In the early 80's i had:
Infinity RSIIa $3,000 new (or Infinity RSIb $5,000 to $12,000 when new)
Back when Infinity really was the best. All downhill from there (once Emims were dropped)
Conrad Johnson with them or Audio Research.
Audio Research SP10II, Audio Research D115II, and Quad ESL 63's, with an Oracle TT, MMT arm and Grace 9E cartridge. As close to (affordable) SOTA in 1985 as I could get.
Agree with Newbee. If the client wants low level purity, get the Quads ESL 63, (refurbished so they will last)
Nothing is a s good as a pair of Quads at playing at 'not loud' levels. They just cannot play loud, though, so know your clients' needs.
If they want to 'Rock out' now and then, go for the Infinities (the Infinity RS1a or RS1b have a commanding presence, and take up a LOT of room)
Agree with Newbee on the ARC 115. It is very powerful ( 100+/ch) ), throws a big soundstage, and has resale value as it is considered one of the best sounding amps they ever produced regardless of price. Yes, I'm biased ( excuse the pun ) as I have one for sale. $1,400 plus shipping & PP if interested. It will also heat your room nicely in the winter.
JBL 4350, Mcintosh C40, Mcintosh MC500 x 2............
What's the budeget, what's the room like?
Mark Levinson 27.5, Mark Levinson 28, Quad ESL's
Can't really say that I heard a great sounding system from the 80's. They all sounded a bit colored for my tastes. To each his ( or her ) own.
Snell Type A and Sansui 9090db.
NAD 3200 and KEF 104s. Pretty sweet sound.
Best Audio Systems from the 1980's:
Speakers: Boston Acoustics A40
Stereo Receiver: NAD 7120
Turntable: Technics SL-B1 + Shure Magnetic Cartridge
Cables: Kimber-Kable (Entry-Level)
Mid-Level (and this has resembled MY system, to a point, that is after I have upgraded from my first system (which I have assembled back in 1983)):
Speakers: KEF Reference 102/w KUBE (and I actually owned these)
Stereo Receiver: Nakamichi SR-4A
Turntable: Thorens TD-147 + Grado Cartridge (of equal vintage, and price approximate)
Compact Disc Player: Mission DAD-7000
Speakers: Infinity IRS Beta
Power Amplifiers: Mark Levinson No. 20.5 Monoblocks (Ribbon Towers) + Mark Levinson No. 23 (Woofer Towers)
Preamplifier: Mark Levinson No. 26 (w/Phono Board Installed)
Turntable: Oracle Delphi Mk V + JMW 10.5i + Benz Phono Cartridge
Cables: Audioquest, Cardas, MIT (take your pick -- or make your own pick)
To me, these set-ups pretty much represent the best Hi-Fi the 1980's had to offer, and to me, they also represented the golden age of audio as far as I am concerned.
How about a Nakamichi Dragon tape deck or a Revox reel to reel or linear tracking turntable? I thought those were pretty cool in the 80s.
Here is one I put together. An Accuphase C200 preamp, with an Accuphase E202 in amp only mode powering a pair of KEF 103/3 Reference speakers. Sources were a Concept 2QD Turntable and a Sony CDP that I just can't remember right now. It sounded wonderful to me.
KEF 105.2 speakers
Classe DR9 amp
MFA Magus preamp
musical Concepts Epoch cd
Tara Space and Time cable
Yep, I remembered the Nakamichi Dragon too. I never owned one though, because they were expensive back then. But I did loved that deck, though.
I did purchase a Nakamichi Tape Deck back in the late 1980's. I bought the mid-priced BX-300 back in 1987, and used it for more than 15 years.
And about the ReVox Linear Tracking Turntable?!?!?! I actually knew someone personally who had one. My boss had one in his system. And that was one COOL ASS turntable. That bad boy sounded REAL GOOD too. He had his hooked up to a Hafler Preamplifier and Power Amplifier, Klipsch Cornwall Speakers and an NAD Tuner. That was a great system too. Too bad he wasn't the one who inspired me to get into this great hobby that we love so much.
No.... my second cousin did that decades ago. I didn't remember what his components was, but it was definitely SOTA for the early 1970's, and he a Reel-To-Reel Tape Deck in his system too. He was a Drill Sargent in the Army for some 20 something years, and he got his system from overseas when he was in the service.
Talking about going back down to memory lane.
Tandberg. OHM. Audio research. Magnepan. Kef. Klipsch. Nakamichi.
Accuphase P-266 Preamp and C-222 amplifier with ADS L780
Lots of good choices. Mine was a pair of Kef105.2, Oracle Alexandria with FR arm and Dynavector Ruby cart/Denon head amp. Amps were Meridian 105 monos with matching pre. Still killer but I would go with Acoustat TNT200 amp. Contrary to popular belief, they are suitable for any type of speaker.
Krell KSA-200, Krell KRS-2, B&W 801 Matrix series 2 *or* Apogee Diva. Top of the line Sony cd player, and SOTA Star Sapphire turntable. Nakamichi CR-7 cassette deck.
Definitely look for some Audio Research as Newbee recommends.
I would be looking at Nakamichi, belles, and something like threshold. Not sure of the dates, the Nak P7 was based on Pass amps, so that could fit the bill instead of the Threshold. Any of that gear would still make me happy.
Threshold was good stuff too. The SA/1s were one of the best amps of that era, imo.
JBL 99 with ring radiator 14 " woofer Dynaco amp preamp and Statesboro Blues!!