Realistic STA-2100

Realistic STA-2100

This is the Realistic STA-2100 offered by Radio Shack in 1979. It’s a very nice and clean looking unit that was made by Foster Electronics. The build quality is excellent. The STA-2100 utilized a toroidal transformer and pumps out 120 watts per channel RMS. A later version, the STA-2100D was manufactured without the toroidal transformer due to a patent dispute with Pioneer.

Realistic STA-2100

The receiver also has a pretty good 4 gang tuner FM tuner. Overall the receiver is probably under rated by most collectors so you can still pick them up at a fairly reasonable cost and the quality and looks are just as good as some of the more sought after receivers.

Realistic STA-2100 Right

One change that Radio Shack made from the STA-2000 to the STA-2100 was that they moved the power button from the left of the volume knob where it sat mixed in with all the other buttons to the right side just above the headphone jack where it was more easily visible.

Realistic STA-2100 Back

Here you can see the big toroidal transformer as well as the large capacitors. The Realistic receivers are very well built and well laid out electronically.

Realistic STA-2100 Inside

The Realistic STA-2100 retailed for $599.95 and was Radio Shack’s top of the line receiver in 1979. Other features included:

  • Linear Phase IF filters
  • Dual-Gate Mosfet FM
  • PLL Multiplex
  • Wide dynamic range phono preamp with selectable sensitivity
  • 10 dB attenuator
  • 3 tone controls
  • 25 or 75 microsecond De-emphasis for Dolby FM
  • Muting
Realistic STA-2100 Ad

The Realistic STA-2100 sell for around $500-$900.00. One in excellent condition sold for $470.00 on 8-20-2011. Another in very nice fully functioning sold for $609.00 on 8-15-2011.

Update: A STA-2100 sold for $750 in May of 2023.

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61 thoughts on “Realistic STA-2100

  1. Few days ago I purchased a STA-2100, the one with the toroidal transformer, and its one sexy beast.

    Everything about this unit screams quality. The attention to detail is amazing. A corrugated, 2cm wide plastic band is present across all the bottom knobs to allow for easy gripping. The tuner wheel also has a corrugated band, except this one is metal and part of the wheel. Tuner lights only come on when the tuner is selected and light up in green, just like the L & R power meters.

    The tuner has no trouble picking up stations. The wood cabinet is a very nice touch.

    I can see why Pioneer was all in a stink over this unit. Radio Shack designed this and Foster built it. Cud-o’s to Radio Shack for such a great design. Unit must really be seen powered up at dusk to truly appreciate its beauty.

    All my STA-2100 needs now is a fine pair of bookshelves to power up … and I’ve got just the candidates.

    ps. I forgot to mention my favorite part, the POWER BUTTON. A 1cm hole is drilled right in the middle of the button. When first powered up, the LED inside the hole glows red during its protection mode test (great design once again), then turns green once its ready to go. Very ‘ahead of its time’ imo.
    The attention to detail is EVERYWHERE on this unit and it makes me appreciate its styling each time I power it up. Oh, and you wouldn’t think it, but it is ONE HEAVY BEAST. I was shocked that this ‘measly’ 120wpc receiver weighed this much. Unreal.

    1. I agree. I love the larger Realistic receivers. I have the STA-2300 and it looks fantastic lit up. Build is high quality and it sounds great as well. They’re still somewhat sleeper units as prices haven’t gotten that high yet so they are a good performance value right now. A little over $300.00 and you get yourself a cool top of the line receiver.

    2. Having worked for a company owned Radio Shack I have a different perspective. Everything at Radio Shack had a price point that an item sold at. The models change from year to year on many of them, but there was always a cassette recorder to sell at 29, 39, and 49 bucks. The 29 ran only on batteries. The 39 had a port for AC adapter, and the 49 came with an AC cord. Radio Shack products were built to sell at a profit for HALF the normal retail price. The top of the line receiver at 599.99 would be new in the fall catalog and sell through Christmas at this price, Then in the Spring it would go on sale for 299.99 and a pair of speakers could be bought at half price. During the mid 1970’s through early 80’s the top STA receivers were built to look like Pioneer on the outside, but the insides tell a much different story. Anytime a receiver is brought to the store for warranty repair, the procedure was to write up a ticket, box it up and send it to the repair center. The catch was that the repair costs came directly from the store’s profit and out of the manager’s pay. Being an electronics tech I was able to do a lot of repair work at no cost to the store except for parts, and I had the opportunity to see the differences in circuit design, layout, assembly methods, workmanship, and most importantly, the quality of the components used. We did not advertise we were doing work in the store, something which franchise dealers did all the time. So I can state with confidence two things. Pioneer never built any Radio Shack receiver, and dollar for dollar you get more in a Pioneer receiver. Every Radio Shack receiver has a muddy, boomy, bass that can’t totally be compensated for with the controls. I used to modify components in the tone controls for some customers with hearing problems. So if you bought your Realistic receiver on a half price sale, or at rock bottom prices at one of the Where Is As Is sales, you got a decent Pioneer look alike at a cheaper than Pioneer price, but you did not get that wonderful, clear, Pioneer sound.

