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Advice on stereo receiver (1 Viewer)

Tony AP

Apr 23, 2002
So I'm in the market for a pretty good home stereo receiver, and I'm seeking the advice of this infinitely knowledgeable forum. I'd like the receiver to include the following:

-phono input (gotta love those old records)

-preamp output, or output designated for subwoofer

-binding posts as opposed to clips for speaker wire

-around $500.00, or less

So far, I've come across these receivers that seem to meet most, or all, of my needs:

-Marantz SR4120

-Denon DRA-685

-NAD C740

-Nakamichi RE10

-Onkyo 8511

Any thoughts on these receivers, or others that might meet my criteria?



Senior HTF Member
Feb 15, 2001
First: For a phono stage, get the $25 battery powered "Little Rat" from Radio Shack. I've used it, and it's amazing for the price. There has been some discussion on it here (search the archives), and over on www.audioasylum.com (again, search the archives of the Vinyl forum). Your receiver/integrated amp options will go up considerably if you remove the requirement of its having a built-in phono stage. Also, phono stages handle very tiny signals, so you stand to benefit by keeping it in its own shielded enclosure. A battery powered stage has the added advantage of having no 60Hz hum to get amplified a thousand times (typical gain of a phono stage).
Next: How much power do you need? What size room do you have, what kind of speakers are you running (size, frequency response, sensitivity), and so on? IMO, that's as important as the other factors you mentioned, because you want something that matches your room and your speakers.
Finally: A radio - again, I would recommend getting a stand-alone tuner. You can get 1970's Pioneer/Kenwood/Sansui tuners on eBay for as low as $25 sometimes (I've owned two). They're not as convenient as digital tuners (and you can get digital tuners on eBay too), but they usually sound much better. The reason I say this is, if you have a separate tuner, you can buy an integrated amp instead of a receiver. And that, again, gives you many more options with better quality gear. In that price range, you can easily get used integrated amps from NAD, Rotel, and other companies in that performance range... I would guess Parasound, Adcom etc. would come in here as well. Again, IMO you'll end up with better sound this way, than by spending $500 on a receiver.
For instance, I owned the Onkyo 8211 for a few months. It's 50 wpc, and the smaller brother of the 8511 you listed. I swapped that for a NAD C340 (the same as the C740 you listed minus the tuner) and IMO there was absolutely no contest - the NAD was significantly better than the Onkyo in almost every category (no, I did not do a double blind test :)). This was in the $200 - $250 range. IMO, your case would be similar, just with better equipment.
Just something to think about.

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