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OUR TOP RATED VINTAGE AMPLIFIER REVIEWS
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?

Reviews of Dozens of Amplifiers & Receivers mostly 1963-1978 & a few later. Rated by Direct Comparing with many others based on Aux input only. Vintage & Valve amps interest us, Post 1980 & huge 500w Amps are not our Bag...


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



What Does This "Top Amps" Page Mean? Is Audio Still Important?
As Technology advances with i-everything & everything ultra-portable, Audio Sound Quality has sadly been almost forgotten. Super HD pictures but most TVs still have crappy built-in speakers like they did over 30 years ago. The junk you see on the Gadget Show that they rate as "Excellent Sound" is laughably sad. How many actually connect their TV to the Hifi? It's not so easy now as Phono sockets aren't on most TVs but you can use a Scart to Phono on the TiVo box or a DAC. So today's technology usually ignores Hifi Quality, mumbly TV programmes we have trouble understanding even played loud on Hifi. People actually do understand Vintage Hifi sounds more pleasant to listen to & even some budget 1970s gear of 15w will be a nicer sound than just about anything modern that has a cold emotionless sound. You read on ebay they tried it out, like the sound yet are still selling it! We are entirely self-taught with our ideals of Hifi Sound & it's been many years in the learning, you don't perfect your ideals overnight. This page is us initially randomly getting any amp that appealed to see what it was like & after many hours of comparing, a ranking of Amplifiers can be made. You'll never find any of this in a quick Shop or Home demo & we've been using Headphones only as Speaker matching gets another page on that, see our Loudspeakers page. The ideal in Hifi is a sound so effortless it seems surreal, no harsh edges, no rough treble or boomy bloated bass. A tranquil Summer afternoon by a Riverside or a brash annoying visit to a big City is the difference. That lazy Summer afternoon isn't tame though, it's fresh & natural with the lowest amount of artifact. You can pick out a fieldmouse rustling through the undergrowth or a jet plane searing through the sky with a sonic boom, all clear to be heard. And yet today's Audio is heavily compressed & simplistic to suit playing through a Mobile Phone tiny speaker. How far from Audio Reality it has gone. The best Hifi can deliver so much more. It can awaken your Weary Soul! Some of the amps in our page can come close to this & even nearer after upgrading. Plenty below we recommend. But upgrading is not for the newbie to jump into without years of Hifi learning.

Ones We've Tried Only Listed Here...
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. We research all amps before trying them, to be sure they are worth a try & to avoid ICs in preamps etc, as you can see below some we had early on were not worth bothering with. There are plenty more on the Other amps page that we look closely at via the circuits if we see one & either dismiss it or try it. We take little interest in accepted opinions that were around on Vintage amps, a few years ago only the Monster Receivers & 100w+ amps got interest, without buyers realising these oversized things don't sound as musical as the earlier ones. Some amps like the Quad 33/303 are often on ebay but we've never liked the amp & have looked deeply into the circuits to prove our opinion right. Others who've not heard the amount of Hifi we have will find items impressive compared to Modern Hifi but not realise how lacking they are. British Hifi we've tried all the main brands but don't rate them as high as the superior Japanese-USA amps & we are a UK based site after all. It's too easy to fill the site with salty comments about how poor much of the overhyped overpriced modern gear, but to highlight the best not the also-rans is the idea. We tried the 2007 Marantz PM6002 to see what it was like, seeing it was mostly transistors. There are many 'sleepers' in the Hifi ranges that we've uncovered & we do have a preference for the 1967-73 era simply as it brings us better amps more readily than later or earlier even. We usually stick to 40w or more but if you are happy with 10w or 20w there may be some early transistor ones that sound as nice too, if in a lower powered way. If an amp stirs your soul & makes you happy listening to it, then it's a good one!

Our 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,. ie 1967 to 1977. We are based in the UK & so we see UK & EU sold amps, if sadly not enough of the more obscure USA & Japanese ones. 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, but we are now finding the Best Transistor amps are outdoing Valves! Our ratings are taken to be rated against the best Transistor Amps only therefore. A "Recommended" for example, on the rough Pioneer SX-950 is in light of better amps are there for your money, though many buy these big cost-cut amps as they haven't got too deep into Vintage Hifi yet to find better. But even there, we are finding Pioneer were very cost cut & put too many Spoilers in these amps & upgrading them we are finding they are actually great amps! 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.


We Grade our Hifi across the board with a 1963 amp rated equally against a 1977 one, no going easy on any amp here, but not Daring to go Higher than "Excellent" which is equivalent to "First Class". We aren't bothered by commercial bias or are here to massage egos on ones we don't like, though we hear many happy readers who've taken our word on an amp & been delighted by the amp. This is the intention of this, to get the Hifi Scene realising how many "Sleepers" there are in Hifi. Before we started these pages, we used to see the same High Powered amps making big prices but buyers, not knowing where else to try & not wishing to gamble, generally ignored most other Amps. There are many other Hifi sites out there helping us with Service Manuals & Photos of amps inside & out, but you'll not find another that rates amps against each other. Some we've had a while ago now but generally the opinions on what is liked or not is matched on revistiting ones from ago.

Our Ratings are based on Headphone Use mainly
To use Headphones lets you hear far more of the Amplifier than on Speakers. Amps that may sound quite similar on Speakers can sound hugely different on Headphones, revealing weaknesses that Speakers & Room Reflections can hide. See the Loudspeakers page for more as matching can be tricky.
On Headphones, the Power amp drives the Headphones via a Resistor so direct coupling to Headphones doesn't happen which allows for a Level Playing Field, as a 1967 & 1977 amp may sound very different on Speakers for the Matching, or may sound as good.

Amplifier or Receiver?
You can see we've had more Receivers than Amplifiers, simply as the Receivers sold better when new. In the first few years of Transistor domination 1967-70 usually the Receiver was the higher powered item. Only really do the
Sony TA-1120(A) & Trio-Kenwood KA-6000 stand out as better items, in both looks & sound, as most amplifiers pre 1971 were lower power than the Receivers. With a Receiver you get an FM radio & sometimes MW too, but FM is Hifi on some stations so a Free Music source is a Receiver & the added Tuner sections usually make a plain amplifier version into a more attractive receiver. The idea of a Tuner in with the Amp is no limitation, though the boards take up space, they see a better power supply & the lack of connecting cables. Even with Valves, the Stereo FM era ones are large items with good space for big transformers if usually no higher power than the usual 10-20w amplifier. FM Radio is still very much alive in the UK as DAB still hasn't taken off as it's not much good in Cars. For Home use, Radio is in many items with more channels than an FM Tuner has. In the late 1970s, the Receivers were again higher power than the Amplifiers with some over 300w, though what use that is can be argued. See our Best Looking Amps page for some we liked.

Keep It As Original or Upgrade It?
There are some early amps that are more Collectors' Items than Hifi for Modern use. We've kept a few amps as All Original for Reference, but as with the National-Panasonic SA65 we soon found it needed recapping as the sound was louder on one channel, but to recap-upgrade it but leaving the rest as Original as it's such a strong reference. Another one we like, the Trio-Kenwood KA-6000 we've never upgraded, but did get the receiver equivalent TK-140E and X to see the sound it could bring, but in the end upgraded the KA-6000. In the future will there be a want for 'Survivor' amps as there is with Vintage Cars, the Chasing Classic Cars series
has highlighted this, but be sure no Car or Amp from 70 years ago will be fully original as parts perish, capacitors being the issue with Hifi. No 1932 high voltage Electrolytic Capacitor still works but in our Gram the smaller value ones are still working, if probably off spec, but it's not for Hifi use. To upgrade a Car to bring the best out of it we see a lot on TV, putting a brand new engine in a 1960s Corvette will make a better car but for some it's too modern. But whatever is done to Cars or Hifi, to keep it working & being appreciated by new people is the thing as they'll cherish it when we're dust. We'd not be happy if our 1932 Gram stopped working even being pretty mediocre as it is now, it'd be made to at least work. As an opportune advert for Our Upgrading Service, all we do is done to keep things as original as possible, even if noticeable parts could be bettered, the Charm of Original Parts beyond electrolytics is important. The Sony TA-1120A keeps it's kooky red capacitors is an example. Another one is if the amp had black main capacitors, we'd not put bright blue ones in. In watching Car shows on TV, we like the Restore to Original ones, allowing subtle upgrades like Mike & Edd do, but the Hot Rod-Custom scene is awful as they butcher cars that should be left original looking, if perhaps the market for them is way less than the ugly thing they create thinking it's cool...

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. We're adding in all amps we can remember from over the years & 15-25 years ago these were still used & working items obviously years younger than today, so to rate them is possible. In 1990 a 1972 B+O amp wasn't that old as well as probably still being used, it had not sat in a damp loft for years yet, but they often look very aged inside now.


Much More to an Amplifier than what it Sounds Like All Original!
Many buyers of Vintage Hifi just use them, often Unserviced & certainly never upgraded. This to us misses the whole point of using Vintage Hifi as beyond age requiring a Service, the thing is Every Vintage Amplifier & Receiver Can Be Improved! We've read Marantz sound Soft on their 1970s amps which is true as all-original, but Upgrade from their reliance on low quality parts into a much livelier sound. Pioneer are noted as Punchy on their mid to late 1970s, but the truth here is Pioneer are hugely cost cut & dumbed down so they actually sound Rough rather than enjoyable & they need a huge amount of upgrading to sound their best. We know many amps & for us to Upgrade them to bring their best out is possible, see our Upgrades link at the Top of the page.


Credit Where It's Due...
Our work with researching Vintage Hifi would have been impossible if it wasn't for The Internet & especially free info sites like Hifi Engine (HFE) and Elektrotanya as well as Data Sheet Archive sites for their endless supply of vintage Transistors data. Before the internet, all we remember was going into or phoning shops & asking if they had an equivalent for a transistor & their reference books were not as complete as what can be found today with a good amount of effort. There are other sites where you have to pay for Manuals, Sony ones especially, but the idea this info should be now be worthless to the Manufacturers means it should be free for those who wish to keep the Vintage Hifi alive. It is possible to repair Hifi without Manuals, but impossible to fully understand a circuit without a Circuit Diagram.

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 or how far we chose to go 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 amps we rated higher early on, only to find better amps to use as Benchmarks for "Excellent". Some of the amps in the lower table that were more borderline have gone into the main one, to be fairer to them, so the Bad Amps table is now just the stinkers! We've been adding in more notable amps we've had over the years that were still clearly remembered so are valid to be adding in with more recent ones.

LOWER MODELS IN THE SAME RANGE
By 1976 ranges, the Top Of The Line amp we are finding is a bit overdesigned. With Pioneer SX939, the SX838 is a better design to us. So you can
assume will have similar ideals to the bigger models, but after having tried some, the 20-35w versions will be a smaller sounding amp to keep the level at which distortion sets in within the design. Therefore the lower amp ranges will exhibit some qualities of the bigger amps, but a much more polite small sound as well as the risks of cost cutting with ICs that became common by the mid 1970s. So a Yamaha CR-400 will not sound much like the CR-1000 but will be more like the CR-800 but again the limited power will keep the spec lower to avoid bad clipping as it reaches it's maximums.

