The Most Powerful Vintage Receivers of All Time

Jul 28th, 2013 Posted in Receivers | 39 Comments »

A War of Watts.
 
Back in the late 70's audio manufacturers engaged in a war. You might call it a war of watts. The consumer seemed to have an insatiable appetite for more and more watts in their receivers. Manufacturers were quick to oblige and started making and marketing higher and higher wattage machines. Each company tried to outdo the other. Many think that the Pioneer SX-1980 is the most powerful receiver ever made but that's actually not the case. Of course, we need to stick to a few guidelines before deciding on our power list.
 
First, we'll stick to receivers only and not separates. Second, since this site covers vintage receivers we'll stick to those considered "vintage" which of course is a definition we apply loosely. For this list we'll stick to 1990 and earlier. We'll also use the rated output into 8 ohms specified by the manufacturer. This can be inconsistent and some manufacturers such as Marantz probably under rated their receivers power output. Still, we have to have a standard and that will be it.
 
OK, so what are the top ten most powerful vintage receivers of all time?
 
1.  Technics SA-1000 - 330 WPC
2.  Marantz 2600     - 300 WPC
3.  Sansui G-33000   - 300 WPC
4.  Pioneer SX-1980  - 270 WPC
5.  Marantz 2500     - 250 WPC
6.  Sansui G-22000   - 220 WPC
7.  Sansui G-9700    - 200 WPC
8.  Kenwood KR-9050  - 200 WPC
9.  Hitachi SR-2004  - 200 WPC
10. Marantz 2385     - 185 WPC
11. Pioneer SX-1280  - 185 WPC
12. Technics SA-5770 - 185 WPC
 
The Technics SA-1000 takes the top spot with a massive 330 watts per channel. Of course its size matches its power output as well. It measures 25 inches long, 22 inches deep and 7 inches tall and weighs in at a back breaking 90 pounds.
 
Technics SA-1000
 
You could make the argument that the Sansui G-33000 and Sansui G-22000 shouldn't be on the list because they are essentially separates but I think many collectors still consider them as "receivers" even though they are not truly integrated.
 
Here are some of the runner up receivers.
 
Rotel RX-1603           - 180 WPC
Nikko NR-1415           - 175 WPC
Fisher RS-1080          - 170 WPC
Yamaha CR-3020          - 170 WPC
Concept 16.5            - 165 WPC
Technics SA-5760        - 165 WPC
Kenwood KR-9600         - 160 WPC
Onkyo TX-8500 MkII      - 160 WPC
Pioneer SX-1250/5590    - 160 WPC
Sansui G-8700           - 160 WPC
Sansui G-9000/901       - 160 WPC
Sansui 9900Z            - 160 WPC
Fisher RS-2015          - 150 WPC
Project-One Mark 1500DC - 150 WPC
Sony STR-V7             - 150 WPC
Yamaha R-2000           - 150 WPC
Carver The Receiver     - 150 WPC
Toshiba SA-7150         - 150 WPC
 
There you have it!  The most powerful vintage receivers ever made. Of course, all of them are highly collectible and bring high prices at auction. Surprisingly a Technics SA-1000 recently sold with a buy it now at $1500 which seems fairly cheap. The Pioneer SX-1980's can sell for up to $4000 and the Marantz 2500 and 2600's up to or more than that.
 

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