View Full Version : the 'best' integrated amp ever? opinions


packrat
02-17-2005, 09:21 AM
Looking for opinions on the best ever int amp. I've seen the section on thevintageknob (TVK). Looking for opinions from users. What would be considered the best ever vintage integrated amp, regardless of power rating?

Criteria is construction quality, ease of repair (longevity), sound quality, looks, in whatever order you like.

Some recent examples of contenders:

This sold just a few days ago....was this a bargain price, or fair?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=73369&item=5752237860&rd=1
(the rest of his sales are for overpriced vintage tube gear...)

then there is this, one comes up only a few times a year:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=67807&item=5750659341&rd=1
(I've seen one of these in person, and it is bigger than the pictures portray.)

mhardy6647
02-17-2005, 10:10 AM
I'd probably vote in favor of the Yamaha CA-1010 or CA-2010, although in fact the 'biggest' amp of this series I have actually heard is the CA-810. I think the CA-610II and CA-810 were fabulous amps... based on the Internet buzz I have to believe that the CA-1010 and 2010 are even better (especially given the switchable class A outputs on 'em).

EchoWars
02-17-2005, 10:23 AM
OMG!! That Model 600 went for $225!! Crap...

Well, I would have been temped, but likely would have scored it to give it a tuneup and sell at no profit to an AK member. I already have one. ;)

So yeah...that there is the King of vintage integrated amps.

Dunno about the Lux. They make good equipment, but that's one ugly amp. :scratch2:

gearhead
02-17-2005, 10:30 AM
Echo, I thought it kinda looked like the front of a Jeep in the first pic. :yes:
http://i19.ebayimg.com/02/i/03/62/8e/76_2.JPG

packrat
02-17-2005, 10:44 AM
disclaimer: I had a CA-1010! Sold it 3 years ago, just bought another. It is good. It convinced me to sell all my crappy Scott and Fisher tube integrated amps. Always sounded better - better imaging, bass, low level-info, etc - all the stuff tube amps are supposed to be good at. I never used it in class A mode - gets to hot.

Echowars: I guess you missed the 650 that went a few weeks ago for $125 (missing a switch cover)! And I decided against a 500 2 weeks ago, and let it go for $127, because I had won the 1010.

The Lux L-100 looks better in person, but still not a beauty compared to, say, a Sansui 9900.

EchoWars
02-17-2005, 10:51 AM
Sounds like you're already pretty well versed. I don't follow eBay too closely anymore, since I've already got too damn much of everything.

axel
02-17-2005, 11:04 AM
Great avatar EW!!!
I'd go nuts if my cat were to do that! But then I'd have so much fun watching him :-)

reyneman
02-17-2005, 11:12 AM
Best ever is a pretty broad term- best for what?

My favorite is the Musical Fidelity A300. Thought that the bigger Krell (150?) could sound quite good with the right speakers.

The Almarro A205 was as clean sounding an integrated as I've heard recently, but limited power means limited appropriate speakers.

The Final Labs Music3 is fairly musical, The Bow Tech Wazoo does everything right...

Way too many choices for me to state one is 'best ever'. I find many are more than adequate for my use, find merit in most.

Michael Scarpit
02-17-2005, 11:23 AM
Looking for opinions on the best ever int amp. I've seen the section on thevintageknob (TVK). Looking for opinions from users. What would be considered the best ever vintage integrated amp, regardless of power rating?

Criteria is construction quality, ease of repair (longevity), sound quality, looks, in whatever order you like.

Some recent examples of contenders:

This sold just a few days ago....was this a bargain price, or fair?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=73369&item=5752237860&rd=1
(the rest of his sales are for overpriced vintage tube gear...)

then there is this, one comes up only a few times a year:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=67807&item=5750659341&rd=1
(I've seen one of these in person, and it is bigger than the pictures portray.)


Probably the later Tandberg amps, such as the 3012.

dr*audio
02-17-2005, 11:58 AM
I'll put in another vote for the 600.
Also:
Rotel RA-1413
Sansui AU-9900

axel
02-17-2005, 12:05 PM
I'd add the Musical Fidelity A-1000 (the one one can fry eggs on)

sanyofreak
02-17-2005, 12:31 PM
Sansui AU-717.
That was simple.
What's a Krell anyway ??I thought they were the tiny shrimp-like thingies that whales eat by the millions.

ByrdWyngs
02-17-2005, 02:37 PM
What's a Krell anyway ??I thought they were the tiny shrimp-like thingies that whales eat by the millions.
Your thinking of Krill, the Krell were the super intelligent ancient race that lived on Altaire 4 in "Forbidden Planet" :D

Brian
02-17-2005, 03:16 PM
I'd go with a Dyna SCA35 or a Sherwood 5000 or 5500 series. These all have great sound, are almost bulletproof and very easy to repair and do "tune-ups". The L100 Luxman is one of the nicest ss integrated amps for sound but has too much of a veil to qualify as best. I would suggest maybe the MA6950 (think that's the model that went to autoformers where prior integrated amps did not have them) Mc and even the MA6100 and MA5100.

russkish
02-17-2005, 05:18 PM
I once owned a Yamaha CA-1000 in the late 70s. Wish I had never gotten rid of it now. It would have made a very nice backup amp. This was Yamaha's top of the line among its first generation integrateds in the U.S. It was used to drive Infinity Monitor Jr. speakers at the time. At least 70 watts per channel, with a Class A option. Does anybody remember this amp? I eventually bought a Quatre Gain Cell, the most volatile power amp ever, and used the CA-1000 preamp section. The Gain Cell was a decent sounding amp, but it was about as reliable as a Fiat. The guy who sold it to me from the Quatre showroom was Dale Launer, who was a struggling screenwriter in the late 70s. Launer was the sole salesperson for Quatre in the San Fernando Valley. He had a habit of scarfing down greasy cheeseburgers and fries by the ton while folks auditioned equipment.He got even fatter after writing "My Cousin Vinny" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundels."

dickard
02-17-2005, 05:31 PM
I'll have to put my vote in for the Audiolab 8000a. You would have a hard time finding anyone with anything but praise for this integrated amp.

Rich

Andyman
02-17-2005, 05:43 PM
disclaimer: I had a CA-1010! Sold it 3 years ago, just bought another. It is good. It convinced me to sell all my crappy Scott and Fisher tube integrated amps. Always sounded better - better imaging, bass, low level-info, etc - all the stuff tube amps are supposed to be good at.

PackRat,

Those are surprising comments. What were you driving with those guys???

I'm leaning towards a Scott 299 for my La Scalas and was curious to see your opinions. Right now I'm driving them with an HK 430 and they sound sweet, but tubes and Klipsch are supposed to be the bee's knees. BrianB has the Almarro heading here for test and I can hardly wait!!

Danamc
02-17-2005, 05:56 PM
"Best ever Integrated Amp" covers alot of territory. There are some current tubed integrated amps that are quite incredible. Musical Fidelity for one, but cost well into the multi thousands.

If you're searching primarily in the Vintage category, I would put in a vote for the Accuphase E-202, built from 1974-1979. Typical Accuphase rock-solid build. Conservative 100 WPC into 8 ohms.

Fisherdude
02-17-2005, 06:48 PM
I guess I'm going to have to weigh in and defend the honor of vintage tube amps.

According to Vacuum Tube Valley, and also based on what I've read elsewhere, (since I've never heard one myself), the Fisher X-1000 integrated is considered one of the finest tube integrateds, ever.

My ultimate dream find, someday!
Clay

MikeO
02-17-2005, 06:51 PM
If we are talking about vintage amplifiers how about a Pioneer SA-9900. It is the best integrated I have ever owned. Built like a tank, lots of power, clean sound and even looks great.

Mike O

bully
02-17-2005, 07:23 PM
Add to MikleO's list the Pioneer 9800 and 9500, very nice and could get with the program. Heck, my old 9100 (60 wpc) was a stellar perfomer.

packrat
02-17-2005, 07:24 PM
PackRat,

Those are surprising comments. What were you driving with those guys???

I'm leaning towards a Scott 299 for my La Scalas and was curious to see your opinions. Right now I'm driving them with an HK 430 and they sound sweet, but tubes and Klipsch are supposed to be the bee's knees. BrianB has the Almarro heading here for test and I can hardly wait!!

I have a little pair of KEF speakers, and at the time I did a weeks worth of comparisons a pair of JBL Lancer 99s. LE-14 woofer with LE-25 tweeters. I think they had the stiff surround problem, as the bass just wasn't what I'd expect. I also had a Sherwood S-5000 at the time, the one with 6BQ5s tilted at an angle to fit under the low profile case - it was very nice. Much better built than the Scotts, I thought. Neat push-pull concentric controls. Very heavy little unit. Had Sprague orange drops from the factory!

Don't want to break any glass here, so I guess when I say 'crappy' I suppose I'm talking about the particular units I had. I did change caps, etc, but eventually sold them - part of the decision was to have an amp to turn on and forget about - no worries about tubes going dead or turning red. Although, vintage SS amps can have their share of flames and smoke too...

As for best integrated - I suppose I'm asking for vintage SS (this forum topic), and I'm asking about build quality, reliability. Intersting to see the Sansui 717 vote - seeing pictures of these online and other top end Sansui amps has me interested. They look beatiful inside. I expected an E-202, and a McIntosh. Foolishly passed by an E-202 in the window of a shop a few years back - $300CAN. Gone the next day, into the hands of an audio dealer in Toronto, who still has it at his asking price of $1000US.

Any unknown wonders out there? I saw a mid-80s NEC A-10 (?) on ebay a few weeks back - 60wpch/8ohm, 120wpch/4 ohm, weighed 60lbs. Looked interesting, sold for $150? Anything by JVC, or Akai?

keep it coming!!

:)

vintage_silver
02-17-2005, 08:51 PM
For vintage category and look's my vote goes to the Kenwood KA 9100.

russkish
02-17-2005, 11:48 PM
That Kenwood is one beautiful piece of equipment. Seeing the photo makes me long for my old Yamaha CA-1000. I wonder if somebody else out there is still enjoying my old amp.

EchoWars
02-18-2005, 12:14 AM
Model 600 nudie...bloody masterpiece. :thmbsp:

This is the one where the back panel got bent into a pretzel by UPS. I have to admit, it straightened out nicely. rew15951 owns this one now.

EchoWars
02-18-2005, 12:46 AM
Front panel...not the best pic, but all I got.

The volume knob had a couple of small dings, but the rest of that 'junk' on the front is dust or lint from the polishing cloth. Had no idea it was going to show up like that in the pic...guess that's what having the sun at my back does.

There are a lot of very good integrated's mentioned, but few in the same class as the Model 500 and 600. These were built as nearly 'cost-no-object' units, have a 100% FET preamp that gives it a sweet sound like nothing else out there, and were rarely discounted unlike the vast majority of 70's gear (the 600 retailed for $750). Rated at 130WPC, the Model 600 usually cranks out about 190, and can deliver over 650WPC instantaneous (read: a few hundred milliseconds) power into 4 ohms.

ilimzn
02-18-2005, 08:33 AM
I actually had several of the amps mentioned in the thread, and find the choice of which one to give the crown to, very difficult. Here are some of my entries:

Sansui AU20000 - granted, I only had the chance to audition my modded version (had to be modded because it was the only way to get it un-butchered, if there is interest I can post the mods here). MOST impressive power amp section capable of driving anything like it was nothing, effortless sound overall, but noisy preamp (can be fixed with mods but they are quite extensive).

Kenwood 600/650. Overall, I would say this is the one that does most if not everything right. It also used to be a real bargain, now that it is getting it's just reognition, the unknown that used to sell for $100, can do $400. It will blow most anything out of the water given new caps and modern output transistors. May have a small weakness - relatively high level phono input, but that can be rectified as well with a relatively simple mod.

