college kid needs help with budget amps

I'm wanting to move to seperates and i'm on a limited budget. Which would be a better choice: a older-model, used adcom amp and pre amp, such as the GFA 535 and the GTP- 400, or a used/new but late model integrades models from NAD, cambridge audio, or marantz. Or give me your own suggestions for under $500. Also i have klipsch speakers and listen to mostly rock. I'm considering new speakers too, which amp will give me a good start. thanks
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Get a good used integrated - Linn Majik, Audiolab 8000, Naim Nait, etc. All for around 500 -600$ and will outperform big mid grade separates in terms of purity of sound.
If you should decide to go with separates, the Adcom 535 and 545 are excellent amps for the money. However, in my experience, the gtp400 & gtp450 pre/tuners were greatly over rated. I was told by a dealer that these models were subject to a bit of variability soundwise. If so, this could account for why they were favorably reviewed.
whats a good pre amp to match the adcom 535 amp?
I would recommend used separates Acurus product, Hafler amp is also match well with klipsch. Regards, Rute.
I had a Jolida 502A a few years back.It rocked very well with its 6550 output tubes.Its a 60 wpc integrated.If you look hard you may be able to find one for $500.This amp is awesome in the looks department also.
If you end up with seperates, watch for a superphon preamp to go with your adcom. When in college I used a NAD integrated ... gobs of power for not alot of money. A dorm room is sure to present a host of problems that will more than likely overshadow all but the largest of differences between components. Integrateds will allow you to skip one set of high quality interconnects (more money for beer and dates). Thin resonant walls and hard, reflective floors and ceilings ... cover everything with rugs, wall hangings and shelves! Hope this helps.
I think a NAD integrated makes a lot of sense, used with more power if your speakers are inefficent, or new C350 if efficient, and you should have enough left over for a pair of headphones, say the Grado 150 (I think) for about $125. Headphones are the way to go if you'r ein a dorm and/or have roommates. And the NAD for the money is very good. I dont think you can find a preamp and amp for less than $500 that will be any better. I cant even think of a preamp under $500 that's any good at all, except for maybe a Creek passive or that passive preamp "Sam Tellig" has talked about. But then you dont get a headphone amp. And that is essential in close quarters, I think.
Cambridge Audio A3i is a great integrated used around $225 to 250; has decent phono stage. The new A300 version 2 is about the same power. Both have two sets of speaker terminals to make biwiring easy and cheap (don't need special cables). Also for used around $650 the Audio Refinement Complete is very very nice. These are all 50 watt amps.
For a great cheap pre-amp, look for a Superphon (used only). You should be able to find them from $150 to $300 depending on model and age. There are a couple listed on Audiogon now.
i have to echo praise for NAD. i'm a college student myself and got a used c340 for $300 about a month ago. it's all i could've asked for for the money
I personally prefer Arcam to NAD, in a budget solid state integrated. I have owned both, and the NAD is a bit grainy in comparison. The brand I chose to sell in this price range is JoLida, which I think has some very musical offerings - erring on the side of warm and smooth.
Another good budget preamp that is worth considering is the Cambridge Audio C500. Audio Advisor has them as demo units often. I used one for about a year and was very favorably impressed with it's price/performance ratio. Very musical sounding. If you are interested, go to and look this one up in the preamp section. The Parasound p/hp 850 is another budget pre worth investigating.
Lots of good suggestions here. NAD, Creek, Cambridge. I would also add that you should investigate a used(pre Y2K) Musical Fidelity integrated, and consider David99's Jolida suggestion. Either the 502 or 302 would be fantastic. And your friends will be stunned by the great sound and cool retro tubes. I like the 302 series better, due to my love for the EL34 sound. But, I am sure you can find something to fall in love with
I also use to own a Cambridge C500 Preamp with the added phono. For $259 brand new ($319 with phono) it is hard to beat at that price. I did not find anything better until I went over a $1000.
The vintage NAD gear and Klipsch speakers made great matches when I was in college. I've never been that big a fan of Adcom- too polite. A friend in OK uses Carver's "The Receiver" with Heresy II's and loves the combination (he switched from Adcom). One of Parasound's smaller amps and a CD player with a volume control would also be a good option.

Remember, with Klipsch, you won't need much power to get loud. Look for good watts, not many watts.
I had Klipsch Heresey's in college. I had a 35 watt receiver--more than enough with those Klipsch. Tubes aren't the most practical thing in a college environment--but if you can use tubes I like David suggestion. Another similar possiblity is Antique Sound Lab MGSI 15 DT. It's a 15 watt single ended integrated amp. This would really sound dynamite with the Klipsh (Heresey's anyway--don't know which model you have). The only downside to going this way, is that if you do change your speakers you are going to want to continue to have ones that are easy to drive and efficient.
I would look for a PSE Studio IV amplifier and a passive pre (possibly the Creek mentioned by someone else) ... the PSE's can be found for around $325-375 and are a bargain for the sound/build quality. When new in the early to mid 90's, these amps retailed for $1000.
This may be a bit self-serving, but I have these components currently sitting in their boxes (due to recent upgrades) and would consider selling them for $650 together. I bought the HCA-1000 as a demo unit from a dealer in '95, and got the P/LD-1100 used a few years ago(on Audiogon, as it happens). Both are in great shape cosmetically and functionally. The original list prices totaled something like $1200-$1300, if I'm not mistaken... anyway, drop me a line if you're interested.

Derrick Carpenter
How about a Bottlehead "Foreplay" kit preamp ($150) with an Adcom 535 power amp? Check out the website. But be warned: tubes can be highly addictive. You may want to scrap the Adcom idea & go tube all the way. Also, check out the Antique Audio tube integrated, at just under $600 new. Could have enough power for the Klipsches. See the recent review in Listener. Info at, I believe. Have fun, Jim
Try one of the lower priced Jolida integrated amp. With those speakers you won’t need tons of power. Klipsch speakers are easy to drive have fair bass but can be very bright on top. I think tube warmth will be great with those speakers. Tube amps are hot to the touch and WILL heat the room so if you live in a warm climate “Beware”. The amps are integrated so a pre-amp is not needed. A tuner can be added later. The Used Market is the place shop. A large number of audiophiles buy, try and sell often.
You can buy a good vintage integrated tube amp for a few hundred dollars that will smoke all of the above listed amps in all areas important.