BUY-RAW RATING
This means just that. What it'll be like as-found if in nice but forgotten condition 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 beyond general ones. Some amps we've found badly fiddled with or badly repaired regardless of the status of the amp today, so beware. Also some higher power amps of any era got partied hard as well as ones stored in damp conditions can need a huge amount of work to get back to being safe & reliable & sometimes even we give up if it's not financially viable.

UPGRADED RATING
This is the verdict based on us upgrading it to some level, some get much more done than others naturally & we've got deeper into upgrading as time goes on. Every amp we've found is compromised by age, low spec parts, weak cost cuts design or deliberate spoilers to hide a better design. To upgrade can be a nightmare sometimes & a delight in others. We read other's opinions of amps & we can see they only know Original amps, not upgraded ones & the comments we read are a little surprising as they seem to accept Rough Sound, Limited Bass & Soft Treble as just how amps are. With our upgrading we find better in every amp we upgrade we know that Transistor amps are only as good as the designer or company wants you to have. Some of our upgrades are very complex now & can reveal the Holy Grail of 'Perfect Sound', a sound that just sounds 'like it should' with zero grain or artifice to hide the sound, but very few transistor amps are capable of this & they are very early ones. But back on Planet Earth, sadly most Vintage Hifi buyers don't even get the amps serviced, so to reveal our opinons of what they'll sound like upgraded is perhaps a very limited market, but for those that are interested, it'll help pick out those to upgrade. Vintage Hifi is still very young & we can see the effect our pages have on the market.

LOUDSPEAKERS
are Important to consider if you fancy
trying one of our Top Rated amps below. Not all Speakers match all amps. They all can sound quite similar via Headphones due to a big resistor in the circuit between Headphone & Power Amp stages. But a Speaker is directly connected to the Amplifier & certain characteristics of Match or Mismatch two ways are apparent. If you haven't read our Loudspeakers page, you are missing out on understanding that we don't believe anyone has investigated before! Why doesn't my Amp & Speakers match? we can go a good way to answer.

SAFETY: UK 3 CORE MAINS + EARTH
There are a few Receivers noted below from 1967-69 that really do require 3 core mains with Earth, not the 2 core Continental-USA type skinny mains wire. This isn't to scare buyers off but we've noticed a mild electric shock if touching the metal case and something that is grounded, like the desk lamp. This is not a fault & for years CRT TVs were exactly the same, it's just the Receiver or TV had a "floating" Earth reference but was
actually supposed to be grounded elsewhere. But as Audio & TV tech changes, a Ground connection via an amplifier, which was usually grounded with a Turntable-Record Player, is becoming less usual. Many other amplifiers from the early 1970s onwards have a different design inside & the case does not have the "stray voltage", such as Pioneer, Yamaha & Sony often used 2 core wires but have no issues. Modern 2-core appliances are 'Double Insulated', though surprisingly the 2007 Marantz PM6002 doesn't connect Earth mains to anything. The way Hifi was imported at random in earlier days might mean a UK person bought a non-UK model amp & used the amp unaware, or maybe caught the low electrical shock & threw it in the attic out of fear! Also a Valve amp of any age MUST be properly Earthed to the Mains, the Trio WX-400U we used for a while with the Computer soundcard grounding it, so no issues. But trying it on the main speakers away from the computer with only TV source, there was no ground & "issues arose". For this reason, we now rewire any amp we see needs this done & are going to use for a while in our tests & offer other amps for sale with the option of the buyer to choose the 3 core wire upgrade. You can read further on UK Mains Safety online.

AFTER 1977: AMPLIFIERS & RECEIVERS
We repeatedly search in Vain for amps that are worth trying in the "Modern" Era of 1978 onwards & especially the Black Fascia era from 1982 onwards. It's just that these Amps sound Boring & Uninvolving: Musically Dead, as well as Rough compared to the Best Of the Goldern Era 1967-1977. With any year from 1967 to 1977 there are plenty of Mediocre amps but plenty are Really Great Ones as you can see detailed. We've tried quite a few of the 1978 onwards amps & Only One we have thought worthy of a better Rating than Average-Recommended. We'd like to tell you of Great Amps in the later years, but we just aren't finding any! See out OTHER AMPS page to see we aren't just being Narrow Minded with Hifi. We don't think much of the Pioneer A-400 at all. For the Fact that Modern Amps sell for Higher Prices usually based on Hifi Magazine "reputations" often where a 5* amp was loved but then another comes along that is "so much better" and gets 5* too does get the idea of Hype.

*PHOTO GALLERY
We've added many pages of photos of the actual amps we had & were taken as they were sold. An unique archive of Serviced, Cleaned & sometimes Upgraded amps with many photos inside & out. Most of those below are pictured.


*MORE AMP REVIEWS
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.

RECENT ADDITIONS
1970 Sony STR-6850 receiver, 1975 Teleton TFS-70 receiver, 1972 Pioneer SX-828 receiver, 1975 Pioneer SA-9500 Mk I amplifier, 1969-70, Sansui 5000X receiver (F6013 version), 1967 National Panasonic SA-65 receiver, 1973 Sanyo DCX-8000K receiver, 1974 Pioneer SX-838 receiver. 1970 Pioneer SX-990 receiver. 2007 Marantz PM6002 amplifier, 1969 Trio-Kenwood TK-140X receiver, 1978 Luxman L-1040 receiver. 2004 Prima Luna Prologue 2 (valves).

Ones Revisited 1971 Sony TA-1130 amplifier, 1972 Bang & Olufsen Beomaster 4000, 1977 Bang & Olufsen Beomaster 4400, 1969 Trio-Kenwood KA-6000 amplifier, 1973 Yamaha CR-800.

1957 Quad II valve power amps + Quad 22 preamp

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


We had a top grade pair of Quad II, the Quad 22 preamp plus the two tuners in 2002. At the time we got a very high price that it took other sellers over Ten Years to better! These came with two Garrard 301 white oil turntables & the guy we got it from took them all out of a big cabinet that we never saw sadly or the speakers. These must have had very little use & were in excellent grade inside & out. We tried them on the Tannoy Golds and found the preamps quite awful with loud thuds as you switched & oddly Tone didn't give much gain, though it could have been faulty perhaps. The preamp slides about as you press the buttons, only really good for building in a cabinet. The Quad II power amps sounded very sweet but the problem is they need 1.4v for full output whereas most other amps need only 400mV. We got some modern adaptors to plug other amps as a preamp. The sound was always a little soft as the other preamps didn't have the gain. But using with the Quad 22 preamp suffering it's mediocrity actually delivered a very tidy sound but still did lack the quality of later gear. The Quads are just so early & that's the issue. Our Quad IIs were like new inside & out with nothing aged or replaced & the non UK buyer bid hard for such fine items. But as we've stated elsewhere, these top grade ones are Museum Pieces rather than amps to alter & the Quad IIs with the ECL86 inputs actually don't have a proper preamp valve explaining the extra gain the preamp must have. Paired with a high output custom made modern preamp they'd sound much better, but they'd not be ones you'd use daily. Important amps to have known & for their age there are just about no other 1950s amps still bought & being used like these Quad are.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Many are well used & altered with clumsy connectors added, look out for the high grade original ones to see what the fuss is about.
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. Looks nice in high grade though the one part amp often looks look tired. Always needs restoring & careful buying as many used for a long time & often found altered. Quite a small basic amp with tiny output transformers so bass is limited though for 10w it's adequate, 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! all the Rogers valve amps have ECL82 triode-pentodes, the preamp ECC807s are long obsolete & the large Aux 220K input resistor will limit the sound as it then goes through the Phono stage flat.

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 FM Multiplex Receivers from Nov 1963. There is no Kenwood equivalent, if there is similar. 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, easily 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 much redesign to do the pre & power amp stages properly, try to find better in vintage. For the ease of familiar ECC83 & EL84 output valves with 350v it's way ahead of the Sansui 500A & the Trio 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 and does get used often by us & improved constantly as it never complains. Read more on the Valves page.

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. This needs rewiring with 3 core Earth mains cable for the safety of you & it!
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. All the Rogers valve amps have ECL82 triode-pentodes, the preamp ECC807s are long obsolete & the large 220K input resistor will limit the sound as it then goes through the Phono stage flat.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky for aged parts & old work or alterations done on them!
1967 Dynaco Stereo 120 power amp, PAT 4 preamp & AF6 FM-AM tuner

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

This we got in an ugly home made cabinet with a high grade Garrard 301 grey-grease for £30 the lot in 1998! The tuner didn't work, the preamp we thought wasn't very good though it could have been faulty, but the power amp we liked. It does need a high 1.5v input, unlike the usual 400mV most power amps had which may have meant we never really got the best out of it. Capacitor coupled design with a strange wire wrapped around the output caps like an inductor. Used 2N3055 transistors & had a power amp board per channel. Nicely made on bright chromed base with a solid mesh lid, with a lit power switch, Phono sockets & some sort of better speaker connectors. From memory it had a nice clean accurate sound & probably got used with the Rogers Cadet III as the preamp. Dynaco came as a kit too as Dynakit branded. The AF6 tuner dates it to about 1968.

BUY-RAW RATING:
For the Stereo 120 it was still good in 1998.
1967 National Panasonic SA-65 receiver

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

One of those fascinating early receivers we just have to try. The 32w SA-57 (or 54) appears in the 1970-71 HFYB & is a much later design. From looking inside it has remarkably Five Transformers & is very much based on Valve technology though it does have early ICs for the Tuner as the Pioneer SX-1500TF below has. 1966 shows Panasonic still with valves on the SA-52 & a 1968 SA-46 looks more 1969 styled. 1966 receivers usually have valves for the Tuner front end so this is an early 1967 one. First try reveals music is very clean & punchy and some deep bass there and Stereo is very wide. The Circuit must be a good design as the grain level is very low compared to some amps. Never heard an amp sound this good as all-original. As with the Sansui 3000A this is a semi-complimentary design on ±35v HT on the 2 big caps, but easy to set DC offset to zero. Clean sine is about 26v & the manual states 50w RMS. The Tuner IC is LM703L if still with the big Germanium diodes. 2 power supply Transformers, the small one just for the bulbs, 2 phase splitter ones & one on the Protection board. Output transistors 2SD218 early Silicons. Got the Service Manual now & the Lowest Ever Transistor count & does it sound great for it: Phono x2, Tone x2, Power amp x5 (one is a buffer) + transformer. Very clean sounding & low background noise and very clearly valve styled. Excellent Phono stage. An amp so good all original, the best vintage amp we've encountered actually, worth keeping as a reference, though it would recap-upgrade very well. The only amp to get 'Excellent' as all original.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
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 at the time we had it & it could do as well as the 1500TF below if the power difference limits it. T= USA 110v version, TF = EU-World version. 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 1969 new styled 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, but 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. There is some crude design here that ultimately limits how far the pre 1969 Pioneers can go, look at the heatsink for a start. Same as 700TF above with the hissy transistors. But an odd sound balance keeps it down in the ratings. A rare early amp together with the one below, they still aren't in the league of other 1967 receivers we've had since, we rated this very highly until getting the 1967 Sansui 3000A which outdid it. Two versions of the tone board exist, the early W15-031 one or the later one like the SX-1500TD uses.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1967 Sansui Model 3000A receiver

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

A forgotten gem we've discovered, this tricksy but endearingly wonderful Semi Complimentary amp can be upgraded into a really wonderful sound and with a effortless smooth bassy but detailed fresh open sound. 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. Looks great in the wood case too. 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. 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 for the non-tech user. 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. It has a transformer for the PP splitter stage. Good phono stage here too. The Power amps have a separate transformer tap & power supply each for L+R adding to the smooth sound & Stereo width, years before Harman-Kardon did similar & the only amp Sansui used this on until the very overdesigned G22000/G33000. 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 first, 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 bias without any load. We got our DC offset under 2mV with a speaker load & about 20mV without one. The 3000 is the same amp if only one speaker pair & minor switch position changes. For the 1969 Tannoy Golds, this amp is a Perfect Match, it sounds awesome!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Generally OK but beware of DC offset levels.
1967 Sansui Model 500A valve receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: Not Worthy.
20w.