Sansui AU517 - This has to be the best balance of sound per buck out there, bar none. Also, it is easy to tweak, after which it will at the very least give anything in it's class a run for it's money if not a beating (I've even had one modded with MOSFET outputs and it just cleans the clock of the competition), and given it's design goals, doubt anyone could do better today. This is the Reduced Instruction Set Amplifier ;) - has everything you need and little or no extra, but it's not basic or ascetic, and that's where the savings were made - not in the parts or the engineering.

Sony 4650 VFET - one for the 'unique and unusual' cathegory. The small amp that can - the best 30WPC I have ever heared, bar none, including the best feature set in it's class. Given a good overhaul with modern caps and BJTs, this would probebly be the top of it's cathegory, period.

Yamaha CA1000 - One vote for the 'sleeper' cathegory, also included a class A output! I also had the 1010, which was a tad on the clynical side. The 1000 would win my vote for the best balanced sound of that period. At first, one has nothing special to say about the way it sounds, until, hours later, one realizes that's exactly it's strength. neutral without being sterile, and completely non-fatiguing, you can just listen to the music and not it. It does need good ventilation, though - it is amazingly condensed inside, and generates a lot of heat in class A.

One honorable mention: kenwood KA8100. IMHO, undeservedly lives in the shadow of the much more popular 9100, but honestly, I liked the 8100 better.

I'll get some pics and nudies posted when I'm back near my main PC...

Toasted Almond
02-18-2005, 08:47 AM
NAD 3020. Little anemic in the power amp section, but clean as a whistle if you don't push it. Best no frills SOUND I've heard in an integrated yet.

Sentimentally, I love the Acoustic Research Integrated Amplifier.

CUlater
02-18-2005, 10:16 AM
Ah, love those Kenwoods! One of these days a KA-7300 will be mine...

I really like my Pioneer SA-9800, lots of controls and features, love those fluoroscan meters, and vanishingly small distortion.

http://img39.exs.cx/img39/7386/pioneersa9800frontrackshelf8xo.th.jpg (http://img39.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img39&image=pioneersa9800frontrackshelf8xo.jpg) http://img39.exs.cx/img39/3334/pioneersa9800inside4hb.th.jpg (http://img39.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img39&image=pioneersa9800inside4hb.jpg)

The Kenwood KA-900 that I'm about to leave to deliver to MG196 is another nice piece - a bit modern for most folks, but the Kenwood quality was still there (their last hurrah, seemingly...). I love the tempered glass door.

http://img29.exs.cx/img29/2849/kenwoodka900topfrontmanual3nh.th.jpg (http://img29.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img29&image=kenwoodka900topfrontmanual3nh.jpg)

Being a penny pincher and 'nostalgist' (is there such a word?) though, my fav integrated amp is my little Akai AM-2400. Just seemed to hit that sweet spot of solid design and construction, enough power for most casual situations (40w/ch), and way more features than its price range should've had.

Not mine, but for effect:

http://img212.exs.cx/img212/3894/akaiam2400collage1xg.th.jpg (http://img212.exs.cx/my.php?loc=img212&image=akaiam2400collage1xg.jpg)

russkish
02-18-2005, 11:41 AM
I always loved the Kenwood gear ever since one of my high school buddies bought a Kenwood 5150 receiver, long before any of us could afford to buy anything. I am curious, after reading so many glowing reports on Kenwood. Whatever happened to this company? Does Kenwood even exist as an electronics entity anymore? I have not seen the name in a very long time.

EchoWars
02-18-2005, 11:43 AM
http://www.kenwoodusa.com/ ;)

vintage_silver
02-18-2005, 12:46 PM
The KA 9100 nudie, witch is currently on eBay, where I stole the pic's.

dr*audio
02-18-2005, 01:20 PM
I worked on one of these once. Friggin' output ICs! You'd think if they went to all the trouble to make an otherwise well built amp they could use discrete transistors in the output. I think those ICs are no longer available, so I'd think twice about buying one of these. :thumbsdn:

Yamaha B-2
02-18-2005, 04:25 PM
Will only list the ones I've owned, in order of preference:
- Sony TA-F808ES. 100wpc MOSFET output, remote capable, MM/MC phono stage. Absolutely one of the best sounding pieces of gear I've every owned. Second only to my current VFET gear. One of the very few I wish I'd been smart enough to keep.
- Sony TA-5650, 50wpc VFET output, MM phono stage, tied with the TA-F808ES for sound. Just not as powerful or modern. Wonderful, sweet, musical sound. On the right set of speakers is the best available. Very flexible.
- Yamaha CA-2010, 120wpc/30wpc Class A, MC/MM phono stage, wonderful clean, fast Yamaha sound. Needs a fan as runs too hot, especially in class A. Another keeper.
Next are a step below the above:
- McIntosh MA-6850, 150wpc, remote capable, no phono. Normally not a Mc fan as I think most of the gear sounds 'old'. Not the MA-6850 or MC-500.
- Bryston B-60R, 60wpc, remote and MM phono stage. Clean, fast Bryston sound/quality.
-Sony TA-F444ES II, 100wpc w/MM/MC phono-stage. Nice integrated.
- MA-6900, 200wpc, remote, MM phono. A disappointment after the MA-6850. Definitely a step backward in the sound department. Bought new at discount from a Mc dealer and resold after about 6 months. Just didn't have a 'great' sound.

rew15951
02-18-2005, 05:09 PM
I will have to go with the kenwood 600, I've had almost ever amp. kenwood made and the 600 is in a different class. It is heads and shoulders above the ka 9100,7100,5700, and all the kenwood recievers I own. But I will have to admit I have never listened any other brand of amp. that cost what the 600 did new. So if anyone wants to send me there comparably priced vintage amp. I would sure give them a chance to dethrone the 600 !

BeatleFred
02-18-2005, 09:11 PM
ilimzn: Interesting comments on the Sansui AU-20000 & AU-517. (I wouldve preferred if Sansui had instead put the volume control of the CA-2000/AU-11000/9900 on the AU-20K & CA-3K, much more sturdier)

Anyway, well gentlemen, if the truth be told, the strict criteria that I use to nominate an amp as the best in its category is, that is has to smell good. Yep, thats right, as you can see I have my priorities straight :arrow: Thats all I really care about and urge everyone else to do the same. The AU-717 I'm listening to tonight certainly exudes the pleasant aroma of warm transistors, oh baby! In fact, I have the G-9000 and G-7700 on as well, so I'm getting the full effect of that scent- maybe its going to my head writing this post? :)

That Kenwood sure looks-a nice but tell me that it has a nice electronic smell and then I'll really be impressed, ha, take that! :)

B/F

Toasted Almond
02-18-2005, 09:18 PM
Anybody else share Paul's olfactory observations?

rew15951
02-18-2005, 10:04 PM
Depends on what you spill in them.

BeatleFred
02-18-2005, 11:08 PM
Maybe its that warm conductive glue in the AU-717 thats wafting its way to my nostrils, who nose? :)

ilimzn: I forgot to mention it before, you made a comment about the AU-20K preamp section being noisy- is this a characteristic of the AU-20K in general, or perhaps just the particular one you had? I would think if the AU-20K typically has a noisy preamp section, than the same could be said for the CA-3000 preamp itself, as the AU-20000 = CA-3000 preamp/BA-3000 power amp.

TA: Here's looking at you! :)

melofelo
02-19-2005, 07:15 PM
marantz pm 94

lorne
02-19-2005, 08:26 PM
The AR integrated from Cambridge Mass. introduced C. 1968. 60 Watts per channel at 8 Ohms. Compact and yet weighs like a boat anchor. Why this one? I bought it used in 1972; it has never had a damn thing done to it except a laquer job on the hood and one thorough cleaning. It has powered dozens of speakers belonging to me and friends, including electrostatics without so much as a sigh or belch. For years it was used as my contribution to listening pleasure for a continuing round-robin series of listening parties hosted by a small group of audiophiles. Most of the others had vastly more expensive and elaborate gear, but the AR always gave an enjoyable performance that received favorable comment. No, it is not a Krell, nor is it even my Denon PMA-1090, A-717 Pioneer, or AU-alpha717Extra; however it competes on sublime charm and the ability to hold interest in virtually any type of music you throw at it. When you take the hood off, a glance tells you that it is from another era. Despite it's age and humble stature, the AR is simply a fine musical instrument. It has my vote because it continues to stand in testimony to what can be acheived when both art and science come together.

Toasted Almond
02-19-2005, 08:54 PM
You know how long I wanted one and how long it took me to get one? Then I got real lucky a couple months back, and Russman found me the AR Receiver. Cost me a sweet pair of KEF 102's, but they were only KEF's, and now I got the receiver. The AR integrated AND the Receiver are only 50wpc @ 8. It's 60wpc @ 4 ohms driving the speakers it was designed for, the AR-3a. The thing will put out close to 1,000 watts at 1kHz. What an amp. I have a lot of stuff in this house that I like, but I CHERISH those two pieces.

The best I can see, only you and me on this site see the value in those pieces. You have excellent taste man, and so do I.

Toasted Almond
02-19-2005, 08:59 PM
Fred/Paul,

I knew you would be flattered that you and the absolute cheapest multi-millionaire rock star on the planet are one, and completely inseparable in my mind. I think him, I think you. I think you, I think him.

GO YOKO GO!

Back at ya old pal,

TA

mg196
02-19-2005, 09:09 PM
I have a lot of stuff in this house that I like, but I CHERISH those two pieces.

Well, how about a picture!!??!!

BeatleFred
02-19-2005, 09:10 PM
Well, I dont know if the perception that Paul is cheap is really accurate, (though I have heard Jagger is super-tight with his $$), nonetheless, unfortunately what I make up in my resemblance to the Macca god, I lack in what I share w/ him in my humble bank account :)

"Hello Goodbye",

B/F

Toasted Almond
02-19-2005, 11:01 PM
Fred/Paul,

Well known as the biggest cheapskate in the industry, and I don't mean old Fat Lips.

You know, we really have at least one thing in common. I too wanted a username that would let me identify with a winner. Sure I could've gone with Rocky Road, or Cookie Dough, but I wanted to go with a tried and true classic. Something with a time honored tradition. That's why I went with Toasted Almond. People love to consume things. Right? Right. I figured with the name Toasted Almond, every time they think about eating something, or see the name Toasted Almond, they will think about.....EATING MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

So how ARE you two guys doing with that whole "Hey Yoko, can I get a little credit for Yesterday thing?"


Go Yoko Go, Go, Yoko be good!

I feel your pain, and I'm here for the both of you.

TOASTED ALMOND

Toasted Almond
02-19-2005, 11:54 PM
MG196, I'll shoot a picture of the Integrated Amp tomorrow. The receiver is already wrapped in plastic in the "Magic Closet". When the pig receiver SX-3900 or 3700 I have on my desk at work finally dies, it's going there to drive the ADC-303ax's.

russkish
02-20-2005, 01:32 AM
Nice to see a mention for the venerable AR integrated. I remember it well. What a beautiful piece of equipment. I am certain it is every bit as good as Lorne has mentioned. Also wonderfully understated in its appearance, but definitely all business when it comes to performance.

BeatleFred
02-20-2005, 01:56 AM
1) TA: I am very glad you chose a name that really suits you, the world is truly a better place because of it. If I looked like Jerry Garcia instead of Sir Paul, I wouldve called myself GratefulDeadFred :)

2) Unless you have personal connections with some 'Accountant to the Rock Stars', dont necessarily assume Paul is the 'cheapskate' you think he is (though, you are free to think whatever you want, deluded or not). If you base your opinion on stories you've heard such as ex-Wings member, Denny Laine, being underpaid, keep in mind, Mr. Laine didnt have to stick around and "suffer" for the entire duration of the band, nor does he have to attend BeatleFest conventions nowadays and ride on Paul's coattails, instead- he could try relying on his own talent and write his own songs to (deservedly) earn his money. So, what is that you expect Paul should do with his money anyway?, and who are some famous people you know whose overwhelming generosity Paul should strive to emulate? And everytime that Paul does make a financial contribution to some charity, should he make his grand gestures known to the world to prove he is good guy? He seems like a good guy to me, seems to care about raising the children he's had, seems to be able to keep himself in a stable marriage, and seems to be able to handle the pressure of his enormous fame, unlike many other rock stars & famous people, who could not, and ended up screwing themselves up w/ drugs and puttting themselves in an early grave.

