HK 820 vintage receiver [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-31-2009, 12:47 PM
I have an opportunity to buy a vintage late 1960's-early 1970's Harmon Kardon receiver in mint condition at a thrift store for $59. Any one know anything about it. I don't know if it works, but when plugged in all the lights turned on. It weighs a ton and is all metal and glass construction. All the knobs are solid and the RCA's in back show no corrosion. _Electronics_R2?hash=item320198658621&_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116#ebayphotohosting

04-01-2009, 09:49 PM
Don't any of you old farts out there know anything about late 1960's early 1970's Harmon Kardon equipment?

04-02-2009, 01:11 AM
Don't any of you old farts out there know anything about late 1960's early 1970's Harmon Kardon equipment?I sold some of the nocturne series (330?) in '68 when it first came out and it was on par with Scott as far as reliability goes. but that's about all I can say. By the time yours came out I was in the service. Your brocures say more than I ever could.

IMNSHO, HK came into their own a bit later with the "two tone" dual power supply receivers, like the 730 and 930 I believe.

I did think the first iteration of the Nocturne series was utt bugy though.

04-02-2009, 02:05 AM
Don't any of you old farts out there know anything about late 1960's early 1970's Harmon Kardon equipment?

Don't know that piece. You have probably seen my post about the HK 670 which is from 79-80. I was surprised how little info their was out on the web about it even though it was apparently their TOTL reciever at the time.

My guess is that for the time period you are talking about HK had not quite established its rep and so there is not too many owners of that piece. Given what I know about mine I think you will find it has a good tuner section and it will sound more powerful than its stated wpc. Given the time period I would expect the wpc for this unit to be in the 15-40wpc max with 20-25 being the norm.

Price wise it seems high but then again I have been fortunate to get most of my older gear in the $20-$25 range. Why not take some speaker wire with you and test it out? If all you get is some horrible scratchiness but both channels work you usually can fix that with a clean up of the volume pot. Anything beyond that and you are probably SOL since it is very difficult to find someone who can work on gear from this era.

04-04-2009, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the replies!

04-05-2009, 06:29 PM
It's nice looking receiver. I'm 57 and was just graduating HS in 69. I do remember, some receivers back then, Fisher was the big name. It wasn't until the middle 70's that I noticed a big sonic improvement. I remember the HK 330, 430, and 730, which were introduced in the middle 70's.The Japanese receivers took off then, as did their cars. I believe the receiver you have, and I'm not an expert, the sonic value of it would not be as good as those from the 70's. At least not the ones the average Joe could afford. Remember, back in the 60's, most of us still had ceramic cartridges on multi-changer turntables. So I guess, I would have to say it's value is that it's a unique part of history, as most pieces are from the 60's.It's sonic value I would say, would below that of the middle 70's when there were more advancements in electronics.

04-05-2009, 08:50 PM
I don't know the technical aspects of it, but I am still to this day highly impressed by the sound quality of the big-name Japanese receivers of the mid to late 70's...Marantz, Sansui, Pioneer, etc...maybe even JVC. Not always the tuner so much, but the rest of it.

04-06-2009, 11:36 AM
I would buy it.

05-02-2009, 10:39 AM
By the time I found this thread I'm sure that receiver is gone.In the event you find something similar from the same time period I would highly recommend some maintenance be done to the equipment.Your living much closer to borrowed time with those old electrolytic capacitors.Sometimes they last 40 years....many times they dont !

Things like definitely changing out the capacitors in the power supply first and foremost,then the preamp area.Then touch up all solder joints. Next,check and adjust dc offset and to do this you need to find and purchase a service manual specific to the equipment.If not and when you power down the receiver and theres a loud pop it's usually to much dc leaking into the circuit.

It really needs to be done if you want it to last a while.Otherwise, it's a gamble on something that old.If a power supply cap blows it can easily take out other components including a portion of the transformer.

The caps dont have to be boutique...can be standard fare and very affordable.With this small investment you can increase it's lifespan and it will sound much better than in it's original state.

Then again,you could purchase one not knowing if it has any output other than seeing it power up...then getting it home and no sound out of one or both channels which means lots of troubleshooting and some aggravation.

I say this assuming your handy with a soldering iron and multimeter.Doing this yourself can save a bundle of money.

Those early 70's Harmon K. receivers sound pretty good from my memory. I heard one of those models in the early 90's.....this certain receiver was from the 1973-74 era but I dont remember the model # and the owner had it restored(I dont remember the details done to it).It was a nice sounding unit that always left a mark in my memory.

However, I would not pass one up for that price.A little skill and patience to save some of these old receivers can pay off and help keep them alive and kicking-after all,they dont make stuff like that anymore with that type of quality.

Just food for thought okay.

05-05-2009, 07:42 AM
A few years ago I picked up an HK 505 integrated amp as well as a Marantz 1150 both made in the 1970's. I paid only a few dollars for each at a Junior League clean sweep sale. Cleaned them up with lots of contact cleaner followed by Deoxit and while the sound from the HK is decent the Marantz really shines.

Sadly the HK didn't make the cut and is relegated to the attic but the Marantz drives a secondary old school system of ADS L710's.

When considering a vintage amp or receiver a dirty channel is often mistakenly thought to be a blown channel. Sometimes Deoxit sprayed into the pots and controls can bring these old beasts back to life.

05-13-2009, 10:01 AM
Thanks for the advice P-geist.

Da Worfster