Sugden A21

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by Uncle Ants, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. Uncle Ants

    Uncle Ants In Recordeo Speramus

    Dec 5, 2003
    East Midlands
    Hi All,

    Those who read the thread cheapo second hand stuff will know that I'm looking to get a bit of a retro system together for my attic/playroom.

    After various advice on speaker/amps - I did the impetuous thing and bid for and (to my surprise) won a pair of Tannoy DC200 10" Dual Concentrics :rolleyes: So looks like the speaker angle is worked out. There were several suggestions that an old Sugden A21 would be worth thinking about.

    Can anyone here give me more info on the Sugden? Impressions?

    What sort of sound?

    Will the low power (10 watts?) be enough to drive these Tannoys?

    How much can one expect to pay for one in good reliable condition and indeed how reliable are such old amps?

    Is the phono stage any good?

    Uncle Ants, Jun 10, 2004
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  2. Uncle Ants

    TonyL Club Krautrock Plinque

    Jun 19, 2003
    Another pink world
    Very natural and believable – doesn't have any transistor 'grain', does the 'round-earth' 3d stuff without destroying the timing the way say an MF would. I really like the A21; it can do a Bach chamber piece with all the delicacy required yet still cope with The Stooges first album etc. Its also all DIN round the back so you may need some new leads. I have no idea about the phono stage as the one I've heard frequently is used between a Rotel 965BX and a pair of 60s vintage AR speakers, a great little system!

    Probably, assuming that you don't want ear shattering volume.

    I've only experience of one, and that works! Sugden will fully service / fix them so no huge problems in that respect - I've been to the Sugden factory in Yorkshire and they are a really nice friendly crowd. As for price they are a bit of a cult item and tend to fetch 200 quid plus in eBay (probably more for a mint Richard Allen badged one – Sugden originally made them for this company).

    The real vintage Sugden gem is the A51 power amp, that thing is superb!

    TonyL, Jun 10, 2004
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  3. Uncle Ants


    Jan 3, 2006
    Sugden A21 A51

    The A21 is a wonderful amp, with a very fluid detailed and seductive sound. I own about dozen vintage amps (four of them valve), the A21 like most amps of that age will drive much more than the rating suggests, unfortunately not my favourite Quads.
    I was lucky enough to win a Sugden A51 at auction, even on ebay they only come up once a year, but they are well worth the search. I thought the A51 might lack the grace of the A21, but it seems not only to do everything you want, but make it seem effortless. Since buying it, the valve amps that drove my electrostatics now just sit there looking pretty. The listening tests I have done start off with a few minutes of say Stereo 20, then five minutes of A51, a few minutes of Stereo 20, then ten minutes of A51, a few minutes of Stereo 20, then three hours of A51, Vintage HiFi bliss.
    megalon, Jan 3, 2006
  4. Uncle Ants

    bottleneck talks a load of rubbish

    Jun 19, 2003
    Im not a big fan of them (they're ok IMO).. but the 51 is definately the big brother..

    anyway, point of my post is to say there has been a sec/hand '51 for sale at the emporium for ages..

    SUGDEN C51/A51 pre power orig model late 1960s class A power amp £400

    Im not sure if the pre is as good? have no experience of the pre, sorry.

    How about a Leak Stereo 20 with a little passive pre?
    bottleneck, Jan 3, 2006
  5. Uncle Ants

    la toilette Downright stupid

    Jan 21, 2005
    I really liked the A21 I had, used as a temporary replacement when I sold my A21a to go valve. It's smooth and maybe a bit polite, but extremely pleasing. Certainly not an agressive sound. I could hear the similarity between the A21 and the newer A21a, despite the newer version being a better amp IMO.

    I bought mine for £40 and paid £30 to have it serviced. It was in near mint physical and operating condition when I sold it, and I think it went for £120......I've seen them go for £80-£200 max on ebay, usually a little over £100.

    I've also had a pair of Tannoy DC200's, although not at the same time as the A21. I wasn't a huge fan of the DC200's as they didn't sound anything like all the (much bigger and more expensive) vintage Tannoys I have had. Still, I made a good profit when I sold them so I'm not complaining!
    la toilette, Jan 3, 2006
  6. Uncle Ants

    Alex S User

    Aug 16, 2003
    Just in case I don't sell my preamp, does anyone know if the L100/A21 power amp would sound like the DV pre or the A21a, the best of both, or the worst of both?
    Alex S, Jan 3, 2006
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