3) Yoko->Schmoko.

4) Contrary to your statement, I am not in any particuar kind of pain, but Thanks anyway for your generous offer of support, should I need it 'when I'm 64' and you're still around, perhaps I'll avail myself to some T.A. comforting. I believe the Chess match has concluded 'ol chap, and you are in Checkmate.

"All My Loving" :)

B/F

"And Now, Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming, Integrated Amps..."

lorne
02-20-2005, 03:32 AM
Toasted Almond.
I am glad to hear you got what you wanted for so long. And yes, you were right about the output.

Do you happen to have a shop manual?? I have a circuit diagram, but it is rather unclear. Still, it's OK, but some the values are really hard or impossible to make out. I am going to replace the electros one day, and perhaps some of the smaller form transistors.

MG196
It may take me a few days, but I will put some pics up of the integrated amp.

Cheers —Lorne

Toasted Almond
02-20-2005, 07:03 AM
Hopefully, Lorne has a better camera, and or photographic skills. Switch and flashing light lovers will not think much, as AR wasn't into frills that mattered very little to the music. If you look close, and then shut your eyes and let your imagination wander, it does bear a slight resemblance to Paul McCartney.

Toasted Almond
02-20-2005, 07:08 AM
Lorne,

I don't have anything for it. There is a good AR site that seems to be down again, and when it gets back up, I'll send you a link. Lot of really knowledgable AR guys there. You want to talk to a man named Tom Tyson. He has the most fantastic collection of vintage AR stuff I have ever seen. He brought a lot of cool stuff to the 40th Anniversary party at New York's Grand Central Station in 1994. A high point of my life, I got to meet both Villchur and Kloss. The entire affair was the brainchild of NHT founder Ken Kantor, who is a really good guy, and funny to boot. The guy who designed the amp at AR was named Victor Brociner.

AK superstar EchoWars waved his magic wand over my AR Receiver, and replaced and tuned up a bunch of stuff.

Fred/Paul,

Look for me later. Right now, I've got much bigger fish to fry. Game is over when I say it is, or when I'm in the ground.

gonzp
02-20-2005, 07:39 AM
I am currentlly playing an Almarro A318A integrated tube amp and am extremely pleased with it. :banana: :banana: I also would like to throw in the little Marantz 1060. When mated with the Heresys it really sang. :thmbsp:

Yamaha B-2
02-20-2005, 08:12 AM
Man.....that AR is one UGLY IA!! :naughty: Did they come all covered with grunge like that or is it something you added, TA? :lmao: And why did they drill a hole in that second knob from the left? Is that where the sound comes out? :yes: Come on guys.....if I had a dog that ugly I'd shave his ass and make him walk backwards. Lets get a little beauty in our lives.

Toasted Almond
02-20-2005, 10:24 AM
The little placard on the second knob is missing. It is kind of spartan in its looks, but then all those speakers with the lattice woodwork revered on this site DO look a boatload better than they sound. You kind of have that operating in reverse here. Don't look like much, but oh the performance.

Nice try. Sorry B-2, I'm not biting. I've already got enough "lovers" on the site that I save the special stuff for.

Hey Fred/Paul,

We shouldn't be garbaging up this thread with our love for each other. A no-show is a loss by default.

Texas42
02-20-2005, 10:28 AM
My favs (of what I own or have owned) would be the Yamaha CA-810 (wish I had kept it) and two pieces I have now; a Scott 299B (with NOSValves rebuild) and a minty Pioneer SA-8100. Many others have come and gone but these remain my favs (looks, sonics, reliability, etc). Just my two cents..

Regards,

Dave

luvvinvinyl
02-20-2005, 10:37 AM
...Sorry B-2, I'm not biting...

:lmao:

dr*audio
02-20-2005, 10:51 AM
Fred,
Wasn't McCartney awesome in the Superbowl halftime? I thought those guys sounded like the Beatles!

Toasted Almond
02-20-2005, 10:54 AM
I thought they sounded better.

tom1356
02-20-2005, 12:04 PM
If you want the best integrated amp ever made look no further than the original Audio Note Ongaku. Of course it will hurt a little to write the check ($89,000 retail).

Here's a review.

http://www.positive-feedback.com/pfbackissues/0701/rochlin.ongaku.7n1.html

lorne
02-20-2005, 12:44 PM
Yamaha B-2: I am not surprised at your reaction. And by BTW, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. At the time, it was not out of place. Are you old enough to remember Ford Falcons, Plymouth Valients, Admiral TV's, Firestone vacuum cleaners? The contemporary tastes in American industrial design would acccount for the knobs anyway.

Actually, three of the knobs are composite affairs. The treble and bass controls have both left and right channels operating on separate concentric shafts. The balance knob (second from the right) has a knob behind it that switches Mono, Null, and Stereo. The power is switched on the volume knob.

They are not very photogenic and may look better in real life or with good photography. The face on mine has a sort of light champage tinge.

As for the grunge on Toast's unit: These guys run hot. The aluminum hood is drilled with hundreds of small holes. The chassis was carefully thought out. It is sort of a unicoque (spelling?) design as opposed to a set of frame members bolted together. It is formed out of one piece of metal. There is no bottom plate — just a small access cover for something I can't remember. It looks to me like the designer was considering antiresonance, which is something not too many builders were doing then. Now, the paint on the hood was sort of a rubbery stuff. When new, it just seemed like ... well, paint. But, as they approached the end of their third decade, I think all of them were suffering from paint disease. It got soft and tar-like. I think that this paint was a sort of antiresonant finish.

I trowled the crud off of mine and thought about leaving it natural aluminum. But in the end I undercoated it and sprayed on several coats of black laquer. When I get the pics up, I hope the spots caused by a freak shower on the almost dry clear coat will not be too obvious. I'll pull the hood so you can see inside.

The spartan look of these things was actually a selling point. AR fans used to smirk at flashing lights, flourescopes and milled knobs on Asian imports. AR owners were smugly satisfied that the money to build it had gone under the hood. I am not advocating this as a fair evaluation, it's just what some people were thinking about Japanese imports as opposed to stuff like Macintosh, AR and a host of others from the USA and Europe.

The AR turntable was another exemplar of simplicity in the extreme. 'On' or 'Off' — one switch, no queueing device. It looked like a child's drawing of a turntable.

Later, other companies followed suit. Pioneer made — what was it? ... the A-400 integrated amp? And of course NAD — good machines which for many years had nothing on the build quality of the AR. Still, NAD's similar spartan approach prompted one writer of a retrosective review about ten years ago to describe the AR as " ... a NAD with balls!"

:beerchug: Lorne

hotgas
02-20-2005, 12:55 PM
Best-ever int amp's, be it amp's, pre-amp's, receiver's, tuners, etc just DON'T exist. You guys are only hoping. :)

Toasted Almond
02-20-2005, 01:38 PM
Lorne,

Very eloquent. I couldn't have done better with the help of a ghostwriter. My audio mentor was a guy named Peter Maran. We knew each other, but I was into sports and he was a nerd. One time around 1968 he asked me if I wanted to go to his house and hear his stereo. It was the AR-XA table, the Integrated, and 3a's. My life changed that afternoon. For years, the only addition to that basic system was a Dynaco Quadaptor, and a pair of 2ax's for the rear channels. And for years I lusted for my own AR integrated, and a pair of 3a's. I got what I considered to be world-class equipment starting around 1988 or so. Big, powerful Carver power amps with Carver pre, and Carver Amazing speakers. But when the opportunity to get the Integrated arose in 1996, and The Receiver in 2004, I jumped at the chance. Never got 3a's, but I did manage a gorgeous pair of AR-5's which I have since sold, and a pair of AR-9's that are part of my Half-Ass Two-Channel Home Theater rig.

lorne
02-20-2005, 08:00 PM
Toasted: Thanks for the benadas! I have an AR TT in pieces, but it's back in Vancouver storage. My plan is to rebuild it with a new plinth and an RB-300 arm. You might try to find one, but I would not go very far on the stock arm, although the knife-edge "bearing" was an intriguing minimalist idea.

Don: I have separates too — a Melos pre and two Kenwood mono amps, among others. The Kenwoods are on line, and they can be fed from either my Pioneer A-717 or Sansui alpha717Extra using the 'Pre -Out' plugs. Some of us integ guys can have our cake and eat it too :D Lorne

packrat
02-21-2005, 09:20 AM
I will have to go with the kenwood 600, I've had almost ever amp. kenwood made and the 600 is in a different class. It is heads and shoulders above the ka 9100,7100,5700, and all the kenwood recievers I own. But I will have to admit I have never listened any other brand of amp. that cost what the 600 did new. So if anyone wants to send me there comparably priced vintage amp. I would sure give them a chance to dethrone the 600 !

There are a few interesting Kenwoods on eBay right now - a couple of 8006s and a 3 7300s. The 8006 has similar looking switches as the 600, and the 7300 has dual power transformers, and the face looks a bit similar to the 600. How do these stack up in the Kenwood line of things?? I like the look of the 8006 - when was it built?

Nice to learn more about the AR - but we need an inside look. :)

Also - no mention of the JBL-SA600 from anyone.....yet it goes for $$$ on eaby. What's the story there??

Toasted Almond
02-21-2005, 03:43 PM
Lorne,

I have my sixth or seventh AR-XA in pieces in my He-Man Rig room. Picked it up right here from a great AK member. You're welcome for the benadas, whatever those are. If that's Spanish, I took a year of that in high school and the only thing I learned how to say in that language is "Get out of the classroom Mr. Grand!"

You military?

merrylander
02-21-2005, 04:23 PM
Regarding the CA-1000 and CR-1000 I have never seen either, but fi the later series were any indication the CA and CR amps and receivers shared the look and that was about all. Internally they were quite different.

Rob

rew15951
02-21-2005, 09:09 PM
Packrat. for the money the 5700 makes a nice showing for its self. Even though I'v never listend to a 8006. At one time I had a 9100,7100,5700 set up so I could listen to them on the same set of speakers , and at a sane volume level there is not a lot of difference between any of them. you go to cranking things up the 9100 handles it a lot better, as you would expect . Echowars had recapped and adjusted all the gizmos in them so they were not stock and that may have make a lot of difference.

timoteus
02-22-2005, 12:33 AM
There are a few interesting Kenwoods on eBay right now - a couple of 8006s and a 3 7300s. The 8006 has similar looking switches as the 600, and the 7300 has dual power transformers, and the face looks a bit similar to the 600. How do these stack up in the Kenwood line of things?? I like the look of the 8006 - when was it built?

Nice to learn more about the AR - but we need an inside look. :)

Also - no mention of the JBL-SA600 from anyone.....yet it goes for $$$ on eaby. What's the story there??

The KA-8006/KT-8007 were made from about 1974-1977. They have the same oval cutouts, switches, and knobs as the Model 600/600T that came out in 1976. Prettiest knobs Kenwood ever made, beautiful machine work!

EchoWars
02-22-2005, 02:55 AM
The 8006 is a work of art...always wanted to tinker with one...


The KA-5700 might be the only integrated amp with a 100% passive preamp section you'll ever see from the big 70's Jap manufacturers.

Beobloke
02-22-2005, 10:20 AM
marantz pm 94

Seconded!!

