Sansui G-5000

Jul 30th, 2014 Posted in G-5000, Sansui | No Comments »



Pure Power! That was the tag line for Sansui's G-Series receivers from the late 70's and they lived up to the advertising hype. Even this mid range Sansui G-5000 is one great performer. In fact, many audio enthusiasts make the claim that the early Sansui G series receivers are some of the best receivers ever made in terms of both build quality and performance. The audio industry was evolving at the time and technology was advancing to a point where audio equipment could do a far better job of amplifying sound in a manner that kept it as close to the original recorded sound as possible. Sansui's DC circuitry did just that.




If you had grown up listening to music on late 60's tube equipment or early 70's Pioneer or Marantz gear then you might find the G series receivers a tad bright and less warm. But, personal preferences aside, they produce a more accurate sound than their earlier counterparts that tended to "color" the music. The G-5000 was produced from 1978 to 1980 and really is a great representative of the vintage audio years. It was a mid range offering from Sansui and retailed for about $470.00




A brushed aluminum faceplate, big tuning and volume knobs, big square push buttons, wide tuning dial and centered analog meters give it a great symmetrical look. When lit up the dial has an almost mystical amber / blue look to it.




For those interested in a little Sansui history, they produced the G-X000 series first, then the G-X500 series, and finally the G-X700 series over a span of about 4 years from late 1977 till around 1981 or 82. General opinion is that the early G-X000 series is the best built of the three. Cost cutting measures that occurred later reduced the quality of the X500 and X700 series. Also, the G-5XXX receivers aren't necessarily comparable. The G-5000 is rated at 45 watts while the G-5500 is rated at 60 watts and the G-5700 at 75 watts.




Here are some of its other features:

  • Tone defeat
  • Speakers A,B, A+B, switchable
  • Aux, Phono, FM Auto, Dolby FM, AM, Tape1/Aux, Tape2/Aux
  • Bass, treble, balance, volume, tuning
  • Loudness, FM muting, Stereo/Mono, Tape monitor, -20 dB mute
  • Subsonic filter
  • Mic mixing level
  • 4-Ch adapter switch
  • Headphones jack, Mic jack
  • Signal and tuning indicators
  • 2 extra power outlets
  • Uses discreet Sanken output transistors
  • 31 lbs at 18 x 7 x 16"




I had a poll on this website for a while asking what everyone's favorite receiver brand was. I expected Marantz or perhaps Pioneer to dominate. But no, Sansui was the most favored brand. That is reflected in both demand and prices for these receivers, especially the early G series units. Of course, the G-22000 and G-33000 are virtually impossible to acquire for the average collector, and even the G-9000 can easily reach over $1000 when restored and averages about $600 to $900. The G-5000 is much more reasonable at $200 to $300. And, for the level of build quality and performance you can get out of them that is a pretty good deal.


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Pioneer SX-850

Jul 29th, 2014 Posted in Pioneer, SX-850 | No Comments »




This classic receiver the Pioneer SX-850 was made from 1976 to 1977 and, while not the top of the line, it was one of their higher end offerings. It has the tradition mid to late 70's styling that is easily recognized as Pioneer. The silver face, wood case and amber lights are all characteristic of Pioneer receivers of that time.




You'll be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't like the SX-850. It really epitomizes what vintage audio is all about. The great look, quality build and above average performance make it a fantastic receiver for someone wanting to build a good quality vintage system. It's rated at 65 watts per channel but most agree that is probably low.




It phono stage and bass response are also known for being top quality. Hook a turntable up to this receiver and you won't be disappointed. The SX-850 isn't rare. Pioneer made and sold tons of them. That's a good thing if you're looking for one. Still, demand is so high for these receivers that price have been steadily rising in the auction market over the last few years..




The circuitry inside the unit is nice, clean and organized.  Here's part of the Pioneer advertising information from the 70's:

How do you know when to trust a stereo receiver to fill your musical needs? Power output by itself is not much help, because unless your listening room is the size of a concert hall, a receiver with far less than concert-hall-sized output will do nicely. The answer, obviously, is to put your trust in the circuitry the kind that you'll enjoy in the pioneer SX-850.




