Is Phillips a good vintage amp?

S

Squishman

Full Audioholic
I already bought it, so I hope the answer is yes! ha. But It is a Phillips 3841, fully restored. Google says it is 40 wpc, but apparently he upgraded it to 50 wpc. I am not familiar with restoring vintage amps, so I am hoping that is true. He seems to know what he was doing. I bought it to be used in a den with a TV and also to a line going from my computer. So if I play tunes from my computer., that can also be heard in the den. The den has upgraded Minimus 7's and an 8" subwoofer (connected speaker-level). Since I did want something vintage, how'd I do? The fact that it has TT inputs (2!) is a bonus, but that room doesn't have a TT. Just bought it on-line last night. I only had to pay $26 for shipping. Not too shabby. The fact that he altered the look does not bother me. It probably looks better than original. Screenshot_20210502-071827.pngPhillips 3841.JPG
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
It's a large electronics company, somewhat like Sony I suppose. Hope your guy knew what he was doing in modding it. I can't imagine wanting to go backwards with my gear like that, but YMMV :) If it suits your purposes and works, enjoy!
 
S

Squishman

Full Audioholic
Thx Lovin. What is backwards? That he modded it to look different? I think it looks fine.
It will be an upgrade to what is in that room now. Using an Audiosourse 50 wpc amp and a Radio Shack (4 wpc, but not using the amp part) solely as a switching unit. So the Phillips will be a nice upgrade for the room.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
If it's been modded then it doesn't matter if Phillips made good amps or not because it's no longer their design.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
If the seller modded it, he shouldn't have any reason to avoid proving its improved performance. If they resist, pass. Anyone can cobble something together so it works for awhile, but not everyone can build a reliable amplifier.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Thx Lovin. What is backwards? That he modded it to look different? I think it looks fine.
It will be an upgrade to what is in that room now. Using an Audiosourse 50 wpc amp and a Radio Shack (4 wpc, but not using the amp part) solely as a switching unit. So the Phillips will be a nice upgrade for the room.
Going with an old analog only integrated amp is a step backwards....
 
S

Squishman

Full Audioholic
If the seller modded it, he shouldn't have any reason to avoid proving its improved performance. If they resist, pass. Anyone can cobble something together so it works for awhile, but not everyone can build a reliable amplifier.
He is shipping it from Florida to me in Minnesota. Can't test it until I get it. I will first try it in the living room with my TT and Klipsch Forte II's. Maybe it sounds great. That's what I am counting on. I'll let you know.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Full Audioholic
Having worked as a repair technician, I would say that there is little you can do to increase the output of an amplifier. This is most definitely a discrete component amp that uses output transistors. You can swap them with something that has a higher rated output, but the new transistors need to have the same characteristics as the old, and the maximum output is controlled by the voltage being supplied by the power supply and the available current. No one is going to replace or redesign the power supply on an old integrated amp with little brand name recognition. You can increase the bias to the output transistors to run them a little hotter and slightly increase the output, but that can also shorten their life and may drive them into distortion above the designed 40W. I would prefer the amp be left at its rated 40W/ch to having it moded(?). Hopefully the guy knew what he was doing.

As to moving backwards, well, it's simply a matter of modern amplifier design being better than something that old, regardless of whether you have digital or analogue source material. Nothing wrong with running old analogue gear though if that's what you like and you can always connect an outboard DAC to the Aux input to play digital material. 40W/ch should be plenty for a den.
 
S

Squishman

Full Audioholic
Thx Eppie. It could be that he typed 50 and meant 40. Anything to look for when I take the cover off?
He could be just a guy who can follow directions and solder. That would be an apt description of me, btw.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Full Audioholic
Thx Eppie. It could be that he typed 50 and meant 40. Anything to look for when I take the cover off?
He could be just a guy who can follow directions and solder. That would be an apt description of me, btw.
All that would likely be visible is fresh solder on the underside of the circuit boards from where he replaced the caps and transistors. There may be flux remaining on the connections as not everyone bothers to remove the flux after soldering and fresh solder will be shiny while the older connection may be dull. "Upgraded amp section" is kind of vague. It's normal for the heatsinks to get warm under normal use but should stay relatively cool or just a little warm under idle (no volume). I would only be concerned if the unit got hot under idle.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Oh... I suppose. Line level out though.
What and risk using the lousy dacs and noisy environment of a computer! :) J/K....sort of. I'd still rather just stream it wireless from my laptop to a digital ready device.
 
