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  1. #1
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    Stereo Receivers: Old or New

    I am doing a search for a sound setup for my bedroom. I don't have a lot of space and the wife definitely wants a tuner. I have decided a receiver would fit the bill. I may or may not run a dvd through it for stereo sound when watching TV. I will definitely want a phono hookup as part of this setup. I want it to produce good sound. I want it to be of good quality and a solid performer. I understand that other factors besides the receiver can influence the sound. I am willing to eventually spend up to about 8 or 9 hundred dollars.

    What would be better to do? I still see some older McIntosh's in that price range. Or, should I look at the Rotel RX-1052 or something similar. Any suggestions on these or on other receivers to look at? Has new technology really improved performance in the stereo receiver area?
    Last edited by Billiam; 03-30-2005 at 12:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    It seems like Rotel is only one of a handful of good companies that still make two channel receivers. Denon and NAD persevere, but most companies like Cambridge Audio and Arcam have moved on to multi-channel receivers. If you only want two channel, I would probably choose the Rotel over either Denon or NAD, but certainly let your own ears decide.

    Personally, I prefer using a vintage Marantz 2230 in my br set-up and I know there are few other members on this board that do the same. These old beasts sound terrific (better than my Denon that I use for HT), are built like tanks, and sport a retro-cool look about them. Others to consider would be vintage Sansui (there's a tube receiver on e-bay now), Pioneer, and Fisher. That Mac you were mentioning would certainly be worth investigating. You can always find cool vintage stuff for sale on ebay and sometimes on audiogon.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by topspeed; 03-30-2005 at 03:31 PM.

  3. #3
    IRG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billiam
    I am doing searching for a stereo receiver for my bedroom. I don't have a lot of space and the wife definitely wants a tuner. I have decided a receiver would fit the bill. I may or may not run a dvd through it for stereo sound when watching TV. I will definitely want a phono hookup as part of this setup. I want it to produce good sound. I want it to be a good quality, solid performer. I understand that other factors besides the receiver can influence the sound. I am willing to eventually spend up to about 8 or 9 hundred dollars.

    What would be better to do? I still see some older McIntosh's in that price range. Or, I should look at the Rotel RX-1052 or something similar. Any suggestions on these or on other receivers to look at? Has new technology really improved performance in the stereo receiver area?
    http://www.nadelectronics.com/hifi_r...EE_framset.htm
    This is a new 2 channel receiver from NAD, and an improvement over their older C-740, according to my dealer. Good price too. I would take this over most things vintage, but that's just me.

    Here's another one, although getting a little pricey perhaps. Nice looking unit. http://www.audioadvisor.com/store/pr...?sku=DMMHMAVEN

  4. #4
    nerd ericl's Avatar
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    I am a vintage receiver freak. Like Topspeed says, they're bulletproof, sound great and attractive. They're also cheaper than new stuff.

    Some brands of 70's receivers I own/owned: Harman Kardon (several models, all from their excellent "twin powered" x30 series - yes, dual mono receivers!), Sansui, Marantz, Yamaha. Great sound, all of them. Some I've kept, many I've given to family and friends. They make great gifts. Paired with some newer inexpensive bookshelf speakers and a cheap dvdp, you've got a nice little system cheap.

    There is some risk that you have to consider when buying vintage. As well built as they are, they are still old, and may need work done. You can still find many that are plug and play and sound great and last forever, but running into problems can be inevitable. I gave my bro a HK 630 and it recently "blew up" on him - the transformer blew. It might have been that he had placed it right next to the crappy heating unit in his crappy apt, but perhaps not. Other more minor things can happen too - caps will need replacing, transistors will go out, fuses, lamps, cleaning the pots, etc. If you run into these issues and take care of it, however, then you will likely be good to go for many more years.

    Good Luck,
    Eric

  5. #5
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    It looks like NAD no longer includes a phono section in their stereo receiver. (I have one of their old power envelop receivers that has a decent phono section.) Your options will be limited going new. In fact, they may be limited to the Rotel you mentioned and H/K's 3480 (?) stereo receiver with phono. The H/K has a retro look based on the pics I've seen. Also, I think Marantz still has a stereo receiver and Onkyo has 2, but based on your budget it looks like you're shooting above the Onkyos.

    You might consider an integrated w/phono and a slim digital tuner. Most tuners from the late 80's to present are slim in design and when stacked with an integrated amp, they don't take up any more room than a receiver. Otherwise, vintage may be your best bet to get all the features you want. Make sure you ask a lot of questions if you buy on ebay.

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for your suggestions so far.....

