Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

Considering a Vintage SS Receiver- my findings

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by allied333, May 3, 2021.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    First, no way would I want an early op-amp in the phono section and 1974 on up receivers can be equipped with the op-amp. Newer op-amps are far superior, but the new 8 pin package does not fit early op-amps. And, I would not buy any new op-amp phono-stage. I did not search all receivers, but did look up Pioneer, Marantz, Kenwood, Onkyo, Sanyo, and Sansui. Not only are these more mainstream receivers, they look good. The Pioneer and Marantz has the edge in looks. I also did not look later than 1980 and likely most 1980s receivers have op-amps. I also did not look up much under 35 watts. Myself, I would want at least 50 watts into 8 ohms speakers of the average 87dB sensitivity. At average to somewhat loud listening, 50 watts per channel should not clip driving 87dB sensitive speakers.

    I own just one vintage receiver and it was a freebie. An Allied 395 (Pioneer SX-1000TW) and it looks mint. Dial lamps no discolor thus likely 2000 hours use or less. No statically controls and worked well. I rebuilt it for far superior sound using audio grade capacitors and 2.5 times the high voltage capacitance. It is quite close to my best tube amp. Op-amps were not used in 1970 as the Allied 395 year of manufacture. I may want another vintage receiver to rebuild, thus my research. Anyways, only three brands of receivers passed the no op-amp requirement.

    First, lower power Pioneers have op-amps. You have to purchase Pioneers SX-800 series or higher number series to avoid the op-amp. The SX-850 is a 65 watt per channel receiver. These are expensive receivers on ebay. Pioneer knew fully discrete beats the pants off of an op-amp. Why Pioneer would save $10 on a $300 receiver makes no sense using the inferior op-amp. Charge $310.

    Marantz 22xx series does not have op-amps. Either does Onkyo have op-amps. I looked up the TX-4500 and higher series. The TX-4500 is 55 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms.

    The Marantz is more expensive with Pioneer SX-800 and higher series not far behind. Onkyo is a seriously good constructed receiver and the TX-4500 sells for about $250 to $450 in working and good cosmetic condition. That is about less than 1/2 the price of Pioneer and 1/3 cost of Marantz.

    The Onkyo is by far the best deal on a vintage receiver. After being rebuilt, it will sound great. No reason Marantz or Pioneer will sound better. They all used basically the same parts back then.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
  2. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Almost all of the 70's receivers are in a "steer clear" category to me. Little thought about noise isolation, a rat's nest of wires and intractable trim pots all over the place. If you thought moving a pointer on a string was work, try FM alignment. They have specs that are on par with LPs or tape, not CD. Even go without a tuner, and you get something that's better replaced than "rebuilt":

    [​IMG]

    Op amp is just a type of circuit. Just because you only see discrete transistors (or even tubes) doesn't mean you don't have an op amp.
    [​IMG]

    Today, $0.60 single op amp-based phono, DD grade selected for RIAA noise. +/- 0.1dB, -80dB SNR + THD. 1" x 2" of circuit board...
    [​IMG]

    I could improve on this only by 0.3dB noise with 20x more expensive op amps, and then still have to disqualify many with burst noise. 15dB better than any iteration of Realistic-type phono preamp discrete transistor circuit.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2021
    patient_ot likes this.
  3. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    The schematics are very clear if the receiver has an op-amp. All schematics show the typical op-amp pinout in a case with the standard dotted line around it. Discrete is shown with the separate transistors, capacitors and resistors. The op-amp does not show the internal construction.

    As for FM alignment, all vintage receivers I owned were in good alignment. Unless a component is failing, re-alignment is not normally needed.
     
  4. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Here's some discrete components - no op amps here, right?

    [​IMG]

    In fact - that is an op amp itself, "The 990 discrete op-amp is the finest op-amp available for audio applications. If you want superior sound quality, the 990 can provide it. The 990 is used in the most critical audio applications. Several mic preamps and other products using the 990 are available from the John Hardy Company". here's how one might use it:
    [​IMG]

    It is indeed unlikely that a 70's Japan receiver is going to be using discrete op-amp topology vs a simple transistor amp, but I'm just providing some evidence that one can't dismiss a product just because of what you do or don't see at first blush in a schematic.
     
  5. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Errrr, LM letters says it all. Thanks for the 990 tip.
     
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Never heard a 70s receiver I really liked, then again hardly any of them are usually fully rebuilt and full of out of spec parts. Heard a whole bunch too since I'm near several stores that sell a lot of them. Full rebuild cost will exceed the FMV of the unit in many cases, unless you DIY. Even then you have to account for the value of your time.
     
  7. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    If you think that is the way to judge what will sound best you are up for a bumpy ride, perhaps you'll be lucky and never discover how wrong you are.
     
