Be blown away by the rich and powerful sound from these Stereo Amplifiers. A true wonder of vintage engineering, with a look that will transform your home.
An audio receiver is the heart of any stereo system and is responsible for decoding and amplifying signals so they can be heard through speakers.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know before you make your next vintage receiver purchase.
6 Reasons to invest in a vintage stereo
- It’s a Piece of Music History. While stereo headphones aren’t quite as common as they once were, vintage stereo amplifiers or receivers can help bring back memories of old-school listening.
- Musical Quality Is Transcendent. While it might be easy to assume that these amplifiers are only good at playing 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s music, you’d be wrong. If you’re looking for the best sound quality for any decade, these amplifiers can play it all.
- You Can Hear Every Little Nuance. Most of these tracks come from the golden age of pop music, meaning you’re going to be able to hear every little nuance that makes your favorite songs so great. Unlike today’s music, comes with a lot of extra production, effects, and sounds that were never present in the original recordings.
- It’s A Stereo Receiver, Which Means You Can Add an Equalizer. A vintage stereo amplifier receiver can easily be upgraded to stereo speakers, which means that you can add an equalizer, too.
- You Can Easily Add Bluetooth or Digital Signal Processing. One of the most overlooked features of vintage stereos is its ability to connect to Bluetooth headphones, or even stream music from a smartphone, or laptop. These amplifiers are also great for connecting to digital sources, like your
computer, smartphones, or even an external player. You can add digital signal processing and boost the volume, just like you would with a stereo receiver.
- There’s No Trying to Maintain Something Old. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to maintain a vintage amplifier, you’re in luck. Thanks to their age and the fact that they haven’t been used in a while, most of these amplifiers are in great condition.
How to Tell If a Receiver Is Good or Bad
There are a few things that you can look for when picking out a receiver.
• Durability: You will not only want to make sure that the receiver is durable but you’re picking a receiver that’s resistant to moisture.
• Sound: One of the best ways to pick out the best vintage receiver brands is to look at the sound. Many people believe that the sound quality of a receiver is directly correlated with the price.
• Reputation: You’ll want to make sure that the receiver you’re picking out has a great reputation. You’ll be surprised at how many people overlook this important factor.
• Price: The price of a vintage receiver can vary a lot depending on your specific needs. If you’re looking for a very cheap receiver, then you can go ahead and check out the very cheapest receivers in the market. However, if you’re looking for the best value, then you’ll want to keep an eye out for receivers that are priced.
• Ease of Use: If you’re planning on having a large collection of receivers, then you’ll want to keep this factor in mind.
• Size: The larger the receiver, the more room you’ll need in your rack.
• Design: Certain brands are better known for their design when compared to sound quality.
Best Vintage Receiver Brands
These brands have withstood the test of time and quality. They are well known to deliver satisfaction and value. These vintage receiver brands are also good for your next rebuild project.
Best Vintage MARANTZ Receivers
This brand was founded in New York, now based in Japan. These vintage receivers come from a bygone era and it shows in their simple design and lack of features. Perfect for those who want to experience radio like it used to be. Read on for a list of the best vintage Marantz receivers.
Marantz 2600. This was one of the greatest stereo receivers made by Marantz. Rated at 330 watts per channel, one of the dominant receivers of the “monster receiver” era, as audiophiles called it, of the 1970s.
Marantz Model 18 (First Stereo Receiver with Tuner). Model Eighteen was considered the main product during Marantz’s transition from tubes to transistors. The first stereo receiver with a built-in tuner, model 18 was released in 1956.
Marantz 2385. Made between 1977 to 1980. 2385 happens to be the reproduction wood cabinet. The cabinets are much harder to find these days and are of very high quality, which means a very high price if you can find one.
Best Vintage PIONEER Receivers
A Japan-made brand.
When you think of classic car audio, the first brand that probably comes to mind is Pioneer. With a reputation for being the go-to brand for high-end car audio, Pioneer has been a staple in the car audio industry for decades. Here’s a brief overview of some of the best vintage pieces.
Pioneer SX-1010. This model of the Pioneer started the “monster receiver wars” in the 70s. It’s heavy and has a simple physical appearance, nothing special, but with the inside features and the beautiful tunes it brings, you will become a believer in its quality.
Pioneer FM-R301 Audio Master. A unique, sleek, and classic-elegant model of the 50s and 60s. This is the first company receiver with an FM band. It became more attractive to audio enthusiasts because of its rarity and the magic eye tuner. This gray eye tuner turns green when lit and gets brighter when the tuning becomes sharper.
Pioneer QX-8000. A quadrophonic receiver was manufactured from around 1974 until 1976. This 4-channeled 20 watts per channel at 8 ohms with FM muting and has a rich sound will not cost you much because it isn’t in high demand market version.
Best Vintage KENWOOD Receivers
A Japan-made brand.
Kenwood has a reputation for building solid receivers — which is why people buy them.
Kenwood KA-7100. The KA-7100 is an excellent vintage receiver. It has clarity and roundness of sound even at high volume. With its built-in limiter protection circuit and relays, assures a safeguard for all your circuits.
The Kenwood KR-1000. The “unusual” stylish look captures audio enthusiasts. It has a multitude of buttons and various colorful lights that synchronizes the power of the three built-in speakers simultaneously. The user can also use only one or two speakers, depending on the preference.
Kenwood KR-9600. One of the best receivers made by Kenwood. This model is loved by many music enthusiasts because of its Sound Injection Circuit. It allows the user to plug a microphone into the mic jack while music is being played from another source. In this, you can sing along and record your voice.
