Realistic Stereo 40a - Buy or Pass?

Discussion in 'Dollars and Sense' started by Bostown, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. Bostown

    Bostown Low End Audio Enthusiast! Subscriber

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    There is a local ad for a Realistic Stereo 40a integrated Tube Amp. I'm hoping to get some quick feedback on this model to see if it's something I should purchase. I'd be using it with some older components ( KLH Model 18 radio tuner, and a pair of AR 4xa ).

    I thought it would be fun to put together an inexpensive system from the 60's and this Realistic popped up in my area. Currently I only own solid state equipment so I figured I'd post the question to see what feedback folks would offer.

    Buy? or Pass?, and if it's a buy ( given what I plan on using it with) How much is too much for one of these amps?
     

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  2. Jcricket

    Jcricket not someday, but today Subscriber

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    Probably a nice unit. I have no idea on actual value - btw - that question should put this thread into D$S. If it were affordable, I'd likely buy it.
    Mark
     
  3. coman61

    coman61 Well-Known Member

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    If the price is right why not. Looks like decent iron. Probably made in Japan. Looks kind of like LaFayette.:scratch2:
     
  4. RossW

    RossW AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'd grab it, looks like a decent unit for the price.

    It will need ALL those grey caps replaced though.
     
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  5. Urizen

    Urizen Lunatic Member

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    Question of value. Moved to D$S.
     
  6. electronjohn

    electronjohn Plug it in & see!! Subscriber

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    Serious iron in that puppy...hope you grabbed it!
     
  7. AnalogDigit

    AnalogDigit Realistic fan.

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    I always said, most Realistic gear is very good quality and always appears under the radar. I would grab it.
     
  8. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The trick(s) with this amp are as follows.
    The p/s uses a selenium rectifier.
    The output tubes are (or should be) 7189, not EL34, and the amp runs them VERY hard.
    The output transformers take a beating from heat; the wires get brittle and may need gentle repair/refurbishment.
    The coupling capacitors are cheap-jack ceramics.

    That said, it's not a bad sounding amp.

    I have one that belongs to AKer JoZmo sitting in my basement :-( It has a bad OPT, or (even more likely) one with a broken wire inside the "shielded" housing. The iron is not at all serious - but it is OK for the amp. There'd be real value in lowering the plate voltage on the output tubes (there are numerous schema to do that).
     
  9. Bostown

    Bostown Low End Audio Enthusiast! Subscriber

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    Here's the outcome: I bought it. I figured that I can justify it by consuming fewer pints of Young's Double Chocolate stout during the winter season. That ought to balance things out on the financial aspect of this acquisition.

    Seems like some Positive to fair feedback overall. - and mhardy6647 shared some noteworthy tech info. Now I'll just need a dig up a " Low end radioshack tube amp for Dummies" book so that I can translate it all :)

    The only speakers that were easily accessible to me today were a pair of ADS L570/2 and although the relative volume was noticeably lower than what my solid state mono amps produce, Those ADS Mid/bass drivers got a serious work out, even at low "background music" level to "cocktail party" and above, level.

    The high frequencies seems a bit more suppressed, but becomes more apparent as the volume increases. ( is that a common tube trait?).

    I probably should have the thing checked out and given a clean bill of health. even if its just to ensure that it's functioning as it should. ( It actually came with the manual which includes the schematic printed on the last pages as well).

    This is an excerpt from the seller's listing as it was posted:

    [Amplifier.Measures 12" X 10" X 4". Tube compliment is: 12AX7 (5), 6BQ5 (4), 5AR4 (1). Works great. Looks good. From the early to mid 60's. Made in Japan.
    Model is Realistic Stereo 40A. Has inputs for Phono, Tape, Auxiliary, and Tuner. Output power is 20 watts/channel Output transformers have 4, 8, and 16 Ohm taps.]

    Worse case scenario is I'll chalk it up as an "educational purchase" since I've never owned anything audio related with tubes inside. - (That little sucker gets plenty hot - which is another good reason for a getting it to a competent tech for a general health inspection).