Adam.

lorne
02-26-2005, 01:21 PM
Here are the pics of the AR integrated amp: approx. 23x37x9 cm (but it's a 12" rule as seen in the nudie pic); 9.25 kg, or approx 20.4 lbs. The finish on the hood is not original. Everything else is as AR delivered it. There are only three electrolytic caps in it. Two can be seen on the left, and the other is tucked under the small board at the front. One or two of them are multi-section type. Resistors are the older carbon type. And I was wrong in a previous post. The chassis is not one piece of metal but three — not counting the face plate. The sides and bottom are one piece, and the front and back are fused together with reinforcement sections on the corners. The phono section is interesting in that it has a gain control on the back panel. I have used MC cartridges with this amp. Cheers — Lorne

Brian
02-26-2005, 04:59 PM
On the AR what are the 2 smaller x-formers for? Are they on the outputs? Never liked the sound of the amp and they tended to fry but in a classic AR3a/AR TT/AR tuner/KLH 41 reel to reel/Advent 201 system you'd have about as early 70s classic as it could get - just prior to the Japanese explosion.

lorne
02-26-2005, 09:17 PM
Hi Brian: As for the transformer pair — I just always assumed that they were outputs, even though there are output transistors on the big heat sink you can see. :scratch2: They are accessible from the back of the unit by lifting a couple of phenolic panels. I have a schematic, and although I am a dunce at reading them, I'll try to answer your question later.

Frying: I am interested to know what was causing them to fry. Maybe I can understand this if they were used in a hot and humid climate with poor ventilation. You could possibly fry an egg on an AR if it has been working hard. Perhaps these amps did poorly in Louisiana and parts of Texas. On the other hand, I can't tell you how many hours this unit has on it with not the slightest attention to the circuit. (I thought I had DC offset values, but I can't find them.) It spent nearly 20 years powered up for days at a time with a Dynaco FM-3 tuned to CBC FM (now Radio-2). Sometimes it was woking very hard and hot. I am surprised that it works at all. A year ago, a friend and I did a shootout with his recent NAD amp on a pair of Dalquists. We both expected the old beast to drag its feet. We worked the daylights out of both of them and surprised ourselves. They were very comparable in many ways. The AR had a tad more grain. At low volume it is subjectively comparable to my Sansui AU-317. But sound is taste, and it may not be your cup of tea. I switch amps around because I like different flavors.

An early 70's system: this amp was originally teamed up with a Pioneer PL-12D TT, Dynaco FM-3, and a pair of Interaudio 2-way acoustic suspension speakers. This was not earth shattering audio, but it was pleasant. It had it's finest hour in the late 80's before I started playing with veteran tubed separates like Dynaco and Melos. Currently I am rotating a Pioneer A-717 and a Denon PMA-1090 — both of them great integs. Ja,matta! — Lorne

theinnersource
02-27-2005, 08:46 PM
marantz pm 94
Seconded!!

Adam.

I was wondering if you guys could expand on your choice, I haven’t herd a whole lot of user feedback regarding these amps, other than the fact that they run hot in Class A mode and may cause soldering joints to melt. I really like the looks of this line (PM84, PM74 etc.) and was considering it as an upgrade for my current amp.

A PM-84D just sold and seems someone got it at a bargain price, or maybe just fair?

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=5753468638&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT

I’m hoping you guys could comment using the Criteria packrat outlined in his initial thread ("Criteria is construction quality, ease of repair (longevity), sound quality, looks, in whatever order you like.")

How do they stand up to modern era integrated designs, as well as our much loved Classics from the 60's - 70’s?

Thanks in advance.

lorne
02-28-2005, 12:20 PM
Hi theinnersource and friends;

Re: The Marantz family of integrated amps

I’m hoping you guys could comment using the Criteria packrat outlined in his initial thread ("Criteria is construction quality, ease of repair (longevity), sound quality, looks, in whatever order you like.")

This is a complicated question, but I will give it my best shot. I owned a PM-78 amp for a few years. You can skate over to TNT Audio (the English version if you don't read Italian) and read a very good review of this amp.

It is a well-built machine with more versatility than most machines of an earlier generation. They are heavy, and there is distinct evidence that the makers have offered a lot of decent material for the money. I bought the amp used in mint condition. It ran our family audio/TV stuff — as opposed to my room of insanity. This means that it ran for thousands of hours. Even in non class A mode it ran HOT in the very humid Japanese summers. When it ran in class A it ran REALLY hot. But this condition did not seem to phase it a bit. It was perfect for what it was used it for — rugged, dependable, versatile, lots of power, pleasant sound. It has good relays and switches. It's easy on the eyes. This is a good machine.

Now, all that having been said, let's talk about the sound. I bought it to replace a NAD 304 integrated amp that I fried after a moment of moronic soldering while replacing a pot. (I powered it up and — POOF! — Duh!). Therein is a story. With the Marantz I doubt if you will ever have to replace a pot. But for around the same money as a used NAD, IMHO you will not replace a NAD for euphonics. Not that there is anything wrong with the sound of the Marantz. It is competent, well behaved and delivers the music. But the NAD has the charismatic edge that involves me more in the performance. I spent many hours listening to the Marantz, but it was not quite the NAD. If you look under their respective hoods you will see a difference.

The Marantz family you refer to is in the Japanese tradition of the heavy, big box with all kinds of holes out the back. Lots of good parts. The PM-78 has a decent phono section. So does the NAD. The Marantz has big chassis mounted heat sinks and decent passive components. The NAD has shrewd engineering and something that delivers more than just pyscho-acoustic mystique.

Older machines: Well, I bought a Pioneer A-717 for $100. As with any machine this age, it came with risks. Still, besides a good cleaning I have done nothing to it. For sheer excitement, it trounced the much fresher Marantz I paid $300 for. I could also talk about a Sansui AU-alpha717 Extra ($150), or a Denon PMA 1090 (a cast-off). These amps are in another world — another class. But the PMA fried an output transistor (and other stuff along with it), and the Sansui just runs at risk with all the original electrolytics running thousands of hours a year doing the same job as the Marantz once did. I have an even older Pioneer Silver-Face that is a real tire-biter! Even more risk in that one. In fact, about two weeks after I bought it, a very ugly sound forced me to power off in a hurry and park it in the 'projects-waiting-zone'. Great fun while it lasted. I do not know if it had the polite finesse of the Marantz, but a fist full of volume and The Doors could tear your balls off! You have to weigh out your options and be aware that running old amps is something like tearing up and down mountains in old Austin Healys. I can be a great ride, but keep a cell phone at hand to phone the wrecker.

Please note that I sold the 78 to a non-audiophile best friend in good conscience and in the belief that he will get years of useful service out of it. He is very happy with it.

So what to do? Well, you could go just a bit more upstairs and get something like a used, mid-range, recent model Denon (around $1,500 when new). You will get the big, heavy box full of good stuff — and the sound, and the versatility. For $100, I say go for something like you spotted (assuming a decent vendor etc.). Ship it; play it; milk it nicely. And, if and when you are finished with it, sell it and move on. I am sure that it will not melt solder, unless you pack it into a small, unventilated space. My 78 ran with all kinds ambient air around it. Make sure it is not choked with dust, then power it up. Enjoy! — Lorne

Yamaha B-2
02-28-2005, 12:36 PM
Had forgotten to mention Denon. I had a PMA-2000 for about three months. Was an excellent piece of gear, but definitely was not as good as the Sony TA-F808ES (nor has been any other integrated I've owned). While I had no particular compliants about the Denon and like the remote functions, it did not 'light my fire'. You can generally find used PMA-2000s on eBay or Audiogon for around $600. IIRC, it, too, like the Marantz, is a MOSFET output stage. And, runs relatively cool.

Also owned a Bryston B-60R. Ordered with a phono stage built-in, which took them about four months to figure out. Was good, but was disappointing when I compared to the pair of 2B-LP amps I was using at the time (same power amp in both - just didn't seem to work in the B-60R). Bryston is great gear.

Bonky
02-28-2005, 04:28 PM
Marantz 1300dc. What do I win?

ilimzn
02-28-2005, 06:10 PM
Here are some of my entries:

Sansui AU20000 - granted, I only had the chance to audition my modded version (had to be modded because it was the only way to get it un-butchered, if there is interest I can post the mods here)...

Kenwood 600/650. Overall, I would say this is the one that does most if not everything right... It will blow most anything out of the water given new caps and modern output transistors...

Sansui AU517 - This has to be the best balance of sound per buck out there, bar none. Also, it is easy to tweak, after which it will at the very least give anything in it's class a run for it's money if not a beating... the Reduced Instruction Set Amplifier ;) - has everything you need and little or no extra...

Sony 4650 VFET - one for the 'unique and unusual' cathegory. The small amp that can - the best 30WPC I have ever heared, bar none, including the best feature set in it's class...

Yamaha CA1000 - One vote for the 'sleeper' cathegory, also included a class A output! ...1000 would win my vote for the best balanced sound of that period... amazingly condensed inside, and generates a lot of heat in class A.

One honorable mention: kenwood KA8100. IMHO, undeservedly lives in the shadow of the much more popular 9100, but honestly, I liked the 8100 better.

I'll get some pics and nudies posted when I'm back near my main PC...

Well, better late than never: Here go the pictures that I have... No pics of Yamaha CA1000 and Sony 4650 as there have been some recently on the forum...

gyusher
02-28-2005, 06:57 PM
I am a late bloomer when it comes to Integrated Amps. In the day it had to be seperates or a high line receiver at least. In the last two years I have come to appreciate some mighty fine integrated amps from just about every one. . . My favorites are listed in order of my preference. . . Some that are not mentioned are either dogs (in my mind) or amps I have not had the pleasure of listening to or owning.

My all time favorite is a late 80s model that must be the absolute sweetest sounding amp I have ever heard bar none. Kenwood KA-3300D. . . a 150wpc cadillac that for once is my keeper and I have listened long enough now to mean it. Connected to my old Bozaks I am in heaven. . . I can sit and listen for hours on end and never get enough. . .

Now for all the rest;
1)- Kenwood KA-9100
2)- Pioneer SA-9100
3)- Kenwood KA-1100SD
4)- Pioneer SA-7500
5)- Marantz 1152DC
6)- Sansui AU-11000
7)- Sansui AU-9500
8)- Pioneer SA-6500II
9)- Unknown Rotel
10)- Unknown Marantz


Still once I turned on the KA-3300D I knew I was hooked. . . I unplugged my Sansui AU-9500 that I liked so much or thought I did untill I heard this guy.

russkish
03-01-2005, 01:18 AM
Hey, gyusher, I am a little off topic here, but every time I see your avatar I get a nice chuckle. Is that you? That pic looks just like my brother when he was the same age. I could be having a terrible day, but every time I see that face I feel 1000 per cent better. How could you not like that little guy? Nice observations on amps, too.

piobyte
03-01-2005, 05:51 AM
This is a wery good set from 1975 , Still have it and still like new. I got the T 101 today. I have the E 202 from New. Accuphase is very stabil !!!???

packrat
03-01-2005, 09:20 AM
Kenwood 600/650. Overall, I would say this is the one that does most if not everything right... It will blow most anything out of the water given new caps and modern output transistors......

