I checked out this acquisition a few weeks ago and have been in a lazy funk due to the systemic shock of 8 to 5 employment. And you know what they say about procrastination... Anyway, the archives have now been diminished by one.
The ST-4950 is a handsome tuner, and is really a surprising cosmetic given the vintage. According to the wonderful FMTunerInfo.com it was sold in 1977 for $350, but the matching TAN-8550 power amp (coming soon!) service manual in my possession is dated 1974. I think this cosmetic is a forerunner of the early '80s look, although better executed than those that followed.
After a scrubbing the garage grime off the exterior, I popped the top prior to plugging it in. A visual inspection can save some heartache and it might have in this instance. The cap at the far left was visibly leaking so it was replaced. I squirted a few switches and the tuning capacitor with Deoxit and fired up the unit.
It worked great. This day on the bench was a short one, so just the single cap was replaced. However, I am going to have to have a Sony re-cap orgy in the near future and get the amp and tuner going with fresh parts. They deserve a very critical listening. Their build quality is very, very good and the amp is an especially desirable unit. Stereo Club member Paul, supplier of the amp service manual, is a very big fan of the Sony V-FET gear and has strongly recommended their addition to the Permanent Collection.
Oh yeah, what about that honking big hole in the chassis? I should point out that most of this line of tuners featured the now obsolete Dolby FM. This particular model did not, but I presume it shared a chassis with either the 3950SD or the big dog 5950SD that did. In this case less is more and the lack of Dolby is a good thing.
For you fans of classic hifi porn, here is the Sony ST-5950 as presented by the Vintage Knob.