mid fi choices NAD vs Adcom vs Rotel ... $400

I know its not a lot of money is this world. I want to start small and work my way up. I know i'll be buying older equipment. Is it just personal preference with these brands being considered to be the same class of equipment? I've also noticed some raves about a particular Yamaha and Onkyo model. Don't see too much about Denon, which i thought was in the same class. Anything else i should be searching for?
Vintage Marantz and Sansui...Marantz 2250 for sale on this site ( new today ) ..Could work real well...
Tons of good reviews and comments on the Cambridge Audio stuff, too
Familiar with all three, I prefer the NAD and owned 2 pairs of the 370 integrated at one time. The NAD is more full bodied and has delicate highs. In my experience the Adcom has tighter but thinner bass while the rotel can become fatiguing with the wrong speakers, again based on my experience. The adcom was amp/and pre (I think 545 II or something like that) Rotel was amp only can't recall the model but had the heat sinks on the front...

The NAD is a safe bet.

Agree with Bokfudo. NAD makes exceptional stuff. I have a 3020-based amp that has been problem free for 20 years.

Here are some systems that sound fantastic on a budget. I have built these for my children, auditioned them or I own them.


iPod with a Blue Sky Audio EXO--$300. Dynamic and slays anything at this price. Available through Guitar Center.

iPod with Audioengine 2s--$200


Entry amp:

Cambridge 340 A ($200)


Mid-fi amp:

NAD C372 Amp ($800)

Matched to:

Efficient speakers:

1) Paradigm Atoms Speakers ($200)
2) DALI Lector 1s ($400)
3) Skiing Ninja Mods of AV123 ($900)

CD Player:

Sony Playstation 1 $40
Oppo 980 $169
NAD 525 $300


Rega P1 tt ($400)
Bellari 129 phono stage ($250)
I replaced a adcom 545ii I think, with a Rotel 981. They are both gone now, but I liked the Rotel better. I found it warmer, and I liked how it brought the vocals forward, compared to the adcom. I was using Epos m12.2 speakers at the time.
Right now Audio Advisor has the Cambridge 640A v2 on sale/closeout for $399.99, and you can get the factory-refreshed Onkyo A-9555 from Accessories4less with a 1-year warranty, also for $399.99. Deals on the Onkyo are drying up fast and accessories4less is running low on stock.

These two are definitely on the short list for sub-$1K integrateds. The Onkyo is competitive at its list price of $799, but sells most places for $699. At $400 or $500 it's just killer, incredibly clean, dynamic, and powerful sounding. It requires about 100 hrs of break-in.

The Cambridge is line stage only, but has preamp outputs. The Onkyo has a good built-in phono stage, but no pre-outs. I like them both but have a personal preference for the Onkyo.

I have been an audio enthusiast for 40 years and have owned a lot of vintage and used gear, and sold new and used retail in the '70s. But the Onkyo has shifted my paradigm: I'd now rather have the Onkyo A-9555 (which I do) than any used $400-500 amp that I can think of. I like it better than anything near the price, new or used, from Parasound or Adcom.
NAD, its like the McIntosh for the masses.
Buy a Harmon Kardon 3490 reciever on Amazon for $280. I love mine and I own much more expensive amplifiers.
I have had all three and found them all to be quite amazing at their respective price points. If I had to rate them, however, I would go with 1)Rotel 2)NAD 3)Adcom.
Hey Five.

Some questions:
> What speakers will you be driving?
> What Ohm rating is your speakers?
> What are the recommended power/watts for your speakers?

The lower the wattage you need to drive your speakers efficiently, the less expensive the amp.
I.Q. TED 400's from Germany. they aren't well known. there is a test comparison from a German mag in the 90's with graphs and charts on the speakers, but i don't know what they mean. Can the performance graphs be used to assess what amp would be best?
I would put Adcom at the bottom of the list and NAD or Cambridge Audio Azur at the top
Steven, a few months ago a friend of mine bought a used Marantz PM 7001 KI at a local shop for EUR 300 and is over the moon driving a pair of ALR bookshelf speakers with it that must be close to 20y old. The offer looked quite exceptional for a KI version that can be situated in the NAD C372 / Rotel RA-06 league. The Marantz sounds slightly "warmish". Hooked up on my own LUA floorstanding speakers it showed a very good three-dimensionality (that collapsed with my friend's bookshelf speakers as could be expected). Just an idea to complement the other names you mentioned.
Found a good match for the IQ Ted 400 already? Just curious.
No, I haven't bought anything yet.
I have decided to buy a NAD 2200 to start and then add either an NAD 1155 or 1300 pre. I think both components are quite desireable and can be re-sold relatively easily if i don't like them. I'm just waiting for the right opportunity.