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OUR TOP RATED VINTAGE AMPLIFIERS
Vintage Stereo Amplifiers Ranked against other amplifiers & receivers. What's the Best Vintage Receiver? What's the Best Vintage Amplifier?
What Vintage Hifi is worth buying? Has anyone compared lots of Amplifiers together to rate them purely on the basis of sound quality? Which Vintage Amplifiers or Receivers are worth buying or are any good? Are Valve Amplifiers better than Transistor Amplifiers? Are Monster Receivers any good? Are 1967-1972 amplifiers too old to bother with? Why are Luxman amplifiers so highly rated? Why are late 1970s Pioneer so rough sounding?

Dozens of Amplifiers & Receivers mostly 1963-1978 & a few later. Rated by Direct Comparing with many others based on AUX input only.


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**See the "How We Decide The Top Amps" Page**



New Amplifier Rankings.
We rate amps as simply "Excellent" "Great" and "Recommended" without any reference to out of ten scores now, based as it being Excellent for what it is & amid other similar of the same era. Any amp to be featured here must be better than Average. There is no higher rating than Excellent, read the details for more info. When we did give ratings it was based then on the knowledge of only using Transistor amps. If we were to rate them against a perfected Valve Amp it'd be unrealistic as valves are just so much better sounding when done right. Our ratings are taken to be rated against the best Transistor Amps only therefore. Not many people use Valve amps & they need regular maintenance. Only Crazy People use valve amps is often the idea. A "Recommended" for example, on the rough Pioneer SX950 is in light of better amps are there for your money, though many buy these big cost-cut tin can amps Pioneer as they haven't got too deep into Vintage Hifi yet to find better.

With progress in our upgrading we are seeing the levels of Fidelity from Transistor amps get higher, so now the "Excellent" rating is used more sparingly & many Great are now just Recommended because we do recommend you buy one if it appeals to you.

Our Ratings are based on Headphone Use only.
To get the best sound from these amplifiers, you generally need to use Speakers of a similar age. See the Loudspeakers page for more as matching can be tricky.


IMPORTANT: These ratings are based on a Serviced & Adjusted amp. Most vintage amps are raw out of storage & will sound very different to the point you may think they are utter rubbish. Only really the late 1970s Monster Amps were used for longer which may mean they have been used a lot more than an attic find that saw 2-3 years use. But it's like a Car, leave it 30 years in a Garage & then try to drive it, only a fool would expect it to be working it's best after a long sleep. Hifi is no different but many just use the amp unaware of how good it could be. As with a Car, bad faults may appear within minutes of first use. Note some amps are unusable through aging of noted failure of capacitors until you fully recap & rebuild them & are not for home tinkerers to be fiddling with, though many do. Most amateur sellers are cautious with valve amps but will plug any transistor amp in without having it checked even. Some amps sound rough & weak until serviced & adjusted. The difference in a few we list below like Yamaha CR-1000, Luxman L-100 & Trio-Kenwood KA-6000 from before & after was very different. On the other end of it, the Leak Delta 30/70 doesn't sound much different serviced or not if in good condition.

For Buyers of Hifi, a quick idea for you:
1968-69 onwards amps are more refined if generally less valve-sounding than the First Generation Transistor ones. The 1967 ones have a wonderful sound but are always quirky & need more work if you recap & upspec them, so are for advanced buyers only, unless you got one of our recapped upspec ones. 1960s Valve amps generally are best avoided unless you are more experienced, but as with anything the earliest Transistor ones give a better return for Sound Quality. The early valve amps we list are worthy of upgrading, but some of the big pre & power monobloc ones are now making hefty prices as all-original, apparently buyers want ornaments not hifi with them. Any amp pre 1980 that looks good will sound good too as money spent on inner design was spent on outer design too. Some Midprice Amps pre 1974 can be just as good as more expensive ones. Only by 1974 did cost cutting start to affect what you got as Sound for your Pound. This is why the Early Amps are so interesting yet buyers are not as aware of them as they should be, instead overpaying or late Pioneers that sound just average.

RATINGS are now done with "AS-ORIGINAL" meaning what an original unaltered amp will sound like After Servicing which in certain amps would include required capacitor replacements to get it to work. Any amp unserviced & left unused for decades can sound truly awful so no point grading anything but the Serviced amp. Most people never service amps & it means way more than a squirt of switch cleaner too! "UPGRADED" means what it sounds like done to the best of our skills at the time we had it, bear in mind each amp teaches more & our upgrades now are way ahead of some of the earlier ones. "n/a" means we've never upgraded one to any level so won't guess, but assume the amps in the main table will improve to some degree as these are the better amps we've tried. We've not tried all the amps we'd like to yet, so some brands are absent currently. Current ratings are based on current opinions on Hifi which with deeper improvements are more harsh than before, but any "Recommended" are still worthy amps if there is better. Some of the amps in the lower table that were more borderline have gone into the main one, the Bad Amps table is now just the stinkers!

BUY-RAW RATING
means just that. What it'll be like as-found assuming there is otherwise no damage to the circuits or other common safety issues. It'll still need Servicing, but the idea is to show amps with known problems. Some amps we've found badly fiddled with or badly repaired regardless of the status of the amp today, so beware.

**See the "Other Amps" Page

for others we looked at but didn't like or try yet for various reasons, plenty of amps there get a look.

1963 Rogers Cadet III amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
10w Valves.


important starter amp into the world of valves, but don't pay too much, £300 for an unserviced amp is too high. always needs restoring & careful buying as many used for a long time. quite a small basic amp with tiny output transformers so bass is limited, the HG88 is the bigger version if power is needed. best buying the one part version as the 2 parter can be tricky with that connecting cable, our high grade one sparked & had other issues. plays like a 30w transistor amp with a strong clear lively sound, but ultimately limited by the power output. the thing is these are now very old & many have been used & messed with for decades, making the prices buyers pay seem excessive as they all need proper rebuilding as the main capacitors are now dried out & ready to fail. a serviced good one worthy of 'great', based on our early 2 part one. treble is a little ragged due to the spec but a fine sound that will be addictive. read more on the 'valves' page. note the New Cadet from about 1968 is some awful early IC STK output block thing!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky for aged parts & old work or alterations done on them!
1963 Trio WX-400U receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Excellent ++
10w-18w Valves.


one of the first Stereo Receivers from Nov 1963. original spec is strangely very limited and soft sounding & hides the high quality in here. the grey signal capacitors must be replaced as voltages can be way too high. what it needs is everything rebuilt & upgraded as certain parts are too far gone to even try it perhaps, but it does pay off and can deliver sounds way better than you'd think a 51 year old amp should with a fast crisp treble, solid bass and huge wide soundstage that sounds way more than 10w now though it's rated 18w music power. looks great too, has to be the best looking valve receiver with it's USA 1950s Diner looks. the hardest amp you'll ever tackle to get it sounding right as much needs upgrading including to redo the oversized phono sockets. to fully recap, redesign the power supply & much more gets it right at the top end of EXCELLENT rankings, if you fancy the full rebuild work including design to do the power amp stage properly, try to find better in vintage. for the ease of familiar ECC83 & EL84 output valves with 350v it's competing with the Sansui 500A & the WX400 has a valve phono stage unlike the Sansui. read more on the 'valves' page. this receiver as we rebuilt it is now one of our Reference Amps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Don't even try to use it before some recapping! huge amount of work required to rebuild this, but it'll be worth it as it can sound remarkable.
1965 Rogers HG88 Mk III amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent+.
15w Valves.


a higher spec Rogers amp that sounds nice but is still limited by the old design ideas. it can be made to sound ageless and the sound can be modernised with remarkable results, capable of a deep bass beyond the limited original design. great is the 'as-is' serviced rating though it can go to excellent with much design-based work. the main HT capacitors are always dried out. only the high value input resistors limit the fidelity & it's ranking. you must try a Rogers to hear valves & if you upspec & know design. plays like a 50w transistor amp. again it's nearly 50 years old & will need much work done as the main power capacitors at the back are dried out & ready to fail. more capable of improving than the Cadet. the only minuses are the case has poor ventilation making the rightmost valve get to over 100°C against the case & scorches the wood case & the high input resistor for Aux. to overcome the awkward triple capacitors on recapping can be done. ECC807 valves are similar to ECC83 if pins differ & minor resistor changes required. the bias slider is too coarse to set properly. read more on the 'valves' page.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky for aged parts & old work or alterations done on them!
1967 Trio Kenwood TK-140E receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Excellent.
5ow.

relates to the 'E' version only
  which is Semi Complimentary. white lever buttons, no IC wording on the tuner glass. the highest powered domestic amp in 1967. appears there were a few versions of this model. the 1969 later 'X' version is a Capacitor Coupled redesign the same almost as the KA-6000 as well as ICs in the Tuner & maybe other changes, but we've not had one yet. excellent sound for an original amp with all the qualities of the best amps is what a raw TK-140E sounds like if it hides it's potential. another great early amp with more than a few oddities along the way as you'd expect this early which makes it a bit less accessible than the KA-6000. perhaps the best of the Trio-Kenwood receivers for it's sweet sound quality & strong sound, the buyer of ours was surprised how loud it played. one for the experienced tech really as some of it is a bit quirky to upspec, as in asbestos boards by the power amps & tone board oddities. the metal case with no wood outer made leaves it a little plain if the fascia is nice. one we enjoyed having around.

