Here’s an interesting receiver from Tokyo Shibaura, otherwise know as Toshiba. This Toshiba SA-520 is a mid range model and, as you can see, has a little bit of a different design than many of the other receivers of the same era. This unit was made around 1977-1978 and almost looks like two thin units set atop one another. The big square push buttons and slider knobs give it a distinct look as well. I can’t really say it’s appealing to the eye.
The tuner dial and face look a little like Pioneer while the bottom, well, I’m not sure. The SA-520 is listed as 40 watts per channel and, believe it or not, weighs in at roughly 35 pounds! That’s a pretty hefty weight for a mid range receiver. But, these Toshibas were actually built really well and the SA-520 has a large transformer and big power supply caps which add to the weight. It also has a neat volume knob dial as well. One weakness of these models was that the vinyl veneer tends to peel over time.
The Toshiba receiver line was initially seen as second rate to the Pioneer, Marantz and Sansui lines but many people changed their minds once they saw inside these receivers. Since Toshiba didn’t really advertise much and purchase “reviews” in the large audio magazines of the day their sales volume was no where near that of Pioneer or Sony. Of course, that makes these receivers harder to find today.
As I mentioned these are high quality stereo’s and they are not as easily found as some of the equivalent Pioneer or Sony models such as the Pioneer SX-650. Still, Toshiba didn’t have that name brand recognition that the other large manufacturers had and they still don’t. So, when you can find a Toshiba SA-520 or other Toshiba model you can usually get them at a decent price. In fact, I just saw one in good working condition with just a couple lamps out and some wood case wear sell for $50. I would guess a really nice one could bring $100. That’s a great deal for a quality vintage receiver. And, if you really want to go all out try the Toshiba SA-7100.