The McCormack is a great amp,but its also 20 years old...
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The McCormack may be an older amp but I doubt the one you buy on the used market will be 20 years old. In any case they are still completely supported by the designer, Steve McCormack at SMC Audio, so no fear there. The used market is fickle in the sense that you can ASK any price you want to. Unless you subscribe to Audiogon's bluebook, you don't know what they actually SELL for. I would be surprised if the average selling price were the same for the Adcom and Parasound amps but who knows (my subscription to the bluebook just expired).
The McCormack is a great amp with a well-deserved reputation. I own a DNA-0.5 (that I bought used) and it has served me well with absolutely no problems for years. But I know that, if I do have problems or just want to upgrade the amp, Steve will be there to fix me right up.
IMO-The McC is heads and heals above the Adcom to be sure-much more musical and life like presentation. I dont have experience with the Parasound, so I cant comment on that amp. With your speakers you might consider a DNA .5 Deluxe or modified versions. It should be ample power, costs a bit less and is considered by some to have better sound than the DNA 1. Good luck.
Thanks for replies! I've thought about the age issue, but as Djohnson54 noted, Mr. McCormack is available for help if I need it. The Adcom isn't that much younger...I guess the Parasound is the most recent of the three.
More importantly, I'm hearing the same comments here that I've read elsewhere (a lot): the McCormack is just in a different class, in terms of sound quality.
I may try out the Parasound when it gets a little older (and cheaper). For now, though, I think I'm gonna go for the McCormack. I'll also take a look at the DNA .5 - thanks for recommendation, Tbromgard! The thing is, there are a few DNA-1s available at the moment, here and elsewhere, and one thing I've learned so far is that it may appear, at times, that certain items will always be up for sale...but that's not always the case...
In any case, thanks again for replies. Very helpful.
A bit of research has convinced me that you're right, Mr. Tbromgard. The DNA .5 looks like it might be just what I'm looking for: 4 ohms @ 200wpc. Furthermore, a number of people think that it has better sound quality than the DNA-1, in smaller rooms, with smaller speakers and at lower volumes (my exact situation). Might even be cheaper. Unfortunately, there are none to be found at the moment. If one should become available some time in the next month or so, it shall be mine.
Possibly with my experiences I can concur and help you with your decision. I have owned all versions of the DNA 1 all the way up to revision A gold with a Plitron transformer. I also own the Adcom 5800 with upgrades performed by Musical Concepts. I was going to detail the differences between watts/damping factors of each and how they translate into the LF response and soundstage in my large, inefficient, 4 ohm speakers in a large room at good volumes but that is moot in your system.
You will be happy with a DNA of any ilk imho, and I hope you find one that is a deluxe or up to revision B status to acquire. I found that is the best money spent for an upgrade level.
Don't shy away from an upgraded Adcom as they are very nice compared to a stock/entry level DNA and are not high priced. I have dealt with Steve from SMC and John from MC and both are great folks and put put out quality upgrade work that still resides in my systems.
I have had great luck posting a "Want to Buy" ad in the Audiogon Classifieds. I bought an Audible Illusions Modulus 3B preamp and a Musical Fidelity V Link 192 that way just recently. A dealer contacted me and offered me the V Link192 for the 399.00 list price and told me I wouldn't find a used one because they are too new. Two days later, I was offered a 2 week old unit for 275.00 from someone who saw my ad. Of course I jumped on it.
Give it a try, it will only cost you 4 bucks.
I agree - if you can wait for one you should pick up a used DNA with a Rev B or better upgrade. The difference between the quite good stock amp and the modded ones are startlingly better. Of course, those modded amps go quickly and don't come up for sale as often, but you will save quite a bit over buying a stock amp and paying for the modding yourself.
Thanks for all suggestions! The Adcom gfa-5802 was what I was gonna go with originally, and I'd still pick one up if I could find one for $600 or so. I came across the DNA-1 while looking for used 5802s. If I could find a 5802 for a bit less than a DNA-1, I'd grab it.
My main problem, which I think many folks here can sympathize with, is that my money appears to be burning a hole in my pocket. I'd love to get a modded/Rev'd DNA, or a DNA .5, but there don't seem to be any around, and I haven't seen any since I started looking a few months ago. I would certainly save money on the mod/revision that I'm sure I'll eventually get. However, there are a few DNA-1s floating around right now, at an acceptable price. I feel pretty certain that if I pick one up, Mr. McCormack will still be doing his thing by the time I collect enough box-tops to afford a mod.
For now, the plan looks like: pick up a DNA-1 in a week or two, and take Stereo5's advice and put some notices for modded/Rev'd/.5 DNAs. I've been flipping computer parts for a few years now; just a matter of learning to work with bigger boxes...
@Pbredi: I saw that .5 Deluxe...it was gone very quickly after it was posted. Unfortunately, I'm not the person who grabbed it. I also saw the DNA-1 Deluxe...slightly above my pay grade at the moment.
However...I found a DNA-1 for ~$700 elsewhere (before the Deluxe was posted), and it'll be in the mail to me as soon as the check clears. It would have been nice to get the Deluxe; it would have saved me some money when I inevitably send it to Mr. McCormack for the B Revision (I think it's called Silver now). But I'm pretty happy with what I paid for the "standard" version (assuming it works). If things don't work out, I may come back to that Deluxe, if it's still available.
That McCormack DNA.5 that had Rev 1 upgrade sure went fast. It looked a bit odd to me. I believe it had a serial # from McCormack of Virginia and the board said DNA-1 from the pictures. Normally when SMc Audio does a revisions there is a signature and date from Steve and or Kris. That I don't remember if the board on the inside of the DNA .5 says DNA-1. Well I hope whomever bought it enjoys it.
For those that are wondering this is straight from the SMc Audion wed site Q&A.
"The R1 circuit board was created by McCormack Audio to allow them to produce amplifiers from the remaining stock of DNA-1 parts, and to facilitate certain repair jobs where the original board had been damaged. This new circuit board is effectively equivalent to the circuitry in the DNA-225. McCormack Audio is now offering the R1 board as an upgrade, including Cardas hardware and Noble emitter resistors. This makes a very nice improvement with a distinct performance advantage over the original amplifier.
Although the R1 upgrade is not connected with my work here at SMc Audio, some have asked how it compares to my upgrades. Direct comparisons are difficult, but I would say that it delivers performance roughly comparable to my Revision B.
I thought it was a good deal and no I didn't buy it.
I just got back from SMC audio my DNA-1 that cratered just after I bought it here on Audiogon last fall. It took them about 6 months, but they finally were able to repair it. Apparently, a bunch of stuff blew out when it died.
I have not yet had a chance to hook it up, but am hoping for great sound when I do. It has one of their revisions, but it's now been so long since I bought it, I can't remember which one, although I can look it up.