You can't go home again.

MikeT.

Senior Member
I've no history of WAF issues, thank goodness. I understand your darling's love of the Citation as I'm sure it sounds quite good and is almost absurdly beautiful. Solve the phono aspect and be happy for the nonce.

Even without solving the phono aspect, you’re 80% there @JohnVF , very good sound, high WAF and terrific gear. ;)
 

adaug

Awaiting Updated Member Status.
....in order to reset our base level of experience. The psychological term is hedonic adaptation and essentially refers to adapting to our current environment. At first luxury seems amazing but we adapt very quickly. It can become our normal state and therefore not exceptional.

this is insightful. and so apt for the audio hobby, right? we have great systems, and we inevitably get the itch for something a little better.
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
You could be doing a lot worse. H & K Citation gear was built to compete against the big dog at the time, McIntosh. And it was EXPENSIVE!
I have a Citation 18 tuner that I picked up in my system for FM duties. It's one of the prettiest tuners that I have ever seen. It was all recapped except for the FM board and could use an alignment. It drifts a bit until it warms up but than sounds fantastic. The build quality is over the top, better than Mac in many respects. Back in 1979 it cost $598.00 and wasn't discounted like many brands. Only a handful of folks could afford a tuner in this price range so they are very rare and hard to find.
If I was to switch back to a sand based system I would be looking for the rest of the components that typically sold with this tuner. I doubt I would be disappointed.
For folks that like nude pictures, google images of this unit. It's build is totally mil-spec.

BillWojo
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
You could be doing a lot worse. H & K Citation gear was built to compete against the big dog at the time, McIntosh. And it was EXPENSIVE!
I have a Citation 18 tuner that I picked up in my system for FM duties. It's one of the prettiest tuners that I have ever seen. It was all recapped except for the FM board and could use an alignment. It drifts a bit until it warms up but than sounds fantastic. The build quality is over the top, better than Mac in many respects. Back in 1979 it cost $598.00 and wasn't discounted like many brands. Only a handful of folks could afford a tuner in this price range so they are very rare and hard to find.
If I was to switch back to a sand based system I would be looking for the rest of the components that typically sold with this tuner. I doubt I would be disappointed.
For folks that like nude pictures, google images of this unit. It's build is totally mil-spec.

BillWojo
Looked it up and it’s puurrrdy! Reminds me of my old Sansui 717 tuner.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
At least you have the resources to solve that issue.
They have a house sitting on top of them right now. or, the contents of one. But yes, I do, somewhere, have all the ingredients. I'm mostly just frustrated by how terrible the otherwise nice sounding Citation Receiver is at playing records. It's like they were just anticipating CD or something.
 

MikeO

Active Member
Wonder if that citation receiver would sound good driving your harbeths. Plenty of power I would think. But yes, I can't understand why so many of the top of the line receivers went with a cheap chip for their phono section. The receivers sound great with line in and not great with what you would think was the most important source. Was it Philips who made that chip?
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
Wonder if that citation receiver would sound good driving your harbeths. Plenty of power I would think. But yes, I can't understand why so many of the top of the line receivers went with a cheap chip for their phono section. The receivers sound great with line in and not great with what you would think was the most important source. Was it Philips who made that chip?
I tried it when I bought it on the Harbeths. It sounded good but not great even just using line-level. It was either that they revealed more of its shortcomings than the Sonys do, or I was just more familiar with them, in that room, on my best gear. It was quite a step down from the transformer volume control and, at the time, my big VAC tube amp.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
They have a house sitting on top of them right now. or, the contents of one. But yes, I do, somewhere, have all the ingredients. I'm mostly just frustrated by how terrible the otherwise nice sounding Citation Receiver is at playing records. It's like they were just anticipating CD or something.
The sad truth in my experience is that prior to relatively recent times there just weren't many phono pre/stages that hold up in a modern sense. The stages in the Yamaha CA-1000 and 1010 that I have are both pretty nice (all discrete) as is the one in the Accuphase E-202 (the one in mine is the quietest phono-anything I've ever encountered). None of them are by any means up to the standard of my current stand-alone phono preamps, though.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The sad truth in my experience is that prior to relatively recent times there just weren't many phono pre/stages that hold up in a modern sense. The stages in the Yamaha CA-1000 and 1010 that I have are both pretty nice (all discrete) as is the one in the Accuphase E-202 (the one in mine is the quietest phono-anything I've ever encountered). None of them are by any means up to the standard of my current stand-alone phono preamps, though.
Whenever I hear the advice "Get a receiver from when records were the main source!" given to record collectors I cringe. It makes logical sense but it's simply not true.

I think some of the early tube phono stages were ok. Nothing amazing. In solid state receivers some of the Onkyo lineup had decent phono stages, I guess it was a selling point with them. In the '80s things got better... my Yamaha C-80 pre had a nice if maybe too-smooth one. It's just that the stand alone units, even some of the budget ones, are so much better. The difference between my Juicy Music Tercel II and ANYTHING I heard in the two dozen vintage receivers I had is embarrassingly vast.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Whenever I hear the advice "Get a receiver from when records were the main source!" given to record collectors I cringe. It makes logical sense but it's simply not true.

