Realistic Fun

The first receiver I found was the Realistic STA-790. I spotted it at our local thrift store and picked it up on ‘half off day’ – I think the total cost was around $14. Realistic was the Radio Shack brand, and from what I’ve read back in the day much more highly regarded than Radio Shack is today – I remember my first computer was a Tandy.

This one caught my eye because of its compact and stylish design -an early 80’s model, it’s a pastiche of 70’s hi-fi trends: silver metal faceplate, a mess of like-colored knobs, switches, buttons and slides, real-wood side panels, and a greenlit tuner. In a nod to the next generation, it also had red wattage LEDs which bounced with the music, radiating out from the center of the unit. Very cool. In another nod to upcoming 80’s design, the STA -790 had a 7-band equalizer right on the face of the unit, with and EQ override button. I found it fun, though I never really fiddled with it.

This unit started right up, sounded great and never emitted so much as a pop or hiss the whole time I used it. It started as my main rig and then ended up in the basement, used as my new speaker test, and home theater stereo – I had it hooked up to my TV. Despite being only 50 watts per channel or so, I never wanted for power, even when I had two sets of speakers hooked up. For some time, I ran a set of Pioneer CS99AAs as ‘subs’ with the treble and mids turned down underneath Polk Monitor 7s. For tv watching this was plenty loud. Music, even with more hungry speakers like the Polks, could get to uncomfortable levels without distortion.

Despite being a cute and trusty workhorse, the STA-790 eventually found another home. I’ll likely never find another, at least in that condition and at that price.

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~ by silverfacestereo on September 6, 2012.

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