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

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

  1. richard51

    richard51 Mr. Sorbothane

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    Diversity of opinions and experiences is the only evidence of credibility of a site, you are right, a forum centered around one censorship head has no credibility at all, for sure...
     
  2. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Such remarkably similar looking industrial design...
     
  3. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    FYI I contacted a Japan store site awhile ago & they told me about shipping from Japan.

    The weight limit of Japan Post service is 30kg.
    They quoted me a shipping price of $300+ if the shipping weight was under 30kg.

    If the total weight was over 30kg then they have to use another shipping company like UPS, FedEx or DHL & the cost is 2 to 3 times more.
     
  4. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    The point with the shipping weight is to know what is the weight limit in your country. Japan post allows 30 kgs, but most countries allow a max of 20kgs, and they're not happy to handle more than that.

    I had to ship a certain amount of boxes from Japan and the 30kgs boxes arrived in a pitiful state, because the rest of the world treats that kind of boxes like trash and throw them around. Just be aware of that when shipping such a heavy box.

    I'm also pretty sure the 30 kgs limit only applies to sea shipping by container (up to 3 months delay) and not EMS.
     
  5. JK47

    JK47 Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2017
  6. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Those look serious quality. Thanks for sharing!
     
  7. frenchbat

    frenchbat Almost "Made"

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    Fair 'nuff, I didn't think they offered the 30kgs by EMS :) The handling problem still stands though. And for 350$, maybe you can actually think about using UPS or DHL.
     
  8. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

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  9. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    should not affect bananas , also looks like quite an easy thing to swap out for new connectors - no soldering necessary .

    this is so cool to see these old power houses find some special love.

    ..dB
     
  10. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
  11. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

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    I plan on using it with my Susvara & K1000 ,I was considering the Pass XA25 ,but jumped on the M22 as soon as I saw it.
     
  12. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    A story that starts well but ends somewhat badly, at least for the time being.

    THE GOOD:

    My M-22 arrived last week and it looked much better in person (compared to the eBay photos). I fired it up for the first time last weekend, and am happy to say that my impressions mirror Marv's original review back in March. Super detailed, sweet mid range, extends deep in the bass and sparkles in the highs, and overall very engaging. I had so much fun listening to it, I wanted to keep going all day. Switching back to my old Odyssey amp, everything sounded muddier in comparison.

    That afternoon I took it to a friends house to compare the M-22 to his 300b SET tube amp, and it totally held it's own! The sound quality was on par between the two amps with the usual variations you'd expect between SS and tube. The M-22 was a touch drier compared to the SET, but the detail and separation between instruments was extremely clear. The SET amp was more lush, but I felt like the overall presentation was a little more more smeared and smoothed over. Both were excellent though.

    The next stop was my tech friend (builds impressive tube amps in his spare time) to check the M-22 over. He admitted to not knowing a ton about SS, but once we opened her up, it was clear that the internals were in good condition. No modifications, rust, leaky caps, etc. Everything looked clean. He suggested holding off in refurbishments for now if I'm enjoying how it sounds, but that we should check the bias. Using a multi meter he then adjusted the VR1s to +80mV and VR2s to 850mV, as per the service manual instructions. The VR2 readings were originally somewhere between 400-500mV so it seemed some drift had occurred. The tech said the amp may now get hotter and the headroom should increase, but the overall volume should stay the same.

    Back to the SET amp guy for another listen. Wow, big improvement - everything sounds bigger, clearer, an all around enhancement. I was over the moon with my purchase.

    THE BAD:

    After about 20 minutes we were done and the SET guy went to switch interconnects and speaker cables back to his 300b amp. He forgot the turn the M-22 off while switching and a short loud buzzing sound came from the speakers as he was pulling cables (which happens often when disconnecting with live amps). Now when we tried to use the M-22 in his chain, the on switch LED lights up, amp starts to warm, but no sound - plus that slight burnt smell of hot electricity.

    I took it back to the tech who remeasured the VR2 bias. The right side measured the same 850mV, but the left side was off the charts, up to around 10V! He said it looks like the amp's protection kicked in with with the huge voltage surge and there's nothing he can do, but suggested I take it to a tech who's familiar with repairing these type of amps. I'm now wondering if the numbers in the service manual are a misprint and the original readings are what it should stay at. I'm not even sure if the live amp cable disconnect was responsible either. May have just been one of those things?