    I love this place

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    As much as I like the sound and power reserves of vintage receivers, buying one used definitely has its risks. Most of these vintage receivers had a lot of moving parts, dials, and switches on board -- plenty of things that wear out and short out. Because the receiver typically had all of those controls in the signal path, it only took one switch to short out to give you that vintage buzz and crackle. These signal paths are also why a lot of these vintage receivers might sound different from one another. The "zero points" on the various tone controls and switches might not necessary be a true zero point. Some manufacturers were known to sneak in a little bit of extra flava on the side. Other receivers indeed were designed with a bypass switch on board that bypassed all of those controls.

    The trend over the past 20 or so years has been to reduce the number of switches and adjustments in the signal path, so the two-channel equipment that you see nowadays will have a minimum of adjustments. With your budget, you can actually go with two channel separates and add a used tuner. McIntosh has a reputation for making bulletproof equipment, so if you have an opportunity to acquire a two-channel unit from them, it's one of your better options. The other vintage receivers out there (i.e. Marantz, h/k, Sansui, Pioneer, Kenwood,

    If two-channel playback is your preference, the differences between receivers now versus then is not all that great. The biggest difference nowadays is that the majority of the market has moved towards multichannel, and receivers have evolved into an audio-visual nerve center that switches video signals and decodes a litany of digital audio formats.

  8. #8
    nightflier
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    Another option

    At the risk of sounding a little lazy, you should also consider that vintage equipment typically don't come with remote controls. For a bedroom setting, you don't want to get out of bed each time you want to change a setting.

    If I can suggest a receiver that's a little less pricey, take a look at the HK 3380 and 3480 stereo receivers. I own the latter, and it sounds extremely good. HK is no longer the high-quality company that it was 20-30 years ago, and they have also succumbed to the surround-sound fever, but this stereo receiver is an exception. It also has some very nice features like a sleep function, a dimmer, TV/Video switching, subwoofer out, 120W of power and my favorite, the ability to switch between speaker pairs using the remote. The price hovers around $300, which is well below your price point, but maybe you could use the extra money for good quality cables and other accessories. Anyhow, that's my 2 cents.

  9. #9
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    Ah yes, the remote

    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    At the risk of sounding a little lazy, you should also consider that vintage equipment typically don't come with remote controls. For a bedroom setting, you don't want to get out of bed each time you want to change a setting.

    If I can suggest a receiver that's a little less pricey, take a look at the HK 3380 and 3480 stereo receivers. I own the latter, and it sounds extremely good. HK is no longer the high-quality company that it was 20-30 years ago, and they have also succumbed to the surround-sound fever, but this stereo receiver is an exception. It also has some very nice features like a sleep function, a dimmer, TV/Video switching, subwoofer out, 120W of power and my favorite, the ability to switch between speaker pairs using the remote. The price hovers around $300, which is well below your price point, but maybe you could use the extra money for good quality cables and other accessories. Anyhow, that's my 2 cents.
    You bring up a very good point that I had not thought about.

  10. #10
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    I have a vintage Yamaha circa 1979, a great reciever, I think all it needs is a relay,
    The problem is, when you power it up you never get that 2nd click that turns it on.

    So recently I bought a Denon.

    Anyone have any ideas on whether tis sounds like a relay problem ?

  11. #11
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    How is the Denon

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboy
    I have a vintage Yamaha circa 1979, a great reciever, I think all it needs is a relay,
    The problem is, when you power it up you never get that 2nd click that turns it on.

    So recently I bought a Denon.

    Anyone have any ideas on whether tis sounds like a relay problem ?
    How do you like your new receiver?

  12. #12
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    h/k 3480

    Another vote for this wonderful receiver. Old-school looks and performance, and I would readily compare it to the NAD 320bee integrated amplifier and the Marantz PM7200 integrated amp, both of which are more expensive. The 3480 can be had from an authorized dealer for under $300, and is a great amp.

    For what it's worth, Stereophile has given the amp a nice, if very brief, notice: http://www.stereophile.com/digitalso...th/index1.html

  13. #13
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    Then Denon sounds great to me, however I'm not really a aficianodo, just a blue callor listener.
    So I don't really pick up on a lot of technical things or subtle sound issues, that others might.

  14. #14
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    I have a Yamaha RX-777($450), a 400 disc Sony CD($299), and Klipsch Legend series 10's(stole them @$ 675) that I use in my bedroom. Great sound at all levels, but it's still great at very low levels. I like to listen to classical as I drift off. The remote is a must. Plus a sleep timer. It has inputs for phono. Direct circuitry for both cd and other inputs. Got the hole shebang for $1500 with Monster interlinks and cables. I have been very happy! Don't forget a good antennae. I've got mine in the attic. I pull DC 30 miles north of Balt. Use a compaas to aim it in the direction of the majority of stations you want or put one on the roof with a rotor.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular Registered Member 46minaudio's Avatar
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    http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Sherw...oductDetail.do
    Use this receiver then buy this little preamp
    http://www.newark.com/product-detail...ml/40-630.html
    Spend the money saved on speakers.

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