Friday, November 21, 2008

The Nikko NR 815 Receiver

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.


Jeff said...

I bought my NR-815 in college about 30 years ago (Bryan, TX), and still use it almost every day! Whether it's running the FM tuner, equalizer, CD & DVD player (turn table belt finally dry rotted), even the TV - it's never missed a lick. My teen kid's friends think it's pretty cool, too. Just wished it had a remote - it's getting harder getting my old butt out of my Lazy Boy...

Rich said...

I have one of these for sale. I hate to part with it - it works fine - just don't have the room to keep it hangin' around.

Excellent working condition. Any offers?

Chinny4290 said...

Hello sir. I googled the Nikko NR-815 and your blog was the first to come up. Now I know this is an old post but my dad's original NR-815 took a dive. EVerything sans the mute button worked before it did. Now, everything lights up and all the switches work by their associated LEDs. But you know that "click" you hear after you hit the power button to turn it on, and after it 'warms up,' mine no longer does that and it no longer produces sound. Do you know what the problem is? Email me at thescientist4590@aol. Thanks man!

Anonymous said...

My late husband owned a Nikko NR815 and truly loved it. Swore he'd never part with it. Unfortunately he passed away before it did.

I would like to sell this item but have no clue as to what to price it. It is used and the great turgoise colored light on the front panel is slowly going out. Only have the front panel is lit these days. That is the only condition issue.

Can anyone help me as to what a fair asking price would be. I've been told that vintage electronics are desirble. Thanks. You can reach me at

Anonymous said...


Does anyone know something about Magnum 2000 (it seem that this was a model made by Nikko in late '70)?

Thank you for any information.

Btg Thomas

Anonymous said...

I found an 815 at a goodwill store for $30 in perfect shape

Anonymous said...

i just found this gem at a goodwill store. for the pre-out and main-in, do i need a patch cord, or what?

Niles T said...

Yes. Patch or jumpers. Just make sure it's pre to power left and right.