Here are some of it's other features:

  • No more than 0.1% total harmonic distortion.
  • Super-quiet 3-stage direct-coupled phono equalizer
  • FET in the Tone Control section
  • 2-step frequency turnover switch for Bass and another for Treble
  • 2-deck monitor/dubbing
  • 2-system speaker drive
  • Separable pre/main
  • Superb FM/ AM section with dual-gate MOS FET and 4-gang variable capacitor
  • PLL IC in the multiplex to improve stereo separation
  • Special Integrated Circuit in the AM for better reception and less noise.
  • AUX input




When the SX-850 was introduced Pioneer's top of the line receiver was the SX-1250. Just a couple years later it introduced the legendary SX-1980, one of the most powerful receivers ever made. Of course, if you want a true monster receiver, the SX-1980 is occasionally available on the market for a few thousand dollars or more. For those of us with more modest budgets the SX-850, SX-750 or SX-950 are great choices.




As I mentioned above these receivers are extremely popular so demand is high. Prices reflect that high demand. I recently saw a completely restored SX-850 sell for $750.00. That's the very high end of the price range though. In general you can get a really nice Sx-850 for around $400.00. If you're not too concerned about aesthetics then you can get a functioning 850 for even less. Parts are plentiful so if something goes wrong you can always get it fixed. If you fond a good deal on one don't pass it up.


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There's a great video of a resto on a Pioneer SX-850 below. It's long but worth a watch if you're interested.



Marantz 2230

Jun 2nd, 2014 Posted in 2230 | No Comments »




Introduced in 1972 this Marantz 2230 receiver retailed for $349.95.  It has all the classic Marantz attributes such as the brushed silver face plate, blue and red lights and gyro-touch tuner. The 2230 was a nice entry level model from Marantz and it put out 30 watts per channel. Production of the 2230 ended in 1974.




As you can see the Marantz 2230 has all the basic features a receiver needs including a mid range tone control which many other lower end units did not have. Here is what the Marantz catalog had to say about the 2230...

Best in its class. With impressive specifications and Marantz-exclusive features, the Model 2230 offers more value and performance than any other receiver in its class. We've known that for years. But just recently, one of the nation's most respected independent consumer testing organizations verified it. In not one, but two separate categories -- features and performance. It delivers 60 Watts continuous power, both channels driven, from 20 Hz to 20 kHz with total harmonic and inter-modulation distortion well under 0.5%. Stepped, three-zone tone controls for BASS, MID, TREBLE. Provisions for tape decks, phones, record changers and 4-channel adaptors. Ultra low-distortion FET, RF and IF circuitry. Massive heat sinks; automatic protection for internal circuitry and associated speakers, plus the famous Marantz gold-anodized front panel. Looking for a moderately priced receiver? The Marantz 2230 out-does them all.





Of course a WC-22 wood case was optional with the receiver which does enhance its looks quite a bit. It you want a wood case for your 22XX series Marantz they can be found but they aren't cheap. In really nice condition original WC-22 wood cases routinely sell for $200 and up.




The 2230 weighs around 36 pounds and measures 17-1/4 W x 5 H x 14 D. The feet add another 5/8 inch.  These units are very well built and the phono circuit is highly regarded in the 2230 for magnetic coil cartridges. One thing to keep in mind when contemplating the purchase of lower wattage receivers is that many of them have been pushed to their limits which can result in over heating of some of the components. If you want to see a detailed breakdown of the 2230 check out this site All the 22XX series receivers from Marantz are known to have a nice warm, smooth sound about them. So, if you prefer warm and smooth over shrill and harsh then the 2230 may be for you.


Marantz 2230


You can see from this picture that the WC-22 wood case is pretty heavy duty. Of course it not only was used on the 2230 but the larger Marantz receivers in the 22XX series as well, some of which are over 50 pounds.




I'm sure you already know that Marantz gear is extremely popular. Anything produced in the 70's is highly sought after. For those needing a simple lower wattage receiver for a small room or just for lower volume detailed music listening the 2230 will definitely do the job. A fully serviced, completely functional 2230 in excellent cosmetic condition runs about $400-$600. But, you can pick up a working 2230 for anywhere from $150 to $300 if you're not to picky about cosmetics. They are well worth the investment as values only continue to climb.

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