+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 35

Thread: Harman Kardon Citation XXP and XX Amp

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Roma
    Posts
    7

    Harman Kardon Citation XXP and XX Amp

    Hello guys,

    I saw that the original post about the twenties is closed.
    I' had the honour, in 1980, to be the very first reviewer to test the Matti Otala's Citations ( on Italian magazine Audio Review). The result was...Incredible. My opinion was so enthusiast that my review has been used for months as the back cover of, pratically, all the Japanese Magazine.
    I always thought that the XX was (is) one of the best power amplifier ever. And the preamp was not so bad too.
    During this 27 years I had ( for test, or for my reference amplification) all the best pre and power amp made during this period ( Krells, Levinson 23, 23.1, 20, 20.5, every kind of Macs, every kind of crazy valve amp you can imaging, even the OnGaKu, Rowland's, Perreaux's, Viola, Lamm...
    Recently I found a couple of XXP and XX in very good conditions ( except for some transport damages that I'm fixing up) Well, I turned on the Citation's and the impression was exactely the same of 27 years ago.
    The one to be in presence of maybe the best power amplifier ever made, and a very very good (and missunterstuded) preamp.
    What a glory with my JBL L300 Summit!
    Another time surprised by HK: as it was five years ago, when I bought the Valve Citations ones: I,II and V.
    Two year ago I decide to show a vintage equipment in my magazine listening room at the Top Audio Show in Milan. Thorens TD 124, Pritchard Arm, ADC ZLM pick up, Citation I and II electronics, Dahlquist DQ 10 Imp, loudspeaker. That was the crowdiest room of the entire show. The sound was simply fantastic ( what an incredible piece is the Citation I preamp! The II amp is a delight, and an incredible powerfull, solid and dinamic driver) and people asked me: "why I should buy all the new, very expensive things exposed in the hundred rooms of the fair?".
    Just because word go ahead, and to mantain in the ideal condition a vintage complete equipment require a lot of patience and application.
    Anyway,thanks forever to Harman Kardon to had the courage to present in 1980 such a perfect amplifier, with a price that, at time, was considered outrageous ( now it make me smile, looking at the list price of pieces that doesn't have even 10% of that sound and technical perfection).
    Someone told me that Harman still service the XX's. Anybody know if it's thrue? For future (hope not) references.

    Best Regards to all of you

    Bebo Moroni

    Italy

  2. #2
    Obsolete
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    NLA
    Posts
    14,365
    Hello
    Quote Originally Posted by Bebo View Post
    I always thought that the XX was (is) one of the best power amplifier ever.
    Agreed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bebo View Post
    Someone told me that Harman still service the XX's. Anybody know if it's thrue?
    I really don't know. You might try calling Harman in N.Y. and seeing what they say. 516-496-3400

    Schematics

    Owner's Manual

    XXP Specs

    XXP Owner's Manual

    If you have pictures of the units please post them for future reference.

    Thanks.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ITALY
    Posts
    53
    One thing I do not understand.
    If a very good circuit topology is found why do not stick to it ?
    The newer should be always an improvement on the older.
    If not why change ?
    Maybe this is the result when market people lead audio Companies.
    Very unfortunate.

    Kind regards,

    beppe

  4. #4
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Skien, Norway
    Posts
    2,322
    Quote Originally Posted by beppe61 View Post
    One thing I do not understand.
    If a very good circuit topology is found why do not stick to it ?
    The newer should be always an improvement on the older.
    If not why change ?
    Maybe this is the result when market people lead audio Companies.
    Very unfortunate.

    Kind regards,

    beppe
    Hi beppe, and hello from Norway.

    Well, new stuff is supposed to be better. Right?, but not always the fact. That is why we are here on this forum, because we have found out that some of the old JBL stuff actually are better than most of the new stuff.

    I have listened to speakers in the 60 - 80 thousand $ range, and to honest I can hear a difference compared to my 4343B's. Some are better, some are not, and one also have to consider the enormous differences in price.

    I am very satisfied with my 4343B's, but I know there are better speakers. I am just not willing to pay for the little difference.

    When it comes to amps, my experience is that they in general have become better. But there are still 30 years amps out there that is as good as it can get. After all, you can not squeeze more orange juice out of it when it's empty.
    It's really all about music.
    Rolf

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ITALY
    Posts
    53
    [quote=Rolf;187868]
    Hi beppe, and hello from Norway.
    Well, new stuff is supposed to be better. Right?, but not always the fact. That is why we are here on this forum, because we have found out that some of the old JBL stuff actually are better than most of the new stuff.
    I have listened to speakers in the 60 - 80 thousand $ range, and to honest I can hear a difference compared to my 4343B's.
    Some are better, some are not, and one also have to consider the enormous differences in price.
    I am very satisfied with my 4343B's, but I know there are better speakers. I am just not willing to pay for the little difference.
    When it comes to amps, my experience is that they in general have become better.
    But there are still 30 years amps out there that is as good as it can get.
    After all, you can not squeeze more orange juice out of it when it's empty.


