PDA

View Full Version : Budget vintage amps that preferably go 'Cheep!' (like a budgie)



Howard
20-11-2009, 13:01
Hello again,

As discussed in another thread, I'm currently on the look out for a cheap (250-ish) vintage turntable (I've convinced myself that a Thorens TD 125 is what I want, and I don't think much could deviate me from my path now...). Somewhere in the midst of the myriad informative and helpful posts in that thread, I was recommended to get a replacement amplifier for my old Pioneer SA-408. (Whilst I'm aware it's not a great amp, I am very attached to it.)

Whilst lazily browsing them internets this morning I stumbled across the Arcam A&R A60, and wondered if it might be an appropriate match for my stuffs (a hypothetical-at-the-moment TD 125, and my Tannoy M3 speakers, which I'm guessing aren't going to be a good match to anything). The fact that A60 is available really cheaply is a big plus.

Any thoughts/comments/abuse welcome.

The Grand Wazoo
20-11-2009, 14:15
It's a well liked option in these (AoS) parts. A pretty safe bet and punching way above it's weight for the price you can get one for.

Howard
20-11-2009, 15:06
Well there's an easy decision made, thanks.

Just one thing — does the A60 have an integrated phono stage?

Ali Tait
20-11-2009, 15:57
I've not heard one myself,but many say they are a rather nice amp.One caveat though,given the age of it,changing the power supply elecrolytic caps would be a very good idea if it hasn't been done already.

Howard
20-11-2009, 16:10
I've not heard one myself,but many say they are a rather nice amp.One caveat though,given the age of it,changing the power supply elecrolytic caps would be a very good idea if it hasn't been done already.

It sounds like a horrible job; is it difficult?

Ali Tait
20-11-2009, 16:49
As I say,I've never seen one,but if you can hold a soldering iron without burning yourself,I'd say it wouldn't be too difficult.Failing that,there are plenty here,including myself,that would be happy to help. :)

The Vinyl Adventure
20-11-2009, 17:12
howard, i am watching a couple of a60's on ebay my self
if you would like me to hold of bidding on them for your sake, then let me know which ones etc .. im in no hurry it is just as a cheap way to get amplification into the studio and that is fairly low on the list of prioritys

Howard
20-11-2009, 17:35
As I say,I've never seen one,but if you can hold a soldering iron without burning yourself,I'd say it wouldn't be too difficult.Failing that,there are plenty here,including myself,that would be happy to help. :)

Ha, yeah, I have held a soldering iron, and no-one suffered significant injuries, so hopefully I'll be okay.


howard, i am watching a couple of a60's on ebay my self
if you would like me to hold of bidding on them for your sake, then let me know which ones etc .. im in no hurry it is just as a cheap way to get amplification into the studio and that is fairly low on the list of prioritys

Oh no, thank you for the offer, but they're all yours if you want them I'm still not really in a position to actually buy an amp yet. I need to work out how much my turntable will cost me first, and anything left over might be able to go towards an amp. Like you, it's not top of my priority list!

I'm also reading too many interesting threads here I'm now looking at those cheap Chinese tube amps on eBay. I've never heard a tube amp before, and wonder if now should be my time...

Ali Tait
20-11-2009, 17:38
What speakers do you have? Another good choice is an original Sugden a21.Lovely class A amp.Not too powerful though,so easy to drive speakers would be needed.

Howard
20-11-2009, 17:44
What speakers do you have? Another good choice is an original Sugden a21.Lovely class A amp.Not too powerful though,so easy to drive speakers would be needed.

Tannoy Mercury M3. I imagine they're hard to drive?

Ali Tait
20-11-2009, 18:19
Not too bad I'd imagine? Sugden should be ok I think.

Macca
20-11-2009, 21:46
I loved the A60 but that was back in 1991 and it was an 'old' amp even then, so component age might be an issue to consider - if it works fine but doesn't work with the 'speakers then sell it back on ebay, you should get what you paid. - The way to look at it if you are buying kit on ebay is that you have to be prepared to go through the hassle of selling it on if it doesn't suit. Either that or add it to the pile of rejects in the spare room and take the hit cash-wise:)

Rare Bird
21-11-2009, 03:49
I can safely say the 'A60' is one of the most reliable vintage tranny amps ever. Regarding component age, change the power supply reservoir caps, early units were ''6,800uF'', the later ones ''10,000uF''.. change to the latter value anyway,preferably the slit foil variety.. An improvement to me was swapping the 'IN5401' rectifier diodes for Schottky '50SQ100's..For those fussy about potentiometer quality i'm afraid they are full of cheap Alps pots, the very late 'A60's had slightly better pots, but the most cheapo..Vol pot is 100K which is a common pot value, tone & Balance are 22K not easy to source.You should have no real issues with the originals but the volume generally crackles.Note that inputs are 5 Din, some units had Phono for Turntable only...Speaker outputs are Binding post that accept bare wire or 4mm Bannana's, there is an additional pair of output posts for switched output, this means when you insert the headphone jack, the speakers mute, direct connection means no mute..

A good amp nice & slim & very acceptable in a modern eviroment, only dated issue with the asthetics are the source select press buttons! & maybe the wooden sleeve to some, black looks best IMHO.

Re: The Sugden 'A21' mentioned..The 'A60' is a better sounding amp IMHO, better than an 'A48' aswell.. If you can source the 'A60AP' & locate a 'SA60' power amp you have the chance of building up an old Active pre/power system where crossover board for say the Linn Kan, ARC etc speakers can be fitted inside the power amp..Other bits to look out for the 'A60' was the 'HA10' Moving coil pre amp that either took it's power from the disc input or the dedicated power supply..or just a slot in MC board ('MC-60').The Early units had a discrete Phonostage, later ones they used 'NE5534' IC, this can be upgraded by using an Analogue devices 'AD711JN'... Regarding CD playback again early had a standard Aux input, later dedicated CD in..

& of cource to make things all so pretty the Matching 'T21' FM Tuner.A tuning display like no other, this is a very good tuner, signal tuning & strength display are green & red LED's, may seem odd at firt usage but you get use to it..All presets are push buttons on front to match the amp, each is tuned in at the real via small tuning pots to what ever station you wish for your selected pre set channel. also a gain potentionmeter on rear to match loudness to other source inputs you have plugged in the amp, so you don't get a nasty level difference when selecting another louder source..good stuff got my 'T21' for 21 quid on fleece bay..

Macca
21-11-2009, 10:02
If you can't find an A60 then try a Cambridge P50 or P70 - very similar sound and the P70 has MC phono stage too.

Rare Bird
21-11-2009, 12:00
If you can't find an A60 then try a Cambridge P50 or P70 - very similar sound and the P70 has MC phono stage too.

Aye the 80's Cambridge were ok 'P35' was nice enough past that nay..Steer clear of the '70's models 'P40', 'P50', 'P60', 'P110'..Not the most reliable amps..