MCS 3125

 

mcs-3125-front

 

Many collectors overlook this receiver and mistake it for a cheap, low quality unit. That's not the case. This MCS 3125 is considered a "Monster" receiver and is actually well built and a great performer. MCS was the house brand for JC Penney back in the 70's and the 3125 was their top of the line receiver at the time.  It pumps out 125 watts per channel but the user manual warns that it is capable of 200 watts per channel. Whoever worked for JC Penney's electronics acquisition department at the time certainly had discerning taste which resulted in a very good product being offered. The 3125 retailed for around $899.

 

mcs-3125-left

 

There is some debate over who actually manufactured the MCS 3125 for JC Penney. Most seem to agree that it was NEC while others mention Technics. I think that different models in the MCS line were probably made by different manufacturers but that the 3125 was made by NEC in Japan. Check out the NEC AG-100E equalizer below and compare that with the EQ on the 3125. Very similar.

 

NEC AG-100E

 

JC Penney had previously released the MCS 3275 which didn't really meet expectations. It was underpowered at 75 WPC and its tuner section was less than steller. So, JC Penney got the ball rolling on a TOTL receiver and the result was the 3125 which was released sometime around 1979-1981. This was near the end of the big receiver power wars and the 3125 actually incorporated some of the latest technology at the time.

 

mcs-3125-right

 

The 3125 is not for everybody. It's unique styling and design are appealing to some but not others. The large five band EQ section with red LED's definitely sets it apart from other receivers and it also has both analog and digital tuning displays. It actually has some of the aesthetic qualities of boomboxes of the same era. The faceplate and knobs are all aluminum and 153 LED's are utilized in the unit.

 

mcs-3125-lit

 

The MCS 3125 utilizes a huge power transformer and actually has independent power supplies for each channel. As you can see there are also two large filter capacitors per channel as well. It features a direct coupled amp design with large heat sinks to dissipate the heat.

 

MCS 3125 Inside

 

The tuner section was improved using a 4 gang FM and 3 gang AM tuner.

 

MCS 3125

 

The MCS 3125 was discontinued in 1984 and not that many were actually built. Quality and WPC were falling down the list of customer priorities at the time and cheaper built units were dominating the marketplace. So, the 3125 is pretty hard to find nowadays. Given their performance and quality they should sell for top dollar but the fact that they were sold through JC Penney keeps many people from taking them seriously. They are definitely sleeper receivers and can be found for very reasonable prices. For now at least. You can find working units in very good condition for anywhere from $200 to $350 dollars which, given their specs, is a very good price.

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Sansui G-33000

 

Sansui G-33000

 

You'll hear people refer to a vintage receiver sometimes and say "You don't see those around very often". Usually it's hyperbole. With the monster Sansui G-33000 it's not hyperbole. You REALLY don't see these very often. It would be hard to argue that this isn't the holy grail for Sansui collectors much less vintage receiver collectors in general. I recently wrote a post on the holy grail for Marantz collectors which is the Marantz 2600. One of those rare beasts recently sold for just over $6000.  Well, the Sansui G-33000 has that one beat as one just sold for $7700 (12-17-2013).

 

Sansui G-33000

 

The G-33000 has the wattage to back up its size as well. It puts out a massive 300 watts which is second only to the Technics SA-1000 at 330 watts and equal to the Marantz 2600.

 

Sansui G-33000

 

Now, some purists are going to argue that the G-33000, and G-22000 as well, is not truly an integrated receiver since it can be split into two separate components. But, when connected it is essentially one huge receiver which probably isn't going to fit on many racks, or shelves for that matter. So, Sansui built it in two parts - the pre-amp/tuner and the amplifier section.

 

Sansui G-33000

 

Production numbers aren't known exactly but it could be around about a thousand units produced. It retailed for $1900 in 1979 which was a big sum of money back then. The tuner features triple tone controls and IF band selection of wide or narrow for both the FM and AM bands.

 

Sansui G-33000

 

As you can see there are metric bolts and brackets that hold the units together.

 

Sansui G-33000

 

This is the amplifier section detached from the tuner. You can see the brackets at each end of the unit.

 

Sansui G-33000 Amp

 

You can also see the massive toroidal transformers and filter caps through the screen. It's actually a mono block design. Sansui was known for their straight DC circuit design which, according to the sales literature, ensured sound purity all the way from input to output.

 

Sansui G-33000 Amp

 

Given the huge power output there is quite a bit of heat generated in the unit so Sansui installed an automatic temperature controlled cooling fan into the amplifier section. Nice!

 
Sansui G-33000 Fan

 

The power amp section can't actually be used as a stand alone power amp without modification. It has binding post connections for two sets of speakers and dual phono inputs as well.

 

Sansui G-33000 Inputs

 

It even has a third tape loop just in case you need an extra!

 

Sansui G-33000

 

Over the last few years only a handful of these monster receivers have come onto the market. I've heard of a sale around $3000 for one in decent working condition a few years back. Classic Audio had a beautiful unit listed at $10,000 which is shown as sold though I don't know what the actual selling price was. The most recent was, as I mentioned above, for $7700 in very nice working condition. That is probably pretty close to the market value right now. It does seem as though prices are climbing over time and the Sansui G-33000 is getting to the point where the average collector will not be able to afford one.

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