Harman Kardon Citation X-I Amplifier - Very Rare and Collectable

$3,199

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 amplifier 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.

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.

This rare and collectable example is in very good condition with no signs of abuse or overdriving. Please see our photos for more details.

Functionality is at 100% and was tested for weeks on the bench and in our listening room/studio.

Citation X-1 Stereo Solid State Amplifier Specifications (1983 - 1986)
Power:
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:
17.32" x 7.64" x 16.85"
(440 x 194 x 428 mm)

Weight:
55 lbs.
(25 kg)

The SkyFi Testing Process for Amplifiers (Solid State):

We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure there are no signs of stress or aging. Capacitors are checked for telltale sings of bulging or leaking, resistors are checked for signs of overheating or cracking, and transistors are checked for signs of stress or damage.

We then power up the unit carefully and run a simple 1k sine wave while monitoring the output on an oscilloscope for signs of distortion or noise. Finally, we run the amplifier to its full rated power into the appropriate resistive load provided by our Sencore amplifier tester. If there is an issue, it will usually be noticeable at this point. If everything reads clean, we will often test for THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) measured by our Keithley distortion meter, and compare it against the original manufacturers specifications. The amplifier then remains powered on to "burn in" on our test bench for a few hours to make sure there are no heat related issues. If there are balanced inputs available they will be also be tested.

Final testing involves pushing actual music thorough the amplifier. We've learned over time that some issues are only noticeable to a trained ear while listening to familiar source material. Our test bench has reference vintage KEF speakers that we're very familiar with which quickly reveal any discrepancies. Some amplifiers will then move into our listening room where they are tested with our in-house reference speakers of choice.

Please click here for detailed specifics regarding our specialized packing process that separates us from the rest.

Item

Included

Original Box

No

Manual

Online

Remote

No

Cables

No

Physical Condition

7

Working Condition

10

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