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  1. #1
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    best 2ch amp under $500?

    I've decided that I want the flexibility of a separate amp for my two front channels. Can anyone recommend a good 2 channel amp that will put out a decent amount of power per channel, into 4, 6 or 8 ohms, and sells for under $500? Is there such a thing?

  2. #2
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    sorry, just noticed there is a separate board for amps... going there now.. *smacks self in head*

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Could be easy

    Quote Originally Posted by elbarono
    I've decided that I want the flexibility of a separate amp for my two front channels. Can anyone recommend a good 2 channel amp that will put out a decent amount of power per channel, into 4, 6 or 8 ohms, and sells for under $500? Is there such a thing?
    Do mean that you want to driver a front channel amp from the "pre-amp out" connections of your A/V receiver? If so, I guess you need a power amp.

    For a new power, an easy and good choice is the NAD C272 -- 120 wt/ch @ 8 ohms or about 200 wt/ch @ 4 ohms. If you're willing be buy used, you'll have other options no doubt.

  4. #4
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    Integrated Amplifiers.

    I don't know if you are looking for a power amplifier or an integrated amplifier. But, if you are looking for an integrated amplifier I recomend the NAD C320BEE. I auditioned it personaly and was completly amazed by its performance with regards to its price. Several respectable audio magazines agree with me:

    Stereophile recomended the NAD C320BEE as a great budget component.

    The Absolute Sound recomend the NAD C320BEE and said that it performed well and had a great value.

    If you are looking for more than the 50 watts per channel that the NAD C320BEE supplies, you may be interested in spending a bit more and getting the NAD C352 or the NAD C372

    Other respectable integrated amplifiers in or slightly above your price range include:
    -Rotel RA-02
    -Rotel RA-1062
    -Rotel RA-1070
    -Arcam A65
    -Rega Brio
    -Rega Mira

    If you are interested in tube amplifiers, Jolida generaly sets the standard for entry level tube amplifiers. Jolida also carries hybrid amplifiers within your price range.

    You may have been looking for power amplifier recomendations, if that was the case, my bad. Hope that helps a bit. Goodluck.
    -Shwamdoo

  5. #5
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    I'm not sure what I want.. I'm not even sure what the difference is between a power amp and an integrated amp.

    Right now I have an HK AVR 235 receiver. I haven't purchased any speakers yet except an SVS 20-39PCi. (which is incredible, btw.) It seems like a lot of the better quality speakers are 6 or 4 ohm, which I doubt my receiver can handle (it is only rated for 8 ohms).

    So I think I have two options here.. Either buy a 2 channel amp which will be used only for the mains, and run the rest of the speakers (HT) off the receiver.

    My other choice would be to buy a 5 channel amp and drive all the speakers with it, and use the HK as a preamp.

  6. #6
    RGA
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    No a lot of the better speakers are 8 ohms. This is merely an impedence number which indicates how difficult a speaker is to drive. The number itself is an average and means little in itself. An 8ohm speaker may dip to 2 ohms and also rise to 20ohms.

    Generally you want a speaker that doesn't have wild swings and 8 ohms is easier to drvie which may mean that low powered but exceptioanlly good amplifiers will have an easier time to drive them. There is no advantage in low impedence or low sensitivity speakers --- yu need way more power to get them to play as loud as high sensitiveity higher impedence speakers. Thus 95db 8 ohm speakers with 10 watts will play to the same volume as a speaker rated at 85db sensitive 8ohm speakers with 100 watts.

    There are bad speakers and good speakers of both low and high sensitivity and impedence...all things being equal the easier to drive speaker is better -- but not all things are equal.

    I would not buy amps and speakers independantly of eachother -- this is mere guesswork if the two will like eachother...took a ong time and a lot of money to realize this.

    Find a stereo system you really are blown away by --- and try and by the entire system.

  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Some issues

    Quote Originally Posted by elbarono
    I'm not sure what I want.. I'm not even sure what the difference is between a power amp and an integrated amp.

    Right now I have an HK AVR 235 receiver. I haven't purchased any speakers yet except an SVS 20-39PCi. (which is incredible, btw.) It seems like a lot of the better quality speakers are 6 or 4 ohm, which I doubt my receiver can handle (it is only rated for 8 ohms).
    ...
    The first issue need to address is how you will interface with and control your source component -- let's say a DVD player. In practical terms the DVD player has got to connect to one and only one receiver/amp, let's say your HK AVR 235. The next issue is that you want your HK AVR 235 to send the Left & Right signals, (or all 6 maybe), to your new, second amplfier. How is it going to do this?