    I'll get some better (larger) photos posted for some post purchase technical feedback ( layman terms works best here otherwise it's all Swahili to me). :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2010
  10. RossW

    RossW AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The suppressed high frequencies could very well be bad caps. Tubed Japanese gear used pretty terrible caps (I replaced 45+ caps in my Pioneer, several of the electrolytics had burst). I live in Dorchester and work in Cambridge so if you ever want a hand let me know.
     
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  11. coman61

    coman61 Well-Known Member

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  12. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

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    :yes: generally before you power it up or put it into service.

    Potentially, a ticking time bomb, not to mention the other likely out of spec caps and carbon comp resistors.

    Vintage tube amps fall nicely into the category of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", especially where the wallet and hard to source transformers are concerned.

    Just my .02 y'all understand....................
     
  13. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    A Radio Shack SAF-40 as found needs work to be used safely unless it's been restored. Unfortunately, it's as simple as that. That said, it is a perfectly decent little amplifier and also very cute and compact (and unlike some 1960s Japanese designs, not a total rat's nest below decks).
     
  14. Bostown

    Bostown Low End Audio Enthusiast! Subscriber

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    In the 5 or so minutes of "does this thing work" . I was able to identify that it did in fact A) turn on, B) emit sound C) should be "restored" for safety and functional longevity if it will be used in any capacity associated with it's original intent. ( actually I was well aware of C even before A)

    That course of action as feedback has been duly noted and much appreciated. - :thmbsp:

    The little gold colored amplifier (...the 1985 Hyundai Excel of Tube Amps) Is now stored on the project storage shelf next to the gas powered Kyosho Concept helicopter that I Inherited. - Same steep learning curve, same scarcity in parts and supplies. They both require TLC and an owner who needs to ramp up on his knowledge, otherwise the project area will be their final destination as opposed to "Hovering /in flight" and Powering a pair of retro speakers that will be playing the music of Cuban Born Jazz composer/ Musical Genius Aruan Ortiz.

    I've already started to compile some of the things that have been suggested here and hopefully more feedback will continue. still need to get some pics up.
     
  15. philaudio

    philaudio New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Realistic 40/a Schematic

    Hi,

    I happen to acquire the Realistic 40/A integrated tube amp recenltly and found this forum through internet search.
    I'm an experienced tube audio hobbyist and wondering if you could send me a copy of the 40/A schematic. I'm planning to replace all 0.01uF ceramic coupling caps with Sprague Orange Drop caps and converting it to a power amp.
    I think the amp has a great potential and could turn into a nice sounding amp.

    Thanks in advance,
    Phil

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     
  16. Bostown

    Bostown Low End Audio Enthusiast! Subscriber

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    I sent you a PM. - shouldn't be a problem to scan the docs and get it over to you via email.
     
  17. chuckworkb

    chuckworkb AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    REalistic 40/A tube amp - whats a typical price?

    I found one of these for sale near me.
    What is a typical good price for one of these? The seller wants $250 which I'm thinking is pretty high, especially considering it looks like it hasn't been cleaned in 30 years. Looks like it has the same tubes that were in it when they shut it off and put it in the closet.
    The unit I saw an ad for needs a lot of clean up, but it supposedly works.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2013
  18. Go Giants

    Go Giants Member

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    Just bought one of these earlier today. It works very well and sounds very nice. Paired it with my AR 4x speakers. I will try it with some more efficient speakers as the AR 's are 4 ohm and seem to like a fair amount of power. I believe this little amp puts out 22.5 wpc. The tubes all look original....el84 output tubes sound pretty sweet. Separate treble and bass controls for left and right channels. Loudness switch....etc. So far all I can see wrong is the face plate is horribly discolored. Not sure what I can about that but I'll try a couple of cleaners.
     
  19. markshan

    markshan Sir Thrift a Lot Subscriber

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    Since you asked for layman's terms, selenium rectifiers literally exhaust a poisonous gas when they fail. Always replace before even plugging in.

    Edit: Oh, crap. Necro thread.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017 at 12:31 AM

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