What's your opinion of the Optonica line of audio products?

Discussion in 'Equipment Reviews & Opinions' started by djw99mn, May 13, 2009.

  1. djw99mn

    djw99mn AK Subscriber Subscriber


    I have a few pieces of Optonica gear in my collection that I really like. I was wondering if there are any fellow members out there that have any Optonica gear also.

    What are your thoughts and opinions on Sharp's foray into the high-end audio market during the late 1970's and into the 1980's?
  2. Halli

    Halli New Member

    Some quality stuff

    I have an Optonica vertical play turntable - quite innovative. It can play both sides of an LP without the need to remove it - it spins one way and plays with one tone-arm, then reverses and plays the other side with another tonearm.

    Both tonearms are tangential. Tracking is fine. Takes standard p-mount carts, and I'm sure tracking weight is adjustable somehow.

    It can also detect the gaps between cuts and you can just tell it to jump to (say) the 4th cut on a side - it sees the shiny area between cuts and sets down in the right place.

    I heard the Optonica receivers were quite good. Saw one in sorry shape at a GW, hefted it - very heavy power supply - probably well built. Too bad it had been through the wringer (and they wanted too much for that condition), otherwise I would be able to tell you about one of their receivers.

    I also have an Optonica 30" TV - I'm very happy with that (it's our bedroom unit so it doesn't get used very much).

    UPDATE: I have sold the turntable to an enthusiast in Burlington, and I'm glad it will be well used and enjoyed.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  3. gearhound

    gearhound Lunatic Member

    My son has a BIG 60wpc Optonica SA-4141 receiver.
    VERY beautiful and well built receiver, IMO.
    Sound quality is quite good, and more along the lines of Yamaha (neutral) than Marantz (warm).

  4. jdazey

    jdazey New Member

    Sa 5151

    I have an Optonica SA 5151 (85 wpc) receiver that's quite good. Good enough that I keep looking for more Optonica gear. I also have a Mac 1700. With some speakers (Sonrise), the Optonica sounds better.

    I had an ST 3636 for a short time. It was an eBay purchase that suffered in shipping and never performed well, failing to pick up even strong channels without drifting. My feeling is that I had a bad example, but I'm leery about picking up another.

  5. mrsee

    mrsee New Member

    Sharp Optonica

    I sold this line in the 80's and never had any returns, If my memory serves me right it was an attempt by Sharps to compete in the audio market. As stated they were nicely built and were a good competitor to Pioneer and JVC.

  6. beans

    beans Got arth-a-ritis

    I don't know anything about them, just that the name Optonica sounds like a camera.
  7. hifi_nut

    hifi_nut Vintage? I´m vintage!

    In the 70´s and 80´s the Sharp name was mostly associated to TV sets, so they came up with the Optonica line to try and improve their brand recognition in the hi-fi scene.

    Mostly decent, if not outstanding products.
  8. c_green

    c_green New Member

    I have an sa-5151 85 wpc receiver. It has more than enough power for any rock I throw at it, but still handles the soft stuff too. Sounds very clean and detailed. Can't comment on the tuner as I live in a radio market that isn't worth the time. This was my first vintage receiver and although I've accumulated dozens of amps since, this is still my workhorse.
  9. Quagh

    Quagh Super Member

    any info on a 5204?
  10. hspLOBO

    hspLOBO Active Member

    listing to my Optonica SA-5605 right now....recent GW purchase.

    It outputs beautifully thru the braun/ads L710s and ADC 303-ax's speakers.

    I'm very impressed with this big monster !:music:
  11. baj81

    baj81 Prof. Music Dork

    I have an SA-5401 Receiver. Watched for it for several weeks on "that website" and when no one wanted it, I took a chance. Overall, a very nice performer. 65 FULL WPC.......makes my living room shake with musical goodness. I too have been looking for more of their product line. I don't have my camera handy, but when I do I will post a pic.
  12. Harmonica

    Harmonica Certified AK Enabler

    I picked up an Optonica sa-5206 from a flea market for $30. Really cool looking black face receiver. Can't remember off the top of my head but I think it is 35-40wpc. I like how it sounds quite a bit and used it on my vinyl rig for a while until it got replaced by my marantz 2285b.

