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  1. #1
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    What vintage receivers handle 4 Ohm speakers?

    Looking to buy a new (vintage) amp that will handle 4 Ohm speakers and I have not the foggiest idea who offers this option. Most vintage receivers were 8 Ohm so I can use all the help I can get. Price range approx. $300 to $500

    Thanks in advance
    Randy

  2. #2
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    Why would you want to buy old "vintage" receiver when it may not be as good as one that is new. Vintage is a fad but not all vintage is better.

    First to answer your question the only receiver probably built to drive 4 ohms would be a Harmon Kardon, excellent receivers in the 70's & 80's. Onkyo would do it if you could find one. Others may still be able to drive a 4 ohm load but may run a bit hotter. Also, and my recommendation would be to look for a used Adcom preamp and power amp which you should be able to get for the $500.00 range, Adcom will rock a 4 ohm speaker and sound better than almost anything vintage. The power amp gfa 535 is about 8x2 and would be the cheapest, a gfa 545 or 5400 is a very strong 125x2, I think if you went larger you would be out of your budget. You can get a gtp-450 preamp with built in tuner used for under $200.00. Actually I have a gtp-450 & gfa-535 around I'd sell under your budget, if interested send me a private message (PM) or eamil. Older and usually highly sought after Sansui integrated amps are very good, especially certain models. I had a AU9500 which was not probably designed for 4 ohms but drove my 4 ohm Dynaudio Audience 60's very well. Older Arcam Alpha series integrated could be found in your price and were built for 4 ohm loads and sound very good, they put Arcam on the map.

    I would suggest taking a look at a NAD or Cambridge Audio integrated, or even Jolida which all would be in your price new. That is assuming you want only 2-channel playback which is reasonable since you were looking at vintage. Be sure to check the specs on the NAD I bought my mom a NAD combo unit and the manual recommended staying with 8 ohms but typically their integrated amps are at home with 4 ohm loads.

    All of the above would give you more for your money than going out and buying an old Pioneer, Yamaha, Kenwood etc receiver.

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  3. #3
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Many people enjoy the sound of vintage receivers, and there are MANY that can drive 4 ohm speakers. Almost all the Marantz and Pioneer receivers from the 70's can drive 4 ohm speakers, (and were rated for such use) and if you go back to the 60's you can get yourself a classic tubed receiver like my Fisher 500c. A decent example of which can be had within your price range.

    As to Marantz I would start looking at a 2270 model and go up from there. With Pioneer your range should start looking at the SX950 level. Both these often come up on Ebay.
    If you can snag a Marantz 2325, or Pioneer SX1250 in good condition for under $500 your in for a treat. Either of these receivers will shame most modern recievers in both sound quality and shear power.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  4. #4
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    First let me second Mr.P's suggestion on the Adcom gear as I have been very happy with my Adcom gear. Secondly I would be curious as to your definition of vintage? I have owned and currently own vintage gear from the 60's and 70's but some people consider the 80's vintage now as well based strictly on age. In your title you ask about vintage receivers but then ask about vintage amps so I am not quite sure what you are looking for an amp or a receiver.

    In a sense your definition of vintage defines your budget and choices. When you go back to the 60's and 70's for example you can find an amp that can drive a 4-ohm load but the better ones can be quite pricey. The higher end Kenwood KA, Harmon-Kardon Citation, Pioneer SA series integrated amps are fairly good and would fit in your price range. Higher Sansui, Pioneer and Marantz receivers from that period could also drive that load.

    The speakers you are driving them with and the levels you are going to play them at are also factors that will affect your choices.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    I have a Marantz 2270 but it says only 8 Ohms. I just bought a pair of AR 11's that are 4 Ohm and dont think the marantz will work.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Why would you want to buy old "vintage" receiver when it may not be as good as one that is new. Vintage is a fad but not all vintage is better.

