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Golden Age of Japanese Audio

BDWoody

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anmpr1

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Anyone bought an amplifier from Japan on Ebay and can share their experience? Luxman/Accuphase?
Watch out. If it's made for the Japan market, it probably won't work on foreign voltages. Also, Japanese FM tuners use a totally different bandwidth than you'll find in America, and I'm guessing Europe, too.
 

BigVU's

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Yeah thanks, was looking at Step Up transformers to convert 100V - 120V. Wondering if anyone has experience that can share if it is a pain or nothing really to be concerned about.
 
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https://audio-heritage.jp/

This is a nice database of vintage gear. Japanese language only though.
I came here to post this. Audio Heritage is my go to source for looking up Japanese audio gear & until recently, they used to come up at the top of Google results for almost any Japanese gear (they don't anymore; not sure what happened). They also have an English "translation" (using "translation software" according to them): https://audio-database.com/ . Unfortunately, the English page has much less content than their Japanese page. Fortunately, if you use Google Chrome, it'll translate the whole Japanese site for you...or you can go to https://translate.google.com, paste the URL into the translation box, and it'll translate the whole page for you.

Thanks to them, I heard about & hunted down my pride-and-joy 1981-vintage Yamaha A-9 which is a 21kg-behemoth of an integrated amplifier. Its almost 40 years old and unrestored yet absolutely noise free. Best of all? I paid ~$300 to import it AFTER shipping. I also imported a beautiful Technics SL-15 linear tracker with original EPC-P205Cmk4 cartridge for ~$100 (needed new belt & capacitors but still). Japan is a gold mine of cheap A/V equipment (although more and more people are realizing this and slowly driving prices up).

Even so, I've found even Audio Heritage isn't comprehensive enough! For example, my Victor AD-7000 AHD digital processor isn't on there.
 
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Yeah thanks, was looking at Step Up transformers to convert 100V - 120V. Wondering if anyone has experience that can share if it is a pain or nothing really to be concerned about.
My main integrated amp and much of my A/V equipment is 100V and permanently connected to a step-up transformer.

Its just a plain old transformer so you just plug it into a wall, then plug your equipment in and forget about it. No pain besides the cost of the transformer (between $50 and $300 depending on size & such) and possibly your back since they can be heavy if you get one with a 1500W+ rating. I usually find cheap ones in resale shops in areas with a high Japanese population.

Please don't use a travel adapter since most of them use a noisy switching power supply to keep size down.
 
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I'd love to see objective testing of some of the old Japanese gear. I'm in my mid-50s and when I was a young kid, almost anything of Japanese manufacture was considered junk in the cultural zeitgeist, and there was still plenty of anti-Japanese sentiment floating around from those of WWII era. It took an explosion of high-quality Honda, Datsun and Toyota small vehicles to slowly change the prevailing sentiment.

Now, I sense almost the reverse, wherein in the audio hobby there is almost a Japanese-gear fetish that seems to exist. Guys go bonkers over shiny amps and receivers from 40-50 years ago. I'm suspicious that the 40+ year old vintage Japanese amps would test any better, or even as well as, something that I can buy for cheap from amazon.
 

BDWoody

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Guys go bonkers over shiny amps and receivers from 40-50 years ago
I wish I had picked up that sx1980 I was looking at many years ago, but he wanted $10 more than I had...

pioneer-sx-1980-faceplate.jpg
 

A800

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Hitachi HA-610.
Incredible amp.
 

anmpr1

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I'd love to see objective testing of some of the old Japanese gear. I'm in my mid-50s and when I was a young kid, almost anything of Japanese manufacture was considered junk in the cultural zeitgeist, and there was still plenty of anti-Japanese sentiment floating around from those of WWII era...
Stereo Review, High Fidelity, and Audio are good sources for that period's measurements.

In the early days of transistor gear Japanese product was associated with hand held transistor radios and such. Stuff that really didn't last long and was cheap. Sansui and Pioneer (plus a few others) began importing 'serious' hi fi gear in the sixties. Unfortunately, at least in the case of Pioneer, their advertisements didn't translate into English very well. The company was called Fukuin Electric (just say it slowly) and in their ads they used female Japanese movie stars that no one in the US ever heard of--such as Yumi Shirakawa, whose only US feature was the Toho monster movie, Rodan.

By the mid '70s, the era of interesting Japanese gear, many American audiophiles had been Mark Levinized and Audio Researched, led to think that anything not made by an 'esoteric' boutique outfit was no good. Even McIntosh, the stalwart of sane American engineering, was looked down upon.
Mac is still in business but it's not the same McIntosh. Just the name and location remains the same. Affordable Japanese gear is mostly history, with the possible exception of Yamaha.
 
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