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Eico ST-70 vs Fisher KX-200

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by AA6U, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. AA6U

    AA6U Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    I have a chance to get either an Eico ST-70 or a Fisher KX-200 integrated amp. Both are working and in good shape. The Fisher is about double the price of the Eico. The seller (a friend) said the build quality of Eico is as good or better than the Fisher (I haven't seen them yet).

    If I get the Eico, I'd make the improvements on http://www.tronola.com/ST-70A_mods_package.pdf .

    For both I'd upgrade the caps and check for out of spec resistors, and I may change the output tubes to 6L6 for ease and cost of replacement.

    My question is: Is the Fisher KX-200 that much better than the Eico ST-70 for the big price difference? They have the same number of tubes and both have massive output transformers.

    The major negative of the Eico is that it's ugly compared to the Fisher, but performance is my primary concern.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts and advice in helping me make this decision.

    Thanks!
     

     

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  2. Big Harry

    Big Harry Active Member

    Messages:
    244
    Location:
    Hawthorne, California
    I'm listening to an Eico ST70 through a pair of B&W speakers as I'm writing this and it is a really good sounding amplifier. It's been recapped, out of tolerance resistors replaced and running American 7591's. That being said, Fisher built some really nice equipment and looks a bit nicer than the Eico amps. The positive side of the Eico amp is the ease of servicing as it has a roomy chassis to work on.
     
  3. dcgillespie

    dcgillespie Fisher SA-100 Clone Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,709
    Location:
    Ball Ground, GA
    The Eico is known for excessive quiescent noise, so you will definitely want to do the Tronola modifications to at least resolve that issue -- and gain more performance. One of the big benefits of the Fisher is that the phono preamp and line level small signal tubes all have their heaters powered from a DC power supply, where as the Eico uses AC for all the heaters. Therefore, the Fisher -- without the low level noise issues of the Eico -- also have quieter phono preamps as well. The Fisher also has a pretty cool little on board bias meter -- although it may need some work, and will definitely need recalibration from that of the stock circuit. The Fisher's B+ is from a SS voltage doubler power supply, and is therefore somewhat stiffer than the Eico's tube rectifier.

    Good luck with your pick!

    Dave
     
  4. sanford12

    sanford12 Old Stuff New Stuff As long as it's Good Stuff Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,537
    Location:
    Blue grass country
    I had KX-200 and a Eico ST-70. Rebuilt both and I liked the Eico much better. Was never happy with the Fisher.
     
  5. RossW

    RossW AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,938
    Location:
    Medford, MA
    I've never heard a KX-200 specifically but I have heard a lot of Fisher gear and it never failed to impress. On the other hand I had an Eico ST-70 that I spent MONTHS trying to get to sound right and never got there, even with the Tronola mods.
     
  6. crispycircuit

    crispycircuit AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,430
    Location:
    near Buffalo NY
    The ugly Eico is a solid straight forward design proven to deliver. It's mod friendly with plenty of space to work in. Transformers are excellent, tube rectified, decent power, top of the line 60's karma, opporntunity is knocking.
     

     

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  7. arts

    arts Super Member

    Messages:
    3,716
    Location:
    Qc, Canada
    I still have an ST-70 that I experimented with at one time. My final conclusion was that the power amplifier section was pretty darned good and worth the effort of rebuilding.
    The pre-amplifier section,on the other hand,was really rather lousy and would require ''heroic'' levels of effort to make it usable/listenable.I abandoned the effort completely.

    I would advise against changing to 6L6 power tubes.Perfectly acceptable modern 7591 replacements are available at costs similar to 6L6 types,and NOS is still out there if you can stretch the budget.The two types are vastly different in most parameters,and while they can be made to work in each others circuits,to me this is a perfect example of ''just because you can doesn't mean you should''.
     
    RWood likes this.
  8. RS Steve

    RS Steve Tube Junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,535
    Location:
    Jupiter, Florida
    I have two KX-200's and an Eico 2080 which is supposed to be near identical to the ST-70. I'm a little on the fence so far as to which I like better for sound, but I like the Fisher much better for looks. I believe the 2080 is an improved ST-70, I'm impressed with it's output, it seems to out power the Fisher's.
     