BUY-RAW RATING:
A bit risky for Germaniums as the output drivers though can be replaced.
1967 Pioneer SX-700TF receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
25w.

very early transistor amp but a sweet lively sound if only 25w see the SX-1500TF for the 45w version. this has to be the sweetest 25w amp you'll hear. we didn't upspec too much & it could do as well as the 1500TF below if the power difference limits it. Pioneer never made anything this sweet sounding after this 1967 all-transistor range. T= USA 110v version, TF = EU-World version. a rare early amp & for us together with the one below are the Best sounding Pioneers. the only minus is the old preamp transistors can be a bit hissy & to put in better ones is worthwhile. bachelor pad looks & the TF version has wood veneer on the fascia.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1967 Pioneer SX-1500TF receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Great-Excellent.
45w.

not to be confused with the 1500TD. very clean & musical sounding amp we expected to be good as the SX-700TF, this even all-original is very sweet with such an open sound as the balance is a little bright which we noticed on first getting it. recapped & low noise transistors it scores very high in musicality. but it does have some issues & like with the 1500TD the power amp board is messy making it a little risky if it's had old repairs as we found out. a rare early amp & for us together with the one above are the best sounding Pioneers. same as 700TF above with the hissy transistors. but an odd sound balance on ours keeps it down in the ratings. we rated this very highly until getting the 1967 Sansui 3000A which outdid it, but both deserve the 'excellent' rating. one minus is later versions used a NFB tone board, the best sounding ones use the early W15-031 one, not the later one like the SX-1500TD uses.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1967 Sansui Model 500A receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: [in progress].
20w Valves.

very similar looking to the 3000A from Sept 1967, but not the same quality in it's raw state: poor Tone stage & Filters & obsolete valves in Audio stages. this valve receiver actually came just after in Dec 1967. buyers must have demanded a Valve one not trusting Transistors yet. only Pioneer made valve ones this late. got ours basically original & the sound is very like the 3000A. deserves the rating straight away after recapping the grey signal capacitors & once serviced it does sound fine. worth recapping & upspeccing as the Bass is limited as usual, but treble is fresh if soft & warm with the aged dried out HT capacitors, though stereo is very wide. background noise is very low too, if not as silent as a modern one. a problem is the input sockets are useless as too big for modern phono plugs & to renew them is not easy to keep it neat. sound compared 500A to 3000A is unsurprisingly similar if the valve lower DF & less components does make a fresher sound though the 3000A still does better it as of writing. the wood case from the 3000A & it fits in & has enough ventilation. the 7189A valves are obsolete but Sovtek EL84M are to the same spec with a minor socket change. the amp is better redesigned with ECC83s for the tone & splitter stages as you'll be relying on old used valves. this makes it an amp to do much work on if you want to use it daily. sadly the Phono is a transistor stage as is the tuner meter, though it has Bias adjust on the power amp. further investigation reveals a very odd tone stage making the amp sound too thick on upper bass on the original valves. for finding out the Tone stage is poor as well as the amp being hard on valves in ways other amps didn't complain, we've downgraded it though it'll not get away from us so easy! but the ECC83 upgrade did improve it... TBC

BUY-RAW RATING:
Don't use before some recapping! beware obsolete valves!
1967 Sansui Model 3000A receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: Excellent ++.
45w.

a forgotten gem we've discovered & the best transistor Sansui with a top phono stage. this tricksy but endearingly wonderful semi complimentary amp can be upspecced into a really wonderful sound and with a effortless smooth bassy but detailed fresh open sound. it has a transformer for the PP splitter stage. others are buying this amp now based on reading of it here & are pleased with how great it sounds even all-original. damping factor of 15 gives it a valve amp styled bass. of all our amps when we had more here, it was played the most, though others come along & can confuse, it is consistently a winner & with fine clean honest open effortless detail. even for it's age the Elna caps should still be good though the Tuner may need some work as so early with germaniums. the 500A valve receiver above is serious competition to the 3000A though the 3000A is the better item. one of our favourite amps & our 3000A we've done much to in search of bettering it. minuses are it can be a tricky amp, the DC offset can go high if it's not had the 1971 mods or if accurately adjusted, the 1971 mods aren't necessary, but to risk 6v DC on your speakers is the worry. one for an experienced user only really, the wonderful sound is worth the effort. 3000 is the similar amp with only one speaker pair. some early ones have awkward oversized phono sockets for early type phono plugs that will stretch or not fit modern ones. tuner is early with Germaniums that may give problems & the protection light may come on, silencing the preamp, unless adjusted right. good phono stage here too. biasing is best done ignoring any published way, to use the white resistors on the outputs in the top & read mv across them is best: set all pots midway, then note the transistors are numbered 1,2,4,3 & adjust the 1&3 first & fine tune on 2&4 then recheck again. then check DC offset & fine tune, then do the same on the resistors to balance it, takes 2 goes to get right. the amp needs a speaker load connected to read DC offset is within a safe limit after adjusting as best without any load. you might not be surprised to hear this is our transistor reference amp.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Generally OK but beware of DC offset levels.
1968 Ferrograph F307/20+20 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
20w.

same amp repackaged into 3 amp models. good volume for 20w, but it sounds quite rough, typical UK design with axial caps. open rich fuzzy sound if a little too raw as British Hifi usually is. a bit of a fuss about Ferrograph but they are nothing special really, certainly only budget price amps. aka the Ferrograph F307 Mk 2. Ferrograph have been making crazy prices, but note only one who worked at Ferrograph is the buyer. they are Average rough sounding things, there is much better out there, UK Sugden are better quality. even the build of the 60+60 we thought was lousy. don't believe the hype or high prices. the 20+20 has a huge +17db bass gain which is insane, vinyl wrap not veneer, obsolete transistors used. no ceramics but still did sound rough, but just musical enough not to go in the grey table below.
it has UK style axial caps so not worth recapping for us. awful basic power supply with very high 350mV ripple. made of low grade steel that goes powdery not rusty. we'd not recommend any Ferrograph as being much above average.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good, but don't pay more than £60-80 for any Ferrograph
1968 Leak Stereo 70 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
30w.


always popular as stylish, sounds are a great intro to vintage hifi, like the Trios in this section. sound is clean & very rich, but ultimately limited by basic designs & power. the Stereo 30 Plus & Stereo 70 are basically the same amp in an earlier design case, the early Stereo 30 is different. with 30w this scores a point higher. the first version can sound rough for the BC147/8/9 transistors used which age badly, rating based on one with little use after much running in. not one we've ever upspecced due to the board sizes & axial caps limiting things. any Leak except the Delta 75 is a great starter amp. the Delta 70 is the same amp in a nicer case. has that nice Leak amp smell with the plug in boards & thick card-foil lined top and bases. the matching Stereofetic tuner we found a bit crappy in sound & construction, but the amps are nice if they look better as the Delta rebranded ones.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if risk of rough sounding transistors
1968 Sony STR-6120 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: Excellent.
50w.


the best sounding Sony receiver & a long time favourite of ours. just so musical, precise & well balanced, it has put many to shame. recapped & upspecced it's only recently been beaten by others that sound sweeter. the 1970 version without 'Tape Head' rates the same as the first one. the STR-6200 & STR-6200F are similar but actually about half is different. one of the best looking receivers with it's wood case & hideously expensive when new £387 in 1969 means few are around worldwide except USA really. of the 1960s transistor receivers, only the two 1967 Sansuis are ahead of this in 1960s amps which is recommendation indeed. problems can arise from lack of fuses & the messy wiring that comes loose a bit readily. still sounds wonderful & compares well with the Sansui 3000A. a top FM tuner once recapped can sound excellent. we sold another one we recapped as it was tired & the buyer found it a little hard sounding, compared to their aged valve amps it would be, & he recently sold it on, not having understood it. we see it as being a more upfront sound compared to valves, the Sony midrange is so solid we based our valve amps on it & kept ours for a few years as a reference. as with any compares, listen to it only & you'll agree it's a wonderful amp. original spec is limited with the output capacitors being bass light keeping the as-original rating down a notch.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if some capacitors can be risky.
1968 Sony TA-1120A amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: Great-Excellent
50w.