A disappointing rushed effort by Sansui, the 500A was issued a few months after the 3000A above to satisfy valve amp buyers & was their last main valve series if nothing since the 1964 range previously. The 3000A is one of the best amps ever but the 500A is lousy. It's got some very poor design such as awful tone controls & filters as well as the HT being much too high for the 7189A valves making it easy to trash a valve. All valves are obsolete ones also. As-is the amp needs the aged coupling capacitors replaced, our one had a these few replaced with the same low values. It sounded soft & weak if hinting that better was there, and based on the quality of the Sansui 3000A we spent much time upgrading it. But the design is very poor & with AC preamp heaters once getting away from the deliberately low spec that hides the weaknesses it revealed more issues each time. We just gave up on it & were glad to get rid of it. We'll not bother with the 1000 or 1000A if this is how poor they are! Buy it to use just with new coupling caps for a soft retro sound, but don't even bother upgrading it as you can see it failed.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Usual bad coupling capacitors, but much more is poor too.
1967 Trio Kenwood TK-140E receiver

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

Relates to the 'E' version only
  which is Semi Complimentary. White lever buttons, no IC wording on the tuner glass & a silver metal back panel. The highest powered domestic amp in 1967, if still quite midprice quality unlike the Nat-Pan & Sansui. Appears there were a few versions of this model. See below for the 1969 later 'X' version As original it hides it's potential with a soft blurry sound keeping the as-is rating lower. 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 E & X version are 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. Early Semi-Complimentary design like other 1967 receivers had, if quickly abandoned until 1971

BUY-RAW RATING:
A bit risky for Germaniums as the output drivers though can be replaced. This amplifier needs a proper 3 core mains + earth cable, see above.
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 raw 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 upgraded 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 McIntosh C26 preamp + 1967 MC2505 power amp

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


This we last had in 2003 but it certainly impressed us on the Tannoy Golds. Transistor preamp & power amp. We got the C22 valve preamp & found the C26 more pleasing. These need the big Panloc wood cases to look their best & do they look pretty! The repro cabinets lack the class though. We got the amp from a UK seller & imported the pre. At the time we were impressed at how good the midrange was, very smooth & accurate, but the bass was a little limited & the treble a little soft, but oh... The midrange. Since then, one murky track that was deeply impressive has been tried on nearly every amp in search of that sound & it took quite a few amps to hit the quality. We had a good look inside & saw quite a bit would need upgrading, even with our 2003 ideas, ceramic blocks for the Tone stages & altering the NFB to try to get a little more gain brought up a high hiss background. Also the preamps when used on the TT valve amps had quite a loud hiss from the level mismatching, but C26+MC2505 matched perfectly. So there are upgrades needed to be done here & the price these were even in 2003 made us sell them on rather than be tempted to alter anything. The brand is the 'USA favorite' by the love owners have for Mac gear valve & solid state. We've not tried any other Macs since but they are up there on the 'to try' list with other big USA amps together with Fisher valve gear. The C22 preamp was a little bit on the early side with both C22 & C26 having an excess of controls & level presets & also the Bass Boost like the STR-6120 has too.

BUY-RAW RATING: Good when we had in 2003, but hard to find with nice glass & paint fascias
1968 Pioneer SX-1000TW receiver

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


Just slightly less musical than the SX-1500TD but still the first generation Pioneer styling. 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 this was early on in our hifi page exploits as we had other Pioneers above, treble a bit soft but well made enough to be worth improving. Last of the early styled fascia amps. Confusingly there are actually 3 of the SX-1000 models: SX-1000TA (40w) is the first with a valve & nuvistor Tuner front end noted by the lever switches not in one group, then the SX-1000 TD(F) (50w) noted by the tall MS Mincho style tuner print then the SX-1000TW (50w) with IC for Tuner as some are still labelled & smaller tuner glass print. All pre 1969 Pioneer of the earlier styling strangely lack a proper Mono switch which is needed for Phono especially, offering only Mono of L or R but not together.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
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. Much upgradeable too & others may overtake it but then the 6120 can take upgrades & still win. Very well built with quality parts, all mica in the audio stages no ceramics. A combination of their top quality 5000 tuner & an improved version of the TA-1120A amplifier = STR-6120. The 1970 version without 'Tape Head' rates the same as the first one, though has an extra Aux input to the earlier 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 can comes loose. Still sounds wonderful & compares well with the Sansui 3000A. A top FM tuner once recapped can sound excellent. Later hearing a Tape Head version in unusually high grade all original beyond a bad power cap then replaced it sounds very enjoyable, the solid Sony midrange is there to set it apart from many. Bass on one with little use isn't so limited as once more aged which helps up the as-original rating, treble is decent if a little lacking in focus to one recapped as is typical for the age, but nothing rough sounding here. The 6120 will have sounded exceptional when new with probably only the Sansui x000 ones in it's league for power & sound. The design uses low value coupling capacitors that create a 'Retro Bass' sound that is appealing, but can be made to sound more natural with a deeper bass. An amp perfectly matched to the Tannoy Golds & was probably designed for them.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if some capacitors can be risky. An amp often found well used
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 perhaps 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. We had this very early on in our amp testing & it did stand out from other amps around then so deserves the rating. As it's only 25w to further upgrade one would not be worthwhile, but for what it is, recapped it'd still be very pleasing.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good. This amplifier needs a proper 3 core mains + earth cable, see above.
1969 B+O Beomaster 3000 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. 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 main board. A design that lasted until the 1977 Beomaster 4400 was ended in about 1981, it does suffer from crude construction with the power supply & associated resistors on the 3000, early 3000-2s & early 4000 being a mess with little grunt to it. But they did sell very well & once cleaned up looking nice they do have a lot of retro appeal. One oddity is the amp itself has FM scale of 88-104 but the ad in the 1971 HFYB clearly shows it goes up to 108, but only the later 4400 from 1977 had this. We've had some very early all-beige underboard ones & always 104. But one sold Aug 2014 of a Beomaster 3000-2 clearly showing 88-108 on the scale, it may be an unknown limited export model perhaps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Always in need of a good Servicing, bad switches & controls are common raw. To take the front panel apart is risking insanity!
1969 Pioneer SX-1500TD receiver

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


Has the new Second Generation design with the side wood trim styling like the mid 1970s SX-950 amps & better design if still a little basic in places. The sound when we had one quite early in our amp testing was noted as not being as open & airy sounding as the 1967 ones, but as the SX-1500TF above reveals, the 1967 ones are not as honest as we thought, being bright sounding. It's an updated version of the SX-1500TF with a good volume & clarity, beware the mic control must be set to off or it's hissy. Has a proper Mono switch. The power amp board is very cramped & has output capacitors on it that makes the amp less appealing to upspec & hard if it's been repaired untidily. The Power amp is hard to repair it without unsoldering all wires which is not easy. The SA-900 is the amplifier version. Much later, on getting the SX-990 which is basically the exact same amp if a 28w version, we can see this amp should get upgraded, so see the 990 for how well it done.

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

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. 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, it actually goes through a big resistor onto the Phono board, to use Tape In is the best way for best sound. 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 serviced & 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 as well as being semi-complimentary which is early for 1969. A well made amp with fine looks. 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. Sadly most Teac you see are mass market modern systems, hiding the high quality of their amps from the 1969-71 era.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good. This amplifier needs a proper 3 core mains + earth cable, see above.
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. This amplifier needs a proper 3 core mains + earth cable, see above.
1969 Trio-Kenwood TK-140X receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
53w.


Despite the X version of their 1967 receiver, this is totally redesigned inside if looking very similar to the 1967 TK-140E from 1967 externally, noted above, with more power at 53w for 8 ohms both channels driven. Read on, there are 2 versions. The tuner window shows 'Integrated circuit', the Lever switches are black & the back panel is black. This is a Capacitor Coupled redesign the same almost as the KA-6000. The metal case with no wood outer made leaves it a little plain if the fascia is nice exactly as the E version has. The back panel has easier to use screw connectors, pre out-power amp in sockets & a different MW antenna else much the same. Very packed insides & heavier than the E version and it's a smaller sized 420mm wide with hardwiring like a Valve amp, so still early looking compared to the Sony STR-6120 that was more PCB based. Some have the black lid & the long arm antenna, later have the wood effect one, short hinged antenna & a white Serial plate, if none have a wood case. We have both the 6000 & 140 at the same time to compare. The power amp board is UA1343K1 on the 6000, should be UA1343K2 on the TK-140X but ours is a later one UA1384J with just one adjust pot, no thermistors & an axial 100v 47µf board capacitor. The UA1343K1 version has 2 layers of tuner boards inside, one each AM & FM. So there are 2 versions internally of the TK-140X if the sound is no different. To spot the UA1384J & one tuner board version, the back label is black, the lid is usually black & a white part is not visible through the top grille like the earlier version, but in compares of either X version both will be quite similar. With our tuner not working, we only recapped the pre & power amps, there is scope to better the complex power supply. Having the KA-6000 here & recapped it to the same level, if upgraded a few more things, the compare is interesting, the TK & KA have the same sweet sound, if the TK as with the original power supply & output caps lacks the fullness of the KA. There is a rightness to the sound that not many amps do. For the TK-140X power amp boards variant the sound difference is not noticeable. The pick of the Trio-Kenwood receivers for such a sweet detailed sound. The black label later version we have is very hard to find!

BUY-RAW RATING: Good. This amplifier needs a proper 3 core mains + earth cable, see above.
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. 
1969 Trio-Kenwood KR-2002 amplifier

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


The 1968-69 range of Trio-Kenwood are nice sounding, see the KA-6000 below 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. 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: Excellent.
45w.


