Saturday, June 8, 2019

New Audio Addition - Heathkit AA-1640 "Basic Power Amplifier" -

Yeah, like I really need another project. But, like Phil at Bustedknuckles, it was "An Offer/Counter Offer I Couldn't Refuse".

Well, I suppose I could have, seeing as I made the first offer, and the seller responded quite reasonably.

This thing had been languishing on eBay for several weeks, with a bunch of watchers, but no sale. It was at a decent price ($350), but the shipping on it was $145! I low-balled him at $175, and he came back with $250. I countered with "Split The Shipping?", and he responded he would. Ruh-Roh! Well, I agreed, and it arrived today.

It's a Heathkit AA-1640 "Basic Power Amplifier" in very nice condition.

One of the reasons the shipping was so high, is that it's another "Analog Godzilla" like the Yaesu, and it weighs in at Sixty Pounds. Definitely a Heavyweight Contender, as all it is, is an amplifier. No tone controls, no equalizer, no speaker or input switching, just a big honkin' stereo amplifier, rated at a very conservative Two Hundred Watts per channel at 8 Ohms. Recent lab tests have shown these really put out more like 275 Watts at 8 Ohms, and 350 Watts at 4 Ohms.

It's built like an Iowa-class Battleship, and I'll bet the power transformer weighs at least thirty pounds. The only option available for these amps Back In The Day was a set of power output meters, and this one has them. You can see the backs of the meters in the picture above, and the front panel in the picture below.

Saying it's "Just An Amp" is a bit like saying a Dodge Demon or Hellcat is a good grocery getter. It's a stupendous amp in terms of clean, wideband power output, and is perfect for driving inefficient speaker systems.

 It was listed as "Won't Power Up", and when I closely examined the listing pix I saw the fuse holder was missing! Since I don't smell or see anything burnt/crispy/vaporized, it's in very good cosmetic and mechanical condition, and it uses an usual type of fuse holder, I'm rolling the dice that it'll work after I replace the fuse holder and do some resistance checks.

Anyway...this will get all the electrolytic capacitors replaced, the output connections for the speakers will be replaced with "5-Way" binding posts, all the connections will be tightened up, the gain controls cleaned and lubed, and I'll give it a very good cleaning.

For now it's sitting over in a corner of the downstairs storage area. I have too many other projects ahead of this one, but seeing as these have reached Cult Status, and go for upwards of $1000 all shined up and ready to go, I couldn't pass it up for $325.


  1. what kind of amp is it? looks like a hoss.

  2.'s a Heathkit AA-1640 "Basic Power Amplifier".

    I'll edit the post.

    That sounds like one of those legendary Amps that they made back in the day that is powerful enough to get the cops called on you from half a mile away, if you can find speakers that can handle it!
    I have something similar that I got for free, an exclusive Kenwood amp that wasn't available to the general public and was made back in '79. I had never heard of such a thing but like yours, this thing is VERY heavy and big. I did some research on it and was amazed. You ha to bee in the military and you had to order it direct from the factory. Even back then the thing was close to a grand to buy.
    You are supposed to use a Pre Amp for it to make it wor right but I found a way to use RCA connectors and plug it back into its self to make it work. If yours is anywhere near as powerful as this sucker is then you will soon be in the market for some heavy duty speakers.
    Nice score man, very nice score!
    Oh yeah, thanks for the link too!

    1. Yeah, it was just too good to pass up.

      The only other amps like this I have any experience with are Crown amplifiers, that we used at Fermilab when I worked there. Pretty much like this one, they were "Just Amplifiers", but they'd do 700 Watts per channel.

  4. LOL, another 'toy' for the toy box! :-) And I thought 'we' were bad about guns... :-D

    1. We're dragging a bunch of those up to The Family Ranch near Wyoming today. Don't know if I'll do a post on it, but we're gonna turn a whole bunch of ammo into smoke and noise today.

      If I get some gumption up, I'll take the Garand with me.

  5. Good find. That's one of those where the bowling alley calls YOU and asks you to turn it down

    1. I found it by chance while I was looking for something else Heathkit related. It looked interesting, so I put it on watch.

      I'll have to build some speakers for it, but now I don't have to worry about inefficient speakers!


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