Can you elaborate on that? I like the input options, and tone control options, and looks of these amps but what changes are needed to put in new output transitors? What is gained? (ie. more power, lower distortion, lower noise, all 3)

ilimzn
03-01-2005, 09:43 AM
Can you elaborate on that? I like the input options, and tone control options, and looks of these amps but what changes are needed to put in new output transitors? What is gained? (ie. more power, lower distortion, lower noise, all 3)

You may get only a bit more power into regular loads. What you do get for sure is better driveability of difficult loads (like speakers with impedance dips, or traditionally difficult to drive speakers like full range ribbons or electrostatics).
When i say driveability, I mean reliability, as well as reduced distortion - also for normal loads, but especially for low impedance (4 ohms).
Changes needed are quite easy, actually - the emitter drop resistors are changed to reflect the higher transistor current rating (originals are 10A, replacements 16) so that the current protection does not activate too early. The transistors themselves are easily changed as they are socketed. Even just changing them without any further mods will increase reliability as the new ones are much better at transferring heat to the heatsinks, as well as lower distortion due to the higher gain of the newer type, that is also sustained across a larger range of output currents.
After that, the amp neds to be re-nulled and re-biassed properly.
There are also two minor mods that could be done to the rest of the power amp circuit to reduce distortion. The preamp section could benefit slightly from a change of some of the larger valued resistors in it to metal film, but bigger benefots would come there from a recap, that would also change the smaller electrolytics to foil caps as long as they can fit the circuit board.
And that's about it!

gyusher
03-01-2005, 07:10 PM
Hey, gyusher, I am a little off topic here, but every time I see your avatar I get a nice chuckle. Is that you? That pic looks just like my brother when he was the same age. I could be having a terrible day, but every time I see that face I feel 1000 per cent better. How could you not like that little guy? Nice observations on amps, too.


My 17mo old Grandson. . . Stinker. . . "Little Man"
Hell of a lot smarter than me, thats a true statement. . . I just got home from my first visit since he was born. . .Quite a trip. We couldnt be seperated. . .
Thanks for the kind words. . .

russkish
03-01-2005, 10:46 PM
Gyusher, should have known the kid was about 17 months old. My brother had the same grin on his face at that age. This little guy must be listening to one of your integrated amps. And what kind of speakers put that smile on "Little Man's" face?

gyusher
03-02-2005, 03:28 AM
Gyusher, should have known the kid was about 17 months old. My brother had the same grin on his face at that age. This little guy must be listening to one of your integrated amps. And what kind of speakers put that smile on "Little Man's" face?




Bozak for vintage and JBL for HT (E100x2/C35/E70x4)

Beobloke
03-02-2005, 03:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by melofelo
marantz pm 94



Quote:
Originally Posted by Beobloke
Seconded!!

Adam.



I was wondering if you guys could expand on your choice, I haven’t herd a whole lot of user feedback regarding these amps, other than the fact that they run hot in Class A mode and may cause soldering joints to melt. I really like the looks of this line (PM84, PM74 etc.) and was considering it as an upgrade for my current amp.

Well, i heard one years ago and thought it sounded fabulous. It weighed a ton and had a particularly sweet-sounding MC phono stage.
However, melofelo and i aren't alone apparently, have a look here -

http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/hfw/oldeworldehtml/marantzpm94.html

Adam.

lorne
03-02-2005, 04:22 AM
Q-1: for ilimzn. Do you think that the mods or updates you mentioned for the Kenwood are also apro pos for other older amps in general? And if so, how far back do you think we have to consider in order to reap appreciable benefits? I am not talking about changing out caps, since any older caps are likely candidates for replacement by new, lower ESR types.

Q-2 And packrat or ilimzn — do you have the numbers of the Kenwood 60/650 output trannies handy? I have a substitution manual, and I'd like to look up what it says.

I started doing some things to a Sansui AU-307 sometime ago, and I have to get back to it. I intend to change out the 25A745/2SC1403 pairs because I keep reading that modern transisters are an improvement.

The AU-307 is a suprising good little amp which is never remembered —even among Sansui maniacs. I just love the look of it (see attached). It is not an imposing looking amp, but it produces an engaging performance. Smoothness and clarity are noticable traits. If you did not need bags of power, these amps were a good choice because, as Sansui themselves claimed in their contempory brochure, they did not sacrifice what was essential for accurate and pleasent sound regardless of the fact that it was a lower level model. It cost me almost nothing, and for weeks after I first got it, I did not even power up the 'big boxes'.

packrat
03-02-2005, 07:28 AM
Well, i heard one years ago and thought it sounded fabulous. It weighed a ton and had a particularly sweet-sounding MC phono stage.
However, melofelo and i aren't alone apparently, have a look here -

http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/hfw/oldeworldehtml/marantzpm94.html

Adam.

Thanks! I now see why there were 2 nods for it - from the description it sounds like a cost-no-object TOTL amp.

lorne,
I don't know much about the Kenwood 600/650, so I don't know the output transistor types. But the 600 was the main reason I first asked this question. I was wondering what others thought of it, and to suggest amps from other makes and times. So far there have been suggestions from each decade from the 60's to the present, from many manufacturers. I think my initial question was probably a little silly, being too open ended, as it is all a matter of opinion. Interestingly, no flame wars broke out (not my initial intent) and everyone has exchanged ideas and knowledge. Three cheers for the AK folks!

russkish
03-02-2005, 02:45 PM
lorne, I don't remember the Sansui AU-307, cannot comment on any aspect of its performance, but it sure is a good looking amp. Looks to be all business to me. What was the power rating on this amp? Where did it fit in within the Sansui line? What is the vintage? It looks better to me than any piece of mid fi I have seen.

redcoates7
03-02-2005, 09:33 PM
Hey everyone-

Just wanted to weigh in with a vote for the Kenwood L-02A. I've had the opportunity to live with one of these for a while and it's a real beauty...outboard power supply, that fancy "Sigma Servo" amplifier.

Only bummer is that it doesn't have enough inputs! Tape 1/2 Phono 1/2 on the back...Aux is on the front like on the KA-1100SD and KA-3300SD.

Oh well...

Jeff

lorne
03-02-2005, 10:50 PM
russkish wrote:

lorne, I don't remember the Sansui AU-307, cannot comment on any aspect of its performance, but it sure is a good looking amp. Looks to be all business to me. What was the power rating on this amp? Where did it fit in within the Sansui line? What is the vintage? -SNIP-

The AU-307 was a Japanese domestic model and part of the first generation 07 series of 1976. It put out 50 watts RMS/channel into 8 Ohms. The export line of these amps appears to have been expanded. Whereas the 317 seems to have been the bottom of the domestic series, the export line had a 117 and a 217 and so on up to the 717. The 307 is probably the closest to the 317. In fact, I suspect that it is nearly identical — the biggest difference being that the 317 has the addition of a mike mixing input.

If you go to the URL below, it will get you to a hard-to-find site that features scanned pamphlets. These are unlike the usual drivel in that they are very technically descriptive and include pics of the internals. Also there are more specs than you wanna know about.

<http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:kMGHt7_kHQcJ:www.classicsansui.net/Integrated%2520Amplifiers.htm+Sansui+AU-317&hl>

Mine has the rack handles that you see in the pamphlets.

I have done something to mine that may be called butchering by purists. Prior to buying this unit I came across a pair of what I assumed were NOS Elna Blacks "For Audio" electrolytic caps. At 10,000 uF they were same value as the originals, but fatter and taller. As it turned out, the Elnas were slightly used, but I decided to use them anyway after reforming them on a series of wall warts. It was VERY tight. I had to epoxy the clamps onto the board (the originals were merely soldered in.) The next thing will be to cut holes in the hood so that the taller caps can protrude. Sansui purists will probably want to speak to me in a dark parking lot. :worried:

Audiophiles should not let any of these amps get hauled to the dump. Sure, they were not flagship models, but after reading the pamphlets and the user reviews on AudioReview, you'll see why these are distinctive relics deserve to be preserved. They signified a no- compromise policy of offering the same quality as the flagship models, but with less power. One comment that gets repeated in respect to these amps — they sound much more powerful than 50 watts while being warm and clear at the same time. The other comment is that they are very nicely built. One writer says that anyone working on aircraft equipment would see and feel the similarity at once.

Japanese enthusiasts are very conscious of the fact that Sansui was a maker of transformers before they were manufacturers of complete components. This company may have placed an importance on power supply. The result may have been the distinct richness that these amps are known for.

So it appears that more people DO remember this amp, but mine is a domestic model number. — Cheers — Lorne

russkish
03-03-2005, 12:50 AM
Thanks, lorne, your specifics cofirm in my own mind how solid this model really is. I figured it must have been an amplifier capable of somewhere between 40 and 60 watts per channel. The Sansui line definitely had a lot of design integrity about it in those days. The decade of the 70s was definitely a very good period for this company. I agree with you wholeheartedly about salvaging these great pieces. What a shame to see what has become of the consumer electronics industry. Most people are simply willing to settle for lo-fi junk, and they get what they deserve.

curious1189
09-19-2005, 03:51 PM
Just getting into this. Currently using a Yamaha 2010, but I also have a back-up system using an old Sugden A21 Series II from the early 70s, runs very hot but VERY smooth.

Yamaha B-2
09-19-2005, 04:03 PM
Welcome to AK curious1189. That CA-2010 is a great integrated. I recently sold mine to another AKer once my B-2 amps were upgraded. The CA-2010 had been recapped by EW (one of our most esteemed members), including Black Gates in the phono stage. Hopefully, it will arrive at John's place in a day or two in good shape (fingers crossed) and he will enjoy it as much as I did.

Bogframe
09-19-2005, 05:58 PM
Please don't laugh, but I still love my 1978 vintage Realistic STA2000D, despite a faulty synapse in the left channel.
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a315/Bogframe/stereo.jpg
Besides having great sound (especially after passing through my Realistic EQ), it's the only amp I've come across that will run my whole system.
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a315/Bogframe/Stereo.jpg
AMP: Realistic STA2000D
EQ: 10 band, 2 channel Realistic
Reel to Reel: Akai GX4000D
Turntable: 1979 Realistic LAB400 direct drive with a Shure cartidge that tracks at 1-1/2g
Dual Cassette: Cheap @ss Fisher
8-Track: MacGregor
CD recorder: Sony rcd-w1
CD player: Magnavox cdb480
2nd FM Tuner: SAE 8000 which needs a couple of the LEDs replaced (I have them, I just don't know how to do the actual replacement)
On top is a Lafayette LA 248A Transistor amp that's not plugged into anything but works, in case anyone is looking for one. :naughty:

dagg39
09-20-2005, 11:49 AM
My vintage loved amplifier are the venerable Sansui AU-777 and the little Philips AG-9014 OTL whith 97 db/w/m full range 800 ohms speakers in a TL enclosure

kerozene
09-20-2005, 12:06 PM
My vote goes to...

http://www.classic-audio.com/marantz/pics/1200b.jpg

Marantz 1200b. I had one at the beginning of the 70s and left her with my brother in Italy where he is enjoying her to date... I wish I had her here...

Strawman
09-20-2005, 06:00 PM
I'll be kicking myself in the ass for ever getting rid of my Marantz 1180DC. Not a real high powered unit, but all of the versatility you could ever want or need, and just pretty to look at. I's have to say the 1300 is a beauty as well.

Yamaha B-2
09-20-2005, 06:10 PM
My vote goes to...http://www.classic-audio.com/marantz/pics/1200b.jpg Marantz 1200b. I had one at the beginning of the 70s and left her with my brother in Italy where he is enjoying her to date... I wish I had her here...Look no further than Radio X's (Punker X on AK) link below. He has a very nice looking Marantz 1200 for sale. My guess is he has gone through to insure it is in great working condition. And for a few $ more he would probably recap for the discerning ear.

Peter W.
10-10-2005, 12:08 PM
Looking for opinions on the best ever int amp. I've seen the section on thevintageknob (TVK). Looking for opinions from users. What would be considered the best ever vintage integrated amp, regardless of power rating?

Criteria is construction quality, ease of repair (longevity), sound quality, looks, in whatever order you like.

Some recent examples of contenders:

This sold just a few days ago....was this a bargain price, or fair?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=73369&item=5752237860&rd=1
(the rest of his sales are for overpriced vintage tube gear...)

then there is this, one comes up only a few times a year:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=67807&item=5750659341&rd=1
(I've seen one of these in person, and it is bigger than the pictures portray.)

