Here is another receiver made during the transition from quality made audio to cheap black plastic audio. Yeah, I know that’s a generalization but it holds true for most of the audio market as it moved into the 1990’s. This Kyocera R-851 is a very interesting receiver. I actually had one of these for a while along with its companion CD player and tape deck. It may not look like much in the pictures but it really is a beautiful piece of equipment. It is rated at 85 watts per channel which is most likely a conservative rating. It retailed for around $850 when it was introduced in the mid 1980’s.
In the early 1980’s Kyocera (a contraction of Kyoto Ceramics) purchased a company named Cybernet which propelled them into the audio manufacturing industry. I owned a Cybernet amp and tuner at one time as well. They were at the forefront of the MOSFET technology at the time. This brings up one of the drawbacks of the early Kyocera MOSFET receivers. The output transistors tend to get hot, too hot, and fail. Replacements can be found however so all is not lost if your R-851 or R-861 die of heat exposure.
Also notice the different lettering and logo on the front of the receivers in the first and second pictures. The red logo was used on units produced later in the production cycle while the all white, script font, lettering and logo were used on earlier production units.
Some of the controls are accessed via a drop down panel that runs along the bottom of the receiver. The controls on the right of the unit include an interesting volume control slider as well as push button selectors for input source and station presets. The LED panel includes a digital frequency readout as well as peak power and FM signal strength meters.
Pressing the lower-right corner of the panel causes a full-width door to pop down, revealing additional push buttons, knob controls, and a headphone jack. There are three tone controls, including bass, midrange, and treble. The bass-control turnover frequency can be varied from 100 to 500 Hz, and the treble turnover-frequency range is 2,000 to 10,000 Hz. The frequency of maximum effect for the mid control can be varied between 500 and 2,000 Hz, giving the R-851 a quasiparametric capability.
The rear panel on the R-851 has the standard input and output jacks, two sets of insulated spring-loaded speaker-output connectors, and a hinged AM ferrite-rod antenna. There are binding posts for an external wire AM antenna and an F-type coaxial connector for a 75-ohm FM antenna.
The wood side panels are walnut finish. The stereo is 18 1/8 inches wide, 14 3/16 inches deep, and 5 3/16 inches high. It weighs 27 pounds.
If you don’t usually run with the crowd and want something very different but that performs at a high level you should definitely check out the Kyocera R-851 receiver (or the R-861). It has a nice high tech look to it yet still seems vintage. It produces enough power for most situations and performs with the best of the receivers made at that time. The most tantalizing aspect is that Kyocera is somewhat of a sleeper brand and their older receivers can be had for extremely reasonable prices.