Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by CharlieBee, Jun 19, 2006.
Yeah, that one would be a top pick for sure. I'm sure not too many were sold though.
I just bought a JVC R-X300 <(not my picture) for $5 from the original owner today. It's what most people would call typical mid-80's "BPC", but like a lot of JVC stuff, it sounds much better than it has any right to. I actually really enjoyed listening to Electric Ladyland through it just a little while ago, and right now I'm enjoying Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper's Super Session. Anyway, while I was giving it a quick cleaning I saw that there were batteries in the back of it. Like many receivers from this era, it wasn't uncommon for them to have a AA battery compartment on the back for the tuner memory bank, so I took the batteries out and saw this!...
Original equipment 33 year old JVC batteries! Luckily they were still in good condition, and they hadn't blown and made a mess. TBH, other than a few minor scuffs on the top edge of the faceplate and on the side, I don't think this unit was used very much at all. Before hooking it up, I took the lid off to see if there was any dust inside that needed to be blown out, and there was hardly any. After giving it a very quick shot of compressed air, the interior looks like it just came off the assembly line. The fluorescent display is also still bright and vibrant, every light works with its corresponding switch, all the RCA connectors and screw down knobs in the back for the phono ground wire and AM/FM antenna hookups were very clean and without any residue or corrosion. More importantly, all the sliders and switches operate without any noise at all, so the owner must have taken good care of it and stored it in a cabinet or a box in a dry spot all its life.
Again, it sounds better than it has any right to though. I think a lot of people would overlook this little 15 pound tin can unit, but I say it offers a nice sound that would certainly please plenty of new audiophiles as a part of their first system for many years to come. What I like about it is that it has decent midrange clarity and presence. Better than it should considering its sparse internal componentry. Presence is a hard thing to find in the lower end of audio, and this unit has plenty of it. Also, while it might not have an absolute powerhouse sound, it has good bass quality. The bass has plenty of output, but most importantly, it's not sterile and/or sloppy like so many units from this era. It actually has decent definition and texture. It's the kind of bass that allows you to hear the textured kick of a kick drum, the different tonalities of bass guitars being played, and whether they are being played with a pick or not, etc. It's not just some homogenized bass sound purely for the sake of output instead of quality.
Overall, it's just a nice, listenable unit. I don't find it grating or fatiguing to listen to, and I don't find it's overall sound to be sterile and lacking in tonality like a lot of other gear from this era. The funny thing is that you look on the inside of this thing and the layout is pretty sparse with a few printed PCB boards and flat ribbon cables, but it never ceases to amaze me how JVC was able to get a good sound out of nothing. Pretty much everyone de-contented in this era, but suffered in sound quality, yet JVC did the same, but was still able to make compelling sounding gear. Go figure. That's a testament to the engineers at JVC at the time to be able to achieve decent sound with minimal componentry, as well as a cost-cutting budget criteria.
With all that said, is this receiver good enough to make me sell off my other gear? Nope. But it's good enough that I think it just might knock off the other receiver I use for demoing speakers and other associated gear for sale. This unit has an EQ, which I find handy for selling different gear because you can fine tune it quickly for a nice sound that instantly grabs people. BTW, that other receiver was a JVC too. Really though, I mostly bought this thing out of minor curiosity and because it was so cheap, but after it's all said and done, it just might replace my other JVC for demo duty. Go figure.
Wow, just for poos and giggles, I just took a voltage reading on those batteries and one was completely dead, but the other read 1.25 volts! lol
Just goes to show, don't judge a book by it's BPC cover!
When we met, my late wife had a JVC component system. Receiver, Cass deck. CDP , EQ but no turntable. Had 4 Bose speakers hooked to it. I got the speakers and the audio rack when she passed. The son took the components. The components had good sound and had quality tactile feedback through the controls.
I myself have JVC Super VHS Hi-FI that is a wonderful piece that has been trouble free for over 20 years. Remember VHS was a JVC invention. It even has reverse slo-mo and frame by frame. It is used mostly now as a audio recorder.
On either speed it makes wonderful recordings.
That's quite impressive... most batteries have a 10year shelf life, that hit the 30 year mark.... wonder if it would actually power anything... cool either way!
For sure. I've had my biases and preconceived notions humbled more than a few times with some pieces that were supposed to be "crap". Like you say, don't always judge a book by it's cover, and never allow other people to influence your own purchasing decisions or your own personal exploration of gear. Even if it might be frowned upon by the 99.999%. What I've discovered over the years is that once you are able to let preconceived notions about gear fall to the wayside, you will then be able to look for and discover some gems that were "supposed" to be utter garbage, but are far from it, sonically. You'd be surprised at what I've found, and what anyone else can find, if only they allow themselves to not conform the doubters and naysayers. I own, and have owned some well-known pieces, I own some rare pieces, as well as others that are supposed to be crap, and I can tell you that some of those "crappy" gems can sound better than some of the more valuable and collectible stuff. They certainly aren't a dime a dozen, but they do exist. You just have to be open to finding them. It's all about knowing (and discovering) what you like and then finding those gems that cater to that. My eyes are always wide open.