    Hello Rolf good afternoon.
    I understand perfectly your point of view.
    Newer does not imply better.
    You say there are still 30 years amps out there that is as good as it can get
    Are you meaning that these amps have reached top performance ?
    Could you please list other top value 30 ys old solid state amps ?
    Another thing, if the XX was that masterpiece (I have no doubt sincerely) why we did not see clones maybe from the far east ?
    As the basic design of the XX must be exceptionally good if I were a cloner that would be my first "victim", maybe in a downsized form (less VA in the transformer and less output devices for less power, but a similar exceptional sound).

    Thank you very much indeed and kind regards,

    beppe

  6. #6
    Obsolete
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    NLA
    Posts
    14,365
    Quote Originally Posted by beppe61 View Post
    Another thing, if the XX was that masterpiece (I have no doubt sincerely) why we did not see clones maybe from the far east ?
    What I remember hearing way back then was that H/K decided to build the best possible state of the art amplifier because A) It could be fun and B) They certainly had the talent assembled to make it happen. I don't know if Matti Otala himself drove the endeavor or if it was someone else. I remember hearing that it was very expensive to produce and it was only produced in a limited run. I cannot remember what the total number produced was. I believe that it was meant as a statement of the state of the art of the time. I could be all wrong and it would be great to hear the whole story from someone directly involved. My understanding is that clones are not an option.

    I think this information might be old but I could be wrong.

    Matti Otala

    Curriculum Vitae

    The career of Matti Otala is predominantly industrial. He has worked in key management positions in several large multinational conpanies:

    Group Manager, Philips Research Laboratories, Eindhoven, NL specialist, Centre National des Télécommunications (CNET), Paris, F
    Chief Engineer, Harman/Kardon Inc., New York, USA
    Chief designer, Shirasuna Group, Nagoya, J
    Professor of Electronics at the University of Oulu, Oulu, FIN
    Founder and Director of the Electronics Laboratory, VTT, FIN
    Chief Technical Officer, Kone Lift Group, Helsinki, FIN
    Corporate Vice President, Technology, Nokia Group, Helsinki, FIN
    Executive Vice President, Bosch Telecom, Frankfurt, D and Advisor to the Corporate Board, Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart, D.

    He is currently professor of Technology Management and Business Strategy at the Tampere University of Technology, Finland.

    He studied in Finland (Helsinki University of Technology), USA (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Switzerland (IMEDE). He holds doctorates from the University of Oulu (electronics) and Tampere University of Technology (h.c., strategic management).

    His specialities are Management of Change, Business Process Re-Engineering, International Competitivity, total Quality Management, and Learning Organisations.

    He has published 87 scientific and 193 technical papers on electronics, telecommunications and management. He has been granted 101 patents and is fluent in six languages: French, Dutch, German, English, Swedish and Finnish.

  7. #7
    Registered User MJC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    800
    If the Citation 11 and 19, that I'm using for my analog system, are reps of that era of HK they were very good indeed.
    I can only guess that HK stopped making the Citation line because of the bottom line, as the Japanese imports were cheaper and thus considered a "better cost to quality ratio" for the average buyer. And the fact Citations were going head to head, price wise, with Macs and ML, of that era.

  8. #8
    Obsolete
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    NLA
    Posts
    14,365
    Quote Originally Posted by MJC View Post
    I can only guess that HK stopped making the Citation line because of the bottom line, as the Japanese imports were cheaper and thus considered a "better cost to quality ratio" for the average buyer. And the fact Citations were going head to head, price wise, with Macs and ML, of that era.
    ML is under the H/K umbrella so there is probably no real need for Citation as well.

  9. #9
    Registered User MJC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    800
    Quote Originally Posted by Giskard View Post
    ML is under the H/K umbrella so there is probably no real need for Citation as well.
    Ya, and back in the '70's both Mac and ML were out of my price range, they were both sold at the Upper Ear in LV.
    I don't remember seeing HK Citation gear, back then, in any stores in LV.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Roma
    Posts
    7
    First I want to thanks Giskard for his kindness.

