Vintage Stereo Receivers ~ Tuners ~ Amps

Marantz Esotec SM-6

Marantz Esotec SM-6 amplifier(1980, Class A/AB) 120W x 2 $325

Firstly, let it be known that these Esotec units are an exception to the general rule that the better Marantz equipment has only numbers in the model designation. Usually when the model number starts with letters it means inferior quality. This does NOT hold true for the Esotec series.  This is a true (switchable) Class A/AB unit.

The output in pure Class-A serves as clean 30W x 2 RMS.  
Moreover, in AB it produces 120 W x2 RMS by switchpoint change.

Rarely found in this condition in the USA, this Marantz champagne face-plate edition is a class A/AB Esotec stereo power amplifier made in Japan from 1980 - 1983 and produces a minimum 120 watts per channel into 8Ω.  Powerful and rare, this Marantz is an Esotec Series Class A switchable power amp.  
The Class "A" switch is on the front panel along with speaker selectors for two pairs of speakers.
Volume controls are on the rear of the gold color metal cabinet along with preamp inputs.
Very heavy, massive tranny, easily drives two pairs of speakers.  
Unit sounds fine in both modes, big, bright analog meters work great,it's a really nice looking unit.  Front panel door is magnetic and has been fabricated, looks good, functions perfectly.

Output power: 20Hz - 20kHz, both channel driven @120W+120W (AB class), @30W+30W (Class-A)
THD: 0.015% (at 20Hz - 20kHz, the time of an effective output 8-ohm load intensity)
Cross modulation distortion: 0.015% (at the time of 60Hz:70kHz=4:1 and an effective output)
Frequency characteristic: 20Hz - 20kHz (+0, -0.2dB), 5Hz-100kHz(+0, -5dB)
Input sensitivity/impedance: 1.5V/47kohms
Dumping factor: 100 (1kHz, 8-ohm load intensity)
S/N ratio: 118dB (IHF-A curve)
Universal Voltage: 110-240V, 50/60Hz
Dimensions: Width 16.5" x Height 6.5" x Depth 16.5"
Weight: 32 lbs

Marantz 2252B

Marantz 2252B ('77-'79) 52W x 2 $375

Here we have some "old-school" high-fidelity from California-based Marantz  when they were still designing sane components producing sane WATTS : when 2 channel stereo at 52 watts per channel felt like 152 watts per channel.
Direct current symmetrical SEPP output with one big transformer, two big caps, four pairs of Marantz-tagged bipolar transistors (A753 / C1343) mounted on big heatsinks - the word is BIG! Gyro-geared PLL MPX dual-gate MOS-Fet 4-gang tuner section (3 for FM) with 200Khz ceramic filters and Baxandall triple L/R tone controls.  Considering this was 1977, it was feature-packed indeed.  And solid.  And, don't can connect two turntables. two pairs of speakers, two tape loops and an auxiliary as well.

This 2252B has the original black metal case (for an additional cost and to be found elsewhere, it can be fitted with an original Marantz WC-22 wooden case).  This 2252B is operating perfectly.  It has seven 8v 300 ma fuse lamps across the FM window and twin meters.  The fuse lamps are incandescent and have soft a glow that makes the beautiful, industrial designed, silver faceplate on the Marantz quite beautiful to look under low room light.  (We can upgrade with LEDs for a minimal charge.)

About Marantz in late 70's..
Parent company Superscope had purchased the Marantz company in 1964.  Now, of course, Marantz, in the 60's ,was a small but very prestigious hi-fi company founded by Saul Marantz, a genius in his own right.  To their credit, Superscope did an excellent job of keeping the Marantz name in rock solid position as one of the premier names in high fidelity.  However, by the mid to late -70's, they (Superscope)  were  in serious financial trouble but ,nevetheless, they still had the Marantz products to keep producing fine, well-built, highly respected and profitable gear.  Unfortunately, even though Superscope was producing budget products under their own badge, the confusion of seeing "Made by Marantz" on some of that budget gear confused a lot of people and, eventually, even though the genuine Marantz products were indeed much better, people began to think they were all the same.  But they weren't.  As the often quoted phrase goes: "Superscope was the poor man's Marantz"


Concept 3.5

Concept 3.5 ('75-'78) 35W x 2  $200

We love to find excellent, hard to find vintage gear...especially when they are as nice as this 3.5 which is in near mint condition. Very conservatively rated at 35 watts per channel, this rare Concept 3.5 is a heavy duty, well designed, stereo receiver known for it great bass control, sound stage presentation and a very accurate tuner, The direct-coupled power amplifier section uses high gain voltage amplification with rugged output transistors for a stabilized, high speed configuration. A large toroidal power transformer supplies enough power for the most demanding musical peaks.  Unlike most comparable receivers in this class, the 3.5 was designed with internals that were ahead of their time...just like all the Concept receivers, regardless of size and power.  As with all the Concept receivers, this too has one of their trademark design elements...a nice rosewood veneer case.

