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Nakamichi SR-3

Stereo Receiver (1987)

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Nakamichi SR-3


Tuning range: FM, MW

Power output: 45 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.1%

Input sensitivity: 0.16mV (MC), 2.5mV (MM), 200mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 73dB (MC), 80dB (MM)

Output: 200mV (line)

Dimensions: 430 x 100 x 370mm

Weight: 8.5kg


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re: SR-3

I owned this in the early 1990's, and I gave it up in a divorce. It is one of the best sounding amplifiers I've ever heard. I was working in a hifi shop at the time, so I took many opportunities to compare it to other receivers. I could only afford that route, and I didn't need much power. I compared it over and over again to the Denons, Sonys, Kenwoods, and many expensive separates.

I couldn't believe that I could consistently hear the qualities that I admired with this item. I hadn't been so surprised since I acquired a Marantz 7c and 8b preamp and amp, tube-type, from the early sixties. I'm usually dubious of "audiophile" claims about amplifier sound quality, so I was very gratified that I could hear a difference in quality that really enhanced my listening enjoyment. This continued for the years of ownership following this.

I was most surprised by the bass response, because I find that the most difficult to explain. Knowing the near perfect specs of most amplifiers and receivers, I can't explain why the Nakamichi had such a full and tuneful bass: why it seemed to reach deeper to expose newer material from the recording.

But I was even more appreciative of the imaging which allowed music to float suspended in a palpable way with depth and dimension that was even better than the tube gear I mentioned. There was plenty of power! I believe this receiver puts out 75 watts/ch., and it was priced accordingly.

It was not perfect. It was a little bright and slightly edgy, but I couldn't complain because it was so satisfying -- much more than I had a right to expect for the price. Sure, it was expensive for a receiver, but it was a bargain based on the sound and the features. I miss it, and I want to uncover the mysteries of all of this.

Of course, I was familiar with Nelson Pass who invented the Stasis amplifier technology that Nakamichi licensed in order to make this line of gear. I had not and have not heard any of his Threshold amplifiers that use the Stasis technology. I was using one of the premium Sony CD players at the time, a very expensive model with a copper chassis. It was a great unit, too, that had a lot to do with the overall sound. I had DCM 350 Time Frame speakers at the time that were very revealing, and they were a bit bright as I recall.

I am an electronics technician who studies engineering, and I have pondered the schematics. The Stasis method used by Nakamichi is very similar to the compound feedback pair (CFP) that is well-known. The driver is of opposite polarity from the power device it drives. It has a gain of three, open loop, and the power device has a gain less than one. That is what is different from the CFP. There is a one-ohm resistor in the emitter of the output device, but the output is taken from the collector which has no resistor at all. The driver and output are locked in an embrace that totals unity gain. The linearity of this output pair is what allows the amplifier to claim no global feedback loop. The final transistor pairs are outside of the loop. I think there is local negative feedback within the pair as there is in a CFP pair, but I can see how this qualifies as a voltage amp driving a current amp "slave" that only supplies the error-correction material. The most famous Threshold amps were class-A, so I think the brightness I hear with the Nakamichi is a product of crossover distortion. It may be from switching distortion that, in theory, plagues the CFP pair form of output alignment.

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Nakamichi. To purchase SR-3/SR-3E spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.