be aware as-is it plays too low & the headphone socket needs doing properly as it's not a standard design. but once recapped & much subtly improved it elevates into a very different amp. therefore great for upspeccers & one of the best Sony amps but only if you work it. the 1965 TA-1120 is the earliest version we've not had & appears to be awkward with a strange delay turning on method. capable of a fine rich sound when done right if not the most focussed on the treble keeps it down on score. the sound is rich & bassy if the doubled output transistors lose the treble sharpness to make it not as modern sounding as you may like, even with uprating the small transistors that can be hissy, but it then would rate higher, nearer Great than Excellent. the odd red capacitors are of high quality, no need to alter them.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good but low volume is how it's made
1968 Trio-Kenwood TK-66 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
25w.


early receiver with that sweet airy open sound if power limited, nice sounding like the early Trio range & if we had one again it could rank higher than this ranking, though 25w a bit low for us. had this very early in our amp exploits. this brand pre 1973 are always good value & offer a fine sound.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1969 B+O Beomaster 3000 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended - Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
30w.


one of the all-time stylish classics & sounds the sweetest one of the 1970s Beomasters at 30w, a fine neutral sound here. always needs good servicing & a nice grade one all original & of little use deserves a high rating. average ones can sound rough though. sweet quality of sound rather than loud & bassy. a more domestic easy sound than some, but with a pleasing sound still. a more used one will not rate this high as certain parts age & lose the fidelity those BC 147/8/9 again & will benefit from new transistors to get the higher rating. sold well but are usually found in need of TLC as much needs servicing if not much to upgrade on this early model as the capacitors are usually still good. the 1972 3000-2 rates the same & is so similar it doesn't make any difference. beware the bulbs must be 12v 30mA & the tuner meter one is 6v 30mA or they won't light evenly. cloudy sliders are due to plastic aging on later ones esp the 3000-2, not dirt or smoke as the earliest ones are still clear. can suffer from bad transistors that age to sound rough. capacitors are usually good unless obviously leaking or split, but this amp needs a lot of servicing to sound it's best so many are found in need of work. we thought to upgrade one fully, but there are so many components on an awkward board we tried the 4000 instead.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Always in need of a good Servicing, bad switches & controls are common raw.
1969 Pioneer SX-1000TW receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
50w.


just slightly less musical than the SX-1500TD but all 3 more enjoyable than the SX850-950s & worth a buy. seems to have sold well in USA & still has the qualities to call it a great one. we didn't do much with ours as we had other Pioneers above, treble a bit rolled off but well made enough to be worth improving. last of the early styled fascia amps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1969 Pioneer SX-1500TD receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
45w.


has the later side wood trim styling like the mid 1970s SX-950 amps. the not as open & airy sounding updated version of the SX-1500TF if still one of the better Pioneers with a good volume & clarity, beware the mic control must be set to off or it's hissy. the power amp board is too cramped & has output capacitors on it that makes the amp less appealing to upspec & hard if it's been repaired untidily. Pioneer to us are never as great as the hype haves you believe, the best selling Japanese brand if generally cost cut losing quality of others but the 1960s ones we like & there is a 1969 valve amplifier, see other amps page.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if power amp hasn't been repaired before
1969 Sansui Model 4000 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: Excellent.
45w.


another early Sansui gem, we hoped this would improve on the quirks of the wonderful 3000A & it does have a very similar sound even before recapping. these earliest SS Sansuis are high quality amps. this one is a more modern sound than the 3000A & has an unusual Aux input that is different to the Tape input, but is a precise 2nd Generation sound for it and only Sansui used the idea in 1969-70. unusual design that needs to be restrained if recapping can make it less compatible with modern gear. a quirky amp with a fine sound, similar to the 3000A, but it's not for inexperienced users. for Sansui 5000 too, beware the scaremongerers, the 4000 uses the exact same varistor STV-3 which is the 'bad diode' they go on about. no problems at all if servided & adjusted right.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1969 Teac AG-7000 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: Excellent.
65w.


a rarer early Teac appears to be a 1969-70 one & similarities with the Teac AS-100 from 1971. sound quality is rich, detailed, clean on the treble, neutral & overall excellent and for the rating raw as-is the focus is just so high. a great looking amp in it's wood case too. this amp 'as-is' gets a very high rating as it is just so good even all original (and better recapped). the few early Teac are highly recommended by us.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1969 Trio-Kenwood KR-4002 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
18w.


the 1968-69 range of Trio-Kenwood are nice sounding, see the KA-6000 high up for their best one. part of the range with the KA-6004 just the 18w keeps it's recommend level lower, needs the side wood cheeks to look it's best. a good starter amp findable for not much money. a nice clean sound here & the first one we bought of recent times that started these pages. 4002a is a 1972 version styled like the KA-6004, we've not tried that version though expect it to rate similarly. see TK-150 below as it's the same amp.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1969 Trio-Kenwood KA-6000 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: n/a.
45w.


the pick of the Trio-Kenwood amplifiers, very advanced for it's age & way ahead in build quality & weight of most other Trios & very musical & open like the other high rateds in this table. great looking with the matching tuner. needs a good servicing to sound it's best else it sounds unremarkable. for a 1969 amp, it has a rare MC phono stage & other ideas used by amps later, ie tone defeats. this is basically the 1969 TK-140X as the boards are just about the same. a lot of work to service up though. for the 1967 receiver version of this amp, see TK-140 above as we upspecced it with success. one of the classiest looking vintage amps especially with the tuner, with a fine sound. ours we kept all original & it stayed as a benchmark shaming many other amps for quite a while. as it's similar to the TK-140 it would recap & upspec very well, not that we did ours. on looking to recap, we didn't fancy the randomness of the boards to redo & the power amp has some changes that are hard to work out with just the circuit. it has a huge main smoothing cap that is best left be too to keep it's charm.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1969 Trio-Kenwood KR-33 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
25w.


similar to the TK-66 if lower power and one early with us. bit industrial looking but the sound on the early Trios is worthwhile & if we had one again it could rank higher.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1969 Trio-Kenwood TK-150 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
18w.


again like the other smaller power Trios, budget price amps with a pleasing fresh sound, if modest power only keeps them lower in the rankings than the sound quality itself. the TK-150 is the same amp as the KR-4002 for different countries.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1970 Hacker GAR550 receiver-gram

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Great.
14w.


a basic but pretty acceptable UK made receiver of 14w with a turntable, so a record player system really. it deserves it's rating if used with good speakers, not the supplied Hacker ones. we recapped ours to the max as we had one in 1986, but the odd Line level it worked on based on old DIN socket tape spec meant it just wasn't capable without redesign. recapped & improved it rates towards a Great for the sort of item it is: a nice compact record player system, mostly with a teak lid though the smoked perspex looks nicer. as with most music centre type units, the better ones will have the Retro Sound but are only a starter unit or a second hifi.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
Turntable may need oiling.
1970 Philco-Ford M1550 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
12w.


the first amp we ever used as it was the parents one until 1983 & the sound is actually with many qualities of amps in our Top Rated list with a fresh open sound. it's only a budget amp though it looks nice though is quite small. ceramics upgraded tidies the sound & a punchy sound is here. as only 12w it's appeal will be limited & you'll never find one, but it's worthy of including as it has a good sound. minuses are DIN connectors & only 12w that gives harmonics a bit too easily on treble as it clips. also the power switch is awful as it fails & to awkwardly fit a different type is the only option.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if the power switch is ok
1970 Sansui AU-999 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: Excellent.
50w.


one of the cleanest sounding amps we had before getting more Yamahas, could do with more bass, but a winner with high quality sound & worth upspeccing up further. beware a bass filter circuit is between the preamp & poweramp stage though the score is more for how clean it sounds, if not for it's bass abilities: it was thin & if we had another we may go further with it. there are several power amp transistors that are safe to use but not good quality & to upspec is worthwhile. phono isn't as good as the earlier amps & the all-black looks a bit awkward unless the room is bright, though a wood case improves looks. with our current ideas on upgrading, this has more potential in it but it doesn't play as loud as 50w suggests. the 3000A & 4000 are the Sansui best.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Hitachi SR-1100 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: Excellent.
55w.


an excellent well made amp we rate highly. phono stage with ICs if Hitachi custom made basic ones. headphone socket resistor is too loud as do other things as Hitachi made an amp way too good & had to dumb it down. this amp is still remarkable with a few upspecs & has a deep solid fast bass that most amps shy away from, if not a bloomy sort of slow bass this may suggest. an easy amp to work on as just so nicely made. 90v HT on the capacitor coupled output stage. this impressed us straight away after having had most of the other amps here, so to impress us means it is a bit special. a solid detailed sound with strong separation in stereo. deep potential to deliver a very detailed smooth sound with the right upspecs. it helped us to upspec our other amps, so is a fine reference amp. an amp we got later in our researching & we were pleased with how good it was after recapping, a wide stereo soundstage with fine detail is in this amp. phono has early ICs which are basic ones so not bad. Hitachi are a hidden secret on their early amps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Leak Delta 30 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
15w.


