Kenwood KR-9400

The Kenwood Kr-9400 is one of Kenwood’s iconic receivers from the mid 1970’s and was their top of the line receiver at the time. At 120 watts per channel into 8 ohms it was an early predecessor of the later monster receivers. It debuted around 1976 and retailed for about $750.00.

The KR-9400 features the classic Kenwood styling from the 1970’s. Blue, green and red lighting on the dial and meters makes for a colorful display. The volume and tone functions have detent controls. Kenwood uses a triple function meter for Signal Strength, Multipath, and Deviation depending upon which button is depressed. It also features triple tone controls and a Dolby FM switch (requires a Dolby adapter).

The build quality of the KR-9400 is exceptional. The pre-amp utilizes low-noise, metal encapsulated transistors to give it a high signal to noise ratio. The FM decoder has phase lock loop IC circuits which allow for extremely high FM stereo separation. It also has a large power transformer and huge heat sinks.

There is no coupling capacitor between the output and speakers so total harmonic distortion is very low at 0.02%. The KR-9400 is easy to work and is laid out very nicely. It also has real transistors as opposed to the hard to find power packs the KR-9600 has.

When Pioneer came out with the SX-1010 at 100 watts per channel, Kenwood responded with the KR-9400 at 120wpc. Marantz then released the 2325 at 125 wpc. The watt wars then began in earnest through the late 70’s and into the early 1980’s.

The Kenwood KR-9400 didn’t sell as well as the Pioneer, Marantz, or Sansui top of the line receivers though. Maybe that’s why they are harder to find these days. The KR-9400 performs well though, is exceptionally built and is reasonably priced relative to it’s competitors of the time. The KR-9400 sells for about $400 to $600 depending upon condition.

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Pioneer SM-B201

This Pioneer SM-B201 Stereophonic Amplifier was built in the early 1960’s. It has FM and AM tuners and produces 14 watts per channel.

In the pre-MPX days of AM-FM simulcast stereo one channel was on AM and the other on FM. Two broadcast towers were required for stereo. In other words, FM was broadcast on one tower and AM on another. The user of the SM-B201 would have to tune both dials to the correct frequencies to get stereo. Of course, not many stations wanted to build two towers to broadcast in stereo so the design was short lived. The Fisher 800 was another example of simulcast stereo.

The Pioneer SM-B201 has a strange symmetric front because of its dual tuning dials and “magic eye” tubes.

The controls include separate Bass and Treble as well as a Whistle and Loudness switch.

On the back panel there are outputs for 4, 8 and 16 Ohm speakers. There are phono inputs for both ceramic and magnetic cartridges of 3mV or more. There’s also a Tape In and Out, Aux in and FM/MPX out.

The SM-B201 has 19 tubes including the two 6E5 eye tubes. 12AX7’s are in each channel driving a pair of 6BM8 (ECL82) output tubes. There is also a 5AR4 rectifier tube.

The early Pioneers were built like tanks but age takes a toll on them. The magic eye tubes in the SM-B201 are usually dead and the gray capacitors are usually leaking. With a little servicing you can have a nice amp and a great conversation piece.

These early receivers are somewhat rare but not impossible to find. They are not as popular as the later 1970’s Pioneers. A nice SM-B201 will run anywhere from $200 to $400 depending upon condition.

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