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Life Span of Integrated Amp

 

New member
Username: Banyanleaf

Post Number: 4
Registered: Mar-05
I am considering to buy a used amp. Is this a good idea? How long can an amplifier last? Thanks for your advice!
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3281
Registered: May-04


It depends on the amplifier. I still use daily two McIntosh tube amplifiers that are over forty years old. If you are dedicated to keeping the equipment in working order, most well designed amplfiers can last a long, long time. As with any long term commitment to keeping a product alive and well, the commitment of the manufacturer is of paramount importance. Where companies such as Mcintosh still offer service and parts for their products, many companies will stop supporting their older equipment after twelve to fifteen years. Some companies, Nakamichi and Yamaha as examples, even deny they produced certain products or simply suggest it's time for the consumer to move on with "today's technology". Many products that attained the status of classic equipment have found life even after the company dissolves. The longevity of Dynaco products along with the still strong market for used Citation, Scott and other products from the "golden age" of audio attests to the truism "they don't build 'em like that anymore".

If you choose your used equipment wisely, you will have an investment that not only sounds good but will likely hold its value as long as you wish to keep it. If you choose poorly, you may find a very awkward paper weight siiting in your living room.

http://www.audioclassics.com/



 

Silver Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 133
Registered: Feb-05
And I would rather have his 40 yr old Mac's than just about any new amp.
 

New member
Username: Banyanleaf

Post Number: 5
Registered: Mar-05
What and where to look for when choosing a used amp? Since there aren't many stores that sell used amps, eBay seems to be the place to go. But without hearing it and also given the hefty price for shipping, what tips do you guys have? Besides McIntosh, what other brands are known for quality? Thanks!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Unbridled_id

ChicagoUsa

Post Number: 70
Registered: Mar-04
not e-pray, try audiogon.com.....
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3289
Registered: May-04


Buying audio gear without any knowledge of how it sounds is like playing the lottery. Good luck with both.

A simple way to select products that are higher quality is to apply two tests. First, when the company has been around for a number of years and you see reviews which refer to a typical "XYZ sound", you can assume the company has a sound they wish to design to. Whether you agree with their choice is another matter. Listen.

Secondly, if you see a used product that is selling for close to or above its original retail price after a number of years, that's a good product. The Mac tube amps now sell for over 10 times their original retail. Not every component can accomplish that feat. But judge by what people are willing to pay for used gear. It also usually indicates a company that will stand behind their product when service is required.


 

New member
Username: Banyanleaf

Post Number: 6
Registered: Mar-05
Macs are too expensive for me, is there anything in the below 500 bucks range and decent?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Unbridled_id

ChicagoUsa

Post Number: 71
Registered: Mar-04
Look at NAD, perhaps the c352 or it's little brother the c320bee. NAD just came out with a new receiver, the c720bee. With the c720 you get the c320bee plus a tuner.
 

New member
Username: Ovenmaster

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-05
I just snagged a Yamaha CA-1010 with just a bulb blown from Audiogon for $150 and otherwise mint, Banyan. 28 years old and still sounds sweet. The older silver faced Yammis are built like battleships and sound wonderful. They're worth a look every so often.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3364
Registered: May-04


I agree the orignal Yamahas were the best they brought to the States. Just a word of caution, Yamaha no longer supports those products and parts are available only by salvaging other units. Common components such as resistors and capacitors can be replaced with generics if you can find a shop that will look at a thirty year old unit. Most shops purge their service bulletins and schematics every decade or so to make room for new. Many shops will not work on something when; a) they have no information for the specific unit, and b) they feel they cannot warranty the repair. Fixing old audio equipment is like fixing anything old. You can fix this resistor but a cap may go out next week. Most shops won't take on the responsibility of warranty on such items. Additionally, if a part such as a volume or balance control or a selector switch should go out, there are no new parts that can be had to replace them. A shop will not warranty old parts.

This is not to say do not buy old hifi. Just beware you are buying the audio equivalent of a '68 Mustang or Jaguar. You may end up with a rather expensive "project" on your hands. There are restoration services available on the web, if you want to pay the price they ask for their services. They are, at this point, a specialist and charge accordingly.

Good luck with the CA-1010; it is a very nice sounding amp.