always popular as stylish, sounds are a great intro to vintage hifi, like the Trios in this section. sound is clean & very rich, but ultimately limited by basic designs & power. treat it modestly and it'll please though. the Leak range are all good starter amps, if at 15w on this one. based on the Stereo 30 Plus if with the Stereo 70 type plug in boards. the Delta '30' is basically the 1968-69 '30 Plus' in a new case.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Leak Delta 70 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
30w.


always popular as stylish, sounds are a great intro to vintage hifi, like the Trios in this section. sound is clean & very rich, but ultimately limited by basic designs & power. the Stereo 70 is basically the same amp in an earlier design case, the early Stereo 30 & 30 plus is different. note the can type transistors used are all obsolete & no guides offer substitutes, but he who understands transistors will find there are endless 'better-than' equivalents, so don't give up on a non-worker. the Delta range '70' is basically the 1968 '70' in a new case & looks better for it. the front plastic part with spring inside will need regluing to stop the controls wobbling else it's about all that you have to do with these. the back thin aluminium strip if a bit loose, don't unpick it as it'll get dents & look ugly. beware amateurs sayting it has a MC input, it's a MICrophone input! pity there wasn't a 60w amp in this range.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Leak Delta 75 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Likely not working! UPGRADED: Great-Excellent.
35w


quirky & highly risky to buy amp always needs recapping so a low as-is score but then an enjoyable sound if you manage to get it working, certainly a good 'un in terms of sound but it's unavoidable problems keep it down. this is the only one on this page we'd not buy again at any price as too risky. it looks like bits of other amp thrown together & a bit crap is a fair description of how it's made. the amp will need recapping the poor quality black plastic caps, the 3 larger ones in the top are usually too far gone. a risky buy indeed, we had 3 of them & only ever got one going. to buy is a losing game. it is a direct coupled amp which means a fuse blowing probably isn't the outputs but at £10 each for the driver transistors it's an expensive repair. the one we fully recapped we did like & used it for several months, but the risk on these is high & barely deserves a recommended. the design got many changes over the production run, adding in a ferrite AM tuner rod inside as well as adding extra resistors to supposedly better the spec but spoils the sound instead. not a confident amp here. to get the fascia off is not obvious, but undo the 4 side panel screws. take off the front knobs & the fascia slides off holding the 2 side panels. and it has phono sockets so closely fitted as useless it's DIN connectors really to use this amp. but the phono stage sounded decent.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Very High Risk of failure due to bad capacitors!!!
1971 Marantz 2245 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: Great-Excellent.
45w.


early classic era Marantz, pre the hex nuts fascia, with a sweet but clean & focussed sound you can upspec the deliberate limitations out to bring it away from the warm sound it is as-made. well built amp that has a proper metal lamps assembly, not the plastic one of later models. beware missing pre-power jumpers on the back which are needed for the amp to work. beware the fuses on the board on the right heatsink fitted to some regions has 240v mains on it but the fuses are left open to touch. also to work on the power amps & bulbs is tricky. hides it's potential with a surprising excess of ceramics in the tone stage, but you may like that cosy warm sound. we upspecced ours & it came alive into Excellent territory, if the 2265B here at the same time was preferred. so treble is soft and bass is light but thick on upper bass on this amp though it does sound overall nice, it's hiding it's potential compared to fresher sounding amps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 National-Panasonic SA-5800 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great-Excellent. UPGRADED: n/a.
27w.


aka Technics since 1978-ish. firstly ignore the 27w rating, it plays like a 40w amp. cute looking & very well made 11kg amp it goes in well with other high rated ones here. a most appealing neutral & sweet sound with good volume if not the most bass. a little bargain that deserves our lofty ranking, our serviced & part recapped one sold in less than one day! one for the collector too, it's cute. The brochure is just a bit trippy in it's sell with "let the SA-5800 be your Magic Carpet. It's Vibrant Power will set a crowd swinging to the throbbing beat, or gently soothe the mediative individual", and "The Well Bread Child of close knit Family of Electronic Wizards", nice!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Sony STR-6055 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
40w.


as this with the STR-6065 is basically the receiver version of the TA-1140 if sounding a little more like the TA-1130. a more friendly richer sound with the receivers than the amp if UK buyers still didn't buy Sony as much until the 1973 more basic ranges. fresh & open sound if deep bass is a bit lacking though, but at 40w it's acceptable. the power supply is cramped up on the versions with fuses above & is a weakness as ventilation is limited. a very different amp to the feeble STR-70xx series that followed. looks smart in the wood case as do all Sony of this era. the 1971 ranges of Sony were still their quality era as the two below reveal. we did see potential to upgrade, but with others around, we didn't try.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Generally good if the power supply can be a bit risky
1971 Sony TA-1130 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
65w.


the most accessible of the early Sony amplifiers. a tight accurate sound with FETs in the preamp. a quality cleaner, leaner, tighter & more natural sound is in here and this ranks it high, not as rich bass or upfront as the STR-6120 on a compare with it as original, though it can upgrade into a more full sound if still being neutral with wide Stereo imaging.. the early Sony amps have an excellent midrange that is spot on for vocals & the 1130 is the cleanest sounding one. we got the exact same amp back again, since then we've been using the valve receivers more & oddly prefer it's more natural sound to the big Yamaha CR-1000. this amp has a lot of spoilers especially in the preamp & once sorted the previous tidy polite sound is now more confident with a better natural bass that sounds very different with a neutral treble not as bright as some. a smart looking amp in the big walnut case as is the TA-1120A. the next step in Sony are the TA-3200F & TA-2000F pre & power 100w combo, one day perhaps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Sony TA-1140 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Great.
40w.


still in the league of the best early Sony, but a nasty incorrect bias setting as given in the specs makes this fresh amp sound average, set correctly like other Sonys it's hugely improved with a great lively sound. this amp is not appreciated therefore, but it's hidden in there for an adjustment & we rate it 'Great' based on it being biased right, else it's only a 'Recommended' as it sounds soft. a more lively bassy sound than the 1130 if it's a midprice amp but with a more simple design to offer a fresher sound. the sider volume control is a lesser idea to the rotary type. one known problem is messy solder which causes problems. we did part recap one to see what it could do but as it wasn't much different without doing more changes, we just put it back as it was, it's still a great midprice amp once biased better. potential to upgrade here.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good but only once adjusted right & risk of poor soldering
1971 Teac AS-100 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
40w.


one of the most precise & clean sounds we've heard in an amplifier & was a benchmark for some time outdoing the Sansui AU-999 with ease. very clean, open sounding yet still musical & decent bass on the earlier ones. surprisingly it has ICs in the preamp but only basic ones you could replace with transistors by looking at the AG-7000. this amp upspecs up very highly. got us trying the Teac AG-7000 which beats the AS-100 for the higher power & no ICs. oddly the later production ones are bass limited in the preamp but can be altered. does have a bit of a 'boop' on turn on which again can be sorted, but both are design matters. has stepped tone controls. looks nice with the matching tuner & the stark industial look is timeless & certainly one of the more memorable amps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Trio-Kenwood KR-4140 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
25w.


a later design, still clean but a bit soft in treble detail but still a good budget buy as a clean sound is here. several in the ranges numbered similarly, if the less exciting sound than just the year before on a similar lower powered receiver. one to use if not upspec, most components are on the one board as is the 5150 below.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Trio-Kenwood KR-5150 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
33w.


a modest power T-K with pleasing retro looks. all transistors, no ICs in the audio stages & plays a decent sound & represents a good buy then & now. pleasing sound if not the extremes of the better amps, but you'd not expect it either. a good starter amp into Vintage, if without the dynamics of an amp 40w or higher.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1971 Yamaha CA-700 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
60w.


one of the earliest Yamahas & a 60w Semi-Complimentary amp. this has a MM and a MC input stage for Phono & both are independent. just a pity it's all DIN connectors unless you get the Non EU versions. has the classic neutral Yamaha sound. only a midprice quirkily built amp unlike the hefty later ones, but interesting. beware the power amp plug in sockets may crack & fail, though other amps use smaller versions of this type fine & new ones can be got. but there is a lively open sound on these early 1971 CA/CR-700s that is more restrained in the later ones. we did try to upgrade this but the tone board is a strange design that isn't upgrade friendly at all. before this 1971 range Yamaha mostly only made record player-receivers though there is an AA-70 receiver of about 25w

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if power amp board sockets are intact
1971 Yamaha CR-700 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
40w.


one of the earliest Yamahas, great looker, a quirky midprice amp before their higher quality later ones. it's varied in our opinions but actually is deserving of the current rating. all DIN connectors as the CA-700 is. still has the classic neutral Yamaha sound. but there is a lively open sound on these early 1971 CA/CR-700s that is more restrained in the later ones. for the 40w here it puts out a confident enjoyable sound. on later compares to the CR-1000 & CA-800ii this receiver is no slouch even all orig spec. one criticism is the background hiss is a bit higher than some amps, due to the tone stage. there are 2 versions though, the original 4 transistor one is with correct bass (eg SN 12xx) but a later 6 transistor one (eg SN28xx) is bass light for design alterations. the sound balance of this compares well with the CR-1000 if not as loud. the start of the Yamaha golden years.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1972 B+O Beomaster 4000 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
40w.


an improved version of the 3000(-2) with 40w now. still a sweet detailed sound & we recapped ours partly to bring out a very nice bassline the original design hides. only made with a black fascia that needs a well lit room to see all the buttons clearly which is a bit awkward. probably the best sounding B+O if still a more domestic sound & volume as the master volume is a little warm balanced. B+O capacitors if not the 1976 era dark red ones are generally good on these, only later B+O start to get to be unreliable. we only partly recapped our one from the need to which brought it to life better.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1972 Goodmans Module 80 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Great.
35w.