  9. AA6U

    AA6U Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks for saged insight. It would seem that the Eico ST-70 might be the better economical buy. In looking at chassis photos, I agree that the Eico does have a lot more real estate for mods such as rectifying the heater voltage. I would probably hold off changing the output tubes to see pricing and availability of the 7591s at that time. Some people say the 7591s sound better than the 6L6s.

    Overall, I don't think I can go wrong with either one, or perhaps the seller will make me a great deal if I buy both and then I can sell whichever one I don't like.
     
  10. vendo81

    vendo81 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,838
    Location:
    California
    I have listened to both rebuilt and I found the complete opposite. The Fisher in stock form is quiet and sounds exceptional. One of my favorite integrated amplifiers and I used it for a couple years every night without any problems. Still sounded as good as it did when I first rebuilt it. The ST70 on the other hand has a noisy preamp section at idle, although when at a listening level had a very nice sound of it's own. I'm just not wanting to put in a lot of extra time in mods to get the Eico quiet. Maybe it wouldn't bother some people but a hum at idle drives me crazy. The Eico is a very large amp so fitting in mods would not be a problem. I prefer the Fisher appearance wise. If you don't mind possibly putting the time in you can save money by buying the Eico.

    I still pull the Fisher of the shelf every couple months.

    Anyone not familiar with their looks, here's photos of both amplifiers...
    eico st70.jpg

    KX200.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2016
  11. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

    Messages:
    36,759
    Location:
    Southern NJ
    Talk about some polar opposite opinions. And here you get the trouble with subjective opinions :) Buy both, see which you like better, sell the other one.

    Haven't owned either, but I don't think you'd get a lot of argument that the Eico is not exactly much of a looker.
     
    Tim D and soundmotor like this.

     

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  12. soundmotor

    soundmotor super modified Subscriber

    I've had both. The Fisher KX-200 goes to Warp 8 on the cool factor for me with the chassis mount bias meter.

    As far as sound quality, I agree with the above. Get both, keep one.


    [​IMG]
     
    Tim D likes this.
  13. sheltie dave

    sheltie dave Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,876
    Location:
    St. Louis
    I own both, and I would buy the Fisher first.
     
    Westy56 likes this.
  14. Dandy

    Dandy Super Member

    Messages:
    4,507
    Location:
    North West, UK
    If you can't buy both, perhaps you can borrow them one at a time to listen to over a few days? You'd also get a feel for size, usefulness and aesthetics. I have a gut feeling that, price aside, you'd go for the Fisher--but I've not heard one. You don't say if you have any other tube amps. If not, two is the minimum for participation on this forum! ;)
     
  15. AA6U

    AA6U Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    I have a Mcintosh C11/MC-30 monoblock, Eico ST-84/HF-35 monoblock, Fisher 400C, Heathkit SP2A/WM5 and HK250. Some have been completely refurbished and some are awaiting refurbishment. I love tube amps and restoring them to primo condition.
     
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  16. primosounds

    primosounds SE KT120 w/ 6J5G drivers. Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,717
    Location:
    Terra, 21st century CE
    I also have both and rebuilt both of them. And in stock form the Fisher is definitely better sounding. Now the modified ST70 will certainly bring the 2 units closer together, soundwise. Still, i think the Fisher will retain or increase in value more than the EICO. If you can afford the 200 i think considering all the pros and cons that would be a better buy..
     

     

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  17. vendo81

    vendo81 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,838
    Location:
    California
    You have some very nice items. That Fisher 400C would go great with the MC30's or Eico HF-35 monoblock :naughty:
     
  18. AA6U

    AA6U Member

    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    I ended up getting both for $900. The Fisher works, but definitely needs new caps. The Eico filter caps are leaking so they need replacement before testing. Anyway, I guess I will restore/modify them both and decide which is best. One thing for sure, they both pack a lot of iron!
     
    Brice, Tim D and RS Steve like this.
  19. Greg Nal

    Greg Nal AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    384
    Location:
    Central California
    Found this old thread and I'm dying to find out what you thought of the two amps after restoration. Was the Fisher the better sounding amp due to the better preamp section, or was the EICO the better one due to better iron? Did you make any mods to the EICO to close the gap between them? Please, I'm not sure I can sleep without knowing the answer! signed, Sleepless in Fresno
     
  20. Tim D

    Tim D AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,345
    Location:
    Melbourne, FL
    Great decision to get both!

    You've got a lot of support here on the Fisher and EICO forums. Look forward to watching your journey. :)
     

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