B&K ST 140 (I think) with 105 watts per cannel. Look up old reviews. Used ones in good condition run $200-300.
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I'm presently using a little 50w Rotel 951 which is a really sweet amp. (This was after I replaced the power cord w/a fixed 14-2 cord, gold plated RCA input jacks, and gold plated spk. binding posts. Used solid core wire w/Johnson solder. WOW...what a difference! You would not believe the sound improvement this made. Since you seem to be a handy person, consider these mods if you're amp doesn't have decent connectors.) Not knowing the power you req., I'd say try to find a Rotel amp. 951/971/981/991 Older RB-970/980/990. I spoke w/ a very experienced/knowledgeable audiophile and in one of our conversions he said the RB-980BX was a gem. Don't forget the support you may need from the Manufacturer. Rotel and Parasound. There are so many choices!!! If a Marantz SM-17 comes along....I've been always wanting to try this amp out! Good Luck w/your search. Bill
I second the B&K St140 suggestion if only because they (the gold handled ones) look so cool...not sure about the issues from age however. One of the most overlooked Adcom amps is the 5300 (85 watts per into 8ohms). I like it better than the 535 I or II both of which I've owned and enjoyed. It has better low end than 535s and smoother sounding to my ears. It's built like a tank and although not as refined as some pricier stuff, I think it's a ridiculous bargain for a MOSFET amp...I use one for some extension speakers, studio monitoring, and backup for my main (tube) amp...I think it cost $150 or so from Ebay. Maybe less, and certainly less than a 5400 or 5500 or nearly anything else from Adcom.
I would go for the Emotiva UPA-2 amp. It is a tremendous bang for the buck. It is built very well and they sound really good. I had a 200.00 Emotiva dac in my system for almost a year. I bought a different dac for 1,000.00 and it is only very slightly better. You won't be disappointed and they have the best customer service as well.
The B&K ST-140 is such a sweet sounding amp, it sounds great imo. It is limited in the power and transparency department. But...the Emotiva UPA-2 is a powerfully good sounding amp and cannot be beat for $300 imo. I think the UPA-2 is a better amp than the UPA-200, so maybe you should look for a used UPA-2. The transferable warranty should have 2-4 years left.
How does the Emotiva compare in sound quality to say the B&K suggested? How do the Dayton's sound? I could afford monoblocks going that route! Better, worse, in what ways?
I don't mind getting my hands dirty and replacing some capacitors to either bring something older up to snuff or to improve something.
I'm actually going to start buying parts for a very nice DIY amp, a part here and a part there, so I will eventually be able to build something worthy... but I'd like something to listen to over the next year as I gather parts other than a silver faced Kenwood :)
If your speakers are moderately efficient (ie: 89db or above), i'd look at the Nakamichi Pa-5 Stasis amp on the 'Gon. The guy is asking $349.00. These amps were designed in consultation with Nelson Pass & have quite a following. My only caution would be this seller doesn't have any AG feedback, so i'd be enquiring if he has any Ebay feedback and sticking to Paypal. I would think it would be hard to find a better amp at this price point ~ http://app.audiogon.com/listings/solid-state-nakamichi-pa-5-stasis-stereo-power-amp-2012-11-16-amplifiers-22601-winchester-va
With that said, if you could up your budget, there was a Threshold S-300 on the 'Gon for $800 a few months ago which would kick the Pa-5's butt! ~
I like both of the Dayton amps mentioned above. New, nice sounding, very quit amps for peanuts. At the price, they are perfect amps to buy as a backup and to compare other amps to as you progress on your upgrade path. You might be surprised how an exceptional low priced amp used as a comparison standard can reveal the pros and cons of "real" upscale amps.
I have more experience with the DTA-100A, which is a "t-amp". It seems to have plenty of power with several speakers I have used it with, but never tried it with a demanding 4ohm load or one with low sensitivity.
The APA 150, which I have only recently aquired is rated at 75wpc @ 4ohm, so might be more suitable for your Statements. My guess is either would work well with speakers claimed an "easy load most amplifiers, even tube amplifiers capable of 4ohm loads".
I have heard all of the amps mentioned and they are all very musical....but the only budget amp I have heard that does some of what the high end amps do both transistor/fet and modern tube amps is the last version of the Hafler amps....with Jfet driver stages. My favorite is the Hafler XL-280. It has 6 mosfets per channel and easily beats the 140 watt per channel spec. I have three to lend to future audio buddies and they have never let me down. They all test at over 180 watts per channel...but I am not pushing the high output but the transparent deep sound and these little guys will play bass and control speakers really well. I have hooked a 280 (blind test) up to several of my friends systems with hard to drive speakers..such as Infinity's or DQ10, etc, speakers and they are amazed..they own BAT, Threshold, Pass Labs etc. Just my 2 cents worth....Good Luck.....
"Aragon 2002. Great sounding inexpensive amp."
Peter_s (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I could not agree more. I have an Acurus A200 which is the same amp as the Aragon 2002. They are well built, powerful, punchy, and very detailed, and can be found in the range of $300.00 to $400.00 on the used market.
I wouldn't dream of recommending an amp for mystery speakers.
Let's use the previously recommended B&K ST 140 as an example why: true it has the sound qualities suggested, but...it also is a very poor match with low impedance speakers.
Unless someone has experience with your DIY speakers (and the extra variability that might more typically come with such gear), I would take any suggestions with a grain of salt. Perhaps if you could provide us with some insight (links?) about these speakers, we could provide a better idea of what might work with them.