I have been using a 500C for a number of years as a second system. I can compare it with several modest tube systems including McIntosh, Audio Research/Van Alstine and Dynaco. The amp has tighter control, more similar to the Audio Research than the Dynaco. The preamp is quiet and the phono section seems to have a fairly high overload ceiling with a rather neutral sound. The tuner is not up to my McIntosh, has better sensitivity and selcetivity than my rebuilt Dynaco FM-3 and sonically is closer to the McIntosh. The tone controls like many units are better not used except for minor compensation. I have used the unit with a variety of speakers including older smaller Advents (the speakers which came with the unit), Bozak's, Klipsch and ADS. It handled each well at normal listening levels. I currently use it with my Koss ESP9 electrostatic headphones. This is a wonderful sounding combination - possibly as good in terms of overall sound as my main system for FM. I used it also with Klipsch Heresys. It helps these particular speakers in terms of musicality especially with classical music which is my main interest. I recently got a quote for an upgrade and alignment of about $250.00. This includes recaps and resistors. I have added it to my list of projects with the intent to bring it up to as current quality as possible and either hlding it for the first tube unit for my son or my own retirement when I can no longer justify a room full of equipment. In summary, it is a reliable and very good sounding unit to first learn the quality of tube with. Later, as you update, it will give you a tuner that will meet most competition and is better than almost all produced today. Good luck.