This Realistic STA-52B was a budget offering from Radio Shack around 1979-80. It retailed for roughly $200 and had limited features. Still, it has very appealing aesthetics. The black dial face coupled with gold lettering adds an air of sophistication to this receiver. And, it sounds pretty good too!
It features both AM and FM bands and has separate bass and treble controls. It only puts out 18 watts per channel so it was designed for smaller listening areas. It has a magnetic phono input and an AUX input as well (for you iPod users). Notice that it even has a cool dual LED feature in the tuning needle. You don’t see that very often. While it was designed as a lower end unit for those on a budget it has features that other receivers at a similar price point did not have including outputs for two sets of speakers instead of just one.
There is an earlier version which is the STA-52 that puts outs only 12 watts per channel but does have the ever desirable Q-Vox feature which uses a synthesizing technique to create a virtual quadraphonic sound. Yes, that was sarcasm.
The STA-52B does not have that feature but does have a speaker A Rev setting which will reverse the A and B speakers in case you want to hear the guitar solo in a song on your right instead of your left. I’m not exactly sure why that’s useful but it probably sounded cool to a kid looking through the Radio Shack catalog back in 1980.
As you can see it also has both DIN and standard inputs for Tape which is nice. The styling really is nice and the genuine walnut veneer case adds to the look.
OK, so it’s not a monster receiver – more like a Minion receiver. But, every receiver has its place, and this one is a fine example of the lower end of the spectrum. In fact, if you want a nice, clean, easy to use receiver for your turntable or reel-to-reel and don’t need to fill a large room with sound then this little guy can be had for around $60. Not much to spend in order to dabble in to the world of vintage audio.