Radford STA15 vs something new.


New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Hi everyone. I'd like to get some advice as I have a few options of which direction to go in for a new hi-fi. I wouldn't call myself a hi-fi enthusiast but I'm a professional musician and would like to get the best listening experience possible for my money/choices. I listen to Rock/Pop/Folk music. No classical or jazz really. My Denon system which I've had for 15 years is in need of replacement.

I own a Radford STA 15 amplifier along with a Radford Preamp. It belonged to my grandfather and had been kept in the loft for many years before I got my hands on it. I took it to someone to have it serviced/restored and it's now fully working. The guy who repaired it as well as the shop which organised the repair raved about how it sounded when they gave it back to me. I've only just got it back myself and haven't listened to it yet. From some investigation I reckon it's worth in the region of £1500 assuming I could find a buyer.

I could keep the radford and buy a CD player to pair with it - I guess spending in the region of £500. However - I wonder whether I might be better off selling the Radford giving me in the region of £2000 to spend on a new system. As I said, I'm not a huge enthusiast or collector, I just want the best possible listening experince. Having said that I do have an appreciation of things like the Radford and have a lot of vintage equipment in my recording studio.

Interested to hear some opions on which option people think might be best. Thanks!


New member
Jun 10, 2011
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Tough one to answer...

First thing you MUST do is listen to the Radford. Many of todays amps fall into the "super clean and clinical" type of sound, and that is as much to do with the circuit topologies used. Although technically approaching perfection the ear doesn't always like that sound. This forum perhaps isn't the place to go into the technical whys and wherefors.

So listen to the Radford and see if you like what you hear. The Radford will (should) sound very good no matter what the material, it will do things to the musical presentation that other modern amps do not. What it's actually doing is adding it's own unique type of distortion into the mix... and it's a type that the ear likes with even harmonics predominating.

Todays mass produced amps while technically better may well not sound as good (I say "may" as sound is very personal as to what you like).

That has to be your starting point. Modern amps that offer some of the magic are offerings from Sugden.