General opinion about ADCOM amplifiers

I was just curious to get everyone's take on ADCOM

I want to upgrade from a reciever to an amp/pre-amp for HT.

I have been looking into Nohr's Le Amp and Le amp 2, i see stuff on the web that says these can go toe to toe with $2000+ Bryston amps, however, im a firm believer that you get what you pay for.

So ive also been looking at ADCOM, there are alot of inexpencive ADCOM amplifiers in the classified.
Ive seen 150w per ch for under $1000, which is kinda the area im aiming for. unfortunatly, money is a limitation.

I know alot of people here have had Adcom and i am curious to see what he general opinion of these amplifiers is. Ive seen them at high mid-end / low high-end retailers but never heard them.

My reciever can double as a pre-amp for 5 channels, which is what i will be using untill i get a good pre-amp with 7.1, then i want to run a couple real good solid powerful monoblocks to the fronts and use the 5ch amp for the rest.
Eventually, those front speakers and the monoblocks will get slowly released from the HT and converted to a 2chan setup.

opinions on adcom? Good value for the money? Over rated? reliable? do they break down?

i got some good stuff, but this reciever part is killing me. It sounds GREAT until you apply any heavy volume, then the amplifier in the reciever loses control and things start to distort. Ugh. Yuck
I purchased a pair Adcom 565 monoblocks about 14 years ago and it's still kick'n. No problems, no repairs. I paid around $1400.00 US for the pair back then, it was a demo. The resale value seems to be quite good, between $850-$1100 used.

The pair I have are very reliable but the sound is not the best. Although, they can sure kick out a lot of bass... perfect for a home theatre setup. They also run very cool which is a bonus. Comes with dual 5-way speaker wire binding posts, very convenient, making bi-wire hookup a breeze.

happy tunes!
I think they are good value for the money and relatively reliable. But I would suggest looking into used Brystons if your budget will allow. They are better, sonically and especially build quality.
IMO, the Adcom 535 amplifier was the best sounding of the bunch that were designed and built during the era of the 535, 545, 555 series. The 535 was the lowest wattage of the bunch, but sounded most musical. This would have been late 80's early 90's?
I had a cold solder joint in my Anthem Amp 2 and had to send it in for repair. A friend let me borrow his Adcom (don't know model but will post it when I get home) and so I can directly compare the two. The Anthem was hands down better; bottom end was much fuller, bass extension was better by far. The mids were close, but the tube input section of my Anthem gave a sweeter sound which I prefer and the highs were very close; too close to really criticize the Adcom over. I also feel the sound stage was wider with the Anthem and gave a more life like feel to the music. I feel the Adcom is a good amp, but if your willing to buy used, you can really get something better than Adcom for a reasonable price. If HT is your thing, I don't believe you would be disappointed with Adcom. Going from a receiver to the Adcom would be a step up, but you take a bigger step up with another manufacturer.

For $1k, I’d personally be looking at Anthem, Rogue (if you don’t mind tubes), Bryston, Marantz MA500 or 700 monoblocks (these amps are discontinued but can be found used and are excellent amps), lower end McCormack Amps, lower end Proceed amps (BPA series), lower end Blue Circle amps. Probably many others but these I am most familiar with.

Just my $0.02

Me and a friend did some comparisons with some Adcoms.A modifyied version 5800(200 wpc x2),a 5803(200 wpc x3) and a Denon 2 channel 200 wpc optical class A/B(can't remeber the model number).The Denon was the most musical of the 3 amps.They aren't made anymore but you may luck up on Audiogon and find one for sale around $400.00.The Denon was smoother and more easy going,while still controlling the drivers.The midrange on the Denon was liquid.The Adcoms were slighlty harsh on top..being bright at times.I felt like I was being stabbed by the music,instead of being seduced!

