The Golden era of Japanese integrated amps, are we missing out?


Maybe it’s just me but.....
I just threw together an el cheapo system with a Sansui A-2100 integrated at its heart and diminutive Wharfedale Diamond 220 speakers.

And I still cannot get over just how good and right it sounds.... All for $240 total shipped!

So this got me thinking about the golden era of Japanese equipment and while tuners , tape decks and turntables appear to have large followings and a large knowledge and fan base, I do not get the same vibe on integrated amps?

Are there devotees of these amps out there?
I very rarely hear anybody talking about them and so many can be picked up for peanuts, I mean $75 shipped in perfect working order and decent cosmetics( and built in mm phono to boot!).
Are they likely to be the next " big thing" or?

Thoughts?
6db47fb2 f8db 415d a4f7 49a7b6ed12b0Ag insider logo xs@2xuberwaltz
I find I like them for a few weeks then not so much. Sold off about 30 pieces a few years ago to a new collector 
Refurbished ones sell for a fortune now 
Depends on your view of a " fortune".
When you consider $500 to $1000 is small change for a halfway decent modern integrated with a built in mm phono then they still could be considered as good buys.
I own two Sansuis, the AU 7700 and one Au-X701 of the Alpha series...For a low price these queens of audio give me a natural musical experience that is astounding...To really crush them and upgrade them will cost me tremendous amount of money...The Au -7700 is so flexible with all his possibilities and controls that it is irreplaceable at any price...No modern amplifier can make possible all that is given when you use it, none at all...And the quality of sound is so great that upgrading it does not come to mind...I pity the owner of anything else under few thousand bucks...


But remember after this rant that all my audio and electrical grid is heavily tweaked for cleanliness then I listen to the true potential of these amplifiers...And trust me these Sansui are TOTL even by today standard...
Yes. Didn’t literally mean fortune. Referring to big jump in price past few years. I still use a Tandberg receiver and Yamaha integrated and enjoy them. Love the vintage tuners though 
uberwaltz - Several have told me that those speakers do amazing with cap upgrades. Even with relatively inexpensive caps like Mundorf MKP or Clarity CSA.


Best,
E
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Lots of very cool vintage integrated amps out there. One less obvious thing to watch with this stuff, besides the age and operating condition, is that many popular modern speakers tend to be smaller and less efficient compared to when these units were popular.


When I mentioned refurbishing I was referring to replacing 45 year old dried out caps with equivalent new ones, not upgrading or changing 
I don’t have the luxury of second or third system but for my main system, I own a modern classic preamp from Leben. The RS-100U is no longer available, they were originally sold new for $4500. I bought it used and it replaced a preamp costing 3x more in my system.

If someone seeking a integrated, I highly recommend a Leben CS-300 or CS-600. They are built to last. 

Back in 90’s, I have owned a Technics Tape Deck and JVC Tuner.
If you want to recap a Sansui it will punch with anything avaliable under 5k
Any favorite integrateds schubert ?
And techs to recap?
I guess I was more getting at the seeming fact that there is a lot of love and while sites dedicated to Japanese tape decks, DD turntables, tuners etc.

But I have never heard anybody suggest to look at or buy a vintage integrated.
Or is it just me?
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I  am a fan of vintage gear that was done right to start with. The likes of Sansui, Luxman , Accouphase , Marantz  in refurbished trim are outstanding integrated amps.  I believe the integrated amps of this time are better in some cases and easier to find then the separates. I've had a Luxman L560 (50wpc pure class A amp) in my system for some time and wow was is a great integrated. 

Yes if you have a desirable model and it has been refurbished it can be very good indeed. quite surprising actually in many cases. 

I feel the speakers of the 60-70-80(early 80s) seem to be the limiting factor, some are worthy of refurbishment but many are just not up to modern sound qualities. 

I great 70's vintage integrated and modern speakers can surprise you how well they sound. 

As for tuners if you have a great station still local, a Sansui of Kenwood tuner is about the best your going to get even compared to modern tuners. yes I have a Sansui TU 717 refurbished and its my main NPR music source and blows me away with how inviting a sound it is. 

I find most good vintage gear tends to be musical and warm sounding apposed to the modern overly detailed and dry presentation. 
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I use a recapped Accuphase E-303x, and it is outstanding. Not easy to find, nor cheap, but beautiful, and a pleasure to listen to. Oh, and built like a tank.
Glenne.

Glad i am not alone on discounting a lot of golden era speakers.

I firmly believe that area has made huge strides in most cases.

Old cones and surrounds and crossovers to some extent , just do not age gracefully.

