Pioneer M-22 Power Amp - Epic Japanese Gear From the Past

Discussion in 'Power Amps' started by Armaegis, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Oh man, I remember seeing one of those locally last year. Did I miss a good thing?
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    [​IMG]

    Pioneer M-22 / M-25. Epic Japanese gear from the late 1970s. Pioneer should have never stopped making them. This unit was on extended loan from @foo_me. All it took was the first few seconds of the Graceland CD for me to realize that it was a better amp than the Hegel. The presentation is slightly different with the Hegel being sharper and more incisive with its attacks, vaster sound stage, and more volume at the extremes. However, the M-22 blew away the Hegel terms of microdynamics and plankton, and even slightly surpassed it with macrodynamics. Surprisingly, the M-22 was also clearer sounding than the Hegel, despite the Hegel destroying everything else before it in terms of clarity (Crest CA2, Vincent SP-331, NuPrime digital abomination, Parasound A23, etc.)

    I did not talk about this because I was looking for one myself for a period of time. This is how good this piece of epic gear sounds. I wanted to keep it all to myself. Screw you guys or anyone else. At the end, I quit my search. The best way is to go to Japan. The used ones sold in North America are too expensive, given how old these amps are and how much reconditioning they will need: caps, relays, switches, rust, etc.

    The M-22 is the low wattage version, I think 30 watts, all Class A. The M-25 is the 125W Class AB version with same Class A point as the M-22. The M-25 supposedly sacrifices a bit of the magic for better control and wattage. Yes, the M-22 is magical. It is the best solid-state amp I have heard thus far. Super immediate and engaging.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  3. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    Holy shit that is some gorgeous industrial design
     
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  4. spwath

    spwath Collegiate hijinks master

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  5. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I think the local one I saw was around $500 CAD, but it needed a lot of work and several of the fins were chipped quite severely. Probably not worth it all things considered, but man that design is cool. These are supposed to run quite hot do they not?
     
  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    There's one on USAM along with preamp for $1.9k, but the same guy has it on ebay for cheaper at the moment...
     
  7. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    hmm I think Marv needs to review all the old greats

    Mitsubishi DA-A15DC

    [​IMG]

    Yamaha B2

    [​IMG]


    these are 2 I have had the pleasure to hear and hold a special place in my audio memory

    ..dB
     
  8. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Thought the Yamaha B2 is near impossible to fix if anything goes wrong with it.
     
  9. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    it's all relative .....

    but yes - those VFETS are nearly impossible to find
     
  10. Tachikoma

    Tachikoma Facebook Friend

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    I've been using a Pioneer M22 for all of my amplification needs - including IEMs with the iEMatch :D Despite being "dual mono", they do have a shared ground, so they don't blow up or anything with adapters.

    It took something like three years to get my unit fully operational and recapped after I got it from Japan, but it was well worth it in the end.

    Also, how does it pair with Freya? I may want to upgrade the Schiit Sys at some point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
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  11. foo_me

    foo_me Friend

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    Glad to hear @Marvey enjoyed listening to it.
    I also wondered how well or not well it would hold up to more current speaker amps. Glad it's still worth it to keep around ;)

    In general, I think older, respected vintage gear is worth looking into. Given that so much of today's gear has gotten so expensive, I like to rely on things that have withstood the test of time. I primarily got this amp to replace an expensive modern 300b tube amp for my K1000s when it blew up. This was much less expensive and just as good. I feel like my EC amp will end up like this years down the road.

    Prices have gone up but I've seen them here and there enough (I.e. Craigslist) that you can still find them under $1k if you're patient.

    @Tachikoma - I just got a Saga to use with it. Haven't had a chance to connect it yet though.
     
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  12. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    How's the Saga sound with the M-22? What speakers are you using with it?

    Tempted to take the M-22 route, if not too difficult or expensive. I went to Japan earlier this year, and plan to go again. My 89.5db @ 8ohm speakers should work great with the 30W it supplies?

    Marv mentioned it being detailed and engaging. How's the treble and bass - extended with plenty of sparkle and slam? Would work well with hard hitting electronic or rock music?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  13. foo_me

    foo_me Friend

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    Saga works well with the M22...love having a remote.
    Seems very neutral to me though I do not have another preamp to compare it to.
    I can't really notice any difference in using the tube buffer but then again, my tube may not be anything special.
    M22 should be able to drive your speaker very well.
    My speakers are also 89db sensitive and volume on the Saga never has to go above 2pm.
    Room is about 20ft x12ft.

    Soundwise, i listen mostly to classical, jazz, accoustical music so can't really say how good it would be for electronic and heavy rock.
    Compared to the EC 2a3, M22 is more neutral and better microdynamics.
    Bass is more tighter and accurate.
    There is more bass on the EC but it can sometimes sound bloated.
    Overall, I'm pretty happy with it.
     
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  14. winders

    winders Easily Manipulated

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    @foo_me

    I just bought a refurbished M-22. I can't wait to get it! Do you have access to the "operating instructions" for the M-22? I have a digital copy of the service manual but I can't find the operating instructions anywhere. I did find M-25 operating instructions but I still want them for the M-22.

    My speakers are supposed to have a sensitivity of 98.82dB [email protected] and my room is 15.5' x 12.5'. So this amp, along with the gain from Freya in tube gain mode, should have more than enough power.

    I look forward to comparing the M-22 to Vidar.
     
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  15. foo_me

    foo_me Friend

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    Cool! Hope you enjoy them!
    Are you getting the vidar too?
    I'm curious how they compare as well.
    I might be getting some speakers that need more power so it's be a good comparison to read about.
     
  16. winders

    winders Easily Manipulated

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    I
    I see that you are in San Jose. That is just 25 minutes up the 101 from where I live. I have a Vidar. If you want to hear it, I would be happy to run it up to you to for a listen.
     
  17. foo_me

    foo_me Friend

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    Thanks! I'll probably take you up in your offer :)
    Will PM you when I figure out my schedule.
     
  18. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Very interested in the Vidar vs M-22 results, please post afterwards.
     
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  19. winders

    winders Easily Manipulated

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    My M-22 is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I haven't done an amp comparison in 30 years. Does anyone have advice on how to do an objective comparison so I end up choosing the best amp for my needs as well as provide useful information to the audience here?

    Thanks!
     
  20. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    currents SS amps are very overpriced compared to what you could buy in the 80's.
    if you get a TOTL SS amp of the golden era, what you get will compete, when restaured of course, with anything SS wise.

    By the '90's the japanese majors abandoned the serious HiFi market and focused on other fields, the golden decade is about 1979 to 1989, when they poured huge amounts of money into audio R&D
     
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