Best Receiver?

I’m setting up a second system with a set of stand mount speakers and a nice Garrard 301 and want a tuner built in, rather than an integrated amp. Of all the receivers, vintage and more recent, what’s the best sounding? I always thought those massive Marantz etc looked great but didn’t sound particularly good. Anyone have experience with something that sounded great?



For my second system, I needed to drive two sets of speakers, had a beloved Tandberg 2080 for many years, it died (my fault).

replacement SS: chose a Yamaha Receiver CR-1020.

The CR-2020 is the top if the line,

I never had a Yamaha, am quite pleased with it’s sound/looks/features

It’s wider than standard units



I have Fisher 500C, a classic, and if in good shape, no noise, full of vintage features.


Outlaw RR 2160.  Have owned one since they came to market in 2005.  Nice package for a grand, with a phono input that is pretty good, as well.

Lots of positive reviews out there.



Fisher 500C! I forgot about that one. Heard it years ago. That's a great candidate. Thanks!

I'd look for either a Fisher 500c

Fisher 500C | Classic Receivers

or a Mcintosh  Mac 1500/1700

McIntosh MAC 1500 | Classic Receivers

McIntosh 1700 | Classic Receivers

Tubed, balance, bass and treble controls and phono stage

All that's need is your favorite beverage and a lazy Sunday afternoon

Despite naysayers on here, I’ve enjoyed several Yamaha receivers over the years, starting with a CR-2020 in 1978. I finally traded it off because it was beginning to show its age and the only repair shop near me shut its doors.

I currently just retired a middle of the line R-N500 network receiver because I’m trying separates. It got good reviews and puts out 90wps. Yamaha has for some reason gutted its mid line receivers. They show a nice streaming unit with DAC, Bluetooth and wi-fi at 100wpc for $330 usd. If you want to blow your budget, the step up from that is almost $4k.

So,if you are good with the Yamaha sound, a late model discontinued version with many bells and whistles can be had for little money.

I’ll throw out 2 that I am particularly fond of: Sansui G9000 outperforms the many vintage Marantz, Pioneer, Sansui and Kenwoods I have heard. Similar to the Fisher 500C recommendations above, my 800C is a jaw dropper of a performer. 

Bought new in1978 and still in use today, Kenwood KR8010 beast of a receiver 135WPC with all the tone controls, sounds fantastic.

if your ever in the Chicagoland area (Elgin, IL.) I would be happy to demonstrate it for you just PM me.


What about Lindorf or Trinnov? 

Get great reviews and would try if I could 👍

Naim NAT01 I know it's only a tuner but probably one of the best ever made.

It's interesting that you ask this question, because I am questioning why I have a receiver with all of the streaming options available today. If you really like a particular radio station, you can stream it, too. 

I have a vintage rig with a Fisher "the 600". I love the way the tubes glow! All 22 of them! There's no quarts lock, so I can tune in stations from way outside my listening area. Albeit, not clearly... Anyway, good luck with your search! Have fun!



erock79 mentioned the Fisher 800-C. A bit rarer than the 500-C, but several available.

It is the 500-C with AM tuner added. I had one, same dead quiet operation. 

I traded it to a member here to get my Mitsubishi LT-5V Vertical Turntable in my office system.

The tuners in the Better Pioneer receivers in the mid 70’s were very good. Overall, I really liked the best  Tandberg Units of that era, very nice sounding & high build quality.

Properly restored Fisher 500c. Match 7591a’s in unit and  either Mullard or Telefunken ECC83’s in the phase inverter and preamp sockets. Bliss.

I bought a Kenwood 45 watt receiver in 1976,played it regularly till 1995 and gave it to my son and he still uses it and it always sounds great.  They don't make 'em like that anymore.  Wood sides, discreet power supplies and all that.

Had all of them. Kenwood, marantz, sansui and pioneer. The one I feel was the best is the pioneer sx 1250. Kenwoods have excellent tuners but the sound is dull. 
The build quality on the pioneers really stood out and the looks are just stunning. 
They are getting very expensive. Mine is completely original with the double box and all the paperwork. I use it in a vintage 2nd system and enjoy the heck out of it. 






Nakamichi TA4.  Utilized Nelson Pass’s Status technology in the power amp section and sounded quite different than other receivers in its class at the time.

I highly recommend the McIntosh MAC4100. It’s my favorite receiver compared to a collection of top end units. Another standout for me is Sansui Eight. The Fisher recommendations are solid too. I love my kx200, and just got an 800b back from restoration. 

Magnum Dynalab made some great recent receivers, and the Outlaws also quite much as I like the vintage ones, even fully refurbished ones have lots of 50 year old parts and lots of potential issues and problems...

There has been a lot of shakeup in the receiver manufacturer ownership in the last few years and while it might mean nothing, sometimes these mergers and buyouts lead to a decrease in quality in pursuit of higher profits and sometimes they don't. First, Denon bought Pioneer, then Sound United bought Denon, Pioneer, and Marantz. One of the manufacturers who has been able to stay independent is Yamaha, who still makes all their own equipment. The reliability of Yamaha receivers is top of the line. So along with the others who have mentioned Yamaha, I'll throw in my two cents in a vote for Yamaha. 

I love the Sherwood S-7100A receiver for its excellent sound, simplicity and elegance.

On the current market the Yamaha RN2000A and MAC7200 are your top contenders. Semi vintage, Nakamichi SR4A was outstanding. Deeper vintage, I rate the Sansui 8 Deluxe and Pioneer SX1250 tops. Really deep vintage I agree the tube Fisher stuff was great. A Marantz 15 was their best one. But vintage means trusting a restoration to be done right. 
If your pocket goes that deep, the Yamaha is the winner, with all the connectivity and performance you need today. 

