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Thread: Citation 16 for LF?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Citation 16 for LF?

    I'm in the process of building a new chain for my 4-way monitors and have been searching for a while now, for a power amp to drive the 15" woofs (2231As with 2235 kits). I tried a smaller Hafler but wasn't too impressed. Was looking for monoblocks, but yesterday I came across this 16A locally that someone had bought in the same PX back in the '70s where my ol' L166s came from.
    I've entered the tube road with a new preamp already and thought it might be nice to stay within the (harman) family, with this power amp - at 200 I think I didn't pay too much? It's in very good condition cosmetically, built like a tank, 2x150W/8 ohms double mono design, all original, spent his life in moderate home use for classic only and has the original 10.000 microfarad capacitors made in USA - which is a good thing from what I've seen in a canadian ebay auction.
    Harman has made also the 2 years older 16 and a later version - how do they compare? Isn't it able to run in Class A mode? I've added a first snapshot after integrating it into the new rack (still a bit dusty). Will take better pics if desired, and would like to hear some opinions or background info about this unit. Thanks in advance.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JBLRaiser's Avatar
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    Maybe this will help

    Quote Originally Posted by Fangio View Post
    I'm in the process of building a new chain for my 4-way monitors and have been searching for a while now, for a power amp to drive the 15" woofs (2231As with 2235 kits). I tried a smaller Hafler but wasn't too impressed. Was looking for monoblocks, but yesterday I came across this 16A locally that someone had bought in the same PX back in the '70s where my ol' L166s came from.
    I've entered the tube road with a new preamp already and thought it might be nice to stay within the (harman) family, with this power amp - at 200 I think I didn't pay too much? It's in very good condition cosmetically, built like a tank, 2x150W/8 ohms double mono design, all original, spent his life in moderate home use for classic only and has the original 10.000 microfarad capacitors made in USA - which is a good thing from what I've seen in a canadian ebay auction.
    Harman has made also the 2 years older 16 and a later version - how do they compare? Isn't it able to run in Class A mode? I've added a first snapshot after integrating it into the new rack (still a bit dusty). Will take better pics if desired, and would like to hear some opinions or background info about this unit. Thanks in advance.
    Not my opinion, I don't have one, here's :

    From the manual.

    "In every way, the Citation 16 is an instrument engineered to fulfil the audiophiles most exacting requirements.

    Discrete components are used throughout. Their electrical and thermal isolation makes for sonic superiority over the more commonly used integrated circuits.

    The Citation 16 slews quickly, a result of the superior high frequency response of the output stage. Excellent slew rate, coupled with low feedback voltages assure extremely low transient intermodulation distortion. The audible result is transparency of sound, even during the most demanding musical passages.

    Class A operation has been extended beyond conventional limits, reducing audible crossover distortion. Crossover or "notch" distortion has been identified as a prime cause of the so called transistor sound.

    Completely separate power supplies for each channel ensure absolute stability under all speaker loades and provide transient handling ability.

    The peak-reading light emmiting diode display provides and instantaneous monitor of the power output. It is faster, easier to read and more accurate than meters."

    Power output: 150 watts min. RMS per channel, both channels driven into 8 ohms from 20hz to 20khz, with less than 0.05% THD.

    The Citation 16 can be operated in a mode in which it delivers approx. 500 watts to a single 8 ohm speaker.

    It measures 19 x 14 x 9 1/4" and weighs in at 55 lbs.


    This was pulled from an Ebay auction.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Thanks for making me aware of this auction, will be interesting to watch.

    I've seen only this other already finished one, with what seems to be a bit rusty unit. My one is at least as clean as that current one, have the complete paperwork also, plus unfortunately outdated warranty cards. Have to admit I didn't read it all yet, should probably start RTFM..
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    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    Hi Fangio. It's a long time since I heard the 16, (mid 70's) but I believe it sounded ok at the time. Not very "strong" at the low end, so using it at the 2231 only might not be the right choice. I would like to try it first to see if it is suitable.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Rolf,
    thanks, at least one who has heard it before. Seems it's totally unknown in the US

    My local tech guru said immediately when he saw it: I've bought a nice eyecandy (as usual), not perfect for highend 'as is' nowadays, an excellent basis for modifications though. We hooked it up and he was right: very clean and powerful amp but, uhm, still improvable. He knows his H/K stuff very well, and uses the units preferably for his tunings. He will get it tomorrow, first thing I guess he will implement is different opamps (Burr-Brown), and some more actions are on his usual to-do-list to get the best out of those. We'll see, and will report if there's interest.

  6. #6
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fangio View Post
    Rolf,
    thanks, at least one who has heard it before. Seems it's totally unknown in the US

    My local tech guru said immediately when he saw it: I've bought a nice eyecandy (as usual), not perfect for highend 'as is' nowadays, an excellent basis for modifications though. We hooked it up and he was right: very clean and powerful amp but, uhm, still improvable. He knows his H/K stuff very well, and uses the units preferably for his tunings. He will get it tomorrow, first thing I guess he will implement is different opamps (Burr-Brown), and some more actions are on his usual to-do-list to get the best out of those. We'll see, and will report if there's interest.
    Good luck with the upgrade. Please report the result as well as what has been done. Probably a lot of others who have this amp and want to do the same.

