Finally found a Marantz 8B!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by TONEPUB, Sep 16, 2009.

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  1. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    It's been years in the making, but I finally got my hands on one of these today...

    Going to see if it fires up or blows up. Got the Variac handy.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    Congratulations!

    I've owned up to four at a given time (presently have two), and they are magnificent amplifiers. The finest stereo tube amp of the classic era, IMHO.

    I had a 2004 Audio Research VS110 (100 wpc) before the Marantz and the vintage unit sounded better despite its 35 wpc rating!

    The perfect match is (not surprisingly!) the Marantz 7 preamp. Lots of synergy going on between the two.

    Looks like your unit has the transformer cover reversed. No biggie. Looks like your EL34 tubes are Mullard, a plus!

    Post pictures of the innards if you have a chance. I should be able to pinpoint anything that is not Kosher.

    When working properly these units are extremely reliable, bias is rock solid.

    Enjoy your find!
     
  3. Toka

    Toka Active Member

    Killer! One of these days I'll find a mint set at a garage sale...yea right. :(
     
  4. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Senior Member

    Location:
    brooklyn, ny
    I hope a review is forthcoming! Don't save the coupling caps or the can caps.
     
  5. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    The electroytic caps on these units are Telephone grade Sprague units (painted gray). They are extremely reliable, and hardly ever need replacing.

    The coupling caps are Mylar and also very long lived. Never had to change one on any of my units.

    The bias selenium rectifier needs to be replaced by a 1N4007 diode and the bias cap checked and replaced if necessary. Also, the 100 ohm screen resistors need to be checked as well as the 6.8 ohm common cathode resistor for each channel.

    That's about it!
     
  6. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Senior Member

    Location:
    brooklyn, ny
    Not too bad for nearly 50 years old!
     
  7. Where did ya find it? What does a vintage amp like that go for?
     
  8. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    I've become a Marantz preservationist of sorts as of late.

    These classics deserve to be treated with respect.

    Right now I am listening to the Beatles mono box on an 8B that had been "updated" by the previous owner with "audiophile" Solen caps, and the RCA jacks and speaker terminals replaced with Tiffany and huge binding posts. Blasfemy!

    I "undid" all this, bringing it to her former glory. I even stuffed a couple of electrolytics with modern caps to conceal them. I replicated the gray paint. Looks and sounds like a million bucks!
     
  9. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    Location:
    Toronto
    Great thread.... excpt my keybeard os dying because if de drool...
     
  10. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Thanks for the info, Crooner...

    I actually got it from a friend in the industry who hasn't used it for years. Cost about 700 bucks.

    I'll be leaning on you for some advice!
     
  11. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    I will be more than happy to help. It's always nice to know one of these classics is getting the treatment it deserves.

    Oh, and a great price too!!

    Here's how I stuffed the caps on my Marantz (pics attached!)
     

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  12. Gang Twanger

    Gang Twanger New Member

    Location:
    Canton, CT, USA
    That thing looks sweet - all point-to-point wiring - everything nice and tidy. They don't build stuff that way anymore (unless you want to pay "custom-built" prices). I love the Mullard EL34's - Those are probably worth a couple hundred on their own - and they last practically forever.
     
  13. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    Yes, that's why I hate those horrible modern caps kludged underneath. :realmad:

    I agree on the Mullards. One of my 8Bs still has its original set. They test strong on my B&K 707! :agree:

    Here's a review of the 8B:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Gang Twanger

    Gang Twanger New Member

    Location:
    Canton, CT, USA
    Those old Mullard EL34's and RCA blackplates usually do. The US and Great Britain really knew how to build tubes back in the early to mid '60's. I keep my eyes peeled for old 6L6's and EL34's to use in my guitar amps. It's pretty rare to find original RCA's or Mullards (or Western Electrics) from that era that don't test strong (I would think that if any of them DO go bad, it's due to another part of the amp failing that causes them to go bad). Love those things! I'm a huge advocate for tube power - just like I prefer analog to digital - because I can hear and feel the difference.

    I love the old review. $285 was a lot of money back then. But the real question is: Do you go for the extra $9 for the grill covering? It looks so damn cool without it. That amp seems a lot like the old McIntoshes. Similar look, extremely-overbuilt, and probably for less than a comparable Mac would have cost (I'm guessing).

    Man, with the 42w per channel (measured), that amp would be absolutely perfect for my speakers (I'm looking to upgrade amps to power my old Wharfedales).
     
