The bar was set higher.

Excellent point. The wattage wars of the mid to late 1970s was a massive win for the consumer!
Another thing to consider is that modern gear crams so much extra stuff under the hood that the SQ not only isnt the top priority,theres simply not enough space in there for massive great sounding amp section.
Vintage gear was designed to do one thing...make music sound good. No Bluetooth. No iPod dock. No multi channel decoders. No internal DACs. No HDMI....Just plain epic sounding music.
 
Mar 5, 2019 at 7:36 PM Post #7 of 16

atarione

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This is one of my Vintage rigs.. Sony TA-N77ES, TA-E77ESD, 700ES , 730ES..etc 200WPC @8Ohms.. the headphone section on the Pre is really strong.. drives Fostex T50RP Mk3's fine ..weights alot got it cheap ($75 for the stack.. I got lucky AF... amp usually sells north of a grand on ebay).. have it hooked up to the also pictured Yamaha NS-344 10" 3ways.. ($50) .. I could make my neighbors very annoyed with this thing.. sounds great... rocking quite hard for $125~ish (turntable was another $20 and I had to buy a $20 lamp kit for the amp).

ta_n77es_2.jpg
 
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Mar 6, 2019 at 1:08 AM Post #8 of 16

Spareribs

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Nice photo ^

Back then, a receiver like that was really all you needed in life and they’re good. It was like in all the house holds and everyone was drinking Budweiser.
 
Mar 6, 2019 at 1:43 AM Post #9 of 16

PopZeus

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I have a vintage Sansui G-6000 that I wish I had room to set up. Waiting for a day when I can find a spot for it in my living room.
 
Mar 6, 2019 at 4:03 PM Post #11 of 16

Monsterzero

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Mar 6, 2019 at 4:06 PM Post #12 of 16

nordkapp

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Wow man, I dont think Ive ever seen that model before. It looks to be a mid to late 60s model. Any idea of mfg. date?
Truly beautiful!
I believe it to be manufactured in very early 70's. I can't believe how well preserved it is. I told him to keep it but he wants out of it......
 
Mar 7, 2019 at 11:48 AM Post #13 of 16

fishda30

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I don't know anything about electronics that go with this yamaha a1020 but they do sound so good paired with my he560s. So good that i don't use my dedicated hp amp, burson ha160s.
 

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Jun 18, 2021 at 3:51 PM Post #14 of 16

buson160man

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I use to have a concept 16.5 but unfortunately the volume pot went bad. It was a 1970s vintage receiver from the Pacific Stereo chain the volume control is unobtainable so I had to get rid of it. Oh I wish I could have somehow gotten it fixed. It was a honey 160 watts rms per channel. Dual transformers one per channel. It weighed 67 pounds. I had read of someone in california who had rebuilt the volume potentiometer but shipping it to California would have been a pretty expensive and possibly risky proposition. It made one heck of a headphone amp. It even had two front panel headphone out jacks. I bought it used from a local hifi shop. It had been recapped and refurbished. I had replaced the fuses with isocean fuses. There were two fuses with a 7 amp rating. That was probably a pretty hefty rating for a receiver from the 1970s. Concept was the flagship model for a premium house brand for the Pacific Stereo chain back then. The receiver was made in Japan.
 
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Jun 18, 2021 at 5:31 PM Post #15 of 16

Monsterzero

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I use to have a concept 16.5 but unfortunately the volume pot went bad. It was a 1970s vintage receiver from the Pacific Stereo chain the volume control is unobtainable so I had to get rid of it. Oh I wish I could have somehow gotten it fixed. It was a honey 160 watts rms per channel. Dual transformers one per channel. It weighed 67 pounds. I had read of someone in california who had rebuilt the volume potentiometer but shipping it to California would have been a pretty expensive and possibly risky proposition. It made one heck of a headphone amp. It even had two front panel headphone out jacks. I bought it used from a local hifi shop. It had been recapped and refurbished. I had replaced the fuses with isocean fuses. There were two fuses with a 7 amp rating. That was probably a pretty hefty rating for a receiver from the 1970s. Concept was the flagship model for a premium house brand for the Pacific Stereo chain back then. The receiver was made in Japan.
Concept receivers by all accounts were excellent sounding. The 16.5 is worth a few thousand dollars these days
 

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