Aug 27th, 2015 Posted in 3.5, Concept | No Comments »
The Concept line of stereo receivers were offered by Pacific Stereo as a house brand. The top of the line was the 16.5. Near the bottom of performance range was the Concept 3.5 receiver. The low end was the 2.5. Despite being an economy model it was actually a pretty good little receiver. It produces 35 watts per channel and has appealing looks.
Concept implemented an interesting design with their push button controls. As you can see there is a built in LED in each push button. The LED's make it easier to see which functions are active in low light or darkness. The Concept 3.5 also has a big blocky type switch for the AM/FM/Phono control similar to those used by Yamaha.
The Volume and Tone control knobs have multiple detents for more precise adjustment. Concept called the 3.5 a 'User Oriented' stereo which means it had all of the basic features and was offered at an affordable price.
As you can see in the picture above, the Tape Monitor button LED's glow red when the button is depressed while all the others glow green. The 3.5 utilized a 3 gang tuner, full Quadrature detector and Phase-Lock Loop circuitry. You can see two small cutouts just above the FM 88 and 108 MHz symbols on the analog tuning dial. The left square cutout is the Stereo indicator light. The right is the Protector Activated light which comes on when there is either a short circuit in the speaker circuitry or an overload of the receiver.
The Concept 3.5 weighs in at just over 27 pounds and measures 18 3/8"W x " 6"H x " 15"D. It also has Rosewood patterned vinyl covering pressed plywood. Overall it's a nice little receiver.
Obviously the most coveted of the Concept receivers is the monster 16.5. But, if you don't want to spend absurd money for a huge receiver then the smaller Concept receivers might be a good fit. The 3.5 sells for about $50 to $100. Maybe a bit more for a mint unit. For a little extra you could look at the Concept 5.5 which has 55 watts per channel. It sells for $100 to $150.
Aug 26th, 2015 Posted in G-7700, Sansui | No Comments »
From 1979 to around 1980 Sansui offered their G-X700 line which ranged from the low end G-4700 up to the top end G-9700. In the middle of the range was the Sansui G-7700 Pure Power DC Stereo Receiver which is featured here. It puts out 120 watts per channel compared to the G-4700 with 50 WPC and the G-9700 at 200 WPC. There were actually 3 G series receiver model lines from 1978-1980 with the G-X700 series being the last.
The G-7700 is a DC, or Direct Coupled, receiver which means that is has no capacitors in the signal path of the circuit. This keeps any unwanted distortion to a minimum as capacitors can 'color' or influence the sound signal. So, Sansui designed the signal path portion of the circuit with no capacitors. As with all the G-X700 series the G-7700 featured LED power meters and a special green Safely Operate LED. Here is what Sansui had to say about it in their marketing literature:
'Our exclusive DD/DC-circuitry has been widely accepted as a landmark in the search for the most natural sound reproduction. TIM distortion, first thoroughly studied and applied by Sansui will soon be recognized as the vital parameter in judging the quality of an hi-fi component.'
The G-7700 also features a digitally quartz locked FM tuning which provides excellent drift free reception. If the signal starts to drift out of tune the frequency counter will immediately detect it and make the required correction. This results in great selectivity, stability and a high signal to noise ratio.
Aesthetically the G-7700 has a symmetrical layout on the front face with the two large volume and tuning knobs in the middle flanked by smaller control knobs and push buttons.
Given that the receiver was produced during the transition from the analog to the digital era it has both analog and digital tuning indicators. There were a number of receivers from manufacturers that incorporated this type of design I guess as a way to placate the analog fans while, at the same time, easing them into the new digital era.
Almost all Sansui receivers from the late 70's are very desirable. Prices for a fully restored Sansui G-7700 can reach up to $500 while those in more average condition range from about $200 and up.
Mar 6th, 2015 Posted in S-7200, Sherwood | 1 Comment »
One company that flies a little under the radar yet is still pretty popular with a subset of collectors and enthusiasts is Sherwood. Sherwood was formed in 1953 in Chicago by the engineer Ed Miller and partner John Snow. Miller had designed an amplifier and wanted to design and build equipment under the Sherwood name. This particular stereo is the Sherwood S-7200.
The S-7200 was not their top of the line receiver, more middle of the pack, but still performed very well. It was made from 1973 up until about 1976 and retailed at about $360.00 when introduced. Sherwood even took pride in the fact that they were smaller than the other dominant companies in the audio field. Basically they felt that other manufacturers marketed to the mass consumer market while their equipment was targeted toward the more discriminating connoisseur. So, of course, they would sell far fewer receivers than say Pioneer or Sansui.
And, they did seller fewer receivers than the big boys. In fact, most of their production runs were only 500 to around 1500 units at a time. Still, they were considered higher end and were sold in the same audio stores that sold Marantz and McIntosh. Those days, of course, were the heyday of audio manufacturing so there was quite a bit of competition. While the S-7200 was designed by US engineers it was actually made in Japan.
The Sherwood S-7200 is listed at 40 watts per channel in the advertisement above but I've also seen it listed at 32 watts per channel. It's all solid state but many say it has a nice and warm, yet clean, sound to it.
One of the weaknesses of this receiver is the power switch which is attached to the volume pot. It fails frequently and there is no easily available replacement. So, if yours works treat it gently. These receivers also don't have the usual screws on the side of the cabinet that are used to get the cabinet off. The screws are actually in the feet which, when removed, allow you to remove the cabinet and get inside.
Sherwood made some good receivers. Since they aren't as popular as the big names you can find them pretty at pretty inexpensive prices. A really nice S-7200 recently sold for $160. Not bad given its specs and reputation. Just remember that the power switch is temperamental so check it out before buying one of these units. Other than that the S-7200 is a great little receiver.