Good Luck!
I have had a bunch of Adcom amps..I keep buying them because they are entirely satisfactory. The old 535 (100 watts @ 4ohms) may be "musical" (whaterver that means) but it doesn't drive Magneplanars like the 5503 (350 watts @ 4ohms).
Based on my past experience with various Adcom products and having repaired a few, the 535 and 5802 are the only amps worth buying and that is only if you can get a good deal on them. The 535 is basically too small for most "good sounding" low efficiency / low impedance loudspeakers but may work fine with higher efficiency speakers, smaller rooms or systems that do not require great amounts of dynamic range / sustained spl levels. The 5802 is still in production, so the cost will be relatively high on the unsed market. Most of the others are nothing special and not really well suited for full range reproduction. Some of their bigger amps will provide "muscle" in terms of high level bass output, but even that is not well controlled.

As far as Adcom customer service / technical support goes should you ever have problems with one of their products, they are good to work with and quite reasonable in terms of their charges for out of warranty repairs or parts. In this respect, they are much better than many of the "high end" companies and could teach more than a few of them a lesson or two. Sean
Pretty good muscle amps. I have had many models and used primarily for sub amps and midline theatre applications. Pretty reliable too. I had 7 55511 amps in mono- 600 watts on every Polk SRt in a 7.1 theatre and it was strong but non audiophile in its musicality to be blunt. I found the 555 pretty harsh in the upper midrange and treble region. The 5500 was cleaner and offered a better musical soundstage. It had most of the 555 s stregnths but half of its weakness . The 5800 was my favorite as it was powerful and nice in the midrange , especially for the money and for its time. I agree that the 535 is fairly musical but it is lacking for theatre dynamics. The Brystons are a good step up .Look for a used CAL 2500 . There is one for 4k now.
This "IMHO" comes late but maybe you are still shopping.
Most audiohounds never stop.I have a 555II and,5500.
I've had 3 other 555II's as well.For home theater I would say 5 channel Adcom would be good step up from reciever based HT.
Not as costly as Bryston 5 channel.You can always put the best quality sound up front and mix amps.The Adcoms seem to
engineer good value into thier product line.My opinion is they try to give you 80% performance for half the money.
Good parts,5 year wrrty.In thier newer models the bandwith is nice and wide,upper octaves are the best they've done yet.Bass is good.
The bryston carries the 20year transferrable wrrty,has faster sound,better low end but is about twice the money.
You can find them used with plenty warranty left(I would
recommend nrb or later series)and buying them used you can
in theory close the price gap and still retain a longer warranty period.
The Pass designed Adcoms(I think they are 2 channel only)
are good bargains after lengthy break-ins,but much better suited to audio only,they are biased into class"A" up to ?
watts and generate lots of heat at idle.Most HT setups tend to squeeze everything into stands/cabinets.
Good thing is you could buy a bunch of 555II's cheap,they run cool have fan upgrade ability,and could be sold off easy
with less loss when and "if" you wanted to upgrade.Adcoms
are flexible but running them in mono is best used on sub-
woofer only ,they do not image well as mono pairs.
Good luck.
04/11/04...Yes, i am in general agreement with Adcom amps which are good amps, a little strident in top end. In response to Gmood1..the Denon POA-amps were called the poa-1500, 2200 which I own @ 200wpc very smooth and liquid in midrange, never sounding harsh. Also there is the 2400 and 2800 series. BTW, I have a my Denon POA-2200 up for auction on Ebay now...MINT Condition..tring to upgrade to the McCormack DNA 125 Amp.
My first amp was an Adcom 535 Mk. II which I have since given to my brother to use. However I feel that it is still an awesome value. It has never given me one once of trouble in the 10 years that I've owned it. The sound is a little on the harsh side but for $250 I can't complain about it. Its 60 watts/channel is adequate for most speakers. I used it with NHT 2.5i's with no problems at all.
I use the 555mkII in bridged mono(two of them).They each power one 15" sub apiece.They crush.Quiet,no fans and used about 400.00 each.My two cents.
Adcom 5802 is my best value purchase to date. < $900 on ebay, in pristine shape. I have no experience with modern high-end stuff, so can't debate inaudible subtleties with anyone, but comparing to the Denon AVR-3803 receiver I had been using with my Maggies: piano used to clank, now piano sings. Sweet, natural, open, refined all come to mind. A great match for Maggies. I have a sub, so amp only boosts frequencies above 60Hz, but from what I've read, it excels in deep bass.
Runs hot and no trigger on/off are two most significant issues to consider. Also size and weight.

