Adcom, Rotel, Carver amp?
I've been lurking on audiogon for well over a year and, long story short, have caught the bug and need to upgrade my lifeless system.
The system is in my living room. I'm an apartment dweller and don't really pound anything, but do like to turn it up when appropriate. I mostly use it to listen to CDs and it plays double duty when watching DVDs (rarely, and not the big block buster explosion filled kind). I have an eclectic audio palette (acoustic, electronic, blues, rock, bad 80s, good 80s, and a hint of classical).
I started on the speakers and recently picked up a pair of Infinity Kappa 7 series II speakers (from fellow audiogone'er Mamaluco_63, a real class act and a pleasure to have met) and am wholly in love with them. Bang for buck, I'm really impressed with them. They're a bit bright and can be a bit boomy, but the variable crossovers on the back help attenuate in the relevant way.
My sources are a PS3 and an Apple Airport Express both connected via TosLink to my Audio Sector NOS Dac.
I think now is a good time to pick up an amp. I'm in the market for a pre amp as well, but one thing at a time. My no frills Sony receiver will have to play doubly duty until I can eventually switch it out.
I'm on a modest budget (~500 preferably) but don't mind paying more for quality. Audio is something that doesn't change drastically over time so I don't mind spending more for something I'll still love 5 years from now.
Since I mostly listen to CDs, I'm looking for a quality 2 channel amp. I was thinking of picking up an Adcom GFA 555 mk II. I see it mentioned even today in amplifier comparisons so I'd like to think it's a safe bet. But, I've also seen mention of Rotel, especially when it comes to price per performance. Particularly, the RB 1080 seems like something similar to the Adcom, but the reviews are pretty varied in comparison, which muddies the situation even more. And lastly, my 3rd option was picking up a Carver A500x. Again, I've heard good and bad which makes the decision hard.
Clearly the most sane solution is to find them and hear for myself which sounds better. But, as it turns out, finding a dealer in the area with amps that old is an impossibility.
I've been dragging my feet long enough, time to decide. What would you do? Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated, as would any other options. After the deed is done, I'll be in the market for a pre amp too, but again 1 thing at a time.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this long post.