Nakamichi SR-3 Receiver
Another 1980s receiver, except this time a little more obscure. Nakamichi made some of the most high end consumer stereo receivers of the decade, back when every other brand was racing to the bottom.
In my most recent post about the Sony TA-F45 Amplifier, I claimed that I usually stay away from equipment made during the 1980s because quality took a huge nosedive for many brands back then. Well, here I am with another 1980s receiver, except it's from a brand that you've probably never heard mentioned too often. Nakamichi made some of the most top-of-the-line stereo equipment during this time, and I managed to pick up this piece for only $50 because the previous owner said it needed servicing—and probably because he wanted something a little more modern.
The SR-3 was the 2nd from the top in this line of receivers, the SR-4 being the granddaddy of them all. Manufactured in 1987, it's only a modest 45 watts/channel, but boasts implementation of STASIS technology in the amplifier section. The STASIS tech was licensed from a company called Threshold Audio and designed by a guy named Nelson Pass, a sound engineer who is very prominent and well respected in the DIY audio community. In any case, you can assume this thing cost somebody a lot of money back in the 80s ($1,000 MSRP in Canada at the time).
As for servicing, the funny part was that it only needed a good internal cleaning of switches and knobs, and it was back in tip-top shape. After checking the DC offset and bias current as described in the service manual, I didn't need to do anything else for it. Even the battery that stores the tuner channel memory was still good. Easy.
Since this receiver's manufacture date was already in the late 1980s, it also functioned as an early form of A/V receiver, as it allowed you to plug in a VCR and route the audio through your stereo instead of the TV. It also had a digital tuner, which was a lot more common for mid-late 1980 units. And like the Sony amp I last featured, it also had a built in switch for choosing moving magnet or moving coil phono pre-amps.
To be honest, I wasn't extremely impressed by the sound it had to offer. Maybe it was too flat and precise, but I think I prefer the stuff from a decade earlier that seems to favor a more rounded-off sound. Ugh, I hate describing "sound"—you always end up sounding like a complete tool.