Adcom or Creek?


I have recently re-started aquiring a budget hifi system...
The last one was in the UK, circa 1997: Pioneer A400 - a Giant killer:

B&W P4, Pioneer stable platter transport and Cambridge DAC - The A400 sounded very neutral and magically delicate and powerful :)

Now if the Pioneer were available in 120v I would be happy with that, but that's another story...

I now have a Creek 4330R integrated and an as yet untried Adcom GFA 5200 Power Amp (watts are less important that the quality of them).

My question is would an complete Adcom system including say the GFA 450 Pre/Tuner sound better than the Creek on it's own?

I like a neutral and not artificialy "warm" sound which is what I am finding with a lot of gear I've tried.

Any comments will be much appreciated.

San Francisco
The Adcom 5200 is a basic power amp. Not very musical...
good to power other room speakers and outdoor speakers in most applications... at least in my opinion... I have owned a 535, 545 I and II and 555... the 545 amp was the best of the bunch... dont like creek ,except for the phono stages... Now, for a nice, and I am assuming not staggeringly expensive setup... Consider a B and K Pro 10 mc
preamp... saw one this morning on agon for under 300..
Excellent piece...external power supply, passive mode, good mc and mm input..
and try an aragon 8002 amp or macintosh mc 2100 even the older adcom 545 will perform better than the combo you suggested with your stated gear...
Just my 2 cents...
Good luck,
Custom Audio LLC
I have the Adcom 5300 and even though it is not bad the high end is constricted and a little grainy, it is a little flat sounding too, It is not offensive just not special.
Hi Joe,

If you want the most bang for the buck, Adcom is a great place to start. Until recently, their unmoded gear has been a bit less than impressive, items like the GCD-750, GFP-750, and the 5802 amp have changed that. These too need mods to really smoke, but they are pretty good out of the box, which older gear was not. The thing is that Adcom generally uses a solid design, though I hear they have had issues with manufactures not following those designs, etc. Anyway, even most of the ones they had issues with, because of their sound design in general, can be moded to sound pretty fantastic. For more specific information I would contact Stan Warren, co-founder of PS Audio, later he founded Superphon, and now he has SuperMods.

Stan Warren
2375 W. 21ST Ave.
Eugene, OR 97405

(541) 344-3696

He has no answering machine, and ususally is available in the evenings. I have worked with him and he is fast, reliable, and a great guy. He does Adcom mods all the time and can adivse you more properly as far as what gear to buy, so you can mod it to rival some of the super gear out there.

Best Regards,

To put my system in perspective, here's my cost so far:
(I'm a cheapskate)

Creek 4330R - $300 (after selling the phono stage :)
Adcom 5200 - $125
Marantz CD-67SE - $140
Minipods (Temporary solution) - $250
Homemade Cat-5 speaker cables
Various interconnects, awaiting a pair of these
arriving from Signal Cable...

I was thinking of perhaps the Musical fidelity X-Pre (tube) any comments on that one?

I agree with Philjet - Adcom is grainy. Dealer switched from Adcom to Classe CAP 101 on B&W Nautilus 804 and big improvement in clarity and sound quality.
If you use Epos or other speaker with very easy load the 4330 should be okay. Otherwise could bi-amp 4330 with 2nd Creek power amp.
Hi Josh,

It all depends upon funds. If funds are tight, I would never recommend tubes. You can get a nice old Perreaux SM-2 preamp for a few dollars, replace the 2 modular bridge rectifiers with Freds, the other diodes in the power supply with low noise UF4007 diodes, and all the caps, other than the 12 big PS caps, with Black Gate caps, I guarantee you a killer preamp with a great little phono stage. You can use Nichicon's audiophile grade caps in the power supply to save a couple more bucks. It will not be as great as the best, but it certainly will be better than a lot of highly touted gear.

If you want to spend a little more and get a remote, the GFP-750 with Black Gate caps, and soft recovery low noise diodes would be the way to go. As for Adcom being grainy, I have hated Adcom gear most of my life, nevertheless, Stan Warren can make it sound pretty awesome.
Well I tried the Adcom direct from the CD player using the variable out on the player, sounded reasonable but not terribly revealing?

My main complaint was that the thing was actually too hot to touch (4 ohm speakers?), which is a problem as space is tight - as well as money!.

Since the unit weighs about 20lbs it is really too much to stack on top and too hot to put under anything. Currntly I don't have space for a proper rack. I live in a shoebox in San Francisco..

So decision made, Keep the Creek, and the Adcom goes.

I think a DAC is next on shopping list, the Art DIO at $118 looks like a good canditate. Does need a mod to bring the voltage down from 7+ volts...

Or if I can find one I'd love the Musical Fidelity X-24 DAC...

Thx for the helpful advice and cheers,
Hi Josh,

I would not bother with the Art DI/O. I tried one and Boulder Cable did all they could do to it, but it was pretty unimpressive. One of the late 80 Sony ES top of the line single CDP's will give you better sound, but if you are going that far, just save your pennies and buy a GCD-750, change out the modular bridges for fred based bridges, and the 1N400? diodes for UF4007's. Replace the 1000uF, was it 50V O/P caps with Black Gates. If this is just too much, then get an Adcom 700 DAC and mod it. The GCD-750 would, IMO, be the equal of most, if not any, Stereophile class "A" rated CDPs.

I agree with Lou 3rd. I've been using a slightly tweaked SM-2 for a long while and it sounds great, with a very nice phono section to boot. I've slipped it into various systems and it has compared well with many highly rated preamps without the need to trade in your car. Totally reliable. Lou was also right about the 750. Not sure if it's worth the extra cost though. Perreaux build quality is excellent and Dan up in Buffalo is great if you ever need help.
Hi Miles,

Depends, upon system resolution, etc. I am not sure what you mean about extra cost though. I am going to assume that you mean over the cost of a DI/O, You can have my DI/O it is garbage! The voltage regulator went in it, and it is such junk that I am not even going to repair and sell it, I think I would be doing someone a disservice.... The GCD-750 is very good stock, but moded through my Acoustat Spectra 3300's it was on par with my Bidat, which is one of the best DACs ever made IMO. I do need to test it with cone speakers to be sure, the Acoustats can be partial to some odd gear.... :-)

Best Regards,

Lou: I think that Miles was referring to the cost of the Adcom GFP-750 as compared to what the modified Perreaux SM-2 would give you for far less money. Given the basic build quality of the Perreaux products, i would agree that substituting a few key components with higher grade parts would probably result in an overall better performing product for less money. This is not to say that i think that Perreaux pieces are close to the ultimate, but that they offer very reasonable performance with the potential to be much better than some other newer and more expensive products. That is, if one is willing to invest in "old technology" and do the work themselves or pay someone to do it. Sean
Thanks Sean,

I am not sure what a GFP-750 is capable of, but a well moded SM-2 is pretty hard to beat.

Hello All,

Well I have aquired a MSB link dac3 locally for next to nothing!

So now I'm looking at CDPlayer combos...awaiting their arrival...

Discussion is over here now