Yeah, no kidding. To hold roughly 85% of its charge over 33 years is pretty amazing. "They don't make 'em like they used to!"
Okay, I'm sticking my neck, and my reputation and "relevancy" out there a bit with this post...
Still listening to the R-X300 I bought the other day (above), and now I have it hooked up to my main system for a full shakedown. I hate to go against the many "BPC" naysayers out there (not necessarily you), but I'm sorry, this thing is not a piece of crap. I have also had a few other JVC pieces in the past, and this is a nice unit. It just is. No matter what kind of music I throw at it, and no matter how much I try to find a way to say that this 15 pound tin can "should" be no good, I just cannot say that. In fact, I refuse to. Again, is it as good as some of the other pieces I own? No. But in some instances, and in some respects, it comes damn close. More than I think most people would ever give it a chance to prove itself.
Right now I am listening to Brubeck through it. This disc in particular:
This is just a cheap compilation disc of dubious quality that I picked up for peanuts. It's certainly not the last word in finite re-engineering and sound quality though. I have heard many of the tracks on this disc rendered better on other discs. This one tends to have slightly messy and muddled basslines with the last bit of overall clarity and detail rolled off ever so slightly. It also tends to get a little busy and overlapped-sounding during more complex portions of certain tunes. However, why do I still own it? Because believe it or not, it's actually turned out to be an absolutely essential demo disc. With all it's imperfections, played through capable gear, it has the unique ability to be able to sound better than the sum of its relatively crappy parts. Play this disc through subpar equipment and you'll get all the negatives I mentioned above. Play it through something of good quality, and many of these negative qualities are greatly reduced. It's as clear as night and day. You might think that it has more to do with the equipment, and it does (obviously). However, this disc has the unique ability to find and highlight capable-sounding amps and receivers more than any other disc I own. Play the exact same tracks with a better engineered disc and you simply won't be able to decipher these differences as easily. That's why this disc has been such an essential and convenient diagnostic tool is because it allows the capabilities (or lack thereof) of amps and receivers to shine through (or not). It just don't get the same effect with the same tracks on better quality discs.
Anyway, what I am I hearing with this disc being played through the R-X300? Many of the negatives I mentioned are greatly reduced playing this disc through it. Most of the sloppy basslines I hear with so much other gear is being rendered with less bloat, and more clarity and separation while allowing more individual notes to come through. There is more control with much less overhang and overlap of each bass note, particularly in much quicker passages where the pace really picks up. With this disc, it is still far from perfect, but only good amps/receivers are able to take the slop out of what is a messily engineered CD. Out of the literally innumerable amount of amps and receivers I have owned, this little tin can receiver untangle the bottom end of this disc better than 90% of them. Is it a bass definition/detail and bass speed/output monster? No. But it does have the ability to sort out the basslines of this disc in a way that always seems to trip up so much other gear.
Also, the midrange has nice clarity, and as I've found in other JVC gear I've owned, it tends to nail midrange tonality better than most pieces in my subjective, yet humble opinion. I can overlook other smaller misgivings in a piece of gear's sound quality, but if it doesn't have good midrange timbral qualities, no matter how good all the other aspects of its sound may be, it just won't cut it. But this little tin can just has a nice timbral quality. No matter how much I try to look for a reason to say otherwise, it just does. Whether it be classic rock, blues, jazz, bluegrass, or classical, it just does a nice job of presenting midrange tonality in a pleasing way.
And while it may not be the most absolutely transparent amp/receiver I have ever owned, I have also heard some musical details come forth from this disc in a way that is quite surprising for what this receiver is. Through it, I am hearing the texture of felt hammers on piano strings, the subtle clacking of a woodwind's keys, the fretting sounds and string slapping noise against the fingerboard of the double bass, the textured brush strokes against the head of a drum, small background shuffles, dialog, etc. They are all coming through cleanly and clearly in a way that adds to the human touch of a performance. Ultimately, that's a pretty good showing for a "crappy" little receiver and a CD of questionable quality in my humble opinion.
With the treble, again, while not the most transparent and über detailed, it is still enjoyable. Cymbals are brassy and shimmery without being brash, splashy, or etched-sounding, and the treble also has a surprising lack of annoying sibilance and overall "glare" which is always welcome in any piece of gear, regardless of price. I could go into more about its overall sound, but I digress.
Anyway, I don't want to make it seem like I am waxing poetic over this thing, but all I can say is that given it's a 15 pound BPC tin can that "should" sound like garbage in a way that most people would want it to...it just doesn't. Is it a perfect-sounding unit? Not by a long shot. But it gets so many more things right that any sins of omission are overshadowed by what it does well. In fact, that is another curious thing about this receiver is that normally, some of the things it doesn't do quite as well, would normally annoy the hell out of me with other units with the same misgivings. But again, it just somehow manages to present its faults in a way that is a non-issue for the most part. While some things may be missing from what I am used to hearing, it has the uncanny ability to not highlight them and cause them to grate on you.
