Vintage Integrated Amplifiers With Great Sound

Unusual situation is going to require me getting an integrated amplifier. Buying something that will satisfy me in a current range of production is simply going to cost a lot more than I want to spend. 

What vintage integrated amps from, say the 70's-80's-90's can be found at relative bargain prices, but provide really good sound quality? 

Any thoughts or recommendations appreciated. Thanks in advance. 


What vintage integrated amps from, say the 70's-80's-90's can be found at relative bargain prices, but provide really good sound quality? 

Not many, what is your budget and what loudspeakers are you driving. 

+1 to @russ69

Without prejudice to his post merits, be also cognizant of the fact the “vintage” just means “old”. Old amps all suffer eventually from unavoidable, necessary, and expensive upgrades for failing capacitors et al. Some units can no longer be repaired today because replacements for failed old model printed circuit boards first introduced back then, are no longer available.

A local tech just told me that he just had two instances of failed “vintage” KRELL amps that now fall into this shitehole for their stunned owners.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: In his words, they are now “ boat anchors”.

Bargain and "Vintage" demand alot of time, $ and skill to bring them up to a level to enjoy with confidence  ...I have restored many a "vintage" Ham Radio equipment, mostly Hallicrafters 1920/30's/50's and early 60's as well as my Scott is an effort not for the faint of heart...I always shoot for mint + conditions and it is an exceptionally slow and laborious process...

Chassis stripped, parts inventoried, sourcing new parts to replace known failure Components and components identified as suspect...and hardware/silkscreen/paint...then re-wire, re assembly, tune and test...

Is it worth it, for sure...I enjoy brining the old stuff back to life and actually using them...are they as "good" as equipment today? From a sound perspective, I think the vintage stuff just has different attributes of sound, a different caliber of sound...but be prepared for the upkeep and frustration of sourcing parts...

Good luck in your decision

Generally anything vintage that is in good shape and has superior sound will cost you as much if not more than buying modern gear. And, if it is not in great shape then you will end up spending so much on it to bring it up to spec that you again will be at or above the level of modern gear. I have had multiple older McIntosh, Yamaha, Luxman, Sansui and other brands from the 60s-70s. Buying and maintaining them ended up costing just as much as new gear and often resulted in gear that used modern replacement parts anyway thus defeating the benefit/sound delivery of buying vintage. While I have kept a few Mac pieces I have gotten rid of most of the rest with the exception of a few piece I hold just with the idea that one day I will get them restored. I got those from a friend for free so I figure I can afford to do that. Otherwise, I have simply gone to modern gear. You dont mention your budget so I will say that you can buy some restored Mac gear from Audio CLassics if you like that sound. Similarly there are shops out there in NY and NJ that sell quality used gear. But unless you have the time and skills to do your own work, be aware that it is harder and harder to find parts, good techs and labor costs add up quickly. I have also seen where certain types of buyers are hungup on vintage mid-fi gear and have driven prices on this stuff thru the roof, frequently in excess of actual value or price vs sound quality. I have mostly moved to buying new or recent gently used gear that I know or believe will have a longer period of trouble free operation. Audiogon is a good source for that.stuff and everything I have bought here has worked out well. Good luck.

I appreciate the perspective about vintage equipment needing caps and other elements replaced due to age. You are certainly correct. However, I know several people who bought very highly regarded vintage pieces, and either had them refurbished, or bought them that way, for no more than $2k. I There is nothing made anytime currently that performs as well as what they have without costing perhaps twice that, or more. I could budget up to $3500 for something really nice. 

And thanks for the excellent suggestion regarding Audio Classics, but McIntosh gear, which I do like, especially vintage period, while always having held its value well, has really risen in price over the last 18 months. It makes current McIntosh equipment look affordable in many cases. 

JVC X-1 Super Class A integrated. About $200 on eBay. I have one. Same circuit as the JVC Super Class A power amp - just less power!

among those i've owned the hk pm665 and kenwood ka7100 sound vg. likewise the 80s kyocera receivers (861, 661) are great and hugely undervalued.

