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Hi-Fi Blog... Page 7 - 2023

See the MAIN PAGE for the INDEX.

January 2023 Blog

Longer '21 part' Blog to catch up on Blogs written since Sept 2022, we re-read & edit these before posting...

Why Your Amp Craps Out Past Halfway Volume!
Been linked a Youtube Video where 'an expert' is asked Why His Amp Sounds Different Past Halfway. All he suggests is buy one of his 1200w Amps to have more Headroom in sound. Ridiculous idea, not even answering the question. Who Needs 1200w? Who has 1200w Speakers, there are only Car Speakers of this standard. You really Do Not Need more than a 70w amp is the reality. We have found 15w as Valve or Transistor is adequate for a good level to a 'people talking' level. But we use 95dB Tannoys, this is the key. They are rated 50w. We've had them 20 years now, we have never felt the need to even bother with any other Speaker if have heard others like smaller Tannoys. You can buy cheaper speakers of 95dB sensitivity & still be happy with a 25w amp. We happilly used the 25w 1966 Sansui TR-707A for over 2 years as it was just right, used for TV sound. Headphones for Music & playing louder as suits Today's Living, as in if you Pump Out Awesome Loud Sounds so will others. The Big Untold Answer In Amps & Speakers is simply "Where Is The Volume Pointer At For Your Sound Level?". On 95dB speakers the Volume is '2-3' on the scale or placement of the Volume Control's Line. This means the Amp has plenty of Headroom & won't be struggling, getting hot or heading into the Sound Flattening off. We can Flatten Off a 15w amp on Headphones, 1966 Pioneer ER420 Valves if on Speakers we'd not play it so loud. Loud is Required to Test Amps as well as seeing where the Volume Pointer is. No more than '4' on Headphones on a 70w Yamaha CA-1000 from 1973. Mismatched Amps & Speakers get you playing at '5-6' that is usually towards the level of clipping, we do our Unique Power Output Voltage Tests to see the Voltage output before clipping. This is usually at '5-6' if the amp can go 10%-20% Louder still if into Distortion & risk tripping Relays or blowing output Transistors. The Sony idea of a slow taper & then only a decent volume by Midway isn't so great as it only leaves quite a small rotation area before it's into Clipping Distortion. Some Amps are Tamed Down so that even by Midway, it's not really loud enough on 95dB speakers, an under-loud sound is a weak sound too. To increase the Gain on amps is a Redesign Thing, more Volume if still the same Power. Some High Power Amps don't actually play too loud. The Mismatching explains how people Sell On great Older Vintage Amps as their Low Sensitivity Speakers don't have enough Volume. In Hifi Terms You Are Best Getting 95dB Speakers Rather Than A 200w Amp. A lot of High Power is a Vanity thing & not thinking How Much Volume is Lost in Low Sensitivity Speakers. Once an idea you 'need' a 300w amp for your 84dB speakers. A lot of Hifi Ideas are Snake Oil Selling rather than what should be common sense, but you'll not read about that.

The World Of Valve-Tube Amps With SET-Single Ended Triodes & High Efficiency Speakers.
Seeing a Website by 'Decware' a USA Modern Maker of the Specialist type of Valve Amps reminds us of our Early Valve Days before getting the Tube Technology amps in 1998. Not a brand we've heard of as they only sell Direct, with no Shop involvement. Others Review them in the USA so certainly worth a look. Thw World of SET & High Efficiency Speakers is Mega Bucks territory with Ongaku Japanese type amps once being £25,000. The idea of Us in Hifi is to Get The Sound but not at that sort of Money. Early 1990s to get a 3w 'Stern's' small Valve Amplifier, mentioned this before in Blogs & used it on a 1939 Tannoy 12" speaker in the wooden case with the Tannoy logo, the War Time era ones. The Sound, with no Treble tweeter was still a Haunting Sound & to later read how SET valves sounded, it matched this 'Budget' version well. But it was only really a Novelty, not one to use, but To Know The Sound is Important to know in Hifi. At the time a 1971 Leak Delta 30 overall sounded better as it was Full Range & to a Modern Listener. Getting McIntosh gear in the late 1990s as the 1968 C26 pre & M2505 power amp brought another level of Quality, a sound of unusually good Depth & Clarity, if not as Crisp & Trebly as we'd got from various amps & preamps, so they got Sold on fairly quick if trying a valve preamp McIntosh C22 to see it was not quite what we expected even that long ago. Not had any other McIntosh if have tried several Fisher which aren't so unlike.

1988 Akai AM-73 Digital Integrated Amplifier.
To be asked in a very certain brief way '£500 offered to Rebuild' as always to see what it is. 1980s-Modern Hifi is mostly best ignored as it comes under "Unrepairable" which means Disposable, as is much gear that is with Loads of ICs & control ICs. THD of 0.008% is ridiculous when the Real Sound will be well hidden. 17kg of Amp shows it was Expensive when New, but not for us. What on Earth do they think we'd touch that for? They didn't read the site & have likely been Refused by many others, who'd dare try to make an Amp like that Reliable for a Customer & Hope for success? Just too risky. There are Tons of 100w amps of more simple construction plus Modern Amps also stuffed with ICs. Not to be told what's wrong with it yet want to only put £500 in is a Waste Of Time even asking really. HFE reviews say it's a very tightly packed amp & the Manual shows several big boards & loads of ICs for the Digital DAC & Control. Phono is a FET then 2 Transistors, IC for Tone, several strange ICs with a Transistor & 2 resistors in, DTA143ES. Power Amp on the Manual not in the right order, it's Transistors but more ICs. As Blogged only before, for a Tech to even consider they'd get Success with an amp like this is just Too Risky. You could tell them it's Risky, do quite A Bit of Work if they agreed to continue then find an IC was faulty or the Digital still wasn't working so it won't ever work fully. This is No Way to do Hifi Work, so stay away. An amp like this With Faults is Worthless, to expect a Tech to take it on is just Naive. You got over 30 years use out of it, well done. Now Go Buy Another Newly Made Amp. The Reality is Harsh, what was considered a Good Amp to a Tech is with Unfindable Parts & always the Risk parts can fail with even just Recapping Like-For-Like. It might rebuild fine, but as a Customer's Amp to take it on means you know the Amp well & all it's problems. Many amps are Fresh to a Tech & the Difficulties may end up with an Amp that still won't work. Older Amps with Hum & Noise or 'Refuse' to Work may be remedied, but it could take a lot to find why. A Priced Job must be with a Good Chance of Success.

1970s Jukebox On 'The Repair Shop'.
The previous week yet another Radiogram, so not really worth Blogging as not much shown beyond tidying it. S10 E11 has a Jukebox owned by a Vinyl Lover, the selection was very Mainstream & they seem to like Replaying 'Old Misery' of the owner in the Story, it's not a Song. They said it Caught Fire, which is strictly Flames, but when Smoke is Billowing out, it's what it seems. This is a common fault with Hifi, it's not checked & just Used until you Half Trash It. Sometimes it could be spotted before it goes bad, if not always. Using 50 year old Electronics Daily is very risky but many do. Here he suspects the Power Supply, if it looks ok & doesn't smell burnt. Still has Old Parts though. The Damage is the Power Amp with a Burst-Vented big Capacitor & a Burnt Resistor. Big Cap could be a Voltage one or an Output one, we don't know Jukeboxes & for Vinyl we'd not fancy playing Expensive 45s on a crude Jukebox, especially as large centres needed on most, so never took interest beyond seeing ones on TV. People like Jukeboxes to program an Hour of Music, similar slowly started to be put on Computers to play Music then the MP3 scene took it further. The Repair here takes it nearer to a Hifi Repair than a Radiogram type repair on more Basic design. To see what he does, he is here to Repair not Upgrade it so will likely leave a lot 'as it still works' but overlooking the Age that could get similar faults soon after.Jukeboxes have much to go wrong, they aren't built too well & lasting Decades with no Servicing, to get them going can be tough as parts are usually unfindable if broken. Interestingly this is a 1981 Computer Control Jukebox, post the Mechanical era & probably even harder to get right. They get in a Jukebox Specialist of 30 years so will know these well & the problems involved. Probably it needs only Servicing, the ICs board looks good. The Power Amp is an IC Box unit with one badly burnt part, probably trashed by the bad cap. ICs are generally very reliable if not our taste in Audio, but once damaged, try replacing them. The ICs Logic board needs a Memory battery & it then works, some Hifi amps have these too. The Amp side is trashed so they get a MOSFET amp unit like DJ shops sell, the Non Hifi end of Audio but still a market for it as Cricklewood Electronics shows similar. Strange how the Record Player Cartridge with the Stylus is the wrong way round, surely not fitted right? Actually as the arm is on the 'wrong' side as made. Speaker fuses blew if speakers ruined, a fuse is too slow there. The women were pleased with it, to hear it again & trust it saying they'll be using it. Anything that gets Vinyl Records & Jukeboxes as well as edging towards Hifi on TV is worthwhile. Waiting for them to have a 'Proper' Amp or Receiver on being fixed, just as we're waiting for Enamel Signs to be restored.

Comparing 8 Amplifiers & Receivers Sept 2022.
After Time Away from doing amps, to still have a pile of them here & to get them into some sort of Order as the idea is to Sell Amplifiers. These have mostly been on Speakers & some have had a lot of Speaker use, the Sansui TR707A mostly, if the current play is the Yamaha CA-1000. All these have been Recapped with varying amounts of Upgrade, with the CA-1000 getting the Filter Amp redesigned as we thought it wasn't very good. Many of these were 'Mid Working On' which is a litle hard to get back into, notes made if to remember many amps together takes time to sort them out. Not including Amps With Noise, so no 1973 JVC 4VN-880 or 4VN-990, no 1966 Akai AA-7000 & no 1966 Sansui 3000 as it gets too hot, all 4 sound good but leave them for another day. Some haven't been Recapped yet if have had work done & are mostly useable, so no 1966 Sanyo DC-60, no 1966 Pioneer SX-1000-TA, no 1966 Akai AA-5000 as caps are bad & no 1971 Sony STR-6065. So that leaves it with 8 more. Playing These On Headphones with 1970s Stereo Rock. 1969 Pioneer SX2500 72w with FET… crisp deep rich smooth precise focussed sound, extra good, weighty bass, no grain grit or vagueness & played after LX33 later to compare. 1971 Trio-Kenwood KR6170 33w… a smaller sound as 33w, still very decent & weighty, lacks the ultimate FET focus which is a hard one to be without on HPs if on Speakers less crucial. 1971 Sony TA-2000F preamp has Headphone amp inside, all FET on pre… interesting after the super smooth SX2500, nearer to KR6170 sound, hearing the headphone amp needs work, big weighty FET sound. One still being worked on. 1973 Yamaha CA-1000 70w no FETs … not unlike SX2500 if not the FET focus it's not far off, rich sound. Class A no difference, hearing one track sound a little rough on a part, Class A very slightly tidies it but so subtle, shows where it could upgrade more. 1966 Sansui TR707A… weighty Bass, crisp open sound, not as upfront as some emphasises bass. -1 bass +1 treble matches it better. Has 15dB tone unlike others. 1970 Sansui 350A 20w… smaller sound as 20w, very clean rich sound, pity it's not got Pre Out-In sockets for that sound, more precise than TR707A. 1966 Pioneer ER420 Valves 15w…. rebuilt power supply if not done further… to check again to trust it still… bit cheeky trying it after the S350A if sounds like it, with the valve sound difference, sounds weighty on 'Voodoo Chile' if not as crisp, up treble betters it. Valve amps not usually this good. SX2500 designer will have known this amp, maybe same designer? 1979 Luxman LX33 Valves 30w EL34 rich sound, not as crisp or wide on stereo, 1979 amp, needs treble +3 to match then much better, big deep bass, tone stage not so good. Top 3… SX2500, ER420, CA1000. Of couse, after hearing a great amp we had before, the 1971 Hitachi SR-800 as below, it changes opinions. Any Top 3 is never static long, to hear where upgrades can go further is a 'forever' game only with comparing. • This in the Jan 2023 Blog shows Older Opinions, but a good compare of amps so worth a blog.

"It's Not Worked In Ages!"
One of the later 'Wheeler Dealers' S12 E4 gets Milke buying a liked 1970s BMW, but it despite being one family owned since new, has sat untouched for 17 years since the Son parked it up. It's had much use by the Dad & then the Son, but bizarrely just left since the Son had his own Son, never moved house & 17 year old son helps push it out. Life at a slow pace. You get Hifi like this too, the Attic or Loft is where Hifi often goes, even heavy Amps like the 1979 Luxman LX33 & the 1973 Yamaha CA-1000 were Attic finds. The Biggest Issue With Hifi is does it even Power Up? Even Bulbs being on is Important as it shows it Basically Works & the Transformer at least gives Power. The BMW looks surprisingly decent & Mike uses a Spanner to see the Engoine isn't Seized as this can mean Rust or Damp has got in which usually means a Rebuild or Replacement. Edd genuinely hasn't seen it before & is concerned, if before seeing the rest of the show, it's a wise buy. It's how We Play It with Hifi, allowing the Seller to take the Risk to Plug It In. Many more problems with Age with Hifi, the 4ch Amps & Receivers, despute Bridged 2ch capabilities were abandoned by 1976 & not cared for too well as they were Obsolete. The amount of Servicing an Amp or Car needs to get it Running can be Huge & for Hifi a Recap is required for Longer Use if many just use it until they trash it. If An Amp's Status Of Working Is Unknown then we're not happy plugging in a Customer's Amp as we have taken Responsibilty for it. One early Marantz Preamp we just Returned not knowing the Voltage it was on as Paperwork was suggesting both 110v & 240v plus seeing problems inside, no we're not going to take the Risk. Had one cheeky message wanting us to change a 110v Marantz tuner to 240v when they'd not tested it either, they wanted to pay just £50 to do that. Their Gear, they Risk It, not us. We Have Bought Non Workers Which Is Our Gamble & most turn out good, if not all. Imagine a Tech taking on a Job then the Amp being No Good, the Customer would Blame You when it's them trying it on & wanting others to take the risk. Gambling on Hifi to spend £180 on the Yamaha CA-1000 that was a non worker, to find it with blown main capacitor & knowing it needed lots of front panel controls was a crazy gamble, to spend £120 to get the full controls meant £300 to get an otherwise worthy amp, unaware of the bad damage. It's on our Speakers as we type. Took a while to get the parts & redo. Current ebay prices for working but not recapped are high at over £800, one from Japan £350 as a non worker, but from Japan not for them to have tried to fix it is a worry. One on ebay parted out in Romania, the transformer went bad which is very strange. Gambing buying & trying non workers to not get a burnt Transformer. One 1969 Sony STR-6050 turned up with a burnt one, to get a similar transformer & we sold it on as now reliable. Gambing. For the Chance of looking on ebay, to find the parted CA-1000 a rarity & get the Bass control. Ours works now, but was broken on the track part, if glued & conductive paint fixed it, it's still considered a broken part to be wary of. The CA-1000 the only one to use the Dual Ganged 25K pot. Luck finding rare parts shows these amps are Failing & to get the part you need as Sellers see other Parted Amps sell parts.

The Return Of The 1971 Hitachi SR-800 35w Receiver.
The UK Buyer of this had Hum & Bad Distortion issues with this in using it. One we sold late 2020. Best of the 1971 Hitachi amps. You Buy our Upgraded Amp, why think Another will Understand it? Not many Repair Shops even understand amps of this age. They said "Nothing Is Wrong" yet sent it back with a New Tuner Cord, the original one was fine on selling it, but impossible to know why it broke. Customer says:"I really appreciate if you could have a look at it, as I fell in love with the sound and want ‘my sound’ back. Not going to give it to some bloke in the shed to mess it all up. To check it over before Plugging In as it's what we do. Found one Issue, corrected it, had tested sections to find there was Nothing Wrong, but only after We Fixed one issue. The complexities of design can mean that messed up the Amp, we've had that one before on other amps. Playing it as we type, still a very good amp with Crisp Treble & a Decent Bass on Reggae. It did sound lousy on first try until it 'woke up' back into the circuit, a few minutes' use & it's nice again. Trying the Hendrix Stereo tracks, plays them well, not as weighty as some amps, but not grainy or uncomfortable, a great sound indeed, one that influenced the 1973 Yamaha CA-1000 redesign. Seeing it's a 35w amp & capable of that sound is still not a typical sound. On Speaker it sounds much like the 1970 Sansui 350A, but ours are much Upgraded. Good to hear it again.

Inside the 1971 Sony STR-6065 (aka STR-6200F Mk II)
An odd mix of the STR-6055 for it's Tuner Stage plus the Best of the STR-6200F crammed in. Quart into a Pint Pot here with the smaller size case, the medium sized one like STR-6050 & first seen on the 1967 STR-6060FW with the front flap. Underside has no real seperate boards like the STR-6120 & STR-6200F, the Phono is on the side further in than the STR-6055 & the Preamp-Tone is the same size as the STR-6055 one. An extra big Capacitor underneath. The left side is all on the top & a larger size for the Transformer, Heatsinks like the TA-1130 & a Power Supply fitted upways not having much space. No Low Filter, just the High Filter (Low Pass). Fascia text is only printed, not engraved & printed, lettering wearing off removes so easily, nictotine & fascia print often makes it fail. Top has the Power Amp on the left side, Power Supply on the Left-Mid with a Tuner Board crammed in, empty space on the board suggests the board was used elsewhere & the STR-6200F does use a very similar one with Q2 as a FM regulator. The right side more sane as the STR-6055 design. Mid left is the Transformer in a case, like the early STR-6120 ones & the TA-1130 style heatsink pieces at the rear with the Speaker sockets high up & probably easy to short against the top lid. It's crammed in. The middle has the two main capacitors stacked on sides, 6000µf 63v, the TA-1130 has 6000µf 80v if rated 65w. Power Amp is very like the STR-6200F with minor changes. As Blogged above, the STR-6065 is basically the STR-6200F with the superior New Sony Tuner, if oddly the 1973 range used a lesser tuner. The only Fuse is one hidden between the AC outlets & heatsink, the UK wanted more Fuses, probably after the insane fact the STR-6050 had None, so it's a Non UK model. Despite being crammed in, the Boards do come out to work on better than it seems. An Amp like this does take some Learning to get The Best from it, we got this one purposely to compare to the Sony TA-2000F-TA3200F, haven't had the STR-6200F as seeing half was the STR-6120 with only really the New Power Amp after the Capacitor Coupled design. Preamp first, it's basically the STR-6120 one without the Stepped Controls & less Low Filter. The STR-6055 very similar, both show it's a Passive Tone stage, not the Baxandall one. The Power Amp with the Differential is not unlike the TA-3200F 100w Power Amp, less transistors in the Differential or 'Paraphase' section & sightly different in the Protection circuit. Power Supply is a mix of the TA-3200F power amp & the TA-2000F preamp if simplified. Not Using New Ideas are they? Combining The Best into one receiver & underselling it is a strange move, the STR-6065 is a 'Sleeper' as no-one has bothered look & compare like we have. More in later Blogs, it's not completed yet.

1966 Pioneer SX-1000-TA -vs- 1967 Pioneer SX-1000-TD(F) Receivers.
Got the working 1966 one plus the Never Worked 1967 one that's in High Grade but seems to be a Factory Reject. Time to Recap the 1000-TA so to see what is what, as the Failed One has all the Parts from Recapping it. The answer is 'Not Much Different'. Power Supply Board is pretty much the same with only tiny differences & 1 less capacitor, 'W16-006' on the 'TA' & 'W16-010' on the TDF. Power Amp board is actually the same with 'W15-007' on the 'TA' & 'W15-027' on the TDF, if the 'TA' has the 'W15-027'. The Preamp-Tone yet again is the same board 'TA' calls it 'W15-006' & 'W15-031' on the TDF. Unsurprisingly the Phono is the same board too, 'W15-005' on both. Slight differences such as Transistors, Power Amps drawn quite differently if actually no different. A difference is the Loading on the Output is 2.2K on the 'TA' & 330 ohm on the 'TDF'. Tone-Preamp the same. More obvious differences are the Tuner is a Valve & a Nuvistor on the 'TA' with early ICs on the 'TDF'. The rear panel with an older Single Speaker pair & Basic 110-240v switch, with the 'TDF' having the more familiar round fuse-voltage block & one extra AM antenna connector. So from it looking like it was different' apart from Output Loading it's much the same. 'TA' has an extra Axial capacitor underneath & the one for the Tuner Valve & Nuvistor. 'TA' rated 175w (VA) & the 'TDF' rated 230VA. Oddly the 'TA' rated 40w if the 'TDF' rated 50w if this is 'per channel', both are 40w RMS both channels playing. The TDF just basically updates Tuner, Speaker Outputs to 2 pairs from the earlier design like the ER420 valves receiver has. One thing the Manuals don't say is about the Pot on the board, it should be left fully Anticlockwise. Some boards have smaller resistors than later Pioneer, some are handpainted line values even. Recap It? There is something Rare & Intriguing getting to hear a 1966 Amp 'As Original' & still working right, no Hiss or Hum or Crackles. We know it'll sound even better with a Decent Bass & a Smooth Sound like another SX-1000-TDF we had fairly recently & sold, the buyer of it still mentions it. So keep it Original to Compare until signs of Recapping are needed. Certainly a Used Amp by the Dust inside, must just have been kept at a steady temperature & used, rather than an Attic find left unused 40 years.

1968 Marantz 18 Receiver.
40w Transistor Receiver with an Oscilloscope for FM uses with the Lissajous oval shapes. What these do & are useful for on a Home Audio Receiver isn't so clear, if two big Marantz 2500 & 2600 from 1975-76 still use them. These Oscilloscopes are like the CRT TV tubes, High HT Voltage & aging Tube not displaying right after 53 years is the risk. A look through the Service Manual tells they found issues to need updating already & a lights part no longer made. These Marantz didn't have Manuals on HFE years back with our 'Other Amps' page if time has brought them out. These Marantz are considered 'High End' like McIntosh & other Pretige, ie Expensive brands. To wonder why they're better than a 1966-68 Pioneer SX-1000 range at similar power, without the Oscilloscope which isn't really needed unless you are an Enthusiast, FM DX-ers & the like. Of Course we'd like to see any Rare, Quirky & Expensive amps, if these usually appear as Customer's Amps, not really ones to Buy, Rebuild & Sell hoping for any profit in them. A nice grade Marantz 18 is on 'Hifi Shark' site from a USA seller for £1800. Certainly has the looks to command such a price & the Prestige of the early brand models, still USA built. It has features known from later Marantz, the Tuner wheel & the Controls look like later Marantz too. Looks like a Wooden Case would be with it, seems a standard size. Sold as working with a Video playing it, said it needs Bulbs & the FM isn't playing Stereo, an expensive aligning needed if you can find anyone with the test gear. the 'Scope works with it's pattern meaning whatever it means, related to a perfect signal. The top photo of the inside doesn't give much away, the workings underneath aren't shown. Google shows one in the case, very Futuristic looking, but no underside pics. The Marantz 18 Circuits. The blurb says "the model eighteen is an all transistor receiver, based on the same advanced circuits used in the Marantz model 10B tuner, 7T solid state pre-amplifier and 15 solid state power amplifier." 10B is a valve Tuner, 7T we had one ro see it's a very early hardwired mess of a Preamp, not knowing if it was 117v or 230v means we aren't gambling if the owner says they've not tried it. The Marantz 15 is a large Power Amp we've seen on 'American Pickers', a 60w Stereo amp that gets Good reviews on HFE etc. Not having heard one, but knowing the similar McIntosh pre & power transistor amps, the sound certainly has a Bewitching ability, if quite Soft on Treble. This 'Sound' we heard with one 1967 Reggae track & it took a while to find other Amps to play it in that same way. The Service Manual shows the Top & Base to look quite similar, maybe pics online are both without realising. The Tuner has several boards & looks comprehensive. The 1967 Sony TA-5000 tuner was similarly impressive if still using Germaniums. The MPX stage uses FETs, the rest is Transistors. The Phono uses PNP transistors suggesting it was Germanium based like the 1966 Sansui TR-707A is, the power supply uses Diodes to Regulate the Voltage. what the Transistors are isn't told, just the Marantz Code similar to Heathkit using their versions of Transistors. Has an adjust pot to Bias the transistors as do early 1970s Marantz, the days of less accurate gain amid batches. The Tone-Pre is a mix of NPN & PNP transistors if not the Class B design. Bass is kept tamed, some good design & some such as Emitters hard to Ground could bring up Hiss. The Filter is passive. Power Amp aka Driver Board, strange design if that's what it is. Looking further on the Manual tells this is the Early stages only, the rest is on a Main Circuit looking more familiar. Direct Coupled design, no Output Capacitors, works on ±36v. Uses Diodes to limit a few times & these seem the Problems the Manual tells of. Power Supply uses One Winding on the Secondary with Extra Taps, these aren't ideal & may cause Hum that the Amp hopefully tames down. 5450µf 50v main caps. The Scope works on +200v & -500v, so not kV like a larger TV. Verdict. The USA made amps like Fisher & McIntosh are always a little more Quirky than the Japanese efforts which are generally more streamlined if not as expensively made. The Marantz 18 for it's controlled design is hard to say what it sounds like, Bass will be limited if based on The Pedigree of what is says it contains, it should certainly sound great. To get it to fully working on Tuner may not be possible if not working plus the 'Scope. One worth hearing, to get to Use Daily & risk that 'Scope means it's not one to use too much.

Inside The 1966 Sanyo DC-60E Receiver.

Time to take this apart & Service it. It looks quite daunting for the Construction, Transistors under the Power amp & a general sense of tatty Randomness. Not so unlike the 1967 JVC 5040U & the 5030 if messier. Japan made so not so Obscure, has early Capacitors with '+' marking. the Tuner Cord across the whole of the right side of the amp is an oddity, couldn't they have put another wheel to keep it into the right front corner? Fascia off, the Control knobs are all solid metal with a screw to lock onto the control rods with flat sections, a rare confidence in design. The Tuner window is Perspex, the line of 5 rocker switches easy to deal with, these rely on 'touch' so often go rough sounding. Tuner Board has no mid support meaning the Tuner metal parts can bounce & break the board, care needed there. Our FM tuner doesn't work. We got the original Paper Manual & have scanned it, if you want it to upload to HFE, just ask for it. Power amp board is Phono-Aux-Tone & Power Amp. To have one already messed with brings sighs & bits not done right. To look at it for the messing, cut & taped cables to tidy plus a random wire added like a Mic input yet left loose is just a bit much. There is Crude & then there is Insanely Crude which this is. But it does sound good. The 4 stage amp board is only about 7cm x 17cm, knowing the similarly tiny board of the 1966 Rotel 100AMP, to spend ages recapping it to find more beyond the several repairs & aged upright resistors makes this one not to want to get involved with, it'll never be trusted to use daily, it could still run 50°C. It looks smart, nice quality wood case & will clean up well on the facia parts. An amp like this if you had it fully working on Tuner & without repairs it'd still be one that could give problems & not be a reliable amp to sell or return to a customer. The realities of Early Hifi, this one does work but is a Display amp, like a lot of early Valve amps & Table Top Radios are.

Passive Preamps & 'Source Direct'.

Firstly, these are Not The Same Thing. A 1975 Yamaha CA-800II offered "Tone Jump" which merely Bypassed the Tone if it needed a Fixed Gain resistor as it was still Amplified. Fair Description to call it 'Tone Jump' if it's nothing special, gimmickry. By the CD era you see amps with 'Source Direct' which is far from that, it's the 'Tone Jump' design again usually, it still goes through Amplifier Stages. An amp like the Loved-Hated 1990 Pioneer A-400 actually are 'Source Direct' as the Line Input does go to the Volume then the Power Amp, which is what Source Direct means. No Preamp or Tone, no Filters. Still has 20 transistors in the Power Amp, think what you may on that, far from the Minimal Input Stage. Source Direct is also 'Passive Preamp' as the Preamp has No Gain. Of Vintage Amps, the only one we know is the 1966 Akai AA-7000, it's Preamp is a gainless Buffer & a Passive Tone. Despite the Hype in the CD era, all this didn't mean much if you got a thin bright grainy sound. Today you can do a Passive Preamp on the cheap, use your Soundcard & the Volume to be your preamp & put Audio into a Power Amp. The trouble is the Sound Card is noisy connected this way. You'll have heard of Expensive Passive Preamps, basically a Volume Control & Selectors plus In & out sockets. Some are ridiculously expensive as goes with the Territory, anyone claiming to have Designed a better one with Special Cables is playing the same BS game as Expensive Cables do. But you paid £500 for it so it makes you feel better, as is the way. The Passive Preamp Sound does benefit from a good amp to bring the Sound out, you can always make a simple Volume box from an ABS plastic box & RCA Phono sockets & use the 'Power In' socket of an amp that has a Pre Out-Main In feature. You'll have no Tone or Mono, but it will play Music in a very 'Solid' way. It has No Character other than the Recording which means your hearing The Power Amp Direct, assuming the power amp isn't contrived in design. Ones like the 1971 Sony TA-3200F 100w power amp have Input Level Controls so can be used like a Passive Preamp. Whether you like the No-Tone Control sound is another thing, some Insist on 'Flat' to the point it doesn't sound realistic, one Hifi Shops like to tell Hifi Newbies saying 'it's better'.

