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Old 03-19-2010, 04:43 PM
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Pacific Stereo's Concept 11.0 restore

It's that time again, time for another episode of, "Make it work and make it look good!"

Brought to you by Bromo-Seltzer, in color!



Njord, this is for you.

Some time ago, I ran across a Concept 11.0 that needed a home. A friend of mine was out from CO (I've known this guy since before Kindergarten), and he was a huge Pacific Stereo and Concept fan. Well, we went out and looked at this thing, and it was in really bad shape. It was filthy, scratched, you name it.

I asked him if he could live with the cosmetics if it worked perfectly. He said, "Sure. I've always wanted a big Concept receiver!"

So we bought it. And it's been languishing around the lab for several months, looking at me with its silver puppy-dog eyes. And I could hear Dick Schram prattling in my head. (Sigh.) All right, all RIGHT.

For those that aren't familiar with the Concept line, it was our brand of products, designed by us, made by us, sold only by us. Our foundry also made some of the very same Realistic receivers so many here love. And allow me to tell you- it was very, very good stuff.

But there is a bad side to the Concepts. There was almost no service information. Everything was institutional knowledge. There were schematics and incomplete parts lists, but nothing else. No board layouts, no block diagrams, no circuit theory, no voltages on the schematics, no alignment procedures, nothing. Zero, zip, nada.

When I initially looked at the 11.0, it worked. It had some leaky differentials, but overall, it seemed okay. Was I in for a surprise! Here's what I started with:



No that isn't leaking electrolyte from the capacitors. It's worse. I discovered that this receiver had suffered The Pepsi Syndrome. This is bad. Very bad. Pepsi is corrosive, and between the sugar and the phosphoric acid, it's death to electronics. The "technician" (what frightens me is that I think I have an idea of who this was, and it was one of ours) who evidently looked at this after said Pepsi Encounter, had really hacked it up. In large part, his "repair" consisted of spraying WD-40 all over everything and replacing blown-up parts.



It gets worse. I discover that the previous tech has cut wires and later twisted them back together and then held the entire wiring bundle together with Scotch tape. May he be cursed of a thousand minor solder burns, one right after the other. Oh, and I discover this:



Oddly, many of the fuse clips used in our products stress fracture and break. Not sure why, but they do, and they have to be replaced. This tech's solution? Why, solder the fuse to it, (and probably spray it with WD-40). Why not?

Oh, and there was this:



That's um... uh, a WELD in the speaker relay (now you know these beasts can deliver current!). But instead of replacing it, the tech noticed that the other two contacts were still good, so he simply clipped out the connections to the welded contacts. "EeeeeGAD, Brain! Brilliant!"

Ordinarily, I just renew relay contacts, but in this case, the relay had to be replaced. Happily, I have originals.

Well. Now I have an idea of what I am dealing with. This is not going to be easy. If this were anything but something as rare as this (and had my friend not been looking so forward to owning it), I would have chucked this off the cliff outside the backyard and watched it crash and bounce to an ignominious death. (Well, I would have saved some stuff from it, first!) But you get the idea.

But no such luck- this was a keeper, no matter what.

First things first. Let's recap it. The good news is that Schram had actually designed this thing to be repairable. Most everything was connectorized, and easy to yank and set by itself. Even better, there is not a single silkscreen error on the boards.



In case you don't feel like counting, there are more than 93 electrolytic and tantalum capacitors in the 11.0. There may be more, it's just that this is what I rounded up from the pile in the bench. It turned out that the large power supply filter electrolytics are just fine, so there was no reason to replace them.

While the boards are out, as much cleaning as possible to the chassis and other parts takes place. Other repairs are things I know about- bad bias diodes (the VD1221's are notorious for being intermittent. They open up and you get massive bias current, which is... well, very bad. I have these parts brand-new, so I don't need to worry about subbing them.), noisy/leaky differentials & predrivers and a few other semiconductors that need to be changed out. I also change out one lamp (I don't have the heart to use a blue-coated replacement. I have them, but those are rarer than hen's teeth!). Of course, DeoxIT is the word of the day. All switches got disassembled, treated and cleaned, all controls, you name it. The cool thing about these Concepts is that the power switch is actually a high-power microswitch, so if it ever goes bad, you can actually replace it with something that is available.

Well, after some cleaning and more miscellaneous repair (not to mention a dial restring, ugh), we get this:



These are repro labels that I made myself, as the originals simply did not survive the cleaning process. Schram would be proud!

Dis mo' bettah. Waaaaay mo bettah!

Now it was time to tackle some alignments. This is made more difficult due to the fact that there is no documentation. But, I have institutional knowledge (well, at least what's left, since many brain cells were killed during and since my Pacific days)!

FM and AM are the most important (bias is easy!). This is what's under the pretty shield:



I discover that the FM section is just not working well, and I determine that it's the FET in the front-end.

