Top 5... AMPLIFIERS
There's nothing technical about this top 5 listing and I fully realise that there are loads that could have been here that aren't... but these are amplifiers that I've bought, sometimes owned and sold over the years. They are all, in my humble opinion, great units within their price range. Most are distinctly affordable, so there are obviously far more expensive amplifiers that will better them, but as an affordable purchase these will do you proud...
1. Musical Fidelity A1000
A monster sized integrated amplifier with a separate power supply (not power amp). You'll need lots of shelf space to accommodate this, but its construction is a joy and I've never come across more tactile switches - they are a delight to use!
The A1000 does not come up for sale very often and quite a few have been upgraded over time. By and large, I don't think this adds to their financial value, but you'll still be looking at upwards of £800 for one.
2. NAIM NAC 42/NAP 110
You are unlikely to be disappointed with any Naim amplifier combination, but the Naim NAC 42 pre-amplifier and NAC 110 power amplifier is a classic entry level to your Naim journey. These chrome bumper units are getting old these days, but they still perform beautifully and are easily serviced (at a price). From here it's very easy to get swept into an endless round of upgrades (the same with any good make!) but this classic combo, which is more affordable that the NAC 72/NAP 140, is well worth upgrading to.
3. Boothroyd Stuart Meridian
Boothroyd Stuart would become Meridian, and in this early incarnation the company produced several highly innovatively packed hifi components. Usually seperated into pre-amp, power-amp and power supplies, you may find a variety of combinations come up for sale. There's a matching tuner too. Cases often get worn and the front panels can come adrift, but worth trying nonetheless.
Most importantly, these amps sound lovely.
4. Cyrus 1 or 2
A classic British amplifier with distinctive styling and a lovely sound. Both Cyrus 1 and 2 seem very similar but there are differences with earlier and later examples. Those running an external power supply (Cyrus PSX) have internal mods to allow their use. There are a few things to watch... Cyrus used a Nextel soft-touch finish on the outside of some units, and this can sometimes go soft and sticky. Some units had metal cases and some plastic... the latter can crack around the fixings. Still a great affordable amp.
5. NAD 3020
It's a bone fide classic, but the NAD 3020 justifies its status with what remains an impressive sonic performance for the money. Be aware that it was produced in a number of different variants over the years. 3020E, 3020i, 3020 Series 20 etc. All are worth considering, but it's the original 3020 shown here that remains iconic.
Watch out for damaged front panels (disappointingly made in plastic) and missing buttons. But still a great sound.
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