vintage integrated

I got into the audio game to late to listen to what is now labeled as " vintage " In fact I remember the first time I went into a high end store and saw a high end piece I remarked to the salesmen " It has knobs on it ! " But after much listening to various pieces the knobs seem to disappear. But now I'm wondering about yesteryears equipment for a den application. I remember that Marantz was really popular back then, and I have heard good things about Sansui. But I'm wondering about the sound quality. Do they do a better good and say...... An integrated piece ( bought at a Best Buy ) would today? Say a Yamaha, Onkyo Harmon Kardon? And of so would Marantz or a Sansui be a good selection?

Just curious.
Haven't heard vintage Sansui/Marantz but I'm very impressed by Sony's offering from the 80's. Great int. amps/rec's which can be bought very reasonably. Upgrade the cord/binding posts and you'll be very pleased w/the sound. Newer entry-level mass produced equip. has it's benefits but IMO do not sound any near as good.
If you want to go vintage, then by all means go tube. Try to find an older late 50's early 60's Pilot 402 receiver or if you don't need the tuner section, one of their integrateds of the same era. I have read that same era Scott,Fisher and Eico are also good alternatives. Unfortunately, unless these units have been refurbished with new caps, etc. you'll have to invest another couple hundred $$ to get them to sound right. In the 60's and early 70's solid state was still in it's infancy regarding audio and most of the big manufacturers were into low distortion ratings as opposed to good sound. There were a few exceptions, however. The 70's Marantz receivers and integrateds were very warm and musical as Saul Marantz was very careful with his use of negative feedback. Again, remember that anything over 20 years old in its original state will probably have dried up capacitors that will need to be replaced.I have a refurbished Pilot 402 receiver in my 2nd system that I'm absolutely in love with. This thing has tone and timbre that would make most modern day receivers pale in comparison and a lot of modern day integrateds green with envy.
First I am a vintage collector. I found an old Eico 12w mono amp in a box of "junk" in my garage making it's way to the curb. Didn't even know I had it. No face plate, no knobs. I hooked it up with an St97 Eico stereo tuner and added an old mono Motorola mono amp for the other ch. Speakers were Paradgim Atoms. WOW! LOL- put on WBGO (NEWARK NJ jazz station). I kick myself every time I plug in my vintage pieces- Sound is so good - I can't explain why I still insist on paying huge money on my main system when these old relics sound (arguably) better. It's a great hobby - yes the stuff does wear after 20+ years but for the money and the fun of listening to those old pieces who cares! I highly reccomend picking up some vintage gear- you just might start selling off the "high end" big bucks modern stuff- Have fun
Ok, so my typos were off the scale in the first post. Oops!

Kotta, Funny you should mention Sony. Just brought home a old Sony TA-2650. Bought it cheap locally. From what I can find on the net it was Sony's base line player. The sound is quite dynamic, as good as some of the new integrateds that are costing over $1000 I have listened to! I played it fairly low and could still here such as the fingers sliding up a guitar's strings as it was being played. But man it is a bit bright on the highs.

I wonder if the bright highs are becuase it has dry capacitors as mentioned. Well now I am really curious to hear a Marantz.

The bright highs you mentioned is probably the high use of negative feedback as I mentioned. Old capacitors can probably be some of the cause as well. I bought a refurbished Marantz 2270 on Ebay for my Dad and he's enjoying listening to his old Big Band tunes on it.
There are a number of reputable people who upgrade/refurb vintage equipment and sell them for fair prices. I bought my HK730 from member "Ezekiel" aka Randy Young. Audio Classics is another place and there are others. There were quite a few terrific integrates from the late 70's era.
Well since I began this post I also began to look on ebay for Marantz. There is something I find a bit confusing though -

I have a HK receiver that has pre-in and amp-out options. When not in use there is a jumper that goes across in order for the unit to function properly. I am noticing on most of these Marantz pieces that there is no jumper going across. Anyone know how these units are operating this way? And if so what happens if I did hook up an amp to it? I'm assuming something this beautiful does not offer a menu to change it :)
Keep an eye open for a Sony STR-6800-SD, from the mid-70's.
The brightness you mentioned could be caused by the binding posts used w/your TA-2650. I'm not sure these are spring loaded or some type of screw down, but you would not believe the difference a good set of binding posts will make. Also change the AC cord. 16/2 lampcord should do just fine. (In response to your question, I'll bet there is a switch to seperate the power/pre-amp section.) I've been tempted to try an older Marantz rec. for some time now. If you can ever find a Sony TA-AX6 for sale by all means consider strongly purchasing. A great Int. amp! Picture/Info can be found on the web. Good listening, Bill.
Vintage Yamaha is up there amoungst the best. Too bad the company cut back on the quality after the early 80s. The CR series of integrated units is incredible for the money ... even by today's standards. Yamaha incorporated premium quality parts and top notch engineering during the 70's through the early 80's but found that this is not what the majority of people were willing to pay for at the time so they changed course to better serve the masses. The MX/CX/TX series of separates is also quite terrific. Many others from McIntosh and Marantz were also wonderful to listen to and will still give the most modern equipment a run for the money.

