madmanmunt wrote:I'm fucked. I spent a significant amount of time this weekend researching old amplifiers.
What kind of stuff should I be looking out for? 70s/80s Sansui, Pioneer?
Sansui and Pioneer fell off like a rock in the 80s. A good yardstick to tell which models are strong vs the shitty later era models is the tuners...
If they had analog dial tuners, then they were probably still decent. The giant corporations buying up the hi-fi companies and stripping the soul (and the quality components) out of them coincided with the boom of digital tuners.
After 83-84 or so, up-and-coming brands in the US market like Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, etc were taking over the shelf positions in the hi-fi stores where Sansui, Sherwood, Kenwood, Marantz, Fisher and Pioneer had always been. Those brands were dropped by the specialists as they went into the department stores, and the product went downhill fast as price became their most important feature.
NAD, Adcom, Rotel, Nakamichi, Luxman, Hafler, Soundcraftsmen, SAE etc were always a step above, but each of these brands has some specific service nightmares to contend with on a model by model basis.
Marantz was a dog line in the mid to late 80s... if you see items with a ton of pushbuttons for everything, and enough lights to remind you of the Tokyo skyline, avoid them... They really did not come back with another strong line until the mid-90s.
Navigating the 'mid-fi' segment of hi-fi is like navigating a mine field.