Adcom, B&K, or Rotel?????????


I need to buy a new amp and have been think about one of the following Adcom 555/5500 or 545 100-200watts b&k 442/202 150-200watts rotel rmb 100(these are mosfet 125 watt amps from mid 1990s) I know the b&k very well and like its sound (I love good tubes but can't afford them plus it needs to work it home theater) So if anyone out there has heard the others please let me know how they sound....... email or post thanks, glenn1000@yahoo.com
glenn1000
B & K amps do not sound like tubes, regardless of what others tell you or you read. My Father has owned a B & K amp, I've owned several B & K's and my brother is currently doing a quad amped set-up consisting of a B & K ST-140 for the tweeters, ST-202 for the mids, ST-202 for the woofers and an EX-442 for the subs. We've modified the power supplies, done circuit upgrades and improved the wiring in all of them. I am VERY familiar with their good and bad points. I have also owned and listened to several different Adcom amps. They are typically sterile and lifeless sounding, lack dimensionality, do not offer any form of "air" and the soundstage / imaging characteristics are non-existent. Bass is typically lacking definition and pitch while treble is relatively sharp and strident. I have run them with everything from passive line sections to tube preamps and solid state preamps. I always found them lacking in the areas that i mentioned above. I will say that Adcom does stand behind their products and offer very reasonable repair prices and turn around time should you ever have a problem with one of their products. I can't really comment on the older Rotel stuff. I would take a stock B & K over an Adcom any day. The good thing about the B & K's is that the circuitry is very simple and responds well to simple and inexpensive modifications. The sound is typically far more musical, relaxed and enjoyable, even in stock form. The Adcom might offer more exciting sound initially with it's boom and sizzle characteristics, but it's lack of finesse and the "cardboard" reproduction quality that it puts forth grows old relatively rapidly. You didn't mention any of the other components that your running or looking at. Keep in mind that a music reproduction system is just that. A SYSTEM. You have to get pieces that will work together in order to achieve the end results that your looking for. This means that EVERYTHING from signal source to interconnects to amplification stages to speaker wires to speakers to room reflections and resonances will affect what your hearing. Don't underestimate ANY part of the chain or how important they are to making the system complete. Sean >
I have had a B&K st 140.Its a nice amp.Rotel is junk adcom is no better.How much are you looking to spend.
Depending on your budget, you could get a used McCormack DNA 0.5 (100WPC) Standard or Deluxe version or even a DNA 1 (175WPC) Standard or Deluxe and it would absolutely blow away the three brands you mentioned. If you are curious, look all around the both the print journals and Internet review sites for the glowing reviews. It gets even better with the McCormack gear though. Steve McCormack, the original designer and all around good guy has started a little firm call SMcAudio that's doing upgrades at different price levels for each of the amps in the DNA line. So you could invest a little bit in a DNA 0.5 now (you can probably find one for around $750) and gradually improve the already excellent sound through upgrading. If you are curious about the upgrade options go to www.smcaudio.com. Or, you could just call Steve himself and he would be more than happy to discuss your options. Anyone else have an opinion about McCormack gear?
I would take the B&K over Rotel & Adcom but what about others like McCormack, Bryston ST series, older Classe. All of these would be better than the B&K stuff (IMHO) - Maybe too high for your budget but worth a look as excellent options???
Sean, I'd be interested to hear about the modifications you've made to the B&Ks. If you don't want to clutter up this thread you can email me through member lookup. I currently own a B&K AV6000II. Probably not the best but I like it. It drives a pair of Paradigm Reference Studio 60s. Don't know how it compares to Adcom or Rotel. But it is definitely better than the NAD 2400 it replaced. My one complaint is that is seems a little slow dynamically. Some of the problem was alleviated when I replaced the stock power-cord with a Custom Power Cord Company Model 11 cord.
If you're listening to amps in the price range of Adcom and Rotel you might want to also audition Parasound. John Curl designs, very good build quality and sound for the money and relatively easy to find used. I agree with the previous post about the quality of McCormack amps. I replaced a Parasound HCA-1000 with a McCormack 0.5 Deluxe of the same rated power and the difference in quality was amazing but, then, the used price of the McCormack was double the used price of the Parasound.
If you're listening to amps in the price range of Adcom and Rotel you might want to also audition Parasound. John Curl designs, very good build quality and sound for the money and relatively easy to find used. I agree with the previous post about the quality of McCormack amps. I replaced a Parasound HCA-1000 with a McCormack 0.5 Deluxe of the same rated power and the difference in quality was amazing but, then, the used price of the McCormack was double the used price of the Parasound.
I own a couple of BK amps. I have had one problem with each of them (they are a few years old each). However, BK was great with the repairs and sent them back better than new. They sound great (for the money). I also had a Rotel amp some years ago. It was fine, also.
I owned Adcom amps for many years, and don't agree with most of the comments offered here. However, I recently upgraded my 2 amps with a Bryston 4B-ST and a Bryston 5B-ST. In 2 words: HUGE DIFFERENCE. You can get a good buy on Bryston amps from "Bestofdeal", which advertises in Stereopiles mag. Contact Danny Oovlin at this Web address: Bestofdeal@aol.com. Another amp you might want to consider is the new line built by Richard Marsh - his Marsh Electronics amps. Tony Cordesman just gave a glowing review in TAS of the Marsh A400 (200 wpc) - said it was the finest $2000 amp he's ever heard, and as good as many costing up to $20K. Marsh also has several smaller amps, as well as preamps. I haven't heard the Marsh line yet, but I do respect Tony Cordesman's reviews.
I have had a ST140 for 8 years, it still sounds great and i hve had no difficulties with it. I did AB adcom and rotel with it before I purchased it. It is definitely more musical. Good luck.
A long time ago I had a Rotel amp and upgraded to a McCormack DNA 0.5...What a HUGE difference, everything was better. My 0.5 is scheduled for a SMC Rev A in October. Spend the extra money now and you can always have an upgrade done sometime in the future. There really is know comparision to the B&K, Rotel or Adcom. Plus Steve McCormack is a great guy and always willing to provide advice.
hey guys thanks for you input I need to be "inexpensive" on this purchase (used under $500) as I still need speakers. currently I'm running a lexicon dc1 (I know not the Audio research pre that I want but a whole system on a budget is hard), I agree with you about the mccormick amps they kick but on everything under 2grand. I think I'll go with my gut instinct and go with the b&k as the mosfets are more musical
Hi Glenn, I owned an Adcom 545 and upgraded to a Hafler 9500 transnova about six years ago. I still have the Hafler and love it. Very detailed and a huge soundstage. I choose it over PS audio at the time. You can get the Hafler 9303 B stock from HCM Audio for $649. This is an upgraded 150 watt version of my amp. Worth considering.
Check out the new Bedini Classic 100/100, you won't be sorry!!