What is a good integrated vintage solid-state amp w/ warmer, more musical sound

Discussion in 'Solid State' started by onanysunday, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. darkblue94

    darkblue94 It wasn't me. Subscriber

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    I certainly understand the motivation and certainly hope you are able to find what you're looking for but most likely you'll have to live with a compromise or two. Why exactly are you looking for a moving coil input?
     
  2. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    It's not all that uncommon, just in one box. And from a sound quality stand point, less in the box sounds better. So most people "BUILD a SYSTEM" to get what your looking for.
     
  3. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I really love the Denon moving coils and have had some, all positive experiences with their line-up wanted to try their .3mV lomc DL-103 at some point.
     
  4. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    I would focus on a nice 2ch setup and depending on that it may not have a MC SUT input but will have a phono stage, you can add a SUT at the time when needed. Then also you add another unit that will be your digital hub to your 2ch system. This doesn't need to cost a lot, a Marantz Pre Pro could do the trick and this will be where all your digital gets selected, converted and then sent to the 2ch system.
     
  5. darkblue94

    darkblue94 It wasn't me. Subscriber

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    Last year my Ortofon OM mm stylus was destroyed so I took it as an opportunity to upgrade to a MC cartridge and looked at just about all of the sub-thousand dollar offerings. Being that this was going to be paired up to my 1968 vintage McIntosh C22 tube preamplifier I had to make the choice between going with a LOMC cartridge & a SUT or a HOMC cartridge. After looking at the asking prices of good step-up transformers plus good LOMC cartridges I decided to go with a Sumiko Blue Point Special Evo III high-output for $550 and I've not had a moment's regret.
     
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  6. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    :rolleyes:


    :banana::banana::banana::banana::banana::banana:
     
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  7. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My Nakamichi SR-4A Stasis receiver has an absolutely outstanding selectable phono MM/MC with gain settings of 24dB of 36dB. Best phono input I've heard. There are integrated solutions out there just difficult to find. I considered a nice SUT at one point. But I have to say, it introduces a new variable of uncertainty in terms of either how good it sounds, or how it degrades sound depending on component/build quality. Was considering this model at one point but balked at the price.

    Denon-AU-S1-step-up-transformer.jpg
     
  8. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I may just pick up that Akai integrated and then sell my Yamaha to help offset the cost. Although, I am not even sure I could get more than $300 for the Z1. But if it ends up costing me an additional buck and a quarter for the Akai I may consider it.

    Besides, I'll have to take the side panels off any way to fit it into my speaker cabinet so missing one isn't the end of the world, while it should devalue its selling price somewhat. If I end up grabbing it, I'll let you know listening impressions. Can't wait to hear what this could be like considering the sound engineering (not necessarily manufacturing) quality of the older Akai cdps from this time period I've heard.

    Both my Akai cdps remind me of what a well-implemented TDA1541 DAC offers to its fans and delivers in terms of a much more engaging and appealing 'natural' sound. Except the fact that neither of the Akai cdp's I have used that chip but were somehow engineered to sound very similar to the characteristics of that chip, using two different DACs to get there.

    Once upon a time some of the earlier digital gear was engineered to sound more analog-like to appeal to vinyl users who had to be coaxed into transferring over to the newer, digital playback format. Granted, this piece was probably released after that period had occurred, but it could be interesting to find out if it leans more towards a clinical or musical sound.

    I am guessing this is a pretty uncommon piece stateside, but was probably more popular in Europe and Asia as was most of their other gear.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  9. Ds2000

    Ds2000 All About every cool stereo component. Subscriber

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    One of the reasons I recommended the Philips is the use of the TDA-1541S1 silver crown DAC chips. Heralded and musical to say the least.
    They were sold in the US, but I've only been able to find Euro. models for sale.
     
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  10. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Wow, I didn't know it had the single-crown TDA! That would be very nice. I just picked up that Akai AM-73. Will let you know what it sounds like. He also included another Akai cdp CD-52 (I believe) for $400, not a bad deal.
     
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  11. Ds2000

    Ds2000 All About every cool stereo component. Subscriber

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    Nice deal, I'll be looking forward to your impressions.
     
  12. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I found this blurb from another AK'er on another forum regarding the AM-73.

    "I used to have an AM-73 reference master, which is the smaller model (AM075 was not available in all markets). The differences are that it is a 110WPC output, and uses a BB PCM58P multibit DAC. The circuitry is very unusual for a Japanese amp of that day, and looks more like something you would finhd in a Mark levinson, or something designed by Jean Hiraga just with some more parts added for better repeatability. It also sounds quite different than it's competition, and is made different - although it's all PCBs, they are designed with point-to-point tracks, which is VERY unusual in a mass produced unit, to say the least."
     