UK made budget amp but with a good honest sound, but it'll always need recapping as the same poor black plastic caps as the Leak Delta 75 has, but it's an easier amp than the LD75. lots of potential to upspec up it's clean if slightly raw typical British sound if you fancy a challenge & know what to upspec, ie most of it. we recapped one recently as we had one years ago, just to see what it was like. only minus is DIN connectors for all.

BUY-RAW RATING:
The black capacitors must be replaced as they are always bad or failing.
1972 New Acoustic Dimension (NAD) 160 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
45w-55w.


the nicest sounding early NAD with a fine bassline & clarity though sound can vary a lot if biased wrongly & running warm. has a power supply overheating to sort before it can be used safely. the inner of the 2 big resistors hits 90°C. this for the lack of the Bass filter circuit & the 'rare' early name one wins points on the later NAD 160a. having got another one and now having the Circuit Diagram we got to upspec it better. we've had a few of these now as it's an amp we like & the one we upspecced having got the circuit delivered a very fine sound. the best NAD amplifier by far & it looks nice too in the wood veneer case. this is an amp we like & have bought a few now. but it does have the overheated power supply issue that needs to be sorted before it fails, if it hasn't already. a selkler of these at the time noted they were a bit unreliable, if only for this one issue.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1972 Photax Concertone 800B amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
32w.


cute & obscure amp together with the matching tuner, great lively sound that is really just a little less focussed than others. in real Teak veneer too. a great little find, nicely made & worthy of recapping to bring out the sound further. looks quite like a Sansui in construction. it does have ICs but ones basic & early enough not to worry & we still rate it a 'great' for what it is, belatedly appears in the 1975-76 hifi books.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1972 Rotel RA-610 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
32w.


another lower powered amp with a nice sound, a little warm on midrange detail but nice with it to still deserve the rating. well made semi complimentary design would upspec up well to lose the midrange imbalance. one certainly worth buying if 32w will do, more sophisticated than the similar Leak. a nicely made amp.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1972 Trio-Kenwood KA-6004 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Great-Excellent.
40w.


the fully complimentary follow up to the KA-6000 has a high quality fresh open sound that has potential to be upspecced out. a very accurate rich sound with a fine deep bassline, probably the very last of the classic era amps before cost cutting & over-design took over. nice looker if switch covers fragile, so we made a set. the switch covers you can make from alu pipes & rods like model train sellers have. as later than the KA-6000 there are things better & others less good, but still an amp of quality that sounds superior.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1973 Armstrong 625 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
40w.


cheaply made with bad power supply capacitors & plastic bases, it actually sounded better than average, but for how badly made it is we'll not rate it more than this. the big capacitors are explosions waiting to happen if not blown already, avoid this brand! did we say Armstrong Are The Worst Hifi Brand Ever? don't waste your money... .

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky as the main capacitor is usually bad, else not so bad if the casework is intact
1973 NAD 90 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
45w.


the amp version of the 160, probably from 1973. the sound is very similar to the NAD 160. early NAD were still midpriced but did have a fine sound, but the best NAD buy is the 160 receiver, the 90 amp version was a lesser beast in sound & construction was a bit junky with a card between two inner boards looks a bit amateurish. strange the receiver version is so much better. the NAD 90 lacked the sound focus of the NAD 160 & actually looks like it was built very differently to the quality of the 160.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1973 Sony TA-1150 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
35w.


AVERAGE. 35w. not such a good design on this cost cut amp compared to the similar TA-1140, it's is a bit disappointing with an IC in the preamp driven by poorly matched resistors so the voltage is imbalanced adding roughness to the sound as do the doubled output transistors. more average Sony though a 1975 later TA-3650 amp gets rated higher, the 1150 still looks better with classdic Sony looks still here.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1973 Sugden A48 Mk I amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
40w.


a very sweet UK made amp but too polite sounding & a bit ugly looking with the wood case looking like a Leak one & a bit cheaply made. great phono stage, but for 40w doesn't kick enough for us. one of those amps that could take some smart upspeccing to bring more out of it, the design is tidy if a typical English sort of design like Ferrograph if much better sounding. hard to recap as typical
UK style axial caps. of UK brands we tried, Sugden outdid all noted here (Ferrograph, Radford, Leak etc) for the fine sound it delivered, perhaps could improve up but with the axials. beware the odd presets on the tone board that need fine adjusting with test tones or the sound balance will be wrong, we never tried to upspec ours any further. beware of fools replacing the volume control as it loses the power switch, it's not faulty! so many of these & the earlier Richard Allen ones have been ruined by those who don't know they were made only to give a better volume at half-setting, don't mess with them! we bought a new set of original push buttons from Sugden, but they said supplies were limited at the time.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if it needs the tone board inside pots properly calibrated & beware volume control replacement
1973-75 Yamaha CA-800II amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
55w + 10w Class A.


this is the II version of their first Silver range with alterations in the tonal balance, but not all markets got the II versions so they are scarce. the power amp is full complimentary & a 'Tone Jump' direct switch. after doing every upspec trick the CR-1000 got to the CA-800II reveals the 800II as a slightly warmer sound if better suited to most users who might find the CR-1000 a bit overwhelming. if the 800II is this good, the CA-1000II uses the same phono as the later versions of CR-1000 & actually is a superior sound. one recapped & upspec by us revealed Class A made no difference at all. has high upspec potential & we'd rate the CA-1000II similarly. typical Yamaha too-hot power supply on this amp is an issue. an amp that is speaker critical, appears not to like modern ones as their impedance becomes an issue, so stick to ones pre 1980 for best results.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if overheated power supply transistors are risky
1973 Yamaha CA-1000 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent
70w + 15w Class A.


their first 70w amp with Class A, a warmer midrange balance loses it detail if very clean otherwise, but we got the CA-1010 just as we finished ours & sold this too fast after the CA-1010 was found to be misleading. takes a lot to get it working right & for this, some deeper exploration could bring back the detail if you like design, we thought it sounded a bit warm & soft even after recapping. the only minus is some boards are a bit cramped as is typical with Yamaha though we've upspecced several now. this was the first Yamaha we upgraded as the amp needed work & led to a whole heap of Yamaha as you can see. one of the better Hifi brands but pity there are no 1960s ones.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1973 Yamaha CR-800 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
50w.


a particularly good sounding & well made receiver, punchy wide spaced stereo with a sweet sound, this is the 'easiest' Yamaha to buy & use just serviced, with a high quality sound balance from buying one all-original. we like how decent it is & buyers are pleased with it too, a wise buy. pity it's only a vinyl wrap case, though to reveneer in teak or walnut is a nice idea. the CR-800 builds on the CR-700 sound and is much better built, this is a bargain amp for how good it sounds. to upspec & recap this was too tempting. the result was in the league of the CR-1000 & CA-800II if a richer warmer bassier sound than either, more a domestic sound balance if the qualities of the CA-800II are here. capable of very detailed sound as are a couple of the Yamahas we like.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1973 Yamaha CR-1000 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
75w.