The first of the quality 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 soft & 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 same as the 1969 TK-140X receiver as the boards are just about the same, if the KA-6000 has better spec inside. A lot of work to service up though. For the 1967 receiver version of this amp, see TK-140 above. 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. This amplifier has so many new features that were used by many others: metal cages inside, MM phono stage, pink LED type lights if with bulbs, defeatable Tone stages & a great sound. Even has stepped tone controls & pre out-power in connectors, though Sony got there first on those two. This amp set the benchmark for the modern amplifier. The inside cages & other features led the scene but the KA-6000 is actually very early & quite like a valve amp still with strangely placed boards & much hardwiring. The power amp board plugs in & is quite random looking with the same circuit changes as the Trio one, it was like the TK-140E input. UA1343K power amp totals 6 transistors per channel plus 4 in total for protection. The fascia is letter-stamped neater than the Trio one & we are the first ones to open this one. But the spec for 1969 is still very high compared to some, the 65mm dia 4000µf 100v main cap & 3300µf output caps are way ahead of the Sony STR-6120. In all the amps we've seen, this is one of the Most Important Early Amplifiers (not Receivers) in the hifi story together with the more flawed Sony TA-1120(A). Matching Tuner is usually the KT-5000, a nice Tuner with 2 basic ICs though our Trio & now Kenwood differ from the circuits, the Kenwood one much different. Also the unfindable earlier KT-7000 with 4 basic ICs if slightly higher spec matches. T-K tuners are decent if the de-emphasis isn't for the UK value so a little dull until altered. For the 1969 Tannoy Golds, this amp is a Perfect Match, if the TK-140X going further it's not so obvious on speakers as headphones. Deciding to recap-upgrade revealed the Power Amp needed it & the sound is very different with a solid focus. Circuit reveals this amp has the Tone before the Volume, the only ones we've ever found like this are some early Solid State Trio-Kenwoods if not the KA-8004. Having the TK-140X here & recapped it to the same level, if upgraded a few more things, the compare is interesting, the TK is the same wide rich sound if the TK. Differences in power supply notice a bit but it's still the original caps on both, the KA being higher spec. Now Recapped all but the big main cap & opens it out more. The big main cap is still high spec & the same value is still made, if 70mV ripple is not great, it sounds clean still. There is a rightness to the sound that not many amps do with a very wide stereo. This we rate as the Best Transistor Amplifier (not receiver) that we've had. We've rated it for quite a while now, if never upgraded one before.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good though needs a good Service, note the amp needs the rear Pre Out-In links to work.
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 basic 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 rated higher with a fresh open sound. It's only a budget amp though it looks nice though is quite small & like things you knew as a kid, surprising how small it is. 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 Pioneer SX-990 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
28w.


This is part of the new 1970 numbering with SX-440, SX-770 & the SX-990 is the highest number so must be 1970 not 1969 if a '69' code on the tuner. £194 in 1971. The SX-1500TD from 1969 noted above is 45w & seeing this one has changed our views, as we have with Pioneer since getting the SA-9500. This is rated 35w but a confusing 'per channel' but 28w into 8 ohms for Stereo. Inside it looks very like the SX-1500TD to the point of exactly the same apart from the power supply board not caged & a bit smaller as well as lower HT voltage. Has a proper Mono switch. The thing with these pre 1972 Pioneers is to get ones that have not had the power amp repaired even if faulty as the board gets messy as we've found with some we've had, hard to work on too. We've not had one in over 2 years, so can look at it with upgrading eyes, as the 1500 one on the Solds page wasn't. Power amp is just 6 transistors which means it should upgrade very well. The output caps on the board like the SX-1500TD are awkward but can be bettered with care. Compared to the SX-1500TD: the Preamp exactly the same, Phono & Power Supply just 2 minor resistor changes. Power Amp basically the same if several value changes. Our view on this after not being so keen on the 1500 for bad repairs twice is we mostly like it, nicely made smaller size receiver that should upgrade well. At 28w this is the lowest power amp we've decided to fully recap, just to see how it does as well as get a taste of the SX-1500TD as it's so similar. Only recapped the Power amp board & still has the original spec elsewhere to see nearly all original sound. First try after being unused in over 40 years by the unused look inside under the dust, it sounds decent but a little raggedy if not at all rough or unlistenable as we'd expect. A very decent accurate sound if very bass light after it's long sleep though it improves on trying it a few hours later after waking it up. Sound is punchy for it's 28w & goes loud enough before flattening off, sounding as lively as similar 45-50w receivers. For this reason well worth upgrading to find out what it can do... Recapped & upgraded the lot, for the hell of trying & the fact the SX-990 is so like the SX-1500TD. Done the audio boards first mostly & it was OK but not too exciting. Later with the rest done putting some high spec into a 28w amp like it was the 45w one, it paid off. Took a little running in to waken it up & the sound was well worth the effort. For the 28w it sounds as clean & good as any 45w-50w amp with a good punchy volume if ultimately not having the higher power, the amp is certainly no compromise like later lower power ones. It could upgrade further to lose the slightly 'retro' tubby upper bass. With the SX-838 here too the SX-990 has the fresher sound, as is typical of late 1960s transistor amps.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if power amp hasn't been badly repaired before
1970 Sansui AU-101 amplifier

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


This was the first amp we ever repaired many moons ago. At the time we had a Leak Delta 30 & thought it sounded better, but beyond that we've not had one since though they are on ebay often. Read more on the Other Amps as we looked deeper into the amp. Nice simple design with low Transistor counts: Phono x2, tone just One & Power Amp x6. For 15w the circuit will be very limited to stop it clipping too soon & based on the AU-999 it probably was quite thin sounding unlike the bassy Leak. Low value output capacitor will certainly make it sound thin on bass. At 15w not really worth upgrading.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1970 Sansui AU-999 amplifier

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


Early on in our Hifi exploits, we rated as one of the cleanest sounding amps we had before getting more, but long since bettered. Could do with more bass as sound is very thin & it has a nasty Bass filter stage to limit it even more! But once upgraded losing much of the lousy spoilers a good amp with high quality sound & worth upspeccing up further, but for musical pleasure the Sony TA-1120A beat it getting the AU-999 sold on. It was still thin after many upgrades we done a while back on one & if we had another we may go further with it. 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 as does the matching tuner. For 50w the volume wasn't very high & our Power Ratings page shows the 25v clean sine output is low for the power. The AU-555 & AU-777 are earlier ones in the range if power is less. Nice amps but as we found out with ours, even upgraded, the AU-999 leaves a lot to be desired for the thin sound. Of the Sansui ones we've had the 3000A & 5000X noted above are way ahead of this one. Beware overpricing on this amp, it's a high model number but 50w & not a very loud 50w either with issues as noted. The Sansui 3000A is at least 10 times better.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1970 Sony STR-6850 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Great. UPGRADED: Excellent.
30w spec actually 45w.


This is basically the 45w STR-6050 receiver updated, not that the STR-6050 will compare directly. One of the sometimes rare 1970-71 exotic range that included the big TA-2000F & TA-3120 pre-power amps, the tiny TA-88 amp & ST-80F tuner that did sell as well as amps for multichannel & the B&W made Sony SS-7000 huge speaker that's only 25w, but most of these were sales failures as by 1973 Sony cheaped out for the mass market as well as making more general audio goods. The STR-6850 is a very rare receiver you'll find very little online. It's a EU style receiver that's 61cm wide & clearly of the quality of other better 1970-71 Sony also the Tuner has no ICs. The styling of this is unique for a Sony & it's so retro cool it hurts, having a metal fascia with perspex window & it's not a cost cut item inside or out, if the power supply is not well sited. Amps like this should be in design museums as just so of their era. All DIN connectors as it was styled 'The Europe' on one flyer but it looks a bit too well made & pricy to compete with other EU type receivers. The last Sony capacitor coupled so a 1970 design with 2SD316 transistors that are 63w rated so no cheaping out here. It already sounds more refined than the 40w TA-1140 if 30w seems a modest rating for the volume & improves quite noticeably after servicing. Still has the STR-6120 quality with the mica capacitors not ceramics, expectedly limited on deeper bass if not thin, biasing tightens the sound further & once run in sounds quite like the STR-6120 does as raw. 84v & 48v HT is very high for only 30w as well as clean sine going to almost 28v the same as the 40w TA-1140. Sony were deliberately underselling this higher spec amp to match the 30w B+O Beomaster 3000 as the service manual still states 30w & looking at the circuit reveals what they done to limit it to 30w not the 40w it should be! Also suggests 50mV bias as with the TA-1140 this is way too high & blurs the sound. Upgraded it sounds like no other transistor amp, but upgrading reveals several limitations. This amp is so rare you'll never find it sadly, but the STR-6055 preamp is quite similar if the power amps is semi-complimentary. The STR-6065 is less similar. The only limitation is the background noise is a little obtrusive especially with Tone set beyond flat, though upgraded it delivers a top sound way beyond what it was designed to be sold as. Music is cleaner than the STR-6120. The STR-6050 power amp is exactly the same except C707 if updated with current transistors. The Preamps match too if the Phono stage & Power supply are different. Talk about recycling! This is actually a 45w amp therefore, though the STR-6050 still strangely rates it 30w. The STR-6850 has a limiter on the output to keep it to 30w. Most bizarre design ever!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good if unfindable as it's the rarest Sony receiver.
1971 Hitachi SR-1100 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. 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 & a few foolish spoilers in here as Hitachi made an amp way too good & had to dumb it down. It needs a few alterations to get the best from it though, so we'll rate it a little more cautiously, though it upgrades very well. 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. 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. Hitachi are a hidden secret on their early few amps. The German box & manuals have "Lo-D" logo on instead of the Hitachi if the amp is the same. The IA-1000 amplifier is very similar.

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 board 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 top of case thin aluminium strip don't unpick it if part loose 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.
35w


Quirky & highly risky to buy amp always needs Fully Recapping so a low as-is score but then an enjoyable sound if you manage to get it working, certainly a good one 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 a complete recapof 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 even if it sort of works. 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 & easy 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 upgraded 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.


This brand 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 Bred Child of close knit Family of Electronic Wizards", far out, man! For liking this amp, we got the 1967 SA-65 receiver above...

BUY-RAW RATING: Good.
1971 Sansui 5000X receiver (F6013 version)

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


5000 version is 1968-69, 5000A is 1969-70, the 5000X is 1971-72. The 5000x with the new design F-6013 power amp is the best version of this one, the F-1040 boards on the earliest 'X' & the 'A' versions have heat sensing diodes that are fine if the amp is adjusted right, but the F-6013 is a better design. Like the 4000 has the Aux through a big resistor to Phono level & into the Phono board to be amplified up again which loses fidelity. But use Tape In to bypass that instead. A very lively sounding amp that upgrades better than the Sansui 4000 that was a bit unstable if upgrades were tried & overall is just a better amp. One of the last capacitor coupled amps but that is no loss to the sound which is the best of the Sansui to use as-is & still hear a great sound. Comes in either a metal case lid or a full wood case but no metal lid. Proves that an amp with the least amount of transistors & least stages of NFB sounds the best, this has 3 on the tone & the power amp stage is just 7 transistors. Still worth trying the Sansui 7000 & Sansui Eight of the early ranges, though the 5000X is certainly a winner and showed the 3000A up as a little lacking even needing altering! Seems the 5000X is much more wanted in the USA than the 5000A, appears to have sold well & be recognised for what a great amp it is. The 3000A can do well too but needs a huge amount of work to upgrade, the 5000X isn't too much to do in comparison.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
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. Semi complimentary power amp design, the first year Sony done this if not quite matching how good their earlier capacitor coupled design was.

