Technics SA-800

The Technics SA-800 is one of Technics by Panasonics’ higher end models. It has the classic Technics look with dark insets around the knobs and warm glow of the tuning dial. The red and green program and power level LED’s give it a colorful visual effect.

The SA-800 produces 125 watts per channel into 8 ohms with no more than 0.04% total harmonic distortion. An interesting aspect of this receiver is its Automatic Load Impedance Detector circuitry. When the power is turned on a low level signal is sent to the speakers to determine their impedance. Then a relay selects the correct power supply voltage depending upon whether the speakers are 4 or 8 ohm. So, the SA-800 can produce

The Peak Power indicator is a string of 24 LED’s, 12 for each channel, with the outer red LED’s indicating an output level that is approaching clipping. Technics used LED’s in the meter because they can react faster than an analog meter.

The SA-800 has a great tuning section with a MOS FET FM front end and a Phase Locked Loop circuit for stable FM performance with wide separation. It also has multiple tone controls and filters on the front panel.

One drawback of the SA-800 is that many times the potentiometers on unserviced units will need cleaned and they are difficult to get to. Other than that the build quality is excellent. There is also an SA-800A version that has a dark gray faceplate but is essentially the same receiver.

The higher end Technics are good receivers. They are built well and perform just as well as a Marantz or Pioneer. They tend to be priced a little lower than those other brands so many times you can pick one up for a good price. A fully serviced SA-800 will sell for $600 to $800.

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