Harman-Kardon Festival D-1000 Tube Receiver Repair

All vintage gear has a story to tell, but something really rare and interesting recently came across the bench: the Harman-Kardon Festival D-1000. While it looks somewhat unassuming, a fairly straightforward 15-tube receiver with push-pull 6L6GC outputs and an AM and FM tuner, it’s definitely more than meets the eye: the Festival D-1000 was the very first commercially produced integrated stereo receiver! Produced in 1954, the concept of combining a pre-amp, power amplifier, and tuner into one as our modern receivers due had been mulled about for a while but it proved a significant engineering challenge. In 1954, Harman Kardon changed all that with their release of the Festival D-1000 receiver.

Harman-Kardon did have to make some design compromises to fit everything into this package, so while it’s a solid performer, if one were looking the absolute best sound at the time it would still be separates.

This one came from a storage unit, and it was due for an overhaul before being put into service. First up was testing all the tubes – and they all passed! The 5881 outputs were replaced the 6L6GCs, but they’re interchangeable.

Underneath it looks like it had never been serviced before:

Spot-checking the resistors, the sample I selected were all within their tolerance. Harman-Kardon must have used a good quality resistor with a protective coating – it’s quite unusual to find a unit this old where the resistors check out. So it was on to capacitors:

Adding some terminal strips for the power supply capacitors:

Component replacement complete!

Next up was an alignment. The FM reception distortion started off a bit above 0.5%, which is definitely pretty far out of adjustment; it finished out around 0.05%. Much better!

After following the factory alignment instructions, FM cleaned up very nicely, and AM was much improved!

All fixed up, this receiver will be a fantastic addition to any hi-fi collection, and will be a great performer for years to come.

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3 Responses to Harman-Kardon Festival D-1000 Tube Receiver Repair

  1. Jeremy Nichols says:

    Surprised the selenium (?) rectifier was not replaced.

    • jwk says:

      Jeremy-good observation! That’s the bias rectifier in this particular one. I checked it’s forward and reverse leakage and it was just fine, and only has a dozen or so volts across it.

      Low-voltage selenium rectifiers are generally safe to leave in place in my experience because they dissipate basically no heat, have low voltage, and almost no current through them.

      Selenium power rectifiers, though, are almost always a universal replacement!

  2. David DeRosier says:

    Nice Job.

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