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 bad 50mv 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 wrong spec is actually deliberate as others untouched have this setting, a cynical way to lessen the sound! The STR-6850 above has this too. 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 as the minor upgrade, 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 build design but can offer a fresher sound as the power amp is like the STR-6055. Semi-complimentary design. The sider volume control is a lesser idea to the rotary type. One known problem is messy solder which causes problems. 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 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 as typical, 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. The internal layout of the power amp & power supply is poor with no shielding of sections so the power amp is open to the power supply & tuner stages. A very different amp to the feeble STR-70xx series that followed, but is a bit midprice looking on a later look. 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. Based on the STR-6850 being so good & this being fairly similar, upgrading needs doing, though looking again the power amp board is very tightly packed making upgrading difficult & it'll never be a STR-6120.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Generally good if the power supply can be a bit risky
1971 Teac AS-100 amplifier

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


One of the most precise & clean sounds we've heard in an amplifier in our earlier amp testing & 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 it with transistors by looking at the AG-7000 circuit. 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.
18w.


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. The rating is actually 18w on seeing the specs on the user manual, 18w into 8 ohms both channels driven. Not to put the amp down, it's a decent one for what it is, but the way this was sold in USA as 95w 'Power Output' into 4 ohms, which is Peak Power for 1 second before it destroys! This must have been one of the last to use the dishonest ratings before it was outlawed, the USA manual hypes it very unfairly. Also amps used to put Power Output Continuous per channel, so this rates 24w per channel, meaning you play one channel only, you get 24w. To play it Stereo into 8 ohms, 18w is the rating. But the USA flyer makes no mention of 18w both channels used. Also the power bandwidth is 30Hz-30kHz but no mention of how rolled off it is, from how it sounded it could be -20dB at 15kHz & for an 18w amp 30Hz will be even lower. Bandwidth needs a qualifier in dB of where it's limits are.

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. 33w is the Continuous power into 8 ohms with both channels driven rating, the manual shows various confusing ratings.

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. Not a good match for the early era speakers like Tannoy Golds.

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

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


An improved version of the 3000(-2) with 40w now. Still a lively sound if not as high fidelity as others & we recapped our first one partly as it needed it & brought 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. Probably the best sounding B+O with 40w if still a more domestic sound. B+O capacitors if not the 1976 era dark red ones are generally good on these, only later B+O from 1971 start to get to be unreliable. After having had several B+O we rate this their best one. After not having a B+O for well over a year & so many great amps of higher quality, the B+O 4000 now sounds quite ordinary. Recap-upgrading but not more fine tuning betters the bass but the quality of sound is still not as precise as the big hitters on this page as the power supply is weak. Build quality is not the highest. B+O do sell more on style than sound, B+O used to be a status symbol in the 1980s, and the sound is good enough for most but our researching these amps has found it lower down the ratings on this revisit. They are also a pain to service & fitting any new power supply caps takes creativity. All 4 bulbs must be good or not all will light as with the 3000. No cloudy sliders with the 4000. All DIN sockets, with no Aux but use Tape 1 or 2. Phono is MM & all inputs have adjust pots to match the Tuner volume. Suited the Tannoy Golds perfectly sounding pretty decent with wide Stereo if lacking the ultimate fidelity of other amps as the midrange was a little soft it was still good on bass & treble. After trying the Beomaster 4400, playing the Tuner is similar on both if the Tape 1/2 inputs are a weakness on the 4000.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Always in need of a good Servicing, bad switches & controls are common raw. Capacitors on later B+O often bad. To take the front panel apart is risking insanity!
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 upgraded 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 had 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 seller 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 at this level & we still rate it a 'great' for what it is, belatedly appears in the 1975-76 hifi books.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1972 Pioneer SX-828 receiver

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


As the SA-9500 was far better than we expected, so time to look at Pioneer afresh after the rough sound the SX-950 type has, but seeing development & a mix of ideas in these earlier ones. The SX-828 is their 60w top of the range receiver incorporating new fully complimentary design which is early for 1972, most were still semi-complimentary. A very well built receiver with top cages on the top half like the KA-6000 above has & a place for a MC Phono transformer that was an extra, unlikely many bothered. Very clear from the preamp that the SA-9500 design started here though it does still have some 1970 style boards underneath. The power supply has some heat issues. The sound is lively with good bass & the treble is of a good quality if not quite what we could get out of the SA-9500. The fascia is a particularly attractive one with the blue lights on black with purple-grey anodised controls that looks smart. The top lid is a bit thin but again smart in real wood veneer & edges. This was £281 new when the 45w Marantz 2245 was £279. This has large capacitors, decent transformer, densely packed underneath with the preamp on a classy double sided PCB. This looks a very good quality amp. The amplifier equivalent is the SA-9100 if it has extra transistors on the power amp, 11 vs 8 on the SX-828. The one we got has had little use & sounds so unlike the SA-9500 did when it arrived, the sound is like our upgraded SA-9500 became but this is all original. This amp we hear started the receiver wars, if the SX-838 is the big sized one & maybe inspired Yamaha to up their game to the CR-1000 quality. But looking at the Trio KA-6000 it led the way really...

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. One we had early on in our Amp testing just to see what there was, a nice amp but not one we'd try to upgrade now as there are many better, but a good starter amp to buy.

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 upgraded out. Having had the KA-6000 again, the KA-6004 we have to say betters it in some ways if being about equal ranking overall. 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. The preamp-tone board looks very expensive, a double sided effort of quality & then the scrappy boards in the centre as well as the power amp board being way too cramped up. Sadly Trio after this 1972 range cheaped out for ICs & cheap sales, others did too especially sony, but Trio-Kenwood you can see didn't recover as the 'Other amps' page reveals some of their big receivers are hideous IC stuffed nightmares! But their 1967-72 era has enough good amps to make it one of the best brands.

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 in certain areas we'll not rate it more than this. In 1973 the 525 matched the B+O Beomaster 4000 in basic spec at £110 vs £193 of the B+O. The big capacitors are explosions waiting to happen if not blown already, best to avoid this brand! Did we say Armstrong Are The Worst Hifi Brand Ever? They've been around since 1929 remarkably. Don't waste your money on their earlier ones, read more below in the lousy amps section... We hear a very late 1970s Armstrong made just before they closed is good, but no details findable & nothing on the HFE site though circuits are findable on one site. Armstrong on their 400 & 500 range used obsolete Germanium transistors, buying up unwanted stock cheap & were still selling the 500 range until this 600 range arrived. That is The Biggest Hifi Swindle ever! Read their ads in the 1972 HFYB & they have the cheek to say their awful 500 range is better than anything else. The remarkable BS hype of the 600 range in the 1976 HFYB ad gives the idea the range is the 'best ever made' in the sort of gushing hype that surely would be illegal now. The amp is cheaply made with no quality in construction, messy wiring with low TV grade components. The Goodmans UK receivers were a far better buy at this time. This sort of false hype gives British Hifi a bad name...

BUY-RAW RATING:
Risky as the main capacitor is usually bad, else not so bad if the casework is intact, but it's budget gear once sold with dodgy hype!
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 Nikko TRM-500 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
22w.


Sounds more like a 35w amp & looks more 1971 in design, semi complimentary, 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 22w 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. Actually only 22w but clearly a punchy sounding amp.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.

1973 Sanyo DCX-8000K receiver

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


First thing, rethinking Sanyo: a brand later tainted by much Dixons quality crapulence in the 1980s onwards, ignore all that & look at this 40w fully complimentary amp from 1973 like it deserves. Looks very like a 1973 Sansui Eight or a 1973 Pioneer & inside like Teac or Hitachi, Sanyo designed & made Transistors & ICs so are well worth a try for early Hifi. Smart looking silver front with the usual quality of a 1971-73 receiver. The power amp section is caged. This amp is all Transistors if typical Tuner ICs. Transistor count is decent: Phono x2, Tone-Pre x4 with 2 of those as Buffers, Power Amp x10 if the last 6 are the push-pull stage so it'll sound good & upgrade well. Headphone resistor a little high perhaps. 4700µf 50v main caps is typical for the age. Nice amp with a quality sound, more advanced design as very focussed, accurate & clean on the midrange. As original Bass is a bit retro-limited & Treble with likely ceramics is a bit fizzy but but easily deserving a 'Great' for all-original as the quality is there with an accurate sound balance. Not much with Sanyo apart from the 1968 30w receiver DC-60, others just low power. Betters the NAD 160 which is a similar sort of receiver in quality. A good find. Probably exported more as one seen on ebay.de. A bit low spec overall originally, probably to keep the sell price low, but it deserves better as it's a good amp. So after giving it better spec on Pre, Power Amp & Supply it transforms into a different amp with deep bass sounding as good as many of the above amps. As buyers will be cautious of Sanyo, we'll not go further upgrading it to keep the price accessible, but Judge Not the brand name on their earlier gear! But in tests with other amps (as recapped & upgraded), it didn't ashame itself at all & is worthy of upgrading further as the sound is clean & honest. You'd never think it was this good! Sanyo's Golden Moment. Sounding fresher than the Pioneer SX-838 with ease, the sound is like the 1971 Yamaha without their weak preamp. The range the 8000 appears in with the 4000 & 6000 appear in a 1975 HFYB advert, but never the book pages, boasting of Direct Coupling & Pure Complimentary Circuit.

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

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
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, but it can be bettered. More average Sony though a 1975 later TA-3650 amp gets rated higher, the 1150 still looks better with classic 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 as the user booklet states, 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.

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 & a false idol. 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 upgraded 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 especially in the post 1972 era but pity there are no 1960s ones. We saw our amp later up for sale on ebay & thought to get it back to go further with it, but didn't, the seller had agreed it was a bit soft sounding, but it may also be more neutral in comparison to amps we've had since.

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 and more bassy than Yamaha usually made. This is the 'easiest' Yamaha to buy & use just serviced, with a high quality sound balance from buying one all-original. Not as loud & upfront as the CR-1000 and actually more listenable to for a longer session we found using headphones on our upgraded one. Getting another one later after getting amps like the Nat-Pan & the Marantz PM6002, this still does sound a great amp & without the loud CR-1000 to compare it too by itself it certainly pleases, treble is detailed and certainly not lacking punch on Rock. Trying it unserviced it was warm & a bit raggedy sounding, but after it tightened up the sound very well. Pity it's only a vinyl wrap case, though to reveneer in teak or the CR-1000 type american walnut is a nice idea. The USA 117v version and the one with the 3 mains outlets & 190w noted is vinyl wrap too sadly, they all have the same veneer pattern! 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 & we'd like to go further still knowing it's the Yamaha we like best. The result was in the league of the CR-1000 & CA-800II if a fuller bassier sound than either. The only minus with Yamaha is they don't match to all speakers, the pre 1975 Tannoys don't match at all. As you can see, it's our favourite Yamaha amp. Playing a Serviced but Original one the sound is lively, bassy, crisp & lively. Treble is a bit fizzy on loud Rock comparing it to how we upgraded one before. In comparison to the competing Pioneer SX-828 & SX-838 this betters them, as based on all original. Unlike the CR-1000 below, this was a great match to the Tannoy Golds which was unexpected. Recap & upgrade later, it reveals a clean sound if a bit warm & a bit too much on the upper bass, as the original has. This can be sorted to sound more neutral if still do deep bass. Of all the Yamaha amps we've upgraded, this is capable of the most neutral sound

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good. Needs a deep service to sound it's best else it's a bit soft sounding. Bulbs are usually in need of replacing.
1973 Yamaha CR-1000 receiver

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


The biggest of the 1973-78 Yamahas to us but a difficult amp that can sound very harsh, even when serviced & doesn't match with Speakers as well as some. Buying an all-original one needs a deep service to sing it's best to give an extremely revealing upfront Pro sound that will shamelessly reveal post 1975 era speakers & any headphones as being inferior if it sounds hard. This is what most will find & realise it's not an easy amp to use. We see this amp being bought & resold as the buyer hasn't read our review & finds it too harsh, especially unserviced. 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, so to be fair to more neutral amps we've pulled the rating back as it can be too upfront. 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 only if you can take the big upfront sound in a big room. But use it unserviced & you'll wonder what the fuss is about. A big minus with this CR-1000 is it doesn't match to all speakers, the pre 1975 Tannoys don't match at all.

