I purchased the R8 I still have back in 1993 from Universal. I still
have it to this day -- and I have added another R8 obtained through
EBay which was basically in new condition. I have been through the
R8A and R8B and while they significantly improved the ergonomics,
I have stayed with the R8 because (a) I prefer the heavier knob and
the "feel" of the encoder and (b) I think the R8 still has better audio
than its later versions.
I have and have had several portable receivers, and I am looking to get my first real radio.
I'm mostly into AM/WM DX, ham and utility reception. Budget is factor, but if I have to go a bit over $500 I will...yes, it'll hurt a bit if I must spend that much, but I'd really like something good.
The tree I have my eye on are a Drake R8, Kenwood R-5000, or (yes, I know..not in the same class) Grundig Satellit 750.