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06-22-2009, 12:30 PM
This past Friday, a matching Kenwood integrated amplifier KA6006 and tuner KT6007 arrived. The set was bought from a nice fellow named Mike, who packed everything meticulously. The equipment is of the variety some prefer to call “vintage” (1974), but Mike took incredible care of them and they are nearly mint mechanically and electronically. When each item was removed the box, and the bubble wrap was peeled away, I could hardly suppress my exclamations.

Yesterday, the Kenwood KA6006 was taken through its paces. Various CD’s representing a generic sampling of my tastes in music were trotted out and while my wife visited her commiserating friends, the amp was given a good work out.

Most of the time, my music is tweaked with an AudioSource equalizer (see profile). To establish a baseline, the eq was disengaged. The KA6006 has a tone defeat toggle, and that was activated. Listening was through a pair of Polk 7c monitors (1977) and in some cases a pair of headphone (Audio Technica ATH AD700). The subwoofer was disconnected until the last CD was played.

The first CD to be listened to was Freddie Hubbard’s First Light. With this recording, the KA played in relaxed form. As I listened for the bloom on the bass instruments, they presented themselves in an unmistakable thrum that reminded me of the pleasures of live, orchestral ensembles. Although the response was not enthralling, I expected this as the controls had been set to a neutral position. Listening further, I was quite astonished as Hubert Laws’ flute issued forth, smooth and warm in Paul McCartney's Uncle Albert. In similar style, Jack deJohnett’s drums pealed effortlessly and with a mature restraint. Imaging was wide and deep, and I listened more, I was delighted as the studio orchestra opened up. The timbre of Hubbard’s trumpet was very metallic, unmistakably brassy but not of the variety that makes the adjective a harsh one. Instead, Hubbard kissed the horn, and as he did so, the breathy and sensuous tones produced were a wonder to behold.

Next up was Joni Mitchell’s Night Ride Home. There’s a lot happening on this album, and the opening track is a multilayered masterstroke. The crickets in the title track zing into the night easily, the Polks reproducing the effect that they are everywhere. Mitchell’s voice is easy and unstrained, and never shrill. Similarly, on Ray’s Dad’s Cadillac, the cup-muted trumpet bleats cheerfully and with a very pleasant roundness. Occasionally, one hears this effect reproduced rather harshly, especially among more robust treatments performed by M. Davis. For certain pieces of music it is quite suitable, but in more intimate settings, the cup can be used to evoke a familiar, bygone quality. The Kenwwod played it beautifully as I ever heard it. On Cherokee Louise, the saxophone (alto) is reproduced in supple and rotund form. The reedy quality of the instrument was nearly liquid, and I found myself wishing that I had more saxophone music to listen to.

I went through a few more discs, including Keb Mo’s Keep it Simple, Wasis Diop’s Everything is Never Quite Enough and Youssou N’dour’s Wommat (The Guide). All of this music was played with a quiet assurance that belied the amplifier’s 150 watt capability. N’dour’s voice was smooth and graceful, and bore not a trace of the sibilance. Like the experience of First Light, the textures and hues of the album were presented subtly but colorfully. At first I thought I discerned a slight lag in the music, as though is had somehow settled into a relaxed mode. Strangely, it occurred to me that this was a true illusion, that the CD player was playing as well as it ever did, but the amplifier, in it’s quietly determined way, was producing a far richer experience than I was able to easily recall. In issuing the music with its quiet conviction, the amplifier showed me the true devil in the details. Well, if this be Hell, thought I…..

At last, the subwoofer was hooked into the amp and the Pink Floyd was brought out. Most of the music I had been listening to up this point was fairly easy going by any standard. I wanted to see, now, how it could bear some stiffer stuff. I pulled out The Division Bell, and album representing, in my humble view, some of the best playing and recording Gilmour and the lads have produced in some time. It is a recent album, and has much going for it, albeit the fairly regrettable second track (!) including a familiar sounding fly. More juice was applied to the pots (Bass and Treble at 1000 and 0900 respectively) and the eq was given a little juice. As I sat in my chair, the KA was determined to put on a great show, and did so with real guts and zest. In no way did the sound become grating or harsh, but assuredly loud and mighty. So, this is where the Watts went!

In sum, the Kenwood KA6006 is a fine integrated amplifier. Suffice it to say, the amenities that are for many familiar—remote control, subwoofer level, etc.—are not here. The sounds are quite rich and textured, and any amount of hue can be accessed and added to suit one’s taste. The appearance of the amp, in a slight champagne finish of brushed aluminum is quite handsome. There are controls to include just about any appliance desired, but as things go, the KA stands quite well enough alone. If you are not concerned about staying abreast of the latest gear and in the market for something older, this amp will serve your needs quite well. Like the gentleman butler who carries a stiff cane and a strong arm, the amp may be genteel, but is certainly no sissy!

Mr Peabody
06-22-2009, 07:20 PM
Since you call it "Kenwod" I was expecting something different in this review :)

150 watts in a 74 amp this thing must be huge. I remember a friend having a 80 Kenwood receiver from the late 70's and it was large, like 2 or 3 of today's. Glad your happy with it. How did you hook up a sub to it?

06-23-2009, 02:42 AM
AA -Nice pick up and write up!
A lot of Kenwood gear does not have the fan base of other gear from that era but I have a couple of early Kenwood pieces and really like it.