  2. raiko, after looking at the pictures of the STA-2300, it’s a twin of the 2100. Awesome looking unit which retains the styling of the 2100 and its MONSTER power. If you own other receivers as well, how would you compare this one’s power and sound signature to those?

    Get this. When checking the DC offset of my STA-2100, it was 2.3mv on the left channel and 4.7mv on the right channel. This is for a unit that has never been rebuilt and from I’ve been told by the 2nd owner, never been biased either. That’s build quality at its finest! (compared to my Hitachi HA-330, which was 68mv on L and 152mv on R). Hitachi needs some work.

    I have toyed with the idea to have it rebuilt but am worried it would change the sound signature into something I may not like AS much. What are your thoughts?

  3. I have an STA-2000 and an STA-2300. The 2300 will naturally drive speakers a lot harder than the 2000, but the 2000 has a more sensitive tuner. I call the 2000 the Powerhouse and the 2300 the Killer. Really hoping to come up with a 2100 or 2100D. The most overlooked Realistic receiver of that era has to be the STA-2080, though. It’s an 80 WPC monster that weighs about 50 pounds, and is 6 7/8″ x 20¼” x 17 1/8″, so it won’t fit in most vertical audio stands (20″ inside measurement typical) and must sit on top where the turntable normally would sit.

  4. I have a Realistic STA-2100, not the “D” version, but the real STA-2100, before the patent problem with Pioneer; this Monster receiver has a Toriodal transformer, and enough power to create sound for an auditorium. I have had it in the shop a number of times over the last 34 years, and it always sounds brilliant. I am thinking about selling it, but it is hard to give up.

  5. I have a nice Realistic STA-2100 that looks and sounds great.I am thinking about selling for the right price.I am asking 650.00

  6. Rodger, you just single handily killed this thread! lol $650????? way to much, these don’t hold that kind of value,right now on ebay theres one going for $225 fully serviced and its the sta-2300

  7. On earlier post I asked the difference between 2100 and 2100D, somehow I missed where it was mentioned in the description of the receiver…my bad!

  8. Sorry for taking so long to reply, I just checked the site. In regard to the question posed about differences in the STA-2100 and 2100-D, the “D” version, as nominally stated, was the after lawsuit version that Realistic put out, since the STA-2100 utilized a Toroidal transformer (very powerful), and Pioneer sued, since they believed they had it first (patent), hence the later “D” version. My Realistic STA-2100 is the original super version. I am sure other versions are wonderful, at least this is what I know about it.

  9. This vintage STA-2100 Receiver is now listed on Ebay, and I am going to miss her. It has been a wonderful 34 years, and I already have second thoughts about the new replacement receiver. Hopefully she will recieve a good home where someone will love it and nurse it.

  10. I bought my 2100 in 1980 for 465 dollars It was a demo in the store. It was used at a few parties in the early 80,s. It never gave me a problem.I still use it once in a while.I am not going to sell it. It will get passed down to my Grandson .

  11. What a great thought! Hopefully he will appreciate it’s superior sound and traditional quality. I bought mine in 1979, and my new replacement does not sound as nice as the STA-2100 did, although there is much new gadgetry I wanted with the new receiver, the simple and sad truth is that the new receivers do not sound as good.

  12. Iam currently using my realistic sta-52 received.It is only 12 watts per channel but it sounds good. Made about 1977.It is a quadrophonic reciever.It powers a pair of nova-10,s and a pair of optimus-10,s.I love it.

    1. The STA-52 is a stereo receiver, not a quad (4 channel) model. Quatravox is make believe four channel using the B speakers, but the amp is still two channel, not four.

