Harman-Kardon Citation 11 Pre-Amp Overhaul

From the Rain City Audio Repair Blog:

A local customer brought me his brother’s Citation 11 for a full overhaul. After a few decades of faithful stereo reproduction, then a number of years in storage, it was time for an overhaul to get it working good as new again!

Of course, everyone knows Harman-Kardon’s quality, and this Citation 11 is no exception. It’s a beautifully constructed piece of stereo history, and unusually features a 5-band graphic equalizer on the front to help you fine-tune the output to your listening environment and personal taste.

These are also a real pleasure to work on – all of the circuitry is fitted on plug-in cards which makes it a breeze to pull and inspect the different components. And underneath, the wiring harnesses are labeled clearly and effectively:

As with most stereo pre-amps, there’s quite a few components to replace, but it was easy pulling out the cards.

There was some evidence of past repairs:

But overall it was in great shape.

One interesting thing is that, while the boards are very well marked with component values, the installed components didn’t necessarily line up. Shown here, the board is labeled for a 100 uF 50V part but a 16V part was installed. Those ended up being replaced with 63V capacitors.

Underneath there were a couple of capacitors to replace:

And the big can up top! This involved converting from the old terminals to screw terminals.

This particular pre-amp doesn’t have any adjustments to make, so that was that! A thorough control cleaning later to clean up the crackles and pops while making adjustments and it was good as new.

Looks as good as it sounds!

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12 Responses to Harman-Kardon Citation 11 Pre-Amp Overhaul

  1. John Roberts says:

    I’m working on a Citation 11 now, and was wondering how you clean the EQ sliders?

    • jwk says:

      Regular electronics control cleaner of various brands works — and then use some Fader Lube and work it back and forth when you’re done.

  2. Stephen Ylvisaker says:

    If you recall, is there a logical way to wire in a 3-wire grounded plug to the wall?

  3. chris says:

    citation sounds on yahoo groups , would help u guys some imfo!

  4. Fred Lentjes says:

    Still would like to know what the costs are for a general overhaul.

  5. Fred Lentjes says:

    I just bought a HK Citation 11 on Ebay. When I use the equaliser part I get a hum and a hiss on both channels. When I turn the eq. off the system is quiet and works perfect. Can’t find a repairshop overhere (Netherlands) who is able to fix this problem. Do you have an idea what could be the problem?

    • jwk says:

      I’d try cleaning the sliders first, if they have bad connections it could cause poor audio quality. Otherwise, though, it likely needs an electrical overhaul as you’ve seen here.

  6. Fred Lentjes says:

    Hi there,

    I just bought a HK Citation eleven on Ebay. It produces a hiss and hum on both channels when I use the equaliser. It is silent when I turn off the eq. I can’t find a repair store wich can find the problem. Can you?

  7. Chris says:

    Nice work. I just picked one of these up myself and plan on going through it like you did. Do you happen to have a parts list? If not no worries, just looking to start from a good point using good info from someone that has wandered down the path already.

    • jwk says:

      I think the schematic/service manual is available on HifiEngine, but I largely didn’t need any supporting documentation while doing this particular repair.

  8. David DeRosier says:

    Nice job.

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