the biggest & best of the Yamahas to us but note ours was much upgraded & recapped to sound much sweeter. buying an original one needs a deep service to sing it's best to give an extremely revealing Pro sound that will shamelessly reveal speakers & headphones as being inferior if it sounds hard. before servicing it always sounds soft & nothing special & we've had three now. suited best to ported speakers, it didn't match well at all with earlier ones. a big upfront kicking sound best suited to a big room: it is strong, accurate, tight bass & impressive but a louder sound than most amps & is great fun resolving music to the right master level, but can be overpowering too as it's not as neutral as some. it can be quickly tamed if required just with the loudness slider to mellow it back so you can have a more domestic balance at 3-5 on Loudness. it is one of the Best Built of the amps we've had & after going very deep into the circuits, we found the upspec potential of this amp is very high. as great as it is, the fresh open sound of a valve amp will still be preferred in comparisons as there is a lot of circuitry in here. fully complimentary output stages. the regulators still get a bit hot like other Yamahas but can be altered. our top Yamaha also for the looks & wood case. one minus is the input phono sockets are thin plated copper & usually found a bit crusty & not really upgradeable, also the mic slider must be set to off as it has a wide variable gain & with nothing plugged in it's noisy. there are 2 phono stage versions, the later 7 transistor one is decent after some minor changes. certainly one of the best high wattage receivers & for 1973 can take on any 1977-79 era receiver & better it for sound. but use it unserviced & you'll wonder what the fuss is.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if needs deep servicing to bring it alive
1974 Leak 2000 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Great.
35w.


a capable, decent lively sound & much more reliable than the Delta 75 receiver, as with most Leak good midprice quality value & readily findable. for the price these sell for this amp is the one we'd suggest as our Top Budget Buy to start into vintage with. it'll not better a Yamaha of the same era but for the price these sell for it's a wise buy. the only weakness are the silver paddle switches like on the Delta 75 that can break. we recapped & upgraded one & it done well with only the 35w limiting what was a pleasing sound for what it is, if a bit grainy & bright compared to better amps. as with the Delta 75 there are many design changes through the run including a rare black export version. various fiddlings with protection & putting polystyrenes in the early ones as well as the DIN sockets being in a line or staggered. it has a strange bridging feature to make 35w stereo into 60w mono. an amp that tries to appeal to too many with the extra features. the display is too dark unless the blue plastic has aged darker. a basic phasey surround feature too isn't much use either. the silver paddle switches change size as do the teak sides width. we did recap one which did improve it, but it was a little bright still.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1974 Nikko TRM-500 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
26w.


sounds more like a 35w amp, punchy sound could easily upspec to improve the treble focus. another Hidden Gem & a Bargain to buy. We liked it better than the similar small Rotel noted above. Nikko made lots of amps & receivers if they're not much around. for only 26w it played louder & coped well with bass within it's design spec. looks like Trio & Teac inside & sound is lively and you get real teak veneer. a higher powered version would be interesting.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1974 Sony STR-6046A receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
25w.


a modest power later Sony with pleasing retro looks. it's actually got STK blocks for the power amp but at 25w it stays modest & still has the retro sound in a modest way so we reckon it deserves including as it's certainly above average in sound quality & good starter into Vintage. it actually has many qualities of amps but power is finite & the sound is limited to fit.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1975 Goodmans Module 90 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
30w.


early ones look Glam Rock cheesy-awful with white controls but still a surprisingly good sound for a budget buy & less need to recap this than the 80. a much better sound here than the looks suggest. but it is basic but the money was spent making it sound good. later ones had tamer black buttons. but it's still all DIN connectors. the 110 & other higher number model we've not tried yet & they are later too.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good beyond stiff sliders.
1975 Luxman L-100 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
110w.


beware of buying a messed with one! requires deep servicing to get the luxury sound with a refined quality & at a price. beats a Sugden amp in similar mannered territory, as in it's not as fresh & lively as simpler designs so down a peg. before servicing it was a very soft feeble sound which was surprising, after servicing it sounded lively but fine detail seemed oversmoothed though the bass was lively. we recapped our one fully & found it was just not as wide & open sounding as others. awkward 22-step volume control with no solid zero stop may cause problems, even after servicing it & making the zero stop more obvious it still felt unsure. the relays are important but hard to find if messed with as ours was. one amp we got just to see what is was all about & never really used it much for our reasons, though it is a memorable amp for how heavy & stylish it is, but sound wasn't so hot. an amp that often has got fiddled with & the MTA56 connectors taken away & soldered which is bad. 3 old style relays may be risky too. the case is too thin wood for a heavy amp like this & with the odd collar piece it's a bit awkward. the phono stage sounded poor too. to us based on this high model, Luxman are a bit overrated & therefore very overpriced based on this amp, this one makes a good price & was high new at £680+VAT in 1979, but many lesser models get offered way too high, like Marantz do too, but we don't see sales unless realistically priced.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if needs good servicing & beware the volume control
1975 NAD 160 'a' receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
45w.


the slightly updated 160a has a Bass limiting Low Pass circuit between the Pre & Power amps on the underside & the Power Supply still runs hot. just for the Bass limiter, we'd rate it just less than the 1st version as all original, but upspecced it can be as both are so similar, read more in the NAD 160 section above. NAD 160 has an FM Muting push button, NAD 160a uses the same as Loudness instead, a few minor differences inside too.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1975 Sony TA-3650 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
60w.


actually didn't expect this to be much good after the decline of Sony in the 1973-74 era, but this plain looking amp actually sounds very decent. big ALPS volume control like Luxman is unusual here. accurate, punchy & clean if not much on the Bass, but considering the TA-1150 only got average rated this was an unexpected improvement. part of the V-FET series of 1975, this has no V-FETs & is better for it. after researching the Receivers, we've decided this 60w amp is the best one to try. beyond a few nice touches it is still budget in the casework that leaves it looking a bit cheap compared to the earlier ones & the power supply is a bit pathetic just a board perched on top of a double capacitor.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1976 B & O Beomaster 1900 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
30w.


stylish & futuristic, sound is as good as the 4400 but an amp that is hard to buy a good one as they aged bad, unfindable sliders fail, visuals wear out so we'll rate it down a bit. for us to get one of these again won't happen as sliders go bad, those dark red caps go bad, too high risk. a real bastard to open & try to service especially for soldering, you end up with one large floppy board with all the components on. no real difference in version -2 or the 2400 remote control version.

BUY-RAW RATING:
High risk of parts noted failing & poor capacitors
1976 Pioneer SA-9500 Mk I amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
80w.


our pages were missing one of these big SA-9000 Pioneers, so we got one at last. it's a way better built amp than the SX-950 type & is in a very different league to those mass market receivers. from looking at the circuits, we see the SA-9500 as the pick of the bunch with SA-9500II being a different later design, SA-9900 the 110w one in the 1976 range getting into overdesign & the SA-9800 being later but ridiculously having 23 transistors in the power amp, the 9500 has only 10. the SA-9800 is an awful design yet it sells for £k prices as people don't understand excessive circuitry sounds bad if the 0.005% THD is pointless as it's only for excessive design & heavy NFB. the SA-9500 with 0.1% THD actually sounds fresher like a much earlier amp, very low 30 damping factor & minimalist power amp circuit beyond how dog rough it sounds until serviced & adjusted. this amp is plentiful on ebay, a real sleeper dismissed with the rest, but that can upgrade into something remarkable, stuffed full of 'spoilers' & low spec hiding what is an amp of high quality to outdo Yamaha even. to say it hides a kicking bassline after much upgrading when the basic amp serviced has a very weak limited bass is a bit of a tease, so we'll say just that because it's true. for the sound of it serviced but original it is hard to be fair to go higher than we've put.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good, but unserviced it sounds absolutely awful!
1976 Pioneer SX-850 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
65w.


these sell well today as big & loud, but price cut to the bone & get rough sounding long before you'd expect which isn't great. sophistication isn't these. with higher spec parts these we feel could be better, but the protection circuit is a pain as too sensitive when we started to upgrade one. mass market goods for those who think size matters in hifi. these Pioneer were sold £150 less than the similar power Yamaha (CR-1000) & Marantz (2275) was £170 more than the Yamaha. you get what you pays for: Pioneer were mass market price cut efforts & not worthy of such acclaim! *after the surprise of the SA-9500 above, perhaps there is more upgrade potential in these amps?

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1976 Pioneer SX-950 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
85w.


these sell well today as big & loud, but price cut to the bone & get rough sounding long before you'd expect which isn't great. sophistication isn't these. with higher spec parts these we feel could be better, but the protection circuit is a pain as too sensitive when we started to upgrade one. mass market goods for those who think size matters in hifi. beware the SX-980 that followed was an IC phono & even more cost-cut. big oversized tin cans these are, but unadventurous buyers readily buy them. we've thought to get one to upspec to our Yamaha-Sansui ideals, but feel it wouldn't really be worth the effort as the quality is midprice. *after the surprise of the SA-9500 above, perhaps there is more upgrade potential in these amps?