I think some of the early tube phono stages were ok. Nothing amazing. In solid state receivers some of the Onkyo lineup had decent phono stages, I guess it was a selling point with them. In the '80s things got better... my Yamaha C-80 pre had a nice if maybe too-smooth one. It's just that the stand alone units, even some of the budget ones, are so much better. The difference between my Juicy Music Tercel II and ANYTHING I heard in the two dozen vintage receivers I had was embarrassingly vast.
My considerably-modded Yamaha C-4 is one of the few back-in-the-day SS phono stages I've experienced that stands up well even in a modern context. I recall many years ago someone doing a long-running test of affordable phono preamps and a stock C-4 was judged as good as any.

I had a couple of "classic era" tube preamps and the stage in my CA-1010 easily whupped both of them. I had a weird arrangement for a time where I was using that massive Yamaha for nothing more than the phono stage... back in my supporting kids/mortgage days. ;)

I'd heard that the Onkyo stages were very good for the time, but I've never had the TX-4500 MkII (currently in that kitchen system) anywhere I had a turntable to try it.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
My considerably-modded Yamaha C-4 is one of the few back-in-the-day SS phono stages I've experienced that stands up well even in a modern context. I recall many years ago someone doing a long-running test of affordable phono preamps and a stock C-4 was judged as good as any.

I had a couple of "classic era" tube preamps and the stage in my CA-1010 easily whupped both of them. I had a weird arrangement for a time where I was using that massive Yamaha for nothing more than the phono stage... back in my supporting kids/mortgage days. ;)

I'd heard that the Onkyo stages were very good for the time, but I've never had the TX-4500 MkII (currently in that kitchen system) anywhere I had a turntable to try it.
Come to think of it, my Yamaha A-1 had a good phono stage. That was an excellent integrated amp. Wish I'd kept it. $20 Salvation Army find from when you could find such things in a thrift.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Come to think of it, my Yamaha A-1 had a good phono stage. That was an excellent integrated amp. Wish I'd kept it. $20 Salvation Army find from when you could find such things in a thrift.
Yes, the A-1 was definitely a very nice integrated, the same vintage as the C-4 pre.
 
This reminded me that Audio Science Review actually did some measurements of the Yamaha A-1. Needless to say, it performed very well:


It also has a very nice looking page on The Vintage Knob: Yamaha A-1 on thevintageknob.org
 
That Citation is a fine receiver indeed. I think the only real competition then was the Tandberg TA-2080. I have one handy but have not tried the phono section.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
That Citation is a fine receiver indeed. I think the only real competition then was the Tandberg TA-2080. I have one handy but have not tried the phono section.
The Tandberg 2080 is the one receiver that still intrigues me, after getting the Citation Receiver. Though given how far down the Citation is in the sonic pecking order here, I may just leave that one to 'what could have been' status.

So much of this thread is about my love/hate relationship with my own path in this hobby. I really want to love vintage audio ....but I end up loving it more in theory than I end up loving it in reality.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
The Citation Receiver falls in a unique camp. It both sounds better than any other vintage receiver I've had, while not being close to the current state of the art. Which is, admittedly, an unfair bar to hold it up to. Nobody could honestly listen to it and say "this sounds bad" as it clearly doesn't. I'm comparing it to a system that I tweaked over an entire decade to exactly fit my personal tastes.

The Sony SS-m3s, on the other hand...they do hold up. I've heard plenty of current stand mounts that I don't like as much as I like them. They may lack a bit in the upper 'air' compared to what's most current, but they make up for that with incredibly well made sealed cabinets that help present bass in a way that I just prefer to most ported designs. I'm finding that they don't give up much to the larger SS-m7s that I had in terms of scale and bass depth. The 7s went lower but had a tendency to get boomy. These are tighter. Both are extremely coherent. Maybe when this Covid thing passes I'll get them recapped. Jon Van L's Speakerworks is down the road... excellent local speaker designer who works on rehabbing older speakers as well.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
My considerably-modded Yamaha C-4 is one of the few back-in-the-day SS phono stages I've experienced that stands up well even in a modern context. I recall many years ago someone doing a long-running test of affordable phono preamps and a stock C-4 was judged as good as any.

I had a couple of "classic era" tube preamps and the stage in my CA-1010 easily whupped both of them. I had a weird arrangement for a time where I was using that massive Yamaha for nothing more than the phono stage... back in my supporting kids/mortgage days. ;)

I'd heard that the Onkyo stages were very good for the time, but I've never had the TX-4500 MkII (currently in that kitchen system) anywhere I had a turntable to try it.
I agree - I've got an Avionics-modded C-4 in my main system and it is extremely hard to fault.
 

Audionut

Next Round Is On Me
This reminded me that Audio Science Review actually did some measurements of the Yamaha A-1. Needless to say, it performed very well:


It also has a very nice looking page on The Vintage Knob: Yamaha A-1 on thevintageknob.org
It sure did, interesting to see who’s at the top of the heap (and your personal favorite Schiit is up there too @JohnVF :D;)).
F9EC1F91-5AC3-442F-B7BF-AE824803F07B.png
 
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