 

New member
Username: Ovenmaster

Post Number: 3
Registered: Apr-05
Oh, I know, Jan! I'm lucky in that I know a good repair shop if and when I need it, and I also have a good bunch o' friends at AudioKarma. That's when I am unable to fix it myself! :D

I agree with the old car/old equipment analogy. (I prefer older cars, too: I'd take a Corvair over a Corolla any day!:-) To me, though, this amp is definitely worth fixing if something goes, because there simply isn't anything in my area that is new that comes even close, especially price-wise, and it sounds so damn good, too.

Tom
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 560
Registered: Sep-04
BMW,

There are loads of good makes out there. First of all, they come in two main types - 1) tube (or valve) amps such as McIntosh, most Audio Research, most conrad-johnson, Audio Note, Art Audio, or 2) solid state such as Krell, Sugden, Naim, Arcam, Mark Levinson, Jeff Rowland. There are many more solid state brands than there are tube brands.

All the makes I mention above are well respected brands which offer high performance at their respective price levels. However, you need to be careful in terms of matching equipment. For example, many tube amps are not very powerful so you need to match them to speakers with more benign loads. Some solid state amps also have their quirks. For example, Naim amps require speaker wire of a certain capacitance otherwise it can overheat, so it is usually recommended to use Naim's own wire.

Tube amps need to have their tubes replaced every few years or so. How often this is depends on the amp and the way it's designed. If you decide to go for a tube amp, find out when the tubes were replaced last so you'll have an idea when you'll be due a change. Also do some homework and find out from the manufacturer what tube life is meant to be as well as cost since different tubes cost vastly different sums.

Solid state amps can go 'soft' over time (say 15 years or so). Some manufacturers such as Naim offer the opportunity to refurbish the amp for a fee. In Naim's case you can have it recapped and/or retransistored which means the output capacitors and transistors get replaced with new ones, essentially giving you an almost new amp. It's not a cheap service...:-)

Below $500, you're looking very much at 2nd hand equipment if looking at stuff of the calibre above. I'm in the UK so I can't give you help on that score, but I hope the above was interesting.

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Snoopus

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jun-05
i have a pioneer SA 9800 AMP that i bought in 1981. it is rated for 100 watts per channel. but isnt it really higher then that since they rated them differently back then? i tech told me this but i am sceptical?
 

Silver Member
Username: Edison

Glendale, CA US

Post Number: 733
Registered: Dec-03
Mike,

There are many products with over rated claims today - especially on entry level stuff.

Your pioneer is probably more powerful than most of the entry level 100 watts today.

If you like the sound, I would keep it and not upgrade to a surround receiver.

To get quality surround sound, you have to pay a couple of grand.

Your pioneer will sound better than an entry level surround receiver.

Your tech is right in that respect.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Banyanleaf

Post Number: 36
Registered: Mar-05
I purchased a Denon PMA-700V half a year ago. It is a Class A, 100WPC @6 ohm. Sounds very good, but it died on me recently. Don't know if I should buy another used PMA or not.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 5705
Registered: May-04


Me neither.
 

Eric B. Rider
Unregistered guest
I have a Denon PMA-560 integrated amp I bought in 1990-91. It lasted about 8 years until it stopped putting out sound; it takes in power, but there is no sound coming out. Does anyone think I should invest in getting it fixed or just buy something else? I was really impressed with the quality of sound and low THD. I had it hooked up to a couple of 8 ohm Kicker Competion 12" drivers with 11 gauge Carol cable inside and out. Thanks for your reply and side notes.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 6522
Registered: May-04


Buy something new. Denon has changed hands since your amp's time and the new company is not much on support for the old product. Choose wisely and you will do even better than the Denon.


 

Eric B. Rider
Unregistered guest
I assume J.V. knows what he's talking about, so what should I buy to replace my PMA 560 that would not cost an arm and a leg (under $400)? Maybe all I need is a power amp.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 6529
Registered: May-04


If you've been using an integrated amplifier (pre amplifier and power amplifier on one chassis), then you probably need to stay with another integrated amplifier. I don't know what you'll like or what you might need. There are plenty of good integrateds on the market however. And, if you're not opposed to the used market, you can find some excellent values. Read some of the threads to get an idea what's available.


 

Bronze Member
Username: Loce

Lilburn, GA

Post Number: 24
Registered: Jul-05
If you are thinking about some of the vintage gear, that are several forums on AudioKarma.org that might prove useful, e.g., Pioneer, Sansui.
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