Beginner Receiver Purchase - So Many Things to Think About, your thoughts

Discussion in 'Solid State' started by Ikura, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. faber12

    faber12 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    MCS is usually good solid gear as well.
     
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  2. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    KT's rules of thumb for satisfying, maintainable receivers for reasonable outlay!

    Medium Power best (can drive more loudspeaker choices well)
    Lower power fine if speakers are efficient and easy to drive
    All discrete transistors best (an IC in the tuner section OK)
    1967-1973 best build quality, pre cost cutting.
    Good can be had into the late 1970's if choosy

    Things to be wary of:

    Anything which uses STK or Darlington or other IC power output blocks
    Store brands (harder to find service information on as a rule, but better ones can be good buys)
    Uncommon, rarely seen brands (be careful with these, some can be hard to repair or get repaired past common parts)
    European brands (many work into 4 ohm loads, and use components which may be harder to substitute around, parts often hard to find)

    These are not absolute rules of thumb, but good guidelines. And can get you gear which is more maintainable with age.
     
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  3. MER71

    MER71 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I sent the OP, a link on EBay for a Sanyo Plus 55 receiver. $99 plus shipping.
     
  4. Ikura

    Ikura AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Man you guys hooked me up with some good information. Removing the lower power units does make searching easier...
     
  5. tyeeslayer

    tyeeslayer Super Member

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    Even if you do want FM, tuners are cheap ($5-$10) and readily available.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  6. Ikura

    Ikura AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    What is the difference betweeen a receiver, integrated amps and a tuner? Time to go google! Lol
     
  7. tyeeslayer

    tyeeslayer Super Member

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    Integrated amp is a Preamp/ amp combo. No radio tuner.
     
  8. rkgren1

    rkgren1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    As for lower-end receivers, I have had a low end (10W/ch) Realistic STA-430 and a modest Sherwood S7100-A (14 W/ch), both of which I loved.
    The 430 was a thing of sonic beauty, but I gave it to the son of a friend just getting into vintage audio and who wanted an amp for a turntable.
    The boy was very happy to have it. It had a great sound to it. Honest. If that little receiver had not had a tuner way out of alignment, it would still belong to me.

    I am listening to the Sherwood as I write this.
    It's a terrific little (14 W/ch) receiver, with a very sensitive tuner.
    Of the 7 receivers/amplifiers that I have it's my favorite.
    I have several "higher end" receivers in the pile in the corner of the living room.
    None of them is better than the little Sherwood.

    If it were me, I'd go for a modest Sherwood.
    Build quality is a cut above other brands and in good operating condition, sound quality is exceptional.
    You don't need a lot of power for most speakers and rooms.
    Enough is enough.
    I am biased, though. So,take my advice with a grain of salt.

    Whatever you choose to do, have fun with it.
    It's all about the sound.

    Don't listen to fan boys of specific brands too much.
    There is lots of high-quality equipment out there.
    As for receivers and amps, I presently have 3 Sansuis, 3 Pioneers, 2 Realistics, 1 Technics, 1 Panasonic, and the Sherwood. I like them all. I just like the Sherwood a bit more at the moment.

    Don't forget to think hard about speakers. Nothing affects the sound quality of your system more than your speakers. There are lots of good ones out there that can be had in excellent used condition for cheap. Don't skimp.

    Overall, find what floats your boat and don't worry much about what others think, me included.:)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
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  9. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    That's what I thought to. (I did that on purpose hee hee hee)
     
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  10. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    I don't know if anyone has said so yet, but you're in "pickup only" territory. I would go to good will or your favorite thrift armed with a source (iphone, portable CD or whatever other stereo player) and if possible, a pair of small speakers.

    I don't take the stuff with me into the store as they often have speakers, a CD or DVD player and CDs I can use, but it's good to be prepared. If you see something you like, hook it up and test it to make sure it works. All sales are final, so if anyone give you guff, you tell them you're not going to throw away money on non-working garbage and your donation will go to a better managed charity. So far, no one has ever complained that I want to set up equipment to test it.

    That way you will get a good receiver for way under $100 usually. But as you can see, it takes time and work. Also, don't think you have to have a silver face. Plenty of BPC sounds great and is a great way to start.

    Good luck!
     
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  11. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    since you're on the road to madness with the rest of the asylum-mates:

    keep well inside your budget (in case purchases fail as you have seen, you make better decisions with more to spend)
    get low-end stuff and replace them with better-sounding stuff (goal; training your ears)
    avoid buying stuff on looks/branding/street-creds - it's your ears/music/ownership not a fraternity pledge/ secret society initiation
    go for reliable until you want to learn to fix

    I started with a two-tube Westinghouse turntable in a portable case and look where I am now.
     
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  12. Ikura

    Ikura AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Oh, if I had any luck up here at GW. LOL I have two near me. The only thing I have picked from there is a set of cerwin vega speakers that someone else probably passed on. :) I read all those posts where someone picked up something for 6.00 or 10.00 and wish I could bump into that luck for a receiver. Now I have only been visiting GW regularly for a year now so I dont have nearly the time others have put into this search. Yet I keep going back, one day...one day.
     
  13. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    I see it as a fun treasure hunt, so it's not a chore and when you get get lucky and find something it's great! But don't forget to increase your chances by trolling estate sales and flea markets as well. CL works too, but beware the crazy people. :)
     
  14. Ikura

    Ikura AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    IMG_0615.JPG
    Are estate sales like garage sales? I have never been to one around here. Though I see here is an app for them. So of course there is on around here this weekend and I cannot make it. How is the pricing at these things? Do they sell high early or price things to move right away? How early do you need to show up for a 9am start time for example? Sorry for the questions, I agree the hunt is exciting...I found a pic of the electronics there, can't make out names, don't know enough to tell by design...
     