My fave is the kenwood kr9600 . It absolutely rocks . I had two, i gave my brother in law one . He lives across the street , we live on acreages. I have one in my garage he has one in his . He gets in a mood and cranks a set of jbl cf150s , i can hear it in my house. Mine runs a set of jbl L100T3 . 160 w/ch . I never shut it off ever , been running for years. Theyre huge as far as receivers go , and heavy .  
There has always been a small group that prefers vintage electronics, but usually refurbished with old caps replaced...
Do you have a link to anything with that amplifier? Google search just does not come up with amplifier model 2100.

jl35,

"And techs to recap?"
https://www.qrxrestore.com/services/


Sansui "Pure Power DC" (Direct Current) design amps and receivers are capable of punching out the sound of rock music in a way that nothing else seems to do. I use a Sansui in a system devoted to that purpose in my music room which offers lots of other choices. Most of my listening is to classical and jazz on other equipment, however.

The era in which much of this equipment was designed was a time when rock was a major music form listened to by people anxious to spend money on audio so many of the designs were influenced largely with that knowledge. Sansui ruled in that sphere at that time. I’ve only owned one for a year so it has been quite a revelation and I heartily agree with the above positive observations.
I've been a huge integrated fan since a Kenwood integrated was one of the first real components I bought way back in like 1974 or 5. Even today when my system is so high end most would have separates I still prefer my integrated. The systems I've put together for friends have all used integrateds. Not vintage, maybe not even Japanese. Good is good regardless of age or who made it. 

Thinking of that old Kenwood, like most vintage gear I guess, its the knobs, really the contacts, switches and stuff, that goes. Caps too I guess. Not making any claims for the Kenwood. Who knows if it was around today if it would really sound all that good? Even if cleaned and re-capped. Thinking back on what was in there, probably not. The stuff that seems to hold up and sound the best seems to always also be the simplest. Like tube gear, hardly anything in there to go wrong. 
EAR-Yoshino's Tim deParavicini designed many of the Luxman integrated amps. Good stuff.
There used to be a member here who went by Ezekiel who did outstanding jobs refurbishing vintage gear. I'd spend hours perusing his ads and marveling at the quality of  his work. He may still be around but I haven't seen any of his ads in quite awhile.

All the best,
Nonoise
On the net, I dont remember where is the video tough, you can listen to a match between the best tube amplifier sansui ever designed( the Au 111) and, after like 20 years of experiment the  best S.S. amplifier Sansui designed especially to be like his tube amplifier with exactly the same sound...After that you will understand why the Sansui sound is detailed and organic, and why the Sansui afficionados are the most fanatic of afficionados… I know I am now one of them... 
I'm still enjoying my Kenwood KA-7100 60 wpc integrated, bought new 1978 for $200. Haven't done anything to it. 

Posted a while back asking for typical reasons why one channel went out. It was a bad interconnect ! Silly me, always look for the simple stuff first.
I had a Yamaha CA-810 that Ezekiel refurbished years ago. Great improvement. 
Dave Cox of Puckerbrush Audio is a great resource for refurbishing vintage gear. He is a former radio engineer and audiophile who has a bricks and mortar used audio store  located in Norway Maine. A great guy also! He has refurbished all sorts of vintage gear.
I have an Onkyo A-7040 running my office system. Fantastic sound and TWO MM Phono inputs! It is a beast but only rated at 50 WPC. Very high quality build from 1980, right before Onkyo went “sideways”.....
jl35, No, I worked for the largest Sansui dealer in the world in early 70"s , from the smallest to the largest they were all outstanding .
I sold hundreds of them with NO complaints !And were had every virtually every brand made in Japan .ABSOLUTE best was  small Sony FET integated , best sound I have ever heard .
Looks like I lucked into a tidy little amp without knowing anything about Sansui at all.

They were not really huge back in the UK, I swore by Trio gear most of the 70,s.

My criteria for buying on eBay was dead simple.

Mm phono input, at least 2 more analog inputs, fully functional and under $100 shipped.


The Sansui was not even my first choice!
An old jvc was but due to terrible packing by the seller it arrived damaged and non working so back that went.

The Sansui was just then the next amp that I saw that fitted my exhausting requirements....😂😂😂
Hey Uber, google search on that model Sansui comes up blank.

Is A-2100 the right model #?
Lmao.
Sorry my fat fingers.
A-2000. Doh!

