BogenDB212 (1957 I was 12)
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A Sansui 210 receiver in 1971. I wanted a Sony, but didn't have the extra 50.00 at the time. The system consisted of a Sansui 210 receiver, a BSR turntable with Shure cartridge, Sony TC 121 cassette deck with a Teac AN 50 outboard Dolby noise reduction adapter, and some cheap Panasonic 2 way speakers from a previous compact stereo system. I was in stereo heaven!
I have very fond memories of a Heathkit W4AM mono-blocks with matching preamp. Very cool set up modified to push pull at 50W a channel. Class A at 27w. We were the proud owner of these through Junior High School. We received them as a gift from my uncle and dear ole dad. I later migrated to a Realistic STA 2000D receiver with 75 watts a channel, rotel turntable and AKAI tape deck. Very SPOILED high school kid(lol) who worked long hours at fast food to get all of this. We also managed to build custom made speakers for both systems. I have been happily engrossed with the hobby ever since. I think I will enjoy our Wyred for Sound seperates now. Haven't been this exited since then.
Those are awesome first amps. It's both gratifying and sad at what satisfaction modest amps brought before we learned otherwise. I loved my Pioneer and was truly sad when, just within the last five years, a relative I gave the SX450 to, told me he threw it out not because it died (it was working well) but because he no longer wanted that sort of "old fashioned" music system. I would have taken it back in a heart beat. But so it is, once I gift it, it's the recipients to do with as he pleases.
Dynaco 70. I had a TransAudio receiver which was a Pacific Stereo house brand before it when I was 12 but I don't really count it. As soon as I understood that the equipment choice affected the sound, I immediately bought Dynaco. I did however end up working at Pacific Stereo during college and selling tons of TransAudio!!
In 1966, when I was 19, I bought a Dynaco SCA-35 kit and very slowly, very carefully soldered it up. When I bought the kit the dealer told me to bring the amp back before I powered it up and he'd bench test it. It tested better than spec and I was on my way. Of course, I didn't yet have any money for a turntable or speakers but the fine folks at High Fidelity in Austin took pity on a poor college student and somehow I got a new AR turntable and a pair of AR speakers that were gathering dust on a store room shelf. Wonderful little amp, wish I still had it.
Not better, just different. Less heat, seemingly a lot more power, but keep in mind my speakers got bigger and more sensitive too, which gave the illusion of much more power, 5 db doesn't sound like much, but a teenager with a very loud listening taste, every watt I could get through those speakers was a good thing at the time....Looking back, I think for solid state, that thing was awesome(they still sell for 100's on ebay if you are lucky enough to find one.) The W4's were more engaging, If I could only had my LP 12 back then.....I'd probably STILL own them......I sold them when I was moving regrettably. I have yet to afford the $$ or space for tube gear. It is WAY more expensive than back then. Now a decent American made amp will set you back thousands....
I am thinking back then, the Nirvana system would have been the STA 2200D, with Speakerlab S30 speakers as well as the Akai GXF 91 tape deck, or a Nakamachi BX 300. The ultimate turntable??? Probably first generation LP12. The Speakerlab S3 was the one I kept saving for but never bought. That system would have been scary good...
The year was 1989. I was about to head off to college without a stereo. I had just heard a friend's McIntosh 240 amplifier and was amazed by the looks and the sound. I had zero experience with tube gear.
He asks if I would like to buy a tube amp?
Sure, I reply, as I lust after the chrome of the 240.
He leaves and returns with a Dynaco 70. $125 later and I have a new amp - just not the one I wanted!