    First to answer your question the only receiver probably built to drive 4 ohms would be a Harmon Kardon, excellent receivers in the 70's & 80's. Onkyo would do it if you could find one. Others may still be able to drive a 4 ohm load but may run a bit hotter. Also, and my recommendation would be to look for a used Adcom preamp and power amp which you should be able to get for the $500.00 range, Adcom will rock a 4 ohm speaker and sound better than almost anything vintage. The power amp gfa 535 is about 8x2 and would be the cheapest, a gfa 545 or 5400 is a very strong 125x2, I think if you went larger you would be out of your budget. You can get a gtp-450 preamp with built in tuner used for under $200.00. Actually I have a gtp-450 & gfa-535 around I'd sell under your budget, if interested send me a private message (PM) or eamil. Older and usually highly sought after Sansui integrated amps are very good, especially certain models. I had a AU9500 which was not probably designed for 4 ohms but drove my 4 ohm Dynaudio Audience 60's very well. Older Arcam Alpha series integrated could be found in your price and were built for 4 ohm loads and sound very good, they put Arcam on the map.

    I would suggest taking a look at a NAD or Cambridge Audio integrated, or even Jolida which all would be in your price new. That is assuming you want only 2-channel playback which is reasonable since you were looking at vintage. Be sure to check the specs on the NAD I bought my mom a NAD combo unit and the manual recommended staying with 8 ohms but typically their integrated amps are at home with 4 ohm loads.

    All of the above would give you more for your money than going out and buying an old Pioneer, Yamaha, Kenwood etc receiver.

    Welcome to the forums
    gfp/gfa???

  7. #7
    I put the Gee in Gear.... thekid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axelsrd
    I have a Marantz 2270 but it says only 8 Ohms. I just bought a pair of AR 11's that are 4 Ohm and dont think the marantz will work.
    I would think the 2270 could handle the load though like my 2245 I have not seen specs on it with a 4-ohm load.

    You could give it a try and and play it for a while and see if the Marantz heatsink is getting too warm. I think if it does not seem to be getting pushed too hhard and you restrict your listening to moderate levels you should be fine.

    BTW- when dealing with Adcom abbreviations

    GFA = Amp
    GFP = Pre-Amp
    GFT = Tuner
    Last edited by thekid; 12-12-2010 at 10:40 AM.

  8. #8
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axelsrd
    I have a Marantz 2270 but it says only 8 Ohms. I just bought a pair of AR 11's that are 4 Ohm and dont think the marantz will work.
    All the Marantz receivers were rated to drive 4 ohm speakers, even their base 18wpc model.

    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  9. #9
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    The thing to remember is that a 4 ohm load will draw twice the current per watt. You may run out of juice depending on how loud you like to play it. Also, on vintage receivers (and amps) the capacitors are at or near their service life. I recapped my Fisher 500c filter and coupling caps. It makes a big difference and is not too expensive.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  10. #10
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    Not all.

    2218= RMS Power Per Channel 18 @ 8 ohms, 24 @ 4 ohms
    2252= RMS Power Per Channel 52x2 @ 8 ohms 65x2 @ 4 ohms
    2270= RMS Power Per Channel 70

  11. #11
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    Not all.

    2218= RMS Power Per Channel 18 @ 8 ohms, 24 @ 4 ohms
    2252= RMS Power Per Channel 52x2 @ 8 ohms 65x2 @ 4 ohms
    2270= RMS Power Per Channel 70

  12. #12
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    I really find that hard to believe. I mean it would put a hole in their argument that their receivers are rated for 4ohms. Do you have the spec sheet?
    Also, if it says " 8 Ohm speakers" and the receiver is designed so that it can drive two pairs simultaneously, then it CAN drive a 4 ohm load.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  13. #13
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    No, I don't have the spec sheet. I just went here:
    http://www.classic-audio.com/marantz/mindex.html

  14. #14
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    That's a cool site, but the information is a bit limited on the full specs. For instance they don't have a 4 ohm rating on the Pioneer sx1050, a receiver that I know for sure that can drive 4 ohm speakers.

    As I've said; If the receiver has taps for two 8 ohm speaker sets, and it was designed that both can work at the same time then it can drive 4ohm speakers.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  15. #15
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    I'm not trying to be a pain in the butt, I'm just trying to understand. So, using your logic, a receiver is capable of running three sets of speakers (8 Ohm) then it can drive a 2/3 ohm speaker?

  16. #16
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axelsrd
    I'm not trying to be a pain in the butt, I'm just trying to understand. So, using your logic, a receiver is capable of running three sets of speakers (8 Ohm) then it can drive a 2/3 ohm speaker?
    It's not logic, it's physics. Hook two 8 ohm speakers up in parallel and the resultant resistance will be 4 ohms.