Price no object? Well, go with the exotics. Krell, Audio Research, Mark Levinson, and so forth.

At the less-than-nosebleed price level? Solid-state only?

Breaking the First Rule: Any such list MUST include the Dynaco SCA-35 tube integrated amp. Even if the title of the forum is Vintage Solid State. A mere 17wpc using a pair of EL-84/6BQ5 outputs, but one sweet unit.

After that:

Acoustic Research integrated amp. Easy to service, a little sparse with inputs and no headphone jack, but so what. Solid as a rock, especially if the bias mods are completed (within the skill-set of any decent tech with a multi-meter).

Fisher TX-100: Very few were made, fewer survive. But simple, sweet and also pretty bullet-proof.

After that, there is a pretty large herd of contenders. But amongst all that is the HK A-401 integrated amp. Made in Japan, a mere 40wpc, but also a simple, sweet sound. A real sleeper, often forgotten. In fact, this is the only piece of pacific-rim equipment I have ever owned outside of moving parts (tape decks).

Yamaha B-2
10-10-2005, 05:30 PM
IMHO opinion, is the Sony TA-F808ES.

Brian
10-10-2005, 08:47 PM
Pete, I've previously cited the Dyna SCA35. You suggested the TX100. I have the TX300 and it is a REALLY good sounding amp and I can't wait to get the caps changed and have it gone through. It was a little earlier than the TX100 and has more power. Your mention of the AR amp sent shivers up my spine. I remember those only as fingernails running across the chaulk board. They had to be easy to service since when they were new they had a huge failure rate. I understand the 401 and 403 are really good sounding amps. Also would proffer the Marantz 1060 that I like better than the bigger amps including the 1200. Philips had a Lab Series of which I have a couple of receivers. The series has a couple of integrated amps but I've not had the pleasure. If they are as good as the 797 receiver then they could be on a short list. Chris has 2 of them but not sure what his thought on them are. I have a Yamaha but in critical terms it does not make the grade for me.

johndoe3
10-10-2005, 10:07 PM
My vote for best integrated amp goes to Accuphase E-202. A friend of mine and I keep threatening to get together to A/B his Kenwood 600 vs my Accuphase. It will be fun when we do!

Peter W.
10-11-2005, 03:48 PM
Pete, I've previously cited the Dyna SCA35. You suggested the TX100. I have the TX300 and it is a REALLY good sounding amp and I can't wait to get the caps changed and have it gone through. It was a little earlier than the TX100 and has more power. Your mention of the AR amp sent shivers up my spine. I remember those only as fingernails running across the chaulk board. They had to be easy to service since when they were new they had a huge failure rate. I understand the 401 and 403 are really good sounding amps. Also would proffer the Marantz 1060 that I like better than the bigger amps including the 1200. Philips had a Lab Series of which I have a couple of receivers. The series has a couple of integrated amps but I've not had the pleasure. If they are as good as the 797 receiver then they could be on a short list. Chris has 2 of them but not sure what his thought on them are. I have a Yamaha but in critical terms it does not make the grade for me.
Brian:

If one does the proper 'factory-approved' mods on the AR amps (& receivers) not only do they become sweet-sounding, but they also become pretty rugged and run quite cool. It is entirely possible to install 2N32772 output transistors in place of the 2N3055s, but a well-matched pair of 2N3055s does the trick nicely. I have a decent little Heath transistor checker with matching capabilities, so neither is a trick. What happened with the AR stuff is that they tried to get fancy with the interstage transformers... making bias a bear without ultra-stable components. These days, ultra-stable is easy, so getting the bias 'right' is also easy. All of a sudden the idea becomes effective in practice as well as theory. I got a "virgin" amp a few months back, blown outputs and drivers on both sides, as expected. I replaced the drivers and the outputs with matched pairs, did the mods, I can drive it to just clipping all day into a dummy load, it barely warms up... OK, it does but not to the point of burning up the transistors.

Recapping: Sure. The electrolytics should be just fine if the amp has been used fairly regularly. But you will find a remarkable and positive change if you use epoxy-dipped film caps for any electrolytics of 1uf or less, and go with 600V film caps for the low-value stuff. Modern caps will fit without difficulty under most conditions. Otherwise use 200V caps which WILL fit easily. I did that on the driver-stages of the AR, my goodness did it tighten up the highs and snap the tubbyness out of the bass. Try to get an -exact- match to value, of course.

Recapping is not hardly rocket-science, BTW. The innards of most vintage (60s/70s/very early 80s) of US manufacture are pretty wide-open and easy to work around. A good soldering iron, some de-soldering braid, care and good light is all you should need. Caps are cheap, Mouser will be your best source for VHE caps. Otherwise DigiKey and Newark, but they are pricier.

Take care.

Peter W.
10-11-2005, 08:34 PM
They are interstage transformers. A quirk of AR design to sweeten the sound. Now, in the early models the step backfired as bias becomes only possible with rock-steady components. Oops...

But the factory came up with several elegant and quite-simple mods that solved the problem effectively, thereby gaining back the advantage of the interstage step. See my further post on this down-line.

Brian
10-11-2005, 09:27 PM
Intersting. I've seen some of these in near perfect shape but not working as well as the receivers. The tuner though plain Jane in simplicity was very good sounding. Maybe next time I see a setup on the cheap I'll pick it up. I've always steered cleaer of them though they are some of the nicest designs in terms of looks - I like functional no nonsense looking units and these fit the description.

shelby1420
10-11-2005, 09:33 PM
Sansui AU 9900.

Peter W.
10-12-2005, 01:12 PM
Intersting. I've seen some of these in near perfect shape but not working as well as the receivers. The tuner though plain Jane in simplicity was very good sounding. Maybe next time I see a setup on the cheap I'll pick it up. I've always steered cleaer of them though they are some of the nicest designs in terms of looks - I like functional no nonsense looking units and these fit the description.
Let me know. I can scan the relevant sections of the Factory Shop Manual and send them along. With the manual and explanations in-hand, they become almost as simple as Dynaco to service, but with much better theoretical explanations as to how/why.

PMik
10-12-2005, 02:17 PM
In my pov. Accuphase! :yes:

Since 1974 the firm has overall made the best Intergreted amps,
the amps combine Quality, Performance and Beauty at its best. :thmbsp:

http://www.accuphase.com/history_int.htm

lorne
10-13-2005, 04:59 AM
...Acoustic Reasearch Inc? ... or something else? The AR (Acoustic Research) AU designated integrated amplifier was a remarkable machine for it's time. It was compact but surprisingly heavy for it's size. Under the hood it is reminiscent of tube gear, but with SS boards stuck here and there. Despite this tack-on character, the build quality is evident in every respect. I still own one after 33 years, and its performance is warm yet powerfully moving and balanced. Please be aware that there is yet 'another,' and I believe precentent 'AR'. I would vote it to be one of the best of all time to date for its integrity and original price — not to mention that it still delivers without ever having seen a work bench but for cleaning.

Peter W.
10-13-2005, 06:44 AM
...Acoustic Reasearch Inc? ... or something else? The AR (Acoustic Research) AU designated integrated amplifier was a remarkable machine for it's time. It was compact but surprisingly heavy for it's size. Under the hood it is reminiscent of tube gear, but with SS boards stuck here and there. Despite this tack-on character, the build quality is evident in every respect. I still own one after 33 years, and its performance is warm yet powerfully moving and balanced. Please be aware that there is yet 'another,' and I believe precentent 'AR'. I would vote it to be one of the best of all time to date for its integrity and original price — not to mention that it still delivers without ever having seen a work bench but for cleaning.
Yep. That one.

A real sleeper.

legal eagle
04-12-2007, 07:29 AM
I hate to burst your cute little bubles, but You have heard nothing, untill you heard the Sansui AU-9500 which I picked up on Ebay for a sh$tload of money - best deal I ever made.

I have one in my office, set up with a crappy CD player I picked up at the supermarket (shamefull...I know...), and to a pair of tiny JBL LX series speakers, and I don't know how to tell you that - but the sound is as crisp as fried bacon. Each and every sound is clear and exact, and the seperation is simply unmatched. I think it's a waste to hook this beast (wheighs like a car) in the office - but an integrated amp is just called for under the circumstances - I can't wait 'till i'll hook it up properly one day.

And by the way - the AU-9500 looks fantastic. I thought it looked OK in the photos, but up close and in person, it is stunning: the black anodized brushed Aluminum faceplate and the machined HEAVY knobs are simply beautiful.:smoke:

EricC
04-12-2007, 07:43 AM
I hate to burst your cute little bubles, but You have heard nothing, untill you heard the Sansui AU-9500

How many units have you heard since all of us have heard nothing?

bully
04-12-2007, 07:50 AM
Get this back on track and leave the personal shots out of it.

MattFLA
04-12-2007, 07:56 AM
Nikko NA 690......Very few people know about Nikko but this amp is the best I have heard.




MattFLA

legal eagle
04-12-2007, 08:02 AM
ExJxC,
I heard quite a few integrated amps actually, hence my opinion. But hey - it is possible (it just might happen...) that somebody out there heard just one more integrated amp more than I did. It might just happen that that one integrated amp sounded better to him (but I find it hard to believe).

reggaenaut
04-12-2007, 10:12 PM
A recapped Sansui 919.

motorstereo
04-13-2007, 04:59 AM
My vote goes for a luxman L110. It has the best phono section out of any unit that I have. Controls are excellent quality and it has a unique look about it. Also has plenty of grunt at 120rms a side. And yes I have an au9500 and a few others to compare it to. As much as I love my sansui gear the 9500 has to take a back seat to the luxman.

jimfet
04-13-2007, 05:10 AM
I had a Sa 9900 that I thought was great. Sold it and got a Spec 1 and 4. I thought the 9900 sounded better and had more head room. Regreted that move.

lorne
04-13-2007, 07:09 AM
I [have] heard quite a few integrated amps actually, hence my opinion. But hey - it is possible (it just might happen...) that somebody out there heard just one more integrated amp more than I did. Here is something to consider: I have paraphrased and borrowed it from a well-known statement by a famous designer who has since passed from our midst. The best designs are roughly equivalent in terms of the quality of sound that they produce. Less accomplished designs exhibit large differences.

I have no way of measuring the limits of my experiences in terms of those belonging to other enthusiasts, but the above observation really does coincide with what I have heard.

Many of us in AK own some very nice sounding electronics. The remarks on a thread such as this provide an opportunity for readers to enjoy the subjective enthusiasm of others. The fact that something may be 'better' or 'worse', 'more' or 'less' than something else is really a moot issue.

On AK, and IMHO more than anywhere else, members can come to know each other without getting buried in the wrangling and wrestling of subjective opinion. As members help each other to sort out problems, share tips, exchange techniques and information, we constantly come to know each other better. When it comes time for remarks such as 'what's the best ever ...?' our interest means something because we learn even more about our members and what turns them on. The relative merit of one machine to another is relevant, but it's not conclusive. It's all about individual taste and experience, and it's FUN!

So-called 'shootouts' while no means objectively conclusive can be useful for prospective collecters and shoppers. For example, a couple of times a year I scoot over to The Tuner Information Center site where I read the ever-expanding shootout directory for SS tuners. It's interesting, fun and entertaining. It helps to know WHAT the shootout testers are inclined to test for. As with all equipment of any kind, the perameters for performance are set in advance by the testers. For example, the TIC guys are intent on testing the DXing capability of a tuner. This is off my scale of consideration since here in Japan I tune to a single, very local and powerful signal — NHK. In Vancouver it was the same thing — CBC. It’s all a matter of swings and round-abouts. Suit yourself!

