Vintage Integrated Amplifier Saves the Day!

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
What happens when your pre/pro separates are a hair too big for your entertainment center and your new replacement amp fails after a year and a half?

Follow the saga of finding just the right amplifier for a three zone house. The journey will take you to an unexpected ending that leads to a vintage audio piece saving the day.

Just because something is old, doesn't mean it's still not useful. In fact, this article gives an example of how the opposite is true.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride...

kenwood.jpg


Read:
Old Integrated Amplifiers in Today's Modern World
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
interesting read Gene, thanks !

not to mention, a walk down memory lane as well !
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Another good article, Steve. I have had a similar situation, I just keep coming back to a Kenwood AVR that my father bought in 1990 or 91 to just use as a 2-channel amp. While some of the features are no longer functioning on it, the amp section works just fine, so I have been using it off and on throughout the years as a amplifier. It's been through all kinds of abuse over the years, but I still have it and use it, because it refuses to die.
 
J

JoeThePop

Audiophyte
Great story. Still using my Yamaha RX-700U stereo receiver that I bought new in 1987. And yes, I still have the original box, packaging, owners manual, and bill of sale.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Thanks for the good read Steve!
It is amazing how well I can relate to so much of this story!
 
E

editorjuno

Audiophyte
I owned the power amp equivalent of that Kenwood, the KA-8002 -- it was a great unit that I replaced with an Adcom GFA-535 that was ever so slightly better in the mid-'80s. That Kenwood series was their first to feature a DC-coupled output stage, which was a major performance advance over the previous, capacitance-coupled -- but otherwise very similar -- KA-6000. I'm not the least bit surprised that it holds up well in a modern multi-room system -- like the Sony, Pioneer, and Sansui gear of that era, Kenwood's 1970s stuff was meticulously designed and very well built.
 
Last edited:
M Code

M Code

Audioholic General
70/80s' Japanese integrated amplifiers were built like a tank, conservative specs, only weakness coming to my mind was the phono preamp circuits, limited SNR and a higher noise floor. But many had MM & MC capability...

Just my $0.02... ;)
 
J

JeffV

Audiophyte
Great article. Proves what I've known for about 5 years now...that vintage gear was "made to be repaired" which has resulted in it lasting for 50+ years. There are still a few of us around that know how to fix the old stuff - it's great fun and, having been inside nearly every make from the 60-70's, I can say that they are generally very well designed and will sound as good or better than most comparably priced modern gear.
 
E

editorjuno

Audiophyte
Great article. Proves what I've known for about 5 years now...that vintage gear was "made to be repaired" which has resulted in it lasting for 50+ years. There are still a few of us around that know how to fix the old stuff - it's great fun and, having been inside nearly every make from the 60-70's, I can say that they are generally very well designed and will sound as good or better than most comparably priced modern gear.
As somebody eminently qualified to comment -- I managed a multi-brand factory-authorized service center for several years back in the 1970s -- I agree with Jeff about repairabilty but strongly disagree about the performance of modern vs. "vintage" gear. Remarkably, the sub-$50USD (+ $22USD for a suitable SMPS) Chinese-made 2.1 "chip amp" I currently use in my 4.1 desktop/near-field setup actually outperforms the (very good!) Kenwood and Adcom power amps I mentioned further up this thread.
 
J

JeffV

Audiophyte
Hi editorjuno this is what I love about forums like this - we all get to learn.
My comparison comment may have been a bit too broad - knowing that I acquired my Kenwood KA-7002 for around $50, is the "chip amp" you mention a component or an integrated amplifier unit (stand alone device)?
I would/should try this if it's only $22US.
Thanks
 
E

editorjuno

Audiophyte
Hey, Jeff -- I would call it a "limited standalone device," closer to a 2.1 power amp than to a full-featured integrated amp like a KA-7002. It has only one line level input, via a 3.5mm TRS jack -- no phono preamp or DAC. There are separate gain knobs for the L+R and subwoofer outputs, and a knob labeled "STEREO" that's actually more like an old-fashioned tone control -- it's odd in that it actually boosts midrange and treble unless it's set fully counterclockwise for what sounds to me like flat response. Just to clarify the prices, the amp cost me a little short of $50USD shipped -- the $22USD number was my shipped cost for a 48VDC 10A SMPS to power the thing. The amp is based on two TI TAS5630 -- or perhaps the newer TAS5630B, not sure because I haven't peeked under the heat sink -- Class D output chips that conservatively can deliver about 125 WPC with admirably low THD+N into my 8 ohm JBLs (BTL mode) and well over 200 watts for my 4 ohm subwoofer (PBTL mode). Honestly, the thing is almost unimaginably loud and clear -- it really blows my old KA-8002 and even my "audiophile" Adcom right out of the water, with comparable THD+N and far more sheer power.
 
C

corey

Senior Audioholic
I'm still using my Klipsch SWV subwoofer that I bought new back in the mid 90's. It's a pretty small sub, but it does 'go to 11'.
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic General
Great article Steve! It takes me back to the late 70s when I had a Kenwood KA 3500 integrated amp running some new Advents. Good inexpensive high fi for that time. Sold it to upgrade to NAD. I bet that amp is still running somewhere. Thanks for the memories. :)
 
L

lejack

Audiophyte
I found it hard to believe, that with your knowledge and background, you couldn't figure this out, just to unplug and replug. What a way to blow $90. I do agree that those 80' amps wer amazing.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
I found it hard to believe, that with your knowledge and background, you couldn't figure this out, just to unplug and replug. What a way to blow $90. I do agree that those 80' amps wer amazing.
I was more wondering why repair the 9050 but let the Parasounds go.....but I do know about soft resets :) Sometimes convenience trumps....
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Back in the 70s and early 80s I had a receiver so when I upgraded, it wasn't to a middle of the road integrated (just a receiver without a tuner after all),I wanted separates! Long ago lost use for the tuner on them, too, tho (but has more to do with the decline of radio than the gear). I recently had my two oldest power amps (early 80s) gone thru by a soon-to-retire tech and tonight am figuring out how to put them to use again, even tho I don't really need them....for nostalgia's sake if anything.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
I have 4 Yamaha cassette decks that I purchased used and am using regularily. All excpet for the KX1200 which is top dog, have been trouble free and sound sooo good. The KX1200 is in the shop to fix the manual bias control which is not working correctly.
 

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