06-23-2009, 06:36 AM
Mr. P: I think that the 150 is a bit much too, but whatever sparse info that I have found on it indicates such is the case. Clocking the volume at 0900 is enough to drive wives and critters out of the way, so if it is an exaggeration, it's not excessive. Seriously, it is a three speakers job; I expect that the 150 is distributed to throughout the three possible pairs, 50 watts each: still a good bit of juice.

There is an output on the rear that indicated that it was a source of power that may suit a sub (specifics to come). Following your advice on a recent thread, I hooked a Y and brought the sub lead....Voila!

Kid: Thank you for the compliments. It may not be state of the art by today's standards, but I expect the beginnings of a pleasant relationship. I used to decry Kenwood seeing the plastic pieces of crap that acquaintances bought at the PX. Little did I realise that Kenwood was capable and succeeded in manufacturing fairly respectable gear. Accuphase is an off-shoot of Kenwood I believe (Kensonic), giving evidence of the engineers and brains in the firm to come up with respectable stuff. Finding these pieces in the condition they were in and priced so reasonably, I simply could not pass them up....

06-23-2009, 03:25 PM
AA- More than welcome.
I wish I had your eloquence and knowledge when writing about some of my gear. My path with Kenwood gear in many ways got started at the suggestion of Mr.P when I came across my first Kenwood Basic C1. I think the later BPC that Kenwood put out at the time you were describing it has contributed to somewhat lowered reputation that Kenwood has among audio enthusiasts. That is fine by me as it has allowed me to pick up some nice pieces of gear at below market prices. I certainly have more Kenwood gear than any other make in my collection and though I would say it is high-fi across the board but most of it fits pretty solidly into the mid-fi group. I have a KT-7500 tuner that i like though the signal strength is weaker than I would like when compared to other tuners operating in the same area. When it does get a stations "sweet spot" I think the sound is extremely detailed for a tuner. Have you had a chance to makes some observations about the KT-6007?
Any chance you could add some pics???

06-23-2009, 04:27 PM
Well, shucks....! I’m just a good Bee-esser, and a nerd to boot (I like old-time dictionaries with words nobody uses anymore). Thanks for the Ego shot!

The KT-7500 is a mighty solid looking piece, Kid, and it looks from your profile that you have a nice collection of oldies but goodies. Have you checked out this page ( ?

Here are a couple of pictures of the tuner and the amp. They’re not mine, but are from a Google Image search. Hope it makes you drool...


By the way, I am glad that I'm not the only fool on the planet who digs the good ole stuff!

JoeE SP9
06-23-2009, 06:42 PM
That's some nice looking gear you got there Auric. I'm sure it sounds as good as it looks. Most of my gear is "vintage" although mostly modified. My Dyna MK-III are so modified the only original parts are the transformers and choice of output tubes.

06-24-2009, 03:24 AM
AA - Nice pics!

Thanks for the link! I had read about some of the mods that can be done with the 7500 but most if not all of the "simple" DIY tweaks they mention are beyond my abilities. I have debated about taking it in somewhere and getting it "tuned up" a bit but I am not sure of anyone in my area that works on the older stuff.

How do you like the sound of your tuner??

Mr Peabody
06-24-2009, 04:57 AM
Before spending money on a tuner be sure the 7500 was an upper end tuner. Their regular line tuners were just average. They did build some very good ones though and they shouldn't need mods. It's digital but I remember the A9X was a better than average.

Has any one posted this resource yet:

You could probably just buy a better Kenwood tuner for the price of a mod. Trust me a good Kenwood tuner will run circles around most in reception. My old KT-3300d made an Arcam tuner look bad.

06-24-2009, 06:03 AM
Thanks, guys! I am increasingly impressed with this amp the more I listen to it. Last night, I listened to Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms. In the track Why Worry, the KA played the piece beautifully, capturing all the nuance and detail of the track that it could muster. Although the song is soft, there are subtleties and textures that make it very enjoyable, including a well played bass that rolls and thrums in time. Listening to You Latest Trick, I was struck by the quality in which the trumpet was issued. I don't think I have heard it played so well before!

Kid: I agree with Mr. P. Although getting the Kenny up to par may be an interesting idea, investing in a more substantial tuner may save you money and lead you to an interesting acquisition later. Craigslist abound with many sweet deals. I don't think tuners occupy the same niche as they used to and so you should land a big fish if you're willing to keep your eyes peeled.....I'll report about the tuner when I listen to it more. So far it sucks the stations in very well.

JoeE: Dyna Mk III's: Now I'm drooling again....! I see you have some nice Naks. I had a great LX-5 at one time and came a hair away from landing a nice ZX-9. They knew had to kick butt and leave everybody in the shade....

06-24-2009, 05:12 PM
Before spending money on a tuner be sure the 7500 was an upper end tuner. Their regular line tuners were just average. They did build some very good ones though and they shouldn't need mods. It's digital but I remember the A9X was a better than average.

Has any one posted this resource yet:

You could probably just buy a better Kenwood tuner for the price of a mod. Trust me a good Kenwood tuner will run circles around most in reception. My old KT-3300d made an Arcam tuner look bad.

Mr P

Yeah I am familiar with the link and its ranking of the 7500. Its one of the reasons I have not gone crazy with any mod project. Plus I don't listen to the radio that much and the Sansui TU-515 and Luxman seem to have pretty good FM reception when I do want to listen to radio. The 7500 does look nice though and mine is in minty condition cosmetically.

Mr Peabody
06-24-2009, 05:31 PM
The Luxman does get some good reception. I have mine in the floor face up with no antenna and it pulls in most local stations. If my brother don't settle and get this thing soon it may be up for sale.

06-24-2009, 05:43 PM
Hey, Kid: Didja get the PM?