I named this badly. Apparently the search engine uses the title w/o recognizing case. I'll throw another in for laughs, the Armstrong receiver.
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Since the best value item I have ever purchased is not eligible for nomination on this thread, I nominate my second choice, the N.E.A.R. 50Me II loudspeaker. I purchased mine new for $1,600 in the Rosewood finish with some very slight blemishes. My brother purchased a black ash pair new for $1,200. They are no longer in production, and these were closeout prices. They are transparent, dynamic, with very good frequency response, and also possess excellent spatial rendering qualities. Truly excellent performance and value. I'd also like to mention Atma-Sphere electronics. They are not inexpensive, but I believe they offer exceptional value for their performance level. God bless.
I'd agree with Jim on this one. I bought one new back in 1981 or 2 for $189.00 and it was a mindblower. A couple of years ago I took a trip down memory lane and bought a used one for $50.00, I put some AudioQuest pre-jumpers in and this little guy still holds it's own. Great phono stage (Thomlison Holman design) and it could drive any speaker on the planet. Dollar for Dollar the best of all time IMO.
Best deal(s)? I bought an Aragon X5 HT amp, Soundstage preamp and cables for $4,000, split them up and sold them the next week on eBay for $6,700 -- then used the profit towards a Sony SCD-1 my highest end piece. Net result of this was the Sony SCD-1 for $400! Best deal dollar wise? A Marantz 14EX on Audiogon for $1800 after selling my Marantz SR18 for $1600 -- cost of upgrade was $200. Folks, the road to high end bliss is a well-traded one on audiogon and eBay.
Rogers Ls3/5A speakers, Quad 53/63, Linn LP12, Nad 3020, AR sp6, Goldmund ref TT, Cello Audio palette, Goldmund mimesis 7.1 pre, OTL amps (Futterman), Metaxa amplification... Many were not inexpensive -- but had trend-setting &/or distinguishing factors that were unique at the time & many hold their own today. Later products may include Soundlab U & Genesis 1.1 (very expensive)
Pass Aleph 3, Quad ESL-63 (used), Oracle Delphi mk. V. and Metaxas electronics (havn't heard their speakers).
For the more expensive but still good value, due to very high sound quality: CAT (all models are fantastic), Atma-Sphere (All models), Avalon Eidolon, Soundlab M/A/U-1.
Cables: Argento (no one comes close).
Best Component Ever, for the money??
(01). McCormack Power-Drive DNA-0.5 Power Amplifier (never owned one, but always wanted to own one).
(02). Adcom GFP-750 Active/Passive Line Stage Preamplifier (currently own one, and have no plans to part with it either).
(03). Magnum Dynalab FT-101/FT-101A/Etude FM Tuners (currently own an FT-101, and what I said about the Adcom GFP-750 also applies to the FT-101 as well).
(04). NAD 3020 Integrated Amplifier (never owned one. But could very well be the best VALUE component ever. I haven't heard about anything else coming along and topping it ever since it was discontinued and removed off the market almost two decades ago).
(05). Vandersteen 2 Speaker System (never owned a pair, but I have listened to this speaker system over and over again, and I am seriously thinking about getting a pair (FINALLY (!!!!))).
I think that's about all I can think of right now.
The NAD 3020 has had multiple votes. A popular choice. I think the $13 Grado cartridge has to win hands down if it was a high-end component. (I never owned one.) Since I dont think amps matter so much compared to sources and speakers, I am inclined to stay with the Connoiseur BD2a integrated table I owned long ago, or in a more modern vein, my Harbeth speakers. Not exactly an economy model, though not expensive at $2,000, the Harbeth Compact 7 is the best purchase I have ever made.
The original AR Turntable. I have heard AR tables were sold as low as $35 new. Maybe some senior audiophiles know of prices even lower than that. Ed Villchur's AR was an original, pioneering design that helped define the direction of future components (like Linn LP12 and Thorens). For a time, many considered it the best turntable to be had at any price. If I ever go bankrupt and lose all my other stuff, I'll try to put together an old AR turntable, an entry-level Grado cartridge comparable to the old FTE+1, an NAD 3020, and perhaps the original Advent Loudspeaker. Nowhere near state of the art, but all were outstanding for the money and I could definitely live with them.
There are many components that I have loved: AR SP-10 preamp,Jadis Ja-80 amps, Koetsu cartridges, Dynavector DV 507 arm, however, for me the Quad Esl-63 (in any of its versions, Crosby mod, Pro, USA monitor, 988)is the finest. For those who need deeper bass or a louder system, add a subwoofer. Nothing I have heard is as accurate,coherent and musical as the Quad. Period.
For a large Room Maggies (They sound like large LS3/5a's)
For a small room LS3/5a's (They sound like baby planars)
When I saw this thread I had few components in mind and finally decided to rate the two above for specific use.
I have a NAD 3225PE which is a variant of 3020 and it is an absolute gem. You must not listen to it unless it is warmed up for about 30 minutes, the sound after warming it up opens up so much, that it starts sounding like a different amp altogether compared to when it was switched on. My son uses it in his room hooked up to the Mission 760iSE's for the computer use. Once in a while I end up in his room and I am always awestruck at the musicality of the combo.
At the moment DACs are real steals.Seems like the best in a teechnology always occurs at the end if it's life.TT's and Cartridges are examples ,but now they are specialty items that go for outrageous prices.
Scott Nixons tube DAC
Accustats 2+2 for $300 10yrs ago,but I did not buy them.Did not have the room.
NEAR M15's I got with 2 extra set of modified driver's for $350.Excellent speaker's which I would need to audition speaker's in the $2K+ range before I could even find a comparable set to replace them.
AGON--There are steals all the time,but you have to be there to get them.Last good pickup was 47Labs OTA Cable for $300 that went for $700 new with additional RCA Jacks.