    Swann36 and PooreBoy like this.
  8. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
     
  9. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    I help my fellow audiophiles to buy a better sounding vintage receiver. It is posted everywhere on the internet early op-amps are poor sounding, but many audiophiles cannot read a schematic. Early op-amps are not an issue for you, get informed. So, I hope you do not mind if I give others recommendations for the better vintage SS receivers. Your post is dead wrong, stop passing on bad info that is misinforming others.
     
    ddarch likes this.
  10. Bruno Primas

    Bruno Primas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    The Pioneer SX-450, 550, 750 and up, used discrete output transistors. Only the 650 used power packs.
     
  11. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Yes, and the power packs fail. They are rated at 45 watts.
     
  12. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Rebuilds as listed on ebay are about $400 including parts.
     
  13. jfine

    jfine Forum Resident

    Still have my marantz 2285. Bone stock (no LEDS either) except for power board recap/relay.

    It's handy when you need to test things, like it can be just a preamp, or just an amp, or just a tuner (monitor out), or phono stage.
     
    jesterthejedi likes this.
  14. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    That is an expensive receiver.
     
  15. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    BTW- The Onkyo TX-2500 is about $200 and produces 45 watts per channel. The TX-4500 is an average of $300 and produces 55 watts per channel.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  16. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Marantz top and Pioneer bottom images.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    One vintage receiver benefit is tone and loudness controls that can contour the sound to your speakers. It is a shame most new amplifiers do not have tone controls. And, in the case of my Allied 395 it sounds about as good as my tube amp after a rebuild with audio quality coupling capacitors. I would guess it sounds as good as Cambridge CXA81 and Rega Brio and only thr Rega has a phono section. The Cambridge is 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms and the Rega Brio is 50 watts into 8 ohms. Power wise, no difference depending upon model of vintage receiver. And, most vintage receivers were under-rated power output wise. All vintage receivers include a phono-amp. The Rega and Cambridge amps are quieter (lower noise), but once -80dB is met as in vintage receivers, it makes no difference for most listeners. And, the best vinyl records cannot exceed -67dB noise level thus the receivers in phono adds nothing.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    ddarch likes this.
  18. Bruno Primas

    Bruno Primas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin

    The Onkyo TX-4500 produced 55 wpc. The Onkyo you pictured looks like a 4500 MKII which puts out 60wpc.
     
  19. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    My error, the TX-4500 does produce 60 watts per channel. It is the best bargain out there for $300 to $35o in good and operating condition. Cannot DIY? Rebuilders on ebay will replace all the capacitors including audio grade for $400. Ask the rebuilder to use SIC rectifiers for smoother sound.
    If vintage receivers were reproduced today, they would likely cost $5K. Unlike new SS amplifiers, vintage receivers have tone controls to tailor the sound to your speakers. After rebuilding with new audio grade capacitors, in my experience they likely would sound as good an new SS amps in the $1K+ range. My Allied 395 is 'pushing' my best tube amplifier. The build quality of vintage receivers are like commercial products.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
    waaguirr likes this.
  20. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I miss the days when picking a receiver was based on simple, objective information: Does it look cool, can it play loud, can I afford it? Done. Of course the whole process was simple. Can I find somewhere to put the speakers? Can I find some wire stripper thingies, or do I just need to bite off the plastic on the ends of the wires? Once I plug in the record player, what records am I going to load onto the changer first? "Hey, will you put a towel under the door ?" Good times of audiophile excellence.

    BTW, I am not dissing any equipment. I am just reflecting on what rubes a lot of us were then.
     
    enfield, rockclassics, Daring and 3 others like this.
  21. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo Music gives me Eargasms

    Love my 2225 Marantz. Balsy sounding considering the wattage.

    It' the only brand I even considered when shopping vintage.
     
    Marcev and Tim Irvine like this.
  22. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    Get a vintage receiver, rebuild it and enjoy like in the pass. They cosmetically beat the hell out of the black boxes today.
     
    Bruno Primas and Tim Irvine like this.
  23. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile Thread Starter

    Location:
    MI
    If you have the dollars, Marantz is great. Low on funds? Get the Onkyo TX-2500 or TX-4500.
     
    Bingo Bongo likes this.
  24. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    The Harman Kardon HK 430 is another great reciever from the late 70s. It doesn't have the shiny silver face of some other receivers, but it has plenty of power, and an excellent phono section. Here's a pic of the inside layout, nice and clean:

    [​IMG]
     
    waaguirr likes this.
  25. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Sure, and that could make sense for a receiver that has a lot of value on the market, or one that has a lot of sentimental or personal value to the owner. Many garden variety 70s receivers are not even worth $400 though, so you are potentially sinking money into something that you will never get back.

    I think if someone really has to have a vintage 70s receiver, their best bet is to find one that's already been rebuilt by a good tech. They'll pay more than if they bought a CL or eBay special, but they'll save money and headaches over the long term.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine