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$500 Amp Recommendations, KEF LS50


fritzg
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Looking to move form my integrated amp to a modular system. Looking at a variety of DACs, including the Dragonflys and the Schlit Bifrost.

 

What Amp(s) would you recommend?

 

I tried a LOT before finally spending bucks on a mcintosh, but in that range, i would consider

 

Marantz or NAD

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You're in America ? LS50 retails for $1,500 ? You want to spend just 1/3 of speakers' RSRP on an amp (to drive them) ?

 

Anyhow, a recent supplementary CA Thread to scan through is Recommend me a an All-in-one Amp: For Tidal/Spotify - driving Kef LS50 - up to $5000

 

And What source and amplification would you use to drive KEF LS50 speakers?

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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Yep. Read those threads and there are some ideas. I am not looking for an integrated amp. And am looking to spend approx $1K to $1.5K total on a DAC plus amp.

 

Looking for suggestions on a budget/midrange amp.

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More information for us... Are there certain genres of music you listen predominately to ?

What existing interconnects have you ? Because, some CA members (but not me) uses RCA sets that costs $500 or more.

And speaker cables ?

Oh, other accessories...

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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Yep. Read those threads and there are some ideas. I am not looking for an integrated amp. And am looking to spend approx $1K to $1.5K total on a DAC plus amp.

 

Looking for suggestions on a budget/midrange amp.

 

Find yourself a nice clean Nelson Pass designed Adcom GFA 555II off ebay.

Build like a tank, wonderful sound, will probably deliver 25 more years of reliable service. There's half a dozen up there right now in exactly your $500 price range.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1312.R1.TR11.TRC2.A0.H0.Xa.TRS1&_nkw=adcom+gfa+555&_sacat=0

If later wanted Rick at BigSkyAudio can upgrade it with audiophile caps and resistors, etc.

Big Sky Audio, LLP - When You Are Serious About Sound™ ADCOM, Harman Kardon Citation 16, Parasound Stereo Amplifier Upgrades

 

I'll add that for under $800 you can add something like a

Marantz DAC1 $799 or

Emotiva Stealth DC-1 $499

Either DAC can serve as preamp driving the a power amp directly and adding remote volume and input switching. Both also include a great sounding headphone amp.

 

A pairing like this together with a set of great speakers will supply you with sound quality that would take 5X the dollars to surpass.

 

ADCOM GFA 555II Specs

Power output: 200 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo), 600W into 8Ω (mono)

Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.04%

Damping factor: 800

Gain: 27 dB

Input sensitivity: 1.75V

Signal to noise ratio: 110dB

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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More information for us... Are there certain genres of music you listen predominately to ?

What existing interconnects have you ? Because' date=' some [b']CA[/b] members (but not me) uses RCA sets that costs $500 or more.

And speaker cables ?

Oh, other accessories...

 

Rock, jazz, vocal, americana.

 

Didn't ask about interconnects and speaker cables.

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Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Find yourself a nice clean Nelson Pass designed Adcom GFA 555II off ebay.

Build like a tank, wonderful sound, will probably deliver 25 more years of reliable service. There's half a dozen up there right now in exactly your $500 price range.

adcom gfa 555 | eBay

If later wanted Rick at BigSkyAudio can upgrade it with audiophile caps and resistors, etc.

Big Sky Audio, LLP - When You Are Serious About Sound™ ADCOM, Harman Kardon Citation 16, Parasound Stereo Amplifier Upgrades

 

I'll add that for under $800 you can add something like a

Marantz DAC1 $799 or

Emotiva Stealth DC-1 $499

Either DAC can serve as preamp driving the a power amp directly and adding remote volume and input switching. Both also include a great sounding headphone amp.

 

A pairing like this together with a set of great speakers will supply you with sound quality that would take 5X the dollars to surpass.

 

ADCOM GFA 555II Specs

Power output: 200 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo), 600W into 8Ω (mono)

Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.04%

Damping factor: 800

Gain: 27 dB

Input sensitivity: 1.75V

Signal to noise ratio: 110dB

 

 

+1

 

An Adcom 555II power amp and Emotiva Stealth DC-1 DAC/preamp would be impossible to beat for that amount of dough.

Win10 Sweetwater recording studio PC running JRMC > Soundcraft Ui24r 24-track digital mixer > JBL LSR308 via Magomi Balanced XLR cable pair

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Rock, jazz, vocal, americana.

 

Didn't ask about interconnects and speaker cables.

 

Happy to recommend the Job INT - no interconnects needed.

JOB Products

 

Don't get fooled by the low rent website.

It's a serious integrated amp + DAC package.

Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8.7 + JRMC 28 & HQPlayer | Mutec MC-3+ Smart Clock USB |  Job INT | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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Future respondents, read more carefully :

I am not looking for an integrated amp. And am looking to spend approx $1K to $1.5K total on a DAC plus amp.

 

Looking for suggestions on a budget/midrange amp.

 

He wants a power-amp. And, unfortunately, what I've seen of my friends' recommendations, they're above 500USD

 

Are you able to visit a specialist dealer and audition combinations ?

You're especially at risk, if buying unheard

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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Rock, jazz, vocal, americana.

 

Didn't ask about interconnects and speaker cables.

 

Amps aren't designed for a certain type of music.

