Mar 10th, 2013 Posted in Carver, MXR-2000 | No Comments »
Ok, I'll admit that some of Carver's technology sounds like something out of a Star Trek movie. Magnetic Field Amplifiers (MFA). Sonic Holography (SH). Asymmetrical Charge-Coupled FM Detector (ACCD). Huh?
Nonetheless, Bob Carver is known for making great amplifiers and, in this case, a receiver. The Carver MXR-2000 , also known as The Carver Receiver 2000, is part of 'The Receiver' line from Carver. It started when Bob Carver designed no model number The Carver Receiver which in time became the MXR-130 and had 130 watts per channel. Next in line was the MXR-150 which was just an upgraded MXR-130 and had 150 watts per channel. Then along came the MXR-900 and the MXR-2000.
The MXR-2000 can power most any speakers with 200 watts per channel and its above mentioned Asymmetrical Charge-Coupled FM Detector technology results in excellent FM tuning and separation. The Sonic Holography technology is said to give music extreme detail and soundstage. I believe the MXR-130 and MXR-150 both incorporated the ACCD and MFA technology while the SH tech was added in the MXR-900 and MXR-2000. The MFA technology reduced the need for large transformers and filter capacitors which resulted in a lighter receiver then you might expect for the power output.
While Carver receivers are known for their technology they are also known to have reliability issues. You'll find many threads on audio forums pertaining to the repair of Carver receivers. Still, they aren't too difficult to fix as the problems are mostly well known. Many vintage receivers will need work at one time or another and some of them just aren't worth the time or expense. The Carver receivers are, for the most part, worth it. In fact, I've seen repair kits on eBay specifically for the Carver receiver line. Hot running resistors, bad solder connections and plastic switching components are all weak spots in the Carver receivers. The MXR-2000 is known for the bad solder joints on the main board.
While the MXR-2000 did have a more modern look from the front it still had wood side panels that now give it a classic vintage feel. Carver has a pretty loyal following so his receivers and amps usually sell for good prices. The MXR-2000 sells for anywhere between $400.00 and $600.00 with parts units reaching $100.00. If you can find one that's already been serviced and had its weak links fixed then that is the way to go.
Mar 9th, 2013 Posted in Onkyo, TX-8500 MKII | 2 Comments »
Onkyo's contribution to the Monster receiver genre is the Onkyo TX-8500. It was Onkyo's top of the line receiver at the time and put out an under rated 150 watts per channel into 4 ohms and 110 watts per channel into 8 ohms. This line of Onkyo receivers including the TX-2500, TX-4500, TX-6500 and TX-8500 are all under appreciated units. The build quality, performance and features are all second to none. Onkyo was a little late to the scene with their monster receiver so it didn't receive the fanfare that the Pioneer and Marantz receivers received at the time but it is easily comparable. A later MK II version was released that had a digital tuner along with the analog tuner. As you can see below it is fairly easily distinguished from the original TX-8500 shown above.
Below are the specifications for the TX-8500.
The TX-8500 does not have an Aux input though it does have 3 Tape inputs so you shouldn't be short inputs. The amplifier section is one of the best around and the tuning section is no slouch either. This unit is big at 22-7/16” X 6-5/16” X 18” and weighs in at around 55 pounds.
As I mentioned above the vintage Onkyo receivers don't get as much attention as they deserve. Because of this you can usually get one for a very good price. Of course, they aren't that common either so you don't see them for sale all that often. Still, if you want a monster receiver but don't want to pay the extravagant Pioneer or Marantz monster prices then try an Onkyo. You can pick up a TX-8500 for $400-$500 in good working condition. The MK II's are a little more expensive but still a very good value.
Mar 8th, 2013 Posted in SA-225, Technics | No Comments »
This Technics SA-225 receiver was made during the transition from the analog era to the digital era in the early 1980's. Similar to other receivers of that time it has both analog and digital features. As you can see it utilizes both an analog dial and a digital display for tuning. It looks to be kind of a half hearted attempt with the analog dial as it's really too small to be of real use. Obviously Technics wanted to make the move away from analog but didn't seem to want to shock customers too badly by making the transition too quickly.
Similar in many ways to the SA-222 the SA-225 puts out 35 watts per channel. Certainly not a top of the line model from Technics but it does have some nice features including a Quartz Lock tuner, push button tuning and separate Bass and Treble controls.
The SA-225 also has 7 memory preset buttons to store your favorite stations. This, of course, became a mainstay of many future digital receivers. The Auto Scan feature is another aspect of the digital revolution that became ingrained in later receivers. Simply turn the Auto Scan on and the tuner will automatically scroll through stations until it finds one with good signal strength.
Red and Green LED's were favorites of the transition era receivers. As you can see Technics used them on the SA-225 signal strength meter. Volume, Balance, and the Tone controls are all controlled with a knob while the rest of the controls are push button. Inside the unit it's pretty sparse. The battle over who could produce the biggest baddest receiver were coming to an end and consumers were looking more for value, features and compact size.
The Technics SA-225 is not top of the line but there are collectors who favor that generation of receivers. The Pioneer's and Sansui's garner most of the attention but this Technics receiver will still sell for around $150.00.