Unfortunately, THIS is not something Schram ever figured you'd need to service. After struggling with disassembly and such, I change the FET. Now, sensitivity is as it should be. Alignment goes without a hitch. AM and FM are delightful!

After all repairs and the alignments were completed, it was time for some cosmetic treatment. And this was the result:





Yes, I will clean those nasty screws before I ship this off to my friend.



She's a beauty. And the music she makes is just incredible. I have not heard or worked on an 11.0 in a very long time, and I will say that this product is absolutely magic, musical and magnificent. What a feeling- to take my product, from my Alma Mater, and make it new again. Wow. It a feeling I can't describe. This 11.0 will make incredible music for someone who will absolutely love it. How cool is that?

My bud is going to die when it shows up on his doorstep, because he's forgotten about it.

UPDATE: My bud loves his Concept. And I am working on another right now. Even better, I have a third waiting for restoration that will become the bench reference. Yay!

Photos are copyright 2010 by Tapeheads member Pacific Stereo. All rights are reserved. Absolutely no unauthorized use without permission. NO EBAY USE.
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I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net

Last edited by Pacific Stereo; 02-12-2013 at 07:46 AM. Reason: New information.
  #2  
Old 03-19-2010, 06:08 PM
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That is absolutley gorgeous. A real keeper. Great work! Your friend will surely wonder if he's dreaming when this shows up!
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  #3  
Old 03-19-2010, 06:17 PM
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Hi P.S. As I mentioned elsewhere, your work looks fantastic. Judging by the snow covered mountain in the background, you must be in North L.A. County??
  #4  
Old 03-19-2010, 06:18 PM
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Njord Noatun Njord Noatun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacific Stereo View Post
Njord, this is for you!
Well, thank you Sir! That is an absolutely stunning job you've done on the 11.0: I am glad you did not throw it over the cliff and instead brought it back to a dignified life - another specimen of these wonderful old receivers for new generations to enjoy!

Thanks for sharing it (and send me the serial number before you mail it off to your buddy!).
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  #5  
Old 03-19-2010, 06:22 PM
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Smile

Another incredible job PS! I'm glad that there is someone out there who still cares and will take care of equipment like this.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2010, 07:59 PM
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Hot Damn!! That receiver sure looks pretty!! Rob
  #7  
Old 03-19-2010, 08:51 PM
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As a Guy who can take a perfectly good piece of equipment and turn it into a useless bunch of crap,you have my respect
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2010, 09:10 PM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naknut View Post
Another incredible job PS! I'm glad that there is someone out there who still cares and will take care of equipment like this.
How could I not care about my product? Concept was OURS. I will never forget, as long as the flame stays lit...
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I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #9  
Old 05-03-2010, 04:53 PM
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Pacific Stereo Pacific Stereo is offline
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Well, it's time to SHIP this bad boy....!

Time to ship off this lovely 11.0 receiver to my bud. This amp took 3.5 hours to pack up.

I started by enclosing the amp in a trash bag. Trash bags make great subs for the original clear plastic bags things come in. They prevent scrubbing of surfaces by packing material in transit, keep popcorn out, and they're CHEAP! I also made a custom styrofoam protector for the front panel to allow for the tuning knob and switches. The unit fit perfectly into a 20x20 box, so there was no need for foam on the sides. Finishing touches included a copy of the owner's manual and a special accessory for the new owner.



A layer of foam on the top completed the inside.

Next, it was sealed up with genuine Pacific Stereo box tape (NOBODY has any of this but me).



I LOVE this!

The next step was the second box.



There's two inches of HD foam at the bottom (and the top). While some folks think foam all the way around is best, I've gotten perfect results with this combination of HD foam corners, spacers and popcorn to fill voids. I did not have a single box that would allow for this, so I made one out of two identical boxes.

An original Pacific Stereo sales order is the piece de resistance!



Uh... Sorry, cat not included.



The last step was adding strapping, and lots and lots of nomenclature. Insuring for a high value also makes shippers take much more notice and much more care with a box.

Now, to wait for the "WTF IS THIS?!?" phone call. Can't wait. Yay!
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #10  
Old 05-03-2010, 05:16 PM
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  #11  
Old 05-03-2010, 07:34 PM
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Fantastic. Your buddy is going to need a change of underpants when he opens that box! (Wishing the address on that shipping label was mine.)

