Vintage vs Expandability - Receivers [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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12-17-2007, 08:36 PM
Have there been sound improvement in receivers over the last 30 years or has it trended toward the opposite?

With $250-300 in my pocket, I'm questioning whether to buy used vintage or second-hand modern. The primary application would be for 2 channel music listening, but a new model would add versatility.

Functionality aside, though a major consideration, would a lower-end modern Marantz such as the SR4001 equal the sound of a Marantz 2270 from the 70's? It would certainly offer a ot of useful features.

12-17-2007, 11:37 PM
The problem with vintage electronics is that parts oxidize, parts become brittle and dry. I would try and buy second hand modern. For $300 you could buy a new 2ch Onkyo TX8522 or theHarmon Kardon HK3480 receiver. has the HK3480 for $259. You might also want to consider an integrated amp if you dont care about radio.

12-18-2007, 07:16 AM
The SR4001 is a multi-channel HT receiver so you're really comparing apples to oranges. If you want a MC receiver, then ignore this post. It may seem to have the power but remember, it.s power supply is divided among all the channels. A two-channel unit is designed for only two channels and it's power supply reflects that.

I'll be talking new two channel units here.

Newer stereo receivers can be quite good. I got my brother-in-law an entry-level Sherwood srtereo for $90 and it's hard to beat for that price. ...and it has remote control. I haven't done a critical listening session on it but in his houseit provides more than adequate sound.

Now, there are much more expensive (and, I assume "better") two-channel units available from Marantz, Rotel, Onkyo (I believe), NAD and Outlaw and others. I would expect great things from them, particularly the Outlaw.

One thing I'm skeptical about. though is their FM performance. The industry has taken the emphasis off FM since AV became the main thrust oftheir development and marketing.

If you're into vinyl, be careful. While this was a given on all vintage gear, many modern receivers forgo the phono stage. You may need a separate phono preamp. Figure on at least another $100 for a decent one

Now, I'll talk "vintage" two channel.

Somehow, a lot of amps/receivers fron the gonden age tend to sound more "powerful" than their specs would indicate, particularly when driving speakers of the same vintage.

I've had a Marantz 2270 since it was new. In that thirty-five years it was in the shop once in 2002 for a new power switch and an FM alignment, which benefits ANY analog tuner on occasion. Sound-wise, I'll put it up against any HT receiver and for FM, it beats the bejeezus outta my Denon 2802..Aside from the convenience of push-button digital tuning, a well maintained analog tuner (with a decent antenna) is a wonder to behold.

Would I pay big bucks for it on the used market today? That depends on it's condition and how well I trust the seller. You can almost count on it needing at least an alignment and who knows what else. That,and GOOD techs for these are dying off and new ones aren't being made.

IMNSHO, if I were looking for a two channel only receiver, I'd probably go new, most likely from Marantz (personal preference basically), NAD and or Outlaw but I wouldn't rule out the others if the price were right.

If you want to recapture your youth (and I can't fault you for that), then a vintage unit is hard to beat, but I'd figure on having it tuned up to get the maximum performance from it, though.

12-18-2007, 05:51 PM
Forgive my ignorance, that's why I'm here, to learn. But what would be the difference between the Marantz SR4001 and SR4021 with only two speakers connected. The 4001 has "80 Watts x 7 Channels All Discrete Amplifier Stages" and the 4023 80 x 2. Wouldn't the sound be similar?

If price and sound quality is equal the 4001 would be a more flexible piece of equipment.

What are the options for a receiver that is phono and MP3 ready?

Just found Harman Kardon 3485 being sold for $250. It's 120 watts to Marantz's 80. Any thoughts? I really think I'll choose between these two amps. Is Marantz's name worth giving up the 40 watts? Thanks for the help!!

12-18-2007, 07:38 PM
I think you need to decide a couple of things. First you mention it will be used for 2-channel but then you seem to hedge a little when you talk about versatility. Obviously if you are thinking of going 5.1 or 7.1 at some point then I think vintage would be out for the most part. For the most part a good reciever for 5.1 should serve you well in a 2-channel set-up.

