Jump to content

What are your favorite vintage SS amps?


Recommended Posts

I am considering a vintage (late 70s through maybe 2010ish) solid state amp to use in a second system. Do you all have any favorites that sound good, are quiet (very important), and durable. High power rating is not necessary (especially at 104dB/1M 1W). No tube amps, please (I like tubes, but not this go around). 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yamaha CR series (620/810/820/1010/1020/etc.). Yamaha M series (M45/M60/80/etc.). Kenwood Basic M2A (available pretty cheap and 220wpc). Most Marantz vintage amps. And if you want power, Crown K1/K2. :)  Owned them all, dead quit and had no problems :) 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Emile said:

Yamaha CR series (620/810/820/1010/1020/etc.). Yamaha M series (M45/M60/80/etc.). Kenwood Basic M2 (available pretty cheap and 220wpc). Most Marantz vintage amps. And if you want power, Crown K1/K2. :)  Owned them all, dead quit and had no problems :) 

Kenwood M2a here!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, CWOReilly said:

Kenwood M2a here!

Haha; yes have the M2A ... In my opinion one of the most underrated amps, especially when used with their C2 pre-amp :) 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve got Yamaha C-60 pre and an M-65 power amp which I love.

 

They can be problematic, though. Three common issues are:

    Solder joint failure on the I/O jacks

    The same on heat stressed parts (usually transistors.

    And the most common, the “Dreaded Sony Bond Glue” problem.

 

    I’ve had to deal with all three, but keep these as my every day system cause I love the sound. The Crown and QSC I used while T/s and repair activities were pending on the Yammy just did not sound as good to me, so once fixed the Yamaha was back in.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

While you're searching for the high end classic SS amp, swap in an inexpensive Crown D-45 or D-75 (regular or "A" versions)...they are bulletproof, quiet, cheap and have XLR connections for good grounding...good enough for many studios in the day.  I have tried on Khorns and LaScalas with good results.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My daily driver is a restored, ABSOLUTELY dead quiet, wonderful sounding MC2105 coupled with a modern Mac preamp. I just love the sound of an autotransformer amp. BUT, Mac equipment is more than I feel spending on this second system.

 

I was thinking of an upgraded Adcom 555, BGW Model 100, Crown D75, Hafler, et cetera. I am open to suggestions.

 

Thank you very kindly for each thoughtful response. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

BTW, I have heard the Crown studio amps and BGW tend to have noisy transformers, but otherwise sound quite good. Definite contenders. 
 

With this second system, I listen critically to very low levels in the mornings, so the amp needs to be very quiet. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, hanksjim1 said:

While you're searching for the high end classic SS amp, swap in an inexpensive Crown D-45 or D-75 (regular or "A" versions)...they are bulletproof, quiet, cheap and have XLR connections for good grounding...good enough for many studios in the day.  I have tried on Khorns and LaScalas with good results.

 

 

 

 

Make sure they are the "A" models Much improvement there

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you haven't read them yet...lot's of posts with forum mystery and intrigue about a little modified D-45 nicknamed "The Duke" owned and passed on by several members (not sure it's current whereabouts)  I find them very entertaining,  Here's one:

 

 

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know how common it is in the States but I am an absolute fan of Quad 306 with pre amp Quad 34. Incredibly low noise and full of sonic texture thanks to the current dumping circuitry of the power amp. A high quality small class A amplifier is simply amplified by the power transistors but no errors are added to it. I recommend the pre amp because Qaud has unusual voltage values, 0.5V at the pre amp output and 0.35V at the power amp input. 50 clean and sonorous watt similar to a hot class A amp, no matter if tube or transistor. I had these units end of the 80's until the mid 90's. After that until half a year ago only Mcintosh C22CE with MC275 Mk5. Now again Quad 306. Incredibly good, especially with horn speakers.

 

https://www.kenrockwell.com/audio/quad/34-preamplifier.htm

 

http://www.stereo-amplifier.net/review/9-quad-306

 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, hanksjim1 said:

Lots of love for the early B&K ST140 out there...I have not heard one...I am using vintage Luxman and Superphon separates in my second system

I started with the ST140. Still one of my favorite amps. B&K 4420 and 2220 are my current amps. I really like the M series Yamaha stuff too, but like mentioned earlier, they had issues with the glue used on the boards. M-85 was by far the best amp with my Chorus II. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you can find a Yamaha MX-D1, grab it!  They came out in 2005 and very few owners sell them.  I bought one new and was very happy with it, then a Forum member in Seattle tempted me with a second one, at the same time as the other components necessary to build JubScalas became available, so I hopped on the ferry and picked it up.  I’m listening to both of them right now, driving the bi-amped JubScalas.

 

The MX-D1 was a statement product from Yamaha, like the GT from Ford.  No expense was spared, and since there was just the one model, it was designed to be able to power any speakers, no matter how sensitive or insensitive they might be.  To that end, it makes a clean 500 watts per channel, with a S/N ratio of 120 dB and crosstalk value of 100 dB.  Those numbers were confirmed in the Stereophile review when they came out in 2005.  The distortion figures are also very low, and since it was designed for home use, unlike pro amps that have their lowest distortion numbers at near full power, where they usually operate, the MX-D1 has its lowest distortion numbers between 6 and 10 watts, around 0.003% THD.

 

Being a Class D amp, it’s cool-running, in spite of having small heat sinks.  The shape is very much like a 17” wide bathroom scale, only 3” tall and around 15” deep, finished in Piano Black.  It’s dual-mono, with a separate power supply for each channel.

 

The amp I bought new has been in daily use since 2007, and the one I bought used has been running with it since 2008.  Both of them still sound great.  They have both RCA and XLR inputs, which comes in handy, because they’re being fed from the E-V Dx38 audio processor/crossover, which has only XLR connections.

 

To me, it seems like the right choice to drive Heritage speakers, because it/they will be with me for the foreseeable future.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Westcoastdrums said:

What do you like about it in particular?   Fully restored I assume? 

Yes, fully restored.  I have two, and they are really good with just about any preamp, but also on their own with their adjustable gain pots.  The MC250 was Mac's early SS amp, and was voiced to have bit of a tube character, but with quality SS power behind it.  Very smooth character.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...