I've not heard a 8080 after being refurbished, but I've heard Kenwood Supremes before and after. Good before and great after. With thirty years on it, the caps are way, way past their prime, and that probably accounts for the lack of top-end clarity. Others may have other recs, but "Echowars" over on Audiokarma does outstanding work at a very reasonable price, and he's done hundreds.
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I don't think you need to do too much to do better than an entry level type of receiver. I can't comment on the Sansui. The last time I heard a Sansui was in 1974. I heard it a lot. It was owned by the guy in the next dorm room to me in university.
You can be very rational about this. Compare what it would cost to refurbish the Sansui to what it would cost to buy something already current. If it's economical, then it might be a fun thing to do, but don't expect it to have any resale value, so it's a sunk cost.
Also consider selling the receiver and going to separates.
I think you should listen to a few things in your price range at your local store before sinking any money into this. That way you will get a feel for whether it is worth the money to refurbish.
If your current system sounds excellent and you enjoy it, then I think you ought to upgrade to a subwoofer instead. This way you keep that clarity w/the Rotel and improve the bottom end. Your money will be better spent this way. Besides, refurbishing can be quite expensive, if done properly by an experienced technician, and you may only have a very marginal improvement in sonics. Go the sub route and you'll be satified.
An alternative viewpoint. I picked up an old Marantz 2230 receiver for $20 at a flea market. The initial listening test was promising, so I decided to refurbish the unit myself. I replaced every electrolytic cap (~75 of them) with 105 deg C rated modern caps and replaced some of the mylars as well, cleaned and reseated the transistors on their heat sinks, replaced all of the lamps, put in new diffuser paper behind the dial (so it was deep blue again instead of aqua), replaced a broken power switch and a few broken speaker posts, and polished the chassis to a gleaming finish (see pictures below). The total cost for all the parts was <$100, and I now have a kickass 30WPC receiver (a VERY powerful 30 watts, I might add) that is also beautiful to look at, and a bit of a conversation piece. It's now the centerpiece of my basement workshop system, along with an Onkyo DX-702 CD player (picked it up for free) and a pair of Pioneer HPM-40 speakers (also a free score).
So for a total of $120 I have a system that sounds excellent in that space, and a lot of personal satisfaction. It won't replace my main system in a much larger room, but that system cost me >$15K! And that Marantz will be good for another 20 years at least.
In summary, if you like unusual/vintage gear and like to work on /fix things, and you have some free time, why not go for it yourself?
So what do you think?
Ait, excellent job that looks beautiful.
I heard an old Kenwood receiver the other day that was pretty damn stout (hadn't been refurbished). Maybe the best thing to do would be to keep the Rotel until you get the Sansui back and make a fair shoot-out of it. It shouldn't be too much of a hit if it doesn't come out the way you had hoped and you would still have a system you obviously enjoy.
Unplug it first, Mark....and discharge the PS caps. ;=)=
Seriously, though, I studied the service manual and made sure everything in mine matched up to it (there were a few exceptions), ordered all the appropriate parts, and then took my time and if I had a question I looked it up or asked for advice on one of the myriad audio DIY forums. My thought was "hey, if I screw it up I'm only out $120", but all went smoothly, and now I get great satisfaction every time I fire it up, knowing that I did it myself.