If we're talking transistors and not tubes, the Luxman was a great name...also Tandberg made a great receiver.
I loved my Sony STR 6400-D. The British mags gave it a good review, and this model was tough to find [back-ordered] for several weeks. Built like a brick s**t-house, it also had a de-emphasis switch for Dolby Encoded FM [never adopted], and never failed to put out less than 110 wpc [rated for 80 wpc] at the annual McIntosh clinics...remember those?!!!
I always like Yamaha and I thought Technics sounded good.
Tandberg 2075 and 2080 - superb receivers. McIntosh receivers were awesome, too. And the Bang and Olufsen's were works of art that sounded quite good. Revox had a great one, too.
For more consumer-oriented gear, Harman/Kardon produced a series that had tremendous amp sections, very dynamic with tons of current. NAD also made a very fine high-current receiver with a lot of "balls".
ADS and Proton had some interesting pieces, but their reliability left much to be desired.
When I was 7 or so my dad had this really glossy silver Zenith unit with lighted meters and tons of dials and switches, I wonder how many hours I spent dreaming he would give me that? (divored parents in seperate states).
I bet that is when my first real love for Audio gear started, I dont really recall how it sounded, It was just eye candy!
I second the Pioneer unit. Remarkable piece of machinery! Sansui had also nice models with FETs at the front-end. Those were the funny times of "specs war".
Marrantz 2270, Sansui 5000, many more
I wanted to Luxman R-1120 or 1120 A, but found a Yamaha instead CR-2040 that should be delivered by UPS early next week. Seems a lot of people are interested in receivers of that era and that is reflected in the prices asked. I found a nice Pioneer 85 wpc locally, but I find the asking price a bit steep.
I do think that Luxman and Yamaha were right up there as a whole package, sound and nice design. Sansui and Marantz were ugly as far as I'm concerned. Pioneer were also nice all around.
Advent model 300. NAD 7020
I have still have a Marantz 2215B hooked up to my DQ-10s as a computer speaker set-up. Sounds great!
For refined sound for not a lot of money, my vote is for Harmon Kardon. That said, I actually owned Onkyo gear back then. I liked their very good FM Tuner section.
I 2nd the Harman/Kardon x30 models(430,730,930). Excellent build with good power supplies and wonderful FM sections. I recently had a 730 refurbished for my father and he loves it.
PILOT 252 stereo fm RCV solid state. I collect vintage audio and found this amp compared to ALL the others which I own or owned to be the sweetest, cleanest, fastest, best reception etc etc EVER!!! You would place the mac1700, Pioneer, sx828, sx 1250,Marantz, Tandbergs etc in a big pile and light a match. Would take alot to get me to part with this one...
Ditto: Marantz 2270. Has pre out main in and a great tuner section to boot. All around great classic. Actually any of the Marantz 20XX or 22XX of the time period. These were when Sol Marantz was still in charge. I had a Fisher 500C along with a 2270 back then and the 2270 gave up nothing to the Fisher.
How about 73lbs. Fisher RS-1080 puts out a whopping 170wpc. I still have it in the closet.
I remember learning in the 1970's that you cannot judge the sound of an amp by its power rating. I went to Circuit City or whatever stereo store and the sales guy was pushing a 30 wpc Harmon Kardon receiver over a 75 wpc Pioneer integrated amp. That was the first time I learned that power supplies were critical to sound. The HK receiver walked all over the Pioneer. HK made good equipment back then.
Does anyone remember the Acoustics Research Receiver, a minimalist design that now seems philosophically ahead of its time?
How about the Heathkit AR-15? This was first available in the 1960s but sold into the 1970s. You could buy it as a kit or pay up to have it assembled.
Other receivers I used to covet were the McIntosh MAC 1700 and the MAC 1900, as well as the SAE R-9, one of a line that SAE rolled out in the mid-70s.
I actually owned Pioneer SX-650 (Paid $239) - amazing how things stick in your head. But I lusted after Marantz.....
Albert Porter sold me a wonderful sounding Yamaha receiver in 1977. It was a mid-line model and sounded wonderful. I cannot recall the exact model #. I wish I had kept it. He also sold my Mom a Yamaha receiver which was one step down in price...she still uses it to this day and it sounds wonderful. I'll check the model # and report back.
I remeber those days of shopping in stores on Long Island like, Stereo Exchange, Audio Exchange, Crazy Eddie, Sam Goody, Harvey, (the expensive stuff) on so many more. My evolution of receivers were: Technics, 45wpc. Onkyo with the servo tuner locked in lights, and my dream receiver, a Yamaha 1080.
sugarbrie mentioned the tuner section on those old onkyo receivers and i will second that. i have an onkyo tx-2500 circa 77/78 that locks in on stations with their servo-lock feature. beat some of the cheap dedicated tuners i have owned. oh, and the sound quality was excellent. this was a mid-line model with only 30 watts a channel, but boy can it pack a punch. better sound than a marantz 2235b i have.
Oh yes, the HK 330c was a very nice piece of gear. That with a set of Infinity RS speakers was the deal.
Sony STR's 7065,and others in that line
The Sansui 771 was 30 or 40 wpc of pure bliss. I owned a more expensive and powerful Yamaha later...it sounded to sterile. The tuner in the Sansui was excellent.
The Marantz 19 is at the top of my list of best receivers of the 70's.
I always wanted a Sherwood. These old receivers certainly bring up sentimental feelings. I still have the Marantz 2220 that I bought at 15 years old with money from my first job. Dad took me to the stereo shop. That was big bucks for a kid to spend in 1973 - Melton's in Atlanta, they still sell home theater setups. The Marantz is still in the same realm of musical enjoyment as my SET amps.
Or the HK A 402 that an older neighbor lady gave me. Her son had died many years ago. After buying pristine albums at her yard sale and waving as I walked my dog over the years, one day she asked if I would like to have some "Teac" speakers in her basement. They were teak Celestions. Oh, and would I like to take all that gear too. It's amazing how good the late 70s model HK A 402 is. The HK's phono output with my HD 650s, makes $500 dedicated headphone amps sound like toys!
Pioneer SX 525. Sounded good and looked great.
If you have never had the joy of a face to face with one of these MONSTERS, I'd suggest that you now have something to do.
Until you have, consider yourself a non-player in the audio hobby.
"dare ya to listen to one"
If you were listening in the 70's,I dare ya to lift one now.If you can get around that its the way to go,their beautiful.SHKL,Bob
I had the AR receiver for many years. (Acoustic Research).
Loved it. Great tuner.
I just picked up a Marantz 2325 with double the power of my 2270 mentioned earlier in this thread and it is amazing.
It holds the bass like nothing I have heard before in this vintage. Using it to drive Spendor S3/5 minimonitors and it makes them sound like full range floor standers.
My personal opinion, in order of preference:
1- Sansui - the 5000 series (A/X) is about the bext value (price/performance) as it gets, IMHO.
2- Luxman - some models are overall better performers than Sansui, but build and sound quality are les consistent. Still, a good Luxman receiver is a very good thing.
3- Marantz - 22xx and 23xx series receivers are built like tanks and pretty too.
I have not had much luck with Pioneer receivers. I bought an SX-838 new with hard-earned summer job money in 197?, and I had nothing but problems with it. Later purchases have confirmed that. I have never owned an SX-1250 though.
But to venture into never-never land, if I had a choice I would prefer a 60s era Sansui AU-70 or Marantz Model 18 tube receiver. Different animals altogether.
There was something magical about Sansui tuners, and since the tuner was part of the reciever; I would pick Sansui.