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

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: Recommended.
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 & rough still to not really deserve much higher rating. An acceptable budget buy but not as good sounding as the 30, 70 & 75.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1974 Pioneer SX-838 receiver

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


The next one on from the SX-828 that we were impressed with. We'd never have tried these 1970s Pioneer after not liking the SX-850-SX-950 ones very much, but the SA-9500 Mk I has got us back into trying Pioneer & this is perhaps the last one to fill the gaps. A huge increase in size compared to the SX-828, this is nearly the size of the SX-850 if 4cm less deep. What a Big Amp for 1974! Shares some construction ideas with the SX-828 but mostly it's more like the SX-950 if less of a tin can despite being lighter, it is certainly a nicer made item. No power amp cage at all which is odd after the SX-828 & the Tuner board is right by the Power amp. Lilac tuner meters if sadly Vinyl Wrap not veneer loses it points on looks for such a big amp. Has metal casing on the pre-tone board, a few tantalums & the switches board is double sided with much ground track. At last those awful Speaker plug blocks are gone, now with bare wire spring connectors. From the progress from 1970 to 1972, this being 1974 betters the 1976 range so is very likely the Best Pioneer Receiver for sound quality. For the rough Economy of the year, not an easy one to find. Still a hot resistor on the power supply to sort out & some poor soldering there too. The SX-828 is the better amp of the SX-828 & SX-939 to us, the Transistor counts are (828:939) Phono x 3:4, Tone x 3:4, Power Amp x 7:10, the 939 adds a Differential in the Phono, 2 more gain transistors in the tone if no FET & Power amp has Doubled outputs if HT is 44v on the 828 to 45v on the 939 so it'll not play any louder for it's 75w. The SX-939 power amp circuit is remarkably similar to the SA-9500. The first signs of the Pioneer overdesign showing here in the 939 preamp, the 828 has more potential. This has audio qualities the SA-9500 has after much upgrading but looking into the Circuits, there still are quite a lot of deliberate weaknesses & spoilers, not as harsh as the SA-9500 but the sort to weaken the sound quite noticeably still in all ways. Upgrading was well worth it. The Sound of the Amp as unserviced if recently used was quite decent & after servicing to rate it Great is possible. But the many limitations in these Amps for us hold the real sound back quite heavily. With an eye to upgrading most amps we get now, we can see good potential, but these later Pioneers need a huge amount doing to make them the sound we demand from amps now. Upgrading was not easy but the results are excellent. This is the Best Sounding Pioneer of all we've tried with upgrades recently, a wide open sound with clean treble & extended bass is what hides in the limited original design.

BUY-RAW RATING: Good. Power supply has a hot resistor & bad soldering on ours.
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: Great-Excellent.
110w.


Beware of buying a messed with one! Requires deep servicing to get the luxury sound with a calm 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 in ratings. Not really an amp to party with despite the watts. 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 as noted, it just didn't stir the soul. It is a memorable amp for how heavy & stylish it is, but sound wasn't so hot which is the point of hifi. 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. On getting the R-1040 receiver later, the same sort of sound deal there too, but it was found to be weak on master volume gain unlike how loud other amps of similar power could go. What holds the L-100 back will be similar as the R-1040 as original needs volume past midway & still doesn't go loud enough.

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 upgraded 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 Pioneer SX-850 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: (Good potential).
65w.


**Updated** We had thought these were Cheap & Nasty things for a long time after having 4 of them, they always sounded Rough way too soon & quickly ran out of power which for their rating was pathetic. But Pioneer are seriously underselling themselves as we've found out upgrading the SX-838 & SA-9500 as the design once upgraded is very high quality. These two suffer from weak sound too, but our upgrades are getting serious now not allowing anything weak in these Pioneers. And does it pay off! Heavily cost cut is what these amps are & it looks on the surface that Pioneer were mass market price-cut efforts out for big sales, being priced £100-150 less than similar powered Yamaha & Marantz. It is very clear the 850 & 950 have a huge scope to upgrade. They sound very rough as the design is very limited with many spoilers & a severe lack of deep bass, so really as-is only deserve a 'Recommended' but upgraded right they do 'Excellent' not that we've had the 850-950 to upgrade yet so won't add this here yet. Read this page on Pioneer SA amps for more. The power amp is similar to the SX-939 & SA-9500 so shows much potential as the 838 & 9500. The 1980 range including SX-980 are very different with ICs & even more cost cutting. The SX-850 & SX-950 have real wood trim & veneer, the SX-750 is vinyl wrap!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1975 Pioneer SX-950 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: (Good potential).
85w.


**Updated** We had thought these were Cheap & Nasty things for a long time after having 4 of them, they always sounded Rough way too soon & quickly ran out of power which for their rating was pathetic. But Pioneer are seriously underselling themselves as we've found out upgrading the SX-838 & SA-9500 as the design once upgraded is very high quality. These two suffer from weak sound too, but our upgrades are getting serious now not allowing anything weak in these Pioneers. And does it pay off! Heavily cost cut is what these amps are & it looks on the surface that Pioneer were mass market price-cut efforts out for big sales, being priced £100-150 less than similar powered Yamaha & Marantz. It is very clear the 850 & 950 have a huge scope to upgrade. They sound very rough as the design is very limited with many spoilers & a severe lack of deep bass, so really as-is only deserve a 'Recommended' but upgraded right they do 'Excellent' not that we've had the 850-950 to upgrade yet so won't add this here yet. Read this page on Pioneer SA amps for more. The power amp is similar to the SX-939 & SA-9500 so shows much potential as the 838 & 9500. The 1980 range including SX-980 are very different with ICs & even more cost cutting. The SX-850 & SX-950 have real wood trim & veneer, the SX-750 is vinyl wrap!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1975 Pioneer SA-9500 Mk I amplifier

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


From August 1975 says a sales brochure. 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 CA amps even. To say it hides a kicking bassline as well as a very clean neutral sound like the best pre 1972 amps 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. The Mk II version quickly introduced in Nov 1976 is a very different design with less quality in design if dual mono power supplies. Our opinion is this amplifier upgraded has the potential to be one of the best amps ever, if the original version with a huge amount of extraneous rubbish circuitry to hide the quality is actually pretty average, the hugest difference original vs. Upgraded we've found. But to upgrade is a huge job as we found out.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good, but unserviced it sounds absolutely awful!
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. One we'd try again as the first one was a water damaged unreliable thing we broke up for parts as it'd never be good to sell, the perils of mean ebay sellers...

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good (if not flood mud & water damaged)
1975 Teleton TFS-70 receiver

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: Great.
33w.


An amp that caught our eye for it's very 1977 kooky looks, if a 1975 design. It has a very decent sound for what it is. Sadly construction & soldering are very low Clock Radio quality & ultimately it will just end up being a failure which is a pity, unless yours is high grade perhaps. 33w of power with Elna capacitors, no ICs in the audio stages & proper TO3 output transistors. But it forever making bad noises even after recapping & more got us tired of it despite the odd looks & then finding proper quality in the Sony STR-6850. Looking at the 1975 Teleton catalog it's the best looker by far in their way with the plastic silver outer case & horizontal sliders. All DIN sockets & German wording means few made it to the UK if it's in the 1977 HFYB. The volume control loudness step from 4 to 5 is awful. It was worth a try but generally disappointing. Other seen online look neglected & despite the good sounds only one to buy in high working grade to get the ratings.

BUY-RAW RATING: Very cheap construction & messy soldering will limit your success here.
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
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. Is that all we wrote? Construction was typical for the era & midprice type but overall just another general amp of good enough quality. Just not very inspiring.

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

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

A more recent look at this amp since the ones we had early on reveals this is a superior amp to the Beomaster 3000(-2) & 4000 with higher power. Sleek looks still in the 3000 style & at last better buttons that are lighter to use. Construction is still quite crude & a lot of circuitry is crammed in quite insanely on the preamp stages. But having recapped one fully, the sound is much more punchy than the 4000 we recapped too with a good loud volume less restrained. But the cramped design does quite limit how we can upgrade & the amount of tiny ceramics was a job too far. The phono-preamp board still has spaces for Phono sockets but the 4400 never used them. Build quality is better than the 3000 & 4000 with lighter levers & the sliders are metal encased. Some odd construction such as axial caps up on end with the wire bent over as space was too low to use all Red caps, which are usually long past their best. B+O are very overrated beyond the 3000, 4000 & 4400. But as is typical with B+O, you can't say they don't look smart in nice grade with Rosewood or rarer with the Teak lids, certainly the best looking of the early design ranges. The sound all original is based on one with good capacitors & of little use, as with the 3000 the quality can vary once used more though there are no BC147s to affect. Once fully recapped & serviced the sound was much improved. It's not going to better the Big Brands for ultimate sound after upgrading but does do better than we expected so gets a nice rating. The Tuner is good on these Beomasters & the 4400 goes the full 88-108. The 4400 betters the 4000 on using Aux inputs, but the Tuner sounds quite similar.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good but beware faulty ones as it's awful to work on & the Red capacitors are usually past their best.
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 in our earlier exploits. Bad construction design loose fully pinned boards & poor soldering throughout make this our least liked amp ever & it wasted much time & money. Thankfully we later 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. Overall, based on the 2 receivers, Marantz have a big name but the sound isn't as good as others from the era & Marantz always seem overpriced therefore.

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 they sell for today? yes, as others are too cheap in comparison,, but many of the low power ones get overpriced & go unsold. 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 similar age Yamahas & Pioneers 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 hidden away with no ventilation that mess up the PCB even. It also doesn't play very loud, the NAD 160 plays louder than this easily. "Going past the 1 o'clock position it's not very loud and 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 not-very-good 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. For the big classy unit this looks, the inside technology is just not very good at all.