  13. Ds2000

    Ds2000 All About every cool stereo component. Subscriber

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    The 58P is a good chip, used by Sony in their second to top line 608EsD CD player. Should be the sonic equal to the 1541.
     
  14. ilusndweller

    ilusndweller Super Member

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    What year(s) was the Akai AM-73 made? The dac in my B&K avp-1030 early HT preamp (1996) sounds really nice. Id never even thought of early stereo integrateds (or receivers) with built in dacs until this thread. Cheers and I hope you like it.
     
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  15. toddalin

    toddalin Super Member

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  16. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The AM-73 sounds awesome! This 1988 piece sounds waaay clearer and much more musical than the RX-Z1. More open, veil has been lifted- and it's not subtle. Better definition of blackness surrounding the soundstage (lower noisefloor) Instruments pop out individually much faster, clearer, louder more distinctive now and are easier to place in the soundfield. Higher frequency instruments especially sound more live and acoustic. Big brass and harmonicas sounds chillingly lifelike. I am listening to the "Ultimate Mancini" CD. Pink Panther and Moon River sound more real than the same tracks on vinyl. Makes the cdp of my humble Playstation 3 sound like a highly rated vintage TDA1541A-S1 based cdp.

    I had a good feeling about this amp just by hearing other Akai cdp's from the mid/late 80's. And this is no exception. It has the same sort of wonderful sound signature of all the other late eighties Akai cdp's I've heard that I like so much, which is to say very good indeed. Every Akai cdp and now amp I've listened to that was made between mid-1986 to late-1988 is incredible sounding.

    It's very close in sound to the Nakamichi Stasis amplification of the same period. It's kind of hard to tell the difference between this and my Nak SR-4A receiver to be honest. My Z1 is supposedly 130 wpc, the AM-73 is 110 wpc. I haven't turned it past the 8 o'clock dial position because it is so much louder, whereas on the Yamaha I had to turn the volume up at least 80% to start getting the same volume.

    However it only reveals its beauty when you the "Direct Source" dial (pot) feather-touch adjusted just perfectly, so the sound comes through clear as a bell. Otherwise, there's so much static the signal just completely cuts out. I'm thinking my pot is dirty..possibly? Getting this amazing sound out of this thing was almost as tedious as setting up a phono cartridge with all the very delicate adjustments I had to make just right to get this thing to open up and sound as good as it does right now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  17. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    My bad, I just used a stock photo by typing in Yamaha RX-Z1 on Google and that's what came up. I used it to illustrate the point of having way too many connections on the back of a receiver.
     
  18. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It's a great piece.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  19. onanysunday

    onanysunday AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    For anyone still following this thread I adjusted the L/R Idling Current. It was 51mV on the right and 31mV on the left prior to 30mV adjustments. Took a stab at the offset adjustment for the phono input, both were at 3.7mV and are supposed to be 0V. But the left channel's pot refused to adjust the voltage at all for some reason. I was eventually able to get the right channel closer to zero with its pot. The first set of adjustments was an extremely touchy micro maneuver, the phono adjust was even touchier to make, and nearly impossible to set exactly. One micron of adjustment and your millivolts are flying all over the place.

    It's definitely running quite a bit cooler now, but sounds pretty much the same. Wasn't able to definitively dial in that phono pot on that one channel unfortunately. I suppose I should just replace the pots if I can remove the board they're on to access them. I appreciate that the bottom cover comes off so nicely and easily, affording you lots of space to recap some of the boards just by removing the top and bottom covers of the unit.

    My "Direct Source" dial is still extremely touchy and cuts out if it isn't in its perfectly "happy spot" on the "D/A" selection (which is the main one I use) I'm hoping it's just a scratchy pot that needs to be cleaned but I am not so sure. Have a look at the dial photos, it already looks clean on the outside at least.. Hmm, how do I even clean this? Hopefully I can get to the bottom of that one. Any suggestions are welcome. Does anyone have experience with cleaning pots to know whether this even seems like a dirty pot issue or something else? I have no idea. Can I just squirt some Deoxit in its movement path without having to completely remove and disassemble the pot to clean it? I do know that when the music cuts out, there is NO relay clicking at all (fwiw) so I don't suspect a relay unless they operate completely silent.

    I should be able to get an audio audio signal to my sub with an rca splitter since the amp doesn't have sub out.

    It's pretty awesome the boards have green and yellow leds that are lit directly on the board where you never see them. Not exactly sure what they're for, does anyone know what purpose they serve here?

    Akai AM-73djpg.jpg

    Akai AM-73.jpg

    Akai AM-73b.jpg

    Akai AM-73c.jpg

    Akai AM -73 dial.jpg

    Akai AM-73 pot.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  20. The Fuxtor

    The Fuxtor AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    that does look very nice!
     
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