Fisher 500C Receivers

500C

Fisher's classic 1960's tube receiver

  • 7591 tubes in a push pull configuration
  • FM tuner
  • Headphone output
  • MM Phono input

  • User Reviews (19)

    Showing 1-10 of 19  
    Fisher400   AudioPhile [Feb 21, 2013]

    This review is for the Fisher 400 receiver. The sonics from this receiver is superior to the many higher-end SS receivers I owned. The sound is clear, airy, ultra smooth and produces a huge soundstage.

    Two versions exist sharing the same amplifier sections, but with two different FM tuner sections. The later FM models have an additional IF section with a 6AU6 tube and are called Golden Synchrode. Either are fine receivers, the additional IF section provides better selectivity, but unlikely one would notice a difference. The Fisher 400 differs from the Fisher 500 & 800 series using 7868 power tubes vs the 7591 power tubes. The Fisher tuner sections are as good as it gets and IMO outperform most other FM tube type tuners in receivers.

    To achieve best sound from these vintage receivers is from installing the best tubes. I use Brimar CV4035 in the phono section. Sylvania 5751 3 mica black plate in the preamp & tone sections (socket V10, V11) and Tung Sol 12AX7 square getter black plate. (grey plate about as good) in the phase splitter section (V12, V13). One can sub Telefunken 12AX7 smooth plate in V10, V11 for close to the same sonics if slightly less bright.. The best sounding 7868 are RCA black plate and 1960s era Sylvania.

    These Fisher receivers are becoming much more collectable and especially so after the 6Moons review. Prices are now more inline at $500 and higher depending upon condition. The only upgrade this Fisher 400 should have performed is installing new power supply capacitors & rebuild the power tube bias supply. Perform a search on audiokarma for more info.

    The Fisher 400/500/800 series are well worth pursuing & a good investment.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    duboiz   AudioPhile [Oct 23, 2010]

    The Fisher 500c is a great tube receiver that will surprise you if you think old tube audio are muffled and tubby. Very smooth yet detailed with no top-end roll-off like some say about tubes. Tube rolling is cool too. If is quit amazing the differences in sound you can achieve with replacing some 12AX7th. You can spend some time until you find the one you like most.

    The 500c is great with efficient speakers, but I manage to drive almost anything I hooked to it, even Magnepan MMGs although ran hot as hell. After Stereophile glorify review prices of the 500c skyrocket so now they are not as affordable as they used to be several years back. I got mine about five years ago for $175 on eBay, and it was fully restored by VAC and in mint condition. Today you can't find a unit at that price even for a unit that is for parts or repair. Although they are cost more today i would still pay the full price due to their outstanding performance. When buying an old tube receiver that is 40 years old you need to make sure to calculate restoring since there are caps that are bad and some tubes might be near the end of life.

    As an audiophiles I was tempted to replace the Fisher with many amplifiers and never found one that can outperform it. The fisher was the first receiver that brought me to tears when I first listen to it. ( literally) I played Dianna Krall and she was right here in the room with me. (my kids will never forget it :)

    One thing I forgot to mention is the great tuner it got. Very sensitive and very pleasant to listen for hours.

    I highly recommend it but only if restored. If not you will surly have a background hum and sound will suffer. Also give it plenty of room to breeze. It can can run not when driving hard. I have a small fan circulating air around it and the benefit is also longer tube life.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    dave blacke   AudioPhile [Sep 11, 2004]
    Strength:

    Strong sound, outstanding fm reception, clean look, FREE

    Weakness:

    Glass display is cracked in center, wood cabinet has a water ring on the top back

    Was driving through NY and spotted the 500-C on the curb. The only bad thing was that the front glass has a crack in the middle. other than that it is excellent. All original tubes, did the capactior change. Works great.

    Similar Products Used: pioneer sx-737 , fisher 800-b
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Marantzguy   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 27, 2003]
    Strength:

    Very smooth sound, wonderful FM stereo qualities, nice remote speaker functionality and decent headphone operation. Just a gorgeous looking set!

