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I think the NADs are fine. Just bought a C350 for a bit more than $300 for my office, but you can find a C340 for less I think. I decided to get the NAD over the Cambridge because the mark-up from the UK to the USA on Cambridge is ridiculous. They sell for 100 UKP less than the NAD in the UK but are about the same list price here. You can find reviews by the same reviewers at HiFiChoice and maybe WhatHiFi. Also see the reviews at AudioReview.com. The NAD is very easy to listen to, grain free, just a little soft on top and bottom and somewhat limited in dynamics, but with your speakers in an office that shouldnt be a problem. As long as you don't expect sonic holography with a cheap integrated you wont be dissapointed.
I agree, hard to go wrong w/NAD integrateds for budget systems, I use a C350 as well for my home office system. Denon DCM-370 disk changer, vintage Kenwood tuner, and a Sony satellite receiver, little 20" TV, older Energy Pro .5 monitor speakers, Rat Shack cabling. It's actually a nice sounding office system! One question--you said you got your C350 for a little over $300? Do you mind me asking how much? I thought I got a good deal for mine new at $380 delivered, but it sounds like mebbe not :-(
For what it's worth, several years ago The Audio Critic conducted an ABX comparison of a 100w/ch Pioneer receiver (gasp!) and a $2500 power amp. Small, informal panel, but nobody could tell the difference--even though, sighted, they were sure they could tell the two apart. Now I'm not actually endorsing Pioneer receivers here, but the successor to that unit goes for well under your budget, and may serve your purposes very well.
Proton 940. Good tuner and amp. But you have to be careful if you find one. Mine has intermittent distortion in one channel that I havent been able to isolate. Finally gave up and bought the NAD integrated. Can't find anything to listen to on the radio anyway. I think the TEAC Reference 500 minisystem receiver is supposed to be pretty good and NAD makes a little receiver also.
Luxman made some really great receivers...so did Yamaha, Pioneer, Kenwood, Onkyo, Sansui, etc...depending on the model. There's a point in the early 80's where build quality started to suffer, but there are still some good receivers made after that too. I've heard Luxman eceivers from the 70s, ss integrateds from the early 80s, and tube-hybrid integrateds from the late 80s / early 90s. I liked all of them, and my brother is still using the tube-hybrid model. I would also highly recommend Revox. You can get a unit that cost $1000-$2000 in the 80s for hundreds, they're built great, and they sound great (but they can be ugly). I'm sure there are plenty of people on this list that could recommend great classic receivers.
revox is an excellent choice for a receiver, but i tink they'll run a bit more'n $300. tandberg is the only other one i'd consider if a good tuna is important, but yule be screwed if it needs repair - muchos dineros to fix. (same goes for the revox, but these are tanks, the tandbergs are known to be finicky.)
Look for an NAD 3020 integrated, from the late 70's and early 80's or an NAD 7020 Receiver (same time period).
Both units are Audio Classics and every audiophile should
own one of these during their lifetime because of the excellent sound quality. I still have my NAD 3020 and I
will never sell it. GOOD LUCK and HAPPY LISTENING.
dunno what happened to the second-half of my 1st post here - kinda makes my 2nd post meaningless! :>) oh well, isle try again:
i'd recommend buying the audio innovations alto integrated amp (audio innovations is a subsidiary of audio note) currently being adwertized on a-gon for $275 (retail $500). i had one driving a pair of thiel 3.5's in my 26x28 kitchen, & this 35wpc amp aquitted itself quite well in a large room, driving these wery-power-hungry 4-ohm-load speakers. much better sound, imho, than comparably-priced nad, etc. admittedly, the kraken amp/pre i'm now using on the thiels, w/a class-a amp putting out ~100wpc, does a better yob than the audio innovations, but the retail price is $2160, & the thiels are wery hard speakers to drive. i'm amazed that the alto worked at all driving those speakers in that room!
in an office, w/91db/1w/1m speakers, yule have great sound w/the alto. and, the alto looks way-cool too - kinda like a spaceship - good for an office enwironment.
pick up a decent vintage luxman or sansui tuna for ~$100-$200 later on, & yule be set; or get a more recent adcom or nad tuna for about the same price...
good luck, doug s.
ps - for a foto of the alto go here - it's the top-unit, prolly in black, not chrome...