Now I know it is not from the exact same "golden age" of Sansui amps as some of the ones mentioned here but for $75 shipped I am still deeply impressed.
Besides whether the caps and wiring have been updated and pots cleaned on the old int. amps, the key to how good they can sound is knowing the quality of the power supply. Some of the amps had huge power supplies that enabled very stable current. But, these are what they are - very rarely did anyone ever upgrade power supplies on those babies.
Refurbished a Yamaha M-85.  Amazing amp., and goes well with a re-engineered pair of Altec Lansing Model 19 speakers.
I’m relatively new to vintage audio gear, but from my experience nothing “ modern” that I have owned, can hold a candle to the sound quality, aesthetics and build of these timeless pieces. I will add that after much reading and research I decided to skip the chase and purchase rebuilt gear from quality techs. To date I have a Marantz 2270 and 2250B. I also own a pair of rebuilt OL Advents to play with the 2250B, and use the 2270 with my Klipsch Cornwall’s. Music to my ears every day.... Now looking for a nice vintage power amp. 
uberwaltz - Several have told me that those speakers do amazing with cap upgrades. Even with relatively inexpensive caps like Mundorf MKP or Clarity CSA.

I think it's a very inflated story. I just recapped my ~35 years Heco speakers to a disappointingly minute difference. I mean, 9 out of 10 people will not notice the difference. Only a very very slight change in transparency and twitter level and I think the highs sound harsher now. 
The original caps were bypolar smooth type and I recapped with Jantzen Cross-caps (MKP).

I'm not saying it doesn't work, but the speakers need to be very revealing and the caps probably need to be of higher (more expensive) class. It's not night and day on old equipment.
Sansui AU-717 and TU-710 tuner used everyday day. Recently serviced and recapped. Sounds as good as my Marantz KI-PM Pearl integrated. 
I loved my Kenwood integrated amp. For 37 years it was my only amp. Beautiful natural, balanced sound. 
Put me in the "anti" camp.  I sold all the Japanese brands in their '60's heyday .... the US designed Haron-Kardon's beat them hands down.  The Audionics BP2 preamp and CC amplifier beat all of them hands down.  And these were in the same price range.  Not to mention the Eico kits, Healthkits, and Fisher and Scott kits of that same era.

The most expensive I evaluated in my home was the complete top end Luxman line .... preamp, power amp, tuner.  They were good, looked fabulously expensive (and were), and sounded somewhere between Marantz transistor gear and the Audio Research SP-6 and D70-90-115 line which cost no more.

I've heard lots of Japanese electronics which sound very good for the price.  But I've never heard any that sounded remotely close to the best.
I think the "golden era" would fall in the late 70's to early 80's.
I am running a Technics SU-8099 in my main system and it performs as I desire. Fantastic sound and enough controls for tailoring to different speakers and sources. It replaced my Sansui G9000DB in order to do a recap and electrical restoration. Also have a Pioneer A-27 that will stand up to anything new as far as sound quality and blows all of them away aesthetically.
What is a Sansui A-2100? A search turns up nothing.
BluBoxer
I cannot edit the thread or title but I made a typo and I did post elsewhere but it is A-2000.
Thx
I agree I have a Harmon Kardon 930 integrated bought in 1973. Still used for a preamp and sound is great.
One other possible interesting aspect.

I purchased an Aiwa AD-F780 cassette deck.
Inserted into main system and was positively underwhelmed.

Moved it to the " vintage" system and it put a big smile on my face indeed.

I wonder if similar vintage gear is voiced in a similar manner so making them appear to be more compatible together?
My brother has the vintage reissue from Airtight with Tango transformers. It is a exceptionally great sounding integrated amp.
Cool thread , the Old Japanese amps rock . I have receivers, as I enjoy the aesthetics more . I have a Sansui 9090, Sansui 7070, Marantz 2223B. The lower powered Marantz pairs very well with my Zu Omens and Klipsch KG 1.5’s . The Sansui 7070 is paired with Klipsch Heresy II’s and the 9090 has enough power ( barely ) to match well with my JBL 4313A’s on Sound Anchor stands . As one person stated of being dismayed after a few weeks , I concur . But with the modest prices for this gear , I can rotate and also include my vintage tube gear . I once ran the Marantz 2223 with pre out to my Dynaco MK III’s. So it was Oppo 105 to Marantz to Dynaco to JBL . Actually sounded pretty nice . I also have the brown braided speaker cables from the 70’s ( brand escapes me ). My next adventure is to restore the 7070 even though it sounds decent . If it’s a big enough improvement , I’ll risk doing it on the pricier amps. Cheers , Mike . 
If it sounds great to you, then it’s s great. Don’t let any “expert” opinions convince you otherwise. You have achieved your own personal audio Nirvana. Enjoy it! If it fails, get it fixed, then enjoy it some more.