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-1500TDF, 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.
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.
FThe 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'.