Extreme Repairs On 'The Repair Shop'.
Well into the show now, S10 E13 shows some very difficult ones, to the point they are probably way beyond what anyone would try to get repaired otherwise. Good for the TV show, if to skip through the 'misery' of how they just put stories in a 'Misery Porn' way the show does, it's a little exploitative. The pretty table had a fish tank put on, the intricate veneering on a late Victorian table ruined & bits missing. The tank leaked they say, if more likely it Sweated like a Cold Drink does on a Warm Humid day & wasn't noticed for months. People don't think, one wanted to put a drink glass on the top of our Original Finish Pye G/RG 1932 gram. The woods are rare & unavailable as probably no longer around as trees, so he painted in the wood pattern & made a nice job of the table. A piece of glass cut to the shape is a must, spend a few hundred quid on keeping it nice. The next one was a Craft type ring, the man found it weeks later in their open fire & it was pretty trashed needing much work, but it became nice again as they use some very skilled craftspeople. Filling in the enamel too, using stones cut curved, must be easier ways. The hardest one was an old Bible, a large book, these can be bought very cheaply but it was her Mum's one & someone covered it in a map & gaffer taped edges, but it hid the original leather binding which is unusual. Books are difficult, we'd not go as far as unstitching the book, but they are using 'TRS' to show off Skills that are fading away. Made a remarkable job from a tattered & loose paged book, the work in it. The fourth one a unicycle got tidied with new spokes & seat, but the steel left bare where the chrome rusted off. Unless lacquered it'd rust again very soon, an odd choice not to rechrome, if maybe what they wanted. Chroming is a dying art since Cars stopped having the metal bumpers by the mid 1980s. The Thing Is these Restoration Jobs would be Expensive in a way beyond most owners, the Table could be over £1000, the ring easily that, but the Book could be a £2000 job. The unicycle maybe a £500 job. We've done Extreme Restore Jobs just because we can & it furthers the skills. The amount of work in an item is one thing, the Price you can Sell it as is another thing. As the Vintage Car Shows tell, the Market will pay for a good restoration, the thing is Outpricing what the item is becomes tricky. Sell Prices? The table might make £200-£300 in Auction or maybe not, furniture is a slow market still & restored ones less wanted than a nicer original one. The ring a personal thing, maybe under £100, the book as a Bible despite the work might struggle to get over £20 still for the amount of useable original ones. The unicycle a small market, ebay shows £30-£50 will buy one like that. Restoring is only really worth it on certain things. To present a nice grade piece in tidy condition is how we do amplifiers, to buy nice ones if possible, if a good buy needing external work might not sell so well. On the other hand, if you don't tidy it more & make it sellable, it'll not sell as generally people want Nice Grade items. Scratches on top may not really show, but a big dent from bad Courier handling is not nice.

Valve Amp Comparing: 1965 Rogers HG88 III vs. 1966 Pioneer ER-420.
A chance to compare these two together, both 15w Valve Amps, Rogers an Amplifier & Pioneer a Receiver. Both recapped with upgrades, Pioneer is ours & the Rogers one in for Repair. To hear the Rogers isn't playing nicely to just check it over as it's one we rebuilt 4 years ago. All components still good, the Rear Transformer Plug for 4-8-16 ohms was found very loose, possibly got knocked as the TXs weren't in line. Don't really want to try amps by blindly plugging in, ones that are known with issues & to hear how it sounds when it's been described means faults get looked for first. Good to have one to try again, these were Midprice Amps when new in 1966, based on two earlier HG88 versions that are a bit too old & limited power, the HG88 Mk III at 15w is a capable amp still. Got it playing nicely again, takes 2 mins to 'warm up' then it's fine. No Hum or Mainsy Noise here, a very quiet background. These always get a little crackle that's not annoying, if not perfect. As we found with our 1979 Luxman LX33 some valves are quiet & some are crackly, to experiment to find the best valves. The HG88 III uses obsolete ECC807 which are a louder version of the ECC83 with different pins & less gain, the ECL86 is a 'IC' type valve with a Triode for the stages an ECC83 would cover plus a Pentode for what an EL84 would cover. Saves space & these were much used in Hifi & TV. The ECL86 isn't made currently if many NOS ones are around. The earlier ECL82 of lower power is still made. The Pioneer is designed differently with EL84 outputs & ECC83 for the early Power Amp stages. Much more circuitry for the Tuner stages & much more busy underneath therefore. The Rogers being a Amplifier only is better spaced & easier to work on. Comparing Both For Sound. Both are Good Quality sounding with a decent bass & clean treble, the Rogers as-original isn't giving it's best in design plus the age means any 1960s Valve Amp isn't going to be useable. The Rogers has a Loud Upfront sound not unlike the 1966 Sansui 3000(A), an amp you'd not get bored of if perhaps the upfront forward sound can get tiring. Aux through the Big Resistor was used into 1969 by Sansui amps, it loses the ultimate detail if is otherwise decent. The Pioneer is Aux Direct. The Pioneer we've recapped with lots of upgrades, if not altered anything else. Most amps do benefit from further Upgrades if there are a minority that are Fine on the Original Design, this does seem to be limited to the 1966 ones before they realised they were 'Too Good' and 'They're Not Getting The Good Stuff Yet' like that "Back To The Future" line. The Pioneer has a very different sound, Sweet, Detailed, Fast, Punchy, Depth to the Sound & Wide Stereo. It's a real Pussycat of an amp, if to find our one was a Friday pm type build leaving issues that Quality Control missed. Having played the ER-420 as original, to hear the quality amid the Hum & Noise of aged parts. Tastes in Hifi mean the UK Sound is often more Upfront than the USA designs the Japanese amps grew from. Further HG88 III playing reveals a brighter flatter sound. This is a very UK sound heard in UK amps like Ferrograph & others. On Headphones that the HG88 III doesn't have without our Headphone box, the HG88 lacks an ultimate precision, if it'd not show on Speakers. Rogers is the Basketweave Wallpaper painted Magnolia, the Pioneer is Silk Wallpaper with Hand Painted Dragons.

Do People Actually Appreciate Higher Quality Sound?
Man wants an amplifier, one on Amazon for £200 will do, ones under £100 even. Man wants Speakers ones for £60 will suit most. Really Miserable seeing what Hifi-Audio Today is, it's garbage for the Disposable Generation. Amazon shows "Azatom EB 100" active speakers, as in an amplifier built in to the speaker £80 for '50w' whatever. All Highly Rated on Amazon, which to us is 'Grading Turds', but for younger buyers probably OK enough & avoiding buying Secondhand stuff that should be in E-Recycling as it's not meant to last 5 years these days, 10 if your lucky. Look at the Audience in the 'Bangers & Cash' Car Auctions, over 50. A case of always How Much It Costs defines what you Buy. It's not too likely an Amazon Buyer will have heard better Hifi if their Parents hadn't had it. Like with the Better Cars, The Better Hifi not many actually had, to see Radiograms, Music Centres & Stack Systems showed the Mass Market Audio sold the Best. In the pre 1990 days of The Family Shop saw inside many houses to look at their Hifi. One You Taste Rebuilt Vintage Hifi Nothing Else Will Do. Tasting Better in any Field, from Wine to Home Cooking to Cuisine, to High Priced Women means the Run Of The Mill just won't appeal anymore. Imagine being a Hifi Tech & knowing Amps can be Better once Upgraded like No-One else does, it can be difficult listening to some Amps as Raw & Aged, but to listen for That Quality & to hope you can find it for some Advanced Work.

Those 'Jumper Link' Connectors For Pre Out-Main In Sockets On Amplifiers.
Quite a few Brands use these, Sony, Trio-Kenwood, JVC, early Marantz & others. All good when they are there, but these did get used on the Outputs & Inputs. The realising these are a part of the Amplifier to use them isn't always understood, we got a 1969 Trio-Kenwood KA-6000 as "not working" but clearly knowing it needs these connectors. They range from a basic metal piece, our 1979 Luxman LX33 has these & if you touch them it brings a noise as the joining piece is left open. Others like early JVC are a thin wire with the inner Phono plug piece, the ground is joined by the sockets inside. Sony & Trio-Kenwood use short wires with the full plug. Others use a solid block to connect like the early 1971 era Marantz. To get another Marantz 2270 to rebuild, no sound as no connectors. The seller had used long connecting cables & clearly assumed the buyer would know, but a buyer may not know as Marantz soon changed internally to not need the Connectors yet look the same. Buyer gets a non-working amp that is working but misses the connectors. Getting These Connectors. These you don't find unless a whole amp has been parted out & the seller would need to understand them to even offer them which doesn't seem often. We've had ones we've had to bend 3mm aluminium rod to get a connector. You can just solder a cable inside & have it at least work. There are 'Jumper Link' cables out there, the JVC 4VN880 had some expensive modern ones £50 a pair 'Audio Quest' there are cheaper ones on looking deeper, custom made Van Der Hul & Van Damme ones. These can be made by any Cable Seller with the pressure fitting machine. The plugs do stick out quite a way compared to the neater fixing originals, but with other Connectors on the amp they'll not be oversized. Best to have the Originals, replacing them with the New Big ones thinking they're better is what some will do. Thankfully Amp Makers Wised Up by 1969-71 that people were losing this piece, in a similar way pre 1973 Pioneer Speaker Plugs get thrown out with the cable. The 1969 Pioneer SX-2500 seems to be one of the first to use a Coupling Switch. Pre Out we've used to use certain amps on Higher Power Amplifiers. It's Wise to use a Blanking Plug on the side you're not using, to ground the Pre Out or Main In. Again these you probably can't buy if we've collected some over the years as Amps came with these in the rear sockets. Ebay doesn't show any, if not hard to get a Phono plug & join the centre pin to the earth pin.

"The Repair Shop" Going Too Far?
Their Expert Repairers are extra good as you can see. But the Producers are 'Going Too Far' giving them Rubbish to Restore. S10 E14 a case in point. The Book Guy given a crappy old Kite that the selfish owners dug out of the Attic or whenever & coo about their Dad making it 50 years ago. Usually it'd have been thrown away long ago, but the poor guy has to restore this gnarly thing & pretend to care about it. Things can survive for the reason of 'forgotten about' as English Folk do stay put in a property for decades & the Attic or Outhouse is a prime place for old junk. On 'American Pickers' on a larger scale the USA is like this, they have items of Monetary Value that people want today, a tatty old kite has no value beyond the scriptwritten 'love' that's put into it. What would you do with it tidied up? Not really want it is a truth. They do like it & it does fly, how long until it breaks? Another remarkable piece of junk is a Toy Train of wood & metal that was played on 40 years ago when it was made & still nice. Here it's a joke, left in the rain 30 years metal heavily rusted & the plywood rotted away from wet & woodworm. She wants her kids to play on it again, are there not similar plastic ones to buy these days? He makes a 'Museum Grade' restore with most of the wood renewed, very nice. The repairers are hopefully well paid to pretend they are happy working on crappy goods, it's more a way to show off the skills as blogged just above 'Extreme Repairs'. Are they running out of more worthy repairs, they ask for 'new customers' at the end now. The next wreck to come in is a large Ceramic Plate in many pieces, tip it in the bin, but it's Claire Rayner's plate so beyond just tat in the shed. Broken long ago & stored in a box, signed by many, it's worth restoring, if way more broken that what is usually worked on. Nobody would touch it to restore the usual way. Spoonfuls of tiny bits are no use as too small to glue flat, only the bigger bits get used. The last one a naive but charming Painting done not right when painting means lots crumbled & fell off due to damp probably, they'd be better without the oil based sealant on the hardboard. Celebs liked her art, but here there is so much bad & it'll all go bad as the paint hasn't stuck properly to the board. Much needs repainting, but no old photos to go by is very hard. To iron on a Glue Paper to flatten it down not unlike laminating it, then remove the backing paper is a nice restoring way. Giving away trade secret ideas here. Looks great once done, but how much would that be? All are Jobs that a Pro would have to Quote a High Price for the Work Needed, they are taking advantage of The Repairers, if BBC wants to make more shows, surprising none have quit as it's too much, actually the 'Tim Weeks' Record Player guy did, not the Auctioneer one. To see some of the Repairers are appearing on TV Quiz shows as "Celebrities" is going too far also. Jay as an MBE yet keeps revealing his life is far from what MBE should mean, but today the 'celeb' often tells you more than you need to know.

Newly Made Spare Parts For Amplifiers & Receivers.
"Wheeler Dealers" S17 E20 with the popular & long running MGB Roadster with it's 60th anniversary pleasingly has lots of New Parts available. Beyond Custom Making Engine parts which is beyond the Garage or Home Mechanic, to see a huge warehouse with spare parts. some will be NOS from decades ago if the old rubber bearings new plastic ones are made & probably fir many vehicles. In Hi-Fi Land we've found USA folks are offering newly made parts. The 1960s Fisher combined Volume & Power Switch someone made a batch, probably needed one themselves but had to get a larger amount made for the makers to see it worthwhile. The creativity is good to see, but Hifi was often only a One-Three year item beore they tried to sell you 'Something Better' which by the 1980s wasn't actually the case. NOS New Old Stock will cover a lot of parts if things like Fascia with Printed Text are getting made as a Sticker that you can put over the worn text once it's fully cleaned off. Probably takes a few goes to get it right, as with anything untried. Most of Hifi is Transistors, Resistors, Capacitors & Diodes which are still easily found if needing equivalents. Often if casing is bad to buy another 'donor' amp but then have two of them & the donor one may be better grade than your first one. Wood casing can be Reveneered if can you get the 1970s American walnut anymore? Powder Coating may work on thicker casing but for the Oven Bake the thin casing may warp.

Pioneer SA-9800 1979 100w Amplifier.
Not had one of these & seen it sell for good prices, but it's Heavily Cost Cut 'Comet' era Pioneer a 1979 design. Looked before on the "Other Amps" to see it was Interesting. The HFN/RR ad for it hypes it in a very odd way that doesn't actually mean a lot. Ignore the silly prices 'asked' go to see what a Raw one sells for. We see a 'Refurbsished' one & see it's a Tatty scratched thing with corrosion & a worn meter bezel plus fascia corners dented, hardly what you'd want unless cheap. Who wants a 5/10 grade 'money' amp? The blue flashy meters are distracting when an older Meter Needle one is acceptable. Seeing a nice grade one selling for £1500, to see better pictures. This is a 1980s looking amp not of the 1976 Pioneer SA-9500 quality in the slightest. The underneath has obviously Hot Regulators, the board is quite blackened & no way to better this. The 8 output transistors are an odd shape that are likely Obsolete. Can't be Very Bassy as they use it with Loudness on. Look at the fascial expressions on us, this is not pleasing us. The £1500 one is sold fairly, but is it really worth that? Not to us. It's a cheap amp in a cheap generic case with the Fascia looking like the most expensive part. For how Cheap 'Comet' sold these especially once 1980 range mid-price amps, there was a reason why they were cheap, made cheaply as possible for the 100w rating to underprice other brands like Marantz & Yamaha. Looking on Blog Page 2 of ours, the Transistors are indeed Obsolete, 'Magni-Wide' and 'Ring Emitter Power Transistors'. Original Price we found was only $750 when the 'Pioneer A27' as the blog header shows was $1250, but 'Comet' heavily Discounted.

1972 Harman-Kardon 730 Receiver on 'Storage Wars'.
You see 'Stereo Gear' on USA TV shows sometimes, the game to identify USA models not sold in the UK makes it a bit difficult, if the S13 E32 episode shows this nice 40w Receiver as an item thaf the Lisa character takes to a Hifi Store to get it priced, along with some strange HK Desktop Speakers. The Guy tells it like it is, Surface Mount Ultra Cheap gear you can't repair & says it's junk which is so true. Might have worked, but nobody cares much. To see a Classic Amp on TV is way cool, says it's $300 worth & the Retro Looks stand out even just in the metal case, no wooden case. Haven't had many Harman-Kardon, their earlier USA only ones are 110v only & not found one of their 1978 range that was £20 at a Car Boot in 1991 or the 80w Citation receiver. They show the Receiver lit up, needs a bulb if they have her play ot on Headphones & loves the Sound compared to typical modern gear people will know. Secrets that are still being kept: Vintage Hifi is so Much Better, if getting old & needing a rebuilt. The shop shows a later Marantz receiver if not much in Amps & Receivers. The problem with 'Storage Wars' is the long 13th-14th series 'all in masks', 46 episodes 13+14 plus 100 'loud thuds' every episode now. Harman-Kardon 'of our era' is not easy to find & the 240v ones not much around amid those.

1966 Sansui TR-700 Transistor Receiver.
What exactly is this? First saw one on ebay in a grade not to buy, thought it looked interesting & early. Later saw the TR-707A to buy one, but not realising the TR-700 was a different one. HFE has manuals on this now so to have a better look. Despite the numbering the 20w TR-700 is later than the 25w TR-707A, as it has Silicon transistors & the ubiquitous 2SC458 that appears in 1967 Pioneer SX-1000TDF if not the 1966 SX-1000TA. FM only on the Tuner. One site now gone gave TR-700 a May 1966 date & TR-707A a May 1965 date. Circuits Differ. Aux goes to the Preamp, not the Phono stage. All Transistors are Silicon, the 2SC400 is a TO18 size. Circuits much less complex than the TR-707A which used PNP Germanium Medium Driver Transistors throughout, amps usually use Small Signal 'D' shaped ones or similar. Still has the Transformer Coupling for the Power Amp with Direct Coupling like the 3000(A) if not the TR-707A. Works on ±30v HT. Much is like the TR-707A & 3000(A) if has an adjust pot on the Power Amp before the Transformer. Ideas of the 1966 Sansui 3000 (later 1968 Sansui 3000A) if not the complex high NFB preamp. The picture of it on HFE shows it's looking more like the 3000(A) to confirm the TR-707A is earlier, the rear is like the 3000(A). Perhaps this was a Japan-only model, one site long ago used to list Sansui by year & month, if unfindable now. The UK sold 1967 Sansui 400 we've had is a later design. The TR-700 adds an adjust pot on the Power Amp which will alter Bias. In Order of Age from 1966-67 we can assume TR-707A, 3000, TR-700, 400 just by how they are made. Only the TR-707A has the PNP Germaniums. The TR-700 Biasing looks more reliable than the 3000(A), working on a 33K resistor not a 15 ohm one, suggesting it's after the 3000(A). Actually this is a later alteration, the HFE 'user manual' shows differences to the 'schematic' version & elsewhere, note the details drawn by a different hand to hide this.

February 2023 Blog

Not All Hi-Fi Makes It: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.
The reality in Hifi is if an amp can not be made Safe, Reliable & Sellable, then it can only be Parted. Often parts are worth lkeeping for Future Jobs, certain bits can be Rare as well as certain bits aren't worth keeping as you'll never use them. Feet, screws, connectors & general fascia fittings do get used, complex Transformers, custom switches & parts that never break you know will never be used, but hold on to them. That is Hoarding & we hoard certain parts as the Trade suggests. A lot you can buy on ebay as others see the USA sellers doing well with Rare Parts. All parts for one amp are Rare when you need them, the seller having to part an amp is just hoping to get back some money & often it works out. We parted a Sony STR-6120 in 2010 & sold lots of parts, no call for the chassis as you'd expect, but the Glass not wanted, we still have it & nobody wanted the early transformer as they don't fail. Some Hifi isn't made well, they skimp heavily, but what do they care in 1973 that the JVC 4VN-880 Preamp-Tone board, a nasty cramped Double Sided board, covered on excess flux which we removed, but found the capacitors wouldn't unsolder & track breaks away. Too tight inside to solder properly & seeing holes not lined up made it a fail. Had replaced the Transistors that were hissy, this is a 4ch amp so double the work & extra hard going, but you forget how hard it was & go in for another try. To expect more than 10 years use has been the way to keep Consumers Buying & at one time New was always considered Better & much good Hifi got stored away for Decades after not much use, or it got damaged electrically & it never got repaired. Sellers have poften tried to pass off 'wrecks' as sellable, many times they can be fixed, but to get Failures along the way, but with 90% Good, that's high odds, based on the Skill of the Repairer. The last 2 years has been less good on failures, if we can't get it Reliable then it can't be sold. Not to tell of all the bad ones, it's poor construction that can't be made good or the unfair ones badly messed with that are too far gone already, these should just be returned. The 1971 Leak Delta 75 receiver is a good looker, but rubbish inside with bits of other Leak gear cobbled into one. They kept altering the amp with added resistors on transistor legs which is very amateurish. We got one going in 2012 & sold it as it was good, yet another 3 bought just wouldn't, to buy another twice as they can't all be bad as one was fine, but bad they were & to see lots on ebay offered as non workers. Breaking an amp is best done quickly, lots of wires can be reused, the screws to keep all of them. To be left with a chassis & rear panel that you can strip for all fittings, to get the lid & base, they rarely fit other amps as those in the attic tell, but that's what an attic is for, halfway to the bin. What doesn't get used over time filters into older boxes that seem pointless to keep, if to sort them out. Having certain bits means you can buy 'that amp' as you have the parts. As blogged above, to find a bass control for the Yamaha CA-1000 makes it good again, the repaired one is just a glued broken board inside, it'd not be fair to sell that as one knock on the bass which is on the left corner, it could break again. CA-1000 is a keeper currently. It's not good having amps that aren't sellable, but to break them for no reason seems pointless, let them sit. The Pioneer SX-1000TDF that was like new inside yet never worked had parts used by Three other Pioneers, so parting that wasn't so bad.

The Problem With Keeping Amplifier Parts.
Since typing the above, we've gone through our many boxes, the 2L Ice Cream tubs suit well & especially with the Lid. These boxes get filled up randomly & to Try To Find That Part becomes difficult. So empty them out gradually & put similar bits in boxes to label them. Loads of Amplifier Knobs & Buttons plus internal switches & control pots. Managed to empty 8 boxes into other sorted boxes plus boxes of Assorted Crap which don't really fit any category 'but might come in useful'. Some bits like UK meters from Tuners time to throw parts out including small metal parts as they never get used. Long been keeping old Output Transistors & there are probably Rare & Wanted ones as some like to keep original parts. These are not for sale so please don't ask if we've got a part. Probably not & some parts do get used & may in the future. The tops & bases to amplifiers you may think could be worth keeping, if an amp has been parted the odds are you'll never get one again as it needing parting & wasted your time & money. As with anything, if you have the space for it, keep it. Certain parts for the more Wanted Amps are worth selling as Parts. See USA sellers on ebay & they do well with parts, only cetain parts as they know what sells.

So Near But So Far: Don't Give Up Too Easily On Faulty Hi-Fi.
A 2015 Wheeler Dealers S12 E17 episode on a 1991 VW Corrado VR6, rewatching this series & finding ones not seen before despite having watched the show for years. This a Very Good Case of an otherwise decent car that is nearly fit to be scrapped for the jobs it needed, a £1200 buy you'd not really want all the jobs, but this lucky car gets a New Interior, New Sunroof, New Oil parts, New Brakes & Wheels plus a good cleaning. They actually get £5500 for it which shows they chose well, often the profit is minimal & not taking into consideration the probable £100 an hour labour. Today's attitude is "Bin It" & for a lesser car it would have gone to the Scrappers. In The Last Month we've had two sorry sounding amps in much need of repair, the customers telling of the awful sounds they make. No idea what it is without seeing them, but these two amps we know as our Rebuilds so we eventually get both. As you can imagine the Upgraded amp is much missed compared to another they have to use & send them not really knowing what it'd cost. The 1971 Hitachi SR-800 we thought was the best of those Hitachi, no interest in hearing it sounding bad, so just check it over & find a fault which after testing more seemed to be the only issue. Interestingly one 'ebay seller' had a look & said "There Is No Fault", well that's what today's Tech will think as they don't know older amps or to look further. First try after a repair it's fine, sounds great still & to charge a £100 repair for a customer of it suits us. The next one was a 1966 Rogers HG88 Mk III that we rebuilt & upgraded before, if not redoing the mix of resistors to keep to a budget. Again the bad noises & instability. Check it over, all our work good still if finding one issue to take a piece apart to fix it. Amp plays fine, 2 mins to warm up & it plays nicely. The way the customer was talking they were expecting a much bigger bill, if to charge £200 pleased them. When things go wrong, the Distress it causes can make you think to get something else instead, giving up on the faulty component as Faults can give the idea it's ruined. On Modern Gear post 1980 you may end up with an Unrepairable item, but generally earlier gear is far more repairable. On these two, they were already Recapped with Upgrades, don't think for a second a Repair on an aged original 50 year old amp will be a quick fix. The Customer's spend in total on each amp is more in line of a Rebuild as they were Rebuilt. Good to get them going again for not much, but these were "Our Amps" in the first place. This is our After Sales Service, why give Our Rebuild to Another? Unlikely they'll understand it & may Wreck It like our Canada-bought 1968-70 Sony STR-6120 got.

Vintage Hi-Fi Pricing As Recapped & Upgraded.
We've been Selling Vintage Hifi since before this site. Years back the Amps weren't so Old so to Sell on a Serviced Amp but one Not Recapped was still possible. But Today a lot of Amps are Past Their Best. Recapping Amps is very varying in Cost depending on the Amp, a small 13w Trio 1971 amplifier is a small job when the Big Jobs are Higher Power ones & the 1960s ones. The amount of Work in the 1966 Sansui TR-707A to make it use daily, Recapping with Upgrades, then change Hissy Germanuims to Silicons. The Resistors added Noise too so to Redo The Resistors by working out the Board Layout as there was No Diagram was a Big Job. To get it Stable in Use as Switches can cause issues, the Tape Monitor input we use to bypass the Aux into Phono via a large Resistor. It gives a better clarity, but the Switch in Use with the Volume at Listening Level can cause a bad noise which would have to be Tamed to Sell It. To Consider Selling It for the want to have another amp to sell, but what are we offering here? It's a 25w 1966 Sansui Receiver in nice grade. We've sold the 1967 Sansui 400 & 1968 Sansui 350A to know the market on these, the Sansui name adds interest if really they're ging by Our Reviews of Our Own Goods as no-one else Upgrades these early amps. The buyer is buying blind to a degree but soon realises how Great they are. The Sansui 400 we did a lot to just to see how good it was & it was extra good, the 350A much less to do & that lovely sound again. But we Sold them, the Sansui 400 buyer liked it to buy a parts amp from the USA with a wood case & to replace the missing conrol knob cap, lucky buy, jealous a little as we couldn't find one. We had the TR-707A so not to need another Sansui. Thinking what Amps to Sell isn't easy. Some we've done such a lot with, the Sell Price is never covering what the Work Done is, the TV show 'Bangers & Cash' showed Car restorations done hoping to make a profit & it showed by doing Deeper Restorations you'll lose heavily. Buying In Raw Amps Is Difficult these days as ebay Hifi is way overpriced, Auctions are more realistic if by the high prices to wonder if you're bidding against the seller in that Shill Bid way. The days of a cheeky £50-£100 buy are pretty much gone & even Non Workers of certain brands can go way high based on our idea of the value. Often you'll not be told how damaged an amp is as they won't do photos of obvious damage. Buying a Bad Amp is possible, one that we can't make useable & reliable so it gets parted, one Marantz amp with damage we could fix just to keep it alive & sell it on cheap, telling what the issues were. Pricing A Reality. The 1966 Sansui TR-707A we put on the 'Coming Soon' part of the Sales page. Thinking on it, the market's not ready to pay that price when the later Sansui needing much less work is priced more in the Pricing Range of what sells. That 1971 Trio-Kenwood KR-6170 we got for £200 just to see what it is we done a lot to & as of typing it gets used on Speakers as it has a great sound, but that's only from the Upgrades. Being 'not pleased' it got absolutely No Interest to see how poor the market is on this amp. Reverb Springs & Rhythm Generator all working, case OK if not high grade, looks fine in daylight. To try more Upgrades on it after it sat even at £550 to think 'why bother selling it', looks great & hifi-nerdy looks with loads of controls delight. The amount of work in it is high now, it's a big amp sizewise if only 33w in RMS power. It's a bit Sad that Quality Of Sound is Less Important than High Power. The Sweet Sound of a 20w-25w amp is very different to the usually Hard & Dry sound of an amp over 50w. It is possible to Upgrade certain amps to get the Sweet Sound in these higher power amps, if a big job. The Marantz 2385 185w Receiver we bought one at a good price & serviced the dull sounding thing, then recapped it with upgrades over a few months. Sounding good if not as Fast & Punchy as you'd think 185w would be, to see the Market on this amp isn't quite what the $5000 sellers have you believe. Sell price sold it on, but the Work In It way short of that Sell Price. A Big Amp to try but hardly good biz sense. Some Amps Aren't For Selling if so much work has been done, the 1966 Akai AA7000 we sold then got it back a few years later, rebuilt it again & it gets used on Speakers now. Amps got for Selling isn't so easy, it's Buy-In price plus Delivery, Parts to Buy plus hours to do the work. In terms of it being a Customer's Amp to Rebuild, to get a proper price will always be a better job. TV's "Wheeler Dealers" has them saying they made a 'Profit' when they're not adding in Labour, a Car Garage is going to be £100 an hour at least. The TR-707A we'll leave to see if there's any interest, the 1969 Pioneer SX-2500 isn't really one for selling when it cost £600 to get it here plus so much work to sort some odd design. An early 72w amp heads it into a different territory, would anyone pay £2000 for it which is still short of the work done? If they heard it, they probably would. Home Demo & let them use it for a few days as some Hifi Shops used to let you, but that'd never work out. The Stumbling Block of Vintage Hifi is Price, then Price, then knowing how Great It Is based on a Review by the one who worked on it & then sells it. Buyers do read our site to buy & get their amps Rebuilt, the thing is Price when Amps & Jobs on the Best Amps can be over £1000.

Making The Side Piece For The Trio-Kenwood KR-6170 Jumbo.
Trying to find a piece of Aluminium of nearly the size is hard enough. Did look before if that was amid the Years of The Big Lie, so not much around. A seller offering a 30cm strip of 4mm thick by 20mm is the best we could get, ask for them to machine it to 18mm & they won't even offer a price. Amp does need the side piece, a piece of card with Aluminium tape didn't last long & cutting perspex to use the tape would be a job too, so get a piece of metal. We've not got a Workshop with "Proper Gear" to cut the metal, it's a Dremel wheel. To say it's Not Very Good is an understatement, untidy to cut the metal near to size. Gave up & used an Old-School Junior Hacksaw that did a much better job, neater & faster. Using an Electric File, one of those Sanding Belt type machines, those Belts break so easily, maybe the Glue is old on ours but it hardly removes anything & by Belt 6 it's getting a bit pointless. So go Old-School again, a nice Rough Round file is far better, it actually shifts the metal compared to the Electric File & some piddly round attachment on the Dremel, pretty hopeless item really, why is it so Popular? Clearly only meant for Light Work, but to think taking 2mm off a piece of soft Alumimium is Light work, clearly not. More Hand Filing to do then finish it off with the Power Tools, hardly what you'd expect. We have an Angle Grinder, a ferocious but satisfying if Scary Tool for the power in it, too much for this job. To need one of those varying speed ones like they Polish Cars with, if we've not really looked into it. But so far Power Tools 0, Old School Saw & File 2. Many use Electric Drills, we use an old 1960s 'Clipper' hand one on smaller size holes, Screwdrivers, Pliers & other Manual Tools. Because it does a more controlled job & we're used to them, some of these tools we've had since the 1980s. Even our Step Ladder, it's a mid 1960s one with Steel Frame & Wood Steps, took all the screws & bolts off & redid them years ago, why buy one of those creaky Aluminium ladders? Modern Tech offers so much in Home Tools but is generally Not All That unless you get a Big Money Tool shop like you see on the Cars shows. End Result looks fine, not machine shop perfect but much more presentable. A Rare Amp you'd not find parts of, another sits long for £1200 as Raw is your other option. Ours all Working & Recapped with Further Upgrades, why sell it? Needs better fixing with pins as it didn't stay stuck for moving around.

