I bought the sonograph amp and pre back in 1995/6 to run with my ML Aerius and they were terrible sounding to me, very dark and heavy. Sent them back for Classe CA100 and a CL PV12 which was a fabulous combo.
7 responses Add your response
If I were buying one I would get the McCarmack as I think it is a considerably newer design; I was a Sonography dealer but that was a long time ago and I can't remember what the sa400 sounded like if I ever had one. Adcom is/was a marketing company and their products varied considerably. I think the 555 was made by three different companies for them for example and they sounded different according to who had made them. The DNA-1 is made here and McCormack is still around; CJ is also but since they are not making SS amps any more they may not have as many parts lying around. YMMV.
If you go the McCormack route I'd highly recommend getting a unit that has Steve's A revisions already built in. You won't pay all that much more (relatively speaking) and they're entirely different amplifiers. Personally I'd take a DNA 0.5 Rev. A over a stock DNA 1 if cost becomes an issue and it has enough power (DNA 0.5 runs more like a 125W amp than it's stated 100W, not that that's a huge difference). No idea about the CJ amp. Best of luck.
I can't speak for the SA400 but I had an SA120 and it sounded terrible to me (as Wig stated). The amp sounded completely un-natural. Years later I owned a McCormack DNA 0.5 and thought it was a great amp - there was no comparing the two. I don't know how the larger Sonograph would compare to the larger McCormack, however.