Is 2006 considered Vintage?

My Cayin A88T Integrated Tube Amp is nearly the newest item in my main system, the 2009 SACD player is the newest. Well I have one newer tonearm.

Wonderful Sound, Terrific Build Quality

I needed original version that has 16 ohm taps for my 16 ohm speakers. Sadly it does not have external biasing. Later ones without 16 ohm taps, have easy biasing meter.

I chose based on this 6moons review

Since we are in 00's and magazines cannot hide anymore any Japaneese model of that period i would say go to the better ones of the big ones, Sony, Yamaha, Denon, JVC, Luxman, Kenwood, Pioneer but do not expect budget prices.

Otherwise go British ala Musical Fidelity, Mission Cyrus (only with the plastic casing), Audiolab, Onix. A&R Cambridge, Naim.

If vintage is what you are looking after try, TheVintageknob, Audio Heritage (Japan).

Sony V-Fet amps, TA-4650 & 5650, great amps and surely not at bargain prices.


Look for a Luxman L-10 integrated amp. It drove my JBL L-300’s perfectly back in 1978. It had Sanken output power transistors and it did sound nice.



yeah, I confuse it's age because it sounds vintage, like my 1956 Fisher 80az Mono Blocks which is exactly what I was hoping for when I took a chance on it.

It wouldn’t be cheap, even if you could find one, but I thoroughly enjoyed an Accuphase E-303x while I owned it. I did have it re-capped, but given its age, it sounded terrific.

E-303x details

I could budget up to $3500 for something really nice. 

I still don't know what loudspeakers you are driving but let me throw this out there. A Musical Fidelity integrated. They will match well with most loudspeakers and have a classic appearance. I would try to find one that is less than 20 years old to avoid a lot of potential problems. There is a really affordable 3.2 on sale right here. 

I agree that Musical Fidelity would be a good choice. If you can find an A308, you’d be getting the cream of the vintage crop. Check out reviews.

Vintage made in England Musical Fidelity integrated are great values. I purchased a A220 a few months ago for $650. I upgraded all caps to first tier and it sounds sweet through my KEF speakers. 

Vintage integrated have a problem with digital. You'd need to budget for a DAC and interconnects, and then it's not integrated anymore. It wasn't until Flac came out (2001), and then got mainstream support (lets say about 5 years later), that digital even started getting good, so 2006ish. Prior to that, there really just aren't any good integrated that handle digital. Newer DAC chips are better too. 

If you don't use digital then fine, but digital makes a lot of sources these days, and it's really convenient. Newer integrated amps will just support it better.

For example, a Synthesis Roma 96DC+ is a really strong contender for an integrated tube amp and you can find them used in your price range. Get a network streamer and use the Coaxial SPDIF input and if you already have some sensitive speakers then boom, done. Or the non "+" version if you want phono. Frankly I like Synthesis better than McIntosh.

But that's just like, my opinion man. Try to find a place you can hear some more things. Luxman and Primaluna may be good options too. 

I have several integrateds, different classes, modern and vintage. The one that keeps coming back into the fold is my Sansui AU-999. Built like a tank, beautiful soundscape, warm and detailed, more than enough juice. Phono stage is excellent too.

I'm bumping this thread because I'm currently in this boat myself...have gone down a rabbit hole and am trying to build a 70's system.

First purchase was a Technics SU-7700. Not a ton of power, but think it will work well with some ADS speakers once it's recapped/refurbished.

Just purchased a Rotel RA-1412. Thing that got me interested was fully DC-coupled and it's also a dual-mono design with two transformers. Not sure which speakers but it would work well with the ADS (L910 or L810).

Then I just learned about the Gale 401A speakers and fell in love with the design. Was on some thread where someone who used to work in stereo shops in the 70's said they used to pair those with the Accuphase E202. I live in Tulsa and Paul at Many Moons Audio builds new driver boards for them, but I've heard the preamp section is only okay.

Anywho, wondering if there's anything else I should consider. Any piece of equipment I pick up will be thoroughly gone through by a tech.