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1977 Akai AA-1030 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
30w
.

adequate silver fronted amp that could upspec up well, but it was just nothing special at all but certainly not bad either & well enough made, not just a one board job. a higher powered model would give us a better idea.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1977 B & O Beomaster 4400 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
50w
.

a more designed sound than the fresher 3000 at the expense of air & musicality leaves it a bit flat. a lot of circuitry in this amp looks overdesigned. another bastard amp to work on as so cramped & poorly laid out makes us lose interest in one we had recently & hearing it working fine thru headphones reveals it less detailed than the 3000/4000 means we dip the rating a bit now compared to earlier. the 1900 & 4400 have a similar nice but safe sound. B+O are very overrated beyond the 3000 & 4000.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good but beware faulty ones as it's awful to work on
1977 Marantz 1152DC amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Great
76w
.

we have previously put this amp down based on bad experiences with one early on that clearly was faulty. ignoring the messed with amp we got & based on the ideas of receiver below being pretty good there are enough similarities to ignore the bad amp we had in our ratings, but to point out the issues. the oddly low-volume sound is otherwise decent, the volume before distortion for a 76w amp is pathetic & we couldn't do much with it. bad construction design loose fully pinned boards & poor soldering throughout make this our least liked amp ever & it wasted much time & money. thankfully we found much better results with the two receivers above. we noted it had a deep bass on recapping it, if the midrange was 'cardboardy' and the treble was rough even once biased right. not one we'll try again willingly, but horses that threw you need a new ride or it spoils you.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky due to bad soldering & poor connections on top board
1977 Marantz 2265B receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
65w
.

sweeter sounding than the 2245 & a bit of an exception to the rule that later is worse. compares well with the Pioneers & Sonys above even all original & certainly surprised us. but we sold ours on quickly as others bettered it. are they worth the money? yes, as others are too cheap in comparison. ours was damaged on one channel & needed a lot of parts [16] replaced showing there are no fuses or much to save almost trashing the amp which is a bit of a worry as is the useless plastic on the bulb fascia which will break away as aged from years of bulb heat. the construction is a bit budget in places compared to how well made Yamahas are made.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1977 NAD 300 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Recommended.
80w
.

appears a huge impressive & classy amp with useless Dolby stage let down by a less than acceptable power amp stage & odd wiring routing, FET preamp delivers a fine if un-upspecable sound but the power amp section is just not very good and keeps it's ranking lower than the 22kg bulk of it suggests. sadly it has the overheating power supply with hot regulators that mess up the PCB. it also doesn't play very loud, the NAD 160 plays louder than this easily. "Going past the 1 o'clock position the stupid thing starts distorting, yet it's 100w!" we wrote originally. a disappointing buy after the NAD 160 quality & the NAD 200 big amp version we hear is similarly low on the volume. only one way to get more volume & that upsets the output severely as the power amp is a poor design as evidenced by the last minute chops to the design. this should be a winner, but several things keep it down. probably our most disappointing upgrade.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1977 Rotel RX-603 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recomended-Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
45w


looks more 1972 inside from the design, pity the cheesy plastic front & handles, but a very good sound here. pity Rotel didn't go higher power on earlier ones as they are decent sounding. the higher ones in the range have the similar naff looks & overbright display losing appeal to some, but the sound is pleasing. cost cut as was typical, but still a nice design & for the decent sound one that would improve well & hints the bigger models will be worthwhile if the looks appeal.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if plastic handles intact & plastic fascia is good
1977 Yamaha CA-1010 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Recommended.
100w +20w Class A


hefty 100w Yamaha amplifier, but not their best of 1977 like the CR-2020 if a bright dry reference sound but sadly overdesigned with a few issues we didn't like. we thought it had much potential to improve, but just doesn't quite reach the highest fidelity whatever you do as way too many odd transistors in the preamp circuit. our opinion of it was that it sounded quite rough & bright compared to better amps whatever we tried the rough sound was still there & lower mid to bass was not at the right neutral balance. offers Class A in the Power Amp & nice meters. but sadly not the quality of other Yamahas sound & way short of the CA-800II sound. the CA-2010 is the 120w version for reasons obscure, but Yamaha sadly heading away from their best on this one & we didn't play our one much beyond many compares. the sound Yamaha thought they had in this amp is done much better by the Sony TA-1130, see above. again like the 1977 NAD 300, a disappointing amp that didn't upgrade well as too overdesigned.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1977 Yamaha CR-820 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
55w


very like the CR-2020 if less power, one of the sweetest sounding silver Yamaha as in playing all-original ones, with the CR-800 just ahead & a great buy as they seem to have sold well when new. the CR-800 & CR-820 are wise buys with fine sound if you don't want the bigger models. the 1977 ranges were cheaper made than the earlier ones, but this was how Hifi was by then. not one we'd try upgrading for the one board layout is only really optimised for the spec used & there are a few regulators that are a bit hot as was usual with Yamaha. don't even bother with the CR-840 as it has a glut of ICs as Yamaha unwisely relied heavily on for the next range!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1977 Yamaha CR-1020 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
70w


less powerful 70w to the CR-2020. no obvious difference in sound to the CR-2020 beyond power rating & will have similar upgrade potential. see the CR-2020 below for more on this fine amp. these sold well but often got used to excesses, look for dark marks on the top grille for the party-hearty ones though all can be rebuilt. we've never upgraded the CR-1020 but it is so similar to the CR-2020 the same rating will apply. don't even bother with the CR-1040 as it has a glut of ICs as Yamaha unwisely relied heavily on for the next range!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky as power supply overheating will need repair with no exceptions
1977 Yamaha CR-2020 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
110w


has to be the best ever of the post 1975 receivers for sound & 110w is a powerhouse but in need of work as overheats on the power supply. sound is sweeter & richer than the CA-1010. as found it is clean & punchy but warm & soft on fine detail, it can be upspecced into something quite remarkable, in 'Excellent' territory. build quality not in the league of the CR-1000 though this is a 1977 design & one of the best ever amplifiers we've known. we've been praising these CR-1020 & CR-2020 for a while now. the phono board on the tuner board is a bit of a cheapout, but for 1977 perhaps these best receivers for realistic prices. for extreme tweakers, it can offer nearly the same quality as the CR-1000 if not quite it's pro sound, but not wanting to unsolder the 5 tone boards again to add in new ideas, we left it be. looks better in the big USA full case, though the USA model adds Dolby FM input & is 110-120v only. an amp often found in lesser grade as well used & usually failing sooner or later is the risk. we upgrade any we sell to keep them good for years. don't even bother with the CR-2040 as it has a glut of ICs as Yamaha unwisely relied heavily on for the next range!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky as power supply overheating will need repair with no exceptions
1978 Consort CA 4000 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: n/a.
40w


oddball amp UK brand made in Japan, looks budget goods but a pure lively enjoyable sound quality in a simple circuit that deserves a high ranking even on our latest ratings, copes well even with peaks tipping 80w on the meters, just limited by what you could upspec into, a very rare amp though. not one we recapped, but it's sound was pleasing for what it was. minuses are DIN connectors & an IC phono stage, not that we include Phono in our rankings.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1978 Technics SU-7100 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
40w


bottom of the range IC power amp, but not as bad as we expected, it's better than a lot of the sub £50 amps you see by the ton. laughable hardboard base if the fascia looked more impressive. still very much entry level to vintage hifi & not worth upgrading.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1978 Leak 3200 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
25w


for a 25w amp this is surprisingly good if obviously power limited & sadly the last year of the popular Leak range, made in Japan by a non-brand company who manufactured Rotel & others but still a UK design with DIN sockets. all transistor era Leak we'd easily recommend except the early Stereo 30 with germaniums & the risks of the Delta 75. phono stage is an IC which isn't great, but of the era & price range. the 80w Leak 3900 is part of this range & we'd expect it to be decent too. pre out connectors mean you can use it as a preamp though the sound from the preamp is still kept modest in dynamics for the 25w rating. still a semi-complimentary design showing Leak was using 1972 technology still as with the Leak 2000. no Mono switch!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1984 Technics SU-V505 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
50w.


initially we found these interesting for the early Computer drive which was (allegedly) based on their hugely expensive SE-A1 & SU-A2 £10k pre-power combo. this was one of the Foillies in Hifi putiing expensive ideas done on the cheap into a Midprice amp housed in Budget grade casing. look at the rubbish speaker connectors & thin metal lid. heat pipe design unsurprisingly sounded rough beyond the apparent good idea. the sound was basically decent but so rough & thin sounding, but the one-board design is pretty un-upspecable.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Poor as servicing needed else controls etc will be bad
1984 Technics SU-V707 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
90w.