The Biggest Hi-Fi Cliché: "It Sounds Valve-Like".
The see this tired cliche describing the ultra cheap 'Class D' designs used in ultra-budget ampl,ifiers & DJ amps, it's clear no-one really has any idea of what Valve really sound like. You'll find this sort of talk on Forums & Youtube Hifi Videos in the Comments. 2022 is too far past when you could buy a 1950s-1960s valve unit, from a Radiogram to a Leak, Pioneer, Rogers, Fisher etc. These are too aged now and aren't listenable. Modern Valve amps are aplenty & having heard some as on or reviews including 'A Guru's' one that was very bass light & oscillated if you try to add more bass, what are people using this term nased on hearing. It's 'Bloke Down The Pub' thinking. The classic UK valve amps like Rogers & Leak as original we've heard, an early 1963 Rogers Cadet III we had as the two part one in 2012, it played initially if after use it just got worse which was a pity as it was High Grade & all original. The sound was upfront & very bright & edgy, probably suited 1963 duller sounding speakers. Soon got the 1965 Rogers HG88 III to upgrade to a far better spec than the feeble original design with just 24µf on the main capacitor, the circuit kept tame to not bother you with Bass. The amp we've had a few of, they upgrade rebuild well, they sound strong & upfront on a Headphone box that we made to go on the Outputs & on Speakers as Upgraded it sounded pleasing, giving it a far better spec shows this Midprice Amp was a good design. Onto the Japanese amps with the 1963 Trio WX-400U, a 10w receiver with great looks. Capable of a sweet sound if the 10w not quite enough when the 15w HG88 III was a better power rating to use.

March 2023 Blog

The problem with Blogging is to later find things are no longer Relevant. To hold a Blog to continue with things rather than Post incomplete ideas needs Editing & here we've collected several on this 2023 page to find them best deleted.

Beware Of "Brand New In Box" On Vintage Hi-Fi.
It's Nice to see a High Grade amp when others can be rough & tatty. Lesser grade means lesser price even if Rebuilt. To see Amps from 50 years ago in 'Like New' grade, especially ones still in the Original Box & even with the plastic bags should mean Caution. Why is it in this High Grade rather than being Used? Sadly it can often mean "It Was Faulty When New" & returned. Sat around forgotten in a busy shop does happen as 'American Pickers' find stashes of New Old Stock, looked after or not. We had a 'NOS' 1967 Pioneer SX-1000TDF, like Brand New inside, but it had failed. Probably Failed in 1967 when new, remains of old stickers suggest it was returned & not attempted to repair. We tried everything with it, one channel played, another just kept wrecking the other channel. A 1971 Hitachi SR-800 receiver was gleaming like new, a real joy but hissy transistotrs & later found the volume control needed replacing. Metal Fatigue can be a tough one to spot. There will be genuine unopened Vintage Hifi around, but generally if the box has been Opened, don't trust it not to be a 'Problem' amp. Hifi needs to be Used over the years, it's how the 1966 Pioneer SX-1000-TA is still working as someone had recommissioned it probably in the early 1990s. Only now is it starting to show age by not being equal volume L+R, so it's one to rebuild now. The SX-1500TDF has already supplied parts for it & the SX-2500, so our New Caps will find a new home in the SX-1000-TA.

Dickinson's Real Deal: The First 2006 Series.

A much rawer version of the over-slick padded-out 2022 version. 'Challenge' channel offered most of S1 & Tivo recorded it in Sept 2022 & now the Series 2 is being shown as of March 2023. One we noticed later for the Comedy of Mike Melody & Rob Bingham who left quite early on. Here DD is fresh from his 'Bargain Hunt' years, ITV clearly offered him a Real Deal on his own show. Years a Dealer & Collector plus a Personality made a good choice & still to be making new episodes in 2022 with him past 80 shows it's a good formula. Today the sellers are told what it's worth & Gold Deals for £3000 leaving £50 profit is too unrealistic. But the 2006 ones are much more realistic, the Dealer gets to offer their price or refuse it. DD sometimes gets them extra cash if he thinks they've been mean. To see the Sellers of 2006, only 16 years ago but almost a Generation ago to some, the sellers now are often inheriting what the 2006 sellers were still buying. Tastes clearly changed for what sells. People buying repros & fakes at originals money only to still think it's worth that.

You Want Bass, More Bass & Then Even More Bass.
Looking at what you get Today buying New Hifi, the scene is a little bit laughable. 400w PMPO (peak music power output) yet the amp itself is only 40w RMS is telling what Hype you are being sold. 400w for one second just before it blows up is the reality. Do you even know what 400w sounds like? Those big Marshall Stacks used on huge multi-speaker & amp installations are only 100w if they use NFB in a different way to Domestic Amps. An amp today has Bass Tone, Loudness & Super Bass Boost. Do you really think you'll get the Real Sub Bass from these, under 50Hz Bass is rarely played by any Amp or Speaker. What you hear is a limited Retro Bass like some 1970s Amps used, it impresses initially but becomes very tiring quickly. We've had Hundreds of Amps & Receivers, how many really do play Deep Bass? As Designed, none of them. We've done Upgrades to Better Bass for years & tried this on many amps. Sure we can get lovely clean Treble, smooth precise Midrange which means a general Bass will follow suit. But Sub Bass is on TV shows, usually USA made ones & they put nice Sub Bass bits that most amps wouldn't know about. The Trouble is People Started Complaining that their Rubbishy Rumbly Turntable was putting out Bassy Noises. The Rumble on a Garrard SP25 Mk III is quite high, the SP25 Mk IV is an improvement. This was a Budget Turntable used much in Radiograms to Music Centres. Here Bass wasn't an issue with the Retro-Bass designed Amp stages so it suited. Our 1970 Hacker GAR 500 & 550 were like this, the Bass was Lumpy if the rest was quite decent. Similar with the 1971 Philco-Ford amp the Family had, decent 12w sound but try8ing to upgrade one of both they werem't really capable. You can use Sub Woofers to get More Bass, hearing one in a Hifi Shop set much too Loud we commented on, much to the displeasure of the salesman who though it was great being Overloud Bass. If your amp doesn't Output Sub Bass you're not going to get it done right with the Crossovers & Level controls these use. It is possible to get Bassy amps into the 1973 era, but as you'd imagine, it's all in the Upgrade & not many can really do Big Bass. In terms of Upgrades we've done with Our Amps, the Sound can be Too Big & you could risk annoying others. Hifi is kept Tamed from the Big PA sound for a reason.

Why was the 1966 35w Pioneer SX-800A (SX-2000) So Harshy Ruined?
It's a 35w version of the ER-420 at 15w which is an excellent design. Boosted up 100v more on the main HT & using 7868 larger valves, midway size to EL84 & EL34. The 7868 has no direct equivalent if some will insist using 'wrong' ones under the guise of 'Tube Rolling' based on sellers with lots of Military Spec valves. Don't Roll Valves is the Wisest idea, the specs can upset the voltages & trash the amp. The Big Problem is Pioneer foolishly used a 6AN8 Pentode-Triode 'IC' type valve. The ER-420 used a Classic ECC83 double triode which is a perfect & much used valve as it's so good in Audio. The 6AN8 you can see is a 1954 design for Televisions, the Pentode is actually a Beam Tetrode says the 'Valve Museum' site which has been online for many years. They say it's a Video Amp meaning for TV picture frequencies, not 20Hz-20kHz audio. It's also a Reactance valve as in Radio-TV tuning. The Triode stage is the same as half an ECC83 so to assume they were deliberately dumbing down the design with a weak valve, but thinking people would buy it on hearing? SX-800A is a rare one. See how the Anode Voltages are higher than the ECC83 ones as the 6AN8 isn't pulling the same current. The lesser NFB resistor 22K compared to EL34 2.5K shows the gain is quite a bit less too. It's a Rubbish Valve for Hifi. The SX-800A (as SX-800) is in the 1966/67 HFYB for £171 if the ER-420 was well advertised & a good seller, appearing belatedly in the 1967/68 book. The SX-800A Sound. We had a customer get one to have us rebuild, a complex amp that was needing a comparison with the earlier ER-420 one so we got an ER-420. But the SX-800A had the power but the 6AN8 spoiled the sound, making it lack focus & generally weak sounding. To swap them around made no difference, to buy NOS 6AN8 not hard as it's a TV valve. The SX-800A is so packed underneath to try to redesign it to the superior ER-420 spec could be possible, but having known the 1963 Trio WX-400U the need to balance all the voltages is required as the SX-800A output stages & fixed bias are very different. The 'Rule' in valve amps is to get Proper Valves, as in old designs that are still Made Today as they were the Best Ones & a Demand exists. ECC81, ECC82, ECC83, EL34, EL84. Hifi Shark sales site typically prices some realistically, one way high & two supposed 'rebuilt' ER-420 yet you never see the underside pics. The thing with Vintage Valve Receivers, unless they are Properly Upgraded, you'll be selling yours off cheap as it's not all that. The 'Hifi Shark' is too willing to bite you with Disappointingly Rebuilt Hifi.

TV Show Sound Quality.
We use Sound via our £10 DAC we upgraded inside & into an Amp & Speakers. Spend more if you like but it'll not be 'better' just make you feel better you paid more, as is a lot of Items today. Watching various UK TV shows plus more of USA or Australian origin reveals UK Sound can be Not So Good. Older TV shows can be Sound Produced not to well, this is pre 2009 which gets further away than you realise. The 2006 'Dickinson's Real Deal' First Series they Pan-And-Scan the picture, making faces too big sometimes if makes the 4:3 image more watchable. The Sound isn't always great. TV Sound in 2006 was usually still through the Speakers of a large CRT TV if we've used an amp on TV since the early 1990s when all you had was a Headphone Output & even our 36" Panasonic only had 'Non-Flat' Audio Outputs via Phono sockets. Only really with Digital TV & then onto Sky did the Sound be of a better Hifi Standard. Even today BBC sound is often very varying in quality, far too trebly with no richness was a general opinion for years, as in when 'Eastenders' was watchable, it always sounded thin. Currently watching the S3+S4 of 'Would I Lie To You' from 2009-2010 the sound is quite rough with an over-rich plummy sound. Sometimes the BBC Antique shows are of a similar plummy sound but when playing non BBC product these shows sound fine. Some shows are more Bassy & Lively, some bring up quite loud music effects that you must assume were 'Produced' on small monitor speakers for them not to realise, but then a Deep Sub-Bass sound that few Amps & Speakers can play reveals they may use Big Full Range speakers not just a Monitor & Sub Woofer, if the Sub is more likely.

Surround Sound Is Dead? No It Isn't.
To hear 'Storage Wars' say Surround Sound is Obsolete with all those silly cheap small speakers in vinyl wrap. The amount of Channels was 5.1 then 7.1 & much further. It was based on Hollywood Films tediously having many channels for Sound to fit a Director's Idea of Sound Placement. Never had any interest in it, 2 Channel Stereo can give enough detail & effects. Where Did You Get Multi-Channel Sound? TV Sound was Stereo from the Early 1990s & today TiVo & other Home Digital TV boxes use Dolby Digital Stereo, the two standard channels. So it was from a DVD or Blu-Ray & needed those rather laughable Multichannel Amps with many dozens of inputs. Many Amp channels of IC nature & there was a time when ones in 'Fault Mode' used to be offered on ebay for very little as unrepairable. Today's TV Sound is still in Stereo, from Broadcasts, Recordings, Streaming & Catch-Up services. There is no need for Multi-channel beyond Movies which seems a dead market, if Amazon offers a range still, the ubiquitous 'Soundbar' & 250w Subs seem the mass market ideas like 'The Gadget Show' offered years ago, lousy sounding to us if you don't know 'Real Sound' they appear to suit despire HDTV & the pointless Higher Res versions, your eyes that good on a TV 6 feet away? A TV isn't really what the Younger Generations use anyway. Earbuds & a tiny Mobile Phone screen. A 'Best Surround System' that Amazon offers as an article still tries to offer the late 1990s idea of a big room with still those many speaker cabinets. What does an actual Street Shop offer these days? One we knew & bought much from 20 years ago is still there, they'd been offering the AV System as well as less CD & Amplifiers. Multi-Room installations & other items that seem 'Old Fashioned'. A 1966 Pioneer ER-420 Valve Receiver, once rebuilt, can offer Stereo Sound & easy connectors, why think you need Surround still? That shop offers AV, Surround Sound, Home Theatre, Home Automation, Lighting Systems plus Hifi & Speakers still. Aiming at Big Money 'Style' types who probably buy & reft it new five years later or less. Gone are those Huge AV Amps & Ceiling Projectors of Old, the Modern Version looks appealing, if the Content of what you'll be Viewing & Hearing 'ain't what it used to be'. Certainly not as Popular as the days of VHS in the early 1980s, getting ex-rental Big Films to see that everyone pulled the tape out or rewound it right as the Credits started, so the tape had 'stretch damage' right as the action part ended. DVD & Blu-Ray. Unless you want the Multi-Channel sound, these really are a waste of money. About 15 years ago there was a huge amount of Vintage TV on DVD for the first time. We got all we wanted but to keep 'back up' copies rather than have the oversized packaging & user limits. Some we have watched over the years if not all. Shows like the two 'Twilight Zone' from 1960s & 1980s, 'Star Trek 1966' & other all time classics you'd not get rid of, but some to have watched once & probably never will again. As time moves on TV Comedy gets more & more dated, to have it there matters. We have over 4500 of the Theatrical Cartoons, compling sets of these 1920s-1970s. Tried the Hanna-Barbera ones until watching some & finding they are unwatchable, as are the Warner Bros cartoons by the late 1940s. These were all in Mono & the WB ones suffer from ridiculous over-colouring on the Box Sets.

The Repair Shop: Getting Boring? Saved By The Echo Box.

Sadly it is, too many episodes being made & to be frank the stuff is too far gone, easily found online in better grade & then some items being Boring to watch the same things done over & over. Some items even restored have little monetary value, to hear they'll Cherish it will soon wear off, what do you do with it now, ah, put it back where it stayed & forget about it. The Sickly chatter is unwelcome, being told someone died in 2003 & hearing a 'sorry' is too much, S12 E4 on that one. Past A Year generally gets an 'OK' on other shows that don't go over schmaltzy. The endless cleaning big things with a Cotton Bud giving the ideas of Loving Care over many days isn't real, to sort things in a much quicker way is the reality in repairs, to do a Pro Job still is possible. The Quality of Items turning up has gone down overall as most people realise there is a bin, or go buy a better one of it. A Non-Sentimental View from your Restorer means you'll not Waste Your Money, if the show does the work for Free if you can Donate. Further New Episodes show pointless items to fix, the overcooked 'meaningful stories' are a bit much, one S11 E8 with deep sentimentality about a 1960s 'Atco' lawnmower is a joke. He treats it like a $$$$ Harley 100 year old engine, yet it has zero value commercially. "The Repair Shop" has 'Jumped The Shark' long ago with a 1970s round rusted Vacuum Cleaner, the 'RS' team so desperate to get certain people on there, unaware how patronising it is, but it's an often thing. That same S12 E4 Episode shows there is hope as a Guitar Guy brings a cheaper version of the "Binson Echorec" as the "Watkins Copicat" a similar Tape Based Delay-Echo machine. These were first out in the late 1950s making a Fresh Sound for Rock & Roll plus other styles as the 'Echo Chamber'. This is a '10' in interest to us, never seen one & the insides show 3x ECC83 size valves, a Radio Tuning type circuit probably an oscillator, it uses several Tape Heads so Bias will be involved rather than adding Sound Effects. Why he picks on the possible Selenium Rectifier isn't clear, maybe it's burnt? One big capacitor with 4 cap stages in one Can as 1966 valve amps still use, controls, tape motor & a decent size transformer. The guy said he used it 1959-1974 so clearly a semi-pro performer, his group 'Two Plus Two' not a known one, says he's Brian Paul (not Brian Poole) from Somerset, nothing specific found online, later says he played the 'Top Rank' in Bristol, music he plays suggests more a cabaret style, if he should do a website as interest will be here. Sounds Like? The repair guy tries it on Max settings & it gives a wild Psychedelic sound, the owner plays more sedate music using less wild settings, it has a Vintage Sound for sure which is Appealing. The Echo used on short echo fills the sound to make it richer, the longer echo is where a later sound comes from. An advanced machine in terms of sound & why they can make £1000 for the bigger Binson ones. Interestingly the Crazy Tiny Sewing Machine in the same episode was a Fail as it was a bad design that wasn't any good when new, plenty made, few sold. It looked nice polished up, but what interest it really has is a marginal one. The World of Electronics past Hifi accept an old Radio will never work again, to use it as an ornament. The Hifi scene is capable of better success, if still many past 1980 we consider 'unrepairable'.

April 2023 Blog

Buying Large Sized Electrolytic Capacitors.
The 1971 Sony STR-6065 needs larger capacitors to fit in the clamp as designed. Putting anything smaller would work fine, but as with Capacitor Stuffing & Foam Strips to make up the Diameter Difference, really the best way if the Resell Value of the Amp can take it, is to put the higher priced correct size ones. These will be larger values which is part of Upgrading & you can go too far & have too big a value. The STR-6065 has 52mm diameter x 80mm length ones. The original 1971 6000µf ones are likely still good, but 52 years old now, to replace as you don't know what it's like inside, it could be dry & crusty, could have leaked the fluid inside or may only last a short while. For Recapping & Upgrades to replace is needed, we'd not trust aged Capacitors because 'they look OK' if many will. It takes good searching to find suitable ones, beyond price, which do you choose? You might not like the Bright Blue ones prefering the black one as it'd show through the grille. Ones we found suitable for the STR-6065 vary from £20 each to £81 each, plus VAT, so a £50 buy to a £190 buy. What's Different? The Temperature & Hours Use are much the same. Ripple Current much the same, Leakage Current applies to the expensive ones & ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) is much lower on the expensive ones, if does 0.02 ohm compared to 0.008 ohm matter in the use? For Hifi the £50 ones are fine, the Expensive ones are more for Digital & Computing use and are not worth paying extra for, if as with anything Expensive, some like to show off saying that 'xx cost £££', but we look for Best Value at a Quality & Price. To end up buying Similar Ones we put in the 1971 Sony TA-3200F 100w Power Amp. The Manual shows 50v as the Power Amp main voltage, tolerances on HT & Capacitors mean a 63v as originally used.

Big Bass On TV Shows An Unexpected 'Problem'.
Not an issue for Sound Bar users & unlikely Sub Woofer Users will know about this as the Modern Tech can't 'Do Bass' like the earliest Amplifiers, the 1966 Breed Ones. USA Digital TV Shows are Adding More Bass in recent years, ones like "Storage Wars" with their 100 thuds an episode, 'Wheeler Dealers' with some fine Full Bodied Electric Guitar & Effects sounds & even the more sedate "Chasing Classic Cars" offers up some soundtracks to get your Amp & Hifi going. 15" Tannoys driven by Low Damping Factor Amps is Hardly what TV Studios use, they use small Monitor Speakers, it makes the "Storage Wars" unwisely do their thuds 3 times louder than the rest in later series & even louder on the 'shutter down' ones. Not great to play after Midnight, a recent 'Sky' ident thud also way too heavy. You can use the Low Filter even if the overall sound is an acceptable volume, it can still be a bit much. "The Simpsons" are like this too, listen to it on Headphones & you can hear the tiny room acoustic of the Voices yet way overloud Music effects. The Tannoys plus some 1966 Amps are therefore 'Too Good' if who doesn't like a Rich Fat but Controlled Bassline. Most Amps of today only offer that limited sound probably not far from Retro Bass, but to hear Real Big Sub Bass likely isn't going to bother many. Also it's only found in Custom Upgraded Amps.

What Do They Use These Days: Portable Radio.
A Portable Radio was the thing to have since the Typist was about 6 on getting a very small one. Many came & went, most were of no Quality, if certain Brands offered more power than 200mW or 500mW. The Best Ones were the Hacker ones, their best one as in the RTV Year Book 1971-72 was the 'Sovereign RP25' at £46.50, the other Hacker were decent too as you got 1.5w output which was adequate for a Portable Radio listening volume. Not much power, but looking at the Radiograms & Record Players, many were only 3w and 1w for what you'd expect to be playable louder. The Book shows the 'Rigonda Symphony Deluxe' radiogram that we had the Piano Lacquer Teak finished 39" high speakers that weren't too deep at 8.5". Power here was only 4w which explained why they fried using a 30w amp if the cases got used for new speakers bought from Maplin, until building our own ones from thick chipboard built-in wardrobe pieces of a similar size if deeper that lasted adding stick on veneer until we got the Tannoys in 2002. By then Fane 15" Bass & the Bullet tweeters. It suited & gave years use. On getting the Tannoys, the DIY speakers sounded so different, it took a while to get used to the Tweeter with a proper crossover. To be of the idea that 'This Was The Correct Sound', as getting the Valve Amps previously, wanting to Up The Game in Hifi. Today's Radio Items? TV offers Digital Radio Channels, based on GM & MW stations plus others Digital only. The DAB Radio 'Tivoli' were Popular, Amazon still has the same ones for £430, remember them as smart looking if the created boomy bass was a bit dumbed down. Roberts still make the revived Retro ones showing a demand for the Housewife at the Kitchen Sink(!) still. As you'd propably imagine the 'Alexa' type idiot boxes that listen to all you do can offer Radio in a Basic Sounding way that is true to the poor sound of older Portable Radios. Radio is on a Mobile Phone, the Headphone Buds offering the Aerial, if probably it's not played through the tiny speaker as that's more for Voice narrow bandwidth. A Phone gets used for On-Hold music that sounds awful, one track The Drifters 'Under The Boardwalk' has Bass Notes at the start & to hear it was altered to a higher pitched Hum Noise to give a sound that was Audible on the limited requency range. As unpleasant as the Autotune you hear on Modern 'Music' on having to test Vintage Tuners. At least there is still an option to hear Radio in a familiar way even to those who first bought Valve Radios, they just yell at 'Alexa' to play 'Cosy FM' or whatever, that does exist. UK still has FM & MW radio, in our area there isn't that much. Some Countries have turned off Analog Radio which used to be far better for Car Radio in the early DAB days. Car Radios on Amazon look familiar still, Bluetooth & USB, don't pretend to know what you do with Bluetooth if it's likely a Phone thing to play MP3s. On ebay etc you can still buy Old Vintage Cassette & 8 track players, plus the basic button push Radios to suit Vintage Cars. Some new Car Hifis still have the traditional two control knob designs & some still play a single CD that got old fashioned in about 1988 for Car Boot mounted changers. Tech thankfully moved on in User-Friendly ways if to see 65w rated 'Stereos' for £25 amuses, the commenters like them with one reviewer wondering why it was junk unaware of the 'pays-£25' irony.

Early Pioneer In Hifi News Ads & 1965 Pioneer ER-420 Valve Receiver
The HFYB features several Pioneer receivers, as on our 'List Of Receivers' page. 1963 SM-Q141 stereo receiver with MPX facilities though UK no MPX FM yet 14w £70; FM-B100 Mono receiver 10w £49. 1964
SM-G205 11w with ECL86s £89, SM-Q300 with EL84s 15w £89. 1965 none. 1966 all new range: FM-B101 7w mono valve £63, SX-34 11w valve £93, LX-34 valve as SX-34 with LW £98, SX-800 "75w music" valve, (35w all valves early version of 800A) ie Tuner only is part valves £171, SX-600T Transistor 17.5w £180, SX-1000T(A) Transistor 40w £204. 1967 SX-34 again, ER-420 15w no price, SX-800A valve-SS hybrid (SS on tuner MPX only) now '90w music power' with EL34(?) output valves likely 20-25w max £171, SX-600T again, SX-1000TA again, SX-300T added 12.5w valve-SS hybrid 41 transistors 12 valves, no price, SX-410 exists too with 3 SW tuner bands probably non UK model. 1968/69 same. Pioneer ER-420 a short-lived model that was available in the UK & seems to have sold some by ones available over the years. The earliest Pioneer use a Double Tuner idea to get a Stereo sound by using two tuners that received each half of the Stereo, if by 1963 a proper FM MPX was broadcast. The HFYB shows what was available if not showing all models or giving an order of release. Pioneer in Hifi News Adverts. These show better what Pioneer were offering. Still got the 1963-1969 ones to see. Jan 1963 has the SM-Q300B 20w Two-Tuner if a MPX adapter can be used. Mar 1963 lists SM-801 "90w", SM-Q300B "40w", SM-G204 "32w". June-July 1963 return with Pioneer SM-500 Amplifier, 36w music power, 25w RMS per channel. Aug-Dec 1963 all show the pre MPX receivers SM-G204E "14w" ECL86 & SM-Q300E "17w" EL84. Jan 1964 continues previous ads. Feb-May 1964 all with Pioneer SM-83 Amplifier, 27w per channel RMS. Jun 196 4-May 1965 all with a New Pioneer SX-82 AM/FM MPX receiver, away from the two-tuner ideas. Says "80w" likely 20w RMS per channel. Noise level on Aux 'better than 65dB'. Looks more modern, not the ER-420 style yet. July-Aug 1965 returns with the Pioneer EX-42 which looks exactly like the ER-420. "40w" music power, ER-420 user manual says 15w RMS per channel. Aux noise level 75db. Nothing online about the EX-42 suggests it was an error or prototype model. Sep 1965 is The First Showing of the ER-420 which is Exactly The Same as the EX-42, ads into Feb 1966 still show EX-42 on the tuner glass. Mar-May, Jul-Dec 1966 brings the Pioneer LX-34 "34w" music power & lower VA rating so maybe 10-12w? Back to the 1963 style slider switches, maybe a more budget model to the ER-420? Jan-May 1967 returns to 'The Highly Popular' ER-420 with an updated photo & adding the LX-34 also. Jun-Oct 1967 no ads. Nov 1967-Jan 1968 'Swisstone' become sole UK distributors & ads under their name, the ER-420 had Pioneer up their game. Here the Pioneer SX-300T (also an early SX-600T exists), 40w music power may be 10-12w RMS & it'll be Germaniums as the 600T is. Looks like the later SX-1000TA & others. Feb-Mar 1968 no ads. Apr-May 1968 SX-300T again. Jun-Dec 1968 no ads. By the 1970 HFYB 'Shriro' are the UK distributors. But we find by Jan 1967 Pioneer are distrivuted in the UK by Swisstone, see a later blog...

1965 Pioneer ER-420 (EX-42) Hifi News Review May 1966.
As the above shows, this valve receiver was marketed as the EX-42 in July-Aug 1965 if the Sep 1965-Feb 1966 adverts then call it the ER-420. The longest advertised Pioneer for 8 months. Lists the Price as £138 12s. The Review sees the chanfe in Hifi to Receivers 'All In One' compared to the increasingly outdated UK product. They test it without the main NFB loop which is a bit stupid considering it's 2.5K, the amp doesn't like it unsurprisingly. They say it's Very Free Of Hum which ours certainly is as Rebuilt, to hear it was as original is good design. They say 'Brilliant FM'. Not shown but to say Square Waves weren't very good is for the low spec power supply of the Valve Era, they just brush it off rather than consider why. The Phono & Tape Head response was lacking Bass which is typical of 1960s Valve Phonos. Summing it up, A.W. Wayne of Shirley Laboratories certainly sees this receiver for what it is.. "Outstanding... Equalled by few & bettered by none in it's class" & would be pleased to own it. 'In It's Class' comparing to other Receivers if you can compare it to Amp & Preamp combos too. The AWW guy did several Reviews, in the day an item was Submitted For Review & the Manufacturers could comment later. Here the Sansui & Trio-Kenwood receivers would have been others they knew, the USA Brands mostly didn't get UK sales if Fisher & Sherwood did, who got similarly reviewed in HFN.

Early Akai In Hifi News Ads & 1966 Akai AA-7000 Receiver & AA-5000 Amplifier.
Interesting to see a different view on what a Company actually advertised, as with Pioneer above, these will have been their Better Sellers. Akai best known for Open Reel Tape Machines if with Amplifiers & Receivers so far we know the AA-7000 & AA-5000 both which supposedly got "Updated" to "S" models AA-5000S & AA-7000S. Our Reviews of the AA-5000(S) tell the "S" version was more a Sales Pitch as the Service Manuals for Both list many variations of Transistor used. We had the AA-5000S & then got a AA-5000 & to find there were differences, but both used Germanium Transistors. The AA-7000 receiver the "S" version has a Red Tuner background instead of Brown if the early one altered to add Ventilation Grilles. These are both Rare if we've had Three AA-7000 & two AA-5000. The HFYB Books show AA7000 '40w music' £156 for 1967/68 & Akai AA-5000 Transistor 23w into 16 ohms for 1966/67. AA-7000 seems to be 40w Music Power if we got 27v output as on our "Power Ratings" page like a true 40w amp & AA-5000 we got 25v suggesting around 35w. What the true RMS per channel rating is we've not seen yet. Amps upgraded will have Higher Wattage Ratings, if not to confuse the issue reading over an 8 ohm load, we just read "RMS voltage available". There is a USA colour advert online showing the AA-7000 with the side vents & the AA-5000, no "S" yet, 7000 is 100w & 5000 is 110w, which will be Music Power L+R. Hifi News Adverts. Their First is Feb 1964 for Tape Machines only, the Model M7 boasts 13kHz range & has seperate amp stages in the one unit. Akai were noted for good Tape Machines, this is the First to get to UK & advertised. UK distributors Pullin Optical Co Ltd. Wikipedia says Akai formed in 1946 & still trading. Same ad withthe '345' tape machine monthly to Mar 1965. Apr-May 1965 has the ad under 'Pullin' & a double page, offering all machines to be tested before delivery, which they surely always would be. Servicing offered by 'Rank' techs in North London offers a confidence when letters complained of some Japanese companies lacking UK Servicing, so Akai well onto this. ad for 4 tape machines, the '345' at 225 gns price. Sept-Nov 1965 return as 'Pullin Photographic' with further 18kHz-21kHz response on Tape at certain speeds, way ahead with 'M8' &'X4' models, the M8 looks very modern in a 1980s way even & is a quality item for sure. Dec 1965 has 3 pages of Akai ads, putting the machines apart on ads, clearly the top tape machines of the era. Mar-Apr 1966 has a 6 pages of Akai ads of tape models, one incldes amp & speakers & regional shops to go hear them at. This is taking ads to a new level. May 1966 two ads with more Budget players, widen the range as '62gns' one is less than half other Akai ones. Jun 1966 one ad for the M8. July-Aug 1966 two page ad showing 62gns-239gns tape players. Sep 1966 yet another model with the tape reels beyond the machine case like 1970s ones looked. Third page is the M8 all looking way ahead of the 'suitcase' 1950s type. Akai were hot. Oct 1966 and introducing the 'Akai' lettered reels with a 79gns machine the Akai 1710. Third page is the X4 battery unit. Nov 1966 goes to seven pages of Akai ads, one page is just for UK Dealers, to see Akai grow so big is like Comet in the early 1970s, but still no Amps or Receivers. Dec 1966 seven pages all of Tape Machines. Jan-Aug 1967 no ads, burn out? Too many sales & orders to cope? HFN was the top Hifi mag into the 1973 era by how huge some issues were with ads. Sept 1967 they belatedly return with the 1710 again. Oct-Nov 1967 the M8 & a free Headphone offer, still no Amps mentioned if they were certainly around since 1966 & the AA5000 in the 1966/67 HFYB. Dec 1967 only one (half) page for the M8. Jan 1968 one page with the Akai 3000D tape foe 85gns, note the Numbering Code to match the amps. Apr 1968 returns with the new M9. Sep 1968 M9 again, not doing many ads now. The amps still in the 1968/69 HFYB but never advertised it seems. Further 1968 ads one page of previously advertised models. Jan-Mar, May 1969 continues similarly. Not getting what we wanted to find here. Jun 1969 has no Ads index, if looking through to see 'Comet' & they had Akai, which helps ruin a brand by heavy Discounting, about 15% off then, but no AA-5000 or AA-7000 listed. No Akai if showing 'Teac' were playing a similar game with more modern styled Tape Machines & are a Brand also considered highly by Tape folk. Nov 1969 has a Pullin ad, but for the Rotel 120ST Tuner & 100Amp plus another for the Rotel FAX-330 receiver 17w for £95, those first ones we had, tuner was fine, amp not so. £49 & £45 explain why. Some Rotel is pretty good. Dec 1969 has the Rotel No 130 receiver. But this is an Akai section. The AA-5000 & AA-7000 are Rare, probably only offered as items you could order if other countries may have sold more, they were certainly Not Marketed with the Tape players. The last Oct-Nov-Dec 1969 start the thicker issues with loads of ads. Akai had nothing to offer in Amps or Receivers until the 1970 HFYB with the 45w AA-8000 receiver, the AA-8500 we've had is in the 1972 HFYB. The 1970-71 books still have the AA-5000S looking very 1965 in the photo. Akai sell more by the 1974 Akai AA-8080 that is a 30w amp, not 40w & has more a 'Comet' quality to it compared to the AA-8500.

1966 Pioneer LX-34 Valve Receiver.
Well advertised in it's day since Jan 1967 HFN as told above, yet no Manuals on HFE if one can be found, a bit stretched but it'll do. Seems to be an 11w mode, on amps we've found 15w is a minimal wattage. Here the Aux goes through resistors to the Phono stage which is as the 1965 Rogers HG88 III did. A minimal design, one valve for Phono & Preamp-Tone, as one valve for both stages, two valves for L+R, at least they are ECC83. Power Amp is two valves per channel, the stages of an ECL82. Less preamp valves than the HG88 III if otherwise similar. Says 10w into 16 ohm, it should be 12w RMS. Works on 254v HT & uses the Hum Balance design. A more Budget amp than the 15w Pioneer ER-420 but looking quite similar on Tuner, LX 34 adds LW to the SX-34. Interesting, if the power under 15w limits it for us.

1983 Era 'Sony Walkman' Cassette Player On 'The Repair Shop'.
The Most Modern Electronic item they've had, but it's 40 years old now. Made of lovely Plastic & crudely made inside compared to full size Cassette Players. No Belts in this make it easier as no point getting NOS rubber belts as they would have aged. Bad repairs on the Headphone would generally make it 'Too Far Gone' but the Sentimentality is Overdone in the fact He Keeps the original board & uses a Donor Machine. Some of these Walkmans got used a lot & dropped a lot, Disposable gear. To find a higher grade one even with the Box & Headphones would be possible, the Foam will have long gone. But to bother with such a tatty one is a bit pointless. The case battery cover gone & a part of the main case broken off. So he uses the Donor case & paints it to the same colour! But keeps the rough inner circuit board. Not thinking here clearly. The missing circlip issue needs better handling not to lose it, luck more than skill there. See how unevenly it winds as the part is worn or not tpp precise to start with. This is the sort of Audio Repair we'd run a mile from, having played with similar items, the low quality & fact you can buy a Better One... 'Go Buy A Better One', oh but the BBC loves the over-reaching Sentimentality for the Late previous owner & the 'Open Festival' type Hippy guy 'at his age' really doesn't add up, it all a bit Patronising as it the Tone of Today. Owner Guy amusingly Timid on seeing his bit of rubbish tarted up, restored. Does he look like he's really bothered even? Cassette was the Real Bastard of the Formats as Tapes get Chewed even on machines that were cleaned on Heads & Pinch Rollers. The Metal Tape was the one we used on our Cassette Days & they lasted well played in the Car. Older machines that had the Basic Brown Tape that the Oxide got caked to the parts. Then Belt Drives aged & slipped. Are there Makers of Rubber Machinery Belts or do you have to Cut your own Length & Glue leaving a harder 'Bump' area that will affect Sound? How Great 1998 was bringing in CD-R even if you were made to pay More for Domestic CD-R discs if soon the Computer CD-R needing no 'surcharge' became regular. How have they Aged over 20 years later, not looked at ours for ages since putting on the Computer HDD in 2013 once a HDD reached 1TB size.

Differentials In Hi-Fi Amps. Universally Used Yet Are They Any Good?
You can read Theory & further description on Wikipedia. The Mathematical Formulas are there if you want them, it's Eyes Glazing Over as are similar equations in Hifi News in the earlier issues. Maths is fine to start a design, plenty just copy other designs without seeing how mediocre they are. In Amplifiers, the Long Tailed Pair with a Single Ended Output design is used. Later ones add a Current Mirror design which is a sort of Regulator & seen as Overdesign, if it likely helps the miniscule THD ratings so craved. The Differential started turning up in the 1968 Fisher 500TX aka 800T & the 1969 Teac receivers range. A Differential means it's a Direct Coupled amplifier as no need for Output Capacitors as the amps use + and - voltages so the centre voltage is ideally zero & usually adjustable. We know the Non-Differential amp designs better, plus Valve designs. The idea of a Differential is to Wonder Why it's Needed. For more see what that Wikipedia page says, you can trust the Tech pages as be sure many are there correcting each other. High Input Impedance & Low Output Impedance plus Higher Stability is what is claimed. Impedance isn't readable on a Multimeter, it's again a Maths formula as is Damping Factor. To read the Wikipedia page doesn't really tell if it's Better than a typical earlier one or two transistor power amp input, two transistor direct coupled 'Cascade' designs. In fact, the Differential soon needed a 'Constant Current Source' as in the 1971 Sony TA-3200F, a similar thing to a 'Current Mirror' that is in later amps & complex ICs. Is this not covering the Weakness of design? A regulator with Diodes, the 'simpler' one or two Class A transistor design didn't need this. These are much more Customisable, the Differential needs balancing & taming to keep it stable, on other amps it doesn't, it's all in the design. The Differential is much used in the 1975 Luxman C-1000 preamp, a horrific overdesigned mess by that Tim De P guy yet it could get ridiculously low THD for the amount of taming done. This item started the THD wars & by 1977 the Hifi Scene was more interested in Specs than Sound, the Hifi Mags were soon realising amps 5-10 years older sounded much better. The IC styled 'Class B' circuitry grew from this amp, yet as usual few questioned it. We've been doing this Site with trying many amps, the Differential Era is a let down, but it's more based on the rest of the design, more and more the 'good sound' is dumbed down. The Trouble With Differential Amps is the rest of the amp design of the era sort of ruins how good a Differential amp can be. Have long thought this when the Teac range from 1969-71 brought a sound of precision beyond the usual. Overdesign & Limiting is sadly what most amps are, hiding the Beauty of a good Differential. Any amp with more than One Power Amp Differential is overdesigning it, but by 1975 the ridiculous THD Wars spoiled what probably hasn't recovered since.

May 2023 Blog

That Blog Isn't Relevant To Publish Now.
The Point Of Bloging is to put Something Inteesting plus to Write Down Hi-Fi thoughts to understand them & certain amplifiers better. To go through Blogs below & find ones that aren't relevant anymore is the Nature Of Blogging, don't publish what seem to be less worthy Blogs. The Internet could do with so much editing, boring Forums full of 'nothing' hide the more worthy items. Talking Heads on Youtube Videos saying nothing yet get loads of views, but do they come away satisfied or thnking that was a waste of time. Self-Edit, if what you wrote 3-4 months ago doesn't seem relevant, delete it. As for Blogs already published back to 2017, some ideas may have been surpassed & could be edited or deleted, if that takes a long time. We edit these Blogs a lot.

The Hi-Fi Game Of Limitations.

Forever Questioning Hifi Circuits brings up a rather Disappointing Reality: The Majority of Amps are Limited aka Dumbed Down in some way. We've said of Zener Diodes being used to pull down a Voltage to suit lazy design, in older circuits they set voltages with Resistors, but increasingly these Zeners are used. There really is No Place for a Zener Diode in an Amplifier Stage, it's lazy to use them in a Power Supply when 'better' amps used plain old Resistors to set Voltages. any sort of Regulator or Reference Diode to the Current Mirror Constant Current idea is a limiting one. Look at Valve Amps & the 1960s Transistor Amps, rare to find even Regulators & they manage to work fine. As time goes on, Designers will Copy other designs, to see the same ideas & limiters used by others after one Brand offers them & tells you what the circuit does. Sony ideas got copied often. Modern Valve Amps don't offer Schematics as they don't want to be copied, if actually they often just copy the 1950s Mullard design with little thought how average it is. One High Model Big Brand amp with a decent power rating uses Zeners in 4 places, rather than design it better. This & much more can make what Should Be A Good Amp into something that's far from what you'd hope it be. The First 'Proper' Silicon Transistor Amplifier is the 1965 Sony TA-1120. The 1965 Sansui TR-707A based on the unissued TR-707 is actually earlier, but uses Germanium Transistors except for the Power Amp. The TA-1120 we had & found it tested beautifully (as our recap-upgrade) giving perfect Square Waves showing much care was put into the amp. But to also find it rather tame for various design features including the 'T' Bass Filter that Pioneer & Trio-Kenwood used as early as 1966 & 1967. The early TA-1120 uses a mysterious "SV-6" Diode in the Power Amp, we found the info that it's a 'Reference Diode for 5.8v' which is a Zener Diode in all but name as the Equivalents tell. The later TA-1120A uses a "SV-06" which is a 4.5v one. The 1968 Sony STR-6120 doesn't have these, the STR-6200F & STR-6065 have limiters as does the Sony TA-3200F power amp. Imagine the Anarchy if all amps had no limiters, they'd be played too Loud.

In Repairs, Not All Things Are Equal.
'The Repair Shop' gives an unrealistic idea of how Repairs & Restorations are done. As the Service there is 'Free' if you'd be expected to make a Donation, that isn't covered on the show. The Current Series 11 we've found the Quality of Items has Dipped a lot, they're being brought Rubbish & Worthless Rubbish at that. One guy brings in a Pepper Grinder that had use in their 1990s Restaurant. It's very worn & caked with dirt on the cutters, so never cleaned as you should do, especially with an item used for Public Food consumption. It needs a wash, as typical the tedious 'cotton bud' way which has to be for the camera & give it a proper wash otherwise. To see the Skilled Paintings woman have to paint the design on this is a waste of her talents, but the owner wants to keep using it rather than buy a new & clean one. For a Skilled Craftsperson, like us in several fields, we have to consider Paid Jobs as "Is It Worth You Spending?". Days of us repairing less worthy items like a Clock Radio to find it was caked in dirt & a bit broken even in the early 1990s to say 'you'd be better off buying a new one' on seeing it, if older folks can be reluctant to buy new as they see their Earth-Time is limited, rather than cheer up to get something new. The lack of Quality on cheap items means they are Disposable, you can use the Bin. Seeing badly curved bases on Aluminium Saucepans used for over 30 years, yet they'd not buy new. Aluminium causes Dementia & that's what they got from 'eating' their saucepans covered in spoon marks. For the Person working on items that are clearly beneath their skills, to see the Pepper Grinder being carefully painted like it's a quality painting is a bit sad. As is the Leather woman on nearly every episode doing the same things over & over, not much suits the skills. Some restorations give a nice result, like two guys in their Nineties playing with Toy Cars, that was surreal & watchable, some of the overly sentimental ones just get skipped through as you can see it coming, the BBC sadly plays up the 'Misery P-rn' type that 'The Antiques Roadshow' tends to stay away from. The show has been asking for items at the end for a while now, to make less shows of better quality once the quality slips. There are other Restoration shows, as with the Car Restore shows, too much of a same formula.

Adding Roughness To Modern Recordings.

To see a Youtube Video about this, ideas of Today are so lame. Listen to 1958 Frank Sinatra LPs, they are recorded Beautifully clean. Even 1956 Gene Vincent Rock & Roll is recorded this Clean & it's a little against the "Raw Rock & Roll" ideals. Today there are Physical Boxes to connect & Computer Programs to Add Distortion. Our DC Art DC8.1 from 2013 has the 'Virtual Valve" where it attemps to reproduce the overdrive valves can bring. Having tried these, to wonder what on earth they were listening to, they are not very good. In 1988 the Pop-Rap-Dance hits added 'Vinyl Crackle' to the recording to give a bit of a Retro Feel. To feel the need to 'Dirty Up' music is a valid one, it can sound Too Clinical lacking a certain feeling to the music. Two obscure 45s we'll mention: Melvin Bliss "Synthetic Substitution" on the USA original is way too crisp & clean. We first heard it on the UK Contempo 45 in a Dubbed From 45' sound & it sounded much better. Another 1965 is Carolyn Carter "I'm Thru", the USA 45 is crisp & trebly, the UK London is again Dubbed from the 45 & sounds grungy with less treble. We prefer the UK versions having heard them first, the USA ones lose an Authenticity. Lo-Fi in Hi-Fi is an odd one, Rough Distorted tracks played in the Best Sound beating the Over-Clean versions & this is a Big Problem with CDs as the "Direct Mastertape Remaster" can lack the Post Production "Feel" that the Producer can add with EQ & even with Overdubs, such as 1965 The Zombies "Is This The Dream" the CD lacks the guitar overdubs that make the track. Other tracks it's good to hear in Hi-Fi on the UK copy from the Mastertapes when the USA copy is on very noisy vinyl, such as 1962 The Tams "Untie Me". Adding Roughness to Digital Recordings is treated as a Gimmick to try to hide 'Lack Of Talent'. How Much Old Music do the Millennials listen to? Probably a great deal more is "Old" as in 20 years ago & the Xmas Charts with Bing Crosby & Dean Martin show these much older artists are appreciated. They're still playing the Sanitised CD versions & even adding tracks to Youtube to see they Copyright it as "1992 Remaster". The Opposite Side To This is Films, today we have Huge Amounts of Remastered Films & Shorts like 'Laurel & Hardy' that are much Higher Quality pictures than the versions often shown on TV. The DVD era brought this improvement instead of tatty multi-generation versions, the fresh ones going back to the Film Stock are so much better. But in a similar way, see a TV show with a Vintage Theme, they leave the sound crisp, the picture crisp but add "artifacts" to the picture to pretend to be the old scratchy films of old.

Is Hi-Fi Available 1963 & 1964 Worth Bothering With?
To look at the Good Items around in this time, the Garrard 310, Thorens TD 124, Tannoy Silver Monitors, Decca Arms & Cartridges. Others may rate further items, but to see these as Tried & Tested ad still with a Popularity. Some of these items go back to the 1950s even. But note No Amplifiers are Mentioned. UK Brands like Rogers Cadet II, various Leak & Radford are still a bit too early for us. The First 'Modern' Hifi are the USA Marantz, McIntosh & Fisher, they are way ahead of anything else in the Era. Then comes Japan with their Trio, Pioneer & Sherwood amplifiers, plus brands like Sony & Akai who are only making Tape Machines until later. Beyond Valve Amps you get early 10w Uk made Transistor ones that seem 'not very good'. Feb 1964 HFN reviews one of the First 'Serious' Amplifiers around 15w if exactly how it's rated not so clear until you read further. Pye HFS 30 TC aka 'Brahms' has a Japanese look & of it's era does look appealing. Germanium Transistors amp, with UK obscure ones like NKT227. They show it's Power Ratings as 18w RMS into before Distortion gets too high. But to see the Output rolls off from about 4kHz, with a right slant down to the 1kHz Square Wave & the 10kHz one being fully rounded shows this Amp is certainly lacking. The era of using Filters to cover for Shortcomings might not mind that too much, to up the Treble tone. Between 40Hz & 4kHz it's steady at 14w-16w, if 10kHz is down to 8w & 15kHz down to 5w. Looking Online in hope of a Manual, nothing beyond a Museum having pics that could suggest it was a Prototype only as nothing else. Perhaps the £71 price meant none sold, but no info out there beyond the HFN review where they had a sample. A Prototype was shown at a 1963 Audio Fair & buyable by December. Further reading HFN shows April 1964 HFN with a full page ad as Pye Brahms HFS 30 TC & Pye featured it at the 1964 Audio Fair that month. It was regularly advertised into 1966 but clearly not selling. The Trouble is Leak launched their 'Stereo 30' first version that was priced better & a brand more known.

1964 Leak Stereo 30 Transistor Amplifier

Leak were more established from their Valve Amps. It's a Germanium Amp with the British 'OC45' type transistors that age badly. Leak issued the updated Silicon 'Leak Stereo 30+' by 1968. Early Germaniums made by British Makers were known to grow 'Hairs' to short out the transistor, incorrect manufacture & not sealed correctly, if the Japanese Germaniums are made differently. The 'Leak Stereo 30' Circuit Diagram-Schematic is now on HFE, long missing, but good to see at last & certainly an interesting one to us. Power Rating is 10-15w if on 15 ohm & 4 ohm only so to assume 12w on 8 ohm. Uses a range of PNP Germanium transistors, AC107, GET113 (twice), OC44, AF118, GETS38, AC127Z (NPN) with a pair of AD140 NPN power transistors. The odds of getting one with Good Germaniums is probably Highly Unlikely & at 12w not one for us to get too excited about trying as the Noise Levels are far from what later amps offered. To hear what Sound they made is probably not too unlike the later Stereo 30+ & Stereo 70 which were repackaged as Delta 30 & Delta 70. Long considered these a 'Nice Sound' if the 1971 Leak Delta 75 receiver is best avoided as our Review tells. Stereo 30 has similar outdated Inputs as do the 30+ & 70, no Aux. Tape Head is a very low level input, Phono has resistors on inputs as does Tuner, Mic & 'Tape Amp' meaning an amplified Tape Output aka Tape Monitor on later amps. No Direct Input which was always Less Than Useful when connecting a CD player when we first got one about 1991. All Inputs go through the 'Phono' stage which Sansui still did on some Models into 1970. 'Line Level' is only found by the Tone Control-Preamp if there is no Direct Input. Tone is Passive, onto a Transistor then the Filter Stages that are of no use today, but in 1964 many used them to cover 'Rough Sound' blaming FM & LPs, rather than poor Cartridges & Harsh Speakers. "Record Out" is Tape Out but it has Tone & Filter in the Signal, to confuse as Recording Tape that was altered by Tone was Recorded as Altered & playing back with the amp set the same, Tone Added Twice which isn't much use. Soon learnt to Record with All Flat which wasn't the sound you wanted to Play over Speakers. This Signal goes to Balance & then Volume, both on oddly limited 20K Pots. Power Supply is -42v via Half-Wave Rectifying that again Sansui still used into 1970. To compare to a clear Inside Photo shows the Output Capacitors are under the Rear Fuse holders. Upgrade One? With the risk of Bad Germaniums, high Noise Level, Axial Capacitors, those odd raised Resistors that other UK Brands use & it only being 12w rated into 8 ohms, the chance of getting Good Hifi here is probably not possible. Find a working one after 59 years equally unlikely. Yet at one time these were making High Prices as they seem what they really aren't. Ebay Fever on Hifi is often based on Misreading things like Power & not realising how much Work to get them to 'Use Daily'.

June 2023 Blog

Which Amplifier Should I Choose To Rebuild?
A question a repeated messager asked, hurrying for a reply 'daily' concerning several amps means no reply, imagine dealing with a demanding customer, don't get involved. Yamaha CR-800, Pioneer SX-750 & Sony STR-6200F. We have a CR-800 review, a similar SX-950 review of the 50w SX-750 & the STR-6065 is much like the STR-6200F. The STR-6065 review & Blogs tell that & the others are Reviewed so why not Read Our Reviews? Which One Should You Choose is a lazy question to ask, you should be thinking about which one You Prefer. All are Worthwhile Amps with a different sound to each. If you have all 3 amps, have you ever played them properly for a few days to learn the sound of each? A compare of all 3 in one short session? Which one has Features that suit? Which is the Best Looker? Beyond which one is best condition, to ask for an Instant Compare is just pointless. You Must Choose. As for us, done a few CR-800 rebuilds so less interested in doing one again, the SX-750 are cost-cut too much, this has ICs in Phono & Tone. The STR-6200F we see the STR-6065 is much like it so know it's issues. With Amps we have of Our Own, we are looking at deeper upgrades as finding more & more limiters. The One We'd Choose is the Best Looking one in the Best Grade.

Risks In Getting Germanium Amps In For Upgrades.

The Germanium does Sound Very Nice, but in Reality, if you have Noisy Hissy Germaniums they will be 'Unavailable' & as we found on the 1965 Akai AA-5000(S) to try to upgrade to Silicon doesn't work out with some Germanium designs having High NFB or tight voltages. The 1965 Sansui TR-707A perhaps the Best Germanium Amp as 25w into 8 ohms & it can take a direct Germanium-Silicon swap. On other amps, such as our 1965 Sanyo DC-60E which has 2SB400, 2SB186, 2SD186 & 2SA202 to see only one is still buyable, to buy one already as our amp had a UK replacement. The rest are not quite what other Germaniums can offer in Spec so the results may not be a sound we'd hope for. Hope soon turns to 'wasted effort', so plan ahead. What Do You See Being A Problem. Beyond how awkward it'd be to take the main board out, there is already a huge amount of Noise in the Amp, if Volume to Zero it's silent. Interestingly Five Germaniums come after the Volume so the Noise can only be from the Tone Stage 2SB400. The problem is recapping with Higher Quality modern Electrolytics that can 'Bring Out' Hiss on any Transistor & cause Oscillation from NFB. The Odds of the DC-60E being 'difficult' is High Risk. If it was a Customer's Amp to point out it might not be as good as we'd hope. Positive Feedback Early Design. To look more at the DC-60E circuit after realising the AA-5000 below has Positive Feedback, so does the DC-60E in one place, similarly high NFB. There is nothing you can do with these high NFB designs, care in recapping & don't try to 'Silicon' it.

Germanium Amp: 1965 Akai AA-5000(S).
As we found out, the AA-5000 & AA-5000S are the Same Amp with Germaniums in the earlier stages. Creative Marketing if the Manual shows several Transistor Variants, the Power Amp remains Silicon if the rest early on is Germanium bar one, TR7. The design is an early one with high NFB in several stages. We tried to change Germanium to Silicon but it just Heavily Oscillated. They actually designed in high Positive Feedback which is the cause of Oscillation, TR4 to TR5 has resistance & a capacitor to join the Emitters which is not the NFB way. On closer looking TR1 & TR2 is similar, designed early on a 1965 amp with Germaniums that are less wide Bandwidth so it manages to work, but all Silicon Amps use NFB in a similar way to not Oscillate. They clearly did have trouble as TR5 odd circuit tells. Some amps are just Poor Designs, yet Akai sold it into 1969 when they made the Akai AA-8000 receiver, a nice looking receiver if the Tape Player Remote Control buttons are of limited appeal & we'd instead found the smart AA-8500. The Akai AA-5000 is a very stylish looker, as soon as Our One sold to 'Miss It' & buy another, if that's not been touched, it works if not useable. The strange Positive Feedback design in two places kept the Amp a bit too 'retro' sounding, it's far from how nice our 1966 Akai AA-7000 sounds. Date aging these isn't precise as we found no dated ads, the AA-5000 is as early as 1965 & the AA-7000 is 1966 for the early resistors & Nuvistors in the tuner.

Pre-Amplifiers. Have We Had Any On This Site?
Had one message saying there is nothing on the site about Pre-Amplifiers. Well it's up to them to read properly & see there is plenty & our 1971 Sony TA-2000F gets much written & in Blogs.The Problem with Preamps is the Early Valve ones are just not very good based on the Quad ones we had & other similar that need building into cabinets as they are hopeless to use, press a button & the preamp sides away. We've had a Marantz early Transistor preamp, not knowing for sure the Voltage & the owner never tried it, to decide to just Return for seeing touching wires in their rather crude hard-wired way. We had two of the McIntosh early preamps too. Had later Tube Technology, Spectral, Musical Fidelity & Arcam ones too. Preamps are best used as a Pair with a Power Amp of the same Brand & Era. Else you can get mismatching in Impedance making the sound wrong as well as Level mismatching. In 1980 after the "Monster Receiver Era" quickly died off, the Trend became Pre & Power even on 50w Midprice gear. All an idea to get you paying More for Two Boxes than what could easily be an Integrated Amp. Overdesign. This is a problem on many Amps past 1975 & the Preamp can have far too many 'useful' features that you'd never use yet they are always in Circuit & Powered Up. On the Sony TA-2000F the Headphone Amp, MC Phono Amp & MM Phono Amp are always on. With Receivers the Tuner is Always On, if some early ones do only switch Power On once selected, this soon changed to 'Always On'. The Pre & Power amps past 1970 are aimed at a "Specialist" Buyer rather than the "General" Buyer who buys a Receiver or Integrated Amp.

Velleman Desk Lamps Like 'The Repair Shop' Use.
See the Jan 2021 Blog for the one we got Dec 2020. Early March 2023 it's now failed more so just One of the Three bulbs is working. Can't say we've liked the lamp as it doesn't light things as well as the Anglepoise lamp did. It fits to the Desk side & how our Desk is it's not very centred on the working area. Fluorescent bulbs a bit 'Old Style' & clearly to only last just over 2 years is not very good, if ones used in a Kitchen or Shops needed replacing often. But today for Modern Bulbs, the curly bulbs have still lasted years & LED ones in the old bulb shape last well, do we really want to revive this awkward thing? The T5 14w bulb is as low as £5.50 delivered, how on earth can they do that so cheap, to as high as £25 each. To try the Anglepoise lamp again first, the Velleman lamp is not great in use, always in the way & was never really so bright & is now dim with only one bulb. To see what Light Temperature range there is. Needs a new bulb, one found instantly, 1150Lm, 20w ES 6400K by Prolite, long obsolete but mostly very reliable. Current Prolite are LED, not sure about Ratings & the Anglepoise can only take a certain weight. The Spiral bulbs still around as Unsold Stock but £15+ means you try LED. The Anglepoise light is far nicer & allows much more movement. The 6400K 20w are particularly good & were later designs with smaller glass area. LED Bulbs. Got one in the Lounge, it's a 4000K so a softer light unlike the Desk Lamp, 10w 75mA 270° light reach & the B22 bayonet style. Weight is fine for Anglepoise. Did get a LED bulb when they were New, far too Blue & didn't last long, did Blog about how cheaply made inside. Clearly a few years has bettered these by the 01/21 date on this bulb. Verdict. Can tell easily the Anglepoise is a far better 'Light Solution' than the Old Fashioned Fluorescent Bulb 3 bulb strip light. Having to force the thing to put light where it's needed, the switch right where the adjust screw is & all the metal dust that throws out. Velleman ones still on Amazon for £99. Our Anglepoise Type 3 was about £400 new around 2005 but it only took 60w Filament bulbs, the weak plastic bulb holder can't take the Heat & originally they were sold as for 100w bulbs. Clearly none around, we got annoyed about these years back with the makers & got a Whole New Lamp on one & some replaced on the other Desk lamp, if that didn't last long so we remade it with a Fishtank fitting & an in-cable switch. In Reality you could have bought 16 of the £25 DIY shop brand Anglepoise style & thrown them away when worn out, probably lasting for decades. Using the Anglepoise with the bright Bulb, so much better & brighter. To 'trust' another sort of light that Pro's use on TV but look how bright the rest of their Barn is. Velleman light a waste of money, a £25 DIY shop Lamp would do.

Going Too Far In Upgrading Into Redesign.
Seeing 'Wheeler Dealers S15 E16 with the orange 1965 Barracuda made by Chrysler, a nice looking Car in Restorable Grade, but they sort of mess it up, return to it, mess it up more & do a strange ending. Once you start Mega Redesigning things, you've gone Too Far if be sure every person who knows Design be it Cars or Hifi has Gone Too Far. The most crazy one we saw on ebay was a Basic 1979 era amp that someone had ripped out & put a Valve Amp inside. It looked awful yet they hoped it would sell, yet relisted over & over to a silent audience, beyond laughing at how bad it was. Here the poor Barracuda deserved a nice rebuild, but the first stop was seeing the Market changed, more like they messed up breaking that huge Back window so tried too much cutting it up to make a Race Car with the usual safety cage. Clearly gone way too far & disrespected the car really. Smart-ass ideas generally don't work out & there comes a time to see you've gone too far. Respect The Item For What It Is. Overcoming Bad Design is one thing & some amps do need Doing Better as some of their Designs were Rubbish in a generally Great Amp. This is Advanced stuff to realise what is Rubbish & How To Overcome It. This sort of Work can take a long time to get right if in the end you've only changed a few Resistors, the Magic of getting Design right to balance things & not get Distortion which is Clipping the waveforms from Incorrect voltages.

