The 7 Best 70’s Vintage Integrated Amplifiers | 2024

Norvan Martin
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Lee De Forest made the first audio amplifier in 1906. Until the 1970s, many amplifiers had hit the market. In this article, we look at the 7 best Vintage integrated amplifiers made in the 70s – a golden era. These are some of the best old-school amplifiers. Let’s go!

Even though there are ways to make a speaker louder without an amplifier, the fact is nothing can produce the earthshattering power in an audio system as an amp. Let’s take a look at the real OG amplifiers!

1. Best Overall: Sansui AU-11000A 

Made in 1977, the amp from Sansui is designed with an input, output, and speaker terminal on the sides. On the rear, there’s a power cord and outlets only.  

Sansui AU-11000A 

Also, it uses independent circuitry in the amplification process which means that every component from the bias control board to the power supply all have 2 independent and identical circuits per channel. This is to separate the 2 stereo channels as well as reduce the Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) down to 0.08%. 



  • Heat sinks  
  • Calibrated master volume control knob 
  • Professional sound quality



  • Very expensive  

2. Top Of Denon’s Range: Denon PMA-850

This heavyweight integrated amplifier toped Denon’s range of amplifiers between 1978 and 1979.

Denon PMA-850 

It is an attractive amp with high-quality circuitry with the ability to deliver up to 100-Watt RMS power into 8 Ohms per channel. With three turntable inputs (MM & MC), this amp outmatches most of the modern high-end outboard phono stages.  



  • Reliable performance 
  • Sounds better than most modern integrates  



  • Bulky

3. Best A/B Switchover: Yamaha CA-1000 

This was a classic representative Yamaha HiFi constructed with the seamlessly connected single-sheet aluminum front panel and white cabinet.

Yamaha CA-1000

It has a power amp section featuring the world’s first Class A/B switchover that makes it seamless to switch between the low-distortion, priority-on-sound-quality class A operation to the high-power class B operation.  



  • Class A/B switchover 
  • Loudness control  
  • High building quality  



  • Not natural  
  • Overheats in class A 

4. Best Controls: Kenwood KA-9100

This 1977 original design from Kenwood is a two-channel integrated amp rated at 90 WPC RMS at 1 kHz into 8 ohms and a 0.03% distortion. The two UV meters offer 3-watt and 100-watt adjustable user selection. 

Kenwood KA-9100

It has provisions for two turntables, an AM/FM tuner, two tape decks, and an Auxiliary. Also, it has versatile Bass and Treble controls, and Tone Defeat. The panel is made from solid, brushed aluminum giving it a more logical and beautiful appearance.  



  • Heat sinks  
  • Affordable  
  • Superior speaker terminals 



  • Vintage and replaceable parts are not easy to get 

5. Best Heat Sink Configuration: Pioneer SA-9800

The Pioneer SA-9800 has a special non-switching amplifier specially created by Pioneer. It integrates features of both class A and class B amplifiers. Besides, the heat sinks allow it to run for longer hours without suffering heat problems.  

Pioneer SA-9800

The power output is 100 watts per channel into 8 ohms with a frequency response of between 5 Hz to 100 kHz. The harmonic distortion factor is 0.005% and the amp boasts of a damping factor of 55.  



  • Low sound distortion  
  • Low noise transistor  



  • Hums 

6. Best Marantz: Marantz 1060 

Marantz 1060 is a stereo console amp with three-line inputs – a tape loop and one phono input. manufactured in 1971, it comes with a pair of switchable sockets for main and remote speakers. With a frequency response of between 20 Hz to 20kHz, this amp will drive up to 30 watts of power per channel into 8 ohm speakers.

Marantz 1060 

Although it is a bit bass-shy, you can still change the main filter capacitor and the coupling capacitors with new ones to improve the bass response. The damping factor is 45 and the total harmonic distortion is 0.5%.  



  • Superior performance  
  • Affordable 
  • Conservative power rating 



  • No speaker protection 
  • Low bass 

Best Stereo Amplifier Ever Made

Best Overall Stereo Amp: Peachtree Audio nova300

This Peachtree audio nova300 weighs 17 lbs, has a DAC, and delivers 300 watts at 8 ohms RMS. The amp is more thunderous, providing roaring bass, crisp highs, and outstanding richness that most standard amps are shy of. 

Also, the amp comes with an ESS Sabre digital-to-analog converter together with a clean digital circuit that delivers clean shaves on harsh recordings. For audiophiles looking for crisp fidelity even at top volumes. 

An updated version of an earlier giant, the nova220, the nova300, tops the list even without the visible tube from the nova220SE. 

Power And Volume 

At 300 watts per channel with a peak of 450, this amp is a goddamn monster, very loud. 

Detail And Clarity 

Apart from being very loud, this amp delivers extraordinary sound. Even at low volumes, it provides a performance that imbues the music with much more life. Even with the incredibly dense material, as well as low or high frequencies, the performance is super clean, and the audio is highly detailed.