  15. Gang Twanger

    Gang Twanger New Member

    Location:
    Canton, CT, USA
    That amp would probably cost $3,000 to $5,000 if they were making and selling them today (especially if they were including NOS Mullards). Actually, that figure is probably too-low.
     
  16. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    The McIntosh MC240 was the 8B's direct competitor, in both price and power rating. Not as neatly wired underneath, although it made up for it by offering that chrome plated chassis...

    The 8B has more high frequency extension due to its very sophisticated feedback network, customized for each particular output transformer measured characteristics.

    It retains the classic tube warmth, despite its very high resolution. A big plus IMHO.

    Also, the review mentions a 101 dB S/N ratio. Amazing and suitable for digital sources in the 21st Century!
     
  17. TONEPUB

    TONEPUB Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I am getting very excited about bringing this back to life....

    What might one expect to pay for a reasonable 7C? Otherwise I'll probably use it with my ARC SP9 and the Harbeth Monitor 40.1s.
     
  18. Gang Twanger

    Gang Twanger New Member

    Location:
    Canton, CT, USA
    That's funny. I'll skip the chrome chassis.

    I've heard people talk about these things, but I had no idea how nice they are. For such an incredibly-vintage unit, it shows an amazing synergy with today's equipment. Great design - very forward-thinking. That's an insane S/N ratio for such an old tube amp. This thing sounds like it was a real sleeper (They probably sold more of the McIntoshes - The chrome chassis would have sucked them right in - Chrome's like that).
     
  19. Gary Warren

    Gary Warren New Member

    Location:
    Chicago Area
    AFAIK when Marantz had VAC reissue them they DID go for $2995.

    The reissues, unlike McIntosh's were 100 Percent Standard Tech.

    I forget the name of the manufacturer of the output transformers, but they were located in Easton, PA. That stands out in my mind because Charlton Heston was called "Easton" in Greece, "Heston" meaning-I don't know, exactly, but it was obscene. I heard they would sell them to anyone if you bought ten, or maybe twenty of them and the price was roughly $200 each.

    A very fine amplifier.
     
  20. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    Around $3000 for a unit in average condition. More if mint.

    An alternative would be an Audio Research SP3 which used a very similar circuit. SP6 should work also. And why not, the SP9!!
     
  21. jorgeluiz

    jorgeluiz Forum Resident

    :edthumbs: oh boy, very cool "trick", smart way!
     
  22. Gang Twanger

    Gang Twanger New Member

    Location:
    Canton, CT, USA
    Those Harbeth Monitor 40.1's are sweet. I bet they would sound great with that amp. It sounds like the amp has an extremely-clean, yet very-vintage sound, which I assume would mesh well with those speakers. Those things look great too. Beautiful veneer. I'm drooling right now, just thinking about them.

    I have a very-limited budget these days, so my only good option is to buy used/vintage. But it works out because I love vintage. And the higher-end stuff from twenty or more years ago was built to last a lifetime (and there are so many sleepers out there, so I can get things for next to nothing).

    I'm not too-fond of this IPod world that we're racing towards (Well, it's here already). I guess everything getting smaller is just a part of the future. But it's still nice to see an amp company from forty years ago who were thinking so far ahead. I bet that thing does sound great with an IPod
     
  23. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    Yes, McIntosh sold more MC240s. Back in the day, McIntosh was a large company compared to the tiny Marantz. Production batches of 8Bs were much smaller. Saul Marantz was quoted as saying that many models were often back-ordered and they were unable to meet the demand. This resulted in sales for competing models (i.e. McIntosh).

    The 8B design is very straightforward using proven circuit designs. Sid Smith, the original designer, was also adamant in using over spec'd parts for reliability.
     
  24. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    Thank you!

    Took me a while to perfect my technique. I borrowed it from antique radio collectors, where appearance is paramount.

    I practiced on a few old Dynacos before tackling the real deal. Paid off, IMHO!
     
  25. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    Forgot to mention that I have had excellent results using a pair of Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures. Despite their 86 dB SPL @ 1 meter sensitivity. I cheat a little by using their 300W powered sub, however...:winkgrin:

    The Marantz 8B has traditionally been the amplifier of choice for powering old Quads. Specially the ESL57. Triode mode would be safer to prevent arcing the old panels, however.

    Speaking of triode mode, these amps can be wired this way for 20 wpc output. Haven't tried them this way, as I find Ultralinear to be more than adequate in giving me both power and finesse.
     
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