Vintage Crown D 150A II Amp -- How good was it?


I was cleaning up my spare bedroom and came across my old Crown D 150A II power amp. It was checked over by Crown about a year or so ago. Typical stuff -- old caps replaced, maybe some transistors. Anyway, I remember back in the 70s, the D 150 was considered to be a very good sounding amp. Some said even better than its big brother, the DC 300A. I keep it around as a spare amp.

For any vintage old-heads out there, any comments on how the D 150 compares to modern SS amps?
Forget it--I had one of these in the 70's-D150--POS used to go DC without warning and took out a pair of speakers each time.

I fell for the big Sales pitch after they had the fire at the original factory
blah blah-help us rebuild buy our product-yeah right!

Avoid be warned.

Well...the Crown was a very reliable amp that had the dubious distinction of being the first solid state amp to use an i.c for the input. It was considered a workhorse. Compared to today's solid state amps it's not very good. Semiconductors have come a long way since that amp was built as has circuit topologies. I remember people bringing them into the McIntosh clinics decades ago only to find that the amp didn't meet it's distortion specs. It's possible the amps that I saw tested were poorly maintained. Most amps like Phase Linear, S.A.E., BGW, and Harman/Kardon amps walked all over the Crown amps sonically but were certainly not as rugged or reliable as the Crown amps were. Although consumers did buy Crown amps it was mostly used professionally for sound reinforcement applications.
BTW I believe the original model designation was a DC150A.
the Allman Brothers Band used stacked DC-300A amplifiers for their PA. I was in college at the time and i saw them hauling their equipment out the back after they finished playing. I don't think it would be a good choice for a stereo system these days. But they must have been pretty reliable amps or a group with a lot of bookings probably wouldn't be touring with them.
I still have my DC300A that I purchased new. I'v had it in my office for the last few years, but finally had to retire it because of big time transformer hum. When I bought the Crown back in the mid 70's, I mated it with a Mac C-26 (which I still have). The reason I didn't buy the matching MC2105 amp was because it was just a little too expensive, so I settled for the Crown. Big mistake, but I was young and on a limited budget.........
Some of those early SS amps really were terrible, Never was a big fan of Crown even back in the mid 1970s. I found I liked the typical but lower powered Kenwoods, Pioneers, Yamahas etc. McIntosh was waaay to expensive. My buddies all of whom had stereos and were "into it" thought I was nuts for spending $550 for a pair of Klipsch Heresys (they would have been $600 but I didn't go for the $50 optionl grille covers.)
I have more vintage audio now then I oened when it was current It is a lot of 60s stuff. I found that I like Sansui more than the Kenwood Integrated KA-7100 that I owned and used continuously for the next 24 years. Heck, now I even own a McIntosh albeit a small old SS power amp. I wish I had one of those, back in the day, It sounds great with my Klipsch which I still own.
Ha memories! --Mechans hit the nail on the head-- I dumped the 150 for a Mac 6100--great Amp-wish I still owned it!

