Most Beautiful Receiver / Integrated - Ever was... ?

Time for what I hope is another fun thread. Please include links if you can.

I'm curious to everyone what you think the hottest/sexiest most interesting integrated or receiver ever was. For me, brands like these would probably be in the running:

  • Carver
  • Kyocera
  • Tandberg
  • Revox (old)

It didn't have to work, or sound good. Just had to do it for you in the looks department.
gold finish Marantz, Accuphase, McIntosh...

ARC never made a receiver, right....
The rosewood "wedge" receivers from B&O were pretty cool.

The Marantz 2500 was cool.

Some of the Denon rosewood receivers and integrateds were neat too.

Awesome links!! I didn't even know SAE Had done a receiver! It looks like their best looking piece of gear ever. :)


Does anyone remember the "suck face" series of components from Luxman?  I was a dealer and these were pretty different.

Given that this was introduced as a fun thread, and based on a liberal interpretation of the word "receiver," I’ll nominate the cobalt blue mirrored Sparton Nocturne radio, ca. 1936.

It was designed (in terms of appearance) by a noted industrial designer named Walter Dorwin Teague, and is considered to be an iconic example of art deco industrial design. Very few are known to exist, and on the rare occasion when one appears for sale I believe they go for something like $50K.

Best regards,
-- Al

P.S: The photo doesn’t provide an indication of its size; it is about 4 feet in diameter.

I've owned a few (4?) over the years...and kept going back to them. Pioneer sx-1280:

Considering what people want for them these days, I'm not likely to have another. Too much hassle.

That Spartan Nocturne is very nice.

Making copies with extreme analog fidelity (no digital or digital RF hook ups!!!) (get off yer butt!)  would very likely turn good business.

My first system was from the 1970's. I was in the Army in Germany. We had a dedicated PX that was LOADED with gorgeous receivers. I have a catalogue from that time. It's not in color but it does list all available equipment and prices. Where can I upload it to so all can enjoy? Joe 
There was a tube integrated by VAC (which I’ve never owned) about 10 or more years ago that was absolutely gorgeous, glass front. I think he did these at a loss, and they are hard to find today, not cheap.
PS: looked it up, it was the Phi Beta 110 which sold for 19 large US back in 2004. 

Mcintosh Mac 1900 is THE best 2CH receiver I've ever heard. 55wpc never runs hot with very balanced and detailed drive. Pretty rare as well.

It beats out larger and heavier vintage receivers such as Sansui 8080db, Pioneer SX1080 with built quality and certainly performance.

Absolutely concur on the MAC 1900. Sublime 55W punching way above that weight class, and if one replaces the bias resistors, unit runs cool as a cucumber.
Best FM I ever heard with Nashville's classical radio station 91.1.
For affordably priced receivers with good looks, I always liked the black faced Optonicas. I've have not heard one in 40 years and I have no idea how they sound relative to their peers from the same period. I'm guessing they are not as good as Pioneer, Sansui, Yamaha and Kenwood, but they are pretty.....
The champagne engraved (stamped) Marantz 2270 or the Tandberg TR-2080 are my favorites for looks. They actually sound quite nice also. Pretty stuff.
McIntosh does it for me, I still have a pristine Marantz 2325 receiver that is real eye candy as well and tactile feel that is hard to match. 


That's an amazing and beautiful picture of the Sparton Nocturne radio. I have never seen or heard of it before. It reminds me of round blue mirrors and small tables with blue mirror glass from that period that I have seen at flea markets in the past. Thanks!


When I think of beauty in 70s receivers, the Sansui receivers were just that. Pioneer and Kenwood also made some fine looking examples as well. I was just a teen and couldn't afford them but I had two different MCS receivers from JC Penny. And they sounded pretty good.
Myself and 2 friends all owned Marantz receivers in the 70's. They were so elegant and beautiful. I was always proud to own one, and of course, at that time, I didn't think that there was much that was better until I bought a McIntosh 2100 amp.
Those spartons are gorgeous enough to get just about anyone all wiggly inside.

Hovland did some nice stuff, but those spartons, are just - wow.

Want. Very much want. And copies simply will not do.
The old Scotts were nice.  Also a fan of the Sansui integrated.  Buttons all in the right places. 
Gentlemen, thanks for your comments about the Sparton Nocturne, and thanks to Lowrider for the good reference he provided. Upon checking a little further, I found an actual selling price from a recent (November 2015) auction. The pre-auction estimate by the auction house was $70K to $90K, but it ended up going for $149,000! See this link.

As alluded to in the reference Lowrider provided, the electronics and speaker drivers in the better 1930’s radios were quite outstanding. In the early part of that decade some used type 45 or 2A3 power tubes, in push-pull configurations. The Nocturne came a bit later, and used 6F6’s, while some other high end sets used 6L6’s at around that time. Most of these sets used field coil speakers. Many of the better sets had separate chassis for their tuner and power amplifier sections. Sound familiar?

Antique radio collecting is one of my other hobbies, and I can attest to the fact that the better sets of the 1930s were the best sounding, best performing in terms of station getting ability, and certainly the best looking AM radios ever produced. (FM did not yet exist, of course).

John (Roxy54), yes, I too have seen various pieces of furniture and other items from around that time having blue-mirror surfaces, in antique shops, flea markets, and at auctions. So it was not an uncommon style element in those days. And in fact besides the floorstanding Nocturne, Walter Dorwin Teague also designed a few mirrored table model radios for Sparton. (That name, btw, was derived as a contraction of the name of the company and its principals, Sparks-Withington). The table model sets can be seen in this photo, and typically go for around $2K to $5K or so depending on condition. The circular "Bluebird" is the best known of them. Mirrored sets were also produced by a few other manufacturers.

Best regards,
-- Al

That’s a great hobby, Al. I know a couple broadcast engineers that share your interest.
Maybe you are familiar with some of these...

None as beautiful as the Sparton Nocturne.
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Lots of sexy receivers from the 70's and 80's.  I had a Tandberg 3030 receiver a while back which was pretty sexy looking.  The old wide B&O receivers were also nice looking as well

Its all a matter of preference.  The big Sansui G series are gorgeous as are the old school Yamahas.  I also like the Harman Kardon HK430/730 and the 1980's HK receivers, the Carvers are beautiful too and the Mitsubishi rotary dial receivers are cool looking too.....some like the Revox B285 which would be cooler if you had the matching cd player and cassette deck.  Pinterest is great for wasting your time looking at this eye candy!!!

Let's throw some modern integrated amps into the mix.  I love the look of the Rogue Cronus Magnum 2.  I also really like the look of the Sansui AU Alpha 907.
The Yamaha receivers from 1973 to 1977 which were the CR-1000, CR-800, CR-600, CR-400. They had silver front panels, soft green backlighting, and light oak wood cabinets. They looked like nothing else on the market and were sold unchanged for 4 years.
The Symphonic Line Kraftwerk MK2  integrated amp was a sight to behold with not only a chromed face plate but a fully chromed mirror-like chassis.  Incredibly rare...can't remember the last time I saw one for sale.
My vote is for Kyocera.

I bought a Kyocera 661 receiver and 310 CD player in 1987. I didn’t know much about high-end audio at the time, beyond the name McIntosh, which a friend’s father had. I lived near Myer-Emco in DC, so that’s where I went when I wanted to buy a CD player. I had bought Polk speakers there previously.

Eventually I realized—after looking at NAD, Nakamichi, Luxman, and other brands available at that time—that I chose the Kyocera components at least partly because I liked the way they looked.