    If your HK AVR 235 doesn't have "pre-amp out" connnections, i.e. outputs that send line (a.k.a. low-level) signals versus speaker-level signals, then you are basically out of luck as far as a second amp is concerned.

    However if you HK AVR 235 does have "pre-amp outs", then you can connect to a separate amplifier. A "power" amp has minimal controls, usually no volume control nor input selector -- which you don't need in your situation because your HK AVR 235 is providing these functions. An "integrated" amp provides these controls but they are pretty much redundant for what you want to do. Note that power amps come in 1 channel, 2 channel (stereo), or as many as 6 channels -- your choice, or you can use two stereo amps, whatever. The most common option is stereo, of course, e.g. the NAD C272 I mentioned earlier.

    In pratical terms once again, it might be better, (and really more expensive), to upgrade to better AV receiver that handle 4 ohms all around.

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Opps, mean to say ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    ...
    In pratical terms once again, it might be better, (and really more expensive), to upgrade to better AV receiver that handle 4 ohms all around.
    ... NOT really more expensive.

  9. #9
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    Yes, the AVR235 has pre-outs. My DVD player also has six channel pre-outs. So depending on the setup I choose I would be connecting one or the other. I guess if I was connecting the DVD player directly, I would need an integrated amplifier.

    Don't most power amps have at least a gain control knob?

  10. #10
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    Does NAD sell in the US? I looked for them online and I could only find places in the UK selling them.

  11. #11
    way up in Canada eh f0rge's Avatar
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    Smile

    for under $500 i like my adcom GFA-555, powers everything i've ever thrown at it, although at that price point you might have to buy used, check ebay, they have lots. its like 200wpc@8ohms and 325wpc@4ohm so its got decent power. i use the amp to power my mains and the receiver to handle the surrounds

  12. #12
    Forum Regular Registered Member 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbarono

    Right now I have an HK AVR 235 receiver. I haven't purchased any speakers yet
    You should wait untill you buy speakers before you buy an ext amp...That HK should be able to drive most speakers.

  13. #13
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    Yes.

    NAD does sell in the USA. You just have to locate a dealer.

    http://www.nadelectronics.com/dealers/index.htm
    -Shwamdoo

  14. #14
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbarono
    Yes, the AVR235 has pre-outs. My DVD player also has six channel pre-outs. So depending on the setup I choose I would be connecting one or the other. I guess if I was connecting the DVD player directly, I would need an integrated amplifier.

    Don't most power amps have at least a gain control knob?
    If you use the 6 channel outputs from your DVD you could connect both to your HK and another amp, but for this to be practical, your DVD will also need to have volume control at least, and preferably also the means to adjust the relative volume levels of the 6 channels.

    Some power amps do provide volume control. When provided, it's sometimes located at the back of the amp, (e.g. for the NAD C270). However even with this control, it is still a practical necessity that the unit driving the power amp, (whether that's your DVD or your receiver), has at least an overall volume control.

    And yes, NAD is certainly sold in the US. Try this link ...
    http://www.nadelectronics.com/dealers/index.htm

  15. #15
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    I posted this under one of your other threads but meant it for this thread.

    It will be hard to find an Audiophile quality amp for under 500.00. You absolutely do NOT want to pump a poor signal through your system. Not good for your speakers at all.

    This is my suggestion:

    I'm going to suggest that instead of looking for a new amp under 500.00(good luck finding one that isn't a piece a crap)you look into getting your hands on a used Harman Kardon Citation 16 model. These things were /are amazing amps. Truly when HK was at their height and considered a class A/B amp. You can usally pick one up for about 300-500 on ebay. They will drive a 6ohm speaker. They pack between 150-175 watts and if you find you like this amp the cool thing is you can mono-block and get another one and then have one amp to drive each front speaker. Whhooohhhooooo.
    Enjoy.

  16. #16
    My custom user title This Guy's Avatar
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    I don't see why you think everything under $500 is crap, but thats beside my point. I'd say look at the Audiosource Amp three. They're discontinued I beleive cause they have a new line up, but there are used ones floating around for $250 or less. 150 watts a channel 8 ohms, 300 at 4, and 450 at 2 ohms. I emailed them and the guy said they were absolutely fine at 2 ohms. At 8 ohms pushing 150 watts, the THD is .04%. This thing ways as much as my receiver (about 30 pounds), and you can even bridge it to 400 watts at 8 ohms. I don't see how you could want anymore than this, I love my Amp three and it was the best bargain i ever had.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular psonic's Avatar
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    $500 is not that tough if you consider used gear. You have a ton of options. You can get alot for your money in a single amp or integrated. If you don't need surround, I suggest an integrated amplifier. New is a different story, much tougher at $500. You have Cambridge, NAD, maybe Rotel, Marantz and the like. Jolida might be the best option...