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    Citation Citation 16 a (upgraded)

    Hello Fangio,

    I am the owner of a HK Cit.16a since 1978 and i still like the looks and sound of this marvellous machine. But i have to be true....................i like it much better since the machine was totally upgraded wayback in 1990. It costed some 40 hours of labour to replace every inferior component. There were even some knowingly mistakes in the concept to achieve a cheaper productionprocess. The used components were the best to be found in militairy manuals. F.i. longlife Siemens capacitors for the powersupply. These capicitors were brought on 60 volts little by little in some 12 days (5 volts each day) to avoid damage when using the HK for the very first time after having it upgraded. The signalcables were made from silver with a teflon coating (also used in a F16 jet). In the past the HK was used on the mid-and high section of a pair of Infinity Q2 loudspeakers and the sound was just great. It sounded if a curtain had been opened after upgrading the HK. I still have all the manuals and the alterations that were made to upgrade the amp. When the DC offset was measured after some 4 years it pointed out nothing had changed and the values were exactly the same. I can adjust the DC offset without opening the amp's enclosure. Maybe a warning for users of this beautiful amp. Before using the amp give it one hour to warm up and to reach its maximum settings for it would be a real loss when blowing up one of the powertransistors. As far as i am informed these are matched types and in case of any loss you can't buy them anymore.

    With kind regards,

    Jan Slagman
    The Netherlands

  8. #8
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Hi Jan, sounds impressing, thanks. Going to discuss that with my tech friend..
    These units have way more potential for very detailed playback than what they got in stock configuration.

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    Harman Kardon Citation 16a (upgraded version)

    Hello Fangio,

    When upgrading your Harman Kardon Citation 16a you better disable the peak-reading light emitting diode display. That feature makes no sense and it only asks needles energy from the power-supply. I just cut it off and i made a volumecontrol out of the selectorknob in question. I placed a Noble potentiometer. Now i have a Marantz CD-94 MkII and a Marantz CDA-94 digital converter (upgraded by Siltech) directly coupled to the input of the Harman Kardon Citation 16a. This was done to avoid a pre-amplifier (with a lot of components in it). Well to be short: "It just sounds very tight and transparent" and i have heard the Citation beaten competitors with big names. By the way you better replace the original relais by a Zettler relais.
    If you have any questions, please drop me a line !

    With kind regards,

    Jan Slagman
    The Neterlands

  10. #10
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    I have two of them. Came with an assortment of JBL/Harman gear we bought from a bar that had closed here years ago (I was just getting into high school at the time). Also got a pair of 2202, pair of 2440 with lenses, and 2405 slots , 4 K145, and a 5232 w/250hz cards.

    One has a dead channel, the other is still working flawlessly. We've used them for everything from PA cabs to my dad's bass guitar rig (sounds nice on an E140 in a 6 cu ft cab for bass guitar) using the pre section of his Traynor MK3 bass head.

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    The same experience as you

    Hi JBL Daddy,

    I had the same experience as you when using a Bryston 3b for the low end and the Harman Kardon Citation 16a for the mid-and high section.
    I had both poweramps connected to two Infinity Quantum 2 loudspeakers.
    I bought that equipment wayback in 1978. Nowadays i only have the harman Kardon Citation 16a left, using it with two JBL4312A Control Monitors.

    Greetz,

    Jan Slagman
    The Netherlands.

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    citation 16/A

    hey guys, first time here ,it made me smile when i saw this topic on the 16a
    everyone seems to have a unique memory of using or owning this amp
    Same here as this amp and myself have crossed paths at several times.
    The best one i owned was the first one i bought,a floor sample at a hi fi store i worked at . A guy from the base ordered it in, changed his mind and it sat in the window for months,until a co-worker and i plugged in in the soundroom with the Klipschorns and i was blown away.
    It was a 16/a and one of the last ones made. This one unfortunatly was later stolen from my home and we never found another one as mint as this or this particular version... most we found were the older versions.
    I do agree the discreet components make the difference and was apparent instanty from the earlier 16.
    I used this amp with my 81 cornwalls and found it very transparent.
    We did have some issues, the relay went, which we replaced with a more indusrial strength relay, and there was another issue with the bias setting
    After some tweaking it compares sonically or some cases exceeds its rivals.

    I decided today to soon take the plunge for Cornwall 3's and hope to be able to track down another 16/A to power them, but has to be pretty darn mint.
    so far, the search continues..

    enjoy the unit, they sound ok bridged too ive used the S model in clubs that way

    ROb,

  13. #13
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Always nice to hear such stories, keep them coming..

    The 16A in the initial post has changed hands though. I have been very satisfied with the performance but alas, it had to go to make room for more tube gear. I would consider another unit anytime the need for a powerful clean sounding solid state amp arises here, but would probably pick one without the LEDs like Jan's, or Woody's (for sale here).

    I shipped mine to France near the swiss border last summer, where the new owner from Genčve picked it up. The 16A has now become part of another multi-amp system driving the speakers below.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Under the hood

    Attached is a last pic of mine for comparison with post #29, with the original caps. The changes made here were more subtle and are not easy to see.. but quite effective.
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    Senior Member Akira's Avatar
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    Side story

    My first amp/pre combo was the HK Citation 11/12 driving the original L100's. Couldn't afford the 16, but the shear size and power numbers along with the V leds made them an object I always lusted after. Never heard them, but a salesman told me my unit was sonically superior to the much more pricey beast--no idea.

    Anyway the Citation 11 (60 wps) turned out to be the sweetest most musical amp I have ever known. More pleasing from a musicality perspective to any of the 16 different Brystons I have since owned. The Brystons, one of the most transparent amps on the market are supposed to be sonically superior and post way better numbers, but I always liked the sound of the Citation 11 better.

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