How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?

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wilsynet

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Pretty ignorant when it comes to electronics and older stuff, so please bear with me.

I was thinking of getting (as a gift) for someone an older Rega Luna integrated from the late 90s, early 2000s.  They go for about $300 on Agon.  If you're lucky, you can even find an older Mira occasionally for around the same price.  I like the Rega integrateds.  Reasonably refined and quite nice for the money, and I prefer them to equivalently priced NAD gear which some people say is warm, but I consider dark.

Recently I looked at Sansui AU-517 and a Marantz 2270.  The owner of the Sansui wanted $200, and the owner of the Marantz wanted $300.

After more than 30 years, to bring the equipment up to spec, various switches would need to be cleaned, the units would need to be recapped, some resoldering is likely in order, and whatever other miscellania would need to be done.  I'm not very handy with electronics, so I would expect to pay someone to do this.  Not doing it really isn't an option as I expect such units, no matter how well cared for they are, are likely to go at any moment.  And giving a gift to someone only to have it break a few hours later, well, that's not a very nice gift.

I did try negotiating the price down.  I explained that after 30 years quite a bit of work was in order, but they were having none of it.  Sound comes out, so it works, right?  What more could I possibly want? =)

My guess is that basic service would cost at minimum $100, $200 for more peace of mind, and considerably more, maybe $500, perhaps even more if I get carried away.  Is that the right sort of expectation?

Pretty soon, the price of a vintage Sansui or Marantz doesn't seem like so much of a bargain any more.  When the Sansui and the Marantz was new, how did it sound and what modern brands would we compare these to today? 

If I bought one for $200 and spent $200 in service, is the now $400 Sansui going to be reliable long term, and is it really much, much better than a recent (used) Rega integrated for $400?  Is one of these vintage Marantz integrated, is it much better than a recent Marantz integrated?

Wilson

Toka

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #1 on: 19 Jan 2009, 04:44 am »
I really like vintage Sansui gear, and Marantz is supreme quality as well. That said, I do think the asking price on the Sansui is too high (unless they just refurbished it, which it sounds like they didn't). You can definitely get more Sansui for that money. Even if you pay $200 for the unit and another $200 for service, thats "only" $400...is there any current piece of equipment that would perform the same functions a better choice for the money? None that I know of.
« Last Edit: 19 Mar 2009, 04:52 pm by Toka »

nodiak

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #2 on: 19 Jan 2009, 06:05 am »
I've been lately looking around at Sansui AU series and Marantz 10xx integrateds and Marantz 22xx series receivers. I'd like to have one because I realized their style and functions are imprinted in my mind from back in the day, and I wouldn't mind having a link to the era, kind of an audio home base. I miss having everything in one nice looking cabinet (headphone, phono, tone controls, tuner, etc.). I like the tuner dials, knobs and buttons.  I could still operate one in the dark I bet.
I agree it should be restored. Both those prices are too high if there hasn't been work done, but those are reportedly nice models. Sometimes a lucky find comes along. Today I was the 2nd in line for a local craigslist $50 2270 that works but is missing the ON button and needs some new bulbs. If the other person for some reason passes I'll get it.
If you look around and go for the moderate models (25-70 watts) I've found that $300 should be enough to buy a serviced or restored one, or to have that work done on yours. A couple sites you can google are classicaudio.com and irebuildmarantz.com (which also has pages with pictures and instructions for partial restoration if your adept with soldering, pretty nice of him). Also google "craigslist Marantz 2270" or the model you're interested in and they'll pop up from all over the usa and beyond. If you haven't come across it already check Audiokarma for vintage discussions. There is ~friendly brand tribalism, but the sandbox has been divided into seperate forums so not too much inter-tribal disputes. There are alot of good technicians there who work on vintage gear, maybe one in your area you could visit.
A Sansui owner I contacted said his AU7900 placed 3rd out of ~ 20 amps in a shoot out, ahead of several modern >$1500 amps. He also felt it was a little better than his gainclone. All these things come down to taste but this seemed to say alot of folks thought the Sansui was at least pretty good.
Like I said for me it would be nostalgic to go back to that era's music machines, maybe resell it after the fix, or keep it if it feels good.
Keep in touch about it, I'd be interested if you get one. I'll do the same.
Take care, Don



Doublej

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #3 on: 19 Jan 2009, 04:30 pm »
If you want headache freem musical enjoyment stay away from 30 year old gear and buy yourself a new or recently used piece of gear that is known for being reliable.

