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Have You Restored Your Vintage Solid State?


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One thing I like about gear from the 1970s is the appearance. Much like cars from the 1950s, they had real style which was apparent and individual by company. The Sansui and Pioneer being the best style and in big names the Marantz looking the clunkiest, mostly from the bizarre choice of fonts used, although going back a bit farther, their tube gear looked excellent. 

 

Then there was the dullest era in history - the all black boxes with feint gray lettering. UGH. 

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One thing I like about gear from the 1970s is the appearance. Much like cars from the 1950s, they had real style which was apparent and individual by company. The Sansui and Pioneer being the best style and in big names the Marantz looking the clunkiest, mostly from the bizarre choice of fonts used, although going back a bit farther, their tube gear looked excellent. 

 Completely disagree !  -- IMHO Marantz was the leader in Appearance. All the others were wannabees chasing the Marantz Styling. Marantz was first. Witness this Marantz 20B Tuner --- 1969-1971   - And a Marantz 26 receiver from 1968 that I restored. BTW - These are both Solid State! - Appearance is a matter of taste, but Pioneer and Sansui were basically styled after Marantz. I like the Original Better.

 

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Edited by Cut-Throat
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Re: Marantz styling

 

Of course this about personal taste and nothing else. Let's be clear on that, at least. From an ID point of view, Marantz looks clunky and unsophisticated. That means, they don't have many parts on the machine which were custom fabricated by high dollar tooling. That's because the Pioneers and Sansuis had far better access to advanced tooling. If they wanted a very special knob with a certain shape and finish for just one control, they would tool it up. Marantz isn't like that at all. They used very plain, ordinary small parts, many were off the shelf from knob manufacturers and so on. The Japanese took a "high art" approach to their industrial designs and made sure they could create whatever parts - no matter how complicated - that were needed to fulfill the big, high gloss, precision finished look. 

 

Take a very detailed tour of the SX 1080

pioneer_sx-1080_front.jpg

 

This is miles beyond in elegance and sophistication of the whole design compared to the spartan Marantz. The finishes were varied and mixed in a nice blend, the variations of geometry and intricacy of the controls, the subtle markers - all of this makes a more integrated look than the slabby Marantz. 

 

That's how I see them.

 

P.S. I would not want to have to listen to either of them for any length of time. 

Edited by jo56steph74
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When I went to buy my first set of Belles, the guy had some old ss pieces he talked me into kicking in a few more $$ (very reasonable) to take away too.

I bought them for the looks then had a great tech go through them. A Phase Linear 400 amp (with the giant VU meters) and a Phase Linear 4000 preamp (with the quadrophonic joystick in the front), both the first versions. I am so glad I did. Those are two of my favorite pieces ... the PL 400 drives my fronts in the HT, especially since he did the mod so the PL400 won't turn into an infamous "flame liner." I could not be happier with the result and the sound.

I also have a Pioneer SX 9000 that I love . . . it is probably time to fine a tech in my new location to rehab it for me.

Edited by Rhetor
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Re: Marantz styling

 

Of course this about personal taste and nothing else. Let's be clear on that, at least.

 

 

Well, we agree on that and little else............... Your post pretty much proved my point. I showed you a couple pieces of Marantz gear from the 1968-1970 era, and you showed me a very Cluttered piece of gear from Pioneer sold in 1978.... In my opinion by 1978, the classic gear had lost its Karma and was headed deeply into the abyss. As I had indicated Marantz was the Original and follow on stuff was wannabees.... My opinion, but I think most would agree with me.

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  • 2 months later...

It's been a few months now since I've had my stuff restored. I restored pretty much all of my solid state except one preamp....of which I have two of them. The one I didn't restore was sounding real good, it had some work done to it before I bought it and was always trouble free and sounded great......

 

....that is, until I compared it to the restored unit. The old one sounded dead and lifeless.....cloudy, tired and the bass sounded bloated. The restored unit sounded clear, crisp, smooth and detailed not to mention BIGGER. What an eye opener.

 

These restorations were worth every penny. :)

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I've got a Harmon Kardon 330B that I re-capped at least a year or so ago. After re-capping the sound did improve a bit, not in any major way but there was much less of the grainy hash that the unit had before. Before the re-cap I rarely used the receiver. Now it's the main unit of use when not using a tube amplifier.

 

It's ease of use is nice for the GF when I'm not home. When the local radio stations get boring, (that's about 30 seconds for me around here) I have the Raspberry Pi2 with Kodi connected to the receiver. Then it's like a music server on the cheap...

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Well, I gotta throw this in......I'm starting to sound like a broken record, I know......but all this stuff is being fed DSP by way of digital EQ. It just puts all of my gear over the top compared to going without it.

 

Lossless files being fed through digital signal processing switched back over to analog fed into gear that is 40 and 50 years old? Still makes me shake my head but damn does it sound good.

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