We recently wrote about the Sony TA-1055 amplifier (which we strongly recommend). While that amplifier looks very nice on its own, a set with it its dedicated tuner ST-5055/ST-5055L is simply stunning.
Like the TA-1055 amplifier, the matching tuner Sony ST-5055 was manufactured in 1973-74. In addition to the basic model, Sony offered a version with a long wave tuner (Sony ST-5055L). There were also 2 updated variants dedicated to later versions of the amplifier: the models ST-5055A for the TA-1055A amplifier (cosmetic changes only, e.g. no chrome elements on the sides of the front panel and the black background of the signal strength meter) and ST-5070 for the TA-1070 amplifier (cosmetic changes as above plus a single output signal level potentiometer on the front panel instead of two potentiometers on the rear panel). The lower and very similar models from the same series were ST-5066 (for the TA-1066 amplifier) and ST-5090 (for the updated TA-1090 amplifier).
In our opinion, this tuner and its later, updated versions belong to the most beautiful radio tuners. Like the matching amplifier, it has a classic silver face and a wooden finish on top and sides. All switches (except the power switch) are the same style buttons and are located on the right; the power switch is on the left.
The tuning scale has a black background and green backlight, the signal strength meter’s backlight is also green. Lamps between the tuning scale and the meter indicate the active waveband. In addition, there is a stereo indicator lamp.
Now to functions: we have band switches on the front (FM, MW, in the ST-5055L model additionally LW), MONO switch, MUTING switch (for interstation noise reduction) and HI-BLEND switch (reduces the noise level by blending high frequency components of the left and right channels, while leaving the remaining frequencies unchanged). The lower models ST-5066 and ST-5090 do not have the latter function. On the rear panel there is an AC input, voltage switch (only in some versions), antenna connectors for bare and fork-terminated wires, a built-in/external AM antenna switch (ST-5055L version only), as well as output sockets. There are 2 sets of these sockets; those marked FIXED supply a constant level signal, while the sockets marked VARIABLE supply a signal, whose level can be adjusted with potentiometers next to these sockets.
In the models ST-5070 and ST-5090, the 2 potentiometers on the rear panel are replaced by a single potentiometer on the front panel; this solution is obviously much more convenient. The model ST-5066 does not have potentiometers to adjust the output level, but it is also equipped with 2 sets of output sockets with different output signal levels.
As for the quality of reception and sound, the tuner is very good level, but not outstanding. Of course, reception depends primarily on the signal strength of particular stations in the place where the tuner is used.
The Sony ST-5055/TA-5055L (and its later incarnations) is the perfect companion for the TA-1055 amp. Aesthetic, with a beautifully backlit scale, it will certainly add charm to the room. It is not cheap (prices of units in good condition exceed EUR 100), but in our opinion it is well worth it – at least while we still have FM stations.
Model: Sony ST-5055/ST-5055L
Years of manufacture: 1973-74
Country of manufacture: Japan
Type: Mono/Stereo Tuner
Tuning Bands: FM, MW, LW (ST-5055L only)
Tuning Scale: Analogue
FM Tuning Range: 87.5 to 108 MHz
MW Tuning Range: 530 to 1605 kHz
LW Tuning Range: 150 to 350 kHz
Sensitivity: 1.7uV (FM), 100uV (MW), 100uV (LW)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 68dB (FM), 50dB (MW), 50dB (LW)
Distortion: 0.6% (FM), 0.5% (MW), 0.5% (LW)
Frequency response: 30Hz to 15kHz (FM)
Output: 750mV/10 kOhm (fixed), 0-1,5V/1,8 kOhm (variable)
Power consumption: 23 W
Dimensions: 412 x 120 x 284 mm
Weight: 4.9 kg
SONY ST-5055L – GALLERY
I’ve just been given a Sony tuner as described. It’s in perfect condition. One daft question and please excuse my ignorance but I can’t find a suitable lead to get the power from an amplifier. It’s just the AC in socket.
That depends. If your amp is the matching Sony TA-1055 international version (for 110/127/220/240 V, like ours), to power the tuner you have to connect it to the wall AC outlet (just like the amplifier). If your amp is 120V only US version, you can connect the tuner’s AC lead to the amp’s AC OUTLET socket (make sure that the tuner is ether a US 120 V version, or if it’s an international version select 127 V with the jumper on the rear panel).
Generally in some systems you can power the tuner directly from the amp and sometimes even switch the entire system on/off with the amp’s power button. For that to work, the amp would have to have AC out socket(s). The US version of Sony TA-1055 has such a socket, the international version does not.
If you have a different amp, let me know the exact model and version – and I’ll have a look.