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Retro amplification required

Discussion in 'classic' started by jimb0, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. jimb0

    jimb0 Jelly Roll Soul

    I'm very pleased with the sound emanating from my Lenco GL75 as detailed in the other thread. It is set up in my study at the moment stealing the one and only input in my little Trends t-amp and forcing me to borrow the phono stage from the other system.

    I'm really enjoying having vinyl in this room and want to keep the deck here so need to rethink the amplification ideally keeping it to a single box. I was initially thinking of a Rega Brio or similar but something in keeping with the 70s retro-ness of the deck would be excellent. I like the aesthetics of the vintage Yamaha and Marantz gear in particular, but will those big old receivers cut the mustard?

    I'm not demandingly audiophile so as long as the result is similar to the test setup of a Gram Amp 2->Trends TA10 t-amp I will be happy. The other constraints are that it should be £200 or less and play nicely with my Aurousal A1 speakers.

  2. Uncle Ants

    Uncle Ants I'm a Shop Keeper

    Not a receiver but an integrated. I had (well still have it but its stored away) an old Sansui AU6500 (about 1974 I'd guess) that I used in the office system. It sounds very good actually and built like a tank. One of these:


    A friend of mine uses a big old US Marantz receiver in his main system and its no slouch.

    Be prepared for anything you get to have the caps looked at though.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I've got a 1970s Marantz 2252 receiver and it sounds great, big 'n' meaty. I must bring it out of retirement at some stage and try it between the L70 and Klipsch Heresys. IIRC it has two phono stages!

  4. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    How about a Quad 33/303 with the 303 hidden behind a speaker?:)

    Or a Sugden thingy forget the model no, but it sounds nice and is 60s pretty.
  5. Paul Dimaline

    Paul Dimaline 12" round member

    Yes, absolutely. Tony has summed up perfectly, big and meaty, and they usually have pretty good phono stages too. Don't try and compare them to more modern stuff, especially in the transparency stakes, but they should also have plenty of insight and detail to them....voices tend to come over very atmospheric.

    One caveat, folk would not even contemplate using a 30 year old Naim without having it recapped yet people yank these 70's amps out of retirement expecting them to perform as new. There are an awful lot of electrolytic caps in the signal path (pre amp section as well) and they will all have seen better days.

  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Agree completely and would add that these things, beautiful though they be, are bewilderingly complex inside. My Marantz 2252...


    ....is kind of a 'reverse Tardis' in concept in that they appear to have squeezed a medium sized electronics supply store into an, albeit fairly big, audio component. It is just jam packed with stuff to an absurd extent and would be a nightmare to seriously work on. I'd love to get it restored at some point but I suspect the work involved would be very expensive indeed as just getting to the caps is in itself significant, then there is the issue that there are about 9000 of them.

    A sensible choice would be for something simple yet period correct to your GL 75, something like a Sugden A21 or A48, the Quads mentioned earlier or even an A&R A60. These are all sustainable / easily serviceable. My first system was a GL75, Quad 33 / 303 / FM3 and JR 149s so it's certainly period correct! I'd rather like to find an original A21 for my L70 / TV / Klipsch Heresy system, but that is for another day.

  7. kasperhauser

    kasperhauser pfm Member

    Well put. I opened my 70s Accuphase integrated once - ONCE. I couldn't get the screws back in fast enough.

    That big Sansui up-thread is pure class.
  8. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

    Rotel RX602.

    It got me listening to music in the 70's!

    They come up on eBay as do its brother 402 and 202. If you can get an 802 hurray!

    Slightly soft sound but so enjoyable to listen to. A bit like a NAD3020.
  9. sds

    sds pfm Member

    This thread jogs my memory in that around ten years ago one of the power amps I used at the time (Lynx Stratos monoblocs) died and had to go off for repair.

    Rather than be without music, I dug out (exhumed) an old Leak transistor integrated amp to stand in.

    I had expected the temporary system to sound OK, but it was amazing. The source was an LP12/Ittok/Asaka/Lingo and the speakers were a big pair made by the German company, Heco(I forget the model number).

    What made it even better was the fact that I had bought the amp and a Leak tuner S/H for £8 and they were in the spare room system.

    The repaired power amp took its place when the repair was done. The sound and power of the monoblocs was wonderful - but the little amp was more than just a good substitute.

    The monoblocs are still in use for my son's system powering the Heco speakers too. Not fashionable names but very, very involving music.
  10. Cereal Killer

    Cereal Killer fourhundredandthirtytwo

    i had and alburry pp1 a long time ago and a lenco 75 decades ago. the amp had a great phono stage and would visualy work too. this amp 'can' be found on ebay for peanuts.
  11. jimpey

    jimpey pfm Member

    Real (ie pre Alpine) Luxman, either an integrated or receiver will probably have a reasonable phono stage - and look superb!
  12. jimb0

    jimb0 Jelly Roll Soul

    Some interesting suggestions. An earlier A21 might be just the thing - presumably they run pretty hot being pure class A? Anyone comment on their phono stage?

