This is the fairly hard to find Concept 16.5 which was offered through the audio retailer Pacific Stereo back in the late 70’s. The 16.5 was sold from about 1977-1980 and had a retail price of around $949.99.
Basically, when a customer went into a Pacific Stereo store looking for a Pioneer or Sansui receiver the salesman would steer them toward the “house” brand which was the Concept. Normally you might think that the house brand would be some cheaply made unit designed for maximum profit to the retailer. But, in this case the Concept 16.5 was one very well built and high performing receiver. It was apparently made in Japan by Tandy and put out a whopping 165 watts per channel. Some say that it is perhaps the best receiver ever made and you’ll be hard pressed to find any negative reviews although it’s styling leaves a little to be desired. It is known for it’s fantastic bass output and window shattering power.
The Concept 16.5 is huge and weighs in at 67 pounds. The circuitry was deigned by Richard Schram, now with Parasound, and featured a dual mono design with 2 large power transformers and 10,000 uf power supply capacitors. It’s rumored that Pacific Stereo didn’t submit the 16.5 for review to the audio magazines at the time because it’s superior performance might upset the other audio manufacturers that Pacific Stereo carried such as Pioneer and Sansui. Since Pacific also provided repair and maintenance on the other manufacturers receivers they knew other models inside and out. This allowed them to design their Concept line to provide even better performance then its peers.
These receivers are pretty hard to find as Pacific Stereo was mainly a West coast operation though it did have some stores in the Mid-west. It’s a guess but somewhere between 1200 and 2000 Concept 16.5 receivers were made. How many have survived over the years is unknown but they are not that easily found. In December 2011 a 16.5 sold for $720.00 that was in good cosmetic and working order but need some maintenance and cleaning. I would guess that a superior unit that is restored would sell for $1000.00 or more.
Update: May 22, 2014. Prices are on the rise. A Concept 16.5 recently sold for $1580.00. It was in fantastic cosmetic and working condition.
Update: November 2019. A nice 16.5 sold for $1900.