    Weakness:

    Problems associated with power switch failure. Generates a great amount of heat over output tube section, so adequate ventilation must be provided, especially if operated in wooden cabinets

    I have owned and restored more than twenty individual Fisher 500-C's over the past 20 years. All have been easily updated without any problems that I can remember. The basics are common capacitor upgrades (1:1 replacements), replacement of small electrolytics, updating of the power supply with a new BIAS electrolytic (can-type) or individual parts equivalent for the dual 1000 microfarad @ 50 WV (DC) unit, which sits insulated in a metallic clip, new full-wave rectifier and load dropping resistor to take the place of aging and commonly faulty original flat-wafer German made (Siemans) full wave bridge selenium rectifier. I have changed a few caps inside of the multiplexer by using high quality film types and on occasion, I have substituted precision metal film resistors in the phono section to tighten up aspects of performance. I also replace the main "top-hat" diodes in the power supply and of course, clean every tube socket, test the tubes and replace, as needed. Most importantly, it is absolutely necessary to update and modify the 500-C so that the bias is set to read -21.5 vdc in order to ensure long lifetime of the 7591-A output tubes. This is accomplished by substituting one resistor for another in the area around the same dual 1000 microfarad bias electrolytic mentioned above. Cleaning all controls is another absolute necessity. Al Pugliese (aka The Fisher Doctor), and a friend of mine, strongly suggests the installation of "fuse resistors" in the area of the output tubes to protect the output transformers in case of tube failure. After all this is done, if the set sounds decent on FM stereo, I generally leave things alone, rather than tweak around with the tuner section. When I owned my original Fisher 500-C as a teenager, I used to take it to service people on a regular basis to have it "aligned". I now feel that this was totally unnecessary and a waste of money, now that I realize that most of the faults in the set are easily corrected with new parts, ie., cap and resistor substitutions, common to any vintage piece. Apply a whisper fan over the output tubes and you have it! One last minor detail! If you are one of those individuals who obsesses over cleanliness, be aware that when cleaning the front dial glass, there is a significant chance that you may wipe off the lettering if you use products such as Windex, so please be aware of the possible danger! If it is generally clean, try to live with it. Fuse-lamps for the 500-C are difficult to locate and are needed in order to properly illuminate the dial. Certain other parts can be used in their absence, but real fuse-lamps are very nice to use. Good luck finding them! I have been given Fisher 500-C's for FREE before--which has to be the DEAL OF THE CENTURY, but it has happened! I remain BIG FAN of them! Rich Links Berkeley, CA

    Similar Products Used: Scott tube receivers, McIntosh 1700 receivers, other Fisher separates, with which the 500-C compares very favorably. FM performance in the 500-C is above average for a vintage piece and is not quite u
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    oldhippiefart   Audio Enthusiast [May 09, 2002]
    Strength:

    Sound is heavenly esp. if your into jazz or classical. FM is incredible...sounds like a CD.

    Weakness:

    Needs to be looked at by professional. Only 34 watt per channel but who cares unless you live in a mansion.

    This unit is the best I''ve ever had!! The sound is smooth as silk... smokey, luscious and above all musical. I bought on ebay w/case for 160. The fisher doc fixed it up for about 600. These old units need to be worked on so be careful. Do all your homework before you buy!! It will be well worth it!! This coupled with and old pair of JBLs, and a Dual 1229 w/ Shure v15 will delight evev the deaf.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Dave Gomberg   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 26, 2002]
    Strength:

    One owner, always covered, like new (except usual loss of knob inserts)

    Weakness:

    Well, it is tube gear.

    This is a wonderful unit, as everyone has said. My partner got it in her divorce from her ex 35 years ago, and has now decided she wants buttons and can''t hear the difference in sound (hearing loss, me too). So it is for sale. One owner virgin. Works great, but I will test it again before taking anyone''s money.

    Similar Products Used: Nothing matches up. We run cheap imported stuff now.
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    p m l   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 03, 2000]

    The 7591's aren't expensive if you look. Got a matched quad test 90% or greater last month from a reputable dealer for $100.00. Look around. Sovtek 7591's are out in small quantities going for abot $20.00. Not enough to match yet, but why wait when dealers are trying to dump old good stock that has proven performance(JMHI).