    I like the styling of Quads as well and having heard Ian's (Sideshowbob) 34/405 set up recently know they sound just fine with his Jordan speakers.
  13. foxwelljsly

    foxwelljsly Keep Music Vile

    A Leak Delta? Was originally sold by leak to partner their Delta turntable which was a GL75. Sounded pretty good to me as my first amp.
  14. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob 47 Lab Rat

    34/306, but you were close :)

    My mint, late, grey pair were around £350. Earlier versions have DIN inputs rather than phonos and don't look nearly as nice, unless you like brown.

    I'm very attached to mine.

    -- Ian
  15. joel

    joel mojo working

    Unbalanced? Just a guess :)
  16. Labarum

    Labarum pfm Member

    Sugden A48 - you see them on ebay from time to time. I am presently listening to mine which I bought in 1978. I now have it attached to the office PC driving a pair of Goodmans maxims.

    The A48 still beats a modern budget amp.
  17. DSJR

    DSJR Between us and them

    What a load of grotty stuff you lot are recommending. Most of it by now will only be fit for the skip and not all of it was any good in its day anyway, let alone 35+ years later!

    Jappy stuff in the UK was generally quite good before 1975 - some VERY good indeed! After the huge VAT hike (and sharp downturn in business which never recovered - ever!) the Japanese products retained their snazzy knob infested looks but much of it was severely downgraded inside. For example, the Yamaha #10 and #20 series was terrible sounding compared to the #00 series (the CR800 receiver remains a favourite, not the 810/820 for example). JVC made a superb little amp called a JAS 310, which was musical and involving at the time. The JAS11G that replaced it (we sold dozens of these) was pants by comparison. Technics, Trio/Kenwood/Marantz/Pioneer and Rotel all went much the same way, cheapeneing the internals as they went - even Luxman on some models..... Some Sansuis were good, AU101/313 and some of their top models (919?). Top Japanese tuners remain very good to "unequalled since" if you know which ones to buy.

    The Leak Delta amps were horrid, nasty, less well made (cramped inside) and inferior copies of the old Stereo 30/30+ and 70, all of which I've listened to or owned at some time or another. I've owned a Stereo 70 and when nearly ten years old (in 1982) it wasn't far off a NAD 3020, which was better overall - I shudder to think what it would be like 26 years later with knackered caps. The Delta 70 at four years old was a distorting mess IMO.

    The Sugden A48 was a fruity, dull as ditchwater amp, along with the Rogers Panthera. Well made certainly, but zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Any Quad 33/303 for sale now will need quite a bit of work doing on it, so bear that in mind when buying/bidding. I like a good set of these - what they can't do they don't try to do and the midrange is lovely. The 44/405-2 is still good (significantly better in the "real" world than the limp wristed 34/306 - ugghh!) and readily upgradable further -

    Please remember that components available in the UK for audio products in the early 70's were pretty bad on the whole - 10% resistors, yucky caps and miles of internal wiring are commonplace. Long lived models like the Quad and Armstrong 600 series did get better as time went on as better components became available.

    A restored GL75 is still competitive if the arm's behaving itself and has a cartridge it likes in it. Use something vintage but a bit newer like a Nait 1 or 2, Onix or Cyrus 2/PSX or even an Audiolab 8000A or 8000C/P (bet there'll be massive cap upgrades for these before too long).

    To summarise, many "commercial" 1970's amp designs were feedback laden (to get the best spec) hard clipping disasters that can't reproduce ambience, reverb or subtle timbral textures in the music and should be left in the time frame they came from.

    If you really want some fun, try to locate a bolt up Naim set, re-cap it (but don't mod it) and listen to how good it probably still sounds, even compared with their current stuff... Then you just might get an idea how this firm helped to revolutionise the audio industry...
  18. lordsummit

    lordsummit Moderator

    In your humble opinion of course......
  19. DSJR

    DSJR Between us and them

    But of course :D

    I can't help being around when so much of this gear was new and also being in the Linn/Naim clique almost at the beginning (I bought my first LP12 in 1976).

    Now, if you're going to talk about Quad and Radford valve amps.......? ;)
  20. 337alant

    337alant Negatively Biased

    I bought a Rogers A100 arround 1975 and I still use it today hooked up to my computer it still sounds sweet.
    When I bought it I remember that the Lentek ??? was better but I couldnt afford it at the time, if you can get one of those they look good as well.

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