S

Squishman

Full Audioholic
I probably could have done it that way! Dang. Actually, it is from my computer receiver line out, which is a Pioneer SX-10AE. Think four sound systems is overkill for a three bedroom mobile home? Ha.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I probably could have done it that way! Dang. Actually, it is from my computer receiver line out, which is a Pioneer SX-10AE. Think four sound systems is overkill for a three bedroom mobile home? Ha.
LOL sounds like you have a real audio problem, pal :) Different strokes for different folks but I find my old analog 2ch gear the least useful to me today. OTOH attaching a chromecast audio to my older gear does work well enough, whether analog only or has an optical input....
 
S

Squishman

Full Audioholic
My other two systems are pretty sweet. 5.1.2 in living room with an incredible 12" HSU sub and a 5.2.2 in master bedroom with Heresy III's and two 10" Klipsch subs which is more than enough for a medium size bedroom.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I already bought it, so I hope the answer is yes! ha. But It is a Phillips 3841, fully restored. Google says it is 40 wpc, but apparently he upgraded it to 50 wpc. I am not familiar with restoring vintage amps, so I am hoping that is true. He seems to know what he was doing. I bought it to be used in a den with a TV and also to a line going from my computer. So if I play tunes from my computer., that can also be heard in the den. The den has upgraded Minimus 7's and an 8" subwoofer (connected speaker-level). Since I did want something vintage, how'd I do? The fact that it has TT inputs (2!) is a bonus, but that room doesn't have a TT. Just bought it on-line last night. I only had to pay $26 for shipping. Not too shabby. The fact that he altered the look does not bother me. It probably looks better than original. View attachment 47220View attachment 47221
Looks like a low end consumer integrated amp of the period. It was made from 1977 to 1981.

In those days, all decent gear from Philips was made in Einthoven Holland on the German border. This unit was contracted to a Japanese manufacturer, but I I can't find which.

The amp is over specked. It is actually 35 watts per channel, as distortion is unacceptably high at 40 watts per channel.

I looked at the circuit, it has an operational IC amp front end. The tone control stages are discrete transistor. The driver stage is an IC chip. The output is a complementary pair of transistors.

The power does not increase as load impedance drops. So the amp is severely current limited.

I would highly doubt that driver chip is still available, so If that fails it will not be fixable. ICs of that period were not nearly as reliable as they are now.

In addition the signal to noise ratio is only 60 db. It is not specified whether this is weighted or unweighted. The marketers though would have picked the weighted speck, you can be pretty sure. By modern standards, this would be considered poor. Older solid state devices as a whole tend to be more noisy than modern ones, especially the ICs. When that amp was designed ICs had only been in common use for three to for years at most. That technology has improved enormously over the 45 years or more, since that unit was designed.

To me this looks like a fairly bottom end of the market unit, with a couple of VUs slapped on the front, which likely was done to impress and jack up the price.

As others have said you can not increase power output without increasing voltage and that would mean that you would need a new power supply. It is clear the output devices are maxed out, so if you tried it would blow up.

I hope you have not paid a lot for it. There are remaining very classy units from years gone by. This is not one of them.

Whereabouts in Minnesota are you? I'm in Eagan.
 
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S

Squishman

Full Audioholic
Thanks TLS Guy for the interesting write-up. Too bad man that it is a low-end unit. Fortunately, I do not use that room for regular music listening. But if it sounds bad to my ears, I will sell it and try again. Hopefully it cuts the mustard for what I need it for. I paid $280 plus $26 shipping, no tax. Which would have been a fabulous price if this were a better unit. Small world man! I lived in Eagan for 10 years. Now, since 2018, I live in Apple Valley near the Eagan border.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks TLS Guy for the interesting write-up. Too bad man that it is a low-end unit. Fortunately, I do not use that room for regular music listening. But if it sounds bad to my ears, I will sell it and try again. Hopefully it cuts the mustard for what I need it for. I paid $280 plus $26 shipping, no tax. Which would have been a fabulous price if this were a better unit. Small world man! I lived in Eagan for 10 years. Now, since 2018, I live in Apple Valley near the Eagan border.
That is probably a good idea. I would not push it hard. The hardest thing ever to assess is reliability. However, I get the sense it is a unit not to push hard.

We are off Westcott Road, on one of the little lakes round here. We have another member nearby in Eagan. He is on Johnnycake Ridge Road, between Diffley and Cliffe Roads.

We will have to get together soon.
 

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