Best Vintage SANSUI Receivers
A Japan-made brand.
Sansui receivers have always been built like tanks, so expect a no-nonsense, no-frills design with a focus on performance. The reputation they gained is based mostly on their build quality, their sound, and their value for money.
Sansui 4100 Receiver. This is a great receiver. It has four-disc AM/FM radio and a lot of nice features. It is user-friendly and thanks to its design, you can easily mount it on the wall. It’s just perfect for a bedroom.
Sansui QRX-6500. This model was one of Sansui’s primary contributions to the quadraphonic genre. With a 4-channel, 280-watt integrated amplifier, this model has been improved and developed as the version of the earlier QR-6500.
Sansui 1000x. Easy to use. This model advances the art of stereophonic reproduction. Bass and treble can be controlled independently on each channel and the inner part of the control knob adjusts the left channel and the outer bits adjust the right. The discrete amplifier and pre-amp circuits give this unit a great sound.
Best Vintage YAMAHA Receivers
A Japan-made brand.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded home audio system with great sound and various features, one that’ll last you for years to come, and one that won’t break the bank, then the following vintage Yamaha receivers are worth checking out.
Yamaha CA-1000. The CA-1000 integrated amp was the catalyst for Yamaha’s success. This model is loaded with unique features: class A operation switch, continuous variable loudness control, flexible input, and output connectivity, and three sets of speaker terminals.
Yamaha CR-450. It is a small yet powerful receiver made from 1976 to 1978. There’s a Mode that enables you to switch between stereo and mono, and the Tape that lets you switch between the monitor and source. These two switches made this model extra special.
Yamaha CR-1020. The younger version of CR-3020 and CR-2020. The design integrates Yamaha’s trademark styling with rectangular switches and white dial faces. Controls included Bass, Presence, Treble, Loudness, Volume, and Balance.
Best Vintage SONY Receivers
A Japan-made brand.
The best Sony receivers offer a wide variety of features and sound quality. Unlike other brands, Sony has a more simplistic look and stands out for durability.
Sony STR-7045. Today, this is one of the most expensive receivers from Sony, priced at $1800. It is known for its 4-gang tuning section with an output of 30-watts per channel.
Sony STR-GX9ES. The black-metal-colored equipment is classic and elegant. The power source provides separate voltage rails for different amplifier stages. With this method, the headroom helps prevent clipping. Features a remote control.
Sony STR-V3.Export from Japan sold in the USA and Europe. It has a classic vintage Sony look. Aside from Mode switches, it also has FM muting and two speaker settings.
Best Vintage LUXMAN Receivers
A Japan-made brand
It is a pertinently unique brand. A few vintage LUXMAN receivers were:
Luxman R-1050. This is made with a luxurious looking faceplate. It’s a 4-gang tuner with dual-gate Mos-Fets linearized with phase ceramic and block filters making this model more enticing.
Luxman R-1120. This is Luxman’s leading unit after it was introduced in 1976. The company considered this as their “super-powered ‘tuner-amplifier’ with 120 watts per channel.”
Luxman R-117. Manufactured in the late 80s. It is the audio receiver that adapted to the changing market in the eon of compact discs. This unit uses a dual-rail-designed power supply with an astonishing 700 dynamic watts per channel into 2 ohms to perfectly perform the wider range of CDs.
Best Vintage FISHER Receivers
A USA-made brand.
If you’re a fan of old-school sports, you’ll have heard of the Fisher-Price FISHER receivers. Vintage Fisher receivers have an almost magical appeal because they evoke a specific time and place for nostalgic sports fans.
Fisher 400. This brass faceplate model is iconic, especially to audio purists. Others believed that this is the finest tube receiver ever made. This unit is also legendary for its Magic Eye tube that shows signal strength.
Fisher 250-T. It was first introduced in the market around 1968 until 1973. This is a timely solid-state unit of the company. This version is known for its “Tune-O-Matic” feature because of the push-button tuning. Aside from this, it has a Stereo Beacon feature that automatically changes to the stereo mode when detected. With these, Fisher became one of the most respected American audio companies in history.
Fisher 1800. A rare multiplex unit made by Fisher. This unit was unsuccessful in the market which is why it is hard to find a version of this in the market today. Unlike the accustomed receivers, this has a two-toned faceplate that is made unique to others.
Best Vintage MCINTOSH Receivers
A USA-made brand.
Mcintosh was not the only company trying to break into the home audio market. It did in a way that sets them apart from their competition. Their design principles and special features are still the standards by which other companies measure today. In addition, this company is distinct for having retro-futuristic knobs; silvery brass metal tuners.
McIntosh MAC 1500. This model is a hybrid amplifier, a solid pre-amp section, and an FM tuner. It became a collector’s hunter because it is a rare piece; only 2,600 units are made for US domestic use.
McIntosh 4100. The year 1978 until 1985 became the talk-of-the-year for many audiophiles and enthusiasts. The first-ever receiver, 4100, was released and designed with plastic push buttons. Many disagree, and some agree with the design. Because of its powerful sound and fantastic features, this only proved McIntosh 4100’s durability and reliability.
McIntosh 4275. It’s the receiver from McIntosh that was sold in the 1980s. Despite the rumors of having some quality issues, this equipment proves that the design speaks for its power, signal strength, and features.
This vintage receiver amplifier is perfect for the audiophile and audio purist who wants to experience old-school music with all its rich, full sound. This durable, reliable amp is a fascinating part of our history and one you’ll be proud to show off in your listening room.
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