some 70's and 80's receivers seem to be popular

Is this just nostalgia? I thought the concensus was that even the best solid state during that era was harsh and hard to listen to for long. That is certainly my memory. I almost quit listening to the stereo back then, until I got tube amplification and realized what the problem had been (well, having been suckered into switching to cd's was also part of it). But now some of that equipment seems to attract fans and bidders. Are they just dreaming?
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the tandbergs are surprisingly good - even their phono sections.
tandberg-marantz-mac-revox-sansui-luxman-yamaha etc all still sound awfully good, and still kick ass for the money. the phono sections in many are as good as many new high end phono stages. they are popular because they deliver.
That harsh, bright and "listener's fatigue syndrome" effect came about when the Japanese starting using lots of negative feedback to further lower the distortion figures. It seems that during the 70's and 80's there was a competitive factor involved that made some manufacturers strive for "who had the best specs", rather than "who had the best sound". I still have a mid-70's Harmon Kardon 730 that is very musical for its time, though. I recall selling an early 70's Sherwood receiver to buy the newest and latest receiver design from Technics and regretted it immediately when I got it. The sound was like beams of lazer piercing my eardrums. Ouch! I couldn't get rid of it fast enough.
I highly recommend you pick up a 70's 22XX Marantz Receiver in good working order and you will find out how good they sound. (I have the 2218 model. Very Musical) I also own a Sony VX-5 receiver which I modified w/new power cord/binding posts/a high quality power rocker switch. You would be amazed how good it sounds. Exc. phono and FM tuners in these Receivers.
My brother has vintage a Marantz 250 power amp and 3300 preamp driving Paradigm Titans. His digital source is a Bose wave radio. What I thought was going to be an old mans "dream system" sounded detailed yet musical with no fatigue. He did have both pieces recapped and cleaned. Total system cost was about $1500. Sherod is correct about the lack of negative feedback. Check specs on the early 70's Marantz components...distortion is relatively high. The Marantz 2270 I have shelved in the closet will become my new "second" system after coming back from the audio doc!
Sansui 771 or 881 will anchor a nice second system.
The brands mentioned above were/are very good.

I've owned Tandberg and Yamaha in recent years and both have delivered the sonic goods in my second, two channel A/V system.

The Advent 300 was another very good sounding though finicky piece.
If you do find a good-sounding vintage receiver, i.e Marantz 22xx series, if it is original and never been serviced, I highly recommend you take it to a good Tech and have them upgrade(replace) certain caps and give it a thorough cleaning and bench test. Most caps that are 20 years and older could possibly be leaking and/or on their way out. This will give you not only peace of mind but a better sounding receiver with many more years of happy listening.
The Nakamichi 730 was very good as was the Audio Pro 150.I had both. The Tandbergs would be the ones I would look for as they were more plentiful. Pioneer 1280 and 1980 ( I think there were the numbers) were very powerful and had a good amp section. Sansui made some good integrated amps in this period, as did Luxman
Just heard a Sansui 5000 on a pair of Vandersteen series 1,I think they were.Really good sound.....
The very early Yamahas (early/mid 70s) were excellent for their time. I don't know how they would stack up today, though.
I use the Yamaha CR-420 in my two channel A/V system. It sounds tremendous and stacks up very well to more modern amplifiers I would say.

The phono section is one of the best I've ever owned with a MM phono cartridge, easily as good the the Tandberg TR2080 receiver's phono section I used before it.

The rest of that system is a Dual 1264 turntable, Goldring MM phono cartridge, Marantz DVD player, Triangle Titus 202 speakers, M&K sub, and a pair of Stax headphones.

The Yamaha cost $50 used on ebay about 6 months ago but required considerable cleaning inside and out to get it into good working shape.
Cool post. My mom just did some re-organizing of her closets and called to tell me she found my old Marantz 2226 receiver. I also have some old Carver equipment I was going to pull a second system out of, but maybe I'll just have the Marantz serviced, throw in a tube cdp and some hi-eff. speakers instead. Would that be a cool second rig?
"Would that be a cool second rig?"


For a better sound investment, if you have a CD player with digital output already, just add a separate tube DAC rather than invest in a tubed CD player.
In the last 7 years I've only run 70s power amps: yamaha ca-1010 and 2010, and Kenwood supremes: models 600 and 700m. The latter two have been recapped, and are as sonically rich and warm as any amp you're likely to find.
i thought it was just me.

back then in the 70/80s i had a sansui receiver and it produced very good music. However, it kept breaking and we ended up dumping it and got a Sony system.

and the Sony never sounded even close. but the Sony had a lot more bells and whistles (automatic turntable, auto reverse deck, 12 bands eq, a remote!!! ...) which made me, who was a teen at the time, very excited.

but the sound never made me happy.

now I know why.
Yamaha. The MX 1000U & CX1000U combination especially. Exceeds or at least compares to reproduction quality of units costing much more today. No question about it.
I just finished rejuvenating my Marantz 2230, which resides in my basement system. 73 new electrolytic caps, 8 polypropylene film caps to replace old mylars, new lamps, transistors cleaned and re-seated with new micas, etc. Total cost was $20 for the receiver and about $70 more for parts. Teamed up with some speakers from about the same era (I've rotated in EPI, Rogers, Mission, Advent, and Dahlquist - I have a lot of old speakers) , it sounds FANTASTIC.
Be careful about changing parts...

I'd be careful about changing out capacitors and other parts - if they have failed then you have no choice; but you might find that changing an original part for a new equivalently spec'd part changes the sound. I think many parts were chosen (in the good old days) not only based on specifications but they were also "voiced" (ie, listend to) - specs alone don't tell you everythying about sonic characteristics. Much of the magic of the vintage gear being discussed here is that these units were designed and manufactured by firms that had a passion for what they built - and that included listening to the gear and not just measuring specs.
Well, I don't know if it was my 16-year-old ears or what, but I spent endless hours in the 70's parked in front of my AR Receiver (AR turntable, Shure V15 type 2 cart., Dynaco A25 speakers) in total bliss.
I must have listened to the White Album or Tapestry or Steppenwolf Gold or Blood Sweat + Tears a hundred times each.
Of course, I guess I should have gotten out more to get a life...