Money an issue in this hobby? Good luck for 500.00 Try Carver
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There are two very good amps out here now, that are much less than $500.00 Someone has a "micro integrated drive" from McCormack and the other is a Musical Concepts modified B&K ST140 (around 100wpc) - this was a classic recommended amplifier in Stereophile for over 10 years - that one is listed for around $200.00 - The McCormack is only 50 wpc but is class A, and sounds warm like tubes - Best luck
NAD C270 or C272 are newer possible choices. McCormack would be better, B&K at least as good as NAD. If you need an integrated amp at that price point, then the large NAD C370 or C372 could work.
In addition to Carver, Parasound and Hafler are some other brands that are viable choices available today at well under $500. Be aware that older electronics are a stop gap measure that may or may not provide long years of service as noted above.
See here to get general idea of market for inexpensive used amps, at least in Seattle area:
If you can stretch your budget just a bit, this is a great little 115 watt (8 ohm) amp that is on the 2009 TAS Recommended Components list. I heard this amp (with some upgrade options) at my brother-in law's house this summer. It really is a great sounding amp that has garnered some very impressive reviews. It's got to be a veritable steal at only $800.00 (new)....
Ok I have your answer and it is the Applied Research Technology SLA2 amp. You can buy them for under $300 new and they offer 200 watts per channel.
This amp will greatly please you for the money. True high end sound.
Get a decent power cord from Signal and some decent footers and your done!!
I have compared the SLA1, which is 100 watts, to several used, big name and $$ amps and the SLA bettered some and was never embarrased.
Look on Ebay for the SLA1 or the SLA2.
Balanced and 1/4" outs only. Just get 1/4" to rca adaptors at Rat Shack for $5 each. They work great if you dont have xlr pre outs.
Turn the volume pots all the way up to bypass them and use your own preamp.