The Technics SA-500 is a great mid-range receiver. Not only does it perform well but it has the looks to go with it. If you’re just getting into vintage audio this is a really good receiver to start off with. They made quite a few of them so prices are reasonable. It was manufactured from late 1978 to around 1980 and puts out about 55 watts per channel. The suggested retail price at the time was $430.00.
A precursor of things to come, the SA-500’s Power Level meter is LED which you can turn on or off via the Power Display button. The signal and tuning strength meters are analog.
The balanced layout of the knobs and switches along with the white dial face make the Technics SA-500 a clean and sophisticated looking unit. The knobs are done nicely with a brushed aluminum top and sides with a polished accent line along the outer top edge. Technics also produced an SA-500A which has a black face.
If you find a used SA-500, some or all of the lamps will most likely be out. It’s worth it to replace them with new lamps because the SA-500 looks fantastic when lit up in a dark room. It uses 6.3 V 250 mA bulbs and they’re easy to replace. The equivalent LED bulb is a BA9S.
Another nice feature of the Technics SA-500 is the sliding top. The wood top panel has two small brackets that hold it in place. Once the two screws are removed the top slides off allowing access to the inside.
As I mentioned above the Technics SA-500 is a great receiver for the beginning audio enthusiast. It’s actually a great receiver for anybody. Search the net and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that dislikes this receiver and it’s brethren the SA-200, SA-300, SA-400, SA-700 and of course the monster SA-1000. The SA-500 fall in the middle and perfectly combines performance with aesthetics. A nice unit can be found for under $200.