Newbie -- expert thoughts on PA2400 vs GFA5400?


I have a relatively simple system:
1) Pre-amp: Anthem AVM2 (although I've been using a Nakamichi AV8 as the pre-amp / processor and I'm actually quite pleased with it. Surprisingly, despite the MSRP price difference, to my ears given my set up, I think the Nak results in a better experience).
2) Amp: Adcom GFA-5400
3) Source: Sony CDP-X111ES CD player
4) Speakers: KEF C75

Question: a Harman Kardon PA2400 is available. Any thoughts on this amp over my GFA-5400? I'm pretty happy with the way the Adcom sounds (it's one made in Japan). But sometimes, I wonder if a little extra headroom would make for better sound.

At $250, would the PA2400 (also made in Japan) be a good replacement? Or will it unlikely give me anything better given my current setup (ie - limitations)?

I have owned the GFA 5400 & GFA 5500.
I'm not familiar with the HK amp you mention.
There are 2 schools of thought, on amplification.
One says a minimum amount of amplifier (watts & outputdevices) will sound best if you don't clip the amp.
The other says more amplifier (watts & output devices)
will sound better & give you headroom to avoid clipping.
There's a GFA5500 listed today with the detachable power
cord. That is the desirable model. If I were you, I'd upgrade to it. You are already familiar with the Adcom "house sound" with your 5400. You'll just have more power...
Hi Daniel,

So, which train of thought is correct? :) Where would my GFA5400 fit in? :)

Thanks for suggestion. I'd love to be able to get the GFA5500. It's quite a bit outside my budget this year, but maybe that's something I could consider next Christmas.

In any case, sounds like I should pass on the PA2400 and continue to consider what would make a good upgrade from my GFA5400 (and save up for it as it's probably going to cost $500+).

Thanks for the help.
I used to have an H/K Signature 2.1 amp (110 watts per ch, 5 ch.) and really liked the sound of that amp. And now it seems I should have kept it, used ones go for $850 on Amazon - I sold mine for $500 a couple years ago.

The Signature amp is better than the PA amp you are considering. You might want to consider one of the other H/K amps that have the ultra-wide bandwidth and high current capabilities. Here is a Citation 16 stereo amp that is a real beast:

I replaced my H/K with a Butler Audio TDB-5150 and it is a *great* amp. Go to and see for yourself...

Thanks for the response. There is a HK Signature 2.1 available for $299. But I think the general consensus seems to be towards taking the next step up -- save up for a better amp, not just one with more power. So, I'll have to wait another year (or two?) to save up.

That'll give me a chance to learn about amp designs, brands and models (I don't really know anything about amps and don't have a lot of exposure to higher end brands/models outside of the usual suspects (Krell, Classe, McIntosh and the like). Butler Audio is a new one for me -- I'll have to look them up.

I've tried the low power & high power route.
If your system is in a small room & doesn't ever clip,
you're fine.
If your in a larger room, and you want to play loud,
you'll want more power.
I'm currently using a PA2200 which surprises me considering some of the amps I've had in my system. I purchased it on ebay, one of those accidental buys. After it arrived I rewired the AC input and installed IEC socket. Then I rewired the output and installed some Cardas binding posts. Great little amp for what I paid.
A few years ago I owned both the HK PA2100 and the Adcom 535II at the same time. The HK was the better amp IMO. Quieter, smoother, and just more fun to listen to. As I am one of those who always removes the cover to see what's going on inside, I'd say the Adcom looked like the better amp. Seemed to have much more going on in there. Then again, there is something to be said for simplicity.
Also owned the Adcom 5400 a while back, but don't remember it much.
I agree with Danielk141 in that more power isn't needed if conditions don't require. My room is small and I rarely listen at high volume so 100 watts per side is plenty. Good luck.

Hi folks,

Thanks for the great advice. This helps a lot and is probably saving me much needed funds. Thanks for helping me not waste funds for what likely would have been a lateral purchase at best.

It's small room so perhaps what I have now is sufficient.
I meant to make a simple suggestion if you want to compare the sound between HK and Adcom. Pick up a PA2200 on ebay, I got mine for $105, and listen. It's an inexpensive experiment.
If you can snag an H/K Signature 2.1 for $500, do it! It is a very high-current design and sounds marvelous. You could easily use that amp for a year and then sell it for what you paid...

Happy New Year!!