The Snobby Years Of "The Good Music" In Hi-Fi News Magazine.
Reading through the 1963 & 1964 years again, the awful Snobby ideas that only "The Good Music" is suitable, everything else is Heathen & For Lesser People. Certain Words need aiming at these Fools. John Berridge who is a USA contributor of a more honest idea compared to the tame UK opinions tells of what would otherwise be 'Classical Music's Greatest Hits' always being played at Expense of anything more Experimental or Jazz. They seem to forget Classical is a small market demanding High Quality & Expense on Huge Orchestras. Classical is funded by sales of the exact Music they turn their noses up at, Pop & Goon Show type comedy LPs. There never were Classical LP Charts or any of it sold well enough to be put amid Pop. The Hifi Mags were to Blame themselves, they only ever Review Classical into the 1970s & even by 1977 & Punk, their reviews of more Rock & Pop music was rather embarrasingly poor until one guy took a fresher view, have Blogged on that before. If you've ever dealt in Classical Stereo LPs from the Money Years 1958-1964 plus some earlier Mono LPs of Soloists, to see these LPs are always in Very High Grade meaning they never got played. Compare to a Elvis, Beatles or Rolling Stones LP which are very hard to find in higher grades as they were played a lot. Classical Music to ones of an age is actually Very Familiar from TV & Cartoons plus many Classical themes were stolen & used in Pop. The Snobbery continues with claims that 'Pop' only exists on the Records themselves, for all the Post Production & overloud unnatural sounds. They seem Unaware that a typical 18 min LP side of One Track in Classical is made up of many Edits & Splices, to take out Duff Notes & add in better sections from Different Takes. All the Coughing you hear on Live Performances edited out too. 'Pop' as they call it, trying to undermine the Efforts of Popular Everyday Radio Music sold hugely on Beatlemania. Some of these Vinyl 45s we can hear awful clumsy edits yet thinking a Dansette wouldn't reveal them, they stayed in. But a level of Raw Amateur musicianship & editing adds charm, Classical may have many Melodies stolen by Pop Music, but generally it's played by Men in Suits & Ties & is very precise & mannered. Clsassical was once 'Popular Music' of it's era, 200 years ago. Rural Folk, Sea Shanties & Religious Music never gets any mention, only Classical.

July 2023 Blog

"We'll Change Things And Make Your Stuff Obsolete!"
Cynical Ways of Today just want to Not To Use Old Gear. First one we noticed were Computer Connectors to a HDD changing from the larger plugs as first used in the early 1980s, or before. The SATA round pin ones updating to weaker looking IDE PATA ones, yes we looked on ebay to find the names. Other connectors change, Mains Plugs went from Round Pin to Square Pin plugs by the Early 1970s. In Computers Motherboards kept changing the Processor Sockets so you have to Update The Lot, if why bother if the Older Version still works. Windows 11 adding even more rubbish is why, currently the Forever Updating & Compattelrunner annoyances mean your Computer isn't useable for 15 mons until the HDD stops beimng 100%. Getting Solid State SSD drives is a newer option if read how unreliable they are. In Cars a New 'E10' Petrol adds more Ethanol to cut Emissions but it Rots Plastic & Rubber parts & to hear on the new S18 E1 'Wheeler Dealers' that the 'Triumph Dolomite Sprint' that's not so rubbishy with that Engine, needs Updating. Some Cars won't be Updated as there are No Parts so it'll gradually just stop Vintage Cars being used. In Hi-Fi. Connectors started out with TV Aerial Sockets for the Input, that 3w Sterns Valve Amp used those. The 'RCA Phono Plug' has been around a long time now, the 1953 'Quad 22' preamp uses these. Speaker Outputs varied from UK Ones with varying sized Bulgin type plugs, try find them these days. The small screw Connectors were for 'Y' type connectors or Ring Connecors, all still easily found. Then came the Spring Connectors, the larger 'Marantz' 1971 type ones with still a large 'live' metal area, later became All Plastic by about 1973 as some amps use both types in the change-over time. The 4mm 'Banana' Sockets really only came in by the late 1980s, some used ones that looked similar but had no metal inside to take a plug. Why they were called this, who knows. 4mm Sockets are what we prefer, probably still amps with Spring Connectors made. 4mm Sockets in Gold Plated are not a good idea, easy to short the outputs, the Plastic Cased ones are better.

Test Gear Required According To The 1968 Fisher TX-250 Receiver.

The Service Manual says you must have all these. Needs Updating & Simplifying. It fails to say you need a Mains Plug, a Reel of Solder & the Technical Ability & Knowledge of Hifi grown over many years to do things properly. You cannot be an Expert by Watching a YouTube Video, many do think they can be Instant Experts. Booksmarts won't teach you much as we found at Electronics College, the Theory 'any fool can learn' but the Practical takes a certain mindset. The Fisher List. 1/ Line Voltage Autotransformer or Voltage Regulator. 2/ DC Vacuum Tube Volrohmmeter. 3/ Accurately Calibrated AC Vacuum Tube Voltmeter. 4/ Oscilloscope (Flat to 100kHz minimum). 5/ Low Distortion Audio (Sine Wave) Generator. 6/ Intermodulation Distortion Analyzer. 7/ Harmonic Distortion Analyzer. 8/ 2x Load Resistors 8 ohms 100watt (minimum rating). 9/ AM/FM Signal Generator. 10/ 10.7MHz Sweep Generator. 11/ Multiplex Generator (prefereably with RF output). 12/ 455kHz Sweep Generator. 13/ Ferrite Test Loop Stick. 14/ 2x Full Range Speakers for Listening Tests. 15/ Stereo Source - Turntable, Tape Recorder, etc. 16/ Soldering Iron with Small Tip, fully insulated from AC line. 17/ Suction Desoldering Tool. Some Obvious yet some rather Obscure. 1/ is a Variac for gradually bringing up the Voltage. The problem with this is post Valve era the Regulators that won't work right until full voltage that may cause problems. 2/ & 3/ Meters are today on a Multimeter. 4/ Oscilloscope is a must, a Battery one we use most, a Mains one with more features does have Earth Ground that doesn't suit Bridged Amps. 5/ Generator. A proper Mains Powered unit. Using a Sound Card & Audio Programs or CD Test Tracks isn't so precise as it takes in the Soundcard. 6/ & 7/ Distortion Analyzer. Use Your Ears is a better way, an Oscilloscope helps. Harmonic Distortion is a bit Pointless, but a good selling tool when 0.01% THD can still sound so rough to a Trained Ear. 8/ Load Resistors. For Reading Power Output. Our 'Power Ratings' page doesn't bother with this, no speaker is 8 ohms flat 20Hz-20kHz. To see the Available Clean Sine makes better comparing. 9/-12/ Signal Generators. These are for Radio-Tuner use & get expensive as do Oscilloscopes to read 455kHz. Radio Shops used a 'Wobbulator' for Aligning FM stages. Try find a Tuner Tech these days, we've had success with some. 13/ Ferrite Stick. Assumed for AM-MW tuner. 14/ Test Speakers. 8 Ohm ones you can use & not worry about, the small ones used as Satellite TV Speakers will do if of a Quality. Don't risk Expensive Speakers until the Amp is trusted. 15/ Stereo Source. Computer Soundcard is the easiest, to create Phono Input Test Tracks of the Correct Level, if it's not perfect. 16/ Soldering Iron. These don't last too long, so keep a spare once you use the previous spare. The Antex ones crumble on the Tip Part, if they used to last much longer. 17/ The Sucker. Pukes out tiny bits of solder dust on what you're working on, of limited use as better ways. Wasteful of Solder.

Unrepairable: 1983 Meridian MCA-1 Component Amp.
These sort of amps are Quirky but in the Linn-Naim-Meridian bag of 'Hated' 1980s Gear to some. The Sort of Gear sold as 'Supreme' but many have Tired of their Ways with Nonsense Components to Forever Add. This thing looks interesting, if that .pdf on Google from a 1980s Review. Seeing it's not got a Wire Wound Transformer, but the Scary Regulated 'Flyback Transformer' means it'll be as Bad as that 1979 Technics SU-C01 etc 'Trendy' multibox unit. The UK 240v version of the Technics we considered 'Dangerous' as Mains isn't isolated, if the 110v versions as Japanese amps are designed for, seemed much better. The MCA-1 is multi boxes to plug in which stages you need & only 35w. Probably loads of ICs. This sort of Gear wouldn't pass any UK Safety Rules & how that 1979 Technics did is a mystery. We're very briefly told "It Won't Power Up" which means all the High Voltage stages are bad & likely the Regulators are long obsolete. Use it as an Ornament, the more 1980s amps we hear of, the more that are Unrepairable. Newbies are buying these 40 year old items 'hoping' they can just plug in & use. They may have a Value on ebay etc but in reality, to use they are Worthless on terms of Hifi as they are Unsafe Designs & are Unrepairable. One who paid £266 for one of these fairly sold as "Not Working" should have researched better. We're not seeing Warnings 'Not To Buy' certain items that we'd steer well clear of. We send a short reply after having spent time looking at what the thing is. Do we even get a reply, 'Thanks Anyway'. Nothing, it gives the idea they ask everyone & hope one will take the Bait on Unrepairable gear. Just another thing to put on the Auto Reply.

Worthless Test Results On A 1983 Amplifier.
Tht 1983 Meridian MCA-1 amp review has test results. Not sure which Magazine it comes from as no Info shown, if it was Hi-Fi News they'd have names all over it. The Power Rating of 35w is all that matters, the pointless "dBW" like Martin Colloms used to use in HFN were utterly pointless as who knows what 15dBW means. As with obscure place names not being Pronounced as they read, it's just another way for tedious types to appear 'superior'. They show the ratings for a 'Pulsed 2 Ohm Load' which means it'd usually wreck the amp as 4 ohms is the lowest Load Rating. They put +12A -11A as instantaneous Peak Current, on a 35w amp, this again is "Blow It Up" territory, all utter nonsense. Harmonic Distortion equally Pointless, they show tests -76dB which is a signal -76dB down from Full Output, many amps struggle to keep a -90dB Noise Floor so is there any point to this? Only to Hype The Specs. But here they don't put '0.01%' as you'd expect so try understanding the point there. More Specs continue but Nothing of any Real Value in deciding what Amp to buy. A brief description of the Treble being 'Feathery' says it's not a very precise sound, 'Quite Good Treble' is Poor Treble & 'Avoid This Rubbish' seems a fairer comment for £375 on a 35w amp in 1983. But you buy into 'The Dream' of the UK Hifi world. It really is a shame post-1980 that Hifi is so Mediocre. Still searching for one as good as the 1984 Sansui AU-G90X & that needed a lot upgraded. Still worth our try, but only as we had one sent by a Customer who wouldn't get it repaired as he was the one with the awful 1979 Technics. They want to be told 'How Great' their Hifi is when it's far from it. We're not here to Waste Money & Time on 'unworthy' amps, others will say they can Try with a Hefty Price in kind, but don't deliver once they find the 'Unrepairable' issues too.

Types Of Amp. Direct Coupled With Relay, Capacitor Coupled, Output Transformer Coupled.
These next July Blogs are more Technical... A Valve Amp is Transformer Coupled. On looking for Direct Coupled Amps the McIntosh MC 2505 power amp is Transistors but also Transformer Coupled to use 4-16 ohm speakers. Some early Transistor Amps use a Coupling Transformer in the Power Amp as a Splitter, this is a different design. Capacitor Coupled is the Most Used design up until about 1971. These 'Coupled' ones mean No DC can appear on the Speakers, though the Output Transformer can fail & an older Capacitor can fail too. Otherwise these are Safe on Speakers, especially when yours are 1967 Tannoy Golds. Direct Coupled usually involves Differentials past a few early ones & a ± Power Supply, as in +42v and -42v. There is no DC Voltage on the Speaker Outputs unlike the Coupled Ones. This assumes the Amp is Recapped & any Bias-DC Offset settings are correct. No more than 20mV should be on the Speaker Sockets, if some can read to 100mV & still work right, if it's not ideal. it's how some amps are. 1960s Brands that used 'Direct Coupled' you can see on the Reviews Pages, brands like Fisher, Teac, National-Panasonic, Duette, Grundig, Sansui, Sanyo, Trio-Kenwood & Nikko used this design. Direct Coupled Into The 1970s. Some brands started to use this design as the Differential design more or less became the Standard. The thing is despite what Protection Circuits claim to do as well as Fuses, the Amp is still Direct Coupled to your Speakers. The Relay. The 1965 Sony TA-1120 First Silicon Amplifier has a Relay & claimed you can Short the Outputs hard & the Relay will save the amp. HFN review of the era showed this did work & the amp was useable on next use of it. Some 1971 Amplifiers & Receivers are now using Relays. the 1971 Trio-Kenwood KA-6004 has one & it worked well on an intermittent fault, the relay was turning off & on as it should. The 1977 Marantz 2385 had Two Relays, one for Power Up & one for Speakers, these worked fine in use, if no fault to try it further. 1971 Marantz have relays in higher models. From this you can see the Risk in using an amp varies by Design. There was a Reason Relays became a Standard design, safety & the fact turn-on noises can be hidden by a delay. Our Blogs reveal we have tried Capacitor Coupled Amps on Speakers as they tested safe. Would we risk our Tannoys on a Direct Coupled Amp still on the original capacitors? The above answers that one.

Why Do Hifi Designers Purposely Spoil A Very Clean Sound?
Easy, they Don't Want You To Have The Best Sound else you'd never buy another amp. One amp that got caught by Fake Transistors, as reminded by the above blog, to try it again. Our Upgrades gave it such a sweet bassy sound but for reasons we're still uncovering, it wasn't great in use for switch noises. So to Put It Back was the decision & sell it. Check the Bias again on trying it as Bias can drift needing a second check. All as specified now. Playing familiar tracks, what's this we're hearing? It's Clean but overall Rough. Where's The Bass? Why does it sound Flat with none of the 'Beautiful Sound?' Because we put it back to keep the Switches Quieter. Knowing how Great it sounded before, it got Speaker Use & was liked, now back to 'their' design with things we didn't like to redo it. One dynamic track now sounds rather ordinary meaning you lose interest in it when other amps play it right, here it's flat, bass-lacking & a bit jumbled where it should be far more open. But we're not saying which amp & you'll not have heard amps of this era sounding sweet like earlier amps because it wasn't 'what they wanted you to have'. A good description is 'Cardboardy' in terms of Crude Paper Pulp & the Artificialness of a Cardboard World. Cynical is how any Industry must be else you'd not be on i-Phone 14 thinking each one is essential or think a 'Sound Bar' is Hifi today. The Buyer of it would still think it's Great because in ways it is as well as Recapped with Upgrades already, but hearing the Sweet Sound in this Amp before & others that sound was heard in really is a different world. In Terms of 'What Other Amp Of That Era' would we try, having had plenty already & tried more with some, here knowing the Power Amp is a good one, not easy. That's only the start of us trying to get 'The Best' from Amplifiers, if one better to sell than go further with it. But it leaves The Question can other amps of The Differential Era sound this good. The answer is yes, but to choose your Big Upgrades more carefully & keep the bits in a bag to put it back if it doesn't quite give what you hoped for.

Where Does The Gain Come From?
In Hifi to Question everything to understand it better is Worthwhile. Gets things Redesigned to be Better if with anything Deeper in Upgrading, it really only happens with Our Amps plus doing it over time. Thinking of paying for a Year's Upgrading? It doesn't always work out as you hoped & sometimes 80% of the Amp's 'Best' is in Our Upgrade from trying these sort of ideas. Is there anyone else doing this, not seeing a fraction of it. Design Is Often Done 'Not Quite' As You'd Hope. To trace where an Amplifier adds Gain, it's rarely obvious. Say an Input Sine Wave is 1v RMS on the Oscilloscope, to see what The Amp does with it. One amp gets these tests to show the 1v Signal, or the Music Input Signal, goes via Selectors like Input Selector, Mono-Stereo, Tape etc. Then onto Balance then Volume. Signal then onto Tone which is usually using only the Level provided by the Volume. Very few designs run the Tone at Full Volume as it's hard to design it without clipping, those that do run the preamp at lower volume. Here to read the Output at High Volume setting, using the Pre Out-Main In with the Coupler out to not play full into the Power Amp. Here we see the Signal starts to Clip at 0.63v which shows the Tone Design isn't so great if in reality to see the Volume is past '8' means you'd never play it that Loud. But Theoretically the Design is far from Perfect. Some Brands have Tone at Full Gain with the Volume Control after all Preamp stages & directly before the Power Amp input, or the Pre Out-Main In sockets. On checking the maximum output on the 'Pre Out' socket, it goes to as high as 4.5v before clipping, if the specs on the Manual say only 0.775v. This overloud sound plus the 'wrong' Preamp output voltage explains why one Amp lacks a fresh sound & clearly 'too loud' on preamp with the Power Amps having less gain. That's Hifi for you. After reading the Sony below, to understand this amp better & see where it goes wrong. Ideas to try on an amp easier to work on perhaps. Rare Examples Of Tone Stage At Full Gain. The Trio-Kenwood TK-140X is an example of this, a Filter Switch the only thing between Pre & Power that if not using Filter, it's Direct. Trio at this era use a non-standard 'Pre Out' level of about 400mV not the usual 1v is how they can run Tone at full Volume. The Trio-Kenwood KR-6170 has Tone after the Volume. The Sony TA-1120 early has this too, ignoring the Bass Filter. The later TA-1120A is the usual design with Volume before Tone. Pioneer SX-1000-TA from 1966 has this also, ignoring the Bass Filter. Here they show it's a 400mV signal as the Trio do, more Gain on the Power Amp to make up for it. The Trio-Kenwood KA-6004 is basically the same but adds a Transistor on the Filter Amp to up the gain to 1v on the Pre Out. Researching how Design is done helps Upgrades, if you've never tried this, it'll be a rambling blog, but that's what these Blogs help us do, to understand. Read on...

So What Does The Sony TA-2000F Preamp Do?

This is a Preamp with a Headphone Amp that means you don't need a Power Amp to use Headphones, as nearly all amps, except the Sony TA-1120(A) run direct from the Power Amp. TA-2000F has a rear switch giving the option of the Standard 1v or 0.3v. Volume is after much switching, to the First Preamp stage & the option of 'Tone Cancel' meaning Tone really is Bypassed as it switches the Second Preamp aka Tone out. Not 'Source Direct' as it still goes through two gain stages & a buffer. Headphone amp is always on, the 'Level Adj' can zero the input so it's possible to test without overloading the Headphone amp. To read what the 1v & 0.3v outputs really are, the 1v one matches the TA-3200F power amp. Be aware the TA-2000F is over-loud as made, the change to an Alps Blue pot revealed far too much gain & their heavily tapered Volume range where only a small rotation area was useable for louder volume. The awful ideas they came up with even as early as 1971. Read What It Does. This is our 'improved version' not a standard TA-2000F volume that is over-loud. The volume control replacing their Volume Pot with an Alps gave very loud sound, too loud & to see someone had tried this before yet not knowing how to alter the gain. Over-loud means 'Not Very Good Sounding' as Fidelity is limited. Who designs these things & why ruin it? Maybe why there is the 0.3v version via a resistor? 1v input brings 7.3v RMS before clipping just before maximum volume on the '1v' setting which reduces to 2.25v RMS on the '0.3v' setting. This is a higher output than the Amp tested above, if we have read of 12v output on earlier preamps when the range of input levels required varied more, such as the early Quad II amps needed a higher input as their preamps were louder. Over-Loud Is A Problem, from trying much with other amps, a certain gain can be too soft, going just beyond 'ideal' it can be too shouty if then you have The Sweet Spot between the two. Pushing for too much gain from a Transistor gives this harsh sound. Over-Loud is Bad Design, here the TA-2000F has a healthy volume that is good in use & plays so cleanly. It was a tough one to redesign, especially with FETs.

Power Amplifier Ratings: To Use Pre & Power Together.
Meaning an actual Power Amp not using any Preamp, 1971 Sony TA-3200F by itself reads 28v without any clipping at full input via the input Level pots on the front. RMS as per our Power Ratings page. This rates it by itself as only a 50w amp, but the truth is different. the Preamp as read above gives 7.3v output from a 1v input, the TA-3200F with a 1v input reads about 28v. So what is it using with our Sony TA-2000F preamp. Our altered with a better Volume Pot & not the Overloud sound it is as Original. Other Amplifiers we read the Preamp & Power Amp as one, seems we've not rated this before despite it being here years. Pre With Power Amp Ratings. We got 44v on the Right Channel which rates it amid 90w-110w amps. Reading Max Power Clean Sine on Speaker Outputs will reveal if an Amp isn't working 100% if it could still be used without realising. To read an 0dB (max volume) 1kHz Sine input on both channels finds the Real Condition of the Amp.

Readings On An Unusual Amplifier. Needs Understanding Better.

1969 Pioneer SX 2500... This one needs checking out now we've found other Voltage Ratings on a Blog a few above. A Preamp needs to have about 5-7v output which is adding Gain to the 1v Standard Line Level. Those who use Passive Preamps on a Power Amp are clearly not using the full power, our Sony TA-3200F was 50w rated at full volume but adding the Preamp it became 100w which is double the Passive Preamp level. Without properly testing the Preamp output level, you'll not know which is the 'Too Loud' section. This sort of test is best done on Amps & Receivers with a Pre Out-Main In section with the Connectors removed or Switched off to not put full Output into the Power Amp when it's not being tested. A lot of what you'll read in Hifi is confusing or just plain wrong. This is why we Question Everything as to go with Your Results rather than just trust what is stated. This tricky amp we have plays Way Too Loud on Speakers especially. To add to the confusion the Power Amp on another in it's Range uses the same design on the Power Amp yet is known to be of an acceptable volume. What Do You Read? Oscilloscope on the 'Pre Out' sockets shows both L+R just start to Clip at 6v. This is well within the 5-7v of other Preamp outputs. This is a surprise if also confirms the 'How Could It Be Too Loud' based on it's design. The Preamp is fine. But the Amplifier plays too loud, on Speakers by '2' it's Loud enough & by '3' it's much too Loud for it's setting, it should be that Loud around '6'. The Pioneer SX-1500TD is in the same range with the updated looks. Got Photos of one from late 2012, not had once since. Which came first is The Question. SX-2500 has 'T52-186' on the Mains Transformer. The SX-1500TD gives away it's earlier with 'T52-176A'. The SX2500 has Two Speaker Pairs yet the SX-1500TD has Three. SX-2500 is wider 486mm compared to SX-1500TD at 459mm if has 2 Tape inputs & 2 Aux. Differences? The Power Amps are very similar, SX-2500 72w & SX-1500TD is 45w for 8 ohms with both channels driven to give Real RMS ratings. The SX-2500 has basically the same amp allowing for 45w to 72w uprating. The Preamps are Very Different. Using NFB plus a Filter stage it'll be a much lower level than the SX-2500 one. Verdict. Pioneer made the SX-1500TD first as the TX numbers tell. They made a very different Preamp that was too loud for the uprated SX-1500TD power amp. Instead of redesigning the SX-2500 power amp to be less loud, as in Lower the Gain, they put a 100K resistor in the Audio. Not got a SX-1500TD to read the Preamp output & the SX-1000-TA has no Pre Outs plus a different Preamp with no NFB. To assume the SX-1500TD has a lower Pre Out level output like earlier Trio, matching the 300mV-400mV lower level rather than the 1v level. Looking for ideas, the 50w Pioneer SA-900 amplifier in the same range has the same preamp if the Power Amp is similar with obvious changes that are actually later than the SX-2500. The SA-900 manual shows the TX number is earlier than both 'T52-148' meaning it was started first but is overall later. The Idiot who let the SX-2500 be produced with such a Howler in design wasn't aware of how the SA-900 did it. Pioneer made the excellent ER-420 at 15w but made an uprated SX-800A 35w version & messed up the design similarly, losing the sweet sound for reasons too stupid to understand.

August 2023 Blog

Fantasy Land On 'The Repair Shop' With A Portable Radio.
The World of Electronics Repair is tripping up 'The Repair Shop' as so much is Unrepairable. Here a guy on S12 E2 brings in a tiny early 1960s portable Radio they claim to have used in the Family shop. These are no more than 200mW output as the 1971 Radio & TV Yearbook tells, so how it would have filled a shop with other noises really can't be true. Remember as a Kid when the School Music Centre got stolen, one kid helpfully tried to fill the Assembly Hall with a similar tiny radio & just a mess of beyond Distorted Noise. We can see the 'RS' one has Germanium transistors. The internal Ferrite Rod is broken midway & Our Lad says it can be glued back together & work! Really? It's an integral part of the Radio Antenna & to replace it the only way, glue will not create any sort of continuity, especially midway, Google it. A Ferrite is Iron Dust and Ceramic magnetic item, used in Mains Chokes & Radio Tuner cans. Interestingly, we remember the last Radio he had on the show with a broken Ferrite rod & had to get a Parts Radio. Be careful of the Lies as some remember. He tries two unusual large Germanium transistors & appears to get the Radio Hiss noise from it, all loud & clear. Highly Unlikely. Owner returns & the three are laughing away as they know it's not for real, as you'd never repair such a basic item, but clean it up & keep it as an Ornament. They make up a story of a Computer Laptop broadcasting an Emile Ford song & the Radio 'magically' picks it up. All Sounds are put on in Post Production, the music is made to sound thin like a radio, if they add no Distortion to make it more realistic. Now people will think these can be repaired, some can, most no chance. A 1963 Decca radio we have for the looks together with a 1959 Ultra one that does work as they used better Germanium Transistors. On getting two of the Decca radio, never got it going & never will. These old Radios can be nice lookers, but to give the idea they can be Repaired is a bit silly on a Show that appears to offer Authenticity in Repairs. Makes you wonder what else is fake, did he really use 500 matchsticks to rebuild that clock case in the same episode? To consider, as with 'Wheeler Dealers' they have others to do the 'Boring' Jobs.

The Emerging Hi-Fi Scene In 1963 To 1964.
You can easily Revisit this era in your Paper Time Machine, the Hi-Fi News Magazines of those years. A Third read through these still brings up interest as the More You Deal with Hifi & the the More You Read of articles elsewhere, to look deeper & see more. The 1963-64 Hi-Fi Scene is starting to grow away from the UK Dominance of Quad, Leak & Cadet. Already Leak are wisely redesigning their Hifi with USA styled looks for USA Sales. The Seperate Units style of the Quad II set up with Two Power Amps, a Preamp that isn't good to use unless fitted in a cabinet, plus two Tuners for FM & AM is very outdated. Only the Armstrong brand offers the new Receivers, all-in-one units, if Armstrong gear is not very good quality as we found out trying it. The Pioneer Receivers with two Tuners for pre MPX Stereo were really the Start of Modern Hifi as the many Ads by Pioneer & soon after Trio prove. Convenience, ease of use & great looks. UK Speakers are still mainly the Quad ESL, the tiny Goodmans Maxim speaker & many others not so heavily promoted such as Wharfedale, all were Low Power still, 15w typical. HFN mag keeps promoting the Paraline speaker, a DIY speaker with One 8" Driver in. No Treble Tweeter yet they keep raving about it despite criticisms of 'no tweeter' the rough grainy UK Hifi sound maybe nicer without the extra Treble. The 1963 Rogers Cadet III a bright trebly edgy sound still, to suit the lack of Tweeter. Of couse the best speakers are the Tannoy Dual Concentrics, Silver onto Gold by 1967, In a solid cabinet, there are just the best. Hi-Fi Writers. Having read the 1956-64 set of Hifi News bar just a small few copies, the general writing style was a rather passive one. Polite Factual Reviews & the 'Crossover' help page with copious amounts of British Waffle. John Berridge is a much better writer as he's more Direct, explains things well & likes to unravel the facts from the waffle. His "Frankly Speaking" column debuts in 1960 & by 1963 he does some interesting writing, before moving to USA & the column retitled as 'American Letter'. Sadly fate snuffs his light out in Sept 1963 & we lose one of the Best Hifi Writers, to later get Barry Fox who debuts under an alias Adrian Hope & then Ken Kessler in the mid 1970s with his 'Anarchophile' discoveries keep other good writers amid the Wafflers or Tamer writers, or even rather amateur ones who almost ran the Mag in harder times then swiftly left. One writer who was an annoying bore was 'Donald Aldous' who is first seen in ads as he wrote for earlier magazines. Sadly HFN kept this person going past 1980 & he must have done much to put people off Hifi when the others we mention were worthy. We've not had many HFN past 1980 until buying HFN for real about 1991-1997 by which time KK had lost his Mojo if regained it with the Vintage Hifi Supplements from 1995, in other articles you can tell boredom from some digital effort or yet another Valve amp still using 1950s ideas.

Servicing A Virgin Media 'TiVo' Box.
Had this a few years now, but it's starting to get yelled at, Picture Break up currently not an Issue, but now it just Stops mid viewing a Recording as something has gone wrong. Sometimes not even Recording the Show. The only way in seems to be by the Rubber Feet underneath, to not just try ripping feet off as Tech Today can be a real pain with pieces just clipping together & bits made to break off. A security label over two halves shows it comes in half & a video found online shows feet off & undo the 'security' screw, one of those Hex ones with a pointed centre to make Buying a set of Security Screw fittings beyond the reach of most. Four screws out and to see Dust gets inside in the way Dust does to modern gear in a 'charged' sort of pattern, from manufacture. Just one thin long mini-USB styled plug & socket. The lighter grey base needs clicking out of the frame to reveal a rather small HDD for a 1TB, laptop size, compared to the earlier TiVo box. The Video shows it apart & to see how Modern Tech is constructed needs knowing, not as straightforward anymore. As we found on an older Mobile Phone, they purposely put Bits To Break, like the Phone Side Buttons. To see it done by another is required. HDD needs the usual Servicing on the Gold Pins. The Top Half with the Input Sockets is a heavier piece. How to open that? The Video shows it open, but not how they opened it, they do show it has the usual inside fixings to pry apart without leaving bend marks on the case. Not as straightforward as pressing out the screw holder bits. The lighter grey top lid grille is the only bit that is removable. The Video shows it has a Fan, a large Heatsink area & a few plug-in wires like small antenna sockets, seen these before. We decide not to pull the top off as that's all there is to Service. The case & input sockets are so small & fragile, to go heavy on it seems unwise. The construction is such that they know what fails or needs Servicing, the HDD section. Bad Picture is usually an Input Signal issue, we had VM 'increase the signal' to stop this years ago, some smart talking gets them to give away their ways. Today VM don't have anyone in India to talk to if do Check your System if you Phone or go Online. If you still have issues, they say they'll send an Engineer if you want. Unless you want to lose all your TiVo recordings, as all they'll do is swap for a New Box, assuming you've not Violated the Securuty Seal. Connecting it all up, it Starts. In a World where all you do may be Spied On, there is no "Your Account Has Been Cancelled & All Your Recordings Deleted As You Took It Apart!" One Day, if the Tin Foil Hat Wearers are right. Technology isn't that 'Smart'. Seems to play a Recording faster, if one show must have just failed to be Broadcast right as it stopped at 36 min & wouldn't go any further. Previous TiVo 'stops' could be advanced to continue. The show we were watching, 'Bangers & Cash' is on Catch-Up so back watching it within a few minutes, maybe it was a known Bad as S7 E11 was there but the previous week not on yet. Have a Little Faith, not everyone 'In Charge' can't think. For trying to Service, since typing this, still the same bad Picture Breakup, it misses recording shows & expects you to click 'ok' when it insults you, at least Catch-Up is there. It seems they're more ito Streaming Box Sets of TV shows as a batch of Channels suddenly there. Nothing for us though.

