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Old 29th February 2012, 04:26 AM   #1
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Default New Harman Kardon Citation II

Ok. Now I've done it. I loved a guy's system I auditioned some speakers with so much that it really piqued my interest in tubes. Been doing alot of reading, which means I still know almost nothing about them.

I figured I would dip my toe into tubes by watching Craigslist for something modest that I could tweek to learn more - that's the way I do things; I'm never happy until I know how it works.

So, I've been haunting Craigslist and found a Harman Kardon Citation II. I was the first to contact the guy (6 minutes after it listed) and picked it up for $100, which I now understand was a good deal - if its not got big problems I suppose.

Now my question... The amp needs tubes and to be checked out. I need to know some advise for next steps and sources for whatever parts it may need (tubes, caps, ???).

Also looking for someone in the Chicagoland area who I sould take it to? I'm looking for someone who will let me do some DIY to learn, but keep me out of trouble by telling me when to let him handle it - and being honest along the way. (yes I have read enough and done enough electrical work to know that I better be careful inside tube amps - 100's of volts)

Suggestions? Or just advise...
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Old 29th February 2012, 04:37 AM   #2
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You might want to contact Jim McShane, as he is an expert regarding these amps.

Jim McShane Home Page

jeff
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Old 29th February 2012, 04:46 PM   #3
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In rough shape the citation II goes for over $1000 on ebay. Nice find, they can sound fantastic when modded.
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Old 29th February 2012, 04:55 PM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Yeah you got one heck of a great deal on that Citation II. IMO one of the best performing vintage PP amps out there.

You'll need to check it out thoroughly and replace all of the electrolytics in the power supply. There are a number of very hot running wire wound resistors in the audio circuitry - Mills makes a line of suitable non-inductive wire wounds. Coupling caps may be suspect too. Just check everything..

Jim McShane is a great resource for the Citation II and can probably provide everything you'd ever need to whip it into shape. (Information and parts) Here: Jim McShane Home Page

Congratulations - I paid $200 for a basket case over 23yrs ago, you got a comparative steal. Mine needed a total rebuild..
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Old 29th February 2012, 05:19 PM   #5
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BB,

The other posters are correct, in more than 1 way. You stole candy from a baby and Jim McShane is THE man, when it comes to tubed H/K Cit. units.

Your good fortune continues, as Jim is metro Chicago based in Orland Park.

A complete, stem to stern, refurbishment (ala McShane) is in order. Once the overhaul is done, you will have a superb sounding piece with the "stones" to handle some pretty difficult speakers. I would not mate it to big Thiels, as those "beasts" dip down to 1 Ω. Also, some horn speakers may not sound good, due to overdamping.
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Old 1st March 2012, 01:26 AM   #6
speaker is offline speaker  United States
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Heh, $100, nice work. I have two of them. They are literally the last amps I'll have in my possession when I sell everything else off.

Good job OP, you can afford to fix them up right and if you decide to sell it after, recoup everything you spent.
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Old 1st March 2012, 02:51 AM   #7
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My dad better have me in his will for his Citation I and II and I. He built the first set from kits which (based on my childhood recollections) the company gave him in return for some writing he did...something about patent rights and how it differed from a traditional "Williamson" circuit.

And about 20 years ago I found another brand-new Citation I, new in the box, never even been plugged in, which I grabbed for the perfect unworn silk-screened faceplate and clean pots at the least. Caps etc. in unknown condition after all these years, all tubes and switches etc. brand new. It was in a "Barzilay" brand stereo cabinet showroom-floor "demonstrator" cabinet just because it had so many nice turned metal knobs. They had opened the box from the bottom, in order to put the amp back in with the original tape across the top (weird), had all the manuals etc. It's still in a closet at dad's house. Must be 30 years old now, still never been plugged in.
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Old 1st March 2012, 02:51 AM   #8
GaryB is offline GaryB  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinkr View Post
Jim McShane is a great resource for the Citation II and can probably provide everything you'd ever need to whip it into shape.
Kevin is too modest to mention that he's also written up a short note about upgrading the Citation II. Take a look here:
http://www.kta-hifi.net/articles/ots7.html

I modded my Citation II with a hybrid of some of Kevin's mods and Jim McShane's power supply upgrades and think it's one of the best amps I've ever heard.

---Gary
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Old 1st March 2012, 02:57 AM   #9
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Funny, I sold one for around $200 around 23 years ago, then immediately regretted that I had not tried to sell for $1000 first, despite issues--weird noises--I was very honest and outspoken about. It sold quickly the morning it was listed, and I got a dozen more calls. I later saw them listed at prices up to $4000. Even CII transformers were listed for more than what I got. I had loved the sound of the amp when it wasn't acting up.

On the weird noises part, the circuit screams high gain with pentodes everywhere, so I'd be concerned about stability.
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Old 1st March 2012, 03:24 AM   #10
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Default wow, i'm happy!

Well, the amp needs 7 tubes, but will probably get all 10 (what would i do with 3 6550's?), but am really excited about my purchase! Honestly i had 3 minutes to research qnd decide to buy it - there as guy next in line willing to pay more. I knew nothing about it before, but the pictures looked like a good find, so i bought it. That's my story...

Just cracked the case with a tech tonight - 2 burned resistors and the original caps look good, but they're gonna go too. And the fuse was blown, so need to proceed cautiously.

Of course i will post progress here.
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