Integrated amps are interesting because they combine two essential functions in the same box. And despite their having been built by the same corporation, they frequently vary in terms of relative merit in regards to the preamp and power amp sections. Perhaps the most defining single difference comes from the integrity of the power supply. In this respect, legaleagel is on solid ground because Sansui started business as a maker of fine transformers. The best of Sansui has to stand out there shinning along with top-line products from a number of makers.

I've made it a rule in my hobby to no longer collect any one-box unit that cannot be split for ‘Preamp In’ and ‘Power Amp Out’. This option makes any system so much more versatile. It makes for some interesting listening. And it provides some options when some part of the system squawks, burns down or blows up — the magic smoke. Still, despite the fact that there is no provision to divide the functions, no one is EVER going to pull my AR AU model integrated out of my grasp until the day I fall down at the rack. This is NOT because I insist that it is the best integrated amp on the planet. It is because I LIKE it for the sweetness that it produces — sheer entertainment. Years ago audio visitors to my home felt the same way, but I did not see them rushing away in taxis to track down their own AR.

Now let's get on with the show!

m58dh
04-13-2007, 10:17 AM
My vote goes to the Kenwood KA 9100. I owned one for over 20 years and during that time it slew every "modern" reciever I tried to replace it with. It also thoroughly trashed every vintage reciever and amp that it came up against while I was in Japan in the 70's (when I first bought it).

I presently run a Yamaha CA 2010 in my main system and while it has a great phono preamp and great detailed sound, I've found myself longing for the smoother less detailed sound from my Marantz recievers. I recently compared the 2010 to my 2265 and it's a toss up. Haven't had the opportunity to compare it to my Concept 11.0 since the Concept has been serviced but will do so when it comes back from the shop.

If parts are still available for it the Kenwood is well worth the price that they are going for in auctions.

SoCal Sam
04-13-2007, 10:42 AM
My vote goes to Kenwood. I have a KA-907 and a 650 and both are excellent performers. I have a 701 "on order" and I'm hoping this 80 watter is more of the same. The Concept 16.5 has an excellent amp section and is very close to the Kenwoods in performance. I know, the 16.5 is a receiver but it is similar in design to the Kennies with dual trannies. I've always wanted to try a Marantz 1300DC and an Accuphase E202.

RHX68
04-13-2007, 10:46 PM
My vote go for my beloved Model 500, agree with EW this integrated is second to none. It was a BIG project to refurbish this amp. The other I will consider in the top rank should be AU-9900/11000 series. Those 70's great equipments are so well build that one word can describe --- Masterpiece.

Any one owned both 500/600 or AU-9900/11000 can tell me which one will you keep ? And what's the reason behind. :scratch2:

Cheers for vintage. :music:

restorer-john
04-13-2007, 11:44 PM
Hey Lorne, just out of interest you say you have Kenwood L05's which you feed from your pioneer A717 preouts...funny it doesn't have them- it has a processor loop but no pre outs. It has a high gain power amp with the volume control in line with the power amp. There is no accessible pre stage in the A717.

UpsideThe Head
04-13-2007, 11:44 PM
Maybe its me, but if I had "The Best" Integrated Amp (plug in what you think the most awesome amp is here) and absolutely loved the way it sounded. I would probably still think the grass would be greener if only I had "that other Amplifier" (plug in other awesome sounding amp here). What I'm trying to say is, The definition of the "Best Integrated Amplifier" is ; the one you don't have.

restorer-john
04-13-2007, 11:55 PM
I personally love the Pioneer A91D integrated, the Harman Kardon PM660, The sony 333esr and my 444esxII and my sansui AUD-5 and my Pioneer A717. Interestingly enough, the pioneers, the HK and the sansui all have high gain power amps and NO active preamp stage when used in direct/bypass mode. They are all pure dc with no caps in line and FET input differential stages. Coincidence...i don't think so. These are my favourites out of perhaps 50 or more amps.
If Iwas to pick the best integrated ever, it would probably be the Marantz PM94 like another poster said. I have one I need to repair, but it honestly makes just about everything else look cheap and poorly designed.

lorne
04-14-2007, 02:42 AM
RestorerJohn wrote:Hey Lorne, just out of interest you say you have Kenwood L05's which you feed from your pioneer A717 preouts...funny it doesn't have them- it has a processor loop but no pre outs. Yikes, then was I thinking about?! I had to go back and see what I had written. My system has been reconfigured a bunch of times since then, and the Pioneer went downstairs for my wife and son to play with 'cuz the phono section went down.

My SM is buried somewhere, but my notebook and drawings indicate the following facilities at the back:

DAT/Tape 1: Record and Play
Adapt 1 Tape 3: In and Out
Adapt 2: In and Out

I show the last ones as have a metallic bridge connector plug-in connecting the in and out RCA plugs. I believe that I got a signal out of the 'Out' plugs. This is by my feeble memory. If this is was a bad idea, or seems impossible, I'd like to hear about it. I treasure this amp and someday I'll be reclaiming it from the room of Animax and Chunichi Dragons baseball.

Toasted Almond
04-14-2007, 03:40 AM
Yeah. They'd get my AR-AU the same day they'd get my AR Receiver.

lorne
04-16-2007, 03:41 AM
restorer-john wrote:Hey Lorne, just out of interest you say you have Kenwood L05's which you feed from your pioneer A717 preouts...funny it doesn't have them- it has a processor loop but no pre outs. Your post has been replaying on a loop in my head nearly since I read it — driving me crazy. So I went back to your original post and re-read it. Ahh ... processor loop? Don't have one. And I always thought that all of these Pioneer A-717's were the same!? I have phono MM and MC blah blah but no 'Processor'. Could we be experiencing a difference between domestic and import models?

Closer to the thread: I love this machine for AV stuff. I must have had somewhere around eight, well-reviewed integrated amps built from 1978-2002 driving the VHS, TV, BS TV (Japan), satellite feed, DVD sources. This amp is my fave because it makes every performance a sort of living presence. ... Uncanny and hard to explain, but there it is. It has always done this BEST when coupled with a modified pair of tweaked Pioneer CS-655 (domestic model c.'76) speakers. The unit is stock, off the shelf and unaltered from the day I bought it from the reseller for ... ah ... about ... can't rememeber, but it was cheap. It was missing a knob, and here in Nippon this cuts the price way down. Ya gotta luv it! It has some very nice caps in it, but some day they have to come out.

During our humid summers, I've told the family to direct an external fan I've rigged next to it, so it survives countless thousands of hours of yoemanry service.

BTW, these days, the Kennys are a long way away from the 717 on another system.

restorer-john
04-16-2007, 07:38 AM
Hey Lorne, don't worry about it, I have the benefit of the 717 Service manual here and my NIB 717 in a box downstairs (a switchable 110,120,127,220,240 volt model). The processor loop (adpt/in/out with links) is merely line level and prior to any active preamp stage. Direct and line is straight into the power amp via a passive pot, so no preamp out is available. The Service Manual I have, covers all models except the home market 100volt japanese model, so there is a chance some major modification was made for a preamp out on your unit, but it would have required some major PCB mods and the deletion of the direct switch as well as other changes. I attached the part from the Service Manual where the signal is just about to head into the power amp. The volume pot is connected directly to the power amp via a 220ohm resistor. There is no opportunity in an amp with this topology to have a preamp out so I am very interested if your 717 does have a preamp out. My A91D is the same- no preamp out-main in. Honestly, it is a WAY better design and something they realised in the 80's when performance really reached its peak.

legal eagle
04-17-2007, 01:10 PM
Here is something to consider: I have paraphrased and borrowed it from a well-known statement by a famous designer who has since passed from our midst. The best designs are roughly equivalent in terms of the quality of sound that they produce. Less accomplished designs exhibit large differences.

I have no way of measuring the limits of my experiences in terms of those belonging to other enthusiasts, but the above observation really does coincide with what I have heard.

Many of us in AK own some very nice sounding electronics. The remarks on a thread such as this provide an opportunity for readers to enjoy the subjective enthusiasm of others. The fact that something may be 'better' or 'worse', 'more' or 'less' than something else is really a moot issue.

On AK, and IMHO more than anywhere else, members can come to know each other without getting buried in the wrangling and wrestling of subjective opinion. As members help each other to sort out problems, share tips, exchange techniques and information, we constantly come to know each other better. When it comes time for remarks such as 'what's the best ever ...?' our interest means something because we learn even more about our members and what turns them on. The relative merit of one machine to another is relevant, but it's not conclusive. It's all about individual taste and experience, and it's FUN!

So-called 'shootouts' while no means objectively conclusive can be useful for prospective collecters and shoppers. For example, a couple of times a year I scoot over to The Tuner Information Center site where I read the ever-expanding shootout directory for SS tuners. It's interesting, fun and entertaining. It helps to know WHAT the shootout testers are inclined to test for. As with all equipment of any kind, the perameters for performance are set in advance by the testers. For example, the TIC guys are intent on testing the DXing capability of a tuner. This is off my scale of consideration since here in Japan I tune to a single, very local and powerful signal — NHK. In Vancouver it was the same thing — CBC. It’s all a matter of swings and round-abouts. Suit yourself!

Integrated amps are interesting because they combine two essential functions in the same box. And despite their having been built by the same corporation, they frequently vary in terms of relative merit in regards to the preamp and power amp sections. Perhaps the most defining single difference comes from the integrity of the power supply. In this respect, legaleagel is on solid ground because Sansui started business as a maker of fine transformers. The best of Sansui has to stand out there shinning along with top-line products from a number of makers.

I've made it a rule in my hobby to no longer collect any one-box unit that cannot be split for ‘Preamp In’ and ‘Power Amp Out’. This option makes any system so much more versatile. It makes for some interesting listening. And it provides some options when some part of the system squawks, burns down or blows up — the magic smoke. Still, despite the fact that there is no provision to divide the functions, no one is EVER going to pull my AR AU model integrated out of my grasp until the day I fall down at the rack. This is NOT because I insist that it is the best integrated amp on the planet. It is because I LIKE it for the sweetness that it produces — sheer entertainment. Years ago audio visitors to my home felt the same way, but I did not see them rushing away in taxis to track down their own AR.

Now let's get on with the show!


Top to bottom, words to live by. I couldn't have said it better myself.:tresbon:

Elroy
04-17-2007, 09:42 PM
I'm just sitting here auditioning my recently acquired Kenwood Supreme 650. I am simply taken aback with this jewel! I just got it back from being completely re-capped and serviced. I wouldn’t venture to boast that it's “THE best integrated amp ever" but I will say that based on how this Supreme 650 sounds right now after having been re-capped, that I have never heard an integrated amp that sounded better. So put me down for the Kenwood Supreme 600 / 650.

BrassTeacher
04-18-2007, 12:57 AM
OK, came late to thread, but here are my vote(s) anyway:

1. NAD 3020 Series 20
2. NAD 3020A
3. NAD 3020B
4. NAD 3020i
5. Fisher 400 (yeah, I know it's a receiver, and it's tube, but I liked it a lot anyway)

BT

krautmaster
06-08-2007, 02:23 AM
1. Onkyo A-10: 85WPC, two 36,000 mcf soup can sized caps for deep bass.

2. Marantz 1152DC--so sweet with a 2120 tuner.

Vitopanch
06-08-2007, 02:37 AM
Hail,
I particulary like integrated amplifiers and have quite a few. One of my favorites is a tiny Electra EDS-277 27 watts per channel rig. I date it in the sixties. This little thing sounds so clean and musical it is astounding.

Vito

REDone
06-08-2007, 07:16 AM
These links are now dead .. so what amps did they refer to? & what manuf was the amp referred to as 600 later on in the thread??

Looking for opinions on the best ever int amp. I've seen the section on thevintageknob (TVK). Looking for opinions from users. What would be considered the best ever vintage integrated amp, regardless of power rating?

Criteria is construction quality, ease of repair (longevity), sound quality, looks, in whatever order you like.