Now, if I can only do a quarter of the job you did when I get around to spiffing up my Concept 6.5 .....
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2011, 05:32 PM
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These things are just so good-sounding. I'm working on another right now and have a third for myself that I will be using on the bench to replace a venerable SX-1080.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #13  
Old 02-24-2011, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacific Stereo View Post
These things are just so good-sounding. I'm working on another right now and have a third for myself that I will be using on the bench to replace a venerable SX-1080.
P.S., the 11.0 is in my top five of all receivers for sound quality. IMO, it is that good. It is better than any Marantz receiver you care to name including any of the high powered models. The 11.0 is in some ways better sounding than the mighty 16.5. It doesn't hit as hard and is more cultured.
  #14  
Old 02-24-2011, 06:55 PM
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Oh, I totally agree that the 11.0 is better-sounding than the 16.5. While the 16 is great, the 11 is MAGIC.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #15  
Old 03-15-2011, 12:49 PM
Blue Jinn Blue Jinn is offline
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Quote:
It turned out that the power supply electrolytics are just fine, so there was no reason to replace them.
Doesn't this go against conventional wisdom to replace all electyolytic caps especially Pwr supp especially in a now "vintage" piece like this? But that BIGA** power supply IMO is one of the reasons this sounds so great, a REAL transformer, REAL BIG CAPACITORS, REAL BIG VOLTAGE RAILS. no IC's No switching power supply none of that.

That said, I have a 11.0 bought new in 1979??, that has a problem in the preamp stage. (about half the gain of the other channel) So for the last 10 years or so I've used it only as an amp, running the line out from the stereo buss on a Tascam M-520 in to the main in.

I do miss this as a receiver though and we go back. Don't know if the issue in the preamp is related to this but, at some point me, and a chair, sometime in 1981 or so shorted a speaker cable, which blew out an entire channel, output transistors whacked and all. The main amp board was replaced at some point, apparently they are Left and Right and they couldn't get the correct side so it has two Lefts now (or two rights I can't remember which was blown) and the unit worked great until about 1994? when the preamp started acting up. (low signal on one channel which I think is the same channel that I killed the amp several years before.) Is there any particular adjustment for gain in the preamp stage I could fiddle w/?

Otherwise, I just love this piece, even if all it does now is mostly look pretty.
  #16  
Old 03-15-2011, 04:27 PM
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We changed out an entire board? Wow. Freakin' lazy-ass tech...! Both boards are the same, they're just mirror-images of each other.

When I said I didn't change out the power-supply electrolytics, I was referring to the two large filters only. Those often are just fine even in very old gear, and replacement is expensive. Of course I will change them out if someone wants me to, but there's often no reason to do that. I evaluate each one on a case-by-case basis to determine what I will do.

There's no gain adjustment. You have some sort of issue going on.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #17  
Old 03-15-2011, 09:48 PM
Blue Jinn Blue Jinn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacific Stereo View Post
We changed out an entire board? Wow. Freakin' lazy-ass tech...! Both boards are the same, they're just mirror-images of each other.
Well, first they did replace the output transistors only, and then when it just wouldn't function properly they replaced the whole board. Those guys were pretty cool about the whole thing...

Quote:
When I said I didn't change out the power-supply electrolytics, I was referring to the two large filters only. Those often are just fine even in very old gear, and replacement is expensive.
Cool!

Quote:
There's no gain adjustment. You have some sort of issue going on.
Oh well, the amp (with the new board....) is getting used like I indicated before, but man I've always really really dug this receiver. The thing draws so much current turning on, it used to blow the (one 15A ) breaker in my apartment if you ran a hairdryer while the stereo was on....

Last edited by Blue Jinn; 03-15-2011 at 09:49 PM. Reason: can't spell quote...
  #18  
Old 03-16-2011, 03:08 AM
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Great thread!!!
Thank god there are people that have the "know how" and the time to refurbish equipment like that!!!
Respect and God Bless!!!
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:06 AM
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If it's blowing the 15-amp breaker on turn-on, it means there's something going on with the soft-start circuit.
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pacificstereo.net "Make your own kind of music!"



I RESTORE VINTAGE AUDIO AND VIDEO GEAR. Master technician for Concept, Quadraflex, Calibre, Pioneer and Sony. Endorsed by Richard Schram for Concept product restoration. Factory technician for both Yamaha and JVC. Sonics consultant for Denon. Pacific Stereo store manager, service manager, Central Service lead tech, liquidator at our demise. Pacific Stereo curator. Infinity IRS dealer. Music buyer for one of the first CD retailers in the USA. Authorized servicer for virtually every brand on the planet at one time or another. Music addict. Mastering & recording engineer, weaned on a Neve (no other console sounds like a Neve!). Industry-respected ears. Head Tapehead.

Need vintage audio & video repair and restoration, or unobtanium semiconductors and parts? Ask me! And do visit the website: pacificstereo.net
  #20  
Old 03-16-2011, 11:05 AM
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Socal Sam Socal Sam is offline
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P.S., perhaps you can answer a Concept question. On the bottom cover of every Concept is a small sticker with a two letter code. On my 11.0 is it "TC". Is this a factory code or a date code of some sort?
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