The design is simple and joyous. With a giant, rectangular construction, the amp is made with a smooth housing design, an all-metal front end, two enormous vent sections on top, and a slim vertical profile.

Pre And Power Amps

The nova300 is an integrated amp and therefore packs both pre-and power amps but lacks the tube used in the 220SE. It also includes a DAC to handle all your audio needs. 

Inputs And Outputs

This super amp gives you several inputs and outputs. There are two USB inputs – one specifically for Apple products, a Coax input, an Aux input, two optical inputs, a ground connection for turntables, and a Phono input. 

There are two speaker binding ports, input, and output for the loop feature, a 6.3mm headphone output and a preamp output. 

Accessories And Packaging 

The amp comes with a lengthy USB cable, power cord, remote, and a comprehensive user manual. 



  • Huge sound
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Recently dropped in price 
  • Excellent design 
  • Home Theater Bypass mode



  • Very little 
  • It needs to be well-ventilated 

Best Vintage Marantz Integrated Amplifiers 

Other than the Vintage Marantz 1060, other amps from Marantz that rocked the world include:

1. The Baby: Marantz 2010

This is a 10 watt-per-channel beast standing in a smaller chassis. Manufactured between 1972 and 1973, this amp will cost you about $200 upwards.

2. The Middle Weight Champion: Marantz 2245

This model is powerful and will drive inefficient speakers with much ease. Manufactured between 1971 to 1976, the amp delivers 45 watts per channel. The prices vary from $400 upwards.

3. Your Last Stereo: Marantz 2270

This stereo amp manufactured between 1971 and 1975 is made to sound loud. It delivers 70 watts per channel and will cost you from $700 upwards.

Best Vintage Japanese Integrated Amplifiers

There are many vintage Japanese amps from companies like Marantz and Luxman (55A & L-570z), Sansui, Pioneer and so on. Excellent examples of the best vintage Japanese amps are the Technics SU-8080 and the Luxman L-85V integrated amp.

What Is The Best Vintage Luxman Amplifier?

The best vintage Japanese integrated amplifier is the Luxman L-85V, a little powerhouse offering 80 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo) and a frequency response of 10Hz to 50kHz with just 0.05% total harmonic distortion.

Best Vintage Sony Amplifier

Sony’s vintage ES amplifiers are preamps that were highly regarded in the past. There are many models, but our recommendation is the TA-F730ES. This is a powerful and durable Sony vintage amplifier. However, here are some other models:

  • TA-TF555 ES
  • TA-T555ES
  • TA-F222ES
  • TA-F700ES

Best Vintage Amplifier Under $500

Amplifiers have always been expensive and so finding an excellent amplifier under $500 can be difficult, even for vintage options. However, you can indeed find vintage amplifiers under $500 in good working order.

Here are some examples:

  • Dynaco SCA35 
  • Marantz PM80, 7200, or 7001
  • Marantz PM5004

However, we do suggest that if you have $500 to spend, just go ahead and purchase a new amplifier. You can find new amps at this price that are worth it.


1. Is It Worth Buying A Vintage Amplifier?

The older products get, the higher the potential savings on purchasing one. Depending on how old it is, it can save thirty percent to fifty percent on purchase. However, prices of products over three years are affected by scarcity, demand, appearance, quality, working order, and other factors.

2. Do Older Amps Sound Better?

In theory, considering that defective amps would most likely have been discarded long before now, it makes sense that whatever vintage amps are still around now are in great working condition. In reality, however, vintage amps (also called valve amplifiers or tube amplifiers) were built with vacuum tubes rather than transistors, which gives them a unique sound.

Older stereos come with amplifiers that were built to possess way more electrical current capacities than the more recent amps, and they are certainly not as powerful. Older, earlier stereos also produced richer, fuller sound than the current productions on the market.

3. Which class amplifier is best for sound quality?

  • Class A design is not great but it provides the best sound quality.
  • Class B design is somewhat more efficient but has significant distortion.
  • Class AB design offers a powerful punch in terms of power efficiency and sound quality.
  • Class D design is the most efficient, although it is not as high-fidelity.

4. Why Are Vintage Stereo receivers so expensive?

Vintage stereo receivers are highly-priced because of their scarcity and the demand placed on them. Considering how well-built they must have been to function so well still many decades after production, it makes sense that there would be such a demand for them.

5. How many watts is a good amplifier?

A higher power amp with at least 100 watts is recommended if you want to play in large settings. Otherwise, you can go for a bigger amp (12-15″) with 50 watts.


That’s our guide to the best 1970s amplifiers, you can also check out other guides in this series:

Best Vintage Bookshelf Speakers of All Time
Vintage vs Modern Speakers
Best Vintage Bookshelf Speakers
Best Vintage Speakers Under $1000 and Under $500

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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin