Harman Kardon Citation II

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  • 09-03-2011, 06:23 PM
    Harman Kardon Citation II
    I was at my dealers house today and we where talking and he mentioned that he has had a Harman Kardon Citation ll and the matching preamp. He said he has had the preamp in the shop and they where unable to fix it, and does not know why. He has had this gear for years just collecting dust. He said he was going to put it on audiogon. He did plug it into his system just recently after years of it being idled. He said after that listen he decided not to list at audiogon because it sounded really good. It bested his Bel Canto amps. I asked him if he does decided to sell if I could have first crack at it and he said yes. I saw it today and it was heavy as heck...it was a little dirty, but it was mint. All original parts inside and out. Even had the same stock tube it came with brand new...4 x KT88, 6 x 12BY7A and 4 silicon diode rectifiers. I am really wanting to mate this amp with the SA-T1 to see what its like. So what are you thoughts on this amp? Should I jump on it if he is willing to sell?

    Harman Kardon Citation II

  • 09-04-2011, 05:49 AM
    Since I am not a tube guy I would say yes. That amp is a classic and is being copied by modern tube equipment makers. If you like tubes and want to own a classic I think it would be a win, win.
  • 09-04-2011, 08:10 AM
    Make sure you are able to audition it first. The Citation is a great amp, John is right, but I wonder if going all tube will deliver the dynamics you love so much. You may find that the bass will lose some of its impact, and your highs may roll off. Of course, the mids will be life like and perfect. I would imagine with a subwoofer, it would be a great match, but you MUST give it a whirl. Personally i like your combo of tube pre and SS amp. You should focus on improving your phono stage...

    The other consideration if you switch to a tube amp will be your speakers.
  • 09-04-2011, 08:24 AM
    If the price is right, I will snatch it right away
  • 09-04-2011, 03:42 PM
    Thanks for the kind words Pops....Yes I agree with you, but gotta try it out. But just because its all tube, would not automatically mean it will not have slam or have roll-off....Peabodys all tubed high dollar Conrad Johnson outfit is a testimony to that.

    Once I get a new phono preamp...that will free up my Rotel preamp which I am now using only as a phono preamp. So that means I will have two complete systems if I go with the Citation II. And I also have a Adcom power amp and a vintage Mitsubishi power amp tucked away.

    So if the Citation II is too much warmth and color with the SA-T1, then I can mate it with the Rotel RC 1090 preamp for another hybrid system.
  • 09-04-2011, 07:16 PM

    Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    So what are you thoughts on this amp?

    Exceptional amp in its day. With a bit of modernization to the power supply and output caps, this guy can turn it into a real performer. Jim is also a good source for tubes.

  • 09-07-2011, 09:11 AM
    If the price is right, I'd jump on it. However, do a bit of research first so you'll know what the going rate is for this gear.

    One very important point, though. You said it is "all original parts". This amp is around 50 years old. The power supply capacitors are virtually guaranteed to need replacement. The amp can end up damaged if they are not updated, and also possibly damage your speakers.

    I'd recommend anything this old be checked by a tech who knows his way around tube gear.
  • 09-07-2011, 09:26 AM
    harley .guy07
    yes I will agree with you that Mr. Peabody's CJ gear did Blow my mind from what I have been used to with tube setups I have heard in the past. His setup has bass out the yen yang and has a very nice treble presentation to boot but his setup is pretty new as well in comparison to the HK stuff. I would def give it a listen before paying a lot for it unless it is a sure thing that you could make your money back because it could be that you like your new Vincent tube pre but an all tube vintage setup might not be to your liking. I do like some tube setups(Mr. Peas) and others I have heard but I also like the solid state reliability and detail in the bass and treble and really to me my Dyn's sound better to me on my setup than on Mr. Peabody's overall with the exception of bloom and he has me on soundstaging a bit bit but he has gear that kills mine in price class so that is somewhat to be expected.
  • 09-08-2011, 04:58 PM
    If you buy it you'll need to have it gone through by a tube tech and recapped asap. I've seen vintage tube amps go up in smoke after spending a few decades in a closet. Caps have a life span of about 35 years so you can expect to spend a few hundred on that. The tranny's are critical in vintage tube amps and if they go bad you can forget it. The preamp I believe is the Citation I and the repair guy saying he wasn't able to fix it sends up a red flag. The seller may know more than he's telling you. It's always a crap shoot with the old stuff but it can pay off if you're lucky. I've seen a decent Citation II and pre go for $1400 but you shouldn't offer more than $1200 even if both work. The pre and the amp are worth about the same.

    My friend has had the preamp and currently owns an HK Copper Top which is older but similar to the Citation and I've heard it many times and have had it at my house for days. There's a mystique with the old HK's and while they are in demand and valuable I wouldn't replace either of my SET's with one. I would love to have one as a legacy piece.