Vintage Fisher tube receivers are some of the most popular receivers among collectors and audio enthusiasts. Receivers such as the Fisher 500 and 800 fall into that category. During the transition from tube to solid state electronics in the late 60’s Fisher produced the Fisher 800 T which is the solid state version, figuratively more than literally, of the Fisher 800. It is actually very similar to the Fisher 500TX except that it has a dual voltage transformer and a different colored face plate. It was made by Fisher in the United States from around 1968 to 1972. I’ve read that the 800T is possibly the export version of the 500TX, hence the dual voltage capability.
The Fisher 800-T puts out 65 watts per channel. An interesting aspect of this receiver is that it has four ways to adjust the tuning. First is a wired remote, the RK-30, which nowadays, is very hard to find. Of there is a manual tuning knob as well. In addition to that is the Auto-Scan Touch Tuning and the Tune-O-Matic push button memory tuning.
The TUNE-O-MATIC lets you preset four separate FM dials to your four favorite FM stations and thereafter, instantly select the desired station at the press of a button. The AutoScan feature electronically scans a tuning dial located directly above the signal-strength meter. At the press of the AutoScan push button, the signal-strength meter converts to a frequency indicator.
Just below the AutoScan buttons you can see the ‘Solid State’ designation. In terms of engineering the Fisher 800-T featured a crystal FM-IF filter and dual-gate RF MOSFETs that had never been used before in an FM tuner of any high fidelity equipment. These provide the very highly sensitive and selective FM reception.
Here you can see both the Fisher 800T and the Fisher 500TX for comparison. Note that they are essentially the same aesthetically except for the face plate colors.
The 800T featured an optional wood cabinet as well (90-UW). It measures 16″ W x 14″ D x 5″ H and weighs around 30 pounds. If you’re looking at purchasing an early Fisher solid state receiver keep in mind that many of the early transistors used in these units were fairly fragile and not always easily replaced. The 800T and 500TX also have the added complexity of the Auto Tuning functions in the circuitry. However, once restored these receivers have an excellent warm sound.
While the tube receivers from Fisher tend to garner most of the attention the solid state versions are quickly catching up in popularity. The all tube Fisher 800 sells for around $1500 while an 800T can sell for up to $1200. Just a few years back the top price for an 800T was about $500 so prices have been escalating.