    The Citation XXP and XX where a kind of high exercitation in times ( they where designed in 1978 then put on the market in 1980 in, if I remember well, 100 samples each) when high end audio was just a matter for very few people ( usually designated as "mad" from non audio enthusiast people).
    It's clear that after the acquisition of Mark Levinson brand and facilities, the production of the Citation's has been considered "something in excess" from HK.
    Neverheless there where many attempt to re-launch the citation line on the market, excelent products, but scarcely appreciated by the public because the name Harman Kardon was ( wrongly) associated with mid-class components. The last ones where producted in the '90s, but they don't have any success. Unfortunately. The quality versus price ratio was very high.
    To answer to Beppe: yes the XX's remains some of the best solid state electronics ever made, and the quality of the bass of the XX amp is, 27 years later, unrivaled.

    Ciao

    Bebo

    (these are my XX's)
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  11. #11
    Obsolete
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    NLA
    Posts
    14,365
    Quote Originally Posted by Bebo View Post
    if I remember well, 100 samples each
    That number sounds quite familiar.

    I have asked Don to try and dig up more information for us if he can.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bebo View Post
    these are my XX's
    Very nice! Thanks for the photos.

    My Citation 21's and 22's are mere shadows.

  12. #12
    RIP 2013 Rolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Skien, Norway
    Posts
    2,322
    [quote=beppe61;187872]
    Quote Originally Posted by Rolf View Post
    beppe
    I have no particular name, but constructions from M. Ottala, J. Curl, P. Perreaux and others comes to mind. Many of today's "top of the line" amps are built on the original concepts of these people, just as today's speakers are built on concepts from J.B. Lansing and a few others of the early days.

    What makes some products better today is the technology making it possible to use better materials in production.

    Anyway, this is my thoughts about this.
    It's really all about music.
    Rolf

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ITALY
    Posts
    53
    [quote=Rolf;187969][quote=beppe61;187872]

    I have no particular name, but constructions from M. Ottala, J. Curl, P. Perreaux and others comes to mind.
    Many of today's "top of the line" amps are built on the original concepts of these people, just as today's speakers are built on concepts from J.B. Lansing and a few others of the early days.
    What makes some products better today is the technology making it possible to use better materials in production.
    Anyway, this is my thoughts about this.


    Hello Rolf,

    I agree with you that better parts are available today.
    Nevertheless it seems that in the case of the XX (and maybe others, do not know) it is the topology that is particularly right.
    My opinion is that the type of circuit is more important soundwise than the quality of the components used.
    Anyway I am sure HK used the best parts available at those times.
    Nevertheless what intrigues me more is the design.
    It would be extremely interesting to read an analysis of the circuit from some experts in the field.
    Maybe some solutions could be used in smaller amps with great results.

    Kind regards,

    beppe

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,753
    Quote Originally Posted by beppe61 View Post
    If a very good circuit topology is found why do not stick to it ?
    The newer should be always an improvement on the older.
    A very good topology most often demands more expensive parts. An old quasi-komplemetary AB-amplifier for background music can be build very cheap.

    It is just like with cars. Everything can be designed down to prize or for quality.

    Do you have in Italy the electronic magazin "Elektor" which is sold in different European countries? There are/were regularly articles about amplifier design.
    ___________
    Peter

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    ITALY
    Posts
    53
    [quote=Hoerninger;188708]
    A very good topology most often demands more expensive parts.


    Hello Peter, premium transistors are not that expensive.
    I understand that the selection process could be expensive.
    Instead I believe that some topologies are better than other.
    And I have the feeling that better ones could be even less complex to build.
    Some years ago I listen to a line preamp made out of just one mosfet (the Aleph P by Pass Labs). Wonderful.
    Sometimes equipments are overengineered, like full of op-amps when just one would be more than enough.
    Less parts and better parts could be a wise idea.

    An old quasi-komplemetary AB-amplifier for background music can be build very cheap.
    It is just like with cars.
    Everything can be designed down to prize or for quality.
    Do you have in Italy the electronic magazin "Elektor" which is sold in different European countries?
    There are/were regularly articles about amplifier design.
    ___________
    Peter


    Thank you very much Peter for your kind and valuable information.
    Nevertheless I think that it would be extremely interesting a magazine that taken audio masterpieces as the XX performs an in depth analysis on the schematics.
    Looking at the schematics the XX does not appear extremely complex.
    Or better, I have seen schematics very much more complex and with a higher transistors count.
    Of course I could be completely wrong.
    For this reason I would like to hear some words from an expert about the circuit (rarely seen in review of commercial units).

    Thanks and regards,

    beppe

+ Reply to Thread

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts