Saturday, May 9, 2009

Power Amplifier - SAE 2200

I’ve always liked the looks of SAE gear. Their design is a good balance of bad ass and post-modern minimalist. Very industrial, very serious. I imagine they would fit perfectly in a sleek, futuristic, black-walled bachelor pad. You know the place – there’s a single, low-wattage bulb hanging from a bare wire in the corner above a brass sculpture of Orpheus that your ex-girlfriend made for you two weeks ago, right before you told her you’re life is just too complicated. The air is thick with the languid, subterranean tones of Bauhaus emanating from a pair of custom black lacquer Cerwin Vegas. Save for the red LEDs on the 2200, your SAE stack is camouflaged against the wall on the far side of the room. You sit and watch the crimson lights dance the tortured beat. Each ruptured pulsation of the woofers brings you one breath closer to insanity. “Bella Lugosi’s dead, undead undead undead. . .” Suddenly there’s a knock on the door. It’s the pizza guy, but you didn’t order a pizza. You pay for it anyway, sit back down on the futon, curl up a slice and take a bite. Anchovies. . . You hate anchovies, but Rebecca loved them. Ahhh, Rebecca. You take another bite, think about calling her, then stare back at the LEDs, those damn dancing LEDs.

How does it sound? Surprisingly cheerful! I only had this amp for a few weeks, and ended up trading it to some guy who collects all things SAE. He already had three of them in various stages of completion. The amp was fairly neutral as I recall. Nothing out of the ordinary. SAE started making these in 1978 and they were a respectable 100 watts per channel at 8 ohms. I never played Bauhaus through it, although I do remember a rousing rendition of Margaritaville on one of my test CDs sounding quite nice.

SAE, by the way, stands for Scientific Audio Electronics. They were founded in 1968 and taken over in 1985 by DAK electronics. DAK, in turn, folded in 1992 when its parent company went bankrupt. Don't you just love Wikipedia?

Here's some useful information the SAE 2200 from a guy who rebuilds them.

Have any photos or stories about your SAE 2200? Please leave a comment or email and I'll share them with the community.

Want to hook up your iPod to your vintage stereo? Visit my Audio Accessory Store for some great values!


  1. LOL!
    I've got a 2100 in rotation. Watching those LED's listening to Dark Side of the Moon will make you go blind. Be forewarned.

    Ahh Rebecca and her sister Roxanne. You don't have to turn on the red light . . .

  2. Hello-How money power amplifier Conrad Johnson SA150?

  3. I had one of these, only it didn't have the light blue lines on the face to deliniate the various frequency bands. Very sharp looking anodized case. Loved it. My bands PA guy took it when it blew out in order to fix it. Haven't seen it since. ;-( He said it would be over $200 to fix, and I was broke.



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