Replacement amp for Magnepan 2.7s?

My Aragon 4004 amp's right channel just went out due to leaking capacitors in the power supply. It's the original version (not the MKII but it has the same output transistors) and is now about 23 yrs old. I used the amp to power my Magnepan 2.7 spkrs that are 4 ohm and I think about 84-87db efficient at 1 watt. The amp and spkrs are used for both 2-channel and for front mains in HT usage. My budget is low, $600 or less, because I no longer work since having a stroke 2 yrs ago. So, I have thought of 3 options so far:

Option#1- Repair my amp for $300-$500.I contacted Rick Santiago, the new owner of Aragon, and he was very helpful in finding a local shop for repair. Upside is it's within my budget and I know I'll like the sound with my spkrs, as long as repairs are done well.Downside is there's no increase in system performance for the money spent and the amp is 23+ yrs old. I asked Rick if he would trade one of his new Aragon amps for my original 4004, so he could start a museum of all Aragon amps, but he didn't bite.

Option#2- Buy a replacement Aragon 4004 or later version 4004MKII. Upside is I know I'll like this with my setup. Downside is it's a lateral move with no clear improvement in performance and current used 4004s go for about the same amount I paid for mine about 10 yrs ago($1,000).

Option#3- Buy another high power (200-400 watts) amp that's a good match with my spkrs for both music and HT. Upside is a possible improvement in performance, if chosen wisely. Downside is my budget may be too low. I've been scouring the internet forums and reviews on newer amps and have currently narrowed it down to the following:

Wyred4sound(ST250, ST500,UPA monos or older discontinued multi-channel models). These are all based on the classD ICE modules and have plenty of power into 4 ohms. Reviews and word of mouth are both very favorable but I've never heard them. Also, I'm not seeing many of these for sale and the ST500 and monos probably exceed my budget.

PS Audio (HCA-2 or other models). All are ICE based amps with plenty of power. These also have received very good reviews but I haven't heard these either. Used offerings are slim for these, too.

Emotiva (XPA-2 or XPA-3 or other multi-channel models). These are all class A/B. Again, plenty of power, but may not offer better performance since my 4004 was also classA/B. Plus, I think the looks are a bit cheesey.

I'm currently favoring option#3, buying a high power replacement, since a different amp offers the possibility of increased performance. Please let me know your thoughts. Any suggestions of other amps or options to consider are very welcome.
I would probably repair the 4004. Assuming hte repair is properly done, the advantages are 1- you know what you will be getting; 2- you know you will like the results; 3- it is the most cost effective solution.

As a former long time opwner of Magenpan speakers myself (I had 2.6's well over a decade) I would be careful about putting too much money into a system centered around 2.7's. By now they are a bit long in tooth, and if you've got a good thing going with your 4004, you may not want a more revealing amp that would highlight some of the graininess that was endemic to Maggies of the day
What is it that you like about your current amp? Knowing that will make recommendations much easier. Also, I highly recommend you listen to the PS Audio before making a decision on it. Its one of the 1st class D amps and has a unique sound. People tend to like it very much or not at all.
$300-$500 seems high for a cap swap. I have several amps fairly recently fully rebuilt and upgraded using best parts in that cost range. Find a good tech to rebuild your Aragon and there will be no downside. It will sound better than new. You've been listening to a deteriorated version of this amp for a long time. You've probably never experienced it's full potential.
I have the 2.7's as well and I am using the Emotiva XPA-2. Check the Emporium forum on Emotiva Community for the occasional one for sale in the 500-600 range.
Unless you have an emotional attachment to the Aragon scrap it and move into something more in tune with your Maggies and has some resale.Bryston amps were my choice but the squared series would exceed your price point.That said,an older 4B SST ranges between $1300 and $1500,would be an upgrade and a more seamless match with your speakers.
I think I like the combo of the 4004 coupled with a tubed preamp much better than with a ss pre. The sound is very smooth and liquid through the midrange but also nicely detailed at the same time. The amp never seems like it's running out of power and has plenty of headroom for good dynamic impact. The 4004 can be a little on the lean side of neutral. Adding the tubes brings the sound slightly to the warm side of neutral, which I prefer. When I pull the speakers away from the wall about 5', The combo presents a deep soundstage with a holographic affect on good recordings. So, I think I enjoy the combo of a tubed preamp with a high powered ss amp more than I enjoy the amp itself. From what I've read about the PS Audio ST250 and ST500, I think this would be a very good choice, But I see very few for sale and I've never heard one. I think, if I found one for sale, I might just take a chance, anyway, since I don't know where to audition it. A


All very good points; repairing it would probably be the least costly and I'd pretty much know what I'm getting. And yes, my spkrs are getting as long in the tooth as my amp (and me). both date back to 1989-90. Wonder if Magnepan could do a refurbishing.


Your suggestion is very interesting. The tech/owner of the repair shop I would use is a former Klipsch employee that worked on Aragon equipment. Aragon used to offer an upgrade to MKII status and he may be able to do this. $500 for replacing capacitors is too steep.I found a site online that details exactly what the upgrade consists of with schematics and a parts list. If the parts are still available, maybe it can be done.

