You are definitely on the right track.
You will want to take into consideration present and future speakers, but NAD will work for many speakers. You will obviously get more power for your $500 if you buy used.
There's an Audio Refinement Complete integrated currently for sale at $450 right now - and its sound quality is certainly better than "middle of the road", that's for sure!
You can do a lot better than Adcom.
Agree with the recommendation of the Audio Refinement Complete but if you can't grab that one, the Onkyo A-9555
is a better amp than anything from NAD or Adcom, in my experience. It got a great review from Stereophile and I've been very impressed with the two I've owned and passed on to other people.
peachtree audio has some origonal deccos for 499.00. tube preamp, 50 watts and a good dac. there are lots of reviews and satisfied owners out there. this would give you flexibility with your cd player and computer use in the future. it doesn,t have a phono preamp however.
I do agree with Sfar's suggestion of the Onkyo A-9555 being a nice amp but I think there are some good economical choices from NAD.
For $195.00,you can't go wrong.
If you feel you need some more power down the road, just add an outboard amp and use the NAD as a preamp.
Anthem,possibly old Mac stuff,good luck,B
I think you need to decide on your speaker upgrade first, as that will dictate the amp you might need. With some speakers you might be fine with a better quality, but lower powered amp, with other you may need more watts that 50. That being said, I would look at the NAD, Arcam, and Rotel brands for an integrated in our price range. A little further up the price point used, I would look into Creek and Naim - for SS integrateds. The Peachtree mentioned has received some good reviews lately, but I have never heard it. If you are going to choose the amp first, I think you should consider a 100 watt SS so you are not limited in your speaker upgrade down the road.
if you fancy the slightly laid back "british" sound, you might also consider integrateds from Creek or Rega.
I ended up with a receiver so I could go with home theater in the future and use it as a preamp. If you are just doing two channel I would consider a vintage fisher tube based integrated amp. Nothing sounds that good at the price they are available provided you can live with low wattage.
The following opinions are strictly my own and referenced on my personal experience....
Pubil57 is on the right track. Acquire as much quality in your speakers first as they are the life support system for everything else.
A quality speaker product on the used market after some judicious searching will determine how efficient your amp/pre-amp has to be from a technical viewpoint.
Also, if possible try to preview a number of speakers prior to making your decision. From my position, I previewed a set of Klipschorns first. I acquired a set in Birch with no finish and with somewhat of a ratty appearance for $600. I was running some excellent Carver gear at the time and that was my introduction to mid level Hi Fi.
I still have some of my older gear from 20 years ago, my wife stated we could have our own episode of 'Hoarders' with my hi fi equipment alone, and I would gladly part with it for a fraction of what I paid for it.
The interesting thing is that in looking at the newer state of the art solid state amps, I cannot hear the difference from my Carver 1.5t. At 350 wpc with peak power at 1,000 wpc you can hear a raindrop hit the ground or scissors snipping with absolute clarity.
To recreate that today you are into something like the $2,000 range but if you take a time travel view and look at some of the older stuff you caq acquire it at prices like $100 to $300 for the amp and the same for an older pre-amp. Consider that the original Carver P2000 pre-amp went for something like $4,000 and that was when $4,000 was real money....
The current pricing for new is like buying a car. Once you have it home, it is worth half. A new Krell pair of mono-blocks in the $40,000 range are available for less than $20,000. While these seem like out of this world prices, remember that the quality of the sound is there as well if you have paid attention to your speakers which are the delivery of all your invested money.
I think that if you look around you will even find someone who will sell you some nice stuff on a money back deal at times allowing you to preview stuff at home. I am a staunch advocate in auditioning equipment, be it a power cord or a set of the top of the line Acapella Reference offerings at $455,000.
Just remember that with the new, you may not get what you are paying for or looking to accomplish. As long as you are careful, you will do just fine. Most of the other responses are in my opinion very well met, and are most likely based on their personal experience.
Remember that we all started out at square one somewhere in then past.
One last thing, find yourself a quality coach who knows hi fi. And, one who knows hi fi in the environment that you are going to be purchasing to.
With good fortune I have been able to move into some exotic items and am also moving into retirement, house paid for, two new cars paid for, College paid for, just waiting for the grandchildren as I have given him the green light..... So I am combining my hobbies into feeding my disease of Audiophilia. My wife pointed out that Heroin would be a cheaper direction...
I would recommend two integrated amps I like both of them solid state surprisingly. One is the old Mcintosh MA 5100 which u can find in good shape used for around 400 dollars the other if u can stretch your budget a bit is the Naim Nait 5i. This is a good sounding unit and very quiet. Hope this helps! Shay
I love my Almarro A318B amp. Here is a 6moons review on it.
Almarro A318B is a very nice amp, but I would not recommend it to someone just breaking out of a receiver. Those tubes run hot, and the wattage is just too low without already having made a call on the speakers down the road, choosing an Almarro will really narrow speaker choices down the road and I'm not sure OP is there yet.
This is exactly what I expected when I signed up on your site. Very informative and well read advice. I am soaking it all in and just trying to sort it out.
I felt compelled to thank all of you before too long for fear of appearing ungrateful.
I am going to a local shop tomorrow to audition some B&W's and PSB's along with Onkyo, Mac and Marantz amps.
I'm gettin' there.
Thank you all again! And more suugestions are welcome of course.
Keep you posted to let you know how well I have been schooled.
Good, listen to complete systems. That's the best (better) way.
Others have said that simply choosing an amp without knowing at least something about proposed speakers is not a good idea are 100%.
I wouldn't recommend B&W with the Marantz, however. PSB? They make a bunch of different lines, right? and at competing price points?
I personally like simpler. At least the B&W makes sense of the lines they make.
Try to find a more ....upscale....store to listen to stuff and continue to try to hear complete systems. Start with a good SOURCE.
He said it was in his way in his woodshop, and if I wanted it, come and get it. I was surprised to see that it was in mint condition, wrapped in a box. It is a Nad 216 THX. I know I mentioned I wanted an integrated amp, but geeez!
This complicates things, (not complaining). My question is.......should I get a pre-amp and move on or go back to plan A. Is this amp worth a go in your opinion. If it is worth keeping, would I be best suited to match it with a Nad pre-amp? BTW I'm gonna give him one of my plunge routers in trade.
what good luck. this amp will sound great. find a used preamp or maybe even a new one. parasound and emotiva make good basic preamps under 400.00 new. or find a nad that would match it in sound quality and looks. now you have 125 watts of good stable clean power and you can start evaluating your speakers.