  13. I should have mine in a few days! I have wanted one so bad for the last thirty or so years I now finally can get one for my home. Jon

  14. I have now been enjoying mine for two month’s. I am in the process of buying a set of Optimus T-200 speakers to use as my main series for the receiver and am backing up the unit with a set of Optimus T-110 as my secondary set of speakers. This set-up will ROCK the crap out of some better more top name units that you find for sale today. Jon

  15. My dad had found the STA-2100 on Ebay and bought it for me. I’m not sure what everyone means by a “decent” tuner. Because mine has no antenna (yet) and can pick up stations way better then my 90’s Optimus Stav receiver WITH an antenna! Yes, it is definitely a powerhouse! Had to be careful powering my Optimus Pro 4,000’s, the tweeters sounded harsh at half volume.

  16. I am looking to purchase a Realistic STA-2100 Receiver. I just missed getting one in mint condition on ebay. If anyone out there has one they are looking to sell, please let me know. Thanks.

  17. Hello, yesterday I was the high bidder upon a 2100D, I have wanted one for years, it says something about when turned on power meter jumps to the high point, I am not for sure but if it has to be repaired that will be okay too, I paid $305.00 for it on ebay and today I got a pair of Mach II and the midrange and woofers on each speaker has been repaired, this set should be a pretty good one when it’s up and operational.

  18. Dave I was looking at that same one on ebay. I’m glad I waited. I just bought one for 250 with free shipping it was missing the preamp amp jumpers guy said meters weren’t moving. Well put the jumpers back and the meters are fine and it now has sound too.

  19. Got one a few days ago after responding to a craigslist ad. On my way back my wife was driving and some lady crashed into us. Now the car is in the tow truck companys yard with my 2100 in the trunk. The tow truck company, Mendoza tow are a bunch of assholes that are making me wait till after the weekend to go see if the 2100 survived. Wife and I are ok. Car has insurance,but not sure if the 2100 is fine. The crash was on my wife’s side while she was driving and got t boned slightly at an angle. So all the impact was at the driver door. Ill update if the 2100 is ok later.

  20. I bought a STA-2100D, I find it a bit funny that the D has 5 wpc more than the original STA-2100, I’ve owned many of the big power receivers of the Power Wars era, when I purchased this STA-2100D I also had a beautiful Pioneer SX-1010, long story short I sold my 1010 and couldn’t be happier with the STA-2100D, as far as I’m concerned it’s a keeper, I’m running a pair of the early Mach One’s 40-4024 with the rubber surrounds and the way the Mach One’s sound with the STA-2100D just blows me away! If you find a nice STA-2100 or the STA-2100D my suggestion is jump on it, to me it was well worth the $375 I gave for it, it’s comparable to any of the Big named receivers of this class at half the price!

  21. First, let me say I love a lot of the old receivers. This one is a killer, the STA-2100D. I couldnt believe my luck…Found this yesterday at a flea market for 25.00 and it sounds awesome. Playing a 70’s album off U Tube on it now….

  22. Does the toroidal transformer in the STA-2100 make a low hum sound when it is just powered on sitting there at idle? Or, is it dead silent? Can anyone out there check theirs?

    1. I have a 2100 that needs some work. One of its issues is the power button isn’t working properly, and it stays on all the time. The previous owner just plugged it in to a switched power cord, but I am going to source a replacement for the switch to make it work properly.

  23. Deoxit….sorry. I had the same problem and found out the power switch gets dirty and causes the lights to stay in contact with the switch….

  24. A friend gave me a clean sta2100 that a deer antler stabbed right above the glass in the middle. Couldn’t find a used unit for parts so I cut bad spot out and repaired with aluminum flashing. Looks fairly well. The veneer had one small spot , fixed that. I’m gonna recap it but now it sounds smooth & mellow not that treebling tinty sounding shit like kids like today. I have a NAD 1600 preamp , Hafler 9180 and the 2100 I like the sound better. For free I can’t complain. I’ll recap it and keep it in line.

  25. Just to mention, The 2100 is far more superior than the 2100d in sonics and power. I know the 2100d specs say 125 wpc vs 2100 120wpc but the thd is much better with the 2100 at 0.04%. Also the volume control on the 2100d which I’ve had two of maxes out at about eleven o’clock. The volume on the 2100 just keeps on cranking as far as you can handle it. Much more superb receiver. And harder to find because less were made do to pioneer threatened a law suitell due to using the same massive toroidal transformer. The 2100 worth much more than the 2100d. It’s better period.

  26. Had mine 2100D now for just over 4 years and I love it more now than when I first received it. I even will take Christmas pictures of it all decorated up with the T-110 and T-200 speakers,along with the Lab 430 T\T which works like new.

