Recommended Used Audio Components

By Chuck Hawks


There are many good used components on the market that will allow you to build a credible reference stereo system. To recommend specific components in any category (loudspeakers, amplifiers, CD players, etc.) immediately gets into the realm of personal preference. The criteria I used in compiling these lists were simple: Would I be willing to use this component in my personal reference system? If not, it did not make the recommended list. On the other hand, there are doubtless components that are great, but with which I have had no experience and therefore have no basis to recommend. If your favorite is not on the list, this is probably the reason.

The following recommended components will be a mix of Class A (excellent) and Class B (good). I will start with loudspeakers and work up the audio chain to the program sources.

Loudspeakers

More than any other component, the loudspeakers determine the class and quality of your music system. Some loudspeaker manufacturers, for example Altec-Lansing, Electro-Voice, Klipsch, Tannoy and JBL, have produced a large number of professional loudspeaker systems. Naturally, some of those systems occasionally appear in home audio systems. Other professional systems were adapted for home use by the manufacturer, usually with a change in cosmetics and model number. For example, the JBL 4130 (studio monitor) became the L100 (home speaker). I have (mostly) avoided professional speaker systems not adapted for home use by the manufacturer in the list that follows, concentrating instead on home Hi-Fi models. The loudspeakers listed below are full range, floor standing systems unless otherwise noted and have a minimum of 100 sq. in. of woofer surface area.

  • The Advent Loudspeaker (original, bookshelf)
  • Altec-Landing Barcelona 873A
  • Altec-Lansing Santiago 878A, Valencia 846B
  • Altec-Lansing A7-500 "Voice of the Theater" series (all versions, home and pro)
  • Altec-Lansing A7-800 "Voice of the Theater" series (all versions, home and pro)
  • Altec-Lansing Model 9846-8A (studio monitor)
  • Altec-Lansing Models 14, 15, 19
  • Altec-Lansing 501
  • Altec-Lansing Santana 879A
  • Altec-Lansing Segovia 890C (large bookshelf system)
  • Altec-Lansing Bias 550 (powered tower system)
  • Acoustic Research AR-3a (large bookshelf system)
  • Bowers & Wilkins 800 series (floor standing models)
  • Bozak Concert Grand (CS-310B, CS-410CL, CS-410M)
  • Bozak Symphony No. 1 (CS-4000A, CS-4000CL, CS-4000M)
  • Bozak CS 501
  • Bozak DMS 5500, DMS 5500W, DMS 6000, DMS 7000
  • Cerwin-Vega CMX-210, CMX-212
  • Cerwin-Vega XLS-215, XLS-15
  • Cerwin-Vega CLS-215, CLS-15
  • Cerwin-Vega 2000-15
  • Cerwin-Vega D9
  • Cerwin-Vega AT-15
  • Cerwin-Vega 380SE
  • Electro-Voice Patrician series
  • Electro-Voice Sentry 500 Monitor, 505 Monitor
  • Infinity IRS series (inefficient - requires high power amplifier)
  • Infinity Reference Standard IIa
  • Infinity RS 8 Kappa, RS 9 Kappa
  • Infinity Reference 60
  • Infinity SM 120, SM 150
  • JBL Paragon
  • JBL Hartsfield (corner horn - requires two solid corners in listening room)
  • JBL S7R, S8R (aka C50/Olympus, C60/Sovereign)
  • JBL L71 Verona
  • JBL Everest DD55000
  • JBL K2 series - S9500, S7500, S5500
  • JBL Cascade
  • JBL Ti series - 120 Ti (bookshelf), 240 Ti, 250 Ti
  • JBL L100, L166, 4130 (large bookshelf/monitor systems)
  • JBL L100t3 (floor standing version of L100 with titanium dome tweeter)
  • JBL L101 Lancer
  • JBL L150
  • JBL L200
  • JBL L220, L222
  • JBL L250
  • JBL L300, 4333 (monitor)
  • KEF Reference 107, 104
  • KLH Model 9 (electrostatic w/power supply)
  • KLH Models 5, 7, 10 (bookshelf speakers)
  • Klipschorn (corner horn - requires two solid corners in listening room)
  • Klipsch Belle Klipsch
  • Klipsch La Scala
  • Klipsch Cornwall
  • Klipsch Forte'
  • Klipsch RF-7 series
  • Klipsch RF-5
  • McIntosh ML-1 (large bookshelf system; requires MQ101 or MQ102 equalizer)
  • McIntosh ML-2 (requires MQ101 or MQ102 equalizer)
  • McIntosh ML-4 (requires MQ101 or MQ102 equalizer)
  • McIntosh XD717
  • McIntosh LS350
  • Paradigm Studio Monitor, Monitor 11
  • Polk Audio LSi25 (inefficient -includes powered woofer)
  • PSB Platinum T8 Tower, T6 Tower (inefficient - requires high power amplifier)
  • PSB Synchrony One (inefficient - requires high power amplifier)
  • Quad ESL series (inefficient electrostatic - requires high power amplifier)
  • Tannoy HW series
  • Warfedale Airedale
  • Warfedale 512.2