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 brash 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 much overdesign 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 needed for reasons obscure, but Yamaha sadly heading away from their best on this one & we didn't play our one much beyond many compares. 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 tightly packed 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 always in need of work as it 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 that is a bit disappointing keeping it as a 'Great', it can be upgraded into something quite remarkable, in 'Excellent' territory. Build quality not in the league of the CR-1000 though this is a 1977 design but is one of the best post 1971 amplifiers after upgrading. The phono board on the tuner board is a bit of a cheapout, but for 1977 perhaps these are the best receivers for realistic prices. Other brands were using ICs even on top items, Yamaha only uses an IC for the MC stage. 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 very awkward 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. 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. Looks a bit empty inside with the main board facing down & not much else beyond the basics. 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. We did contact the Consort guy who remembered it well but perhaps it was a costly failure & they never replied back. We appreciated it though.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.

1978 Luxman R-1040 receiver

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


Part of the Luxman 1977-78 receiver range L-1030, L-1040, L-1050, L-1070 & the earlier L-1120 of 30w to 120w. They done few receivers & the lower ones in this range seem to have sold fairly well so we get one to try, if 1978 is quite late, we've only had the L-100 100w amplifier above. The L-1040 was £330 in the 1980 so more than a similar 40w B+O or 38w Marantz. Inside the design is pleasingly different to the typical era with a unique heatsink & big gap in front of the power amp with boards on a beam chassis. 50w 10000µf is still high for the era too. But being 1978 flashing red power output LEDs are a bit naff but Pioneer & others had this by 1980. It sounds controlled with a clean accuracy. No treble grain, certainly listenable with no 'eeks' on playing several tracks & after using & trying the next day it has woken up to sound even better. Power amp is a nice design with just 8 transistors. The looks are a bit busy looking with the LEDs always on. Oddly it has no Relay. The Power amp board has unused components spaces but no other amp or receiver uses them. Looking at other models to see Power Amp Transistor counts reveals the L-1050 has 10 with an extra differential pair & has a relay, the L-1070 needs 16 with 3 differentials, if the L-1120 only 12. The L-1040 therefore is potentially the sweetest sounding one, if all have a similar preamp. Preamp & Phono are 4 and 2 transistors each. This has enough quality to upgrade further than we went with it's tight clean but lively sound. Unlike the overdesigned 1975 L-100, this has similar qualities of finesse in sound if with a lively sound the L-100 couldn't give even after recap-upgrade. The volume on playing rock isn't as loud as others in the power range, but the sound is very clean, but as with the L-100, master volume is too soft on these amps. We altered ours to play louder (in a correct way) than the rather soft original volume & will be selling it like this! It sounded great on the 1969 Tannoy Golds with the better volume upgrade. In comparing our part upgraded one to the 1969 KA-6000 & TK-140X this has a fairly similar smooth detailed sound which is unusual for a later era vintage & more potential is in there.

BUY-RAW RATING: Good.

1978 Technics SU-7100 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average. 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. This is what 10 years of progress does: 40w used to be a high power now the lowest one is 40w & made very averagely for the mass market to lap up. Sadly this cheap Hifi got worse as in 1979 so many identical looking gear of no real quality including fron brands that had quality early on. To consider even buying this when the page is full of great amps is a wasted effort, but it will still sound better than some £100 new amp off Amazon.

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. But no Mono switch was a miserable omission!

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good.
1980 Pioneer SA-508 amplifier

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

This is one of the 1980 fluroscan range & at 25w the lowest power model. Appears to have sold well & we got one found in the Bins behind Cash Converters when they first started. So that was about 20 years ago. It actually sounded quite decent & only had the volume control in need of the nut tightening. For the budget range it still sounded pretty good, but the power amp was just a big STK IC block for both channels in one lump, very cost cut. On using it the naff blue meters we found annoying & as we state elsewhere the graduation in power was next to useless. As it's Pioneer, the prices get overpriced but for a clean unserviced one it's under a ton & as no real Hifi credibility here not one we'd look for again.

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 putting 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 upgraded 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 as it was quite rough. 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
1986 Pioneer M90-C90 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
200w.


This we had long ago as a repair, but the parts were unfindable so it got abandoned, but as typical they turn up on ebay eventually. But by then we hated the thing, it was rough condition & we couldn't care less so outed it as spares-repairs. The preamp was a disgrace, stuffed full of ICs & later versions had even more! A rat's nest of unshielded computer cable connectors all over the top of one big PCB with extra boards for power supply & phono. The phono was very overdesigned with loads of transistors then an IC probably for MC gain. It sounded flat & boring as we tried it with our valve amps, though it did have the Pioneer tidy midrange it was lousy. The power amp was a huge 20kg lump & looked the part with big bar meters at the front, with huge heatsinks & capacitors. Typical useless copper plated screws on a thin chassis that scratched the paint a bit easily & chipboard end cheeks that age badly. The power amp boards had a double FET package that was unfindable but then appeared on ebay as did the bias IC that we suspected was faulty & at least got rid of it, never to be seen again. But the power amp at least worked right on one channel so to rate it is possible. For 200w the volume was pathetic even using the preamp. This sort of high powered rubbish we noted as a poor volume with some Sumo amps, so we review those too. The rating of average is for the preamp, the power amp if working right was a much better item, but the low volume keeps it down.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Beware obsolete PCB mounted parts if faulty!
c. 1990 Aura Evolution VA-100 amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Average-Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
70w(?).


We bought this from Cash Converters when they used to get better gear in around 1992, got our fax machine there too, the plug on this was sold as hardwired across the fuse so dangerous to sell! Silly chrome faced thing no tone controls, typical gold plated connectors but an IC on the preamp & probably Phono too meant it didn't last long as it wasn't very exciting listening. One big board & MOSFETS means just everyday audio gear of no real quality. Not rubbish but nothing special. Bought the E30 below after this.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Only known as nearly new.
1991 Sumo 'The Ten' power amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a.
100w.


These we had on demo taking them home before buying the TT valve amps. It may be from 1998 but we remember them & have a blurry photo. Huge rackmount black handled things with a big meter & 2 rocker switches. We assume they are "The Ten" 100w yes but not Class A as they didn't get hot. Cranked them up on the 200w 15" Fane speakers we used at the time & the meters hit 60w with ease but they weren't very loud. A clean sound was here, but so clean it was boring with the sound quality being rather soft without much kick or anything even natural sounding. Tried them for long enough to find them of no use. Perhaps the preamp for them would be a better match as they may need a higher input voltage to sing, no specs known. Next tried the TT valve amps & was much more pleased with those & bought. Both amps the shop was desperate to get rid of so they were going cheap, probably the shop system for early AV for a while. Oversized, boring & stupid is our unfortunate verdict of a Sumo amp & no doubt any of these huge amps that seem to be more a USA thing, but the sound being clean if boring means they deserve the rating for those into that sort of thing not having heard how lively earlier amps are. To us, they're not really Hifi in the same way the beauty of a 50w vintage amp can be.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Only known as ex-demo shop stock.
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 upgraded it into a more 1970s sound. It has tone controls & phono, if they are via ICs that do limit the fidelity. Once upgraded 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.
1993 Musical Fidelity Elektra E30 power amplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: N/A
100w.


We bought this new ex-demo probably in about 1995-96 & used it with a Marantz Receiver & then the Rogers Cadet III done as a preamp only! Crazy times but the E30 unlike the A308CR nasty thing below wasn't too bad but even at the time thought it was very ordinary & it probably had ICs too. It lasted a while until the TT valve amps arrived as it packed in for some reason never to sing again. Surprising to read it's 100w never thought it went very loud. The step up to the TT valve amps after this was quite a huge leap in sound quality.

BUY-RAW RATING: Good.
1993-95 Tube Technology Genesis Monoblock power amplifiers, Prophet 2-box preamp & Seer Phono preamp

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended-Great. UPGRADED: Excellent
100w.


These we bought very cheap ex-demo in 1998 as they had been round all the shop's branches unwanted as the shop was quite a mainstream one into AV more than Hifi. We lapped them up & as the 2 preamps were so cheap bought the lot, much to the shop owner's delight. And ours. Despite temporarily selling them tired of the heat they put out in 2002 quickly bought another power amp pair back again not more than a few weeks later. They've got rebuilt now for the 3rd time & sound very clean, way ahead of the blurry sound we had thought was great from previous upgrading. The original TT designs are very mediocre if they are attractive & well made. The circuits are very safe with what looks like just copying Mullard designs from the late 1950s with the valves running very cool especially on the preamps giving a boring sound. The Prophet pre unwisely uses regulated HT which we ripped out within a year of getting them & the improvement was very noticeable. Our currently used version of a TT preamp is very unlike the original design as we added tone controls & cobbled bits into making the tone controls in the 2 holes used for fuses in the Prophet design & nicking the fascia & control knobs. As the TT amps go as all-original they are clean sounding if rather boring sounding, so to rate them modestly showing there is much potential is right. The price of the Genesis amps has kept quite steady over the years if way off the original selling price. Ones to buy to upgrade is the best recommendation. They do make a room very hot in the Summer as do all bigger valve amps is one minus.

BUY-RAW RATING: Only had since ex-demo new, nothing really to go wrong.
2002 Arcam FMJ C-30 preamplifier

AS-ORIGINAL: Recommended. UPGRADED: n/a
preamp.


We got an ex-demo one to possibly use with the Musical Fidelity A308CR power amp after tiring of their preamp. The thing was very user-unfriendly to use with buttons to press to access features, clearly the designers never bothered to use it. So naturally it got opened up. The Phono board was a traditional components type board & actually was as good as our valve Phono at the time. But the main PCB was the awful surface mount "technology" with ceramic chip capacitors & other modern IC junk that is not hifi. This must have been in our stage of mismatching amp to speakers, before getting other gear as the Tone has ±12db gain as it is microprocessor controlled but it did little on the speakers. All a waste of money but buying at ex-demo price to sell on was easy enough. To recommend a very awkward to use preamp with ceramic surface mount tech compared to "proper" hifi of earlier years is tricky, but if you are only after modern gear this is probably very much what the buyer unaware of earlier Hifi would be happy with & get little enjoyment from it too.