Stuff will go wrong with 30 year old equipment and at $80-$100 an hour for labor one unexpected repair has you asking why did I do this or living with an intermittent switch, broken lamp, non working meter...

If you have your heart set on vintage equipment buy it from a local repair shop that will give you a year's warranty in case something malfunctions. And even then the warranty is sometimes only for the labor component of the repair because stuff breaks on 30 year old gear and parts can be hard to come by or expensive.

For new gear check out the Audio Advisor. They always have something on clearance. Right now it looks like they have aggressive pricing on some of the NAD and Cambridge Audio gear.

I don't know about NAD but Cambridge Audio has a three year warranty. So for $300-$500 you'll have something that performs well and hopefully you won't have to worry about it for at least three years.

Wayner

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #4 on: 19 Jan 2009, 05:28 pm »
Doublej kind of hit the nail on the head. 30 year old electronics will sooner then later have issues. Some parts are not even available like volume controls or even some transistors. However, if it can be gotten at the right price that may be another thing.

I do not recommend doing a "buy-it-now" thing on a used Marantz receiver on ebay. They usually are a BIN for a reason. I own 3 vintage Marantz receivers, (2385, 2220B and 1530). A 2270 is a nice machine, but lamps will be burnt out, pots will be noisy and certainly power supply caps should be replaced.

They are fun. My Marant 2385 has 185 watts RMS per channel that will blow any current day receiver out of the water. It will also drive any speaker to tearful submission.



Marantz 2385 57 pounds of receiver!

Wayner
« Last Edit: 19 Jan 2009, 08:57 pm by Wayner »

nodiak

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #5 on: 19 Jan 2009, 05:50 pm »
Always good to point out they could quit at anytime of any day. But really I'd hope this is obvious and understood. Everyone into vintage I've met knows this. Wouldn't have only a vintage piece, they're more for nostagia and historic interest imo. It's why I'd pay very little or get it restored with a warranty of some kind. And ebay is often roulette no matter what you're buying.
Then again the brand new NAD I bought (oooh Stereopile rec. 502 cdp) quit the week after warranty, won't touch their gear again for retail. Also alot of pos new gear.
Don


macrojack

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #6 on: 19 Jan 2009, 05:55 pm »
I agree with the above that nostalgia can come with a heavy price and a lot of inconvenience. And that leads to another possibly significant compromise -- no remote.

There are some inexpensive and cool integrateds with and without tubes from Asia that could fill the bill for your gift. For some reason though many of them only have a couple of inputs.

I really liked my Onix SP-3.

nodiak

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #7 on: 19 Jan 2009, 06:43 pm »
Have heard good things about the Onix too. As to cool new gift, Virtue One might be an interesting amp: http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/va_audiophile_one_e.html
 

doorman

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #8 on: 19 Jan 2009, 07:18 pm »
I'm currently "burning-in" a Virtue amp. So far, extremely promising.
Very well constructed, tons of power (compared to my 2wpc SET!)  an immense soundstage, and very clean,fast bass.

**end of thread hi-jack.
Don

doug s.

