Advise sought on Adcom 5800/5802

I am considering getting an used Adcom 5800 or a used/new Adcom 5802. My preamp is a Conrad Johnson PV12 & my speakers are Eminent Technology LFT VIIIa (variation of a ribbon planar design). Timbral accuracy, lack of grain, tonal balance, realistic sounstage, tuneful bass with pitch definition more so than extension, are my main priorities. I listen mainly to classical music (covers the whole spectrum). Any advise will be much appreciated.
From what I've heard the 5800 is a dog. Stay away. Don't know about the 5802. Check the reviews. I would consider a Conrad Johnson amp to go with the preamp you already have. MF series is a good solid state choice. There are some available on the site. I have the MF-2200 and am very satisfied.
I have generally been a fan of Adcom as a maker of good, entry-level audiophile gear. I still think that many of their products offer excellent value -- particularly the GFP-750. Artemus is correct in his advice to avoid the 5800. The 5802 has gotten good reviews, and was highly rated by Stereophile. I have a couple of cautionary notes, however. First, if you have not actually seen the 5802, be forewarned that it is quite large. Second, because it runs mainly in "Class A" mode, it runs hot, so it will need lots of ventilation.

I have owned quite a bit of Adcom gear in the years since 1986. During most of those years, Adcom had its products manufactured in Taiwan, where there were a number of state-of-the-art electronics assembly facilities. Several years ago, however, Adcom moved its manufacturing to mainland China, and I believe they had some moderately bad problems with quality control.

If you are willing to spend $1800 for a good power amp, my best recommendation is to buy either a Bryston 4B-ST, or a Marsh A400. The Bryston has a bit more power than the Adcom 5802, is more compact, generates a lot less heat, and has a transferrable 20-year warranty. I bought my Bryston 4B-ST from a dealer for about $1700, and I'd be happy to provide you his E-mail and phone number if you drop me a private note.
I "inherited" a 5800 from my Father's system. Quite honestly, i thought it sounded so bad in his system that i gave him another better / more expensive amp in exchange for it just to get it out of there. I ended up selling the 5800 for a noticeable loss compared to what was invested in the other amp, but that was pretty much expected. Such is the cost of being "a good son" : )

Before selling it, i did hook it up and listen to it for a few days. I obtained pretty much the same results at my house that we heard at my Father's. The bass was bloated and indistinct, there was a complete lack of soundstage, imaging, air, etc... treble was somewhat hard sounding, etc... As the drive level was increased, the amp became even less cohesive. EVERYTHING was kind of jumbled together and the treble developed a very noticeable glare and grain.

In terms of construction, the amp is pretty well built and uses two fans for forced cooling. They are thermostatically controlled, so you won't hear them running. They only come on when "gettin' it", so the volume from the speakers easily covers up the noise. Outside of the sonics, the other sore spot that this amp has is the power switch. You can pretty much count on it breaking. I've replaced a couple of them for other locals that have these amps. Not a big deal, but something to keep in mind. For the money, they do give you a pretty reasonable amount of muscle. Unfortunately, it is "raw" muscle with no finesse involved.

While i haven't heard the 5802, it is SUPPOSEDLY how the 5800 was supposed to sound and be built to start off with. Instead of calling it a 5800 Mk II, it just became the 5802. From those that i've spoken to, the general consensus is that it is a MUCH better amp in every respect. Whether or not it is a good match for your system is the bottom line though. Sean