BUY-RAW RATING: Only had new ex demo.
2004 Prima Luna ProLogue 2 *Valve* amplifier

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


One we got to upgrade & repair so a chance to try a Modern Valve amp that we'd not otherwise get to try. The PL2 is KT88 40w valve amp with selector & Volume control, a passive preamp therefore. The build as others say is excellent with experienced builders here (in China) if the brand is
in The Netherlands. KT88 valves are the ones Reggae Sound systems used to use as a PP pair can put out 100w. The sell price of this amp for the construction is great value, but be sure corners are cut in the circuitry & overall spec, which is more important. It has an autobias circuit that is useful for valve newbies, but overall we prefer to set it ourselves. We get the idea the autobias tries to cover some design weaknesses on the cheap but does it successfully. Stick with the PrimaLuna valves, they are much better than "Upgrades" using rubbish valves like the JAN ones. First try, using those "upgraded" valves reveals a lively upfront sound with enough attitude to impress on first listen, but to us we soon find noticeable weaknesses in the sound. Power supply is low spec for a start & it becomes harsh quite easily, making Rock especially a hard listen as it runs out of power. The spec is high in places, but where it matters the sound is left wanting & we soon turned it off, rather than play a few hours like amps we like get. Later using the original PL valves the sound is much more pleasant, if still revealing weaknesses. No circuits findable on this, but we found it has AC heaters on the 4 front valves so any upgrading may reveal heater hum, though the design has no noise beyond typical valve noise on Headphones. The trouble with the passive preamp going straight to the power amp is that volume has to be high enough & most amps are with a preamp give a higher signal voltage. Here they just drive the valves a bit excessively creating the hard sound that we still found tiring after upgrading some. But we are listening to Hifi we upgrade to our own non-conformist standard based on Valves & PA quality so know the weaknesses in this amp & tried to overcome some without getting into issues. But for the price these are New or Used on ebay, they are great value. No Phono (except a miserable op-amp IC add on), No Tone, No Headphone, No Mono & No filters may put some off, but if you can live with that this is a great starter amp into valves. On speakers the sound was impressive,, but a hard edge to the midrange being unbalanced stood out more than via Headphones. We tried it as a Power Amp using our valve pre with Tone, but this just accented the peaky midrange. For the price, it's a great starter valove amp, better than the 1960s ones, but soon you'll tire of it's lack of finesse, but if deep pockets allow it'll still have impressed to make you want to buy a 'proper' valve amp with the expected features. This was an interesting amp & be sure it's way better quality than the odd Chinese brand ones. It looks best with both cages off, if that reveals some finish issues. An encouraging amp indeed & the rest of their range if they go further will be interesting too. Just a shame they have to cost cut the circuitry & skimp on not having a better preamp when we can see they know how do it better than this. But the price is the attraction.

BUY-RAW RATING: Good. No need to revalve usually.
2007 Marantz PM6002 amplifier

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


Because it was cheap & looked nice, the temptation to see what a 2007 amp by one of the Top 1970s Brands was too good to miss. First of the PM6000s range that currently is at PM6005. All are 45w amps if mostly black fascia & later ones with a DAC. "Proper" looking on the inside with Toroidal transformer, heatsink, power caps, output transistors. Nicely made in Silver if like a DVD player & no duff capacitors as 2007 often had, Marantz used quality parts.
Finally get it working, the sound is competent but very tamed, treble a bit bright & deep bass limited, but most vintage amps after 1967 are low on deep bass too. Not a rough miserable sound though & to be fair as a first play we've heard many vintage amps sound much worse though they suffer from age & being unserviced. On trying Rock it sounds a bit thin without the kick it needs & focus is a bit unsure sounding. Surprisingly they still use messy glue to stop the big caps falling out, vintage amps without the glue coped well so why glue here? We tried it on the 1969 Tannoy Golds expecting a mismatch, but not so. The Tone + to - test showed a noticeable change if not a perfect match. Stereo was wide but overall the limited sound became boring for the deep bass limiting giving a one-note bass & lack of fuller dynamics. But to be fair, on Speakers way beyond it's usual partnering, this amp didn't disgrace itself at all. The Phono stage is cleaner than the awful IC Phono stages of old if soft on detail. The omission of a Mono button is a pity & no Pre Out-In sockets. Source Direct gives buyers the idea it's Amp Input to Volume to Power Amp, how naive! It just bypasses the Tone stage but nothing else. This was a Five Star 'What Hifi' Amp (as most are...) when new. The current PM6005 has no ICs in Audio & adds Digital inputs, but it will be as 'sound mangled' as this one is despite the sales hype. But Marantz still make Turntables! The PM6004 & 6005 hype about no ICs with transistors allowing more design ability, well that's what we said on an early "We Hate ICs" page (not online now) 'An IC is just a general purpose design'. Did they read our page & use our reasoning? The Cold Hard fact is Marantz sales hype gives the impression they are improving all the time. After making Transistor amps since the late 1960s you'd think they'd sell better goods than how unappealing the PM6002 sounds raw. We upgraded ours making over 100 changes & it improved a lot but still was really no better than the 2265B we upgraded as noted above. Progress in analog audio is a myth! We had a look at the PM8005 current model, it just adds a DAC to the PM8004 & it just has too much circuitry to not sound as good as the PM6002 upgraded did.

BUY-RAW RATING: Good but beware Volume control issues!

*PHOTO GALLERY
We've added many pages of photos of the actual amps we had & were taken as they were sold. An unique archive of Serviced, Cleaned & sometimes Upgraded amps with many photos inside & out
. Most of those below are pictured.

*MORE AMP REVIEWS
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.



The Stinkers Parade in Hifi..
These are a sad list of
NOT RECOMMENDED 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. Seeing these awful amps still sell on ebay shows that people aren't Googling! These we did rate as Mediocre or Poor, but the idea of grading Turds is a bit pointless. The idea is these are amps we didn't like for lousy or boring sound or poor quality construction. There will be plenty more bad or lousy amps out there from early 10w Germanium Transistor Amps to the glut of post 1979 low powered silver & black fronted amplifiers of no real quality made for the mass market & pretty much disposable. Look on Amazon for today's lousy cheap amplifiers for tiny prices as new.

AVOID THESE AMPS AT ANY PRICE AS YOU'LL ONLY REGRET IT!
These were ones we tried earlier on in a case of "see what it's like". These have been looked at again later to see if we were being too harsh, but these ones still remain IN THE STINKERS PARADE. We still see them sellin g on ebay, Armstrong still sell wellk for £20-40 & probably go straight back on after the buyer realises they bought a Turkey.

*SEE MORE AMP REVIEWS
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.
There are a good amount of LOUSY AMPS that we've looked at, look for "No" as the first word of the review. Be aware we are looking for the best amplifiers & interesting 'sleepers' & do find plenty of good amps amid the average stuff. We are wary of most Hifi after 1978 as so much is just Everyday Product of no real merit, but there still are some gems even made & buyable new today.

1966 Armstrong 221 amplifier

NOT RECOMMENDED.
10w valve.


Start as we mean to go on: by being Mean! UK made crappity amp needed a full recap as cheapo capacitors long since failed. It 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. Swapping valves didn't help. Silicon transistor phono stage & a very average amp indeed, felt a bit time wasted on recapping it, but you got to try. UK 220-240v only but a US buyer went for it, probably thinking it was worth a 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

NOT RECOMMENDED. 40w.


The deserved Armstrong backlash Part 2: 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
. We had one, it had plug in boards like Leak but constructuion was messy & a mix of mostly Germaniums bought wholesale & very cheap as Henry's 1970 Radio catalog shows they were unwanted by anyone else. Germaniums age badly & were unreliable when new, the Mullard AD140 TO3 output transistors are notoriously bad. These were sold cheap in the Comet Cut Price type retailers in the early 1970s so they are plentiful, unless it's the same one being resold over & over as buyers realise their mistake in buying it! Please don't buy one, there is so much better.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Poor. Aged Germaniums & other issues, don't bother

1970 Scan-Dyna 3000 receiver

NOT RECOMMENDED. 30w.


Dynaco related EU crap sadly. Looked interesting, but an amp we hated by the end of it, crappy cheap construction, almost impossible to get to the power amp board even to clean, 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 too when we wrote of it originally. So don't bother buying
is our opinion.

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

NOT RECOMMENDED
. 50w? more a 25w by the sound & 35v HT.


Radford are liked for their Valve amps, but this amp is a disaster! 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 usually be missing! Lab gear looks with a feeble aluminium lid with tape stuck inside to stop the capacitors touching as it flexed & old imperial spec screw threads even. The transformer is badly mounted so buzzes. Radford failed here. 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 long unshielded 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 earlier valve amps are better than this lousy effort.

BUY-RAW RATING:
Good
1971 Sony STR-6036 receiver

NOT RECOMMENDED. 16w.

Sony were trying to appeal to all buyers from Budget TA-1010 to the STR-6120 or STR-6200F top amps & this was one of their low models, if not the lowest. 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. This is actually a 1971 model as in a 1971 brochure with the STR-6055, STR-6046, STR-6200F & STR-6850, showing Sony started into budget gear earlier than we thought!

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

NOT RECOMMENDED. 15w.


The Rogers brand was only ever Midprice on the Cadet series, earlier ones & the HG88 were aiming at a Higher Quality, but the two big selling Transistor amps Ravensbrook & Ravensbourne are very lousy. 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
1979 Panasonic SU-2800 amplifier

NOT RECOMMENDED. 40w.


This & the matching Tuner was £20 delivered so a cruel try was worth a go. 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 fuzz of distortion on clipping. Worth a try to see what it was like & to sneer it & put a salty review online. It was mediocre
.

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

NOT RECOMMENDED. 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 sadly 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

NOT RECOMMENDED.
90w.


Certainly the most boring 'premium reference' amp we've ever heard, poor design STK block that runs hot for pre amp if transistor output stages. Phono stage IC contains 14 transistors, 1 FET, a few diodes & pf capacitors plus many resistors after a transistor differential stage, utter crap! Tone-Preamp is just the STK IC with 8 transistors, 4 diodes plus resistors in so music sounds cold & awful as designed to kill any musicality: 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. How Sony thought this miserable effort was acceptable just 18 years after the STR-6120 shows how far off the music dream 'hifi' became. This amp was bought to be just a Computer system amp as the TA-1150 we had tired of but it failed to deliver. But it got us trying the 18w Trio TK-150/KA-2002 amp & on noticing how nice it sounded, we went looking for more. The result you've been reading.

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

NOT RECOMMENDED. 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. The power supply was clearly low spec to sound so weak. 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 about it
.

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

NOT RECOMMENDED. 250w.


We needed to rewrite this Amp review as it was based on opinions from 2002, and since finding our Speaker mismatch theory, we've thought more on this, if not tried one again, but you can't hide a lousy amp. We got the big pre & power amp of the A308CR, model numbers used on an integrated amp too confusingly. It was bought ex-demo on a whim, tired of the heat the valve amps made in Summer. A bad idea indeed, but at a giveaway ex-demo price we managed to get out of ok with ebay. Huge metal casing & cast bits to impress visually, but the inside was miserable & looked like an empty box for most of it, very average spec. The Phono stage on this "High End" thing was a sodding 75p Op-Amp. Everything was just so Ordinary Quality with cheap Ceramic capacitors & a whole lot of circuitry that we found was killing the sound. In fact we used these on either the 250w 15" Fanes or the Tannoy Golds & the sound was just so boring. the amp had no Tone Controls & the Golds do need a bit of Tone we notice on testing later amps. But even then, the Bass was very artificial, it seemed the excess NFB lost bass so they put a circuit to put Bass baclk, sadly no circuits are findable. It actually gave us a Headache & we don't get Headaches unless a bit dehydrated. But the 308 gave headaches each time it was used so it had to go & the TT valve amps bought back again remarkably a few weeks later, if not the same ones. There may be a chance of mismatch on the Power amp, but we did try it with the Valve Preamp with Tone & it still sounded so unappealing. The Damping Factor gives away the high NFB at 180, when Vintage amps are usually 40 to 60. Because Hifi Reviewers aren't as honest as we are, Payola, 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 cleverly sold via Hifi Mag hype to thjose poor souls in search of Good hifi. Go buy a cheap Leak 30 or 70 & then tell us it doesn't sound more pleasing than just about ANY post 1980 amp. Overall we just didn't like the very average quality of the circuits beyond the flashy outer case work, money spent on casing not in proportion to the electronics inside.


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!