Thanks for the hints. Except..... it was my understanding that the " speaker strip " type is actaully the best beauase there is less metal involved to interfere with the signal. Most manufactures put the binding posts on to please us lazy audiophiles :)

As far as the pre-out and amp-in. I thought it would be a internal operation. But looking at the front of the reciver I could not see a switch, nor could I see one on the back. So I wondered if one had to remove the cover to preform the switch.
My Sony TA-AX6 Int. amp has the "Spk. strip" type binding posts. These are actually pretty decent. I did replace the Spk. B strip for some Superior Electric BP-31 gold-plated binding posts. A big improvement over the stock posts. Another Sony amp(TA-AX44)I have has the "spring-loaded" connectors. Replaced these as well w/BP-31's and the sound difference was even more noticeable for the better. (One of the reasons is that on the "spk. strip" binding posts, the wires go directly to the metal of the binding post. On the "Spring" style the wies go through a small circuit board. Not as direct, thus not as good sounding.) I have an 80's Karmon Kardon HK550Vxi Rec. which I bypass the spk.selector circuit and replaced the spring loaded spk. binding posts as well (another circuit board degrading the sound). Oh my, what an improvement! I did one other little thing which even made things sound better. The silver(?)/soldered 18awg. wire was replaced by some AQ type 2 (17awg.)copper wire. (I did this to smooth out the sound because for my tastes the stock wires were too detailed. The AQ wire made things smoother/more refined. Didn't mess w/power cord as it was 16/2 wire which seems adequate. Regards, Bill.
I would have to agree that the " spring loaded " speaker stips are pretty much worthless. But at least when we get into higher end stuff. I think that a " speaker strip " is still better than binding posts. Becuase of the directness of the connection. The binding post is just more metal that the sound must pass through. The more a signal must negotiate, the more it will lose it's quality and strength.

For instance Quicksilver Mini Mite amps employ speakers strips. But they sound wonderful!

For an update I found a TA-AX285 at a garage sale last weekend. I did a A/B test against my TA-2650. I was very surprised to find out that the 2650 was much better sounding, it made the 285 sound rather blah ( for lack of a better description ) I also changed the IC's from my source to my amp and have got rid of some of the brightness. I am truly astounded by this TA-2650. I still say it sounds better than $1000 new integrated amps that I was listening to!

I have a Sansui and a Marantz ( both vintage ) on the way. We will see how they fair.
I used to buy and sell vintage equipment. I agree with Sit that the Yamaha CR series, while kind of ugly, are very nice sounding--a little crisper and cleaner that Pioneer and Marantz, which can sound a little overly warm and rounded (albeit pleasently so). Another model to watch for is the Kenwood KR series. Kenwood doesn't have the cache of Marantz or even Pioneer, but the KR series is quite nice and it's a really well built piece of gear. Obviously, I haven't listened to all Pioneer or Marantz models, nor do I have any experience with fully refurbished units, so my comments should be taken with liberal doses of salt.
Ok, I got the Sansui and am quite impressed! It is just a bit warmer than the Sony, but sounds quite nice. It is excellent with voices, and the highs are silky smoooooth. The edge is gone that the Sony had but so is a bit of detail :(. The only draw back is i wish it had a bit more in the bass. If the marantz is warmer I can't wait to hear it!

Only one thing wrong with the Sansui. I noticed it is a bit scratchy when the volume is changed. Anyone know what is will cost to repair it?

If anyone is looking for a integrated and doesn't need a remote. I think they should tak a serious look at vintage. The price is much better for the quality of sound.
The scratchy volume means the pot is probably dirty. If you're a little technically savvy, you can open it up,( always remember to unplug the unit first) spray all the pots, including tone controls with a good electronic contact cleaner. If not, take it to a good tech and pay him the $50.00-+ fee to give it a thorough cleaning and test on his bench.
I'm telling ya, check out Yamaha for best sound including solid, rich bass.

The good Yamahas seem far and few, and I'm getting kind of jaded on the integrateds and I still have a Marantz on the way :) But who knows? Maybe I will happen along a Yamaha. Any particular model in mind?

Oh, the Sansui just keeps sounding better!
Yamaha CR 3020, CR 2020, or CR 1020.
They are a steal at the prices they go for.

The Marantz units are also quite good though.

I had to look long and deep to find his post. But I finally found it!

I got the Marantz and have had it hooked up for over a week ( playing the radio when I'm away ) Oddly enough I think I prefer the Sansui to the Marantz. The Marantz may be just a bit to laid back for me. The Sansui is smooth with nice highs, really nice midrange, and the bass extention is excellent. It is a very nice amp. Especially when I only paid $40 for it! But I sure miss that remote. Was it Sam Tellig that said? " Music should be enjoyable with any level of equipment "

I never got around to buying a Yammaha. Ran out of gas for this nitch I guess. If I do happen upon one at a garage sale I will pick it up and give it a listen.


When pushed, many audio designers will tell you that the most critical component in a preamp, or anything with a volume pot in it..~IS~ the volume potentiometer.

In the Sony TA-2650, it is... a 23 step or 23 position Alps brand Stepped plastic film attenuator.

The kind of quality potentiometer you can't buy for under $100 in today's money. Better than an alps 'b lack beauty' potentiometer. Notably so. Alps does not make them any more, that I'm aware of, no market, no buyers.

Sony 'got it' and so did the buyer end up 'getting it'. :)