Realistic STA-52B

Aug 7th, 2014 Posted in Realistic, STA-52B | No Comments »

Realistic STA-52B

 

This Realistic STA-52B was a budget offering from Radio Shack around 1979-80.  It retailed for roughly $200 and had limited features. Still, it has very appealing aesthetics. The black dial face coupled with gold lettering adds an air of sophistication to this receiver. And, it sounds pretty good too!

 

Realistic STA-52B Left

 

It features both AM and FM bands and has separate bass and treble controls. It only puts out 18 watts per channel so it was designed for smaller listening areas. It has a magnetic phono input and an AUX input as well (for you iPod users). Notice that it even has a cool dual LED feature in the tuning needle. You don't see that very often. While it was designed as a lower end unit for those on a budget it has features that other receivers at a similar price point did not have including outputs for two sets of speakers instead of just one.

 

Realistic STA-52B Right

 

There is an earlier version which is the STA-52 that puts outs only 12 watts per channel but does have the ever desirable Q-Vox feature which uses a synthesizing technique to create a virtual quadraphonic sound. Yes, that was sarcasm.

The STA-52B does not have that feature but does have a speaker A Rev setting which will reverse the A and B speakers in case you want to hear the guitar solo in a song on your right instead of your left. I'm not exactly sure why that's useful but it probably sounded cool to a kid looking through the Radio Shack catalog back in 1980.

 

Realistic STA-52B Back

 

As you can see it also has both DIN and standard inputs for Tape which is nice. The styling really is nice and the genuine walnut veneer case adds to the look.

 

Realistic STA-52B Side

 

OK, so it's not a monster receiver - more like a Minion receiver. But, every receiver has its place, and this one is a fine example of the lower end of the spectrum. In fact, if you want a nice, clean, easy to use receiver for your turntable or reel-to-reel and don't need to fill a large room with sound then this little guy can be had for around $60. Not much to spend in order to dabble in to the world of vintage audio.

 

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Sansui G-5000

Jul 30th, 2014 Posted in G-5000, Sansui | 1 Comment »

sansui-g-5000

 

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.

 

sansui-g-5000-left

 

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

 

sansui-g-5000-right

 

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.

 

sansui-g-5000-lit

 

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.

 

sansui-g-5000-inside

 

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"

 

sansui-g-5000-back

 

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 | 1 Comment »

 

pioneer-sx-850-front

 

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.

 

pioneer-sx-850-left

 

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.

 

pioneer-sx-850-right

 

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..

 

pioneer-sx-850-inside2

 

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.

 

pioneer-sx-850-inside

 

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

 

pioneer-sx-850-back

 

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.

 

pioneer-sx-850-manual

 

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.