NAD 7600- baddest beast ever built.
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Yamaha R2000- Best beast ever built. 150 watts/ch and came with a world class (at the time) phono stage and tuner. Yamaha took their best separates at the time and combined them into one unit. Was approx 22 inches wide and all internals were isolated with separate power supplies. Had selectors for three sets of speakers and two headphone jacks that could really run headphones. Were being built sometime around 1984. The first Solid state receiver I heard that didn't sound like solid state in the highs and mids. Wish I would have kept it.-Aaron
NAD 7400 is excellent. High Power, very good tuner, terrific sound. If you really want something special for little cash find a NAD 2400 amp and bridge it with the NAD 7400. It is great sound for little dollars. High power and very airy and smooth. Both the NAD 7400 and the companion 2400 can be picked up used on this site or ebay.
I'll give a resounding second vote in favor of the Nakamichi SR series receivers, SR-2/3/4. Without doubt, the best sounding receivers ever made. Also, extremely reliable & well built. Exactly the opposite is true of any NAD receiver- built like crap & horribly unreliable(and those of you with experience to the contrary, trust me, you're just lucky). The Yamaha R-2000 was OK, built well enough, but the amp uses a very unreliable hybrid IC 2-channel driver module that is very, very unavailable now. And the discrete Yamaha receivers since then have been gritty as heck on top & tend to blow up rather frequently.
My second favorite receiver, next to the Naks, is the McIntosh MAC1700 tube/ss hybrid. Superb sounding tuner & very nice on the whole. And totally bulletproof.
My opinions are based on being both an audiophile & a servicer of high-end audio for over 20 years.
I would have to say that the Nakamichi RE series of receivers were the best that I had heard. They were limited in that their was only so much power that a limited supply could put out, but they had a very easy way about themselves. I sold them when I was in the business over 7 years ago and I still have friends who have them in their systems. A good product at a reasonable price for many who just want to turn it on and listen non-critically.
The Armstrong receiver made in England in the 80's was the best I ever heard. Rated at 30 watts. Had tremendous dynamic headroom and beautiful sound. Very close to the Naim 42/110 separates. The analog tuner was superb. Great phono section too. It was a low flat syled unit with a wood case and looked cool. Totally out of the mainstream, but really good.
If your talking vintage you would have to consider the Sansui Eight Delux deep bass,smooth throught midrange and crystal high's possibly the best sounding sansui ever not as powerfull as it's bigger brothers but sound wise quite the piece of work and has driven any speaker load with ease,for the price of one even if a re-cap is needed dollar for dollar a tough act to follow!