    Want remote controled volume. Plug in a remote contol volume pot through the reverb jacks- cost around $200.00.

    The 500, 800 sound great. I don't know what a reference system is but have been to many concerts. Anyway it's all about the music. Have fun and enjoy! Paul

    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    norm   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 16, 2000]
    Strength:

    warmth - excellent tuner section

    Weakness:

    does not perform at it's best when matched with inefficient speakers

    Note: Product year is 1966: I initially tried this unit with a pair of nht 2.5i. Given the somewhat low sensitivity of the nht's (87db) this was not a good match. But when I teamed the Fisher with a pair of Klipsch Bookshelfs (KSB 2.1) at 93db the pairing was magical. All in all a fine piiece of vintage equipment with a tuner section that is hard to beat. Few purchases over the past twenty five years have given me as much pleasure as this old Fisher. Klipschorns anyone? Five Stars........

    Similar Products Used: various amps and receivers
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Walt Blaney   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 10, 2001]
    Strength:

    Fabulous sound - excellent FM reception.

    Weakness:

    The unit weighs in at around 36 lbs!

    I bought this thing in a weak moment (so I thought)..got it
    home and hooked up a couple of speakers and turned it on.
    Nothing happened. I forgot that tube equipment needs a moment to warm up...:) But then it came on and I tuned it to my favorite Classical station. I swear my jaw fell on the floor! All the little hairs stood up on the back of my neck and I got goosepimples all over the place, the sound was that astonishing! I'm still amazed every time I turn it on. Anyway, I took it to an old "tube" guy who realigned it and replaced a bunch of capacitors and even a couple of tubes. I later matched a pair of vintage Fisher xp7 speakers ($100) to it for even more incredible sound. AS I gave up vinyl years ago, all my music is on cd and the unit brings whole new qualities to digital cd's. When it was worked on, the guy modified it to run quite a bit cooler. Said that will vastly extend the lives of the transformers and the output tubes. Yes, output tubes are expensive. But remember, they can last for many years even with daily use.
    You can still pick these units up at yard sales, auctions, and EBAY for under $200. Even if you have to put another $200 - $300 in it to bring it up to snuff, you're still well ahead of the game in audio quality. Also, consider that these machines sold for around $350. in the early sixties. That would translate to around $1500. in todays dollars!!! The prices on these things are going to soar so grab one while you can..:)!

    Similar Products Used: Scott 340 stereo reciever
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    John Chleapas   an Audio Enthusiast [Dec 21, 1998]

    I have enjoyed listening to music for years. I am a recent convert back tothe warm sound of tube stereo. If you have the chance to buy one of these by
    all means buy it. They should sell for between $200.00 and $400.00 depending
    on condition, and whether or not it has the original walnut cabinet. I bought one of these beauties for my Dad in mint shape for $175.00. Remember these are now over 30 years old. They will need to be re-aligned, tubes checked, selenium
    rectifier replaced with IN 4007 diode. I sent mine from MA to Mike Zuccaro in
    CA who checked this out for me. This one was/is a low hour original unit and
    it showed. Mike had never seen one that did not need some original capacitors
    changed before he opened this one up. After Mike gave it a tune-up we got it
    back in great shape. The sound is absolutely incredible on these Fishers. Thank
    God the "collectors" have not driven up the prices on these like the over priced
    and valued McIntosh, and Marantz tube stereo. For under 400.00 you should be
    able to experience what everyone is talking about with "tube" stereo sound. All
    I can say is the sound of tube stereo is much more life like. These not only look nice, but they sound even better. They are built like a tank and mine will last another 30 years or longer. Just remember to have the bias "turned down" a bit like mine was so the expensive 7591 output tubes last almost forever. Mine are now over 30 years old and should out live both my Father and I. Do yourself
    a favor and buy one of these. No doubt collectors will soon drive up the prices
    on these in a few years.

    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    Showing 1-10 of 19  

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