I bought a demo of this amp about 45 years ago and it ran just fine until recently it developed a 42db hum 8 feet from my Infinity floor standing speakers. Guess I can't complain, but it's probably the transformer and would be prohibitive to get it fixed. So a week ago I upgrade my electronics for the first time since those early years. I now have the Emotiva XSP-1 preamp and XPR-200 power amp. The Infinities, probably 30 years old, still sound like new and I'll probably keep them till I die.
Its not the transformer. Either bad filter capacitors in the power supply or a channel may have a damaged transistor.
Fjp, I'm NOT suggesting that you repair the Crown in light of the comments above which kinda "dissed" the amp. But if the problem is just some power supply and/or electrolytic caps and some transisters, and if you have an emotional attachment to the Crown, I believe the factory still repairs these old vintage units. The cost is not prohibitive. Of course, if it's a tranny don't even know if they have any in stock. You may want to call the factory for more info if you're still in love with the Crown.
  • I am not sure what kind of snobs there are on this blog. Back in the 70s when I was looking for stereos I compared the crown straight line 1 and powerline to all competitors in the price range which was about $1000 for the pair. I even compared it to products which had twice the power. The power line one Crown straight line one combination held its own against a Yamaha M1 one power amp matching preamp with a regular equalizer and parametric equalizer. The straight line 1 powerline one combination sounded much more clear and the attack of the music and the impact was better. The Advantage of the greater power in the Yamaha was it got slightly louder. The lesser powered crown power line walked all over the Hafler power amp rated twice the crowns power using the same speakers turntable and music. The Hafler went into distortion before reached the levels that the crown would put out that supposedly half its power. This little dynamo was resounding and powerful for the 50 W per channel rating. It has 21,000mf of power supply capacitance and you see the house lights flicker when you turn it on. It goe wasaaammmm! You here the cans charging up. It was also compared to an Audionics a Canadian company at the time. Was very nice. The crown Still sounded better. The Speakers were JBL lancers. For decades I could walk into an audio king or Best Buy and listen to the best stereos they had and I still was not disappointed in my mine. I would have to invest three times the cost to get better sound. The crown sound was much like a McIntosh, but not as good on the low end. Remember though, a Mac is 4 times or more the cost. I recently acquired a Crown DC 150 a series II. Still running a straight line one preamp. It looked like new condition after 40 years. No mistake about it the DC 150 series II A great power amplifier for a medium size room up to a 20 x 20’ depending on your speakers. The DC in the model number means that the amplifier is capable of  frequencies all the way to DC or zero HZ. I dare the audiophile Snobs out there to find an amplifier anywhere close to its price range that will amplify from DC to 30,000 Hz with zero phase shift. That is what the DC 150 A series II will do. That is how stable of an amplifier this is. Extremely well designed amplifier. The reason it will blow speakers is your esoteric speakers are not supposed to run the low frequencies this amplifier can reproduce. Especially when over driven. You need fuses if you are going to get it on with this amp. For sound, best described as it puts majesty to the low end. Very neutral otherwise. It is not as airy as or bright as the PL one, but excellent. The DC 150series II leaves the power line one trailing for power output. For an average middle class home. More power than you will use. Both Crowns are completely silent at full volume no signal. It will drive most speakers other amps have trouble with. I still walk into Magnolia and not all that impressed. The speakers I have now are Paragon acoustics knock offs my brother in law help me build. He used to build them for a paragon back in the 1980s. Both Crowns are still in use every day, and both sound fantastic! So there!
Working Crowns are fine for powering passive subs, but are somewhat too dry, coarse, grainy, and 2-dimensional for use with very transparent loudspeakers. But that's just for those with audiophile sensitivities, poor darlings. Picky, picky, picky! 
My memory of  Crown gear is very different from what is posted here. The DC300A was an incredibly good sounding amp. Clean, transparent excellent high end. Yes it was used in pro applications but also in critical ones. I worked for years in recording studios and they were a common sight. In fact Crown playback was the defacto standard in studios for years.  Most studios in the 70's could afford anything they wanted. Crown is what they bought. 
Crown was also among the elite when it came to high end audio. It's only real completion was Mac, and when Crown was actively into home audio is was highly regarded and very expensive. 
I remember Crown from the old days too. Really well built, meant more for pro use than audiophiles. My recollection was that the company had a religious missionary "mission" and that's why they built tape recorders (don't ask me why, my recollection is sketchy). I rarely saw the tape machines- when I went to studios in those days, MCI was growing in popularity and it wasn't till later that I got to see Studers and all the uber stuff (Yeah, the one Revox was also branded as a Studer, but). 
The amps- I seem to remember liking the SQ of the 150 better than the 300a, but it has been so long. This was around the time I had one of the original Phase Linear 700s- the first model, not the one that looked more like a pinball machine (I remember that the original was thereafter denoted the "A."). It blew up (as those things did), I had the factory fix it- no biggie, and sold it. As I recall, the 400 was a much better sounding amp than the 700. Or maybe I just have a thing for smaller amps. Dunno. Went to tubes by around '73. 
I'm surprised Crown/Harman still supports the old gear, but if they do, that's great. 
Has a Crown D-150 a loong time ago. Probably not very good by today's standards...but its free. The original version had RCA to 1/4" mono phone plug with sometimes poor contact. If the II is the same, be sure to check the cable and phone jack. Also, if it has a hum, an amp this old may need filter caps replaced and it may not be worth it.
The DC300 (or 300A) was often used with the first version of the Infinity Servo-Static 1 (and also the 1A), until the early SAE electronics arrived in the very early 70’s and found favor amongst Infinity dealers. When Audio Research arrived in California, both Crown and SAE were history!