Concept 16.5

Concept 16.5


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.


Concept 16.5 Back


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.


Concept 16.5 Inside


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.


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26 thoughts on “Concept 16.5

  1. I have one of these receivers it has a short in the power switch where when it’s turned off the display light stays on and the volume nob is dirty it makes a Lil scratchy sound when turned up or down how much do you think it’s worth I live in California USA

  2. My brother told me i still had my 16.5 in the barn after many times thinking and trying to take to the dump. Weighing so much it was to big and heavy to put in trash can after it stopped working i just gave up and left it in the barn and forgot about it. Found a local tech and for two bills fixed it and just added kenwood sx7666 speakers a serviceman brought back from a px in japan during the vietnam war.They were military issued so the public could not purchase and i don’t see many around.You know i did not realize how good the sound of the 70s was.We just exspected that and took it for granted.When i turn music from the sixtes and 70s it takes me back but it only sounds good!LOUD ! Just ask a baby boomer.

  3. One sold a few weeks ago for $1300.00 and it was listed as “parts or repair” because the AM/FM output didn’t work.

  4. My dad gave me a Concept 16.5 that he used with a pair of Bose 901’s back in the day. I paired it with some Klipsch floors that absolutely shook the world. I have the same issue as a gentleman above, when I turn volume up or down there is a scratching sound but then pumps through crystal clear and powerful. I am pissed I took the knobs off when I moved and put them in a ziploc for “safe keeping” and cannot find the bag any longer. I had thought about selling the unit but I remember my dad having it my whole life so it has sentimental value…although I sold my speakers and she is just sitting in a spare bedroom :/

    Any ideas on who would be able to clean the unit? I debated doing it myself, but didn’t want to mess with any structural or electrical dignity.

  5. Depends on where you are. Most audio technicians should be able to do a basic cleaning. Then again, the 16.5 is a rare beast so I wouldn’t just trust anyone. Maybe check over at AudioKarma and let them know where you’re at. someone there should know a good technician near you. Also, if you’re interested in doing it yourself there is a good thread there on using DeOxit and such. Read through at least the first page as there is good info there on what and what not to use.

  6. I to have the rare 16.5 Concept.

    To give you an idea of the cost of the unit and repairs: bought on ebay in 2011 for 1,000.00 cosmetically 9/10. It worked fine, but had a power relay issue. I had it completely re-capped and restored by a gentleman by the name of Jeff who used to manage a Pacific Audio outlet and during that time was also a head repair tech there. The restore cost $1500.00

  7. Still have the concept 16.5 and since march found a pair ar58s and a concept 2QD direct drive turntable.Lot of people are sold on belt because direct drive has floor noise.I have a sony belt and another thorens direct drive .The concept direct drive sounds so much better than the other two and dont think i will need to change to any other table I am 60 years old and hope it lasts the rest of my life.The ar 58s are just fantastic .Back in the 80s the concept 16.5 was hooked up to concept speakers and dont remember them sounding this good.Still cant stand digital Its my age

  8. I have one I wish to sell. Gives amazing sound thru my JBL L65’s, which are also for sale. AM band does not work, power switch needs fixing and missing the volumn knob. Anyone interested let me know. I’m unfamiliar with this site and not sure how you contact someone!

  9. Thank you for the info raiko! Anytime I get in a crunch in life I wonder about selling her – but I can’t bring myself to do it. Any idea on where I can find replacement knobs? I sold a Bose lifestyle system last year and I think the knobs ended up in the box I handed over. Real bummer.

  10. Hmm..first thing I would do is figure out if the knobs from any of the other Concept models are the same as the 16.5. They probably are. Sometimes people will list a full set of knobs from a receiver they are parting out on ebay. Of course not many are going to have a full set from a 16.5 since they are so rare. But, the 4.5, 6.5 etc. aren’t as rare so a full set of knobs might show up occasionally, and, if they match the 16.5 knobs then you could use them. The Concept 2.0 knobs look similar although there are only 4 round knobs so you’d still have to find one more. You could probably even buy an entire 2.0 for $60 or $70 and just scavenge the knobs off of it. If they all match you’d only be short one knob. You can set up searches on eBay so that you are alerted via email any time a Concept receiver is listed. That way you won’t miss any knobs that are listed. Maybe set one search up for “Concept Knob” and one for “Concept Receiver”, then you would see any that pop up on auction or buy it now. It may require some patience but I think eventually something would show up. Good Luck!

  11. One of the best sounding receivers ever made…fantastic contruction….i gave the MCS 3125 receiver ….my second best receiver behind tge 16.5
    Anyone selling one for a fair price?

  12. Hi folks in looking for a Concept receiver, be it a 6.5/11/16.5 please contact me at djchadallen at with info and price thank you!

  13. I have a concept model 16.5 AM FM receiver works great, i was just Rockin it with some Pioneers 16 inch speakers I’m in the Riverside area Letting It Go hit me back.

  14. I would like to buy a 16.5 in nice condition. I had one back in the day. I am in cali and will drive. Thanks Joe

  15. I have a 16.5 and brought it in Santa Maria Ca. back in the early 70’s. I also have the CE series speakers to go with (4). The receiver will not go pass the warm-up phase and the red light on the power button will not go green. Any ideas??

  16. Hi folks,

    Just want to drop a line saying I have one. I live in Ontario, Canada and was able to purchase one in fantastic condition from a receiver collector in Toronto. I was very surprised to see one become available in my area considering they were not sold in Canada and somehow made it’s way from the American west coast. In short I love this unit. I also have a Sansui G7500, McIntosh 4100 and Marantz 2325. This baby will go toe to toe with any of these other highly regarded units. I know some people think the appearance is somewhat plain but I think it’s beautiful. If anyone has the opportunity to get one I strongly suggest going for it. You will not be disappointed. Good luck!

  17. Audio Karma has a great thread on the 16.5. I bought mine new around 1982. They were listing at about $1,000, but I scored mine for $650. It died after about ten years and I thought it cheaper to replace than repair. I boxed it up (original packaging and outer shipping box, manual and original receipt. Ten years in storage later I found a collector on Audio Karma who happily paid me $250, then dropped another $800 to restore it. It was visually a 10, but clearly needed some work.

  18. I just got one of these at an estate sale. It seems to be in great working and cosmetic condition.

    Anybody looking to buy? I am a little concerned about shipping. The 67 lbs is no joke! I am in Nor Cal.


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