About Concept...
Recognized universally as some of the very best stereo receivers ever made, the Concept receivers circuitry was designed in-house, by Dick Schramm, at Pacific Stereo (late 70's California). Tom Ishimoto, former product development manager of Marantz, also had a hand in building some of the Concept line at NEC of Japan. The bulk of the manufacturing was done by TCE, an electronics manufacturing division of Tandy Corp. (Tandy was the parent company of U.S. electronics retail chain Radio Shack). A lot of effort was made in upgrading the Concept design capabilities, and TCE's production techniques at the time were described as "terrific". Several other manufacturers were considered for the Concept receivers, but, as far as Schram was concerned, TCE was by far the best. They had gifted engineers who were excited to work on some REAL hi-fidelity audio products and became very loyal to him during the entire process. The Concept credo was "better quality parts, operated with more margin of safety, superior circuits and no shortcuts" - that's why they last so long and still sound as good today.

More about Pacific Stereo (and Concept...)

The Concept line of stereo receivers were offered by Pacific Stereo as their top tier house brands. (in order, top to bottom: Concept, Reference by Quadraflex, Quadraflex and TransAudio) The top of the line was the Concept 16.5 (165 watts per channel, considered by many to be the best stereo receiver ever made!).  Basically, when a customer went into a Pacific Stereo store looking for Pioneer, Sansui, Kenwood, etc, the salesman would steer them toward one of the "house" brands, the best of which were the Concepts.  Normally you might think that the house brand would be some cheaply made unit designed for maximum profit to the retailer. But, in this case, the Concepts (and secondarily, the Reference series) were very well built and high performing receivers.  Especially the Reference 650FETR which was Richard Schram's baby all the way, a very fine stereo receiver that deserves to be in any serious audiophile's collection.


Yamaha CR-840

Yamaha CR-840 (1980) 60W x 2 $250

Besides the fact that the CR-840 is simply beautiful, elegant and well-designed, its dark Brazilian hardwood veneer  "wrap-around case is stunning!
Something unique to Yamaha is when speaking of the OTS (Optimum Tuning System), which is an easy-to-use feature that automatically locks in the exact center of the tuned channel - for the lowest possible distortion."the muting and OST systems operated flawlessly" Stereo Review said, and more "The harmonic distortion of the CR-840 was so low that without the most advanced test instruments it would have been impossible to measure it."In summing up their reaction to the CR-840, Stereo review said, "Suffice it to say that Yamaha make it possible for a moderate-price receiver to provide performance that would have been unimaginable only a short time ago." 
We have to agree that the CR-840 is certainly one stellar example in Yamaha's fine line of receivers.


Yamaha CR-420

Yamaha CR-420 ('78-'80) 22W x 2 $175 

Let's start off by saying this baby has some punch for a "so-called" lower powered receiver.  One of those rare finds from the original owner, this CR-420 is just flat out gorgeous.  Packed with all discrete components, it's late 70's design reflects the rapid improvement in receivers that made them lighter, more powerful and relatively easy to work on.  Yamaha's famous "Natural Sound" is part of the attraction in this one, along with the loudness compensation feature that made the Yamaha CR Series unique.  Features include outputs for two pairs of speakers, phono, FM, Aux (you can plug in your phone or laptop!) and much more.  The teak styled veneer case is in great shape and the brushed aluminum faceplate is clean.

About Yamaha...(1972 and later)

From the CA-1000 that whipped up a whirlwind and brought Yamaha recognition in the audio world, to the AX-2000A that, after groping around with digital technology, managed a comeback to pure analog.  The very successful "Natural Sound" marketing in the 70's brought Yamaha into direct competition with Pioneer, Marantz and almost all the other great companies of the era.


Harman Kardon Soundsticks II

Harman Kardon Soundsticks II (2000)  $100

Chosen by the New York Museum of Modern Art to be on permanent display because of it's beauty and design, the Soundsticks were originally created by Harman Kardon for Apple's USB-equipped Macintosh computers.  However, they can be used with any smartphones, laptops or devices with a mini-phone plug.
The three-piece SoundSticks speaker system produces high-quality stereo sound for music, movies, and gaming sessions. The 40-watt self-powered system includes two 10-watt satellite speakers and a 6-inch 20-watt subwoofer.  Designed for easy plug-and-play, the SoundSticks speaker system includes a power adapter to power the subwoofer and a plug that connects to the USB port of your Mac computer. A blue LED indicator lets you know that the subwoofer is properly powered. You can adjust the volume onscreen or by touching the buttons on one of the satellites. And the physical control knob for adjusting the bass is on the back of the subwoofer.


Rotel RX-603

Rotel RX-603 (1977) 45W x 2  $165

Hard to find and in near mint condition, this solid Rotel RX-603 is a massive block of well-designed aluminum, packed with superior components that​ rarely need servicing.  The distinctive front faceplate has the signature Rotel FM window shape that sets them apart from all other receivers of the 70's.  Rated at a minimum 45 watts per channel, it sounds like a lot more. Real aluminum knobs, large rectangular push buttons, rack handles and a pleasing soft yellow dial light are just a few features of this very excellent vintage piece.

About Rotel... Rotel is a family-owned Japanese manufacturer of high end audio and video equipment. The company was established in 1961. In the early 1980s Rotel joined the B&W Group forming a strategic alliance with Bowers and Wilkins and later adding Classé Audio.