The Concept line of stereo receivers were offered by Pacific Stereo as a house brand. The top of the line was the 16.5. Near the bottom of performance range was the Concept 3.5 receiver. The low end was the 2.5. Despite being an economy model it was actually a pretty good little receiver. It produces 35 watts per channel and has appealing looks.
Concept implemented an interesting design with their push button controls. As you can see there is a built in LED in each push button. The LED’s make it easier to see which functions are active in low light or darkness. The Concept 3.5 also has a big blocky type switch for the AM/FM/Phono control similar to those used by Yamaha.
The Volume and Tone control knobs have multiple detents for more precise adjustment. Concept called the 3.5 a ‘User Oriented’ stereo which means it had all of the basic features and was offered at an affordable price.
As you can see in the picture above, the Tape Monitor button LED’s glow red when the button is depressed while all the others glow green. The 3.5 utilized a 3 gang tuner, full Quadrature detector and Phase-Lock Loop circuitry. You can see two small cutouts just above the FM 88 and 108 MHz symbols on the analog tuning dial. The left square cutout is the Stereo indicator light. The right is the Protector Activated light which comes on when there is either a short circuit in the speaker circuitry or an overload of the receiver.
The Concept 3.5 weighs in at just over 27 pounds and measures 18 3/8″W x ” 6″H x ” 15″D. It also has Rosewood patterned vinyl covering pressed plywood. Overall it’s a nice little receiver.
Obviously the most coveted of the Concept receivers is the monster 16.5. But, if you don’t want to spend absurd money for a huge receiver then the smaller Concept receivers might be a good fit. The 3.5 sells for about $50 to $100. Maybe a bit more for a mint unit. For a little extra you could look at the Concept 5.5 which has 55 watts per channel. It sells for $100 to $150.