Luxman, R-1120... I had an R-1050 that I truly loved until I heard the 1120. Just more of the same but had a tighter grip on the KEF, Ref 103.2 I had in my vintage setup. 

You might try Carver, Emotiva and Integra receivers. Buy them used. A couple hundred bucks will get you a unit that sold for thousands. You can always use the preamp outs to drive a better power amp later on. You will still get the benefit of their surround sound decoding features. Happy Listening!

The Concept receivers were quite nice. The lower to middle of the pack units usually sell for resonable prices. Their top of line units can go for megabucks... Very nice all in one units.

If you are seeking a modern-day receiver, Magnum Dynalab manufactures one. Believe they still do anyway...

I agree with the Carver statement above. I've had one since High School, only been serviced twice, knobs are missing, used to run my Fraternity parties...been through hell, but still is kicking, runs cool, low noise and great power. I have the 5 channel carver surround amp currently hooked to a Rotel surround preamp for my main theater. This beast is over 20 years old and quiet as a mouse. Hopefully you can find one in new condition and hasn't been through college with a teenager.

Post removed 

I just got a great deal on the Magnum Dynalab MD208!

Thanks to everyone for your input. It was a hard choice between it and the Fisher 800 but it's easier to avoid any restoration hassles, I guess. 

I had the Marantz 2252B and 1060, they both sound great. Not easy to pair with speakers, but when they do, they are very detailed and musical

Lots of great choices mentioned.

I guess like any other amplifier recommendation, it ultimately depends on the loudspeakers being used.

A restored Marantz 2330 (non-“B”) would be my $0.02 suggestion for a great sounding receiver.

Luxman 1120 A is a beast by any measure!  This would drive Apogees!  The tuner, terrific.  Only downside were the speaker terminals which were push pins accommodating perhaps 16 gauge.  Captured power cord.  Other than those small deficits, a real winner.

The last I read at The Tuner Information Website, Accuphase T-1000 - Kenwood L-02T - Sansui TU-X1, are the tops.

Big money though, and I’ve never seen a North American version of the Accuphase.

I started with a Rotel RT-2100: hard to find, but sounds excellent.

Then - Rotel RHT-10: took me almost three years to find one, but sounds fantastic, fine soundstage, black as night in the silences.

I can 2nd the Outlaw Audio RR2160MKll (there main office is 10 minutes away in Norton Ma)  I also had to deal with there customer technical service and there 2nd to none.  Took care of me out of warranty. I use it mainly for LP records but do listen to Internet Radio from time to time. Has Ethernet or Wifi.  Have a Blutooth dongle hooked into it for my phone but never use it. The Phono stage is excellent and absolutely love the Analog Bass Management I have one of there Subwoofers to. I use to be a Harman Kardon guy in the Late 80's early 90's but they have went down hill years ago when they went with there "green" Amps.  I think there out of the market for AV Amplifiers and stereo Amps.

I have two suggestions based on my experience - The first is my MAC6700.  250 watts per channel and a really nice DAC, analogue inputs and beautiful sounding 250 watt McIntosh amps inside.  I use it in a hybrid home theater setup where I use Passthrough mode to power the main L and R of my home theater system and I couldn't be happier.  I do RARELY use the tuner, as my streamer has "Tunein" radio which is a streaming app that pulls the digital signals from my local stations and also a ton of radio markets across the country.


And this will be controversial here - but I just got an Onkyo RZ-50 for my living room and - WOW.  Brilliant for home theater and really, really nice 2 channel as well.  DIRAC needs to come standard on more two channel or 2.1 systems in my opinion.  Huge benefits.  


Happy shopping! 

I have a Marantz sr5006,Pioneer vsx80,Yamaha rx-a3070 and a Anthem mrx-540.I use all of them accept the Marantz because I don’t have enough speakers.Anthem sound the best.It has a awesome calibration system.

Years ago, I had a Pioneer that sounded good; It looked good too with wood sides. It finally burned out and I replaced it with a Harman Kardon that I'm really fond of. I still use the Harman Kardon today to drive my Altec Lansing Voice of the Theaters. This has turned into my secondary system although I cannot fault the sound. My primary is Conrad Johnson with Theil speakers, also very good sound.

Vintage sansui G.  pioneer sx. 

Nad. Yamaha cr. Realistic sta 2100d.  Concept 16.5. Fisher 500c. Marantz  kenwood.  Can't go wrong with any if these vintage receiver's 

Fisher's for tubes (my favorite is the 400)
Marantz 18 or 19 for SS ( I prefer the 18)

The end~

You can't go wrong with any of the McIntosh receivers, old or new.  That being said I had my Pioneer SX-828 restored to factory specs for my 2 channel listening pleasure and I couldn't be happier.  I bought it new in 1974 and it's been in continuous use since then, great tuner and decent phono input.

Another vote for the already mentioned McIntosh 4100.  The 1700 is excellent, as well.  Luxman R-1070 or R-1120 are great, too, but so is the R-115 or R-114.  The last two aren’t classy looking, but sound wonderful.  I listen to a good deal of FM, to the point that I spent a couple thousand putting up a serious tower and antenna with signal amplifier and rotator.  With it, I can listen to stations almost 140 miles away.  I’ve used all of those receivers except for the Luxman R-1120.  On the hunt for it now.

Interesting no mention of Arcam here.  I did a lot of listening to AV and stereo receivers about ten years ago and for my taste, Arcam AVR's were clearly better into both two and multiple channels.  That may have changed, but I listened to the latest generation Arcam AVR 31 recently, and it sounded pretty darn good with decent KEF speakers.  You can probably pick up one of the older Arcam models used for under a grand.