Best used amp for


Poor college kid here. (we all were at one time, weren't we?) I'm looking for a good 2 channel amp for possible main usage, or possible bridging for my THX sub. I'm trying to keep the cost down below $350, max $500. What are my options? (I've looked at used Rotel, Marantz, NAD, Carver, AudioSource, Adcom)
schaal1
ADCOM GFA545-II. 100 W.P.C. SOLID STATE KEN KESSLER, IN HI-FI NEWS AND RECORD REVIEW (ENGLAND) SAID IT IS THE PERFECT AMP FOR LEVINSON AND KRELL WANNABEES. SMOOTH, VERY QUIET, THE SOUND SEEMS TO EMANATE FROM A BLACK WHOLE. WILL DRIVE VIRTUALLY ANY LOAD. NOT AS SHRILL AS SOME OF ADCOMS OTHER PRODUCTS AND BETTER BUILD QUALITY THAN THER CURRENT PRODUCTS. MORE POWER THAN THE GFA535. I DRIVE VANDERSTEEN 2CE'S WITH ONE AND INTEND TO PURCHASE ANOTHER AND BI-AMP.
pick up a used van alstine omega III. get $3500 sound and build quality for $300 - $500. check the vanalstine website or contact me if you have a question.
I think that for the $, there are several options. I'll give you my favorite two. If you want something to play strong and drive a big load, I would get an Acurus A150 or A 100. Both should be 300-370. They are much more refined than the ADCOM, Rotel, NAD , stuff you had mentioned. When I was in your position, the first amp I bought was the ADCOM 545 MkII and enjoyed it until I auditioned the Acurus. No comparison in speed, background quietness, and detail. Also, a sleeper of an amp is anything by Forte (poor man's Threshold-same company). The model 5 (100/channel) is used usually 400-500. Sounds incredibly quiet and mids and highs are wonderful for the price. Good low end, but not like the Acurus. Anyway, all audio thoughts are opinions, and opinions are like.... Anyway, listen to those if you get a chance. And remember as you embark on this audio trip, it is to enjoy the music, not to keep improving your system. that's a hole we all fall into pretty easily. Best of luck.
A great int. is the AR 07 from the early 90's. 70W/per dual power supplys 25 amp current.Kills nad Rotel Carver etc.Kinnda rare but who knows?Has lots of inputs. The 04, 05, 06 are similar with less power and no pre in/out.Have seen the 04 on ebay for $100.
I'll second the comments on the Acurus A150. I've been through several different kinds myself (Carver, Marantz, etc), and settled on the A150 and 100X3 for a 5 channel setup, with the A150 driving the front L/R. You can find clean examples of the A150 for $300-400. It's still the best 2 channel I've heard for under $1000. By the way, while we're on the subject of Mondial Designs, I don't think you can beat the Aragon 8008BB for under $5000 (list is $2750), or the Palladiums for under $10K (list is $5500). I'll admit I'm a Mondial fan, but the sound to value ratio is hard to argue with.
I'll second the comments on the Acurus A150. I've been through several different kinds myself (Carver, Marantz, etc), and settled on the A150 and 100X3 for a 5 channel setup, with the A150 driving the front L/R. You can find clean examples of the A150 for $300-400. It's still the best 2 channel I've heard for under $1000. By the way, while we're on the subject of Mondial Designs, I don't think you can beat the Aragon 8008BB for under $5000 (list is $2750), or the Palladiums for under $10K (list is $5500). I'll admit I'm a Mondial fan, but the sound to value ratio is hard to argue with.
For driving a sub, the PSE Studio IV is simply unbeatable, but it is hard to find. Shouldn't cost more than $400 if you do. Another killer bass amp is the original Belles 150. I doubt you will see one of these on the web though. Too old for most internet audiophiles.
Forte, Van Alstin, Acurus and Rotel are all good choices. Go to featured dealers in this listing. Go to Hollywood sound, he has the Acurus Dia 1oo integrated for 595 and several other models. I have bought many things from Larry, he is totally reliable.
Electron Kinetics Eagle 2. If you see one, jump on it. Vastly superior to NAD and Adcom. The on/off switch is notorious for going out, but can be replaced. Will drive a .5 ohm load all day long. Designed and built by the (late?) John Iverson.
Electron Kinetics Eagle 2. If you see one, jump on it. Vastly superior to NAD and Adcom. The on/off switch is notorious for going out, but can be replaced. Will drive a .5 ohm load all day long. Designed and built by the (late?) John Iverson.
Oops! Sorry about the double post!
The PSE Studio IV is the best amp I know for under $500 used. It matches the Eagle 2C (also excellent) in bass when driving 4 to 8 ohms and is sweeter and smoother overall. I have not heard the Belles 150A. I would love to hear from anyone who has AB'd the PSE against the Belles.
Vdotman and Jazzzman are absolutely right about the Eagle and PSE. They are lightyears ahead of any other 2-channel amp selling used under $500. I have heard most amps from Adcom, NAD, B&K, Parasound and the like - they don't come close in terms of refinement. The Belles has promise. But it uses MOSFETs so beware the bass.
Linn LK-85 is my recommendation. For 400+ you CANNOT find more musical amp, that will satisfy all your listening needs. From classical to rock.
The KAV 250a soundly beats the Aragon 8008BB in a two channel music system, for only $2k used. SORRY "SHAAL", that's above your budget. The suggestions above seem good enough, I'd get started. I once tried to help a college kid, but he was in a dorm, and had a girlfriend...heh heh. He spent like a year trying to decide what to get. I SAY IT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO GET STARTED THAN IT IS TO LABOR OVER DECIDING WHAT'S BEST FOR LIKE A DECADE BEFORE YOU GET ANYTHING. Most people don't take that long deciding to buy a car, and that's a helluva lot more pivotal and costly than your first audio investment. Anyway, music and audio do seem to get more important, the older you get...YOU HAVE MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO...perhaps we all do. Good luck!