Stereo Power Amplifiers

The solid state, stereo power amplifiers that follow offer high performance and good to excellent build quality. The loudspeakers you want to drive will determine the amplifier power you need. Where applicable, power per channel is given in RMS watts, both channels driven, 20-20,000 Hz into eight ohms. For those interested in an integrated amplifier, rather than separate pre and power amps, most of the manufacturers mentioned below also offer (or offered) integrated amps.

  • Accuphase (all amplifiers)
  • Boulder (all amplifiers)
  • Bryston (all amplifiers)
  • Classe' (all amplifiers)
  • Crown D-150 (75/75 RMS)
  • Crown DC-300 (150/150 RMS)
  • Denon POA 2400 (200/200 RMS)
  • Denon POA 3000Z (250/250 RMS)
  • Dynaco Stereo 400 (200/200 RMS)
  • Hafler DH-500 (255/255 RMS)
  • Hafler XL-600 (305/305 RMS)
  • Harman-Kardon Citation series
  • Krell (all amplifiers)
  • Lineage PA-200 (100/100 RMS)
  • Linn (all amplifiers)
  • Luxman (all amplifiers)
  • Marantz (all amplifiers)
  • MarkLevinson (all amplifiers)
  • McIntosh (all amplifiers)
  • Quad (all amplifiers)
  • SAE Mark XXXI, Mark XXXIB, 3100 (50/50 RMS)
  • SAE Mark IV, Mark IVB (60/60 RMS)
  • SAE Mark II, Mark IIB (90/90 RMS)
  • SAE 2200, 2201 (100/100 RMS)
  • SAE Mark IVC, Mark IVCM, Mark IVD, Mark IVDM (100/100 RMS)
  • SAE Mark III, Mark IIIB (120/120 RMS)
  • SAE Mark XXIII, Mark XXIIIA, 2300 (150/150 RMS)
  • SAE Mark IIIC, Mark IIICM (200/200 RMS)
  • SAE Mark XXIV, 2400 (200/200 RMS)
  • SAE 2401 (250/250 RMS)
  • SAE Mark XXV, 2500 (300/300 RMS)
  • SAE 2600 (400/400 RMS)
  • Sony ES TA-N77ES (200/200 RMS)
  • Threshold (all amplifiers)

Stereo Pre-Amplifiers (Control Amplifiers)

All of the stereo pre-amplifiers listed are high performance, well built, solid-state designs. Any of these pre-amplifiers can be mated with any of the power amplifiers previously listed.

  • Accuphase (all)
  • Boulder (all)
  • Bryston (all)
  • Classe' (all)
  • Crown IC-150A
  • Denon PRA-2000Z
  • Harman-Kardon Citation series
  • Krell (all)
  • Lineage CP-100
  • Linn (all)
  • Luxman (all)
  • Marantz (all)
  • MarkLevinson (all)
  • McIntosh (all)
  • Quad (all)
  • SAE 2100, 2100L
  • SAE 2900
  • SAE Mark I, Mark IB
  • SAE Mark M
  • SAE Mark IX, Mark IXB
  • Sony TA-E77ESD
  • Threshold (all)

Stereo Tuners

Unless otherwise noted, these are solid-state AM/FM stereo tuners of more than adequate performance and quality. They should work fine with the pre-amplifiers listed above.