I've already been on that site but didn't realize they have a used marketplace. Is your XPA-2 a good match with your 2.7's? I'm very curious about the Emotiva amps. I thought I could find a bargain on an older XPA-1 or XPA-2, which I heard were very good too, but I haven't seen any for sale recently. I saw a few XPA-2's in the $500-600 range and even a few XPA-3's in that range. Do you think the XPA-3 would sound as good as the XPA-2 for 2 channel listening? I could use the extra channel to power my CC3 center spkr.
Are you using a tubed preamp? If not, I strongly suggest you try a few with this amp if you can.

I really appreciate everyone's great input so far. I think I'm starting to lean toward getting it repaired/refurbished and possibly upgraded but that may change.
Thank you,
Nob check out Coda Technologies!
Well, I was all ready to get the Aragon repaired/refurbished when I received some info about a small company in California called ClassD Audio. It's a small kit amplifier company that has recently branched out to offering finished amplifiers. I went on their website ( and it piqued my interest.

I did some searches on the internet and, after reading many positive owners' testimonials, I called them this morning. I talked to the owner, Tom. He's a great guy and he explained his company's philosophy; basically trying to build the best amplifiers he can and relying on word of mouth referrals rather than advertising to build his business. We had a good conversation and I explained my system and what I was looking for. He recommended their SDS-440cs model as a good match for my system. It's a propietary class d amp that delivers 600 watts/channel@4 ohms. He said they're coming out with a new casing that is black with a polished aluminum face plate. Photos are not yet published of the new style on the website, but he said he could use the new style case if I would like. I don't think there's an extra charge for these newly styled cases but I could be wrong. He told me he designed his amps to have tube-like qualities in the midrange on up and solid state qualities in the bass. This is exactly what I am after for my system sound.

So, I ordered this model in the new casing today. He even asked if I would like the silver screws for the aluminum face plate or black. When I said silver, he said he'll send me the black ones for free if I change my mind once I see it. Talk about good customer service.

I just wanted to thank everyone for their input. My decision to buy a new amp was based on the Aragon being over 20 yrs old and the possibilities of these new amps. Tom said this model works very well with Magnepan spkrs and is stable with low ohm loads. I'll try to post a new thread once I have a chance to listen to the amp in my system. I'm trying not to get my expectations too high but I can't wait to test this thing out.

I was just typing out my response to your comment on my post and was about to tell you to fix your amp since you achieved something that most audiophiles fail to do. That is, being legitimately happy with your current system. In true audiophile fashion, though, I see you through caution into the wind and became just like the rest of us; silver screws and all.

I hope the new amp works out for you. If its not too much trouble, can you post once you had a chance to listen to it. I'm sure everyone would like to hear what you think. Please be sure to note which screws sound better; black or silver.
Hi Zd542,
When I went to bed last night, you, Zavato and Csantos had me almost convinced to just repair/refurbish the Aragon. I was going to drop it off today. But this morning, I got an email from a guy selling his older Wyred4Sound amp. He said it was already sold but suggested I check out the ClassD amps. ClassD Audio's owner convinced me I should give it a shot.

You're right, I did kind of throw caution to the wind. But the Aragon's over 20 yrs old and this new one isn't even built yet. What the hell, buying a new amp is exciting. Half the fun of this hobby (obsession?)is the search for better sound and trying new equipment and new music. This amp seems really promising and I'll definitely post a thread on how it worked out within a few weeks after I get it. They're hand made to order and I hope Tom described the amp's qualities accurately. He's a really nice guy and seems trustworthy.
I should get the amp in about a week. He said my preamp and speakers should be a good match with the SDS-440CS. And yes, I'll let you know which screws, silver or black, look better.
BTW: In my last posting, I stated the amp is 600 watts @ 4ohms. It's actually 440 watts @ 4ohms. The Aragon was 400 watts @ 4ohms so that should be plenty for my spkrs.

Thanks again for your assistance,

Just wanted to let everyone know that I posted a followup thread to give my thoughts on the CDA SDS-440CS amp I bought. The subject reads: "Found good amp for Magnepans". Posted today.

You should definitely audition, they offer a 30 home trial, the Sanders Sound Magtech amp. The amp sounds amazing on my 1.7s with 900w/ch into 4ohms.
I'd love to test out the Magtech in my system. I've read very good reviews on this amp but it's beyond my budget.

I still can't believe how fortunate I was to find the Class D Audio 440 at only $660. It sounds better than my old Aragon in every measure. I've never experienced this quality of sound before on both 2-channel and ht. I never knew my 2.7s could produce the level and quality of bass this amp generates on good recordings (damping factor is over 1,000, I think). Needless to say, I'm a new fan of class D amps and would recommend Class D Audio's amps for any Maggie owner looking for an inexpensive amplifier to drive them extremely well. I also think my tube preamp is an important factor in the system synergy I'm now experiencing.I've only had this for a few weeks, but I couldn't be happier with this little amp.

If you live within a reasonable driving distance of Indianapolis' northern suburbs, I'd even be willing to have anyone interested over for a listen. Just send me a pm if interested but, please, no bozos.