Well, when you say "8 track" it makes me want to cringe or at least have an acid flashback of my 67 Impala with Muntz 8 track player... who can forget those days...
It sounds like you abhor new technology and only want to learn it when you want to. If you can post on this forum and the pics you have posted, I'm sure you are way smarter than you think you are and could step up to the plate for anything you truly want to upgrade to. So, the question is quality level and capabilities, as well as "Do I need to find my &*%^# glasses to see the micro labeled buttons?" That's one of my biggest peeves is having to get my glasses on to see if I've pressed the CD input switch or just launched a missile.
So, you should ask yourself if you want a true receiver which is in most peoples' minds something that does everything. It is the PREAMP as well as the POWER AMP. It is two things in one, with a lot of inputs for today's devices. The newest receivers have even more inputs for everything including HDMI for coming off your cool new TV and everything else. The biggest drag about a receiver is that there's a million buttons and routing and on the back is like a minefield in inputs and outputs. You have to be pretty good at understanding what you're doing and have nimble digits to actually get to the speaker terminals.
Then there's "separates". You have a "preamp" which is the first stage of amplification for everything and gives you the special eq you need for your turntable (RIAA phono preamp equalization). It probably won't have as many inputs, and is designed more for audiophiles that aren't trying to plug in a million things into their audio setup. It's usually made for music and maybe one theatre type setup. It's a standalone device meant to then plug into your "Power amp".
Your power amp is then just that, no special goodies and way more room to get your fingers on in's and out's on the back plate. If something goes wrong with just the power amp, you can get a new one pretty easy or something used but good for dirt cheap, while your preamp stays in your setup untouched while you get your good/or more powerful perhaps power amp fixed. The bad is that separates usually cost more, but worth it. If your trying to stay cheap and more simple, you can find used older preamps on eBay for cheap and they won't have a billion different inputs and buttons which you're probably not going to need.
If you want to stay with a "receiver", one thing does all, I can tell you from tons of experience that Denon really is the best stuff out there for the money and lasts longer than other brands. Yamaha makes good stuff too but they cheap out on consumer stuff. From decades of audio experience, Denon CD players hold up longer than any other hands down. I have bought a LOT of cd players. Denons are the only ones standing decades later.
The bad with Denon is they like to print their font sizes on their buttons for people who have the vision of electron tunneling microscopes. Even with glasses on I have to really squint to read those #&^% buttons. Pi$$es me off.
You also need to address if you want all the channels for theatre type audio dispersion. 5.1, 7.1, center channel sound, all that. If you want to play movies thru your home stereo then you probably won't be able to do separates and have to have a "receiver". It will decode the movies and place speech into the "center channel speaker" and music and blasting gunfire into the left and right. The other channels can go to the back rear speakers if you install some, and so you can hear aliens slithering up from behind you. The .1 designation stands for the subwoofer channel if you have a subwoofer. I highly recommend Paradigm speakers for any home music/theatre applications from tons of testing and listening evaluations.
Hope this helps.