But Which Amplifier Or Receiver Do We Buy In Vintage?
The way we played it getting all Our Amps as Reviewed was based on several factors. Good Price for What It Is? We look for Original amps in decent condition, don't care too much if they worked as dealing with 50 year old amps to expect they are long past their best. But we're buying to Rebuild, not just use an old amp & 'hope' it doesn't go bad & trash the speakers. Many do just use the amp, which is a bit of a worry on items so Old. Power Rating. Depending on what Speakers you have, our 95dB Tannoys can play a 20w amp nicely, if small 86dB bookshelf speakers will not give enough volume. You really don't need over 100w for Domestic use, if the 'thrill' of a 300w Monster Amp or Receiver pleases some. We use 25w to 70w amps mostly & depending on design they can be as good, the lower power amps are generally Sweeter Sounding. The Age Of The Amp. Designs supposedly 'improve' over time, the Reality is they get more & more tamed in search of meaningless THD ratings, are you really bothered about a minute distortion -70dB down when the sound itself can be so mangled it sounds harsh & tiring? The Best Sounding Amps are generally pre 1974. This is when many Big Brands foolishly got into the 'Comet' discounting, making amps priced to the Discounted price, not the unrealistic RRP recommended retail price. The ads in Hifi News show Discounting was Standard Price in comparing varied shops ads. £500 RRP offered for £330 isn't a £500 amp anymore. The Best Era you can see by the amount we've had, the 1965-1973 era has many great amps, if many Budget Priced poor ones as with any Product. Has It Been Hyped As Something Better By An 'Expert'. Don't call us 'Experts' that term usually veers towards Snake Oil sellers & ones trying to offload Ex-Demo gear. In our years of reviewing, to see a 'craze' for amps we liked at some time. Sony TA-1120, Trio-Kenwood KA-6000 & Yamaha CR-1000 all got extra interest, until the Reality of what they cost to Rebuild. Popularity Contests. In other Realms online such as YouTube, Facebook & Twitter, things get Likes & Shared to grow in Popularity. Vintage Hifi is a Specialist Market & for the Age, the trouble is not very many are getting to hear the better Amps & Receivers at their Best, only the aged tired ones. Early on the Internet before we Reviewed Hifi, the main interest was in the Mid-Late 1970s ear, Silver Pioneer, Marantz & McIntosh. These now are 'Famous' amps as you can buy Fridge Magnets of them & T-Shirts similarly. Vintage Hifi certainly has a Look as Money Was Spent, today the drab looks of NAD 1980s Grey Amps seems to be what you get, functionality, tame sounds & boring looks. Be interesting to Get Votes on which Amps are 'The Best' according to Readers & Owners. The HFE Manuals site shows that this would need careful picking, 1600 Manufacturers & 53,000 manuals. To Filter down to the Best Hi-Fi years, as in 1965-1973 and another category 1974-1980 to keep Both Sides of Vintage Hifi involved. To pick anything Post 1980 would need one with better knowledge of the Era, the Hifi Yearbooks ended 1981 so until 'What Hifi' got more into their Buying Guides, certain years aren't well represented. The Difference between an Upgraded & Rebuilt, Like-For-Like Recap, Basic Service & Raw Aged Original can make too much of a difference. In Cars there are far more into them so as 'Bangers & Cash' on Yesterday channel shows, many Cars are now much wanted for the Age of the Owners wanting back 'Old Friends' & even 'Wheeler Dealers' new series had the Austin Allegro Vanden Plas, an uprated version looks-wise of the unloved Allegro, to see people really liking it & it changed our opinion, yet only sold for £3000. You Need To Live With Hi-Fi To Understand it. Shop Demos or YouTube videos are of little help deciding. In the early 1960s the Hi-Fi shows in Hotels were not so helpful when Dealers only used selected Stereo LPs to 'show off' the Hifi. Last year of this was 1968. To live with an Amp for One Week at least using Daily gets it understood. The Best Hifi should sound Quite Modest on turning on, not over Bassy or Over Trebly, Tone Controls are essential & some amps need more than others to match Speakers. To have Treble on 'Full' is No Sin if it sounds realistic. Bass up high can go beyond just Deeper Bass & be too 'Thick' sounding which loses the Treble. Also, is it Easy To Use, does it Smell, does it get too Warm, are the Controls easy to turn, does it make noises on Power On or Off. Is it with a Background Noise, a gentle Germaniums hiss is acceptable, a Hum will usually get annoying. The later amps can be very quiet in use, if some earlier can have a slight noise as the Noise Floor demands of 95dB were down to 60dB as the specs show.

The Loudest Music Played So Cleanly.
Rock is The Best Music for showing How Precise an amp is. Interestingly those who like Heavy Rock play it on amps that add more Mess to the sound & often completely miss the actual Live Sound. Two tracks we've recorded from vinyl long ago but were just 'Too Rough' to play on Headphones can at last be played 'Listenable' which is maybe Not The Point, but it's a Challenge. The 'Motorhead' two UK Hits 1980-81 "Ace Of Spades' which is a Studio Recording & actually crisp sounding & 'Motorhead [Live]' a raw dirty lo-fi 'Live' sound. So to Google what Lemmy used for his Heavy Bass Guitar sound. This site tells... Lemmy's Rig Rickenbacker 4000 series guitar & a 'modified' 100w Marshall, he played it Flat on Bass & Tone if the Midrange was at '10' which can be understood now playing the tracks, heavy boost on the 'Presence' range. It'd be interesting to see the Circuits of the 'Super Bass' Marshall & what was altered, the big Volume is playing with NFB that Valves can take but Transistors are a Huge Sea Of Hiss, because we've played the 'Loud' game as Blogged before. Maybe if Hifi was 'Better' people could hear how good a Guitarist Lemmy is, beyond just being a Really Loud Blur of Raunch. But they heard him play Live as Wikipedia shows all the Gigs, Tours & Live LPs. Another Heavy 45 that is a real tough one is the Punk 'Lockjaw' with "Journalist Jive"on 1978 UK Raw. A first time listenable on Headphones, to hear what's being sung too. Imagine how clean your Classical & Singer-Songwriter stuff could be played. The Most Challenging Music for Hifi is always 'The Loudest' to imagine how Rough a Full Orchestra 'Fortisssimo' can be, those guys back over 100 years ago wanted it Loud too.

How Dismal Hifi Must Have Been In 1963-65 : The 'Paraline' Speaker.
Hi-Fi News brought this Speaker in as a Construction Project & the amount of 'experts' raving about it is a little sickening. It's a Horn Loaded thin ply box with an 8" Single speaker facing upwards. No Tweeter, just a 'Full Range' Driver. To be tired of reading about this thing, to see the Feb 1965 HFM actually gives Frequency Curves is quite remarkable how Anyone could even want the thing, explaining 'sickening'. An 8" speaker usually can't go over 10kHz & that's at a huge percentage down from the Real Range the graphs show. Firstly a Case-Honky 10dB peak around 100Hz is abysmal. The Sound Levels vary anid 5dB down to 3kHz then nose dives after meaning 10kHz is usually 20dB down. So many 'Great Reviews' are deluded if they think that matches anything, there were Good Speakers around in the era, Tannoy, Goodmans & Wharfedale with Tweeters & proper cases that did not give that awful Boxy sound that generally is a Budget Speaker & ones we avoided in Our Teens as they sounded so bad. Some Radiograms were much better sounding. One letter writer gave the only word how Dull & Uninvolving this rancid Paraline speaker was yet to still keep on about it in 1965 shows How Bad Hifi must have sounded. In the UK it was mainly UK made amps from Leak & Rogers to lesser Armstrong & middle ones like Dulci & Tripletone. By 1965 the Pioneer & Trio (Kenwood) amps & receivers were well advertised if UK ones were the ones bought. The old complaints of Rough FM & Rough LPs seems more of a 'Hifi Played On' issue as Vinyl as early as the 1952-1954 earliest EMI & Decca ones were very well recorded, as were USA 45s if they were pressed on noisy vinyl spoiling the sound & wearing easily. We used to collect early 1950s R&B on the rare 45s, years later they've really not been played via CD then to on Computer, as the noise is too much & the music quite narrow in style. HFN readers loved their Quads, as heavily promoted in HFN until the mid 1970s, and their Steep Filters, we had their Quad II pre, powers & tuners. In 2002 ours still useable, power amps sounded good if needed a High Input, but the crude preamps certainly the weakness in a Garrard - Quad - Tannoy set up.

Long Lost Yet Refound Years Later.
This isn't some Religious Awakening, just telling how Dumb Things Can Be. Packing up the 1973 Yamaha CA-1000 in May to find a suitable box & one in the loft suited fine. It had German Text on it & something we bought or got sent from Germany, if what that was weighing 6.4kg can't have been any Amplifier. Delivered by 'Hermes' who are now 'Evri'. Open the box to use it & inside there is a Stanley Knife. A familiar one, ours. A little clouded from Loft Dwelling, but it had been in that box 'Lost' since Sept 2019. It's a Knife we have a picture of in it's Newer Days of 1989 as it has a sort of paint mark if the original paint is now long gone. Picture was of a Table we were redoing & the knife was in amid the Tools with that Mark showing. Old Friends, eh? Wondering where it went & found 3 and a half years later. Another Unanswered one was a Metal Ruler we used, one of those Set Square adjustable ones mid 1980s vintage, a thick ruler not those laser etched thin ones. It was useful & preferred over other ones. Be sure you'll pick it up at the 30cm marked end not the 1cm one to use it. Like the Virgin Media Remote isn't always upside down either. Even bought one of those New Ones after searching a bit obsessively for it, but not keen on it. The thing is we scan Record Sleeves on the Scanner & to use the Ruler to make an easy border. Not getting many EPs or Picture Sleeve records meant the Scanner just sat in a drawer. One time we got some to scan, open the Scanner & there it was. Must have been 'Lost' for maybe Two Years. As your Mother will tell you "It's In The Last Place You'll Look" or equally unhelpful "It's Where You Last Left It". True but not the Answer you want. In another way of thinking, Do You keep a Bin by your Desk save throwing stuff a few feet to a distant Bin & it generally missing so you have to pick it up again? Paranoia says things will fall in the Bin & you'll throw them in the Main Bin & never know. Life says 'Not So' having looked in the bin many times, never there & you'll find them in an old Parcel Box or in the Scanner. In life, to avoid these Games, get Two of certain things so you can lose one & still have the other. If you're unlucky all four pairs of scissors will be missing.

September 2023 Blog

These first few Blogs Below were in the 'Should We Publish That?' pile, showing how Hard Going Hifi Can be....

Some Hifi Isn't Designed Correctly So To Hide The Weakness With Dumbing Down.
Technical Designers are only Human. They are like Office Folk who mess up on a Job & cover their failings in various ways. The last few years has revealed how useless The Idiots In Control are. Why shouldn't it be any different in Hifi? To unravel what they've done is like making a Deal with The Devil to think beyond what's reasonable. Or you can ask God for help if neither are really there. Modern Hifi as we found on that 2007 Marantz PM 6002 is severely limited & dumbed down, if not actually hiding Bads on their version of a 1978 amp. Hifi Tech hasn't advanced & Valve Amps of Today just blindly copy the poor designs from 1959. Do those Valve Amps with Autobias improve the sound? Trying to fix a problem that never existed. We've found a few amps now that are Badly Designed but just 'covered up' by Dumbing Down. Badly Matching a High Level Preamp to a Lower Level Power Amp, makes a mess of it & another amplifier version of this receiver is patched up in a poor way. Who'd even think that would ever happen, but reading what the Two-Level output of 1v & 0.3v on the Sony TA-2000F preamp meant. See the "Readings On An Unusual Amplifier" Blog above about the SX-2500. Knowing that is the issue, to Redesign the Input Stage & Bias to get it to be Correct. This means Pioneer couldn't solve this but we can. Put Tone To Maximum And It Hums. The 1973 JVC 4VN990 SEA Equaliser, a Passive 5 stage Tone Unit if you turn all 5 controls to Maximum, it's rather noisy. This is actually how the amp is made, on confirming with another who has this amp. The problem is the SEA is designed differently to the 1967 JVC 5040 as in it amplifies before the SEA rather than after. JVC are fine on the SEA on all other amps we've had, so why was this left done badly? It is possible to redesign the SEA amp to lose the Hum, but it's not easy as you can lose the SEA-Tone gain. Again, why couldn't JVC design this properly? The 4VN990 is an extremely precise Differential amp with a very clean sound, much of this is in our upgrades remembering how it first sounded in it's Hissy Transistors original days. Built-In Weaknesses aka Built-In Obsolescense. The Deeper you get into Hifi, the more Weaknesses & Dumbing Down you find. 'They' don't want you having the Best & those with Monster Receivers saying 'They Do' are unaware how hugely tamed these amps are. The deliberate 'put a crappy bit' in an otherwise great amp is commonplace & finding these is Our Joy as we can outdo the Designers who either can't design parts right, blindly follow other's ideas or cynically put weakness in. The Amps that can take our Upgrading & Redesign have to be of a Quality to start with & be Workable, some amps are just too difficult to keep unplugging boards or unscrewing sections. The more times an amp or any item is apart, the higher chance of things breaking, not to mention Human Error unless you are well prepared. Take Lots of Photos, the "Repair Shop" never tell you that one.

The Total Random Insanity Of Earth Loops & Earth Hum.
Hum in an Amp is the Most Infuriating Thing. Usually a 100Hz tone from the Rectified Mains of 2x 50Hz. Other causes of Hum are external or Capacitor rated, so assume the problem is neither. Earth Loops in connecting Hifi are generally easy to Solve, don't ground the Preamp & the Power Amp if you use Seperate Pre & Power as an example. The Preamp only needs the Connectors to Ground the Preamp. Our 1971 Sony Pair we have the Power Amp with Three Core Mains as Rewired by us & the Preamp still uses the original Two Core Flat Blade plug to go in the Power Amp Switched Outlet, so the Power Amp switches both. Hum Inside Amps is a Mindblower & works on very different ideas. Designers get it wrong leaving Hum & will Dumb Down the Amp to Hide it. The 'Game' of reducing Hum involves certain points as a Multi-Earth & the Guessing Game of trying to Cancel an Earth Loop in a complex amp by trying many combinations to see which reduce the Hum. If it's wrong, the Hum Increases, but trying 'a million' combinations can reduce the Hum bit by bit until it's actually Quieter than other amps. Hum can be brought on by Upgrading & Redesigning revealing Weaknesses which is why most don't do this. The 1966 Akai AA-7000 was another Hummer, needing the same ideas as above & could do with more. The 1979 Luxman LX-33 valves was a Humming valve amp, so much redesigned as the Luxman one was very mediocre. In the end to just redo all the Earth Wires 'our way' which was a few years ago now. As you can imagine, this sort of problem solving takes a huge amount to do, so not really a job to do on a Customer's amp. The fairest comment if the amp reveals illogical Hums & Oscillation is to sell it & get another different amp.

How Many Good Amps Are Sitting Around Dead And Unused As With Issues?
Plenty now pre 1980 are aged & way past their best. People still use them in a strange 'Wartime' spirit of running them into the ground, like Cars used to get until the MOT was tightened up. The MOT used to pass Rust Buckets with heaps of issues, used to see plenty of old cars on the Road in the 1980s. Old Cars are now only seen if Restored or Rebuilt & looking great again. Hifi hasn't reached that stage, look on ebay at many old amps offered as 'working' yet 1960s-1980s age range. They are full of problems. Rebuilding & Getting Problems. This one will stall an amp's progress. To think you're doing the amp a favour by rebuilding, but encountering Illogical issues is what we've had recently. A pile of Great Amps but all with 'stupid' problems. Beyond ones not financially worth keeping, we've had a few amps several years just staring at them. But thinking way beyond general ideas, thinking outside the Box not enough, think outside the Factory the Box was made in. By doing things to actually get these unuseable & unsellable amps right again. The problems have all been Design Problems, poorly covering design weaknesses. Some have been Beyond Surreal to solve them. We doubt there are any others able to fix these sort of amps, looking at Forums you'll read pages about 'some genius' realising a capacitor on a 50+ year old amp needs replacing, this is the level you rarely see above. Those tackling like-for-like rebuilds, no upgrades, will still get into problems. How Many Abandoned Projects Are There in Hifi? The TV Car shows tell often of these sort of Problem Cars, yet a show like 'Wheeler Dealers' has a knack of transforming Bad into Good. The amount of research & searching for parts isn't shown, but be sure there will be a lot of it. We've had that 1969 Pioneer SX2500 with huge issues here for 3 years, now for Our Redesign it's great & been on our Speakers for a while now. The 1973 JVC 4VN990 with awful hum is now very quiet (Aug 2023) , beyond SEA at max. 1966 Sansui 3000 early one was unuseable yet to discover why is way beyond a usual repair, one to finish still. As of Oct 2023 it's a Regular on our Speakers now! 1966 Akai AA7000 useable if not quite done still. 1968 Fisher 800T with insane noises now good, this was a customer's amp. Other amps don't make it as parts unfindable or unrepairable, if we can't use it we can't sell it either. The Hifi Realm must have So Many 'Dead' amps, the days of TV Repair shops stuffed with unclaimed gear as the customer abandoned them or didn't want to spend more. Having to tackle design-based issues is way beyond your Like-For-Like tech & why some techs refuse to recap unless it's faulty as they know the issues. We actually Solve The Issues, if it's often a long job & to the point of 'not caring' to try things beyond trusted ideas. To get Results is nice.

Running In Capacitors?
We've been Recapping Amps for years now, a Sony STR-6120 in around 2002 was the first Transistor one that needed it. Generally the capacitors we use, Quality Brand ones as our Photos Gallery shows, don't need more than a song or two to be their Best, as in Run in. Larger size Capacitors we've put plenty in Amplifiers to find similarly they are 'On Spot' within a few minutes. But one large pair of Capacitors we got were different. Large Power Supply Capacitors, the price of ours wasn't cheap, we only use proper Branded ones. You could spend another £100 on the same spec & value capacitors, but no need for Hifi. First try of the Amp, it sounded really lousy. 'Poor Stereo & Poor Dynamics, like an AM Radio version of other amps' is quite a damning opinion, but it's what we heard. It was not Hifi at all. Not pleased, just left it. Next day it improved so it got played a bit more, but still not pleased with it & hearing Amps that are a 'bit off' tonally can upset the hearing balance. The next day again, to just grab the nearest amp to play some Tunes & now the amp sounds way better. Sounds nicer than another amp we'd been playing, matching the Luxman Valves sound better. The thing clearly is this Brand don't Run In Capacitors to Form Them when New. More Premium Brands clearly do to give good results quickly. That's not great is it, you're left thinking the amp you spent good money recapping is a rubbish one. The date code on them was only a few months before. Yet another Hifi Annoyance to deal with. To some to expect to Run In all Amps, if in reality even Valve Amps can be 'On Spot' within a few minutes. Old Capacitors that physically look good, but can be dry & crusty inside, can improve for Running In. But a False Economy to think a 40-50 year old capacitor is good to use & trust. It's good to hear Amps as Original. Time is Catching Up on Amplifiers & Receivers, a little used 1972 Amp may be trusted to some. For us to try it on Speakers it must pass many tests, again it's good to hear how these Amps could have sounded when new 50 years ago.

Headphone Woes: But It Did Last Ten Years.
Our Audio Technica ATH-M 50 we got in 2013 as on the Headphones page. Today playing one amp but No Sound on the R via Headphones. Still working on so try another amp later. Still no R channel. Test Speaker on that Amp that's still being worked on too. Works fine Both Sides & so will the earlier one. The current version is the ATH-M50X with a removable headphone cable, which is a good idea. After 10 years ours look terrible, the Headband Vinyl long gone & the straighter parts of the cable are Hard now so the Plastic Ages. The removable cable lets you buy a New Cable. The Earpads don't last too long, imagine the Use ours get over Ten Years, you can buy these on ebay & the ones here need replacing. But the Plug end of the cable has always been a bit weak despite the spring that doesn't stay in too well. Looking inside, the 3 wires look a bit worn if not broken. But no R channel. Look inside the Cans, as you'd expect one screw long broken, they are not substantial in construction, Ten Years heavy use is probably Good Going. Look on ebay to see what there is, ones £180-£250 seem a bit much after £120 bought them 10 years ago. So buy ones in that Opened But Never Used' grade, knowing they can be returned if they aren't. So ours we consider 'finished' so rip them apart on the sealed plug bit. Three Soldered connections, does one look a dry joint? Cut the wires & managed to Solder them, it's not too neat, but it worked L+R again. Worth buying another 6.3mm plug & some new earpads. But to have these & used for Ten Years, the New ones will certainly be considered at things don't last forever, would rather have better looking ones, but they need the M50 sound, the 'X' version may mean they aren't the same 'Flat Sound' spec. Our Headphones page tells of Modern Headphones with Boosted Bass that suits using a weedy Phone output, but not Hifi. So until they arrive, we can at least play Headphones still. To only break open the Plug to not care, yet again brings results. Green, Red & Black as soldered in. These could be repaired again. But it's not so Simple really, this is gear of today. The wires are 'odd' in a way they don't solder, some sort of thread mixed in & possibly enamelled wire like other Headphones have. Hard to solder as the 'dry solder' is some sort of fast heat-weld device & then seal it in plastic to keep it solid. Heat shrink keeps ours in place as does tape as Heatshrink isn't big enough. Parts for the ATH-M50 are available, the head strap part that holds the cans for £22, the cable for £20, the earpads about £8. The Money clearly in the Drivers which are easy to take out with screws & solder. More on the ATH M50x below...

New Headphones: Audio Technica ATH M-50x.
Ours failed as blogged above, if as they were considered finished, to rip the plug part & manage to get them going. So we can compare the Two. Our Old Ones Heavily Used as this site suggests, they don't age well on the earpads & head band for the Vinyl wears off. To see the M50x as New is a huge difference, if just about the same. Doesn't say 'Monitor Headphones' anymore & the model number pressed into the casing. Much better to have a detachable plug to the Headphones, a plug smaller than the 3.5mm jack so probablty 2.5mm or so. It pushes in & rotate to line up the lines to lock. Has three sets of wires as today's uses are more Mobile Phone oriented. The cables are a softer style plastic now. The Headband is much tighter than ours after 10 years use & had to glue a bit on a hinge before. The Plug is moulded on, not the metal case & spring that allows wear to the wires. These sold as 'Opened Never Used' which is fine, no greasy earpads or headband. They've listened but found it's a Flat sound that's unlike other 'Tuned' Headphones to make a phone Audio more lively. As you can imagine, 'eek' at our ones not working so just jump in, Tools of The Trade for sure. Looking on Amazon, £129 now, down from £145 as we looked again, buys you the wired one & £158 the Bluetooth one. How a Bluetooth one can match a directly wired Headphone for the Sound quality seems unlikely. 'Wireless' headphones were around in the 1990s & not very good for range or sound. Amazon oddly has much more expensive versions £300+ if no difference in the Headphone, the plastic case adds £170 seemingly. Ours were just over £100 delivered so well worth having. If not as described it could be returned, if these are keepers. The Sony STR-6065 is on the desk from the day before, so to play the Old Headphones & then try the New Ones. Remember the old ones took a long time to run in as there was an edge to the sound. Seems the reviews contain the M-50 & M-50x reviews, we found the 'X' version out by 2017 yet 2014 comments show. To wonder if they need a Good Run In & to hear reviews by 2017 saying they weren't as good. But our old ones a mess with the plug cable worn out means new ones were needed. Playing the ATH M-50x. Try the old ones first to get a Sound Check. The Sound instantly is similar if quite different. A lumpy bass & slightly recessed Midrange are obvious. The Bass sounds like those 'affected' sound other AT headphones as on our 'Headphones' page, the One-Note Bass is not nice. It sounds a bit Compressed. Swap back to the Old Ones, the Bass sounds like it does on Speakers. The Treble is more extended & open. Decide to buy New Pads for the old ones, all generic brand ones if they last well enough & be sure we'll be comparing them a while. Once the Vinyl flakes off they don't hold shape, ours with a Rubber Band after taking them apart is a bit sad. Back to the New Ones, the thick bass is a nuisance. But what frequency? Using a test tone sweep on the Old Ones, it sounds Flat 50Hz-200Hz. The New Ones are different but not really 'Peaky', the Bass on Full Sweeps is Louder. 80-100Hz seems different if not hearing a Peak, it's hard to measure. It's like Swapping Amps on Speakers, one amp can sound a bit Dry when another Amp can be more 'Friendly' sounding, you can hear that one has a bit more Upper Bass on first compare, if Next Day it fits in fine as it's an amp much used. The Older ones sound a bit Thinner on Bass after playing New Ones a bit more as you'd expect. Gets to the point of 'Which One' is playing & it's the Old ones. Reading our Old Review, we put... "The closed cup can 'honk' a bit on upper bass if played louder which restricts the ultimate rating." This is exactly what we're hearing on the New Ones, it's a Headphone needing Use & Running in. These aren't edgy on the treble. Not just getting used to them, swapping back to Old has them match more. You can imagine the original buyer playing for 5 mins & liking the cheap Earbuds Headphones better. The wire ties had been undone. Run The New Headphones In. Not wanting to play too much Music on Headphones that differ from what we're used to, as hearing there is an improvement, best thing to do is Run them In using Pink Noise. How much it'll need is another thing, to have One Sound then another noticeably Different Sound when always working on Amps isn't too helpful. Renovate the Old Ones as it's not too expensive, new Wire with the later plug £12, the headband & wires £22 plus the earpads. These all bought so to allow the new ones time to run in from knowing how long the M50 originals took, if having the new ones with their Newness & plug in cable. The wire to renovate the M50 will need cutting. The New M-50x worth keeping if we can't really use them for Critical Listening yet. To have got the old M50 useable wasn't expected & to see these 'spare parts' which we expect are Generic parts is keeping these old ones alive. Run In Progress. Over Two Hours does improive them, the Treble more open, the Thick Bass still a bit unnatural. Not just for the Headband being a tighter fit. As in the Sony blog below.. Playing the older M50 headphones, it's a nice sound. Trying the new M50x it sounds like Loudness is on & it's not nice. Well that tells it right. The M50x aren't quite the same, but will they run in better, probably not.

Which Came First: 1971 Sony STR-6055 Or 1971 Sony STR-6065?
These receivers are in the 1971 Series with the TA-1140. The 6055 manual code is '2C0608' and the 6065 is 'OK 0626-1' which means the STR 6055 was the Original Design. Obvious to see really, the 6055 inside is fitted to it's contents, the 6065 is the STR 6200F shoved into the smaller case with the front Tuner board altered to fit around things. Both have the same inner casework, if the STR-6055 looks obvious for they 'Forgot' the Loudness lever & put it as a Button as an afterthought. The Sony TA-1140 amplifier has 'MA0610-3' codes so the Amp version was After the Receiver, if the Power Amp board is earlier & in the Sony TA-3140 power amp. In Hifi, it does help to know Which Came First as the First One has the First Design. Puts the Modest STR-6055 into a different light & for How Good the STR 6065 is, to look what was changed 6055 to 6065. Physically the STR-6055 is a more modern build with smaller adjust pots & 0.47 ohm resistors lower down. Uses more modern Transistors for all the Drivers, not the TO66 or TO5 can ones. Deep Hifi Nerdery, but for looking for The Best, it's interesting. It shows Sony had more than one design team going, casework & innards varying, the STR 6055 is almost the 1969 STR-6050 which wasn't their best one, making the STR-6055 get overlooked for a long time. Our STR 6055 is Our Sixth One. Phono. The STR 6065 Phono is Three transistors like the STR-6120 if alterations. STR-6055 is Two transistors. Both look less fussy than the STR 6120 which we rated a better one on our Phono stage tests page. Pre-Tone. STR 6120, STR 6055 & STR 6065 are all more or less the same. STR 6120 has a Buffer stage after the Tone which the others don't. Power Amp. The STR 6120 has the earlier Capacitor Coupled Non Differential, the others use a Differential that is a totally different design. It can be capable of very crisp sound if is usually tamed down to keep a Domestic Sound. The STR 6055 has the Diff, the Bias stage, 8 Diodes for the Protection. STR 6065 has an extra transistor & one less diode, the STR 6055 is mostly more symmetrical. Both use the same NFB if there are more differences, mostly to drawing it differently if one Bias is PNP on the 6055. Why did they alter it? STR 6065 on 54v, STR 6055 on 41v for the Power differences. Knowing amp designs to wonder why certain Resistor values aren't equal on each half of the push-pull design. a few Tweaks STR 6055 to STR 6065, 40w to 70w ignoring their confusing ratings. Power Supply differs on both if not so unlike. STR 6055 uses just one Transformer winding, plus a bulbs one, two main give 41v DC plus another 57v DC one, not exactly a Balanced design. The STR 6065 adds two 5.6v AC ones as does the TA-3200F power amp, what they do this for is unknown beyond it adds the extra ±55v DC on top of the ±50v DC ones, two uses for the main HT is an odd one. STR 6055 has Regulators & Zener Diodes for the 15v Tuner HT as does the STR-6065. The STR 6055 just has two regulator transistors for the ±37v. The STR 6065 uses two voltages on the later Power Amp, 59v & 54v, the STR 6055 only needs one as do designs usually. STR 6055 three regulators, STR 6065 needs Six including two sub-regulators. This is what heads into Overdesign by adding Extras that probably aren't needed. Fuses. The STR-6055 in the UK is usually with an extra Fuses board on top of the Power Supply board. The STR-6065 hasn't got enough space inside to do this neatly, so the STR-6065 wasn't sold in the UK, countries like Germany got these. These STR 6055 'NEP' Fuses, compared to the 'GEP' EU version are like the TA-1140 has. One 5A bulbs fuse, Two 3.15A for the Main HT if One 200mA on the '57v DC' one. Also it has the 2A Fuse that's on the Power Supply board on the 'GEP' ones. There are no Speaker Fuses. The Fuses board confuses as it's 2A, 3.15A, 200mA, 4A, 4A suggesting Bulbs now 3.15A & HT is now 2x 4A. Was it worth finding all that out you wonder. So do we. Beyond Power differences which is 'Best' if upgraded the same. The only way is to play them, STR 6065 recapped with Upgrades, STR-6055 high grade & all original.

