Amplifier for Life
by Dick Tan
How time flies and evolve. Having spent close to 45 years in the audio-video industry, there were times when I wished I could get into a time machine, go back to a particular point in time, pick up the things I loved the most and bring it back to the future and present time with me?
I will also bet that you do not have to be a dinosaur like me to appreciate the finer things available then, say around the 70, and 80’s where beautifully designed stereo amplifiers and receivers existed along with equally beautiful, almost handcrafted loudspeaker systems and, oh, those gorgeous, futuristic yet simple to operate reel to reel tape decks.
To get a feel of what I am longing to convey here just go into the internet and type ‘vintage audio’. What you will encounter are hordes of beautifully designed, large and solid looking audio components, many of them lovingly restored to near mint condition. Particularly impressive are the stereo amplifiers and receivers from Pioneer, Kenwood, McIntosh, Marantz, Sansui, Luxman, Fisher, Accuphase, Scott, Yamaha and many more. Most of them have one thing in common. They are solidly made with an aesthetics best described as classy elegance. Today these components are labelled as vintage. These are the audio products of yesteryear but there is nothing vintage about the sound quality in many of them.
Why, may that be, you ask? Well, the simple logic is that these amplifiers/receivers are designed for only one purpose, optimum audio reproduction. Unlike today’s high-performance AV amplifiers/receivers they do not incorporate a potentially audio degrading video section.
In the U.S. and Europe there are no shortages of audio restoration personnel or companies that exist just to put these vintage era amplifiers back to mint condition. Prices varies, depending on the condition and the work required to bring these beauties back to life. And more often than not actual cost of a properly restored amplifier may cost way more than what the unit actually sold when new, some 40 years ago!
On this note, Yamaha, realising that there are indeed many audiophiles who would pay a pretty penny for a superbly designed amplifier that has the looks and feel of an amplifier from that era, introduced their top of range stereo integrated amplifier, the limited-edition A-S3000 sometime in 2015.
A look at the A-S3000 with its luxurious gloss wood side cheeks, large VU meters and out of this world solid construction, you will know what I mean.
Yet, not many were brought in due perhaps to its high price of approximately RN25,000 – RM30,000. I will wager that there is no more than five units here in Malaysia and I am being wildly optimistic about that figure!
The A-S3000 is an imposing looking beast measuring 435 x 180 x 964mm and weighs up to 25kg. It is rated to deliver up to a pure unbridled output of 110 watts per channel x 2 with its MosFet power amplifiers. For those lucky enough to have heard the A-S3000 it is said that its sound quality is near incomparable.
The gist of this story is that such an amplifier, like those amplifiers and receivers from the golden era of hi-fi is bound to have the same nostalgic appeal to someone today, somewhere.
To that someone I say, this amplifier if you share my sentiments, has that magical appeal to be the amplifier for life. Go get it or regret forever.