What Is Your Favorite Vintage Amplifier?

Category: Amplifiers

My personal favorite is Edgar Villchur's Acoustic Research "AR Amplifier" made available from 1966 through '75. Although rated at fifty watts per channel rms into 8 ohms...this classic stereo amplifier was quite dynamic and offered more bang for my buck back in 1972.

At a military discounted price of $165 w/walnut wood cabinet...it put out the most pleasing powerful sound I can ever recall hearing. I believe it would still humble some modern day types! Solid bass...punchy mids...sparkling highs....Fletcher-Munson Tone Controls that you didn't really even have to nudge much. LUV that "Null" switch too that actually balances your stereo phono cartridge perfectly!

Just curious...What Do You Say?...Peter
Just for SHITS AND GIGGLES I bought a completely rebuilt ( all to original specs. and components) Phase Liner 400. Holy cow !! dudes this amp sounds like music......some things don't change. Change for the sake of change leaves so much behind its a shame this amp is lost to the new, I think I need Altec Voice of the theater speakers with this amp......oh man don't you remember when the music was new and so were our ears !
Hey Pack, I recall reading many times that the old Phase Linear 400 was a/k/a the "Flame Linear." Glad to read you're luvin' it, but don't leave it unattended -- even if it's unplugged. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. LOL ;-')
Instant nostalgia. What are the odds I would have actually owned the first two pieces posted? Loved the look of the AR amp more than the sound which was vintage solid state.... The Phase 400 was another story entirely a terrific sounding amp even by today's standards a little less pleasing to the eye although those dancing meters were special.
My heart is still with the classic Marantz 9 monoblocks. I owned a pair for over 20 years that I'd had slightly updated with a few better quality parts. Operated in triode mode at 35 watts per channel, they were simply delicious.
Purely for sentimental reasons, my first piece of stereo kit -- a Harman Kardon 330c receiver that I purchased with my allowance money and some cash I earned shoveling snow for neighbors.
Anything Dynaco.
I think the answers will conform heavily towards one's age. IOW, if you're a young'un then a ten yr old amp may be vintage, whereas for others it is stuff half a century ago. That said, my favorite vintage amps are my Citation 7.1s. Do those count as vintage now that they are pushing 20 years old? If they're not old enough then I'd give the nod to Hafler DH-220. This was not only a fine amp but is nicely moddable into an even better one. For me that is a major plus: something that is good in its day, good today, and can be made even better or customized. That's a tough to beat combo at that price point.
Dyna ST 70. I had that I modified with the Van Alstine upgrade which replaced the tube power supply with a transistor one and replaced all the components with better quality ones. It seemed to sound better - the power supply upgrade probably improved the dynamics and the component upgrade flattened the frequency response and probably reduced the noise and distortion.

This was my main amp for many years and sounded like lots more than 35W a channel. It also look cool glowing the dark and was a decent, if inefficient, space heater.