What Is A Monster Receiver?


Pioneer SX-1980 Monster Receiver
I see forum threads all the time talking about this or that receiver being a “Monster Receiver”. Many eBay sellers of vintage receivers tend to throw around the term “Monster” pretty easily as well. Just what does the Monster attribute refer to? Is it the size or weight of the receiver? Is it only top of the line receivers or those that exceed a certain power output? What makes a receiver a Monster?

Unfortunately there really is no standard definition of what a monster receiver is and probably never will be. Obviously something deemed a monster is usually very big such as a monster truck or monster wave. The same applies to receivers in that most of them that people would consider “monster” are large. Very large. I’ve seen some claim that any stereo weighing over 50 pounds should be considered a monster. But, there are a large number of receivers over that weight that wouldn’t even be considered a quality piece of audio equipment.


Marantz 2385 Monster Receiver
Many times receivers are given the monster tag because of their power output. One of the more common themes is that any receiver that puts out 120 watts or more per channel should be considered a monster. That definition would make for a fairly large list though as quite a few receivers fit that criteria. One would think that a monster receiver would definitely be the top of the line (TOTL) for the particular manufacturer at the time of its production but there are many non TOTL receivers that put out 120+ watts per channel.

My definition of a monster receiver incorporates all of the above. The stereo should be big, heavy, TOTL, and have massive power output. It was more than likely produced during the receiver wars of the mid to late 70’s and one look at it should cause you to say Wow! I wouldn’t necessarily say that it has to be the best sounding stereo or have the least distortion.


Kenwood KR-9600 Monster Receiver
Some receivers are obvious monsters like the Pioneer SX-1980. It’s huge, heavy and hase massive power output. Others in that category are the Sansui G33000, Marantz 2385, Yamaha CR-3020 and others. Other stereo’s are more in the gray area such as the MCS 3275, Pioneer SX-1010, Yamaha CR-2020, Kenwood Model Eleven and others. 
Yamaha CR-2020 Monster Receiver
In the end there really is no formal definition of what a monster receiver is and it’s really more in the eye of the beholder. I’m going to put together a list of my top ten monster receivers soon and I’ll expect everyone to tear it apart. But, it’s like sports conversations. No one is purely right or wrong. You just make the best case you can and leave it at that.

Listings from eBay

Vintage Kenwood KR-9050 High Speed DC Receiver "Monster" 200w / Channel

End Date: Monday Apr-20-2020 13:53:43 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $3,750.00
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Sansui G-9000 DB monster receiver All switches and pots cleaned and lubed

End Date: Saturday Apr-25-2020 18:38:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $2,800.00
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Vintage Monster Amp-Pioneer SX-1250 Receiver/Amp

End Date: Saturday May-2-2020 8:48:21 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $2,599.99
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Sansui 9090DB Vintage Stereo Monster Receiver 125WPC  Sold "AS-IS"

End Date: Sunday May-3-2020 15:56:58 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $1,700.00
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Yamaha CR-3020


This is the monster Yamaha CR-3020 that hit the audio market in 1978. It is the BIG brother of the CR-1020 and CR-2020. The CR-3020 is rated at 160 watts per channel into 8 ohms. It also has a frequency response of 5-100,000 Hz and total harmonic distortion of 0.01%.

The CR-3020 was big and it weighs in at just under 82 pounds!



The CR-3020 has controls for Bass, Treble and Presence.  Speaker selection includes Off, A, B, C, A+C, A+B.  It also has Low and High filter switches and a Mode switch for L, R, Stereo, and Rev.  Input selector includes Tape 1+2, Tuner,Phono, Aux.

There are two headphones jacks on the front panel and Vu meters for Level, Signal G and FM.



The Yamaha CR-3020 is definitely on the top 10 list for most receiver collectors. It’s very hard to find as it had a list price of $1500 when new. These receivers sell for up to $1500-$2000 in good working condition.

Listings from eBay

Vintage Yamaha CR-3020 stereo receiver

End Date: Wednesday Apr-15-2020 19:15:33 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $2,600.00
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Yamaha CR-3020 FULL rebuild restoration recap service kit fix repair capacitor

End Date: Friday May-1-2020 10:36:39 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $195.00
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Yamaha Receiver LED Lamp Light Bulb Repair Kit CR1020 1020 CR2020 2030 CR3020

End Date: Saturday Apr-11-2020 16:22:54 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $24.95
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5 pcs WHITE LED lamp light bulb Illumination Yamaha CR1020 CR2020 CR3020    

End Date: Friday Apr-24-2020 21:04:36 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $14.99
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