FISHER all-tube receivers from 1961-66 are cheap and sound wonderful!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    As a brand new owner of a wonderful rebuilt Fisher 400, I have some questions about how to get the best from it using a pair of small bookshelf speakers (Rega R1) and a powered subwoofer. It seems that there are two ways to do this and I'm not sure which one would be preferable.

    What are the potential benefits/drawbacks to these two scenarios?:

    OPTION A:
    Run cables from the speaker terminals on the 400 directly to the Regas. Run an RCA cable from the Center Channel output on the 400 to the RCA inputs (using a Y-splitter?) on the sub.

    OPTION B:
    Run cables from the speaker terminals on the 400 to the speaker inputs on the sub, and then run another set of cables from the speaker outputs on the sub to the Regas.

    I'm presently utilizing OPTION B to good effect, but I'm wondering if the extra junction between the Fisher and the Regas might be compromising the signal? I would imagine that the sub is attenuating the bass information going to the Regas.

    Would it be wiser to keep the path from the 400 to the sub, and from the 400 to the Regas, independent (ie: OPTION A)?
     
  2. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Have you tried option-A?
     
  3. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    No, not yet... I need to go pick up some stuff (longer RCA cable, Y-splitter) before I can try it.
     
  4. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    There's a Fisher section over at AudioKarma.org with a lot of Fisher experts around. If I remember correctly your option A seems to be popular.
     
  5. nm_west

    nm_west Forum Resident

    Location:
    Abq. NM. USA
    It works. :agree:
     
  6. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Thanks! The consensus over there is to do OPTION A, so I'll give that a shot.
     
  7. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I received my Mike Urban-restored 1967 Fisher 400 a couple of days ago and wanted to post my impressions. The amp I had been using previously is a 1962 Voice of Music model 1448 integrated amp (6AQ5, 20wpc) that had been recapped and had the Tone-O-Matic circuit removed. Speakers are a pair of Rega R1 mini-monitors with an RBH 200wpc subwoofer. I took a quick look in the back of the 400 and saw a bunch of Fisher-labeled tubes (good!).

    What I am hearing from the 400 perfectly matches the comments by Steve and others in this thread; especially the lush midrange warmth that colors everything with numerous layers of pleasantness. Not necessarily accurate, but it sure makes everything sound musical, and does a nice job of taking the edge off of harsh-sounding CDs.

    The imaging from the 400 is nothing short of astounding. I am hearing vivid side-to-side and front-to-back extension, and everything in between as well. Instruments and voices literally hang suspended in the air... "resurrecting the dead" indeed!

    In 'honor' of Steve's initial post in this thread, the first thing I played through the 400 was my c.1990 Polygram CD of "Bee Gees 1st," and immediately heard what he was talking about. The Brothers Gibb were indeed standing before me in all their youthful lysergic glory, and I was stunned by how far back the reverb trails extended... I think they went through the wall to the back yard!

    The phono stage in the 400 is very good, with more of the same tube-y lushness, although it sounds a bit softer than I like, both in volume and in character. Now that I am becoming well acquainted with the overall sound of the 400, I plan to swap in a more modern SS phono preamp and see if I like that better. I can see the 400's phono stage being a good option for playing vintage records, particularly ones in lesser condition where a bit of 'softness' would be beneficial.

    Mike Urban's restoration was top notch as far as I can tell. The amp is free from any audible gremlins (very quiet operation) and the tuner is surprisingly powerful. Even inside my basement, using some speaker wire as an antenna, I can pick up a number of FM stations clearly. Late last night I was enjoying some Bach string quartets on the local classical station, WCRB, and it sure sounded swell on the 400.

    I am delighted by my new Fisher!
     
  8. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I also wanted to add a tip of the hat to WHitese, who sold me the 400 via the SH Classifieds. The amp arrived in packaging that could withstand a nuclear assault. Thanks, Jack!
     
  9. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    This is definitely the way to go with Fishers and subwoofers. :righton:
     
  10. bayen

    bayen Forum Resident

    Location:
    philadelphia Pa
    Hi action pact, congrats on the cool purchase...glad to hear it arrived safely! I'm thinking of either sending my 500C out for re-capping or putting it up for sale...but the fear of shipping has left it sitting in a box for the past year. Maybe I'll PM WHitese for some shipping tips. Enjoy the Fisher!!
     
  11. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    What Jack did is wrap it in a thick layer of bubblewrap and then line the shipping carton with sheets of styrofoam. It helped that the Fisher is installed in a wooden case, which protected the guts and faceplate from jostling.

