Kenwood KA-7300 integrated amplifier
Easily the best thrift store find I've ever made. This incredibly awesome and beefy amp did not require any servicing at all—I'm just glad somebody decided to donate it instead of tossing it in the dump.
This is probably the best thrift store find I've ever made. I always check out the electronics shelf when I go to thrift stores, but they are usually full of junk like old DVD players and mini bookshelf systems. You can imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner of the aisle and saw this silver faced thing sitting there—how had nobody picked it up before me?
This is a rather high end piece of Kenwood equipment and has a unique dual power supply design, just like the Harman Kardon 430 that I blogged about a few years ago. It is rated at 65 watts per channel and has nice low distortion (0.04% THD) and a good S/N ratio (90dB on line-in). After doing a bit of research, it apparently has one of the best pre-amps of any of the 1970s Kenwood gear. It also uses proprietary Kenwood-Trio output transistors in the amp modules, which makes replacing them near impossible if they ever go kaput.
It was actually in perfect shape when I got it—it only needed a light dusting, and of course, I had to clean all of the knobs and switches with contact cleaner just for good measure. I originally intended to keep it and do a full recap since everything looked relatively easy to access, but I am not sure if I will ever have time to get around to it. And anyway, it sounds fantastic as it is with original components.
I enjoyed using it for the past few months but unfortunately I have to let it go so I can make room for some new Marantz gear that I picked up (and will surely write about). A few interesting features this amp has is a "presence" switch that boosts specific midrange frequencies to enhance vocals, and three different "loudness" settings.