  • Accuphase (all stereo tuners)
  • Denon TU-800
  • Denon TU-850 (FM only)
  • Denon TU-900 (FM only)
  • Denon TU-1500RD (FM only)
  • Harman-Kardon Citation series
  • Kenwood 700T
  • Kenwood 600T, 650T
  • Kenwood KT-615
  • Kenwood KT-815
  • Kenwood KT-917 (FM only)
  • Kenwood KT-990D
  • Kenwood KT-1000
  • Kenwood KT-3050
  • Kenwood KT-3300D
  • Kenwood KT-5020
  • Kenwood KT-6007
  • Kenwood KT-7300
  • Kenwood KT-7500, KT-7550
  • Kenwood KT-8005
  • Kenwood KT-8007
  • Kenwood KT-8300
  • Kenwood L-02T
  • Kenwood L-07T, L-07TII
  • Kenwood L-1000T
  • Kyocera T-910
  • Luxman (all stereo tuners)
  • Marantz 20
  • Marantz 20B (built-in O-scope)
  • Marantz 125
  • Marantz 150 (built-in O-scope)
  • Marantz 2050
  • Marantz 2120
  • Marantz 2130 (built-in O-scope)
  • Marantz ST-500 (same as Esotec ST-5)
  • Marantz ST-600
  • Marantz Esotec ST-5
  • Marantz Esotec ST 7, ST-8
  • Marantz ST-17, ST-17U
  • Marantz ST-54, ST-54U
  • Marantz ST6000, ST6000P
  • McIntosh (all stereo tuners)
  • Nakamichi ST-7
  • Onkyo T-G10
  • Onkyo T-9090 Mk. II
  • Phillips AH673
  • Pioneer F-91
  • Quad (all stereo tuners)
  • Rega Radio 3
  • Revox (all stereo tuners)
  • SAE Mark VIB (meters), VI (built-in O-scope)
  • Sony ES (all)
  • Tandberg (all stereo tuners)
  • Yamaha CT-7000
  • Yamaha T-85B
  • Yamaha TX-1000U

CD Players

Because the technology behind CD players has improved continuously since their introduction, I recommend purchasing a recent or current model CD player from a reputable manufacturer. Virtually all audiophile quality CD players are single play models. Following are some recommendations.

  • Accuphase (any recent or current model)
  • Audio Research CD5
  • Ayre (any recent or current model)
  • Boulder (any recent or current model)
  • Bryston (any recent or current model)
  • Classe' (any recent or current model)
  • Krell (any recent or current model)
  • Linn (any recent or current model)
  • Luxman (any recent or current model)
  • Marantz Reference Series (all)
  • Marantz SA-8004
  • MarkLevinson (any recent or current model)
  • McIntosh (any recent or current model)
  • Nakamichi (any recent or current model)
  • Rega Reference Series Isis
  • Quad (any recent or current model)
  • Sony ES series (any recent model)
  • Yamaha CDS-2000, CDS-1000

Turntables and Tonearms

Many vintage turntables will provide good performance if they are in good condition. Fortunately, there are many on the used market at reasonable prices. Current and recent model audiophile turntables are extremely impressive LP record players, but very expensive and in short supply on the used market. Look for single play, belt or direct drive models.

  • Acoustic Research ETL-1
  • Akai L-95 (tangential tracking)
  • B&O Beogram 4000-7000 series (tangential tracking)
  • Denon DP-40F
  • Denon DP75
  • Denon DP-80
  • Denon DP-100, DP-100M
  • Denon DP-500M
  • Denon DP-1300 Mk. II
  • Denon DP-2800
  • Dual CS5000
  • Dual CS505 series
  • Empire "Troubadour" 498, 598, 698
  • Garrard Zero 100
  • JVC QL-10
  • JVC QL-Y66F
  • JVC QL-A75, QL-A95
  • Kenwood L-07D
  • Kenwood KD 500, KD 550 ("The Rock")
  • Kenwood KD 600, KD 650, KD 750
  • Kenwood KD 770, KD 990
  • Kyocera PL-910
  • Linn LP-12 series
  • Micro Seiki (all)
  • Nakamichi TX-1000
  • Oracle (all)
  • Ortofon (tonearms)
  • Pioneer Exclusive P3a
  • Pioneer PL-630
  • Pioneer PL-41D
  • Rega P25, P5, P7, P9
  • Sanyo TP-1000
  • SME (tonearms)
  • Sony PS-X9
  • SOTA (all)
  • Technics SP-10 series
  • Technics SL 1300 Mk. II, 1310 Mk. II, 1400 Mk. II, 1410 Mk. II, 1500 Mk.II, 1510 Mk. II
  • Thorens TD 125, TD 126, TD 295, TD 309, TD 350, TD 520, TD 550
  • Thorens Phantasie
  • Yamaha GT-2000, GT-2000L, GT-2000X
  • Yamaha PX-1, PX-2, PX-3 (tangential tracking)
  • Yamaha PF-1000



Back to Audio Online

Copyright 2011, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.


HOME / GUNS & SHOOTING / NAVAL, AVIATION & MILITARY / TRAVEL & FISHING / MOTORCYCLES & RIDING / AUDIO