Vintage Receiver: TANDBERG, MARANTZ, or…?

Hi guys,

My primary system is in storage in NY, and I am building a small system in Lisbon, Portugal, where I am currently basing.

I have started with the purchase of a pair of Von Schweikert VR-1 speakers, and would like to use a '70s vintage receiver as the heart of the system.

Frankly, I am shooting blind, so to speak, as I haven't listened to any of the units that I am considering (having used separates for decades). However, having done a fair bit of research on-line, I am gravitating towards the Tandberg 1040P. The Marantz 2230 also looks like an interesting possibility, as I am seeking something high-quality, warm, and with an excellent tuner.

So…if any members have strong opinions about good '70s receivers, especially if you have listened to them with the VS monitors, please do contribute, and you don't have to limit yourselves to those models.

I should add that in NY I used Virtual Dynamics David speaker cables, and loved them. But that was with a different (and better) system, and I will now look for something less expensive. Any opinions on cables and the type of receiver I am considering would also be appreciated.

Thanks much in advance!


Tony C.
Tony C- If you can find one, Pioneer made a receiver with internal transformer for multiple voltages called SX-1000TW. 50 wpc. Had kind of a funky proprietary speaker output connector. To my college age ears, it sounded great. The similar SX-9XX and 12XX series would also be candidates, assuming you have the required voltage transformer.
i owned and foolishly sold the tandberg 1040--it's a great sounding, great looking piece which, subjectively, sounded "warmer" than its japanese peers. outstanding tuner section, if that matters to you. it should drive the vr1s easily.
sx-1000 is also an eye candy and head turner.
one of the fines pieces on budget by Pioneer that can easily outperform modern units with same output power.
How about a luxman? Never owned one but I have a few friends that are really into vintage gear and they love the old luxman gear. I have owned a marantz 2285b however and now kick myself for selling it.
I have Revox, Sansui and Sony vintage amps for sale and I live in Spain. If you would like to contact me, please don´t hesitate.

Sansui, Luxman, or Tandberg would be preferable to Pioneer or Technics, which were thought to be characterized by a bright, irritating high end, back in the day.
Your statement is way too general. There are vintage pioneers that more superior to Sansui and visa versa.
SX-9XX series are very solid and powerful performers, but SX-1000 is my prefered less expensive one that have all of the qualities of SX-9XX series + stunning vintage looks with turquoise light over the tuner dial.

Thanks for the input thus far, guys.


Those are the reasons that I am inclined in that direction. I suspect that the warmth will match well with the VS-1s, and I've always had a soft spot for high-class tuners (once had a brilliant Accuphase).


Thanks – that's consistent with what I have heard elsewhere. It seems the the Sansuis are a bit under the radar, but worth considering.


I know that there are some huge vintage Luxman fans out there, but it sounds as though they were/are a bit less reliable than some of the others under consideration. I do seem to recall their components being beautiful, though!


Thank you, Daniel. Which Sansui do you have?

@Swampwalker, @Czarivey

Thanks for the suggestion. It is possible that a long-standing bias of mine may get in the way of the Pioneer option. I don't doubt that some of their models are good, but way back (I was in high school when most of these were made), I used to hang around a nice store in Evanston, IL called Audio Consultants, and Pioneer receivers struck me more as mid-range, as opposed to elite. As I say, there's a bias at work, though.


Tony C.
McIntosh made some nice receivers from that era. Check out Audio They are a big used Mac dealer. The Tandbergs are real nice but they have not been in business for years. BTW, you are right about Luxman,I have owned their gear and it was nothing but trouble!
Really? I can't imagine luxman gear from the seventies is any less reliable than sansui, pioneer or marantz. If we are talking lux gear from the 80's I would tend to agree. I bought my Marantz from a guy who had pretty much restored it. As far as vintage gear goes unless its been completely gone through by a reliable tech it's a ticking time bomb anyway.
I kid you not! All was bought new about 1978.M4000 amp failed within two years. C12 preamp phono section failed within three years. Tuner, forgot model number, leds blew after a few years.Back in those days I paid a pretty penny for that gear and it turned out to be crap. I have a forty year old Advent receiver in my den that performs without a glitch. So when people ask me about Luxman, I always say run run run,in the opposite direction!
Ouch yogi thanks for the heads up I'll be sure to steer clear of luxman. Tony I do think you could go wrong with the 2230 it has a very mellow sound if you find a good one im sure you will like it. I've heard a lot of sansui gear and have always found it a bit bright imhop.

That's interesting – thanks. As my system will be used in a room that is likely to add brittleness to the sound, I really want to steer more in the direction of warmth and non-bright components.