    Happy Holidays All


  27. Just got my hands on a 2100D. Very well kept condition and sounds fantastic with my early ’80s Technics speakers. My ’90s Sony receiver is now put away as a backup. I am a very happy guy!!!

  28. Hello, I just wanted to say I had a STA 2100 back in 2007 and it produced beautiful sound! Sadly I had to sell it when my wife and I split up. Now I have a Kenwood Basic M1D power amplifier and it sounds very good!!!!

  29. Hello,

    I have a STA-2100 and a Pioneer SX-1250, with Mach One’s 40-4024 spearkers. As stated the STA-2100 delivers 120 wrms per channel, and the SX-1250 is a monster delivering 160 wrms per channel, a beast. Both delivers great sound, distortion free, from 20 to 20000Hz, nothing to compare with today’s receivers. I love them both, these vintage receivers are classics. If you want sound quality, go vintage. Trully the industry went backward since over 30 years.

  30. I’ve had my 2100 D since new never had a problem with it just kept everything inside kleen the worse for electronics is dust makes them run hot. Went through speakers though !!

  31. I just purchased the 2100D and a pair of Mach Ones 40-4024 from EBay and I
    absolutely love the sound quality. I actually disconnected my Onkyo receiver and Definitive Technology speakers. Todays systems definitely don’t have the sound
    quality that the vintage systems have. The only problem with the receiver is the
    lights on the meters. Does anyone know where I can purchase them and are they hard to replace?

  32. I just bought an STA-2100 from a stereo shop in Berkeley. I paid $625.00 plus tax for it. I’m still in the process of hooking it up, but I have my turntable, AM, FM, SiriusXM, and iTunes hooked up. I’m quite impressed with the clarity, openness, and sense of relaxed power. I’m using Boston Acoustic bookshelf speakers with a Sony powered subwoofer. I have yet to add the SAE 5000 impluse reduction and the dbx 266XL compressor/expander. The 5000 does an incredible job of removing virtually all pops and clicks from vinyl. The dbx lets me open up the records that have been overly compressed.

    Question: did I overpay for the receiver?


  33. Even still the realistic sta 2100 is making someone happy. Just bought one from a friend for 40$. He said it powered up but didn’t know anything else. Well I chkd it out and it was missing the amp-pre connectors so after installing the it was making sound. It will need a good cleaning and some cosmetic work but nothing major so I’m happy and can’t wait to get this thing serviced and looking good.

  34. I have a 2100d that I bought NOS in 1980. Bought mach1s with it. I have tried to improve my system a few times with Marantz, Infinity, Polk, Bose. I keep going back to the Realistic. Nothing has matched the sound yet. Time for another reform on the mach1s, other than that I have never had an issue with the speakers, 2100d has had 2 freshening. Best 1400.00 I have ever spent

  35. The STA-2000, 2000D, 2100, 2100D, 2200, 2290 and 2300 were all made by Tandy Electronics in their Japan (very early models) or Korean factories.

  36. I bought my STA2100D brand new in 1980. It has to be the best amp I have ever owned. I have a Yamaha high current amp for my theater room but I just love the way this amp sounds. So natural.

  37. I bought the STA 2100D, Lab 420 turntable, and a set of T200s in 1979 in a package deal at a local Radio Shack. I paid about $1000. I loved this outfit along with a Harmon Kardon cassette deck I bought a little later. I was a student and had friends who had Marantz, Techniques, Pioneers, etc. but none of them would rock with my outfit. In 1985 the receiver and turntable were stolen. I figured the speakers were too big for them to stick in their trunk or they were on too much of a hurry. I’ve had several systems since including a B&K 202 plus with other B&K components which I still have. However, I have always missed that 2100D. I recently found another one on eBay in pristine condition. I couldn’t be happier. I still have the T200s to go with it. It won’t quite hang with the B&K outfit but it’s prettier:)

  38. I also have the STA 2080. The main reason I bought it was because it’s so darn attractive. Those meters with the gray background give it a truly elegant look. I watch for them all the time but they are hard to find.

  39. just got one this past Sunday (6-5-2022) And dang this receiver is a beast!!! And i also own a realistic sta 2080 also. wont see either one!

  40. I just picked up the 2100D today. I’ve got It hooked up to a pair of Klipsch Synergy 10.5 floor speakers. This receiver is a powerhouse and paired with my Klipsch it sounds amazing, although I think the Klipsch are a little to efficient for it, I’m looking for the mach 1 set for it. Or maybe JBL.

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