Compare Recapped Upgraded 1971 Sony STR 6065 To Original 1971 Sony STR-6055

Comparing is taking two different amps, this as Original vs Upgraded is an unusual one. The STR-6055 is like new inside & kept dry & clean which is not the typical 1971 amp. One is Upgraded & Recapped so compareto the STR 6065 knowing of this, the STR-6055 is an impressive amp. These two Sony are Neutral sounding & can get bypassed playing less Neutral sounding amps. This has long been a Hifi Problem in comparing where the Over Bassy or Over Trebly amp can leave the Neutral amp sounding the Lesser. Playing the older M50 headphones, it's a nice sound. Trying the new M50x it sounds like Loudness is on & it's not nice. Back to the Old Ones & they all sound good again. STR-6055 has styling like the STR-6050 that had the Loudness button by the Volume. the thing is the STR 6055 does sound different listening beyond it not being upgraded & it shows it's the First Generation version with a fresher sound. Both play about the same level, 40w to 70w. STR 6055 puts out 28v clean sine for a 40w rating, the 70w STR 6065 we've not tested yet if it'll not be much more around 32v. The STR-6055 Is A Real Sleeper, as it's Neutral when other amps can be leaving it thought 'unremarkable'. A customer recently wanted to buy another amp, not pleased with the STR-6055. To ask 'what don't you Like with the STR-6055' when we're playing the original STR 6055 & thinking it beats the higher power STR-6065. STR-6055 seems later in circuits & inside if the case & numbering on from the 1969 STR-6050. STR-6055 has none of this heavy protection SCR, if not quite onto a Relay yet. The 'Problem' with the STR-6055 is it lacks Cred as it's not Impressively Built looks-wise, how wrong. The one here ignored for Three Years is our Sixth one, do have a proper full Wood Case to fit either 6055 or 6065, rare find with the previous 6055. It's a cheap one to buy if you look around, prices on Hifi Shark are very modest still. But when we tell our Opinion after thinking it was a Goodie before all the recent 'Nonsense' it just sat. Did think to upgrade one when the TA-1140 in 2019. Is the STR 6055 better than the STR-6120? Has a very high quality 1971 tuner, the Differential design, but it's looks inside with the upside-down power supply under the Fuses is far from the looks of other Sony. One of the few Sony with the 'Kettle' plug socket, not a captive wire. Biggest Sleeper amp ever. Looking at pics of our previous STR 6055, this current one only 80 serial numbers away from the 3rd one. '40....' is the UK version, non UK version '55....' & that one only 35 numbers away. Some have the full grille slots, some only over the power amp.

What Did Sony Do Past 1972?
Looking at The Receivers. 1971 have STR-6200F, STR-6065 which is STR-6200F with a New Tuner & the STR-6055 which seems later if the STR-6065 uses the same case basically if a front edge tuner board is moved to allow the Power supply suggesting the 6055 is earlier, if the 6055 power amp has more modern parts than the 6065. 1974 brings the TA-1150 amp that has the Custom ICs that are actually pretty decent as early. The Receivers are the STR-7055A & STR-7065A, note these are Multivoltage, the non 'A' ones are 110v only, to save a few pennies. The build quality is away from the 1971 range with lots of cables all over the place & probably hard to work on. This has that odd Glass Tube 'Circuit Breaker' but no Relay. Probably still worth buying as the ICs won't fail in their use. 1976 brings a New Numbering, the STR-6800 looks decent with Transistor Phono & Tone instead of that Larger IC. Power amp starts with the usual Differential but there's not much circuitry. The 'Triangle' means the Power Amp later stages are an IC block 'SS120A' which will be Long Obsolete, one on ebay shows it's like a STK one on a board with a plug in. Not sure why you'd buy a Parts or Not Working' one though. This finally has a Relay, Sony were very slow in getting Relays when Marantz & Trio-Kenwood were using them by 1971. Wouldn't buy an IC output block amp. STR-4800 & STR-5800 in the range are similarly built ICs-wise. STR-7800 at 125w is likely similar. 1978-79 lose their way with
STR-212L 15w (not 150w), STR313L 25w(?), STR-V3L 28w, STR-V4L 53w, STR-V5 & STR-V6. V-FET ones look decent beyond the Long Obsolete V-FET outputs. The STR-V7 is a Transistor output, not V-FETs if has IC for tone amp, so more useful. STR-212L is one of those Generic 1979 looking amps, but it's 15w not 150w, this is a typo in the HFYB. Past 1981 plenty on the HFE site if only in number order. As with Most Brands, the Quality Years are long gone, they were still a Popular Brand like the 1986 Sony TA-550ES amplifier, a very boring amp with an IC block if not the outputs. Anything? STR-7055A & STR-7065A plus the 150w Sony STR-V7 aren't ideal with ICs but best of the later era. Why ones offered at $2000 just shows how ridiculous pricing is on Aged Original amps of 40+ years age.

October 2023 Blog

The Joy Of Buying Some New Amplifiers.
New to us, our Vintage type ones, not some Amazon disposable thing. First see a 1971 Sony TA-1130 with issues but at a reasonable price. First had one about 2009 if not had one here as ours since 2015 with a revisit in 2017. Tested it on the Oscilloscope on our Upgraded one, it read Flat 20Hz-20kHz if our Deeper Upgrades were ahead of us if it did get good attention. Got Sonys on the desk currently, to revisit this one seems worthy. FETs preamp like Sony TA-2000F with a Differential Power Amp with 65w. The First Sony Amplifier with a Proper Headphone output, TA-1120 has none, TA-1120A is a strange low level pre amp one. The TA-2000F FET design we've tried but still found it a little flat sounding, the TA-1130 is quite different with 3 FETs in the Tone-Pre not the 6 of the TA-2000F The TA-1130 design is before the TA-2000F which is a Preamp to see the TA-1130 preamp-tone board size & see what else they could fill the TA-2000F with, MC Phono of little use & a Headphone amp that's reasonable if not as good as a Proper Headphone output from a more powerful Power amp. TA-1130 Has a 'Muting' stage that Mutes the Sound on Turn on & Off, in a way like a Relay does, if not switching the Speakers. Next to see a reappearance of one we have thought about many times & there it is again. The Aug 2022 Blog mentions the 1965-66 Pioneer SX-600T which is the First Pioneer Transistor amp. To see it May 2022, consider it but busy with other things, it ended. Not pleased at that, if wondering 'Maybe The Buyer Will Resell It Seeing How Complex It Is', but there was no buyer. Makes you wonder how many are trying these very early amps, the 1965-66 ones are fascinating with High Hifi Nerd Appeal as you can imagine, they are First Generation Transistor Amps. A 1966 amp may still work as does our Pioneer SX-1000-TA if you can't trust it for long use. Rated 16w but like the 1966 Sansui TR-707A it's actually 25w into 8 ohms. It's got Nuvistors in the Tuner Front End & the rest is Germanium Transistors. The Case looks the same as the Pioneer ER-420 we have, if it has a black part to the fascia. SX-600T comparing our ER-420 to the photo shows it's a little different, seven rocker switches, a smaller tuner glass & others. 115v/230v on the rear label. A Pioneer Blog above shows a Pioneer SX-300T exists with allegedly 12 valves & 41 transistors, but only 12w rated. This is actually a 1968-looking receiver as the HFE info page tells with 2SB411 outputs which are 40w 11A PNP Germaniums. Manual tells it's 12w into 8 ohms. It's All Transistors if they are Germaniums. Where it fits in to the Series a bit of a Mystery, it's partly earlier than the 1967 Pioneer SX-700TF which we had long ago, it was all Silicon. It has the Speaker Plugs which the 1966 SX-1000-TA has & looks fairly like it. To assume it's after the ER-420 & the SX-1000-TA if uses an earlier design that belatedly got issued still with 1965 style Germaniums. The MPX board gives away it's later as 2SC458 that is 1967 at the earliest plus other Silicons. The Manual has a '68' code. We Are Hifi Detectives. SX-600T & SX-300T are found on Google images, if HifiShark worldwide shows a few of both relisted repeatedly, the 300T slightly less Rare. Who would seek such Old Aged Fascinating Amps out? They may be Specialist Amps for their age, but would we buy them if they didn't upgrade & recap well? Great Sounding amps are getting overlooked as Who Can Rebuild Them. We Can. but the Job isn't a cheap one if the Results are well worth the cost.

Why Are You Such A Mess? Best To Avoid Tatty Hi-Fi.
Ebay brings up nice well looked after Amps, to buy ones from USA or Germany usually bring the One-Owner high grade amps that are nice to have. Sometimes Amps & Receivers have been Treated Badly. The current way of life where 'Unawares' throw perfectly good Hifi & many other categories into a skip or a recycling yard is not so unusual. To get a 1977 Yamaha CA-1010 as on the Gallery page with it's scrape on the fascia edge & the side scratches was a 2014 buy, the seller sounded a little upset for it so they must have found it Low In Life as it had a Cut Mains Wire too, the ultimate insult to an amp. Even now, cutting the 2-Core original wire short to rewire as 3-Core leaves the amp in 'Dead' status for a while. To see another 1969 Pioneer SX-2500 in bashed up grade isn't going to get us wanting it. To accept some flaws for the age, but cracked wood & heavy side scuffs isn't nice. Seller says it works & just needs Bulbs, us aware of the amp know it'll be Noisy & need a full rebuild. To put £400 on it, they've just looked online to see someone pay that, our one most likely. In that tattered state it's not a wise buy as even redone like ours, it's still a tatty amp. Faded top lid, scrapes on the fascia plus the wood case heavy damage, it's more a Parts Amp & certainly not worth more than £100. A £50 listed Onkyo 'Dynamic Four 700' 1970s receiver gets a look, must be low power & DIN sockets, so not for us, but it's in terrible grade, Skip Grade, dirty & heavily marked. Looks stylish to bother looking. The '800' version om HFE is only 12w so maybe this 8w? Budget but c1972 as no Differential if all transistors. Amps we buy we can look closely at & know we have Parts to tidy them.

Why Buy Less Than Perfect Hifi?

To follow on from the above as a new blog... The 1965 Pioneer SX-600T Germaniums one to see it had a courier-squashed rear antenna hinge, got one from that parted SX-1000TDF. Heard it needed a Foot as one missing, got one left & the original screw & washer even. Looking inside once here, a 0.5 ohm white air-core resistor was replaced, got 4 of those, 2 a bit frazzled but 2 nice, the same make & style if 0.47 ohm, the chances of that. Output Transistors are originally 2SD47 50w 5A if a '10 min' as HFE, there are two modern MJ15024 ones that are 250w 16A which is a little overspec, this side is the warm side & two 1970s 2SC493 that are 50w 5A. To see what we have in a set of 4 to keep away from these 250w ones. It's a 25w amp so 50w ones will be fine. 2SC493 look to be the Original ones as the screws untouched. Pioneer used 2SC793 60w 7A by 1967 & we have several. Missing Knobs & Buttons is another thing, unless you can buy them on USA ebay they are generally unfindable. You can possibly match one 'nearly' but it'll poke you in the eye each time. The Yamaha CA-1000 we have missed quite a few of the metal knobs & to find them was a long game, but eventually got the lot. To find the Bass Control that lacked it's outer parts meant it got knocked in. Conductive Paint got it workimg, if the odds of finding a rare Bass Pot with the L+R independently adjustable actually happened. Rare parts are just parts to someone who wants rid. Try find the Marantz Hex Nuts in aluminium, we needed one once yet still had ones from the early 1990s. Think of the value 'lost' in a Marantz missing these. As An Afterthought. Look on ebay for 2SC493. They're not a rarer one & some on ebay showing the same type as ours. £10-£20 each if you want. The thing is that's a premium price on a £5 new transistor. Do you trust they aren't modern printed ones using a similar spec? We have 8 of the 2SC793 so no need. Often an amp has had a repair by only replacing 1 or 2 instead of getting a full new set of a different lot, so to collect spares that are working. Big money in Rare Transistors, some like the original ones, unaware they could be a later transistor as it was sold. Our SX-600T is a 1965 amp with "6605" code on the volume control, usually 5th week of 1966. Original Transistors. Decide to put a set of 2SD45 in, these came from the Sony TA-1120 so are 1965 vintage too. The manual shows 2SD47 which are identical to the 2SD45 if 100v when the 45s are 150v. These early amps can prefer the early transistors, found that with the Sansui 3000, so wise to keep it original, two were corroded so anything to better the looks. On trying it, the Heat on the MJs side gone & the sound is much better. Hum on the Left & Germanium Roar on the Right if much better. The amp needs our Recap-Upgrades but is far better sounding than last time, the MJs 'not liked' by the amp as it was spitty on treble but not now.

A Sony TA-1130 Arrives. What We See & Find With It. 52 Year Old Amp.

To see one noted as 'not playing bass too well' means it needs a Rebuild & at the price, ideal for us. The first Sony amp with a Proper Headphone socket & still the High Quality Build like the TA-1120(A). First had one about 2009 & it got sold & bought back a few times which was a strange one & saw this one as on the Gallery page in 2017 needing a repair, so traded repair for that TAC-1 Wood Case that was £40 with a TA-1140 in it. The 1140 was around for not much then, 2011 in Vintage Hifi terms is "Early", our pages have sure Woken Things Up if now much is Overpriced for Aged Gear, so careful buying required. Saw it had a replaced power switch cap, if it was glued on & the lever tip missing, so to sort that. TA-1130 parts often on ebay, to wait for a freshly parted one as not much left from one USA seller. The rear had a '1995' sticker, not readable, but actually a 'Repaired By Alpha Electronic Services' with a London phone number. Not on Google so likely a TV Repair type of low quality, untidy soldering & managed to lose all of the power amp screws with just an odd one holding it on, real amateur stuff. Output Transistors untouched which is good to see. Again Not An Amp for the Casual User to buy. It is 52 years old, looks a later one for the Black Capacitors so could be a 1973-74 build. Heavy Amp & well made, before the cheaper built TA-1140 & TA-1150. Old & Dusty inside, to see what they repaired if the Preamp left side in the front has the untidy soldering looking like a capacitor issue. You are Buying Blind To Only See The Outside which is in high grade otherwise, it's Pure Gambling buying Vintage & it's beyond most Techs these days. To open it up more to see what they did back in 1995, which is now 28 years ago. Front Section Undone. This tips up as our Gallery pic shows. Capacitors all original, but 2 of the FETs replaced. How a FET would fail knowing the amp before & the TA-2000F preamp, seems a strange one, if often the case. A lot of the components well out of place on the other two boards, Power Amp & Power Supply if all original, The Power switch is a Microswitch type one & the broken bit could be sorted somehow. Transistors Q302 & Q303 are the replaced ones, 2SK23. Similar ones on ebay £30 a pair delivered from USA if needed. They used ones marked 'F243C' which are shown as "BF243C" online, no idea of specs if a FET in a UK-EU code range. Looks like they just put 'anything' in. Impossible for these to Fail we think, did someone take out the 2SK23 & put these in, explaining the Sound Distortion the seller tells of? Looks untouched since 1995. A resistor on the other channel replaced makes no sense either. To wonder if they took the FETs & redid a resistor to 'show worked on' in a cheater way a Marantz receiver we had showed. Mysteries, but things to sort. The FETs used are 2SK23A, not the multiple coded versions, there are lots of 2SK23 versions, if too confusing so they simplified to the 'A' version. FETs & Power Switch are Hard Ones to solve as beyond expected. But once sorted, soon forgotten. So Just Plug It In. Tidied bits but not yet Serviced. What we did solved what the Seller said. Plays good enough for an original 1971-73 amp. Bass plays fine. the L+R aren't quite matched which is likely the replaced FETs which play a little lower & not as crisp, if that could be anything else. Sound is overall decent as Sony often are on the pre 1972 models. Doesn't sound like a 65w amp at all, rather soft, to hear it's better +4 on Treble, but still the L+R imbalance. If it was a Customer's amp, the FET bit is tricky as L+R are not equal, but to keep costs down to alter it to match evenly. The broken switch lever to be dealt with if not an easy one either. It's like the STR-6065 as original & a more tired STR-6055, aged components make it a "warm" sound which is far from what they are capable of. Verdict. Not good to be missing the power switch tip, if a gamble on seeing a different switch cover. The mismatched FETs not ideal. These may be hard to solve. The fact the 'Bass Distortion' was solved by some tidying helps. The mess some amps get into over 50 years with others not doing things right, if rarely do we see repairs done well. On +4 Treble it sounds decent on quieter tracks, on Rock it sounds messy & blurry. On turn-off it doesn't fully Mute as Music still plays until voltages fade. TA-1130 the Best of the Sony Amps, if one still needing a Rebuild. Doesn't get warm or smelly, many would just use it until it fails. They deserve better than that. Had It Apart. Sorted the FETs with some 'borrowing'. Found why one side less loud, the 1995 repairer had all the FETs out instead of fault finding & they put one the wrong way round. The thing is the batch of 6 have the slanted side face the same way, yet one was wrong. A replaced resistor seemed the wrong value compared to the circuit, if was the correct board value on the other channel. They didn't have the Manual if in 1995 before the Internet, they were winging it. Tidying messes & an odd short pair of wires that always break off, to Service the front section which brings a better sound for the work. Power Switch is Two Microswitches on a part that rotates to turn them on. Sound Quality. It has that smeary aged amp sound on early playing if amid it to hear the Sony Quality. 'Smeary' meaning Distorted & Rough to a degree, it improves as clearly not used much since the 1995 messing. Don't need +4 Treble now. As an Original Amp, the sound is way ahead of how the Sony Pair TA-2000F/3200F sounded. The TA-1130 has FETs preamp & Differential Power Amp, as does the Sony Pair, but without the overdesign. The TA-1130 is way ahead of the more Budget TA-1140. Playing it more it wakes up, treble not as tidy, Bass a bit Retro if the standard Sony way. Big Open Sound as Original, not many like this, the McIntosh MAC 1900 was similarly good if fizzy treble to improve. A 2015 opinion we remember was it was precise if not too exciting. Hearing it now on the same Headphones it shows some amps are Less Neutral making those that are seem lesser. It's why many Amps & Receivers get revisited. Historical. The site gallery pic one first got 2009, sold & got back a few times, buyers didn't rate it much for the Neutral sound. One owner half wrecked it getting it so hot it melted the TX filling leaking it over inside & melted the cap top caps, see the pic of the rear cap by the fuses, melted a bit. Said it just went quiet, protection circuit worked after a long time, but it still worked. Think he used 2x 4 ohm speaker sets. Repair Needed. The Sony lever switches are quite fragile on the end tip, once broken off, what to do? Have seen these soldered in a creative way to make it useable. The TA-1130 uses two microswitches for AC plus a switch to use the Muting. Circuits show this just Mutes the Preamp output, rather than to cover noises like a relay's delay can. To use a different switch to look the same from the outside? Nothing on ebay, we parted a STR-6120 years ago & these lever switches were wanted, the tuner glass wasn't as it never breaks & we still have it. Seeing it has the Muting, to look further. Breaking amps that can't be sold gets Parts & to find 4 less complex switches that would work fine beyond muting, solder & file to fit the original switch the best idea, but it takes hours to work out, find & do.

Neutral Sounding Amps: What Does That Mean?
It's a design of amp that is Smooth & a Flat 'Sound' if no Character of it's own. It must be able to deliver a Good Bass & a Crisp Clean Treble. To get a solid Midrange where Voices sound like when you Hear People Talking in your Room. The trouble is all the Hifi Comparing we used to do got Confusing as which sounded 'The Best' varied each time as you played & got used to One Amp & naturally Compared it to others. One of the worst sounding amps was the Radford HD250 from 1971, far too loud & seriously way off anything Neutral, if initially it's Difference was "Exciting" but soon got Tiring. That's the thing, if an amp gets tiring after 10 mins or 2 hours, it's Not Neutral. Some amps we can't listen to As Original as they are so far off Neutral. Of course all this listening takes time to get right & it's why some people can say certain amps & speakers are too good sounding. One Video we saw had one guy saying the 15" Tannoy Gold Lancasters weren't as good as other speakers. They even played them in the room & they sounded like ours do. User Error for sure, but what else have they heard? We got our Tannoys in 2002 at a time we used home made Fane 15" Drivers & Bullet Tweeters, if the Crossover was the weakness. Hearing the Tannoys for the first time, they were very different. But to take a few weeks "Knowing They Were The Best" to get used to a proper Hifi Speaker with a quality Crossover. The Horn Loaded Tweeter only plays the higher frequencies, the Bullet Tweeter with only a basic crossover played much more of the sound which duplicated what the Bass driver played. The Tannoy crossover is very well designed to only play the sound 'Once', if you play with the Crossover to hear it with & without things. So The Speakers must be Neutral & of High Sensitivity as must the Headphones. We're still using the 2013 ATH-M50 set with new earpads, the new ATH-M50x are currently too thick sounding as blogged above. Neutral Speakers & Headphones, but Your Listening Ideas need to Understand 'Neutral' to appreciate a Neutral Amp. In the older Hifi Magazines they said to Often Attend Concerts of Classcal Music that really doesn't give Hifi a good Testing as there is often not much Loud in the Music. The acoustics of the Room & all the Coughing & scrapimg of Chairs & Feet make it not so useful, specially if you were made to wear Evening Dress as woulnd up the HFN readers in 1965. To Understand Neutral you therefore need Neutral Speakers or Headphones. A Neutral Amp, there are Tone Controls for a Reason, to fill out lower level listening instead of using the awful 'Loudness' switch that's still on Modern Amps. To choose what Music to play, we only play Music From Vinyl, any CD tracks we never play those. Mono or Stereo. But Your Head needs to be Neutral to Understand Neutral & this can only be learnt by playing many amps. The Sony TA-1130 we last had in 2015 we considered Precise if not very interesting. But in May 2023 to get another one amid playing with other Sonys, STR-6065, STR-6055 & the TA-2000F/3200F pair, to realise how Neutral the TA-1130 is, without the limits of the others. Our current Speakers Amp is the 1969 Pioneer SX-2500, if it needed big redesign & it sounds Neutral, more than others. Of all our amps, the Sony Pair the least used on Speakers, the Sansui TR-707A the most used. The TR-707A has a huge amount of Tone Gain which can get you playng it quieter with more Tone, if to use less to bring out the Midrange better shows it can be Neutral & Not Neutral if Tone is used differently.

November 2023 Blog

Why Do We Bother -aka- Patience Of A Saint.
As anyone who dooes Complicated Things will know, Everything is Designed By An Idiot & as with Murphy's Law "What Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong". That's Hifi working. Every single time, "It Just Never Stops". Things go missing, things go on the Floor like it's a Magnet & you will be forever fighting against 'The Idiot' who designed it. Take the 1965 Pioneer SX-600T, they're rare as they got binned as 'Unfixable. The Power Transistors were either original 2SC493 all corroded or some new MJ15024 which were way overspec & causing this Early Amp to overheat. These Output Transistors are very fiddly to do, before the Plug-In types, here to unsolder a tiny loop of wire from the pins & tackle screws & nuts with plenty of washers. Be careful not to lose one inside, the MJ fitter did & it was right by one of the Large Capacitors just waiting to short as right on the Tag. Luckily for them, the side needing Repair was the easy side. Would you believe the inputs on resistor tags fitted to a piece sitting just 10mm above the Transistor bolts. A 6mm spanner to undo them, but you need to put the Bolt back. Actually not that difficult on the first, but the second was a right pain dozens of times. Thankfully it fell on the floor never to be found again. But now to find an Imperial thread 3mm nut, these were obsolete by about 1967 as you see 'ISO' & the Dot on the Nut to show Metric Thread. Actually found one & it went on as easy as the first. Of course to replace all 4 with 2SD45 as the amp originally had 2SD47 which are identical if 100v not 150v of the 2SD45. Any way to tidy up Aged Bits is worthwhile, if this was a job. Earlier, the rear AM antenna rod hinge needed replacing as bent up from Courier messing. Screw is star stamped in to not undo & an extra wire needs navigating. Only way to cut off the plastic bit, it was bent up so no good. Replacemen one from that failed SX-1000-TDF that has already helped a few amps now helps a Third Pioneer. Even the Phono Ground screw to replace as chewed. These Things Could Easily Get You Angry & be sure they get yelled at in the way they deserve, but to Keep Calm And Carry On as the sign says. The Edinburgh Zoo folks need patience to feed the Penguins, if you can't have patience then not a job for you. To wonder what the 'Smash Up' rate is with Technology as it seems designed to Annoy you even if you're the User, not anything Tech related. But sadly 'Break Up' does happen with amps that are Unsellable, to keep as many bits as possible. They do get used which is Two Fingers Up to those who try to make things Fail, Annoy You yet make you Go Buy A New One as you fell for it. The Pleasure in Fixing Things with Rare Bits you have of might buy helps Balance the Annoyance as does playing That Stubborn Thing once it's good again & the annoyance is soon forgotten.

Rare To Compare: 1965 Pioneer SX-600T & 1966 Pioneer SX-1000TA As Both Original.
Both are Original from 1965 & 1966. The SX-1000TA has stayed Original as it's Useable & this time the L+R balance is right again. The SX-600T from 1965 is a New Arrival, one got because of the First Transistor Receiver by Pioneer & for seeing it's Quality Design. Early Pioneer are Quality before the Dark Days of Heavy Discounting by 'Comet'. The designs after that were still Quality if Cost Cut & Penny Pinched in a rather Sad way instead of sayng 'No' to the Greedy Discounters. Both despite their Age & Orginal Capacitors do sound Very Decent on Treble & Midrange, if Bass is Limited on Both for the Buyers & their cheap Rumbly Turntables. Both are a Quality Neutral Sound, one is Germaniums & the other all Silicon. The Germaniums give a smoother upper midrange as we found with the 1965 Sansui TR-707A. Not an easy one to compare as both so good even as original, when most amps of their age are usually too far gone by now. The SX-600T smooth sound is obvious on playing the same track with a good Treble, it's just more 'together'. Both working on different 'Platforms' as in the modern Tech Talk as Germaniums vs Silicon. to say the SX-600T sound is more 'Tactile' sounds unusual for an Audio Sound, but the sound is more Real when the Silicon of the SX-1000TA was sounding less confident. Germaniums may have a background hiss, it can be kept listenable to Modern Ears by various ways. Germaniums are Comparable to FETs & Differentials which can be hard to design right.

In Praise Of Neutral Sounding Amplifiers.

This isn't so easy to get into. You'll play many different Amplifiers & Receivers and find each batch you try with The First Amp Played usually ending up The Preferred one. Then next time another amp played First is the one you like. We used to compare lots of amps in one listening batch & this was what we got. It wasn't exactly helpful. Some Amps can be Trebly or more Bright sounding, some more Bassy at the expense of Treble & Midrange detail. Some can seem Grainy yet not so much Next Time, this is as you've got used to a Duller sounding amp & your Hearing has Compensated. Humans are highly suggestible as the last few years has revealed, usual common sense has been replaced by, well. Our Current Amps are in the Neutral Sounding category & quite diverse amps can sound similar, regardless of Valve, Germanium, FET, Differential or just the humble Silicon Transistor. It's all in the many design styles & the limiting. The Sony TA-1130 we first got in 2009 as a Computer Amp, it sounded better than whatever modern amp we'd used. Can't remember an opinion of it on the Tannoys, maybe it didn't impress. To get one again in 2023 to hear it has that Crisp Neutral Sound was a little surprising, the amp is still original, if years storage of amps can upset the capacitors, this TA-1130 seems an attic stored one seeing Cold & Heat like something in a Shed. The opinion we had of the TA-1130 before selling it first in 2013 was it tested Spot On Flat 20Hz-20kHz but it was found 'uninteresting'. This is from playing Less Neutral amps & being Fooled that they are better, Hifi is an Illusion, your beloved set-up can soon be despised if you hear 'something better'. To actually understand Neutral Sound you need to Hear It to Hear That Sound elsewhere, an Illusion indeed. We kept our Tube Technology 100w valves on speakers for quite a few years as they just fitted. Got them in 1998 & used then until finding the Transistor Amps were different. Probably the first one we used was that 1970 Sony STR-6850 which was a EU version of the STR-6050 & then used Transistor Amps more. Did have a Sony STR-6120 before the TA-1130 in the pre PDF manual days, it had a printed one. First try on speakers it was very over-bassy, yet opinions certainly changed on this amp. One amp is only as Good as What You Compare it to or are used to & the Hearing Compensation can be a tough one. A Sony STR-6055 is a Neutral Amp as we've found, if we've had Six of them & not rated it too high or upgraded one more. One Customer who bought one we asked 'What Don't You Like' on them wanting to try another Sony. Yet to hear a reply, as it's not an easy thing to word. To get used to Neutral needs to have several amps of certain design & be familiar with the sound. All Needs Putting Into Words, the TT Valves we thought sounded 'mellow' on first listen on a particular day, but to play more to get into the Sound & know it's right. The Neutral Sound opens up as you get into listening, away from Daily Noise. On Headphones the sound isn't in your face if it can be played too loud on the Volume Control. All Amps have a Different Tonal Balance as do Loudspeakers. What is a pleasing Neutral Sound might not be as Harsh & Rough as you're used to & to tghink it's only a 6/10 as a video online about our Tannoys rated them, yet his video played them in a way we were familiar with so why the low rating? They are more used to Non-Neutral sounding Amps & Speakers. To have both Amp & Speaker neutral but Not Understand It is the illogical thing in Hifi. Any 'Sense' needs developing, those into Fine Cuisine & Wines may not be happy eating a 'Big Mac' from McDonalds. A lot of snobbery & believing what Experts on YouTube Videos tell you as nobody really knows. If your Amp & Speakers gives pleasure, what does it matter, until you hear that 'Something Better'.