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #9 on: 19 Jan 2009, 07:52 pm »
first of all, let me state my bias that i am a tube guy.  that said, i would put the better wintage sansui stuff up against any of the later s/s gear.  (i am not familiar w/marantz gear, except for a wintage refurb'd model 18 receiver, which i used only for its tuner section.)  i owned an au-717 which i used for about six months, and i was amazed w/its performance.  it was never serviced, and it never missed a beat.  i presently own an au11000 that is really a monster integrated amp.  again, never serviced, and it has been working perfectly for about two years in my ex's and kids system.  i let them use it when their much more recent audio innovations alto integrated started blowing fuses whenever they turned it on.

in working shape, never serviced the au717 usually goes for $200-$300; the au11000 for $400-$600; both depending on condition.  when refurb'd, they can command considerably more.  yes, being old, they could fail at any time.  but, even considering that, they are bargains when performance is considered, when compared to new gear, imo.  budget for repair, or get it refurb'd when you first buy it, and these are hard to beat.

ymmv,

doug s.

csintx

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Dear Wilson,
I suppose the key to the decision would be whom is the recipient. Sounds like you are trying to teach someone about good sound, maybe also the cultural history of our bygone era when people valued their leisure time, and high fidelity. If the recipient has some sense of retro coolness, they will,  I am sure,  appreciate the glowing analog dials, tone controls, phono section! and solid feel and plastic-free craftsmanship of the  Sansui and or Marantz, if you go that way. Of course if they only care about a remote, iPods,  and not being bothered about music, they might think you were crazy for buying such a gift. 

I have (or have had) all kinds of similar solid state and tube gear, including (New school) -an Adcom setup, a current NAD 320bee Integrated Amp, Denon, Onkyo, Classe, Rotel, etc. and all of these are quite excellent sounding , and a good deal used, as I am sure is the Rega.

 However, I also own 70s vintage Sanui, Yamaha, Pioneer, and Onkyo receivers and amps that I have restored and upgraded with the best audiophile parts available today. These units FAR  outperform the newer stuff, if properly maintained and updated. Really the only big deal is that new electrolytic capacitors are available today, very cheaply, that far exceed the performance of those made in the 70s-80s, So, since the original caps are worn out, your $200 buy -in is ordinary service and  a no-brainer enormous upgrade that can get a vintage 70s-80s  amp sounding far better than new, and ready for 30 more years of service. If you could hear a modified and restored 70s classic, I am sure it would far surpass the units you are auditioning and shock you.

Some of the older "classic" 70-s 80s gear is pricey, however collectors tend to pump up the value  of ONLY the highest-powered, most feature rich, units; while the smaller, more reliable and just as great sounding,  lower numbered models can be had for a song.  For example. The low end70's  Marantz  2235 receiver with "only" 35 watts per channel, is built as well,  looks and sounds identical to its brothers really; It weighs around 26 lbs  unpacked, probably almost 50% more than  the Rega, (My Nad 320Bee weighs about 14 lbs too).; and My Low end, dirt cheap,  Vintage Sansui Au-X 619 weighs about 26 lbs.  Much of this weight is in a tube amp sized Big ($$$)  transformer that can deliver woofer-punishing current, a more elaborate power supply, better heatsinks, circuit boards, solid metal knobs, case, switches, etc.

In fact, if you cannot wait for a clean Marantz or Sansui to show up, you might look into classic vintage Pioneer (Spec 1 and receivers), Kenwood, Denon, Onkyo, Sony ES,and especially Yamaha, much of which is just as great as  anything vintage. Stick to mid 70's to even some late 80's models, made in Japan Only.

For example, I rescued  an 80 wpc Yamaha mid-80's AX-700u integrated (perfect shape) for $75 a few weeks ago from a pawn shop, that was made in Japan when sound (and company pride) still apparently mattered. It is completely direct coupled, (like a Levinson), and  packed full from the factory, with insanely expensive audiophile parts like Nichicon Great Supply , Nichicon Muse,  and Black Gate Power supply Capacitors, a quality disctere MM/MC phono stage, good  1/2 watt to 5 watt watt resistors, polystrene film and polyproplyene film capacitors exclusively in the signal path, no op amps, an Alps Blue Velvet volume pot, ..basically parts and build quality you have to spend around 5 grand minimum today to approach.

