Nikko is one of the underrated receiver manufacturers of the vintage era. Their build quality is very good, their styling has held up well, and they are very easy on the ears. They tend to be undervalued on ebay, a shame. The Alpha/Beta/Gamma series of separates from Nikko does garner a reasonable amount of respect, however.
This NR 815 was an ebay purchase and it worked well out of the box (always a worry.) The trusty Orion Blue Book says it was manufactured between '77 and '82. I suspect that range is a bit wide, but close enough. The 815 seems to have been the middle of a very broad offering with the 315 being the entry level and the 1415 being the top of the line. When I grow up I want an NR 1415 with 175 watts per channel! The NR 815 has 55 watts and retailed at a hefty $470. This is a largish receiver:
Large usually makes it easy to work on:
The 815 is fairly well laid out with one major exception. The phono section, situated, as usual, in the back right of the chassis, sits underneath the tuning capacitor. Whatever was Nikko thinking? One of the first rules of receiver restoration is never mess with the tuning string, so the capacitor had to stay in place. I had to fish out and replace caps from underneath via what little dexterity have remaining in my left hand. I love vintage, but vintage digits really suck at that dexterity thing.
The drive card is mounted vertically in front of the heat sinks. I was able to re-cap that without removing. The relay ciruitry is just in from of the drive card and the regulator circuitry in front of that. The tuners are to the right.
I am usually obsessive about the cap replacement count, it's sort of a solder monkey's counting coup. However, I managed to misplace my coup stick, er, slip of paper with the exact total. It was something over 70, I swear.
Re-capped with the controls spritzed this a nice sounding unit. The overall presentation is a bit mellow and would fit very nicely with a digital source. At 55 watts a side a bit of care needs to be taken with speakers if you are wanting to fill a largish room with Led Zeppelin. But, all in all, the NR 815 will eat your Fry's HT black box for breakfast and lunch, and look good doing it.