Vintage American Hi-Fi.
Hifi that's Made & Designed in the USA, not including Marantz beyond the earlier pre 1970 "Model xx" ones. Brands UK will have heard of are Fisher that got imported only by a few London Shops in the 1960s, McIntosh never really made it to the UK, the 1974 HFYB mentions them as does One Shop, but no listings or Ads is a strange one considering the quality & high status in the USA. There are many other USA brands that never made it to UK or Europe, when Japan started to make Pioneer multivoltage early on. The Quality Of The USA Build. Knowing Fisher & a McIntosh again, to see they Totally Avoid the Japanese parts. Japan did borrow heavily from the USA Brands if soon bettered them making a more Commercial item. There will have been many ways to avoid Japanese parts & ending up with Earlier Styled UK-EU parts that these UK-EU amps used. The overuse of Ceramic Capacitors & even the Square Ceramic Blocks isn't exactly Hifi when there were far better ones, but USA chose the Ceramic, which leaves a Quality Amp like the McIntosh MAC 1900 with a fizzy treble sound for the excess of them. The MAC 1900 overall still sounds great as original after servicing, if the fizzy treble makes it not possible to compare to Sony & Pioneer we have here currently. The USA 'sound' from reading the Hifi mags was More Powerful than the UK-EU as USA rooms were bigger. The 15w Quad ESL57 wasn't much use in the USA, the need for big speakers like Tannoy & there were plenty of USA brands, all much unknown outside USA. The Bad Issue with UK-EU amps is those annoying Multicap Units, a Can with 3 or 4 Capacitor stages in it, the MAC 1900 uses a 4-stage one of 80µf 200v, 80µf 200v, 50µf 150v and 50µf 150v plus another 200µf 100v, 200µf 100v and 1000µf 20v. These are long obsolete so to do them another way & keep it tidy is your challenge. Guitar Amps use these Multicap units & we have seen these still buyable, if how old the stock is not known. USA using UK-EU parts has some old-fashioned looking parts compared to Japan made amps of years earlier. To see those TV-grade Plastic Capacitors & similar ones B+O use that often crack & go crusty means the USA amps can be unusable until rebuilt. The 117v-240v Issue. Having an early Marantz 7T Preamp with the crude early USA build & not knowing if it was 117v or 240v, to not get to try it. The build quality was not very good with wires actually touching meaning obsolete parts could be damaged. The Marantz 7T manual shows how to change to 240v, it looked that way, if the rear stil said 117v so it may have been tried on 117v when it's 240v. Marantz early ones may be 117v only as are some Fisher & McIntosh. Some can be Rewired to 240v if the Transformer has the capability, if the Fisher one we had recently was a tough one as options of 6 voltages, a McIntosh has two options & we rewired a C26 preamp on seeing how the MC2505 power amp was done. The C22 preamp was only 117v, as in one primary winding, not two. We had one cheeky person buying the big Marantz 10B valve Tuner & offering £50 just for it to be changed 117v-240v. Have blogged on this at the time, to not take silly risks for others at any price. We'll change voltage on a big job & need to know how the amp was with them trying it on 117v. Let the customer try it, it's like on TV Antiques shows, note they get the owner to wind a watch, a music box or automaton. "Oh You Broke It!" could be the blame on you, to keep a step ahead is wise. Note on Car shows like 'Wheeler Dealers' even Mike gets the owner to Start the Car to play safe.

More On Germanium Amplifiers & Receivers.
Having got another after researching it, the 1965 Pioneer SX-600T is a good one with a crisp 'modern' sound. To see how Pioneer did their only Germanium Receiver, based on the SMT-84 amplifier, their only Germanium amplifier. Germaniums are a long outdated type of Transistor, some are long unfindable if some of the more common ones you can buy as NOS or 'used' ones taken from Audio Gear. The Germanium Transistor has a soft Hiss in use, a Pink Noise if not so much on the Higher Frequencies. If use right in an Amplifier, a Germanium is a Good Listening Experience, if perhaps not for 2am TV watching as the Hiss might intrude. In Daytime we've found our 1965 Sansui TR-707A fine. This amp has 5 Germaniums in it's Preamp stage, ours we use as 3 of 5 as Germanium, the last two as Silicon. Initially the Amp had a loud 'Germanium Roar' which is a working Transistor, but one 'gone bad'. It's not like the poor UK-EU Germaniums which grow 'tin whiskers' as not properly sealed, the Japanese & USA ones are better made, but still can be noisy. To find which one is Noisy depends on Inputs use & to swap them around to find the Good ones, it's not traceable in the usual way. Our SX-600T played 'Aux' via the Inputs-Phono board has the Roar, if played via 'Tape Mon' it has no Roar. How to sort the Noisy Section is the Art of Fault Finding & Solving. Other Germanium Amps use different spec Germaniums & some may be best left like that rather than get involved with trying Silicons as we did with the 1965 Akai AA-5000(S) as the design wasn't compatible if the Sansui & the Pioneer are. Germaniums are a Specialist Amp design, the SX-600T sounds a lot better than expected, if it's not been Recapped & Upgraded yet. When an amp from only 6 years later, a huge time in Hifi Development, can sound much the same, as in the 1971 Sony TA-1130, to wonder what to do. Only by listening on Speakers when it's done & de-Roared to tell if it was worth the effort. Having found the 1965 Rotel 100AMP 'unrepairable' despite so much done, to pick which Germanium amp to do needs the research. Buying Germaniums. To buy NOS or 'Used' they won't have been Tested for the 'Germanium Roar'. Buying certain ones at £12 each doesn't seem a good idea when we have others to try first. We bought some TO3 outputs for the 100AMP but they were very leaky in testing. A Germanium Amp Can Be Made Good & Useable, but it'll usually take spare Germaniums. The 100AMP entire preamp & power amp on a 10cm x 7cm board with No Manuals was one that was no good to sell. Try everything with it, waste a lot of time, but without any Circuit Manual it wasn't a good buy, not a good amp and not good idea. Not all Hifi makes it, choose your Battles carefully. The second Akai AA-5000 we'll recap one day, the 1965 Sanyo DC-60 has loud Germanium Roar pre the Volume control, but certain factors mean it stays Original & maybe these two are better as Hifi Ornaments, the amount to rebuild with a sell price known from the AA-5000S sale, we missed it & bought another The Next Day just because it's a Great Looker. With other amps that would get used, the Akai & Sanyo probably wouldn't. For £100 each as Ornaments, nicer than some cheesy Cermamic Ornament.

Which Is The Best Sony?
In Amplifiers & Receivers, we mean the 1965-1974 ranges, TA-1120 to TA-1150 & STR-6060FW to STR-7065A. We've had a lot of Sonys including some lower IC Amp Block models that were nothing much. The Classic Sony is that Classic Silver front look with the 'Sony' word in the top centre of the fascia. Looks-Wise in Receivers the STR-6120 is the one that gets the Interest, plus John Lennon has one in a photo. The STR-6200F is the other 'large case' one with certain updates. Other receivers are a smaller sized, the STR-6060FW the one with the Flap front & came before the STR-6120. Looked at this one but not had one yet, has FETs & Transistors tuner, not the earlier Germaniums ST-5000W tuner design as we had. In Amplifiers. In Amplifiers the TA-1120 & TA-1120A, plus the rare TA-1080 being similar with the Brown larger switch covers. The TA-1130 has the more usual silver smaller switch covers & also the serrated control knobs, compared to the smooth ones on the 1960s ones. The TA-1130 has a proper Headphone socket as does the STR-6120, the TA-1120 has none, the TA-1120A has a strange one fron the Preamp that's not loud enough, we did alter ours to have it from the Power Amp as is typical. Sound Wise the STR-6120 can sound very nice once rebuilt with our Upgrades. To sell these amps & get conflicting opinions is what Sony gets more than any other Brand, we've found Yamaha can vary sound amid the model runs, if never heard anything against them, we've had plenty of Yamaha. One STR-6120 buyer found it way too bright, this same model was the Canada bought one about 2012 & we've had it back a few times as buyers needed to sell, half trashed it or just found it didn't match their speakers too well. The last time we saw it, played it on our Tannoys again & it was sounding very decent, crisp treble, good bass & the smooth Sony midrange, what's not to like? The TA-1130 we've just got another one & first got one in 2009. Sold it & got it back similarly, one needed to sell, one half wrecked it & the last time it needed a repair so we traded the repair for the wood case we got with a TA-1140 for £40 all in about 2011. This in 2017 was from the Next Owner who had bought it from our last Buyer, certainly a lot of owners. We've said that before, you say. The TA-1130 we tested to see how precise it was once we recapped it later, it was flat 20Hz-20kHz but we found it wasn't exciting' enough which is what others have thought. The 1971 Sony are mixed n quality, but aim for a Neutral Sound. On playing Neutral Amps more on Speakers as well as the Valve Amp on Headphones for Vinyl, the Neutral Sound is more familiar, the 'Flash & Brash' type amps we still hear if not to play too much as they're not 'Our Sound' now. The TA-1130 sound suits us fine now, if strangely the same amp playing the same music didn't please so much. It's what else you are playing to compare & be familiar with, like Old Friends or Exes you may meet 10 years l;ater & realise how far apart you are now, it's the same with Amps. We're Confused Now. That's Hifi for you. STR-6120 has the Sony sound & more 'excitement' to it once rebuilt our way. The TA-1130 hits the wave of Neutral Sound. The STR-6065 with Upgrades sounds very like the TA-1130 if the TA-1130 sounds very like the STR-6065 if the TA-1130 is not recapped yet. In 2009 the TA-1130 as on the Solds Gallery was bought as a Computer Audio amp, to fit those 4mm Sockets, if it got replaced by a smaller modern amp more for the space, which not remembered so never reviewed. Which Sony is best for you is a matter of taste, the Neutral Sound certainly isn't everyone's taste as you need to know the sound & have speakers precise enough. One who bought one of our STR-6055 we asked what they didn't like about the sound, having one here as original & compared to the TA-1130 & STR-6065. That STR-6055 our Sixth One if again not giving it enough time to hear how good it is with the Neutral Sound. Small speakers aren't so good with Neutral Sound as the 5" Driver offers but a glimpse of what a 15" Driver can. To Us, The TA-1130 is The Best Sounding Sony As Original, the Neutral Sound suits us but whether it'll appeal to you is another thing. You might think 'Neutral' is a Cold Sound like the 1980s Amp sound is. Having Upgraded so many Amps now they all differ. Sometimes a Precise Neutral sound suits, other times a more Retro Bassy sound suits.

You Certainly Miss It When You've Not Heard It In A While.
Bass. The Bass end of the Amplifier spectrum is generally 'weak' in the majority of Hifi as too many complained about Good Amps playing Cheap Rumbly Turntables. Even a Decca cartridge about 1964 deliberately reduced the Bass not to upset these mindless people. Thing is it continued way into the 1980s where Bass was limited yet you had silly Bass Boost features & Loudness creating a thick but limited Bass. If we could see circuits of post 2000 amplifiers, it's probably much the same. Playing New Arrivals the 1972 McIntosh MAC 1900, 1965 Pioneer SX-600T & 1971 Sony TA-1130 these are decent sounding with a clean sound but they All Lack Bass. Our Upgrades can make Bass What It Should, not excessive, but Filling In What's Missing. Takes a Full Upgrade as Bass needs Power & if Bass is limited the design can cynicaly cut corners as it'd be wasted being any better. To try the Upgraded & Recapped 1971 Sony STR-6065 it has 'Proper Bass' which is so nice to hear again. 'Full Fat Bass', not that weedy 'Reduced Phat Bass', fills the Music out, it doesn't overpower it, to Extend the Sound with a Crisper Treble to compliment it. The STR-6065 is a Neutral Sounding amp but with the sound properly extended. As original it was hiding it's Real Sound as are the majority of Amps. Only once your used to the 'select45rpm' upgraded sound will you miss it when you try other decent amps that are still as original. One we heard got an early JVC amp like ones we have had & in the receiver versions. It has a nasty 'T' Bass filter as do a few other amps so they found it's overall Nice sound but poor Bass a real disappointment to the point they just sold it on at a loss to get rid. They only paid under £100, so one to try. Real Bass is Only In Upgrades. Some Amps need deeper Upgrading depending on how Cost Cut the Designer was told to make it. Some Design Limiting is extremely well hidden. Some limiting is too advanced to undo & can cause insane problems. Some limiting is obvious if the original design info is printed on the PCB, they stopped that one fast. Some boards have no markings, not even transistor BCE markings or 'R34' type codes. Don't forget the circuit typos & listing 'R45' twice, altering components the manual doesn't show, missing track joins & even track lines. This is why no-one upgrades like we do.

What Do These Early Receivers & Amplifiers Sound Like As Original?
The 1965 Pioneer SX-600T with Germaniums. To us we can hear the Quality & Precision of the Design. But for the General Buyer it's Too Old so you'd never consider it. The seller said they'd had this for ages unable to sell. Priced up too high didn't help, but that's The Marketplace trying to price things 'hoping' for unrealistic prices. It should be a £50 amp in reality & we've paid similar for others because the seller sees they are so old. You can still get budget priced bargains but the buy-in price is now at least £200 which will put the majority of buyers off goods that are Too Old or are Faulty. Looking at 1972 Pioneer SX-828 prices, they'll pay nearly £1000 for an aged but working amp, but a Non worker is at that £200 price as USA ebay auctions told. The expensive one after some use could be with issues & worth £200 as a 1972 amp is in Rebuilt territory & the ones paying big money haven't researched prices. Inflated Prices are everywhere, it's up to you what to pay if the Amp is in decent grade &'is a good one'. The SX-600T had Hum so redid the Main Capacitors as did buy the same ones for the 1965 Sanyo DC-60. SX-600T had modern transistors on the left channel that were wrong to use as it ran hot & the original ones on the right but they were corroded. Had a set of ones just about the original design ones so fiddled with those to fit in, now not running too warm. The rest is still as Original, to recap it shortly. What It Plays Like. It'd probably not be one you'd use as Germaniums Roar on the Right channel is too loud. To trust a 58 year old amp on speakers is not a good idea as it's too old. Using on Headphones it may have a Clean Sound that appeals to us to rebuild it, but Bass is hopeless, the Volume is not what a 25w amp should be, it needs to go way past midway. We're not going to try it on Speakers until it's Recapped to see what Speaker Volume it has. Overall it's not of much use to anyone apart from us. Cars that are Undriveable yet can be Rebuilt to be so nice, but at a heavy cost that outprices them for resale as the 'Bangers & Cash Restoration' show proves. To Rebuild & likely need to Redesign the SX-600T is a big job & despite the costs of Car rebuilds still think an amp rebuild is not too much. You see 1960s Cars on 'Counting Cars' & be sure these guys 65+ are spending $100K on what are extra great looking rebuilds. Some amps are that 'Labour Of Love' where costs would be more than it'd sell for. To just Rebuild to Sell a SX-600T would not work out as the buyer just sees a 25w amp that needs Expensive Speakers with High Sensitivity to do the amp justice. More to Blog on this amp as we make it 'What It Should Be'.

1967 Sony STR-6060FW Receiver.
This is the First Sony Receiver from 1967 or early 1968. The one with the front flap & brown lever switches like the TA-1120 etc. Size is the same width & height as the STR-6065 & STR-6055 with it being just a bit deeper, which explains the size of the 'Oiled Walnut Cabinet TAC 5B' which we have one, the hardest of the Sony cabinets to find. A 45w model before the STR-6120 at 50w, both only arrived in the UK by the 1970 HFYB, STR-6060FW at £187 & STR-6120 at £387, £200 more than the 6060FW if to the buyer they're not much different. The STR-6120 a larger size. Tuners changed Yearly at this time as other brands showed, Pioneer especially. The 6060FW Tuner is FETs on the Front End & has 7 Ceramic Filters that were used again on the 1971 STR-6055 & STR-6065 tuners. The STR-6120 tuner is a different one, if different to the ST-5000W all Germaniums tuner. Phono is two Transistors with the EQ around the first Transistor, not after three as the STR-6120 has. Balance & Volume comes after the Inputs & Selectors, the STR-6120 is the same. Tone is Passive on Rotary Pots, not the Stepped Switches a few Sonys use, so more like the STR-6050. his puts these smaller receivers in a 'Midprice' range when the bigger STR-6120 & STR-6200F were the wider ones by 43mm. Preamp overall has the High NFB the TA-1120A does, shown as 54dB & 62dB, the STR-6060FW doesn't tell you that. Power Amp appears to have less Audio Transistors than the STR-6120, if the STR-6060FW has a 6 transistor 'Protection Circuit', one extra is a Regulator, the STR-6120 has 3. Headphone. This is a 'Proper' one, unlike the TA-1120A which draws a low level from the Preamp making it Useless, not sure why this was like this. Expected Sound. We've had the TA-1120 & TA-1120A, to not keep either. The High NFB gives a Domestic Sound that's a bit Tame to us. The STR-6120 does it differently, making a more lively sound. Depends how you like Your Music, the High NFB sound seems to be preferred to some, if the Low NFB or No NFB is more Dynamic to appeal to others, like we prefer. High NFB is usually More Bassy which impresses buyers on Shop Demos more. Would We Get One Now? Seeing the High NFB, not a sound we like. It's one we have seen before a few times, usually filthy inside showing they got used a lot as do the earlier 'Tape Head' STR-6120s. Build Quality is more like the STR-6050 underneath, the Top Heatsinks need a lot to rebuild nicely as usually badly repaired & messy. A worthwhile Sony still, but not one we crave.

December 2023 Blog

Differential Power Amplifiers: Hugely Varying In Quality.
To work these out, by having to solve Insane Oscillation by One USA Amplifier, to understand these Circuits a lot better. Not interested in why the 1978 Yamaha CA-1010 needs Thee Pairs of Diffs in it's Preamp-Tone, it's just foolish Overdesign resulting in Thin Bright Sound. What's interesting is most Amps do basically Good Design but overload it with limiters. To remember the Differential Amps we've had & see "Why" it sounded like that. Some are on the better side of good design, when one High Power One (1976 Marantz 2385) runs it so Tamely, to explain why it has a 'Soft Sound' for one of that Power. 1972 Akai AA-5800 was a good design if the casework looked Budget & the lettering wears off, USA amplifiers used the Differential design earlier than Japanese & UK-EU amps did. Some are strange designs if do sound good (after our upgrades) like the 1968 Fisher 800T (500TX) & the 1972 McIntosh MAC 1900. Some like the 1985 Yamaha A-720 sounded ghastly, all thin & grainy with No Bass, to look at the circuit to see why, way past the Best Yamaha which had quality Power Amps if with hugely varying Preamp sounds. As with Hifi, the Early Years are The Best, the Differential Amps soon got bogged down with Overdesign yet Limiting at the same time, in search of Worthless THD ratings, the amp could be 10% distorted playing Music Roughly, yet the THD was 0.001% which is laughable, but it Looks Good On Paper in the 'BS Hype' way. 1972 Pioneer SX-828 is a good design on looking at amps we remember more, the SX-828 in 2014 was before we played them more on Speakers, so it needs a Revisit. One like the 1971 Sansui 8 Deluxe are their first Diff Amps, hard one to find so not had one yet. Later Amps need care to Avoid ICs on Outputs & the idea of paying big to get an amp we don't like the Sound of or it doesn't match the Tannoys makes these sort of amps left to having Customer's Amps to try, if not experiment on. The Teac 1969-71 range are all Diff Amps to hear a different sound in the 1971 Teac AS-100 amp by 2013. The Budget End of Hifi can bring good designs hidden in less attractive casing. The 1975 Teleton TFS70 plastic cased receiver sadly a breaker, if to hear it sounded better than B&O amps on having one in 1975. Ones treated poorly, to find a high grade case one would have Retro Appeal. The 1973 Sanyo DCX-8000 is a midpriced receiver with a good Differential sound. These two brands would get sniffed at by many, but amid what is considered 'Good' & 'Lousy' do lurk some goodies. The lower models as with the 1975 Yamaha CR-200 (not diffs) prove as do the lower power 1972-74 Pioneer. Unfortunately it is Easier To Design a Bad Differential Amp as the useless THD numbers take no account of how bad the amp sounds, only the 'Echoes' of it, the Harmonics.

Controversial: Valves Or Transistors?
We've been playing Our Upgraded Amps to see how the 1965 Pioneer SX-600T Germaniums receiver compares. It has a smooth sweet precision that is far from a typical sound. Before you all rush out & buy one, they are Rare & Need A Big Rebuild then they might not quite be 'there' as ours still needs more. Transistor Amps tested are a Full Range of Designs beyond anything IC or Op-Amp which are not for us. To hear Germaniums, FETs, Differentials or Capacitor Coupled designs tells there's really not much in it, the design is the thing. Germaniums can have a Sea-Like noise if our SX-600T is nicely quiet enough via 'Tape Mon', noise on other Inputs. Valves are a different design, Valves work on Higher Voltage not High Current so a Transistor for higher current will be a Faster Device. Valves do 'Soft Clipping' when overdriven as used in Guitar Amps, all types have their devotees & be sure the low spec of an old IC will appeal to someone. On comparing the Transistors to Valves, the overall sound in Amps upgraded & redesigned by the Same Person isn't too different. Only on the Treble does the Valve stay more in a Retro Style which many will prefer than a Transistor Sound that can be far more revealing of weak recording quality & many more variables. The Valve leaves a slightly 'Smeary' & Compressed Treble that's just not as Sweet & Open as a Transistor can offer. The 'Solid State' Amplifier if done properly can be as Precise as you want it. This is the 'Neutral' sound. One such Neutral Amp is the 1971 Sony TA-1130, we got one again after 8 years away. We measured the one on the 'Solds Gallery' to find it perfectly flat 20Hz-20kHz yet with less precise Amps being less Neutral the TA-1130 we sold & it got though several owners who didn't understand it. As with anything 'More Refined' it's a bit of an Acquired Taste, but you'll only crave it once you understand it & want more. Valves might suit Your World better than Ultra-Precise Transistor Amps, not that many are.

What You Get Buying a "Raw" Vintage Receiver: Trio-Kenwood KR-6200.
A while back we got a Trio-Kenwood KR-5200 as a Spares Amp, it was missing the Top Lid & Base Cover, probably a later-era build into a Cabinet like Quad Hifi usually got. Bit sad condition if it actually workerd & seemed a quality Receiver for a Third One in a 1972 Range. The 1974 range was into the Comet discounting era & ICs so we've not tried later Trio-Kenwood, there may be one with no ICs but they went on to put IC power amps which is 'so not us', Visually it looks acceptable outside, all the Front Panel is nice & all the correct controls. Rear had all too if the Speaker Connectors block has two broken with wires dangling, but not the full connector. Guess which amp uses the same ones so there's a fix unlikely that a tiny few could remedy. Our 'Spares' are proving very useful these days. The inside shows it's a had a very long Attic Sleep, it's dry stored if Damp as a Loft is subject to Hot & Cold like a Garage or Shed, if not the more Dampness of those places. It'll wash up well. The Tuner Cord was hanging loose, the cord is tensioned on a plastic part & like the Marantz receivers with this plastic, they're going to be a weaker part. Tuner Cords will 'blow your mind' in restringing, so to try it as it is, again the KR-5200 is the same so copy how it's strung to untangle the twisted cord & it's back right in minutes. The broken bit could be swapped from the KR-5200 so to see that later, just hold it in place. Seller wary of it & fairly said it 'Works' if no sound one side. Relay amp working means it's not been shorted so for us an Amp worth buying for us to restore. The Build Quality on this 50w receiver (45w 20Hz-20kHz) is way ahead of the tatty 1971 Trio-Kenwood KA-6004 build & only looking at the circuits, to see the inside was a better build than the KR-5200 was a good surprise. You have to Wonder How Stupid the 1972-74 owners were to put it in the Attic maybe only 2-3 years later as they were fooled into buying Music Centre no doubt. House Clearances bring these out as time moves on. Power Amp board is a plug in one similar to the KA-6004 & the Heatsinks are in the corners well spaced giving it a quality. Transformer is larger than the KR-5200 & the near 15kg weight should give a clue it's quality. Usual amount of Servicing & Cleaning plus Taking Apart before we plug it in, to see the original 1970s plug with a 13A fuse is typical. The Speaker Connector to repair before trying as the wires float loose as broken. Do You Think You'd Buy This? In the condition it is in, it's a Gambler's Amp. Informed Gambler is us because we have spares for it on seeing the broken speaker connectors on Set 'C'. To buy it to restore if you coulkd make it nice to be Sellable is your talent, to most it's best Avoided & the seller is trying it on pricing it for what it was priced at. We see the potential & offer a Price that they Snap Up, but they don't know it's a Quality Amp just needing some attention. It might be useable after Repairs & Service, if 50 years old it's a Recap Job to us. Plug It In after testing. No fascia lights on 'aux' if Tuner lights the pointer & meters. Works in Stereo if typically rough after 45 years in the attic. Bulbs on 7v AC. Crisp sounding amp, without Limiting in design like other Trio-Kenwood. Remember the KR-6160 the updated TK-140X said the adverts, not as good sounding as this. A Late Arrival. Despite moving this amp around a lot, after a day the Tuner wheel bit appears, looked but unfindable, metal screw in it ready to short something, but where was it? Blame the Pixies...

The 'Aux' Input.
Many Amplifiers & Receivers have an 'Aux' Input, but What Use Was It back in the 1960s? The first New Receiver we got was a 1986 Realistic STA-2280, one on our Solds Gallery shows we revisited it in 2012. By then amps of a lesser status had been around, not cared for & you'd probably struggle to find one, as with Vintage Cars from the 1970s & 1980s that show only a few are Registered m,eaning they are on the Road still. The Realistic shows a 'CD/Aux' as was by then a Standard Input, if not many showed that even by 1986. Aux is known as 'Line Level' which means later Cassette players, the 'DIN' ones were a much lower output, meaning early 1970s Cassette players suited the 1970 Hacker GAR550 we used at the time, but the Hacker output was too low for a new Realistic Double Cassette player as was the non-Vinyl alternative. 'Aux' you can see on items going back to the 1963-64 Trio WX-400U receiver, probably the earliest year for Aux? What Does Aux Do? It's an Auxiliary Input, an Extra input of no specified use. It runs at 'Line Level'. To be used for items with a high output, if not really a Ceramic-Crystal Catridge as it needed EQ or a different Impedance. It was there if probably unused. in 1988 we used a TV Headphone output into the Aux of that Receiver, far from Ideal, but it was all there was as a TV output, so very few played TV through an Amplifier. Later TVs added rear phono sockets if our Panasonic 36" TV still only played Aux via the TV's Tone Control, not a 'Direct' output. The trouble with using that TV on Aux was the Impedance messed up the 'Rec Out' on our TT Valve Preamp, making the Phono EQ wrong ince the TV had gone. Only since getting Sky & VirginMedia do you get a 'True Aux Out' to plug into an Amplifier. Today you need an External DAC as they don't put a DAC in the Tivo Box. What Is The Amp Aux Input? You'd think it'd bypass the Phono & just go to the Preamp-Tone, Aux meaning a Flat Input, but not so. Many amps use the Valve-Era 'Aux into Phono' idea by a large resistor & impedance balance. Sansui use this on most of their pre 1970 gear, if not always. Aux Into Phono means extra circuitry, it can add a mild compression to the sound as the 1969 Sansui 4000 showed, it can tidy a rough input source. The 1965 Sansui TR-707A uses Aux into Phono, but to use 'Tape In' means it goes Direct to Tone-Pre. It makes barely any difference if to prefer the more Direct Input. Some Aux Inputs aren't quite direct as the long connecting lines that are hard to follow show where Aux actually goes. Some don't make much sense so to trace them with a Meter explains. To find a good amp that lacks the typical 'Dumbing Down' to then find it liumits the Aux in some way is a bit disappointing. But to Realise Nearly All Hifi Isn't Designed To Be The 'Perfection' Some Can Crave, there will always be something unwanted. To redesign & upgrade to Bypass things may not be possible. To compare to a Higher or Lower Model in the same range & find it is done differently when the one you have was a good buy & the 'other' is either not findable or Six Times the price your one was, means you'll unlikely go buy a big money 'aged amp' when it's way overpriced for one needing a rebuild. Their one always 'works perfectly' which is never true, it's aged with hum & noises as you should expect a Vintage amp to have. Be Grateful For Your Good Buy & try to understand it more, you should be able to use it via 'Tape In' which is no bother. A 'Tape In' might have small resistors in it's path, these just stop switch noises & only affect things once they are higher values. Not so bad really. Beware Circuit Errors. Trusting a complex Circuit Diagram is correct is a tricky one. some have small errors as in wrong values to ones fitted, circuit lines joing parts missing, dots joining track lines missing as well as no diagram showing which side of the Capacitor is the '+'. To then get the 1972 Trio-Kenwood KR-6200, see the review, to realise the Aux input was drawn totally incorrectly means it's More Of A Battle to sort Hifi as the time-old 'Stupid' is there to annoy you.

A Rare 1965 Record Player Cartridge: The Euphonics Miniconic Pickup.
Read of this in the 1965 HFN magazine, if to find a Review & Their Advert in the Sept 1966, so worth a Blog. This is a New Design away from a Magnetic MM or Ceramic-Crystal Cartridge & the review reckons it's the Next Step after the MM Cartridge was being an advanced design from the 1930s Moving Iron to 1950s Crystal & Ceramic Catridges. It's described as a 'Strain Gauge Element' It works from a 20v DC Power Source, modulating the flow of DC through a Resistance that Varies as the Cartridge is flexed, as HFN tells it. This was based on an earlier 1950 Mono 'Pfahnsteil'. The article tells of it's tiny construction & Silicon Dioxide coating. The Output is much higher than a MM cartridge & it does seem to be like a Ceramic Cartridge. The DC supply box can be used to alter the Output signal. The Sound was said to be 'very clear & brilliant' with extended Bass if still the usual higher Treble peak. Head types 'U-15-LS' and 'U-15-P' with (PI) versions of both. The stylus size was too large at 0.9mil when Stereo is usually 0.7mil so they aren't catering for Stereo LP users oddly. UK distributors of this item from PPuerto Rico, USA were A.C. Farnell who still trade as Hifi Spares like RS do. The idea is experimental & with 4 versions of what sounds a Fragile item, it clearly didn't sell as it had gone by 1967-68 by reading later of it. The 1980s Laser Record Player that read the grooves without any contact was shown on 'Tomorrow's World' & looking a few years back the item was still buyable if at a hefty price. There is some online info on the Miniconic plus the HFN review & even a stylus for it. Their advert on p.360 says it 'Outdates All Magnetic Catrridges'. For it not to last long, reliability must have been an issue, or just too complicated. Manufacturers were overestimating user's skills as the same HFN issue reveals, the clumsy Quad FM Stereo decoder box wants you to solder in a capacitor & resistor as well as realign it.

To Jan 2024 Blog... when uploaded...