initially we found these interesting for the early Computer drive which was (allegedly) based on their hugely expensive SE-A1 & SU-A2 £10k pre-power combo. this was one of the Foillies in Hifi putiing expensive ideas done on the cheap into a Midprice amp housed in Budget grade casing. look at the rubbish speaker connectors & thin metal lid. heat pipe design unsurprisingly sounded rough beyond the apparent good idea. the sound was basically decent but so rough & thin sounding, but the one-board design is pretty un-upspecable. it still sounds gritty at low volume & if turned up louder it sounds harsh. perhaps the slow computer for bias adjustment is holding it back rather than improving it. if bulbs are dead the LEDs don't all work as we found out on our one, so 12v 55ma axial bulbs you'll need.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Poor as servicing needed else controls etc will be bad
1985 Yamaha A-720 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Great (in Class A mode). UPGRADED: n/a.
105w.


the only 1980s amp we've heard that appeals, very good focus in the Class A mode if could be upspecced further, no ICs in main amp, just the phono. a one-board type amp that gets very hot in class A, heatsink a bit feeble as too thin. only sounded it's best in Class A otherwise just a 'Recommended' score. needs servicing & a good run in else it sounded awful. loudness control isn't what you'd expect it to be. there is a temptation for us to get this or the A-1020 to upspec to see how good an 80s amp could be, but the one board design decides against.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky, needs good servicing else controls will not work right
1992 Marantz PM-62 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Great.
60w.


we bought one new in 1993, revisiting in 2012 it wasn't a bad amp, but not a lively sound like pre 1979 as typical of the era so we upspecced it into a more 1970s sound. it has tone controls & phono, if they are via ICs that do limit the fidelity. once upspecced it was pretty decent, but not really comparable to the 1977 Marantz 2265B for sound as by 1992 a thin bass light sound was the normal as overdesign & ICs were the normal in the CD era.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.


The Stinkers Parade in Hifi...
These amps were got, used, some recapped & improved but quickly sold as we didn't appreciate them much. Not everyone likes or has the cash for the ones above or even knows what you do as you sniff at these too! A few we've stated have a better sound but are too compomised in other areas to give them that full rating. MEDIOCRE is a disappointing amp for reasons noted. POOR is nearing the poop pile & one we'd recommend you avoid at all costs. Seeing these awful amps still sell on ebay shows that people aren't Googling!


1966 Armstrong 221 amplifier

MEDIOCRE.
10w valve.


UK made crap amp needed a full recap which wasn't worth the effort as the design was poor and the sound was messy & very weak on treble as it was severely rolled off & bad harmonics on the treble. silicon transistor phono stage & a very average amp indeed, felt a bit time wasted on recapping it, but you got to try. average crap appears to be the norm with this brand, so avoid!
The Armstrong 222 is a cheaper version without a MM Phono, someone way overpaid for one in Apr 2014.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Poor. Needs full recap to even try it & then agree it's crap.
1968 Armstrong 526 receiver

POOR.
40w.


nasty UK made crap Germaniums thing means the sound was ailing with bad harmonics on the treble but perhaps not awful if you spend forever changing it to Silicon with the voltage changes needed, recap it fully, but who could be bothered? cheaply made with ancient parts that looked 10 years earlier as UK parts, shameful. will relate to Armstrong 521 amplifier & Armstrong 525 receiver. to be avoided at any price says we, yet they still sell for small money to those unaware just for being old amps
.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Poor. Aged Germaniums & other issues, don't bother
1971 Scan-Dyna 3000 receiver

POOR.
30w.


Dynaco related EU crap sadly. looked interesting, but an amp we hated by the end of it, crappy construction, crappy cheap controls, sound was hard to tell as made so badly & not working right. unworkable on as so badly designed. we wrote it sounded rough, don't bother buying
.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky if volume control isn't good, else should be ok
1971 Radford HD-250 amplifier

POOR.
50w? more a 25w by the sound & 35v HT.


very strange ugly UK made crappity crap amp, much too loud, poor design axial caps with too many transistors. looks more 1968 in build & is based on an earlier model. early ones lack a headphone socket. the tape buttons were stupid too, you had to half push both to get out of Tape mode! the output transistors on the back heatsink can have 70v-35v on & the clip on plastic caps will usuaslly be missing! lab gear looks with a feeble aluminium lid with tape stuck inside to stop the capacitors touching as it flexed & old spec screw threads even. the transformer is badly mounted so buzzes. ran out of power way too early for 50w & sounded very rough for it despite this bravado being remarkable initially, it's awful sound showed up by better. way too loud &
a front row sound with no apparent limiting, but no finesse & too shouty. this amp severely messed with the mind on comparing to others as it was so awful & too loud, as in master volume was too high, ok for bad PA but not hifi. on spec & not altered so why so awful? rated very low as it has the cheek to call itself a 'reference' series amp. construction looked like a kit amp with signal cables L+R twisted together, so much for crosstalk which was lousy making stereo tracks a blurry mess. the phono stage was overdesigned & sounded very boring despite their db ratings. it has UK style axial caps so not worth recapping. we can only hope their valve amps are better than this lousy effort.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1972 Rogers Ravensbrook Mk III receiver

MEDIOCRE.
15w.


very basic UK crap thing played very loud on headphones as was not a standard design but sophisticated it wasn't even on speakers and well made it wasn't either. cheap retro appeal is about it's lot. cheaply made was it & after the Valves until the A75 Panthera Rogers are best avoided as pretty much junk. front panel flexes on the controls as so cheap. oddly had coupling transformers in the output stages but very hard to bias so will likely run too hot. surprising what crap was sold in the 1970s when there were much better amps from UK manufacturers
.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if usually full of dust & much from casing gaps
1973 Sony STR-6036 receiver

POOR.
16w.

laughably budget made 16w thing, hardly worth the effort to make surely as power & volume is pathetic. one for grannies to replace a cheap gram with only must be the reason it existed & Sony were very budget conscious disregarding quality at this time.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1979 Panasonic SU-2800 amplifier

MEDIOCRE.
40w.


budget IC power amp STK block thing that was true crappity crap budget gear, but it did have the 70s magic sound in there if you didn't expect much volume from it's 40w where it descended into quite awful distortion on clipping. worth a try to see what it was like. it was mediocre
.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1981 Sony STR-S5L receiver

MEDIOCRE.
40w.


it looked computery & the misleading 100w description on a 40w mass market average piece of junk, we wish we'd not bothered, average sound at best. LED volume is a cloth ribbon over a lightbulb! piece of crap Sony as much of their post 1972 stuff is beyond ones we note above & on the Other Amps page
.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if bulbs will need replacing
1986 Sony TA-F550ES amplifier

POOR.
90w.


probably the most boring amp we've ever heard, poor design STK block for power amp if transistor output stages. music sounds cold & awful: devoid of life, interest & not even a decent volume despite 90w. if this miserable sound is modern "hifi", then buyers are being conned. rubbish sold as ES premium, oh dear. the only interesting thing with this amp was it has a piece of red velvet inside. the sound was so unappealing you'd reach to turn it off fast & this sort of crap is what mass market hifi is sounding like today.


BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1986 Realistic STA-2280 receiver

MEDIOCRE.
60w.


we bought one new in 1987, but revisiting in 2012 & recapping to the max got a decent sound at lower volume but then but it sounded rough too early for 60w, for the sheer hell of it revealed how much ICs strangle the sound whatever you do, very restricted on bass on the original design. unshielded audio wires in ribbons all over the place, nasty limited bass even with Loudness & the laughable IMX Stereo expander. tuner was poor as digital but hold button type & memory battery long dead. full of ceramics too. almost impossible to get Stereo FM even at 5 bars signal as adjusting never worked. budget cheapo stuff good for your first ever amp, but that's it
.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
2002 Musical Fidelity A308CR pre/power

POOR.
250w.


UK made 'high end' crap. for the big Power Amp & Preamp pair. a quickly regretted new buy as ex-demo. the amp is the most overdesigned piece of junk ever with cheap components, pre has a then-75p op-amp for phono & ceramics throughout. way way overdesigned with chokingly high Damping Factor killing the sound with too much NFB that they faked up the bass which was so unnatural it gave us a headache over several tries. nasty. 180 Damping Factor too. we don't get headaches but this junk mashed the mind. as you'd expect oversized overpriced merde like this still sells well to those affected with gullibility... our rating is considered fairly for the false sound it delivers. ah but the case looks nice which is more important to these MFs. Musical Fidelity are modern mass market crap, but sadly many have never heard the better stuff in the table above. go buy a cheap Leak & then tell us it doesn't sound more pleasing than just about ANY post 1980 amp.
.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Only had it when new, no comment therefore

So a real piece of overrated overpriced Modern Crap ends our page, the hideous Musical Fidelity, a bunch of MFs indeed. X-cans or Nuvistas anyone? But we are aware it's Crap because we've played many amps over many years. Sadly buyers are not aware of how Hifi sounds until they buy it as Shops only Demo Audio Visual amps these days. If you are tired of the Modern Crap, look at our Top Amps Table & try any of the more modest ones like Leak or Rotel even & find out how much more enjoyable your Music can be!