Sony Retro Hi-Fi Music Systems

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

Black_Hawk

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Hello folks,

I used to have a Sony MHC-VX33 music system back in my high school days (2000-2001). It served me well for a good number of years. Eventually I moved on to a different sound system connected to my PC. I later sold the Sony system to a person I knew back then.

This was the system I had:


Although 20 years have passed and I listen to music on entirely different setups now, I have often thought of that Sony MHC-VX33 system from my school days and thought about re-buying one for old times' sake. They are sometimes available locally on OLX but what I do worry is after buying the system if it will just stop working after a couple of months of use. In that case, if they fail, are they still repairable?

I don't know if these are repairable locally from 3rd party service shops and what I fear is if spare parts aren't available they will just fit some cheaper locally made parts. I do remember usually it was either the CD Changer which started giving the most issues in these systems or it was the cassette players.

I'm not quite sure if I should buy them any longer and would like other FMs views on this. They are usually now sold on OLX around 10k.

Has anyone here bought these older Hi-Fi systems from OLX or elsewhere? How has your experience been with them?

Thanks
 

sandeepmohan

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Please don't bother with this junk. If you want a really good Sony mini Hi Fi, for old times sale, look for something like the FH-G70, MHC-GR88 or the really old school stuff like the FH-B190. That last model was probably the last of the great Sony Mini Hi Fi systems.

Getting spares will most definitely be a challenge unless you have access to someone in the USA or Japan.
 

ssf

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I was quite happy with my GR88. One fine day, a lizard crept inside and fried it's board. I liked it's amplifier section. Was using it with my custom built speakers and my Quad 12L2's for a while.

I really doubt if these units can be repaired and fully restored now if something goes wrong due to non availability of parts.
 

frend2001

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I think apart from mechnical parts in CD and cassette section, amplifier boards can be redone.

The Components and transistors (most of these had STK modules) can be sourced.

The challenge is in sourcing small parts in cassette deck like pinch roller, head, belts and CD lens.

and yes some of them did sound amazing and the fun part was in the little tricks and gimmicks in theses systems like Sony's JOG Wheel, AIWA's
T-Bass, AKAI's surround (2 channel), their futuristic shapes and designs.

There, back to the future.......
 

RRR

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Please don't bother with this junk. If you want a really good Sony mini Hi Fi, for old times sale, look for something like the FH-G70, MHC-GR88 or the really old school stuff like the FH-B190. That last model was probably the last of the great Sony Mini Hi Fi systems.

Getting spares will most definitely be a challenge unless you have access to someone in the USA or Japan.
Sorry i dont agree with you that it is junk.
I personally have a Sony G70 that is in superb working condition even after 20 years.
Probably only spare parts could be the issue.
The only reason I am planning to give it off is lack of space to use it.
 

Black_Hawk

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@ssf & @frend2001 : Thank-you for the replies and input gentlemen. :)

I actually did call the Sony service center nearest to my location and asked them about the possibility of repairing of these older Hi-Fi systems but they said they don't repair them any longer due to non-availability of spare parts for these legacy systems. Well, that's confirmed then that if anything should go wrong (which is pretty likely for these older systems) then Sony cannot help you in anyway. Kind of was expecting this.
 

Black_Hawk

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Please don't bother with this junk. If you want a really good Sony mini Hi Fi, for old times sale, look for something like the FH-G70, MHC-GR88 or the really old school stuff like the FH-B190. That last model was probably the last of the great Sony Mini Hi Fi systems.

Getting spares will most definitely be a challenge unless you have access to someone in the USA or Japan.

Kindly do not post further on this thread. Thank-you.
 

reubensm

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@ssf & @frend2001 : Thank-you for the replies and input gentlemen. :)

I actually did call the Sony service center nearest to my location and asked them about the possibility of repairing of these older Hi-Fi systems but they said they don't repair them any longer due to non-availability of spare parts for these legacy systems. Well, that's confirmed then that if anything should go wrong (which is pretty likely for these older systems) then Sony cannot help you in anyway. Kind of was expecting this.
When buying these combo systems from that era, you will almost certainly have to restore the cd and cassette sections. Also it is common for users in this segment to repurpose the detachable speakers for use with other amplifiers (usually DIY or locally assembled types) so check for speaker damage as well.

One important factor which I've learned through personal experience in dealing with Sony - i have a KV-XJ29M80 Sony Vega Triniton Tv from the early 2000s. Recently a problem developed wherein the pictures turned dim and green and a few days later, it went dead. As CRT TVs are out of production these days, I had little hope of getting help from the Sony Service center but called them anyways. At first they refused to take it in but later the proprietor called me up and said the following:

"we dont have internal technicians who repair Sony CRT TVs anymore and hence we will have to bring in a technician from outside, this will cost approximately Rs.5000 incl GST for service charges. He also said, if the picture tube is gone, nothing can be done but other components can be purchased locally and as it is Sony, spares are very expensive and that will cost another Rs.5000 as well aprox, so the end quote would be Rs.10,000/-"

Some time ago, my brother faced the same problem with his Philips 29inch TV except that the service center undertook the job, completely ruined the PCB and could not fix the TV in the end. So he took up the challenge and investigated the faults himself and fixed his Philips TV, he ended up fixing my Sony TV as well and you wont believe what the Sony repair costed me in the end - Rs. 150 for some capacitors and a transistor, Rs. 250 for NTC, PTC, etc, Rs.350 for a replacement flyback transformer and Rs.150 for a tube-base socket. An more importantly, we were able to spend some time on the Sony, very carefully de-soldered and soldered replacement components, thereby not impacting the PCB, clean up everything and make it spotless, etc. The TV is now working like a new one. After these projects, my brother now undertakes CRT TV repairs for his friends and for those who cannot afford to buy costly panel TVs.

Moral of the story - In India, service centers are largely cheats, they are service franchisees who's operating model is purely profit-oriented. Most companies have strict protocols for their service franchisees but these are seldom followed (thanks to the indian mentality of workarounds). They have a shortage of good mechanics as those who are capable, either go off to the middle east for similar jobs, or start off on their own. They end up with board-replacing mechanics who know little other than how to connect wires. Once a piece of equipment goes out of production, we dont have 'right to repair' laws in India and hence manufacturers expect you to throw things away and buy new ones. Hence, if you want to get into old equipment space, either being able to fix things yourself or having someone who knows stuff and is trustworthy, is very important.

Spare parts - If you have local brands like BPL, videocon, onida, etc you have no other hope but to try and get parts in the local markets. However when it comes to international brands like Sony, their products tend to be global ones, released in several countries. Hence service manuals, literature and youtube videos on these are generally available at the click of a button. OEM spares are also availabe abroad so if you really want to repair an old deck for example, you can source all the OEM spares (at a cost though) and get your old deck back to almost perfect running condition.

Being an audio enthusiast with building, repair and restoration skills is a huge advantage, it opens up the freedom of ownership access to a whole world of equipment from any era, without the fear of having to worry about repairs and maintenance. If you aren't its not really a bother, all you have to do is to make good friends with enthusiasts who have these skills and have the time to help :)

All the very best!
 
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alwayslogo

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I have two Sony sets Rv5 and Gzr 88rd. These sets give problems every 1-2 year mainly in CD section and Cassettee section. The Sony service center refused to service them on 2013 Saying spare parts not available. Then I contacted a techniclan from the service Center itself. He regularly services my sets as he has lot of original spare parts sourced from the service Center. But recently he has charging very high for them since I don’t have any options I have to go to him only.
But for sentimental value I keep on repairing them.
 

SEANDSILVA

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Hello folks,

I used to have a Sony MHC-VX33 music system back in my high school days (2000-2001). It served me well for a good number of years. Eventually I moved on to a different sound system connected to my PC. I later sold the Sony system to a person I knew back then.

This was the system I had:


Although 20 years have passed and I listen to music on entirely different setups now, I have often thought of that Sony MHC-VX33 system from my school days and thought about re-buying one for old times' sake. They are sometimes available locally on OLX but what I do worry is after buying the system if it will just stop working after a couple of months of use. In that case, if they fail, are they still repairable?

I don't know if these are repairable locally from 3rd party service shops and what I fear is if spare parts aren't available they will just fit some cheaper locally made parts. I do remember usually it was either the CD Changer which started giving the most issues in these systems or it was the cassette players.

I'm not quite sure if I should buy them any longer and would like other FMs views on this. They are usually now sold on OLX around 10k.

Has anyone here bought these older Hi-Fi systems from OLX or elsewhere? How has your experience been with them?

Thanks
@Black_Hawk You made me go down memory lane and dig out a blurred pic of my vintage Sony MHC-GRX8 mini system! Those were the days...That system worked well with all those flashing lights, sound effects and triple CD changer until it broke down. The CD section was the first to go, then the buttons started malfunctioning etc. The non-availability of genuine spares makes repairing these systems impossible.

CIMG5104 GRX8.JPG
 

OledPhile

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I too remember these old systems from my school days and their sound quality was really pleasing. Especially with Sony's warm signature the highs were soft but still crisp and would not give any fatigue even after listening for long hours.

I am too looking for a vintage mini HiFi CD system from JVC, model number FS-SD9, their little speakers sound amazing and its design was way ahead of time back then. I don't think they were ever sold officially in the Indian market though.
 

ssf

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I now remember taking my sony to the authorised service centre. They told me that they can't repair it as they don't have the parts. They suggested that I buy a new system from them. I thanked them and walked out probably thinking never to buy another Sony again.
 

SRI 420

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Hello folks,

I used to have a Sony MHC-VX33 music system back in my high school days (2000-2001). It served me well for a good number of years. Eventually I moved on to a different sound system connected to my PC. I later sold the Sony system to a person I knew back then.

This was the system I had:


Although 20 years have passed and I listen to music on entirely different setups now, I have often thought of that Sony MHC-VX33 system from my school days and thought about re-buying one for old times' sake. They are sometimes available locally on OLX but what I do worry is after buying the system if it will just stop working after a couple of months of use. In that case, if they fail, are they still repairable?

I don't know if these are repairable locally from 3rd party service shops and what I fear is if spare parts aren't available they will just fit some cheaper locally made parts. I do remember usually it was either the CD Changer which started giving the most issues in these systems or it was the cassette players.

I'm not quite sure if I should buy them any longer and would like other FMs views on this. They are usually now sold on OLX around 10k.

Has anyone here bought these older Hi-Fi systems from OLX or elsewhere? How has your experience been with them?

Thanks
I have a Sony MHC GR 66 from the same series. Back in 2000’s it troubled me a lot and the authorised service centre looted me twice in the name of service and spares. The bill would always be around 2000 to 2500 in those days. After the third breakdown I took it to a skilled local technician who repaired it for a few hundreds and it served well for quite some time. Last month I dusted the entire system checked the power cable for cracks n breaks, connected it to power outlet connected an MP3 player to Aux and played it for some time. I was very happy to hear it, it still sounds great.
so service in authorised centre’s is not predictable, it’s always better to search for some skilled local technicians.
 

sgautam

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The thread took me back 20 years, though we didn't own a Sony anytime we had an Aiwa first then a Panasonic Hifi. Both worked flawlessly for 12 / 15 years. The Panasonic had a different mechanism for CDs and lasted quite long. I still use the speakers for runing the radio at our home town.

We tried to repair the Panasonic but none was ready to touch it. But if repaired properly you can keep using them for some more years.
 

sandeepmohan

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Kindly do not post further on this thread. Thank-you.
I've been down this road and only pointing you in the right direction. That is, don't waste your time and money.
There are collectibles from this era and then there is the stuff you should avoid. The model you're after (as much as it worked well for you) isn't from the days where Sony were at their prime for Mini Hi Fi. I'd go to the extent of saying even JVC made a better system back then, even though this was a tiny business for them compared to the likes of Sony, Pioneer, etc.
Good luck.
 

sandeepmohan

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I personally have a Sony G70 that is in superb working condition even after 20 years.
Good for you my friend. I did not say anything against a G70 did I. My comment was specific to the model being queried by the thread starter.
Please read my replies in full before you comment next time, or, what's even better would be to ignore it completely.
 

RRR

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There is no need for you to get so offended, sir.
Please note that i have politely disagreed with you irrespective of the model number.
We are here to contribute and provide inputs, so its my call to ignore or comment on something.

Kindly do not post further on this thread. Thank-you.
Likewise, please read the above carefully sent by the OP before you post.
 

Black_Hawk

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Thank-you everyone who commented on this thread , it was fun reading almost all the replies as well the photograph posted of a lovely component system from back in the day. For the ones who had a mini Hi-Fi Component system, we all know how much we loved them and cherished listening to music playing cassettes and CDs on them... really good times!

@RRR : I actually kindly asked FM sandeepmohan to not reply to this thread in further. Not other FMs. I actually enjoyed the posts made by other FMs.

Anyways, the thread has run it's course and I most likely will pick a set up again from OLX or elsewhere for old times' sake like I had mentioned in my original post. :)
 

sandeepmohan

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Apologies to those who found my response as offending. The intention was to guide.
I still stand by what I said. When I know a product isn't worth your hard earned money, I say it as it is.
I've understood that there is a certain pleasure or joy you gain from a system like this. I'll leave it at that.
 
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