 

Check out the Yamaha P2500S. You can get it from Guitar Center and if you don't like it return it. It extends to 40Khz and is transparent with plenty of power on tap and linear.

 

Also available on @ Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002E516C/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_1?pf_rd_p=1944687742&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B004JPRL22&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=9XJ5FT0MBMEZ2EVVYSH2

 

Having owned an Adcom 5503 and 535 I got rid of them in just a few months. I wasn't impressed given all the hype.

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best amp i have heard in that price range, and i have had over 50 amps in my house in past 3 years.

 

NAD 218 THX Power Amplifier 200 225 Watts per Channel | eBay

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

I know you said you don't want an integrated, but you can get a really nice marantz integrated that will sound bettter than 90% of the stuff out there in that price range. I just picked up a 2013 top of the line model (retail $2K) for $500.

ALso has phono stage, atmos, 4k, 3d, tons more and sounds phenominal....

 

$_32.JPG

SR7008

 

 

my main stereo amp (although slightly more than $500)

g958MC152-F.jpg

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Amps aren't designed for a certain type of music.

 

But you've too must have read of consumers' listening experience that their-amp-best-suits-such-and-such...

 

Perhaps the Adcom amps suits best Sal and Gary's type...

 

And, incidentally, how important do readers regard interconnects and speaker cables for sound ?

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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But you've too must have read of consumers' listening experience that their-amp-best-suits-such-and-such...

 

Perhaps the Adcom amps suits best Sal and Gary's type...

 

And' date=' incidentally, how important do readers regard [i']interconnects and speaker cables[/i] for sound ?

It's very important to have correctly designed interconnect and speaker cables. But it's basically a non issue since perfectly transparent cables can be purchased from companies such as Blue Jean Cables for no more than $2 a foot, or slightly more custom terminated with ultrasonically welded connectors.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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You're generalising too much. And only people present at recording-mastering and whaterver-subsequent-playback can wield perfectly transparent as validation ‽

 

Endearing as your faith is to single out Blue Jean Cables, they're not stocked in New Zealand. Stateside readers may choose to test your beliefs.

 

For the record, I've listed my previous pursuit of ordering Goertz Cables

 

Then again, so that we know, why don't you name us some of the cable brands you think incorrectly design...

 

It's true I was provoking the consideration of how consumers have spent more than 500USD on 1 set of RCA interconnects.

It's very important to have correctly designed interconnect and speaker cables. But it's basically a non issue since perfectly transparent cables can be purchased from companies such as Blue Jean Cables for no more than $2 a foot, or slightly more custom terminated with ultrasonically welded connectors.

 

And as you know, of USB :

Yes.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, your DAC cost 850$ ?

 

Last year there was manic interest in the Curious Cables - there are numerous threads here that expound the virtues of these cables. There are also some very strong professional reviews. I bought a 'full loom' about 2 months ago, which I use with a W4S Recovery. Compared to its predecessor (AudioQuest Cinnamon) its a huge improvement, and is everything I hoped it would be. If a USB cable can be worth $600, this one can. I have no regrets.

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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I will not contribute to you trying once again to stir the never ending debate on cables. The OP wanted to discuss some affordable amplification and maybe some DAC's.

Please have some respect and take this crap elsewhere.

Don't feed the troll guys.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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I

 

Incidentally, was MF reading you ?

Looking at a variety of DACs, including the Dragonflys...
Perceptive readers understand that, if Dragonflys, it'd be a 3.5mm headphone jack to RCAs—and AudioQuest does their own... Is there a sound-difference to, say, Blue Jean equivalent ?

 

And every Thread goes-beyond the OP, don't you comprehend what public is, or good-of-the-community ?

 

«

an accurate picture

Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza,

 

ma ottimista per la volontà.

severe loudspeaker alignment »

 

 

 

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I did extensive research for this exact issue and I settled on the NAD C326BEE. It's got the power i need for my speakers (and enough to run the KEF LS50 too), and it has a built in pre-amp but you can go around it in case you want to upgrade, which I ended up doing (to a Little Dot MkII Tube Preamp). The price is right around $500 and i've been very happy with it. There is no phono section, but since I don't have a turntable, that isn't a problem. The only upgrade i did to the interconnects (before getting the tube pre-amp) was a pair of AudioQuest RCA PreAmp Jumpers, whose impact was debatable, but it made me feel like a real audiophile :)

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Interesting. Haven't heard of this company. Thanks. Why I started the thread.

 

I bought one of their amps before I bought my Odyssey - which costs 3X as much.

Their amps are good overall and a tremendous value for the money.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Yep. Read those threads and there are some ideas. I am not looking for an integrated amp. And am looking to spend approx $1K to $1.5K total on a DAC plus amp.

 

Looking for suggestions on a budget/midrange amp.

 

So if not an integrated, then a pre/power combo. With your limited budget, I suggest you hit the second hand market. I do this all the time, plenty of bargains to be had.

 

I got good results with Cyrus amps when I had my LS50's. These amps are very detail-oriented, just as the LS50's are.

 

Cyrus SmartPower mono's are fairly old, but they are really, really good - I still have a pair and they give my far more expensive x300 sigs a very good run for their money. $500 would secure a pair, if you can find 'em.

Front End: Neet Airstream

Digital Processing: Chord Hugo M-Scaler

DAC: Chord Dave

Amplification: Cyrus Mono x300 Signatures

Speakers: Kudos Titan T88

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