having a blast

All-in on Realistic

I needed an amplifier to power the Mach Ones, and it felt natural to keep it in the Realistic family of the same era. I took to eBay. My dad originally had a receiver in the Realistic STA-2000 range, but it broke somewhere along the way and was parted with. The STA-2000 range receivers are a bit out of my price range. I really don’t need a receiver, either. So I looked into the Realistic integrated amplifier offerings from the late 1970s/early 1980s.

There really weren’t many available. I settled for this one, a Realistic SA-2000 integrated amplifier. It’s smaller than I thought it would be, but it’s quite heavy and appears to be high quality.

Does it work? Sort of. I bought it sight unseen from a well-reviewed seller on eBay. The description stated that it turns on, but the seller had no way of testing the outputs. It was a crap shoot. But because of this, it was pretty cheap. Less than half of the price I would expect an operating SA-2000 to sell for.

The controls are a little mucky. It works, but not perfectly. The left channel isn’t currently working as expected. It works in ‘mono’ mode, which replicates the music across both channels — no ‘stereo’ channel selection, all sound is synchronized. Some of the other controls are a bit finicky, but generally it works well.

I’ve ordered some contact cleaner, and I’m hopeful it will resolve the issue with the left channel and the overall ‘muckiness’ of the controls. I’ve read that it’s a pretty common issue with old amps and receivers, and a lot of times a good contact cleaner will resolve the issue.

The SA-2000 offers 60 watts per channel and it’s plenty loud for my needs. The speakers can handle up to 160 watts — which seems insane. With 60 watts per channel, I’m blown away at 80% volume and bass.

For now the setup lives in my office, but we’re planning to make some changes to the living room over the next couple of years and I’m really hoping the whole stereo setup can be a feature. Looks great, sounds great, vintage. It’s a perfect fit for our ranch home.

I’d still like to clean the facade and potentially re-treat the walnut case, but first I need to get the left channel fixed.