I try to be flexible and really concentrate more on the condition, the coolness factor, and the sound potential of Vintage stuff that I come across, rather than look for a particular model. If  someone sells a vintage amp "as is" that they say is "perfect, works great", (which they always do if if it does not immediately catch fire upon turning on) -- they should have  service records (including bench test results , and recent idle current and DC offset adjustments), some long period of ownership, preferably the original owners manual, and some knowledge of the history of the unit; or slash the price. 

Marantz receivers/amps are becoming pricey and harder to come by, although wonderful. The Sansui is also a great choice, but hard to find also. You might consider, getting a classic 70's Yahama Integrated, or Receiver, which are still plentiful and cheap. They are stunning in every way, with green lights and dials, silky metalwork, and many have wood cases to boot.  Pioneer and Kenwood made some great 70s , early 80's models too. 

If you get an integrated, you might try to snag a matching tuner as part of the deal if one is around. Vintage analog tuners, especially Marantz, with the groovy "wheel" tuning dial, and the black Sansui tuners with the green dials, are stunning looking,  and are ridiculously cheap. 

I really am not kidding when I objectively believe that these 70's restored amps sound FAR better than the newer solid state gear, in the same price area. I have A/B'd them side long term by side in my own system many times.  I sold my Krell, Classe, etc... and use 70s vintage solid state amps, preamps, and tuners all the time in 2 systems of ultra high end new gear and it rocks (Although my new tube amps are better sounding yet, but that's another story.)

In fact, I might suggest that a used lower-priced Rega, likely made in China, is probably packed with low grade generic Chinese caps that are unlikely to last more than 8-10 years anyway, (like my 3 NADs, 2 Adcoms, 2 Rotels, Camridge Audio .....etc, .) so it may be a a small difference.

Shoot, what good is relibility, if the amp's sound is fatiguing and you don't want to turn it on anyway?  One thing fer sure, you will be better off either way than doing what most people would do for a gift..buying a Wave Radio /CD for $500 retail. Ouch!! cheers

fredgarvin

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #11 on: 30 Jan 2009, 05:38 pm »
I'm with CS on this. I recently picked up an 80's Parasound DR25 on Ebay for under $100. 25 watts. I use it in my shop system. It sounds significantly better than the 2001 Marantz integrated, 125 watts, I was using, especially in the midrange. Although not as hard hitting Bass-wise, It made the Marantz sound like a cheap HT reciever. I had a 70's era Kenwood integrated that I used for a few years before it died and it too had excellent sound. I Agree that Sansuii and Marantz are inflated in price and that with a little research you could find an excellent sounding piece for prorbably less than $300. Keep in mind also that vintage pieces do have a brand 'house sound'. Some hotter on top, some recessed in mids etc. It's good to do some research and it's fun also.

Brown

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #12 on: 30 Jan 2009, 06:30 pm »
Great subject. Please excuse the intrusion.  I always wondered if a component from say 20 years ago matches up to its sibling in 2009.  Especially ones that have been put in class "A". I wonder what the outcome would be if one was to compare any class of components.  Have we really gone forward ? Eliminating CDPs of course as we know of the advances. Although I'll put my Enlightened Audio DAC up against the newbies. It still comes out on top. Love that thing.

doug s.

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #13 on: 30 Jan 2009, 09:35 pm »
Great subject. Please excuse the intrusion.  I always wondered if a component from say 20 years ago matches up to its sibling in 2009.  Especially ones that have been put in class "A". I wonder what the outcome would be if one was to compare any class of components.  Have we really gone forward ? Eliminating CDPs of course as we know of the advances. Although I'll put my Enlightened Audio DAC up against the newbies. It still comes out on top. Love that thing.
i'd put my +10 year old modded retail $149 art di/o dac up against your ead or anything else, for that matter.   8)  so far, it's withstood challenges of $8k modern digital gear.

and, if refurb'd/modded, i know it would get even better, but even as-is, i would put my stock never serviced sansui au11000 integrated amp against any modern s/s gear under $5k.  (except used accuphase?) 

doug s.