    Several of the more powerful vintage Pioneer receivers were designed with three speaker outputs, but you could only have two switched on at any given time. Also, there were some receivers made that could drive two sets of speakers but both sets would have to be 16 ohms. Not many receivers were made like this, really only a few at the start of the solid state age. I actually have one, the Pioneer SX1500t. (circa 1969)
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  17. #17
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    It's not logic, it's physics. Hook two 8 ohm speakers up in parallel and the resultant resistance will be 4 ohms.

    Several of the more powerful vintage Pioneer receivers were designed with three speaker outputs, but you could only have two switched on at any given time. Also, there were some receivers made that could drive two sets of speakers but both sets would have to be 16 ohms. Not many receivers were made like this, really only a few at the start of the solid state age. I actually have one, the Pioneer SX1500t. (circa 1969)
    I found a copy of the owners manual for the 2270 and it states this:

    70wpc RMS at 4 and 8 ohms, 40 watts at 16 ohm.

    So, it seems that the 2270 will indeed drive the AR 11's if I read this correctly.

  18. #18
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Well that's good. I can keep my reputation now. FWIW; I think your Marantz will do fine, but remember what I said about the caps. If you intend on doing any high powered listening I would consider having them replaced. Cheap insurance, especially if you've ever seen one fail!
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  19. #19
    Forum Regular axelsrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Well that's good. I can keep my reputation now. FWIW; I think your Marantz will do fine, but remember what I said about the caps. If you intend on doing any high powered listening I would consider having them replaced. Cheap insurance, especially if you've ever seen one fail!
    I wasn't challenging your reputation, I was just trying to get an answer.

  20. #20
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    As The Kid mentioned, gfa/gfp/gft are just part of Adcom's model number.

    Interesting the 2270 keeps the same power at 4 or 8 ohms, does it have a switch?
    Mark Levinson #512
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  21. #21
    Forum Regular budgetaudio76's Avatar
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    Sansui would be another example. Ive got a 2000x im using as a preamp. for four other amps/recievers. As well as using the internal amp in it.

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    As The Kid mentioned, gfa/gfp/gft are just part of Adcom's model number.

    Interesting the 2270 keeps the same power at 4 or 8 ohms, does it have a switch?
    Probably just a "Ratings game". The Adcom stuff I'm familiar with will drive 2 ohm loads effortlessly. I have a GFA-2535 driving 8 pairs of bookshelf speakers throughout my house. There are cooling fans on it however as it's in a rack with other amps.

    They probably just used conservative ratings.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by axelsrd
    I have a Marantz 2270 but it says only 8 Ohms. I just bought a pair of AR 11's that are 4 Ohm and dont think the marantz will work.
    As has been noted, the 2270 will handle 4 ohm loads just fine. Without knowing your listening habits or physical location of the amp, let me offer a suggestiion. Don't let it get hot. If you listen at high levels and the amp heat sinks get warm to the touch, I would put a couple of small whisper fans blowing directly onto the heat sinks.

    For a 100wpc amp of that period, the heat sinks are sufficient for normal 8 ohm operation. They are not sufficient however for high power listening at 4 ohms. This is my opinion only - but, I've burnt a few down and also had many success stories (after frying a few) in clubs and such.

    Here's a picture of the 2270 innards.

    It's a very nice piece btw. The FM front end in one of these classics sounds much better than the newer PLL digital junk.


  24. #24
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    As I've said; If the receiver has taps for two 8 ohm speaker sets, and it was designed that both can work at the same time then it can drive 4ohm speakers.
    I concur.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Interesting the 2270 keeps the same power at 4 or 8 ohms, does it have a switch?
    There's nothing wrong with that. There have been many fine amps over the years that have the same, or almost the same output spec into 8 and 4 ohms.

  25. #25
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    Didn't say anything was wrong with the amp providing the same watts at 4 or 8 ohms but it's interesting because wattage nearly doubles into 4 ohms if sufficient current, so the 2270 must either have no high current at all which is not good for a 4 ohm load or deals with it in some other manner which I'd be interested in knowing.

    And, keep in mind a vintage receiver may drive 4 ohms but there's not to say there isn't going to be consequences. Back in the day of "vintage" receivers I can't think of a 4 ohm speaker built. There could have been but the standard was definitely 8 ohms so no need for manufacturers to make 4 ohm stable receivers. Brands like HK and Onkyo did high current because they realized the improvement the design had on sound quality. There's a difference between what a receiver is designed for and what some are willing to subject it to.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet

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