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Akai AA-R21L

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Rating:7.50 out of 10



By: Eldred
15th Aug 2021
4 out of 5 "Akai AA-R21L"
Have an AA-R21L on my desk, acting as my office tuner, PC & cassette player (Akai GXC-704D) amp into a pair of Goodmans Studio Pro 100's...Wonderful FM sound with a big 75ohm dipole on the roof, and all the inputs you need for all the other jazz. Never been able to turn it up to 10 in my little study, but they are definitely old school 'real watts' as opposed to modern shonky watts... Just perfect for what it is, imho.
10 people liked this review.

By: random browser
20th Nov 2015
4 out of 5 "surprisingly good unit from akai"
This unit is surprisingly loud with around 30 watts of solid power per channel (I've known of somebody actually using it for karaoke at bars!). I've owned a fair few amplifiers and receivers over the years (including this one) and none have surprised me more than this akai model. Just a shame I lent mine to somebody I thought I could trust, but never got it back! I'm glad to have owned it though.

I'd recommend it for anybody who's fond of vintage hifi gear.
29 people liked this review.

By: Karl
23rd Oct 2013
4 out of 5 "Worth owning."
I've also owned this amp/receiver in the past and I too think its quite an underestimated or overlooked bit of kit. It definitely kicks out more than 30wpc as its rated, and that's not even at full volume. The sound is (as the other reviewer said) clear, crisp and tight all the way through the frequency range, and I might add, doesn't lose its controlled sound image or suffer fatigue at higher volumes either. I'm not so much a fan of retro hi-fi gear but I can see what appeals to those who love that kind of stuff. I found mine resting up against a brick wall on a rainy day and I decided to take it home with me, thinking the chances of it working were very slim (otherwise it wouldn't have been chucked). Got it home and allowed it a day or two to dry out, plugged it in and it all worked fine, not a fault in sight and I'm thinking "what are the chances against the odds?" Very reliable and built to last. I could tell instantly it was one of akai's better models and a quality piece of kit, and from the sound, ready to serve quite a few more years yet before it was done (no surprise it was still working then). I used it for around 4 years on a daily bases I became to like it that much, and it never had a fault even up until the day I gave it to a friend of mine. If you're into retro hi-fi gear you should definitely search this amp/receiver out and pick one up if you can. Even if just for collectors value its something to be proud of owning, and I'd take a guess that it was an award winner back in its day.
24 people liked this review.

By: James Kanata
14th Feb 2012
4 out of 5 "Akai AA-R21L"
I've had an Akai AA-R21L for about three years now (bought second hand), and it is quite a hidden gem. In terms of features there's nothing that special - 28WPC @ 8ohm, MW/LW Radio, tone controls, balance, two speaker outputs along with a headphone jack. On the back there's a phono input, aux line in along with a tape loop.

The real surprise is the sound. It sounds tight and crisp all the way up the frequency range, with a surprising amount of detail. It seems to capture nuances in the sound that you would expect from a midrange amplifier. Its also exceptionally good when driven loud, reaching a volume that belies its modest 28WPC rating. The tuner is capable as well, although the FM seems to demand quite a good reception before it really shines.

If any criticism could be leveled at the sound (for the price) you could possibly say the midrange was a little harsh and clinical in places. The AM reception is a little weak as well.

Aesthetically, I suppose its an acquired, 80's sort of taste. I'm quite fond of it. There are two things that you'd never find on a modern amp. First is the red LED VU meter on the left, which allows you to read the figures for amplifier load in % as well as power output @ 8 ohms (useful). The second is the bright green on black digital display in the middle for the tuner frequency.

These seem to be quite unloved on ebay and are worth hunting down. Well recommended.
32 people liked this review.