Sony STR-6800 SD

Sony STR-6800 SD

I’ve always liked the vintage Sony receivers. I’m not sure I can state exactly why, but they just have a different look about them while still retaining that classic vintage appeal. The layout of the controls is completely different than other stereos of the time and this Sony STR-6800 SD has a subtle look as opposed to the more polished and flashy look of other late 1970’s and early 1980’s receivers. I guess I would describe it as muted technical sophistication. Whatever that means.

Sony STR-6800 SD Faceplate

Nonetheless, the early Sony receivers are great machines. Their design, build quality and performance all live up to, and usually exceed, expectations. While Sony doesn’t attract the same level of interest that Pioneer or Sansui do it does have a fairly rabid following of collectors. Offered from 1977 through 1982 the STR-6800 retailed for around $600.00. It puts out 80 watts per channel and was only one step down from Sony’s top of the line STR-7800 SD stereo. Reviews at the time, and user experience since then, seem to concur that the power rating is low and that Sony really under-spec’d the receiver on paper. Many who’ve owned this receiver explain that they were pleasantly surprised at its superior performance.

Sony STR-6800 SD Meters

You’ll notice in the photo below that the STR-6800 has a knob labelled Acoustic Comp which stands for Acoustic Compensator. Stereo Magazine explains this function as:

“In ‘low’ position, the effect is similar to that of a loudness contour, but only the low end is boosted(a maximum of 8 1/2 dB @ 20hz with low volume settings, 8dB @ 50hz, 6db @ 100hz, and 3db @ 200hz). In the ‘loudness’ position, the effect is similar but a bit stronger(9 1/2 dB below 50hz, 8 1/4 dB @ 100hz, and 5 3/4 dB @ 200hz). In addition, there is a gentle high-end boost(1 1/4 dB @ 5khz, 3 1/2 dB @ 10khz, and 5 1/2 dB @ 20khz. In the ‘presence’ mode, a gentle 3dB boost is imparted to a broad band centered on 1khz. The contour is quite wide, with response @ 200hz and 5khz being accentuated by 1 3/4 dB”.

Sony STR-6800 SD Knobs

This unit also incorporates two tape monitors controlled via a toggle switch as well as tape to tape copying. It also has an external adapter function that confuses many users. You can basically use it to add amp/pre-amp separation if you want some auxiliary audio customization. As you can see it even has hookups for three sets of speakers! It has two phono inputs and an aux input. It’s known for it’s superior FM tuner as well. These older Sony receivers tend to have issues with dirty potentiometer and speaker relays. So, if you’re unit has scratchy volume control or a channel cuts in and out then it could very well just need a good cleaning.

Sony STR-6800 SD Back Panel

As I mentioned above, the Sony receivers don’t garner the respect that the more commonly known brands do but that is changing slowly. As more collectors delve into the world of vintage Sony receivers they will come to be seen as easily equal to their peers. They also have that air of uniqueness to them as well, since everyone is familiar with Sony’s contemporary electronics but not at all familiar with their vintage lines. So, for performance, value and conversation appeal the old Sony’s are hard to beat.

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21 thoughts on “Sony STR-6800 SD

  1. Hi
    I am a bit confused here I really need your help.
    I am having this Vintage Sony STR 6800SD a mosfet amplifier I am basically looking for the right pair of speakers of this amp, So my question is can this amplifier handles 2 12″ 200 Watts RMS in 8 ohms woofers. please tell me which watts woofer and on at what ohms will be good for this Amplifier.

    1. I owned one in the 70’s still have it but needs repair. Mine drove 2 Technics T500 with 2 10″ woofer each and 2 Technics T400 with 1- 12″ woofer each. Both sets of speakers would handle everything the 6800 would put out. With this speaker combo, it would make the windows breathe as one of my friends once said. It was crazy loud. So the answer is yes. It would also drive Cerwin Vega S-1 or S-2 without breaking a sweat!

    2. I bought this reciever in 1977 and ran a B&O turntable with ADS L 710 speakers. Anything more than 3/4 volumn the amp would clipp and blow the fuse for the tweaters. Trust me the volumn is plenty loud at 1/2

  2. Your receiver will operate either an 8 ohm or 4 ohm speaker. Pick a speaker based on what you think sounds good and not its ohm rating.
    It will drive your 200 watt woofers with ease. I do not know your listening level,but if you did manage to drive the woofer at the rated output of the receiver, let me get some ear plugs :0

  3. I bought a STR-6800SD a few weeks ago and am very impressed with its sound! Holy cow Batman, this receiver is beautiful. I consider myself to be an amature stereo buff, not a audiophile.

    I haven’t used all of its features yet and probably never will. I did record a few tapes using my JVC KD-A33 deck and a Technics table and got beautiful results using normal bias cassettes!

    It sure has tone definition. It just slices and dices every instrument and vocal up if you have good enough supporting equipment to do its abilities justice. It is a pretty amazing piece of equipment in that regard.