Some recent examples of contenders:

This sold just a few days ago....was this a bargain price, or fair?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=73369&item=5752237860&rd=1
(the rest of his sales are for overpriced vintage tube gear...)

then there is this, one comes up only a few times a year:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=67807&item=5750659341&rd=1
(I've seen one of these in person, and it is bigger than the pictures portray.)

packrat
06-08-2007, 08:44 AM
These links are now dead .. so what amps did they refer to? & what manuf was the amp referred to as 600 later on in the thread??

I think one of them was a Luxman L-100 or L-110, the other was a Kenwood Model 600.

In the end I got a Yamaha CA-1010 off eBay and a CA-2010 from an Aker. They both are well made, sound great and look good (to me at least). Although I'd love a Model 600 one day I'm not sure if it's a step up from the 2010 or just a sideways move to the 'best effort' from another manufacturer. :scratch2: I think the only way I would 'upgrade' from the 2010 is to go to seperates.

tarior
06-08-2007, 11:21 AM
Sansui AU 20000
Kenwood KA 8100

slow_jazz
06-08-2007, 11:54 AM
I'd go with a later edition of the Sansui AU-X1. I've heard early production units had some problems. Those are probably lying in a landfill somewhere by now.

Bugust
07-06-2007, 06:12 PM
Hi, new to forum. Any advice on resources for Sansui AU 517 mods? Which mosfet outputs were used? Thanks in advance.
Bruce.

kichijai
07-06-2007, 06:24 PM
I don't know about the esoteric stuff but for 200 bucks you can't beat the Sherwood AD-2220CP.

Scorpion8
07-06-2007, 06:27 PM
Sansui AU-717. My vote ...

restorer-john
07-06-2007, 06:34 PM
It's a bit like asking what is the best beer ever. Pretty much all beers taste good and if you could have them all you would (except for a few toxic ones). If you had to just drink one beer forever and never taste another, is that the best beer or the beer you could live with forever? My vote would be the HK-650 for a desert island amp, but my big integrateds for the best amp ever would be my pioneer A91D. The pioneer won't last as long as the HK though on a desert island.

xoaphexox
07-06-2007, 07:48 PM
I think the best integrated amp is whatever I happen to be listening to my favorite album out of, after a few drinks...

That album is Pink Floyd's Animals.

nukeme
07-06-2007, 09:00 PM
When I'm sitting at my desk in the computer room listening to my Kenwood KA-9100, I'll say "wow, that sounds good". When I'm in my bedroom listening to my Kenwood KA-8100, I'll say "wow, that sounds good". When I'm down stairs listening to my Yamaha CA-2010, I'll say "wow that sounds good". So, my vote has to be....."wow, that sounds good".

darko
07-07-2007, 01:16 PM
I like lot of them,

but, hmm, soundwise maybe the Sony V-Fet TA-5650 ?



Its only a good Shake of the whole Equipement-Circle.

Greetings,
Darko

darko
07-07-2007, 01:17 PM
@ nukeme,

LOL -> thats it!

darko
07-07-2007, 01:23 PM
Than,

when Integrated colour Sound,
YOU have a Choice to pick YOUR Flawor.

If YOUR Favorite is a Strawberry, than its not a Apple?


~$$$~

Its like loving Womens: every one has "Something" Special ;-)

fiddlefye
07-07-2007, 03:52 PM
Best integrated I've heard (can't comment on the best ever as I've not heard nearly enough of the good ones), but my personal favourite is the Yamaha CA1010 I have in one of the upstairs systems. Great phono stage (I run an MC cartridge so very handy) and clean and strong. Really deserves a better place to be heard, maybe to my shop this Summer (good acoustics and I'll spend a lot of time there re-building pianos hence lots of listening time).

darko
07-07-2007, 06:49 PM
@ FiddleFye,

Heck, if You say the CA-1010 sounds good to You,
I must take my down here. He's restored and beside.

You give me a good Mood to recap my CA-1010.

Thank You for Your Comment.

Cheers,
Darko

fiddlefye
07-07-2007, 09:48 PM
@ FiddleFye,

Heck, if You say the CA-1010 sounds good to You,
I must take my down here. He's restored and beside.

You give me a good Mood to recap my CA-1010.

Thank You for Your Comment.

Cheers,
Darko

Apart from a few new bulbs mine is basically untouched. If you do the re-capping let me know how it works out. I seem to remember that there were some better than usual grade caps there in the first place, but then again these amps aren't getting any younger...

nukeme
07-07-2007, 10:56 PM
I think the best integrated amp is whatever I happen to be listening to my favorite album out of, after a few drinks...

That album is Pink Floyd's Animals.

I have to agree with your choice of albums:thmbsp:, It's one of my most listened to also.:music:

xoaphexox
07-07-2007, 11:07 PM
I have to agree with your choice of albums:thmbsp:, It's one of my most listened to also.:music:

You would be the 2nd person I have encountered in my life that thinks Animals is the best PF album - for some reason it doesn't rank up in most peoples lists.

On the track "sheep" where Waters says the line "Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away" and the word 'away' fades into a guitar of the same exact pitch... that is simply rockin'!

:music:

mertol
07-08-2007, 05:08 AM
1) TA-8650
2) TA-F7B

TA-F7B simply has the best build quality I have seen in an integrated while 8650 is one of the most beutiful integrateds I had the chance to use

Mertol

Unda Maris
08-07-2007, 03:48 PM
1) L-02A from Kenwood
2) TA-8650 from Sony
3) TA-F80 from Sony

The Kenwood has really an unbelievable build quality (Except the hard paper PCB material) and a sound beyond most of the best pre/amp combos. The motor driven drawer with control elements is the absolute killer ! The price tag was also over the top ...

As already mentioned by Mertol: The TA-8650 is really a beautyful and absolutely rare bird and extremely good sounding as well (Remember, that it was introduced in 1974 !!!). Inflation adjusted it is probably the most expensive Japanese integrated amplifier ever. Nearly impossible to find a mint (and working !!) unit nowadays ...

The TA-F80 is probably the most radical design of it´s time (`79) because it includes two separates in one chassis and a very long list of small innovations, which sum up to a very reasonable and almost blameless design. Not the most beautiful one, the overall build quality is also only slightly above average, but very good sounding and very reliable. The (!!) Sony sleeper.

April smith
08-08-2007, 09:20 AM
Mattes SSA/200, I'd still have it if the house it was in didn't burn to the ground, destroying all I owned.

Axcel
08-15-2007, 04:04 PM
Accuphase E 202 sound is beyond belief:jawdrop:

art2music58
08-18-2007, 01:31 PM
Ok just sold my Naim Nait 5i, superb ..and i am in love with my Sansui AU 4900 what a sweet musical little amp have a Pioneer on it's way A Reference A71 Nos(well close as it gets) from Agon this one should end the search for a bit. Others in line Fisher x202c,Marantz 1060,Yamaha 610 2. THE BEST? To many amps so little time..bux. This one's been fun guy's.:banana:

mesut BALCI
08-18-2007, 06:53 PM
-if I love laura branigan, then maybe pioneer 9900,
-if I love timing, staging, resolution, vocals, strings, an almost optimum sound, continuous ritm and joy then sony ta5650 through external adapter input.
-if I love jacintha then may be a new gryphon integrated,
-if I love metallica, i dont know but it is never a ta5650, but perfect for Aha.
-if I focus on only air, ambiance, I put an alps pot to whatever good valve amp to use as integrated,
-if I love romantic nights, may be a pioneer receiver to feed hpm's is the one.

therefore no amp can be totally best, may be only your optimum. Or it is the one that can feed the best speaker for my type of music in a best way.

equaliser or sound proccesor with even ready choices of rock,pop,jazz etc may be helpful to tune the system to selected music type. Musical fashion of selected years effect all equipment, even frequency response, some excessive attacks on some properties focusing things on that fashion. This is electronics, music and human, a living and changing organism in long history.

pm94 has distinctive sound among all vintage equipments may be most up to date integrated amp of olders and it has a really bad line stage masking its very good poweramp. And it is terrible if you love valve sound.

Delicate sound is may be the only character to look for in an amp so luxman and accuphase may gain advantages.

there are many 500$ late 90s, even 2000s integrateds as second hand that are hard to beat sometimes. Even your stereo can beat your 7.000$ system in some ways sometimes.

Even if you chose an amp for a specific type of music, it plays some of them perfect and some songs in an average way, because no song is the same too that you even cannot say this amp is best for listening rock and roll. The other brand may play half of the same cd better.

If you get experiences on wide variety of equipments, then you always know missing or lacking sides of your equipment. Stick only to a system and you will not know how better other systems can be on some properties. Every amp is best at least on one test.

If you are getting very very good enjoyment from specific type of music at home then equipment may be correct or even more probably one of the best, but you must also know that if you didnot love the playing music of your choice, it is surely not beacuse that song is bad. May be only it is not the right time or right condition to listen to that. But if this continues, your new amp is really bad for that.

my vote can go for sony 5650 for most of my listening type and for the things that triggers me to get joy in a most optimum way, but it is the worst in history if you think of any repair.

edit: also each person has different hearing and perceiving characteristics, one property a unit gives can be perfect or less than normal for you but may be excessive for another person. So each person sees the result a bit different than other. Also different things on reproduced music trigger that person's feelings to get joy. It is depth, width, transient speed, eye catthing stage and timing for me, adding to resolution but it is dynamics for others that causes him to feel in bungee jumping. Even I myself cannot trust to myself because sometimes I prefer my main speakers but sometimes they seem to be a bit dull that I prefer my other speakers. Perceive varies even in daytime for a uniqe person. This is why I use 2 set of speakers. If my back set looks too lively or bright than I prefer teh dull ones listening and seing them as perfect. You can use a speaker set with presence, brightness etc control for this. This perceive tuning is available in ta8650 too. But with 4 more problematic vfets. Try to choose your speaker and optimum amp that triggers your bungee jumping sensors, find ways to cope with perceive condition when they fall under triggering limits. For beauty, I prefer marantz pm64 possibly being ugly for others, but If I buy it I know nearly never listening, I will only look at it. If I think repair problems, I can never hear at least for a period one of the best music. Maybe it is better owning a 20.000$ sounding amp for 200$ once than never in lifetime.

:music:

ponderbear
08-19-2007, 05:28 AM
Agreed, it depends on the application. If I'm sitting down with headphones and concentrating on the recording- especially, like the Beatles in stereo, sixties stereo stuff- I'll want to isolate one channel or the other- I prefer the Leak Delta 70 over almost any other. When I was in high school, I always thought my Pioneer SA-6600 was the best thing I had heard (I had several friends who did the same thing I did, hustled up enough cash from evening jobs to buy decent starter rigs) for classic rock. I played so much blue London Stones through that amp, that's what I think the Stones "sound" like, even today.

But the one amp I could always rely on to lift my spirits, to let me just enjoy the music- EICO HF-81. Bar none. It has to be in the top ten of the best amps made by anyone for any price, because it's made all other amps in my house sound downright insulting by comparison.

krautmaster
09-15-2007, 10:33 PM
I'll have to vote for the Onkyo A-10. It has two transformers, separate heat sinks, eight output devices, and HUGE capacitors. The bass response is incredible, it lets you hear very subtle differences that are usually masked or muddled by lesser equipment--just pull out any old Pink Floyd CD and marvel at Roger Waters bass work. Also try listening to anything by U2 or the Police (Sting really lays down a groove). I just wish it had better tone circuitry like my Marantz 1152DC.

darth
09-16-2007, 06:25 PM
Yamaha CA-800. Class "A" capable for really sweet sounding music. CA1000 is good too I have heard.

goraman
09-16-2007, 06:41 PM
Audio Note makes a great sounding integrated single ended triode amp,It's very pricey but it is the best I have heard to be honest.