Next I think you need to decide or tell us what speakers you are plannning to use. "Giving up the 40 watts" by going with the Marantz is not that big a deal if it is matched with an efficient pair of speakers that are not power eaters. If on the other hand the speakers that you are planning to use are known to need some extra oomph then you have to go with the 120 pc unit.

12-18-2007, 09:47 PM
If your looking for 2ch only, then stick with a 2ch receiver because its power supply is dedicated to 2ch's only, not split up for 7ch's. Its only when you get into higher end equipment do you see better power supplies for multi channnel receivers. With that being said, you can still get good 2ch performance from some of the mid priced Onkyo, Yamaha, and a few other brand AV receivers. I'm assuming that you probably dont have high end audiophile speakers.

12-19-2007, 05:56 AM Factory authorized for both new and refurbs.

Thekid is right. You have to make a choice. If you even think you'll want to go the multi-channel route, don't even consider a two channel unit.

12-19-2007, 01:20 PM
Jb, if you have any thoughts of going multichannel in the future, check out the Onkyo TxSR605 receiver at its a decent receiver and should give you good 2ch sound for $350. It's a high current amplifier.

12-19-2007, 08:18 PM
Wow, Mark great find on the Onkyo! It's a steal. So, I've come down to two 2 channel receivers. They will be tasked with powering my new MMG Maggies. The choices being the Onkyo TX8522 or the Harmon Kardon 3485. Both have phono and both have MP3 capability.

As far as I can tell the biggest differences is in watts, Onkyo's 100 to the HK's 120. Is the HK worth more money? It's aesthetically more attractive and has the extra power for the Maggies, but the Onkyo is cheap. There are plentiful HK 3485 being auctioned so the price difference could be less than a $100.

Any thoughts?

12-19-2007, 09:06 PM
That twenty watt dofference is basically inaudiable.

MMG's are a four ohm speaker and like lotsa clean power, but the big oinker appears to be up to it.

You are anticipating using a subwoofer, right? Make sure you get one with speaker level inputs.

12-20-2007, 12:31 AM
Go with as much power as you can for the Magnepans, even if they are the MMG's.
20watts is a big difference when it comes to these speakers and playing them at loud volume. They will clip a low power amp in no time and might even shut it down. They are a 4 ohm speaker, so make sure what ever receiver you purchase can handle 4 ohms as most are rated for 8ohms. I believe the HK is rated at 150wpc at 4ohms, which would be my pick for a receiver to go with the MMG's. The Onkyo is rated at 100wpc at 8ohm's. I don't believe the Onkyo is rated for 4ohms and its dynamic headroom is only 135watts. Another reason to go with the HK and higher power is that you may want to move up to the larger Magnepans such as the MG12's or Q1.6 in the future. These require even more power to drive them adequately. Also, make sure you are using a heavy gauge speaker wire with these speakers.

The HK 3485 is going for $254 at and J&R

Hope this helps some!

melvin walker
12-20-2007, 01:02 PM
I think you will not be happy with the older receiver , why not go to separates. That way you can make changes easier. Try and find some used separates on Ebay. In the long run you will not only get better sound but will add flexability to your system.

There is some excellent used Marantz separates available. Their performance is far better than Marantz receivers or most receivers. Remember receivers have always been a compromise. If you decide to buy a receiver , you will be faced with the same problem at a later date. With separates you can upgrade the pre-amp , power amp or tuner when ever you wish without effecting the other parts of the system.

12-21-2007, 07:06 AM
Hi All.
Thought I would deliver the conclusion. Harmon Kardon has been selling remanufactured items on Ebay recently(perhaps longer) and I was able to pick-up a 3485 for $162.50 +$18 shipping. Figure if they manufactured it twice, should be good to go now - comes with a warranty.

So, thanks for all the input and advice. I do think I'll go with individual components long-term Melvin, but this is a good way for me to get introduced to the realm of quality audio. Thanks again and Happy Holidays.