Amps from the 1980's -- What gear holds up sonically? Reliably?

Hi Everyone,

For me, the 1980s were a real "golden age" of amplifiers. Dr. Leach’s paper on building a low TIM amplifier had been widely distributed and relied on by budding designers, and lots of boutique brands came. It was also the era of the biggest of the Conrad Johsnon tube amps as well and the invention of the MOSFET.

For me, brands I cared about:

  • Threshold
  • Sumo
  • Perreaux (New Zealand, very pretty)
  • Tandberg
  • Hitachi
  • Kyocera
  • Nikko
  • Krell (of course)
  • CJ
  • ARC
  • Yamaha (professional)
  • Carver
  • Mark Levinson
  • Amber 
  • Tandberg
This was also the speaker era of Snell and Apogee and Martin Logan. I am not sure there would be a Krell today if it wasn't for Apogee's 1 ohm speakers.

I’m curious who is still listening to these vintage pieces, and which brands you think have stood up both in terms of reliability and / or sonics ?
I'm not someone who buys really high end, but still using a Carver TFM-35 as my main amp.  It's been passed back and forth between myself and my best friend who was the original owner.  Just sold off the Infiniti Kappa 8's that it drove for many of the 30 years.  It's still running original caps and hasn't been touched, including the lights in the meters that are still working, other than replacing a speaker terminal that was broken in a move.
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I really enjoyed the classe Dr9, super smooth sound.  Also , the Nad 2200PE. The Nad was the first amp I ever had, I really enjoyed it. Obviously there's better out there, including the classe is much better, that being said I really loved the Slam and bright detail of the Nad.
i had a haffier that i soldered together and then only one channel worked, but you could send it to the factory to get it working right. this was my first venture into separates. i also had a perreaux that sounded nice.