    A agree with gearhound, more of a neutral sound as opposed to warm like marantz, but very clear. I would put it to use but I really don't have need/room for a third system currently.

    Here are a couple pics.

    Attached Files:

  13. Quagh

    Quagh Super Member

    Well I wouldn't have thought the Optonica could have lasted as long as it did against that Marantz! Kinda like bringing a knife to a gunfight!

    Next time you tire of the Marantz just drop me a line and I'll send you an Optonica to replace it. I might have to charge you shipping though!
  14. Harmonica

    Harmonica Certified AK Enabler

    Haha, no, the Optonica was swiftly replaced by the 2285b the day I scored it. Knife to a gunfight indeed, even though it is a nice quality knife.
  15. Andy_H

    Andy_H Behind the Wall of Sleep

    Halli, I'd love to see a pic of that vertical play turntable…

    I have an SA-5201 (45wpc) receiver at the heart of my setup. The numbered volume dial goes to 40, but I've never gone past the single digits and it's more than enough to fill my apartment. I've been pleased with sound quality thus far, although it's starting to intermittently drop the left channel - probably just needs a little tune-up due to age, not poor quality.

    When I first saw it listed on CL, I almost wrote it off because I thought "Optonica - never heard of that. Sounds like some cheesy department store brand." But the seller had posted unusually good pictures, and I could tell right away that it was solidly built, in the manner of a true '70s hi-fi receiver. I've barely ever seen these for sale anywhere, and I'd venture to say that they're a steal when you can find one, just because the brand is nearly unknown. It doesn't drive the prices up just based on brand reputation, like you get for Marantz, Sansui, etc.
  16. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Sharp Corporation was late to the USA audio game. They were best known for very good cheap cassette machines in the late 1970's era. They introduced the Optonica brand to get some high end reputation and had some good unique gear. Sadly, they didn't succeed in audio. They had a lot of trouble getting the better dealers on board. The Optonica line was very good components overall and interesting to vintage gear lovers now. Nice sound quality, very competitive with Yamaha in sonics.
  17. optoman

    optoman New Member

    Optoman Mike

    I am a vintage radio collector, and recently discovered the Optonica brand of premium, high end audio products. I purchased an SA-4141 and fell in love with the style, quality, and overall performance of the piece. I then purchased a smaller SA-5205, then got real lucky with a legitimate monster receiver, the fabulous SA-5905! The monster receiver is amazing, with so much pure, rich power. I think Optonica is totally under-rated and with the vintage collectors out their looking for bargains, Optonica should be where to look.
    I am waiting for a 4705 turntable to be delivered to go with any one of the above systems, and I do have the RT-6207 single cassette tape deck and recorder. The stuff is great and will appreciate in value when the audiophiles out their can pull themselves away from the ususal loyalty base of the Marantzs, Sansui, Yamaha and so on.
    I wish Optonica speakers could be found, but that may be tough for they must be so rare.
  18. mcgarick

    mcgarick Well-Known Member

    I had a small Optonica reciever I bought at Jaffco in Seattle

    it was just great, until my brother set my room on fire and the fireman trashed my only cool thing!
  19. Quadrocker

    Quadrocker Active Member

    Nice to Hear these big boy Optonica receivers sound good 'cause they sure do look sweet....

    Attached Files:

  20. drrsutliff

    drrsutliff Member

    Optonica Turntable

    1978 I bought a system in Cambridge MA. They set me up with a NAD 3020, Polk Monitor 7b speakers and an Optonica RP3636 TT (picture below). I still own the speakers and the TT (used in my system up to one year ago). I have considered selling it but the molded granite is probably to heavy and/or fragile for UPS or FedEx to handle well, even though I still have the original box and packing for it.:no:

    Attached Files:

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