    I have owned a number of other vintage 70’s receivers in the last couple of years by Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz, Sansui. Frankly this one puts them all in the ditch, although I am still partial to may Sansui receivers. I also have 3 other Sonys-STR-V3, V4, V5. It is better than the V5 with its torroidal amp.

    This bad boy has far more features and controls than I have seen on any other large receivers. Marantz made Cadillacs, but I think Sony made Rolls Royces!

    I would have to conclude that I now own one of the very best IC receivers made in the 60s or 70s. Since I haven’t heard all the rest of the receivers that could compete for that title, I can’t proclaim it is the best, but I would imagine it is definitely in the top 10, if not the top 5!

    I could never have afforded this back in the day when it was made between 1976-78. At $600, it was a small fortune, but worth every dime!

  4. I saw this receiver on Vega$–YouTube. That is when I wanted one. It is interesting that it claims that it can run 16 ohm speakers. I got some vintage Jensen coffins that can dig deep into weak-kneed amps. A Fisher (Sears) Quad set-up popped its transistors during a classical concert; it was a death squeal!

  5. I’ve had this receiver for a couple of years now. Lucked up on it at an estate sale. Got it paired with 8 ohm 200 watt Sony floor speakers model SS-U542AV and it blows beautifully! Love the Sony sound with its great depth and tone. I also have a Technics SL table. Love the vintage sound for my vinyl collection.

  6. purchased one new back in 77 and it was fantastic. still have put away in the garage. removed the sides so it would fit in my stereo stand back then, think there gone now. was just thinking of getting it out and using it again. dont pass one up

  7. I’ve owned many receivers over the years and the Sony STR-6800 stands out as one of the best. I prefer its sound and features to comparable Marantz and Pioneer units. Plenty of power (mine bench tested at over 100 wpc) and the tuner is excellent as well.

  8. I have a Sony str 6800 sd ,serial #806968 225watt receiver complete in good shape .works perfect.lookin to sell what’s a good start price

    1. There is one on auction right now on eBay that started at $100. It ends in a few days and has some cosmetic issues. I’d keep an eye on that one and see what it sells for. If your’s is in really nice condition then it should sell for $200-$300 plus shipping. If you’re going to sell it on eBay then you might want to consider using a Buy it Now listing with a Best Offer option. Price it a little high and wait until a good offer comes in. Keep in mind that packing and shipping isn’t cheap. They have to be packed extremely well to avoid damage. HERE are the latest solds on eBay.

  9. I have this receiver and love it. I’m wanting to get a subwoofer for it, but not sure how it would be incorporated. Would I use Speaker B or C to send the signal to the subwoofer? Thanks!

  10. @ Warren
    Thank you for your suggestion as now I have purchased 2 P. Audio E12 200S Mid bass woofer with 2 P. Audio PHT 408 horn tweeters. At first I thought to build a 3 way speaker system but I am very much satisfied with sound quality and my Sony Str 6800 SD just awesome. The bass and treble clarity is great also the P. Audio speakers they work just fine.

  11. I bought my 6800 for a really good price about 6 months ago and after a bit of a going over with deoxit it now sounds excellent.
    Apart from the sound which is rich, powerful, and articulate, I love the way the unit just oozes class.
    It is beautifully made inside and out and anyone who comes across one for a reasonable price would be a fool to pass on it!

  12. I just purchased this 6800sd a cpl days ago and have been looking for speakers but im not sure which to go with, as Iam not an audiophile, simply a man who loves music, and vintage equipment. Ive seen alot of cs99a’s, 77a’s, and several kenwood 777 and sansui sp2000… All look nice and have good reviews, but I have no idea what im looking for as far as matching numbers and specs to get the best sound… And not fry anything. So my question is simply what should I be looking for, for this reciever in particular? I have an acre of property and plenty of tree coverage so in no way am I worried about neighbors. Any tips, info, advise is greatly appreciated!

    1. I haven’t tried my 6800 with many different speakers but for the last few years I’ve been running it paired with Dynaco A25’s and I really love it.

  13. I am ready to finally sell my Sony STR-7800 SD that I purchased in 1978!
    Interested collectors may like to know it is still working with only the occasional a loss of “stereo” from the FM tuner.
    I live in Bolton Ontario where you can see and demo the receiver if interested and make an offer.

  14. Quick word…I worked for sony and purchased the str 7800 sd the first year available, together w the G-5 speakers. I was 17 and very lucky to afford this system at employee prices. heres the kicker, equal to the unmatched performance of this receiver, is the amazing sound of the G-5’s. All my group were into the audiophile pursuit of one up man-ship, some spending 5x what I did, but one by one my system simply beat them all. Everyone was shocked by this sony combo, who became known as the Dragon Slayer. The sound quality was real and had such warmth while not sacrificing clarity, or raw power. At a very conservative 125 rms, w headroom not to be reached, It is the best balanced sounding combo I have ever heard. Although I too have expanded my options many times, now w Klipschorns and tube mac, I still play my sony every week and remember the first time I heard my system w the smell of the new equipment forever etched in my favorite life memories.

    PS. I’m searching for G-9’s which were limited release that year in Japan. If anyone has a lead, much appreciated.

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