Thanks. I've always had real respect for Mac equipment, so it probably should be added to the mix. Also interesting to hear another anecdotal warning about Luxman.


No doubt you're correct about all vintage equipment needing attention sooner or later. The Tandberg that I am considering was recently refurbished by a specialist in Germany, so while it is try that the company has been out of business for some time, I expect that it would provide many years of good service.
Yes, Nikko had a lot of very listenable gear back in teh 70's.

My choice of receiver that I owned for many years back then was a Hitachi sr804 Class G receiver. IT was a very well made piece. The Class G design enabled more power in a smaller package but the sound quality fared poorly against the absolute top notch Tandberg tr2080 that I acquired concurrently a couple years later. Nikko sound was very neutral as I recall and always sounded good versus the other Japanese competition but the pricier Norwegian made tandberg was a cut above them all.

1) Sansui AU-999 fully restored, recapped and upgraded;

2) Revox B-251 recapped and upgraded with MC board;

If you wish to contact me:

You nailed it Schubert about the Sansui.

But you know what, the Revox is surprising good. I´m keeping one B-285 for myself.

What?? 18 replies and counting with no dealers yet advising that vintage gear is horribly unreliable, invariably needs new caps and in any case dramatically under performs whatever they have for sale new?

Maybe Audiogon is getting back to its old self.

Vintage receivers are really beautiful and can sound surprisingly good.

I would agree the Tandberg and in particular McIntosh receivers are potentially more high end than the Japanese equivalents.

You might also check out Marantz and some from the Yamaha "Natural Sound" era.

Good luck.
My re-capped, upgraded integrated (sorry it's not a receiver) Sansui AU D-11 sits inthe bedroom matched with re-coned EPI 100s.
The Harman Kardon X30 series of receivers are very nice, particularly the 430 and 730.

agree with dave on the hk x30 (i still have the 330 and 730)--as i understand it hk employed minimal negative feedback than others of that era and consequently sound more lifelike. however, i'd still opt for that tandberg.
yes it was both impressive and sadly rather typical of him. I forgot about the sansui au999 that might be my choice as its much more laid back than other sansui offerings and i've heard many. What are you leaning towards?
As always, system synergy is the big unknown, and I have no way of guessing which of the contenders is most likely to click.

While certain Marantz and Sansui models are attractive, I think that I'm going to give the Tandberg a try. It has been serviced by a specialist, and at under $300 shipped, I can easily afford to sell it on and try one of the others, should it be unsatisfying. It's also a bit of a gut feeling, which, when shooting blind, could prove beneficial.

I appreciate all of the input, and will post some impressions after the components all arrive.


Tony C.

Here's two sleepers: Sherwood 7100 and Sherwood 7100A. If you like tubes, go with the 7100. If you prefer solid state, go with the 7100A. They are both solid state, but the 7100's sound is more tube-like. I picked up the one I have in my bedroom system for 20 bucks at a thrift store. You can find clean ones on Ebay for 50-75 bucks or so. These are great sounding receivers ... good headphone amps too.

Another Audio Consultants alum here. It is their mention that inspired me to post to this old thread. As you may know, they had stores all over Chicago area. Very high class stores and people. Sadly, to great loss of all Chicago area audiophiles, the chain has closed.

Anyway, the Tandbergs were beautiful receivers and one can’t go wrong with them. I also have a soft corner for Nakamichi and Luxman, but Tandgerg’s visual appeal was in a class of its own. Mac gear, old or new, has always been pricey. Of course with vintage pieces it all depends on what you find and in what condition.

I am sure that you have made your purchases by now, perhaps more than once. Good luck!

Thanks for the note! Given that Simon, the founder of AC, was in the store so much when I lived in Evanston, I suspect that it was the original location. It was interesting to see how careful he was to hire only people who were truly passionate about the gear, and how they were required to have a strong base of knowledge and a willingness to learn as the the landscape changed. Very different from the type of salesmen who I often encountered at other shops, who could have just as easily been selling cars, etc.

I spent about four years with vintage power as I was developing my system here in Portugal. The Tandberg, as beautiful as it was, and despite it having been recapped, was missing something, so I tried an Accuphase. It was a real step up, so I couldn't resist another step, and ended up with an E-303x (not easy to find). Outstanding sound, and attractive, understated looks.

I am actually not typically a flipper, and when I settle into a system, I tend to stick with it for years. But this recent period was my first experience with vintage gear and re-capping, and I enjoyed learning about the potential of such amps.

Over the past year, though, I transitioned to a contemporary integrated, and have to say that it has made a further, significant difference, and not only in terms of its digital capabilities. I bought a used Hegel H160 for around $1700, and would say that it represents outstanding value.