  15. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    Estate sales come in several forms--the more "professionally managed" ones can be like an actual auction with an auctioneer selling pieces, or "lots" of stuff to the highest bidder. Others are 2-3 day events with pricing at the highest on day 1, and significant price cuts on the subsequent day(s) to just clear out as much as possible of the remaining inventory. Other more "casual" ones are generally managed by the family, so regardless of any posted pricing, you can just walk in with some cash, look around and make an offer--after all, it is their inheritance that they are selling off.
     
  16. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    Generally good advice, but I just wanted to throw in a little contrast/different perspective...

    I always tell people to budget at least 20% more than they intend to spend--pad you budget--there is always going to be that one "nicer" piece that is just beyond your intended spending limit.

    I understand the concept, but something either sounds good or it doesn't. Buying low-end stuff just because it is cheap can rapidly lead to a garage or basement full of low-end stuff that you no longer use/want, and if no one else snapped it up at the time you did, you may have difficulty unloading it in the future. Think about what you want--a dozen $20 receivers, or a single $240 receiver.

    Totally agree with this one! Some brands are more of a "status symbol" than actual performers--there are a lot of lesser know brands that can be real "sleepers" and had for a lot less money than the "big boys".

    Reliability is a crapshoot at best--granted, some stuff has "know issues", but anything can fail at any time for no apparent reason--as with any "used" item. You'll have to pay a "premium", but if you can find something that has documented service records or from a reputable restoration/repair shop, your odds improve dramatically.
     
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  17. Bob

    Bob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    @savatage1973: I agree with everything you said.

    the reliability thing is the one key point, I buy lots off CL and eBay.
    and technician checked-out, tested, gone over by an EE
    all means nothing - perhaps an inside joke.

    there are so many stories here on CL about serviced units being poorly fixed, hacked
    and even incorrectly "touched".

    the only repaired/serviced units I would even look at are those by CL's best
    (leestereo, markthefixer, avionics, and others - not deliberately leaving you out).

    I try to provide my advice to those who come here and ask for help. When I
    suggest something I get "calm down Bob" instead of asking "how to I
    do that?". I give up with the former and if the latter happens I can and
    will send that person a set of tools and walk them through step-by-step instructions.

    I phrased the "want to learn to fix" specifically because a lot of people want
    an easy fix hence I see a lot of deoxit fixes when sometimes it's not a
    deoxit problem. I applaud those who stick it out and get down to that
    component that causes the problem, fix it, and have a working system.

    crap shoot it is!

    cheers
    Bob
     
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  18. Killer Fox

    Killer Fox AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Think of it as hunting, not shopping. If you want to get into vintage without a huge investment that's the way you need to think about it. Read and learn (to capture your prey LOL), look for "scroes" in various places, buy what you can use until you find the next, find a tech or DIY, resell and trade up when you can.

    I started a couple years ago and now a nice vintage system and a pretty good one as well as a nice 600+ album collection.
     
  19. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Super Member

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    Indeed!!!

    "recently serviced" = blew the dust out and wiped down the case, "tested" = plugged it in, turned it on and all the lights lit up, "recently repaired" = some hack went in and just did just enough work to get it up and running--not necessarily properly and other potential issues were totally ignored.

    I should have bolded the term "DOCUMENTED" if you want a premium price, I want a list of the services performed, parts replaced, issues repaired (if any), and if the service was done by a shop, I want the receipt(s) with this information and the date(s) performed.
     
  20. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For a first time vintage receiver purchase eBay is not a bad idea really. Stay away from listings that say "untested as is" and look for listings that state the unit works fully, that way you can use eBay's buyer protection if it does not work as described. As you gain experience and know what to look for you can start buying from CL and thrift stores with more confidence. eBay's shipping cost may put your over budget however.

    I usually have between 6-12 vintage receivers hanging around at any one time and they are very addicting. My advice is to look for a unit with at least 20 watts (unless you find a really nice example of a smaller unit) but dont think that you need anything more than 60 or so. I find around 30-40 WPC to be the sweet spot for a few reasons; They were the biggest sellers back in the day and there are a ton of them still out there and that makes a lot of them in your price range. Here is what I have and like:

    I have a Kenwood KR4600 @ 30 wpc, I would also look for a KR 3600 as well. Very very well built units.
    [​IMG]

    I love Realistics for a few reasons, they still fly under the radar since they dont have the name value as the big guys. The units in the range I am talking about above are fully competitive with the big guys and have some advantages like real wood veneer cases even on the cheap models and have a lot of features as well. I have an STA 95 that has emerged as my all time favorite Realistic receiver. It simply is one of the best looking receivers (IMO) around at any price. 45 wpc is more than enough for most speakers. I have mine paired with a set of Realistic Nova 6 and it simply kicks ass.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have a Pioneer SX 680 and it is a nice little unit but the case is pretty crappy although the face is really handsome.

    [​IMG]

    Another brand to look for is Sony. I found this Sony on eBay and snagged it for $120. A STR5800 55 wpc Most of the time they are higher however.

    [​IMG]

    Another poser talked about the JCPenny brand MCS. They are a bit hard to find since they were not a huge seller but their receivers were made by NEC and they are superb units.....looking handsome, sounding great and built well with many of them with wood cabinets.

    This is my 3248 45 wpc.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    BUT, after all is said and done; DONT pass on ANY brand receiver that is excellent condition. I would rather have a 15 wpc channel in superb condition (believe me there are lots of them out there) than a 50 watt big brand unit any day.
     
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