    Bah! Anyone know a good tech in SoCal who would be familiar with something like the M-22? If not local, there are definitely options to send it out of state for repair and refurbishment. I'm not too bummed, as I know this amp is a keeper. I'd feel worse of I had damaged an amp that I didn't much like and would have to spend money just for resale.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  13. foo_me

    foo_me Friend

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    So sorry to hear about your amp!
    I can only imagine the feeling.

    I used amplifier surgery who advertises on eBay a lot fir restoring the M22. It's relatively expensive but he does know the amp very well if you can't find a local technician.

    Good luck!
     
  14. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    The DC offset number is wrong according to this:

    http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/297186-pioneer-22-class-amp-mistake-service-manual.html

    I am sorry to hear about the failure. I had the same damn thing happen to me when I was comparing the M-22 to Vidar. I pulled the RCA connectors with the M-22 on. I was lucky and only had a fuse blow. That's when I decided to take my M-22 to Scott Frankland in San Jose and have him go over it. He cleaned a lot of oxidation off of connectors and rebuilt and polished a relay for the right channel as it was causing periodic distortion. He also adjusted DC offset and bias for each channel. It wasn't cheap but now I have piece of mind that the M-22 is perfect. We even talked about replacing the RCA inputs with better CARDAS versions and adding an IEC power input instead of the fixed cable. The advantage of the new RCA input setup is that it is more likely ground would be connected before positive which might prevent damage when removing the RCA interconnects with power on. The IEC power mod would let me use any IEC cable.

    Scott Frankland (the "F" in "MFA") is a power amp designer of some repute. He had never seen a Pioneer M-22 and was impressed with the design and the components used. He said the M-22 was extremely quiet and the distortion numbers were fantastic. He said it was a great sounding amp too.

    Now that I have mine back and in play, I see no reason to keep my Vidar any longer. The Pioneer M-22 just sounds so damn good. It does everything better than Vidar except for total power.
     
  15. PTS

    PTS Friend

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    Thanks, man. I spoke to the amplifier surgery guy before I received the M-22. He sounds good, but it's quite expensive and there's a 15 week waiting list. It's only a weekend sideline for him. So, I'll use this as a last resort.

    I'll drop winders a PM to see if I can get Scott Frankland's contact info.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  16. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    PM sent.....

    For those that want the contact information:

    Scott Frankland
    706 Charcot Ave, San Jose, CA 95131
    Tel: 408-432-1500
    Email: [email protected]
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  17. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

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    My M22 showed up Monday,I will set it up over the weekend & give it a listen.
     
  18. JK47

    JK47 Guest

    Taadaaa !!! 4 day EMS service from Japan $300 to the West Coast. Packed nicely with the expanding foam from a can sprayed into a plastic bag and box closed while the foam gets bigger to make a light, safe, and secure parcel. Ive had a few Stax amps from Japan shipped like this as well. It's really the way to go when you don't have the original box.
    IMG_0361.jpg
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    Wow, for the age this sucker is near mint. There a handful of small chips off the heat sinks, and around the edges, but this thing still looks like it came out of a time capsule...

    The Acupwr step down transformer will be here tomorrow for full testing. Hopefully my M-22 doesn't go up in a puff of smoke.

    Amp-o-rama shootout in the near future. I would like to put it up against somebodies refurbished unit to get a before and after if possible.

    More to come...
     
  19. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    These really remind me of a naked Pass Labs! Very nice indeed. What other amps do you have?
     
  20. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    Wow - that is a beauty, @JK47 !

    Over the years, I have had black equipment with a few paint chips or scratches and they ended up bugging me. I had great success with a Magic Marker (or other) felt tip pen. I put the ink in the bare metal part only. I always tried it in a small area first, as a test. It looks shiny until it dries. If any ink got on the black finish I quickly wiped that off with a paper towel. Sometimes it would need a second coat. I was pleasantly surprised that I had a hard time seeing that I had done the touchups with the marker unless I was specifically looking for them and maybe 6 inches or less away from the surface.

    Just a thought. It still looks great as is.
     

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