Overall, (like I said in initial post) above all else, it's just a nice, listenable unit. A receiver that hits most of the high points without calling much negative attention to itself otherwise. I could honestly listen to it all day and not be unhappy by doing so. We all have our favorite pieces of gear that we prefer, but to be able to listen to this thing and not have it be a chore is when you know you have something that's worthwhile listening to, despite any misgivings it may have. Given that I paid $5 for this thing, I am left shaking my head that it is even listenable at all...but it is. Instead of thinking about what I may be missing, I am thinking about what to play next. This thing makes me want to look for more powerful models of the same era now. Damn you, JVC.
Oh, and just a word of note: I am playing it with the loudness on, the SEA switch engaged, and the EQ contoured with the mids and lower-bass boosted a bit. I just found it sounds much better that way. Your mileage may vary.
Maybe you just have the right combo of equipment, I've put systems together that should have sounded great, and didn't and likewise put systems together that should have sounded like nails on a chalkboard and didn't.
It's really funny how synergy works!!
I am a JVC believer though<
I picked up a R S77 yesterday at a Goodwill for $20. It was fairly dirty inside but I cleaned the pots and blew it out and it sounds and runs fine. I bought one through eBay a few months ago and sent it back since it had problems. This example is in much better shape than the other one and I rather like it. One thing I dont like about it is how crappy the case is, especially for a unit near or at the top of the JVC receiver line up. I would probably keep it if had a nicer case but since I am up to my ears in vintage stuff, I think it is going on CL. I have two other vintage receivers from almost exactly the same year (1980), a MCS 3248 (45wpc) and a Realistic STA 95 (45wpc) and I cant imagine buying the JVC over either one of them if I was in the market back then. The JVC does have the built in EQ and quartz lock tuner and that probably was a good selling feature but the case and feel of the controls are not nearly as nice on the JVC. But hey, I am glad I found it and that it works and sounds so nice and that I finally found a decent example of a JVC units to judge them better by. I would not buy one any newer than this but if I found a good deal on an older one I would snap it up.
I still have a JVC VN-700 integrated amp that I bought in 1974 for $245. Seemed like a lot of money to me then, but it was worth it, because 43 years later, it still works, and still gets used nearly every day. Looks like this:
Yeah, it very well could be a synergy thing. I was thinking that could very well be the case too. It still has to have the goods to be able to do some of the things it does though, and I am still surprised at what it is able to do given the sum of its parts, or lack thereof. lol I think this little thing definitely has a place in my ever-shrinking collection though. More than anything it'll be used for demo'ing gear because of it's built in EQ, but there is no question that I am enjoying it at the moment, and that's pretty surprising.
Nice. While tons of JVC stuff was sold here in Canada, not a lot of integrated amps were sold it seems. Probably about 90% of them were receivers. I don't see many integrateds come up for sale here, and when they do come up, they are usually late-70's, 80's, and 90's units. I think I've only seen one or two JVC integrated from the mid-70's or earlier up here. I'd be nice to see a VN-900 come up for sale. I wouldn't mind checking one of those out.
A friend of mine just nabbed these little gems! Sound is very nice tight and clean looks great too! And yes in Canada, lol tested them with dynaco a-25s, nice match!
I love JVCs innovation, check out the cool speaker connectors..
Yeah, of the late-70's JVC integrateds, that series seemed to be the most common here. Enjoy!
I installed an old JVC JR-S301 and my spare pair of KEF 104/2's over at my GF's a while back. The receiver is all original with the exception of a power supply pass transistor (2SD330D?) that I replaced when I first got it many years ago. The build and sound quality is astonishingly good. It often runs for a couple of hours per day,and on weekends it's crank it up REAL loud for the backyard pool tunes. Sheesh,sometimes that thing is running hotter than my ARC tube gear; bulletproof!!!
We've also have a much-used JVC 25'' tv from the early 1990's. Every couple of years,like clockwork,I have to dig in and replace a couple of electrolytics in the vertical section. Pretty cheap to keep running,and it's a technology I can still work on
I've been running a Marantz SR 7300 OSE for many years, and recently got bitten by the quadraphonic bug. A local record store has a JVC 5456 that they run all day long, and I could help but take a fancy to it. It was their TOTL monster quad receiver of the day. The store wouldn't sell theirs, so I found one online, which I've been enjoying for the last week, through some Energy C-2 speakers. Part of the fun is playing with all those knobs, switches, and sliders! So far I've got plenty of respect for this 40 year old unit.
I picked up a nice JVC A-X2 amp the other day. It needs the power chord replacing and a bit of a clean but I'm hoping it will be rocking soon.
On a different note, @Charles LP , I had an Akai quad receiver a while back and it was a nightmare to get going due to the complexities involved with all the quad decoding stuff. I hope your JVC quad lives long and goes strong !
Welcome to AudioKarma. That looks like a very nice receiver.
Separate names with a comma.