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Thread: Citation 16 for LF?

  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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolf View Post
    Good luck with the upgrade. Please report the result as well as what has been done.
    I was wrong about the opamps/BB chips, these were used in another unit of mine (dvd-player). The amp is a bit sedate in his eyes and gets way faster input transistors now, and some other components replaced. Should be ready tomorrow.

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    Love your moniker, Fangio....

    I remember when those amps came out. At the time, the slew rate spec was all the rage in the US market. I can see from the literature that it was all over the HK marketing department at the time. I'm sure some updates of old components will bring it back to its original performance specs.

    At the time this came out, I had an HK Citation V (35wpc) tube amp and lusted after one of the 16s. They carried on the tradition of almost mil-spec build quality but they found it hard to compete with the Crown DC-300s and Phase Linear 400s that were much more competitively priced and had better distribution channels throughout most of the US dealer market. Of course, the Japanese manufacturers were also taking a big bite out of the higher-end separate market by the time the Citation 16 hit the market. As a result, I'm not surprised that this model has been almost forgotten after almost 30 years.

    Cheers,

    David

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    A Classic!!

    I recall very well the day in the late 70's that a friend and I listened to the newly released L166's at Pacific Stereo, on a Citation 16, being compared to L65's. The L166's smoked the L65's, mainly in the bass, the power LED's on the Citation lighting up like crazy, darn near pegged, and it sounded mighty clean. It may not be a Krell, but just as good if not better than a PL 400 or Crown, IMO. What kills me is the memory of my friend not being able to afford the '166's, so he got the L65's on special for $550 a pair! He never regretted his purchase, and has them to this day, I refoamed them earlier this year.

    In those days, the output transistors on amps were the weak link and were a major headache for Phase Linear, etc. Amps a few years newer had better transistors and were therefore likely better than the older ones. They also did not seem to parallel up as many output devices as they do today, odd as that helped with reliability but was an economic factor that inhibited that practice. Replacing the output transistors with ones with identical or better voltage and current specs and re-setting the bias would be an excellent mod. Personally, I would choose the Citation over a Phase Linear because the Citation is a more modern design, relatively speaking of course, and also over the Crown DC300 as that amp was more of an on-the-road, PA amp, not designed with ultimate sound quality in mind. MY opinion of course... Enjoy that amp!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fangio View Post
    I was wrong about the opamps/BB chips, these were used in another unit of mine (dvd-player). The amp is a bit sedate in his eyes and gets way faster input transistors now, and some other components replaced. Should be ready tomorrow.
    Hi Fangio

    I think this is a really good Amp.When you use it with your 4343 may be two Citation 16 in Mono is not bad.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Wink 16A, hot-rodded

    Many thanks for all the interesting suggestions and classifications. I've read a lot more about this beast now and realized already it was a good choice.

    The amp is back in service since a week, and I'm veery happy with the results. Finally a unit that managed to outperform the 2 of 4 poweramps inside my Marantz 4400 in an a/b comparison, and not just a bit, it moved the LF into another league - way more detailed particularly at lower volumes and very precise and musically where it was a bit rough before, although able to shake the house w/o any clipping at all through the 4343s - a big step foward.

    Will post more pics what has been done when I'm ready to take it out of the chain next time - too much listening pleasure right now. I got explained the following and try to translate a bit: among others the NPN transistors in the input circuits have been replaced and all 4 are matching now: original hFe was 400:700, now 2x 550 hFe. Originals have an on-time of 150ÁS, the new ones an on-time of 50nS, that means an accelleration by factor 3k - the input performance should be comparable to a good tube now. And another example - the top cover and ground plate were decoupled, by replacing the screws with small distance parts, to get a little air gap all around (kinda 'de-farradeyed..', the amp can 'breathe' better now) - probably we'll do sort of that with the big transformators as well, for several reasons. There is still potential for more improvements to accomplish, once the whole chain will make that kind of differences audible.

    Also a missing feature was added - quite simple but effective for balancing the system.
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    Senior Member Fangio's Avatar
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    Thought I would share a snapshot of the equipment 'building site' in current stadium here, to show where I am. As you can see the little skyscraper is still under construction.
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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

  14. #14
    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

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