This amp is really a great bargain. It makes a big difference in my system.
I used to own an Adcom 545 that I used to drive a pair of small Magneplanars. It was a very satisfactory amplifier, quite reliable as well. I don't think the Belles 150a Hot Rod that replaced it sounded any better with Magneplanars. The adcom preamp/tuner paired with the amp at the time was MUCH less musical than the amp. An inexpensive Cambridge preamp pounded it sonically. Having talked with other Adcom owners, I've heard the same sentiments as well. Good value, musical power amps, rather mediocre sonics on many of their preamps.
I owned two Adcom GFA-5802 power amps. I used an Adcom GFP-750 preamp with them. There was a great synergy with these units.
The Adcom GFA-5802 is a great sounding amp, especially for its asking price! Better than I expected!
It had a smooth, open, warm, and very natural sound in my system. One area where it really excelled in my particular system was in midrange presence, clarity, and vocal reproduction, especially on female vocals. It also seemed to have a sort of a BIG sound to it. The treble was also very smooth, and grainless in my system. The bass was very good, but not outstanding.
In terms of midrange and vocal presence and clarity, they rival or beat any amp I have ever listened to in my system, including the Carver A-760x, McCormack DNA-225, Parasound HCA-3500, Pass Labs X-350, and even my Parasound Halo JC-1 mono-blocks! With a few improvements to its basic design and some higher quality parts, this could be a KILLER AMP!
The only real weaknesses in my system were the bass tightness and extension, a slight lack of snap, extension, and sparkle in the top-end, a slightly narrow soundstage, and just a tad too much warmth.They also get HOT to the touch.
Keep in mind that these results were with its matching Adcom GFP-750 preamp. The results may vary greatly with other preamps, speakers, or in other systems.
I came EXTREMELY CLOSE to keeping this combination! I still miss the EXCEPTIONAL midrange naturalness, openness, and vocal presence they produced in spades! I wonder if I'll ever achieve it again? It was that good!
Has anyone else out there who has owned the Adcom amp and preamp noticed these same strengths with this combo?
I always thought of Adcoms as dry and prefered B&K's and Rotel to them. They are great for Bass and would consider them for Bass amps if I were to Bi-Amp or Tri-Amp. MUSE is another great Bass amp.

I guess I prefer sweet sounding amps.
Not for Klipsch.
I also own a pair of 5802s with the 750 preamp. I agree with all of your assessments.The only point to make is after I performed the sonic mods on teh preamp all of your reservations went away
I've owned the 535, while my father still owns the venerable 555 after all these years.

To my ears, these 80s/90s Adcom amps are a touch dry, and a little grainy. If going budget SS, I prefer the B&K ST-140 which has a warmer sound. Of course I really prefer tube amps, but an Adcom is certainly better than most mainstream receivers.

Also agree with the poster above - the lower preamps - GTP-400, 555, 565 - aren't the greatest either. I once owned a 565, and coupled with a vintage H-K Citation V, was a dry, rather unpleasant combination.
I've owned the 5800 and the 5802. Both really nice amps and Nelson Pass contributed to the design. Sorry the highs are not dry or hard despite what others may say here but they aren't the amps' best qualities being a little recessed. The 5800 had amazing bass control and extension but the fan noise was a bit bothersome. Because of the financial condition and parts inventory management of Adcom these amps could be difficult to service if you have problems but they are pretty reliable and generally you shouldn't have any problems.