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If you’re a Harman Kardon fan, here is your shot at a super rare piece of audio history from the golden era of HiFi.
I must admit I didn’t know much about this brand when it arrived at our shop. The heft and feel of the units (yes we have 2 of the matching amps) immediately caught my attention. The aesthetics, in particular the way they are illuminated, also spoke to the degree of attention and quality.
Once I quickly found a link on The Vintage Knob I realized it was in fact something special, made in Japan, and very rare and collectible.
I have come across original HK Citation gear over the years and this turned out to be HK’s last ditch attempt at recapturing the golden years of audio. They produced two preamps and amps with no budget limitations and in limited quantities totaling not more than 1000 for each. The model X-II was the less expensive of the preamp but it provided 2 phono inputs which make it more functional and desirable than its big brother.
A quick look inside revealed just how expensive these units must have been to design and build. The layout of the components is absolutely methodical, the component selection is at the highest level, and the attention to detail is ridiculous.
So it wasn’t a surprise that after testing all the capacitors, relays, potentiometers etc., that it needed absolutely nothing to get its full performance. I cleaned the ancillary pots just in case (the main Alps volume knob is sealed) and wiped the unit down. The tests bench yielded similar results, clean strong signal on all inputs and outputs. The amplifier tested exactly the same, no issues or hiccups. It powered on and quickly came out of protection and has worked perfectly for weeks after.
The amplifier has two unusual features not found on amps from this era. There are front panel controls for both bias (normal and high) and filter (ultrasonic and infrasonic). The bias makes sense as it will probably adjust the transistor bias to run hotter and probably warmer in sound. I have no idea what the filter button does but I’m sure a savvy audiophile will chime in. On the back you’ll find super high quality connectors for both single ended and balanced, and a convenient handle that makes moving the unit around much easier. The heat fins are super pointy so this handle is a welcome feature.
The preamp has two sets of phono inputs which is ideal for a super analogue geek that might have two turntables or a single turntable with two arms. I find this to be pretty common nowadays, the geek not the preamp. There are handy adjustments in the front for tweaking the MC phono input which sure beats having to open up the unit. Instead of a balanced knob you’ll notice there are left and right channel attenuators which will yield the same result but also set the total output to better match the amp. On the back you’ll find super high quality RCA connectors for all inputs and balanced for output.
Both units are super clean with no signs of abuse. There are no significant scratches, just the occasional scuff from moving around. Functionality is at 100% and both units been tested for weeks on the bench and in the listening room.
The preamp comes in the original box. The amp will be double packed for safe arrival.
Specifications - Citation X-1 Stereo Solid State Amplifier:
Power output: 150 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
Frequency response: 0.1Hz to 180kHz
Total harmonic distortion: 0.01%
Damping factor: 130
Input sensitivity: 1V
Signal to noise ratio: 118dB
Speaker load impedance: 4Ω (minimum)
Dimensions: 440 x 194 x 428mm
Year: 1983 - 1986
Specifications - Citation X-II Stereo Solid State Preamplifier:
Frequency response: 0.1Hz to 300kHz
Total harmonic distortion: 0.006%
Input sensitivity: 0.1mV (MC), 1.6mV (MM), 100mV (line)
Signal to noise ratio: 80dB (MC), 84dB (MM), 100dB (line)
Output: 1V (Pre out), 5V (Pre out Max)
Dimensions: 440 x 151 x 415mm
Year: 1983 - 1986
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PURCHASING FROM SKYFI
This item will be professionally packaged and insured for safe transit to your home.
Please click here for detailed specifics regarding our specialized packing process that separates us from the rest.
If we don’t have the original manufacture's packaging, we use heavy duty double ply corrugated boxes with Instapak expanding foam custom inserts. In many cases this has proven to be better than the original packaging. We also use high quality fiber reinforced tape to seal our packages. Lightweight items will be bubble wrapped and shipped in a high-quality box.
This item is available for pickup in Ridgewood, NJ or Union Square, NYC (with convenient parking in the building).
NJ Residents or anyone picking up without a resale certificate will need to pay NJ Sales Tax.
Use the Buy It Now button and we will cover the PayPal fees.
Thanks for looking and be sure to call or text 201.879.0000 with any questions.
Please also click here to visit our Audiogon store to see the rest of the items we have for sale.
WHO WE ARE
SkyFi Audio is a small startup business specializing in the purchase, reconditioning, and reselling of select high-end audio equipment. We only buy equipment the we admire and are passionate about. No mid-fi, no gimmicks, no junk.
Each piece of equipment is cosmetically restored and fully tested in our well-equipped lab by an engineer with 30+ years of experience in the HiFi world. If it does not meet or exceed the original manufactures specifications, it will not be sold. We are very selective about the equipment we purchase, focusing on mostly analog, high-build quality, American, and European built units.
Through our sister company, which is an authorized dealer for McIntosh, Audio Research, Sonus Faber, ClearAudio, Pro-Ject Audio Systems, and Sony ES, we have access to OEM parts, service, and support. If you are local and looking for new equipment from the above-mentioned manufacturers, please drop us a line as we can arrange both sales and professional installation in the tri-state area.
We do not accept or review any offers that do not go through the official Audiogon system. We have too many items for sale and it’s nearly impossible to keep track of offers outside of the official system. Please don’t message, email, or text any offers.
If you do not see a “Make an Offer” button, it means we are not considering any offers on that item.
We prefer working through PayPal which allows you to use a credit card or bank transfer. We do not charge extra for any payment fees if you purchase the item at the asking price. You can also send us a personal check (which will need to clear before shipping), certified check, money order, or wire transfer. International clients without access to PayPal should use a bank wire transfer.
If you are picking up an item we do not accept PayPal. You must pay in person with cash, certified or bank check, or wire transfer. If you make a PayPal payment and are picking up the item, it will be returned.
TRADE IN POLICY
We accept trade-ins of equal or lesser value under certain conditions. Simply ask and let us know the exact model, condition, and the accessories that are included (such as the original box, remote, cables, manual, etc.). We will only consider high-end equipment from mainstream manufacturers such as McIntosh, Mark Levinson, Audio Research, Krell, etc. and will typically pass on displays, projectors, receivers, dated surround processors, and mid-fi equipment of any type. We will offer a fair value for your equipment, but keep in mind we are running a business and will need to be able to resell the equipment at a profit after investing a great deal of time and resources in testing, certifying, repairing, cleaning, and packaging the incoming equipment. If you are looking for top dollar we suggest attempting to sell it directly to an end user on your own.
SELL US YOUR GEAR (Working or Broken)
We will also purchase your used or broken gear and arrange pickup if you are in our local market. Just drop us a note for a quote but be sure to include the condition and what is included.
HOW TO VISIT US
We are currently operating from a residence in Ridgewood, NJ. You are welcome to make an appointment if there is a piece of equipment you would like to see in operation before or after purchase. We have a well-equipped, dedicated listening room with tons of equipment of all makes and models. We are not a store, so please don’t make an appointment if you are just curious as to how a speaker or piece of equipment sounds. In essence, no tire kickers please.
If you are in NYC and cannot make it out to Ridgewood, we can arrange pickup in Union Square (14th Street) after the purchase. You can call or text 201.879.0000 with any questions or to schedule an appointment. We can also arrange to install, calibrate, and tune the gear in your listening room if you are local to the area. This is super useful when purchasing large speakers or heavy amplifiers. It is also great for ensuring your new turntable is setup correctly in its final resting place.