JoshK

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #14 on: 31 Jan 2009, 12:37 am »
I have a Sansui SS 800 that I am giving away for $20 if someone is interested.  It works and comes with full detailed schematic.  I took it apart to clean the main switches.  I'll have to recheck, but I think I got rid of all the noise in the pots/switches.   Sounds nice but I don't have room for extra stuff anymore.




PMAT

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #15 on: 31 Jan 2009, 03:55 am »
My experience with that older stuff is positive, time after time. I like to give people stereos to hook them into our hi-fi world. I find the $20-$75 vintage, all metal stuff Marantz, Rotel, Pioneer, Sansui, Harmon Kardon etc, and just clean out the switches with contact cleaner. If the caps look good I don't do anything with them. None of them have failed and all of them do their magic on the minds of my friends. Many have bass, mid, and treble controls that help dial the cheaper speakers I give away with them. On the other hand, I have chucked many newer mid-fi, chip amp, plasticky crap in the garbage can. Here is a great formula. 1: lower power vintage receiver (20-80 watts). 2: older turntable. 3: single disc CD player. 4: Small bookshelf speaker with rubber surrounds. 5: decent sub (10" or 12" only) with high level connections to take the low end load off the bookshelfs. Use your experience to dial it all in, including placement of the speakers and adjust all the controls for the recipient. The sound will surprise the heck out of people. And if you spend just a few minutes telling them what they are hearing they will be hooked. If you can, hook their I-pod station (plastic crap) next to the other system and play each. Wowser!

Scottdazzle

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Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #16 on: 1 Feb 2009, 01:59 am »
Great subject. Please excuse the intrusion.  I always wondered if a component from say 20 years ago matches up to its sibling in 2009.  Especially ones that have been put in class "A". I wonder what the outcome would be if one was to compare any class of components.  Have we really gone forward ? Eliminating CDPs of course as we know of the advances. Although I'll put my Enlightened Audio DAC up against the newbies. It still comes out on top. Love that thing.
i'd put my +10 year old modded retail $149 art di/o dac up against your ead or anything else, for that matter.   8)  so far, it's withstood challenges of $8k modern digital gear.

and, if refurb'd/modded, i know it would get even better, but even as-is, i would put my stock never serviced sansui au11000 integrated amp against any modern s/s gear under $5k.  (except used accuphase?) 

doug s.


Back in the early '70's I used to sell Sansui gear at a low to mid-fi retailer. I even owned a few pieces, but I believed Julian Hirsch in those days.  :evil:  You know, everything sounds the same so get the stuff with the most "features".  Now I wish I had kept some of those old jewels.  :duh:

pas

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #17 on: 1 Feb 2009, 04:27 am »
Most of the manufacturers built quality stuff; Harmon Kardon. Pioneere ( I can't spell my way out of a wet paper bag!) Sony, Sansui. Marantz, et. for mid & high fi.  Beats the crap out of most of the plastic crap in the box stores today.  As long as the caps & switches hold up, there shouldn't be a problem.  I've been running a Harmon Kardon Citation 12 for 35 years...NO ISSUES!  Great dynamics, outstanding control of lower end.  Still rockin!

drphoto

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #18 on: 1 Feb 2009, 09:33 pm »
Where do you get this stuff repaired? My first amp was a Marantz 1060 integrated, which is still in storage in my parents house. I bought this when I was 15, which would have been in 1974.

pas

Re: How does 70s Marantz and Sansui compare to newer stuff?
« Reply #19 on: 1 Feb 2009, 09:57 pm »
That all depends on where you are and what resources are available.  IF you have the schematic and the parts are still availablemost most COMPENTANT techs can repair amps & preamps.  There are people that specalize.  Jon Soderberg (SP?) does Threshold, he's a former Threshold engineer located in CA.  Bill Thalman is a former CJ engineer and will mod or repair most vintage equipment.  He's in Springfield VA...Music Technologoes.  In some cases the original manufacturer will maintain the unit for a fee of course.  Mcintosh, Audio Research, Magnum Dynalab, Conrad Johnson, etc. all fall into that category.  I'm sure there are more.