We are hopping in the way back machine for this article. I went to an estate sale this past weekend and picked up a Nakamichi PA5 Stasis power amplifier. I got what I feel is an excellent deal on the unit at $200. This is the first Nakamichi piece I have owned and so far I am very happy with it.
Nakamichi started out in the 1950’s designing electronics in Japan, however they eventually started selling devices under their own name in the early 70’s. They were a big name in the cassette era due to the release of their 3 head cassette player. By the time CD’s took over the music industry Nakamichi started to fall behind. With a lack of house hold name recognition as well as falling behind in digital innovation, they were set to close up shop. Nakamichi Sold in the 90’s to Hong Based company Grande Holdings, owners of Sansui and Akai. While in their prime Nakamichi made some very nice power amplifiers such as the PA5, although it should be noted that it is a Nelson Pass design, it is constructed as a Nakamichi amp.
The PA5 Stasis Amp
Our copy of the Nakamichi PA5 Stasis amp is in rather good condition for its age. With a few cosmetic blemishes here and there. The PA5 is a 100 watt per channel stereo amplifier. Also available was the PA7 with 200 watts per channel. We saw the later as well at the same sale. I currently have it hooked up to Martin Logan Motion LX 16 speakers and a Marrantz SR7009 as the preamp. I have put this old amp through it’s paces, from metal to classical. It keeps up with no issue. The power is more than enough for my room, I have yet to find the clipping point. I don’t think i ever will as the volume I have tried so far was even a bit much. Nakamichi amps are sometimes said to have a warm tone to them, I tend to agree to that. It doesn’t sound as sanitized as some solid state amps. If you come across one for a good price, you should pick it up, even if you don’t need one. Play with it for a while and pass it on. Nelson Pass designed the the circuit for this amp and every audiophile should own a Nelson Pass design at least for a little while.
Hookups, Interface and Specs
The back has a left and right channel pair of biding posts. They accept bare wire, blades or banana terminations. On the rear there is also a pair of RCA inputs, and that is it, well other than power. The user interface is exaclty what I want from a power amp, a power on and off button. I personally don’t care for amps that have any interface to change sound. I want the preamp to do this. The front panel is clean with a little detail and small branding. The traditional look of gold and black is perfectly at home in my set up.
Nakamichi PA5 stasis Power Amplifiers:
- Power output: 100 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
- Frequency response: 7Hz to 150kHz
- Total harmonic distortion: 0.1%
- Damping factor: 60
- Input sensitivity: 1.4V
- Signal to noise ratio: 120dB
- Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω
- Semiconductors: 20 x transistors
- Dimensions: 435 x 135 x 368mm (17x6x15”)
- Weight: 16kg (36 lbs)
I checked on ebay and of course the prices vary wildly. It does seem the average price is around $500-600 dollars. The amp seems to be well worth that price, if it is in good working order. You would be hard pressed to find a new amp with this much power and such a wonderful sound for that price. We at Hifi Chicken are big fans of vintage and used gear. It is a great way to get into the hobby and try different setups out for less money up front. Then later on when you are committed you can save up for what you really want and buy new. There is something to be said for opening a brand new piece of audio gear.
If you are in the market for something new, head over to our friends at Sound and Vision Ohio.