    FWIW, based on my 400, Mike Urban's work is superb. My Fisher is completely free from any issues that I can find.
     
  12. inperson

    inperson Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Ho
    How much for the restoration? Does he also clean it up, appearance wise? Link for his services?

    Thanks!
     
  13. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    No idea... I'm the third (and probably last!) owner of the 400 since it was restored. Maybe $200-$300? Here's Mike Urban's website: http://www.urban-antiqueradio.com/

    I believe he does... mine sure looks clean.
     
  14. Saint Johnny

    Saint Johnny Forum Resident

    Location:
    Asbury Park
    Love Jack!
    I never had Jack ship me anything, as we're near enough to each other, that I get the complete Jack experience in person! I didn't know Jack was back into to Fishers. He was The Pilot Tube King for the longest time.

    I bought a Pilot 245 integrated from Jack, years ago, that sounded fantastic for the short time I used it.
    If anyone here needs some vintage tube gear, in tip top condition, it behooves you to befriend WhiteSE. :righton:

    When it comes to owning/enjoying some really great Hi-Fi audio gear, Jack is kinda well renowned to be, ' long term commitment phobic'. :biglaugh:
    And I mean that in the nicest possible way, Jack!:wave:
     
    WHitese likes this.
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Got a bunch of "likes" on this thread all of a sudden. Wuzz up?
     
  16. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I posted a link to it from your other Fisher thread.
     
    Saint Johnny likes this.
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Groovy.
     
    Saint Johnny likes this.
  18. howlinrock

    howlinrock Forum Resident In Memoriam

    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    What other Fisher thread
     
  19. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

  20. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    It makes we wish my local tech was not so quirky, and that I had not had to carry my old valve amp into the shop 15 times in the last 5 years, and that I could still lug heavy amps around no problem.
     
  21. Abbagold

    Abbagold Working class hero

    Location:
    World
    "The phono stage in the 400 is very good, with more of the same tube-y lushness, although it sounds a bit softer than I like, both in volume and in character. Now that I am becoming well acquainted with the overall sound of the 400, I plan to swap in a more modern SS phono preamp and see if I like that better. I can see the 400's phono stage being a good option for playing vintage records, particularly ones in lesser condition where a bit of 'softness' would be beneficial."

    Roll different tubes in the phono section. Amperex and 5751's are my two favorite tubes to put in there. Some folks will say it's crazy to use the 5751's, but I like the better bass and midrange it delivers. Some on here will also say to keep it all Telefunken....:crazy:
     
  22. sberger

    sberger Grumpy(but grateful) geezer

    I've rolled a few different ones in the phono and my favorite are the Sylvania made Baldwin 12AX7's. Cheap, easy to find, and have the right amount of lushness without getting mushy. I think the 400's phono is very good.
     
  23. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I agree.
     
  24. apesfan

    apesfan Forum Resident



    I was wrong the Fisher came with 6 Telefunken smooth long plate 12ax7 tubes, One Mullard I61 Blackburn 12ax7ECC83 tube and a mixture of 5 Mullard 6au6 tubes and a few other tubes most Telefunken. Sorry for the huge mistake. Take care, John M.
     
  25. monkboughtlunch

    monkboughtlunch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City
    Questions for Fisher experts. I am trying to figure out which of these Fisher tube units is "the best" for playing CD/SACD media.

    Would the "Aux" signal path of the 500B and 800B have a lower noise floor and therefore be superior to the "Aux-Tape" selection on the 400, 500c and 800c? I noticed that both the 500B and the 800B have separate inputs on the selector potentiometer for "Aux" and "Tape," thereby appearing to keep those signals separate. However, in contrast, the 400, 500C and 800C have a revised potentiometer that appears to funnel BOTH the "Aux" and "Tape" inputs into a single "merged" signal path, "Aux-Tape," concurrently. See photo below.

    Obviously, no one is going to play media from both sources, Aux and Tape, at the same time (as you would apparently hear both audio signals on top of each other on the 400, 500C and 800C). But even with only one source being played at one time (for example, Aux), wouldn't the combined signal path of "Aux-Tape" on the 400, 500c, and 800c double the backround noise floor/hiss (vs the 500B and 800B) since both the Aux and Tape inputs appear to be amplified concurrently? Thoughts?

    Also - can the "Tape Head" input be modified to be a "Aux 2" input?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013

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