VAC and the Marantz Classics

In 1995, VAC entered into an agreement with Marantz Japan to recreate the legendary Model 7 Preamplifier, Model 8B Stereo Amplifier, and Model 9 Monoblock. These models were made variously between 1958 and 1967, and have been sought after by collectors world-wide as the finest examples of the audio engineering art of their day.


Unlike the McIntosh and other modern “reissues”, the Marantz Classics were exacting recreations of the original models. Labor intensive point-to-point wiring was retained – no printed circuit boards here. Extensive archeology by the VAC engineers uncovered original vendors and designs for virtually all key components. Except for a few changes mandated by international safety regulations, these models are as if straight from a 1960 showroom.

Given the nostalgic nature of these components, it was truly amazing to discover that they still can beat many modern audio products, as attested to in several reviews in the late 1990′s.

VAC’s Marantz Classic Model 9 was the best selling high end amplifier of any type in Japan in 1997.

All good things must come to an end, and so production of the limited edition Marantz Classics ended in 1998. They were followed by a short run of an all new VAC designed integrated amplifier called the Model 66. Also in development were the Model 77 and Model 99, thoroughly modernized versions of the Model 7 and Model 9; unfortunately, the difficulties in the Japanese economy caused a partial break up and reorganization of Marantz Japan, and these projects were lost in that confusing time.

It was a privilege to work with Marantz Japan and the many fine people there at that time, including Mr. Sato, Mr. Shimoguchi, and Mr. Sarashina.

VAC continues to supply many key components for the repair and restoration of these three classic Marantz models.

From time to time, VAC assists other manufacturers on audio projects. In one notable example, VAC resurrected the Teletronix LA-2A levelling amplifier (compressor) for Bill Putnam, Jr. at Universal Audio, and manufactured the first several hundred units for them.

When it comes to understanding vacuum tube audio and its history, we are second to none.

VAC Beginnings

“If it measures good and sounds bad, it is bad; if it measures bad and sounds good, you have measured the wrong thing.” – Daniel Von Recklinghausen, former engineer H.H. Scott and editor of JAES

In 1990, after several years of research and development, Kevin M. Hayes left an academic career to start VAC. He was aided by his father, Channing W. Hayes, an aerospace engineer who had designed the range tracking system for the first Sparrow missile (using vacuum tubes), circa 1955. Kevin’s driving force was, and is, the desire to experience a more vivid and life-like reproduction of music in the home.

The essence of musical performance is what VAC is all about. In the art and science of audio, VAC products are masterpieces because they allow each recorded performance to be the masterpiece the musicians intended.

As our quote from the legendary Daniel Von Recklinghausen indicates, subjective musical satisfaction is our primary goal. We require that all VAC components sound superb and measure at least reasonably well. Great care is evident in every note sounded by a VAC. The first principles’ design precepts of VAC’s design team are allied to a relentless search for musical accuracy. This same care extends to reliability and customer service.

vacmjiAn unusual endorsement of the care and quality of VAC products occurred in 1995 when VAC entered into an arrangement with Marantz to resurrect and manufacture the Marantz Classic Model 7, 8B, and 9. More than 5,600 units of these labor-intensive hand-wired replicas, as well as the all-new Model 66 have been produced by VAC. (VAC and the Marantz Classics)


VAC components have consistently received the highest praise in publications around the world … Sound and Vision, Hi-Fi News & Record Review, Maxim, Audio, Fi, Home Theater Technology, Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, Stereo Sound, Positive Feedback, The Audio Adventure, Ultimate Audio, Bound For Sound, The Sarasota Hearld-Tribune … even Business Week has featured VAC products, Scientific American has quoted Kevin Hayes on state-of-the-art audio and tubes, and he has appeared on CNN and WRAL-TV.

No discussion of design philosophy and features will prepare you for the sound of these finely crafted instruments. One listen and you will appreciate that VAC is the world leader in audio entertainment, an appreciation that can only grow over a lifetime of listening.