I really, really like the NAD Monitor series of audio components from the late 80s/early 90s. They have a nice aesthetic, perform well, and they’re relatively cheap. My introduction to NAD was a 5325 CD player found at an estate sale. Impulse purchase, but it turned out to be a great piece of gear. Later, I bought a Monitor Series 1300 preamp when I wanted a good phono pre, and again was impressed. When I changed my speaker setup and needed a more powerful amp, I decided to go for the full Monitor series. I now have a 1300 preamplifier, 2400 THX amplifier, and 5300 CD player. I don’t listen to broadcast radio or cassette very often, so I’m not hunting for those very hard.
Here’s a quick primer of what existed. Generally, the bigger the number, the higher the quality/power rating/number of features. Higher end components were generally made in Japan with metal faceplates, while the cheaper or later production ones may be Taiwanese with plastic faceplates, depending on the component.
- Preamps: 1000, 1300
- Preamp/Tuners: 1600, 1700
- Power Amplifiers: 2100, 2400 THX, 2600, 2700
- Integrated Amplifiers: 3300PE, 3400
- Tuners: 4100, 4300
- CD Players: 5000, 5100, 5170, 5300
- Cassette Players: 6100, 6300
- Receivers: 7000, 7100, 7400, 7600
Lots of specs exist for these online, so I won’t bother expounding on them here. They usually punch above their class by the numbers, though build quality isn’t anything to get excited about.
Coolest thing about these? They could be had with nicely designed rack ears to mount up like pro equipment. It’s a difficult quest to obtain the rackmounts for the whole set, but I’m almost there. The RH 75 rack handles will fit the 3″ tall components (CDs/tuners/preamps), while the RH 110 handles will fit the 4.5″ tall components (amps/cassette players/receivers). Some had red rubber inserts that look awesome, while some either didn’t come that way or have lost them over the years. |’m looking for one pair of RH75 at the moment, if anyone has them. I have one spare pair of RH110 that I would trade.