I’ve always liked Kenwood. The TS-850 was always considered a pretty decent contesting rig in its http://www.cq-amateur-radio.com/ especially as it had really clean audio. Put in a 500 Hz filter and CW on this rig was a very pleasant experience.
Now Kenwood has a new TS-590s that’s using roofing filter technology and digital signal processing capable of competing with the big boys contest radios.
At least that’s the conclusion of Gordon West, WB6NOA, writing a “First Look” in the December issue of CQ Magazine. West (no relation to me) compared the TS-590s to an older TS-950 which many, many folks really liked and found the new rig much better.