    You may want to call Underwood HiFi, they are really reasonable and they discount Jolida amps and sell them way under MSRP, new with warranty. I called with interest in the 1501RC 100w tube hybrid that is supossed to be excellent - $750 msrp, $590 direct shipped from Jolida with warranty (plus s/h), that is the remote controlled version. They have a 50w and a 100w non remote version that may fit your budget also. A tube hybrid is an integrated with a tube preamp stage and a solid state amplifier section. http://www.jolida.com/catalogue/models/jd1501rc.shtml
    http://www.underwoodhifi.com/specials.html
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  18. #18
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    I don't think everything under 500 is crap, I actually recommended looking for a USED amp that fell in the 500.00 range.

    My issue is with NEW amps that may sell for 500.00 off the show room floor. Actually, I don't know of any reputable audio stores that even sell a new 2 cahnnel amp for 500.00 or under.

    I would agree that there are plenty of used amps that will sell under 500.00. Does Audio Source sell new 2 cahnnel amps for under 500.00?????



    Quote Originally Posted by This Guy
    I don't see why you think everything under $500 is crap, but thats beside my point. I'd say look at the Audiosource Amp three. They're discontinued I beleive cause they have a new line up, but there are used ones floating around for $250 or less. 150 watts a channel 8 ohms, 300 at 4, and 450 at 2 ohms. I emailed them and the guy said they were absolutely fine at 2 ohms. At 8 ohms pushing 150 watts, the THD is .04%. This thing ways as much as my receiver (about 30 pounds), and you can even bridge it to 400 watts at 8 ohms. I don't see how you could want anymore than this, I love my Amp three and it was the best bargain i ever had.

  19. #19
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    Hmmm...
    You don't know a Hi-Fi dealer that carries NAD or Rega? I know those two brands make Integrated Amplifiers for under $500.00.

    And, while the other brands may not have $500.00 amps, they certainly have something just a stretch abover $500.00.
    -Shwamdoo

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Registered Member paul_pci's Avatar
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    If I may chime in

    [QUOTE=malibushirl]
    My issue is with NEW amps that may sell for 500.00 off the show room floor. Actually, I don't know of any reputable audio stores that even sell a new 2 cahnnel amp for 500.00 or under.

    If you're really from Malibu and not just pimping the name, then you should know that there are more than a few audio dealers in the LA area which carry Rotel products, which includes their bottom of the line 70-watt amp for $400. I know this because I was thinking of getting this model as my first foray into the world of amps. Surely that Rotel amp is not "crap", and I know these dealers are quite reputable.

  21. #21
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    Yes we can all spilt hairs on the details so in the interest of comparing apples to apples I was initally speaking of a 2 Channel power amp rated at 150 wats per channel and the specifc model was a vintage HK Citation 16.

    My point, not conveyed well was that it would be difficult to locate a new, 2 Channel, solid state power amp rated at 150 w or better with a MSRP of under 500. I would still love to new if Adcom has such an amp for under 500.00. If so I want on!e!

    I'm certain their are lower rated amps such as 70w Rotel and also Integrated amps available but not the type of amp I was pricing at the 500.00 or less range. Not to say there is anyhting wrong with thes amps and budget is everything. Mostly why I buy used, yes even with the Malibu tag. SO If this is your budget, fits your listeneing needs and system set-up then enjoy.


    I think we all agree that there are great deals out there on used amps so maybe it is better to decide how much power, solid state or tube, Integrated or true poweramp and then look at your budget and then see what is available MSRP.

    In the words of Beavis & Butthead, " Settle down Beavis!!".

  22. #22
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    One call...

    One call is currrently running a clearance special on the ATI 1502 amp (which is not a piece of crap) for $493. It is 150x2 into 8 ohms and 225x2 into 4 ohms. It normally lists for $800 and it's while supplies last.

    I've picked up one (during the first week of the sale when it was actually only $399) and it sounds awesome to me. It's no Mark Lev or Bryston but it can certainly hold its own with the Adcoms, Rotels, and NADs(speaking of Beavis and Butthead) of the world.

    Good luck!

  23. #23
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    ATI has great sound for the buck as does Outlaw. Rotel, and Adcom are Ok but none of these will beat a used amp. One can still find a Bryston 4B 200W per channel that still has 5 or more years on its 20 year transferable waranty for less than $500 if you shop carefully. Indestructible, good sound and some bragging rights.

    There are other used amps that are good as well. If you are new to all this go to Audiogon, currently the best candy store for used high end stuff. Try not to drool.

  24. #24
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    I like Hafler amps used and Audiosource amps brand new for under 500. You can find other amps along with hafler for under 500 on ebay.

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