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Servicing / recapping a 1970s amplifier


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Hi all - I'm looking at buying a late 70s integrated amplifier that I've researched and know that I want. The seller has mentioned the amp is in good working order, but said there was some "minor corrosion" visible in some places when he looked inside. 

 

Is that an instant red flag and I should pass on it? Or something that's easily fixed with a service? 

 

Also, I see some amps for sale that mention they have been fully recapped. Can anyone advise roughly how big/expensive a job that would be? I'm based in Melbourne - if there is any recommendations for someone who can do this sort of work, that would be great.

 

Thanks in advance!

Edited by matthewhurst
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16 minutes ago, Tubularbells said:

 

Hahaha yeah i might know just the person (however I hear he's quite flat out this side of xmas) 😆 👍

 

Maybe some baby back ribs and a bottle of hooch might sweeten the deal 

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1 hour ago, Tubularbells said:

 

Hahaha yeah i might know just the person (however I hear he's quite flat out this side of xmas) 😆 👍

 

 

 

Oh that's fine, I wouldn't be in a rush! Just wanted to know I can get it done before committing to make the purchase. 

 

If baby back ribs are required that can also be negotiated though :)

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8 hours ago, matthewhurst said:

The seller has mentioned the amp is in good working order, but said there was some "minor corrosion" visible in some places when he looked inside. 

Some amps of that vintage had problems with the sony glue, it turns both corrosive and conductive and should be cleaned up. Maybe its glue, maybe its not, request some pix.

 

8 hours ago, matthewhurst said:

Also, I see some amps for sale that mention they have been fully recapped. Can anyone advise roughly how big/expensive a job that would be?

Depends very much on make/model some are reasonably easy while others are a real PITA. What make/model are you looking at?

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16 hours ago, mbz said:

Some amps of that vintage had problems with the sony glue, it turns both corrosive and conductive and should be cleaned up. Maybe its glue, maybe its not, request some pix.

 

Depends very much on make/model some are reasonably easy while others are a real PITA. What make/model are you looking at?

 

@mbz alas the seller said they wouldn't open it up again so can't get pics of the inside... The amp is a Marantz 1122DC. 

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8 hours ago, matthewhurst said:

the seller said they wouldn't open it up again so can't get pics of the inside... The amp is a Marantz 1122DC. 

We are talking about 4 screws and the lid comes off, so possible red flag.

 

The 1122DC is a nice amp so worth the effort of a refurb. It comes apart fairly easily. So replacing caps, trimmers, any problematic transistors is reasonably stright forward. However the switches are problematic and according to the marantz guru's on audiokarma, they require deep cleaning = disassembly then clean, (below). The amp does suffer from the sony glue. Ballpark, it's a 10-20manhour job for recap, clean switches, apply whatever manhour rate you like plus parts (maybe $100-??). The switches are the PITA that inflate the job, if some clown tells you they use a spray so no need to disassemble then walk away.

image.png.e0c5d5458b322ca058c75c762c559d56.png

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Thanks @mbz that's great info,.. 10-20 hours is a lot of labour and additional cost! But it does seem like an amp that's worth the effort by all accounts. 

 

I saw another 1122DC just got listed this week, but for $300 more than the one I was looking at which the seller mentioned has playing well but had some corrosion.

 

The seller of the new one states its in immaculate condition, and the faceplate looks great.  But with issues like the Sony glue and it being a 40+ year old unit, would it inevitably need a restoration anyway?

 

Pay extra for a possibly cleaner unit, or save $300 and put the money toward restoration? Hmmmm....

 

 

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Gumtree has 3 listed, Altona, $950, only 2 photos(!), ACT $850 and Hallet Cove $600-. All 3 will need the same work/refurb. Hopefully the higher priced items are in near mint physical appearance. Maybe request internal pix of the others, I'd be concerned if Hallet Code was reluctant to provide pix, they should now better/large seller. Restored, it's $1000-$1200 amp, plenty of refurbished gear about.

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Yep they're the ones I'm looking at... And was debating the $850 versus the $600 one. I'll try get pics of them both. I think the Hallet Cove guy just couldn't be bothered more than was trying to hide something, but who knows.... 

 

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42 minutes ago, mbz said:

Gumtree has 3 listed, Altona, $950, only 2 photos(!), ACT $850 and Hallet Cove $600-. All 3 will need the same work/refurb. Hopefully the higher priced items are in near mint physical appearance. Maybe request internal pix of the others, I'd be concerned if Hallet Code was reluctant to provide pix, they should now better/large seller. Restored, it's $1000-$1200 amp, plenty of refurbished gear about.


There is also the flip side, in that a ‘refurbed’ one could need a refurb to fix the ‘refurb’.

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5 minutes ago, Billy Shears said:


There is also the flip side, in that a ‘refurbed’ one could need a refurb to fix the ‘refurb’.

 

Oh man,... the Inception of amp restoration. Maybe going the $600 one and getting @Tubularbells on to it is the way to go. 


The $850 one does seem to be slightly nicer on the faceplate though, not sure if that's a good omen for the inside... 

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Personally - that’s what I’d do (unless you can verify EXACTLY what you’re getting) - but it’s all subjective, you can be unlucky or lucky.

 

I bought my L-30 as “all original” (knowing it was a crap shoot - and some mild scoffing from Mr Bells left me inferring he thought the same). Turned out it was all original, but I wasn’t actually expecting it. 

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4 hours ago, Billy Shears said:

Agreed - and it is immaculate on the outside (inside too now).

Consider fitting a speaker protection kit from out friends in china/ebay. Basic Vdc detection and power on/off mute, maybe $25- in parts, I'm fitting one to my L-30 but a PITA, not much room. Spkr protection is mandatory else amp doesn't get to play with the good spkrs...

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On 04/12/2020 at 1:31 PM, matthewhurst said:

Yep they're the ones I'm looking at... And was debating the $850 versus the $600 one. I'll try get pics of them both. I think the Hallet Cove guy just couldn't be bothered more than was trying to hide something, but who knows.... 

 

Yep - JT would certainly not be bothered opening stuff up.

 

If he is stating that it's in 'Excellent working order', ask him if there's any sort of warranty..... He's told me he needs to factor the cost of warranties into his own purchase prices, so that might actually be the case.....

 

Either way, $600 seems reasonable.

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Thanks @gemini07 - I actually messaged JT again and he did say he'd be willing to open it up and share some pics.... $600 isn't a bad price I agree though - if anyone wants to go for it, it's still listed.

 

I ended up going with one that came down to $750, purchased of the owner who bought it new in '78 or so. We had a good chat,  I feel confident in it. 

 

@Wimbo I never think of asking for a warranty on used / vintage gear, but yes it's probably a fair ask on items claiming to be be in great condition. 


Thanks for all the input, definitely worthwhile.

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