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So, what are recommendable amps below 200$?

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#21
Another thing to look for are Adcom amps in good condition. They’re relatively easy to find used, aren’t as highly desired as prettier vintage units, and they claim to measure well on spec sheets.

My subjective experience with them is that they’re more than adequately transparent. It’d be great to see some measurements of older products on ASR to see if low-cost retail units outperform the used market.
 

Willem

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#22
If this is still for use with the Quad ESL57 speakers I want to stress again that the Quad 303 was made for them and is probably the only safe one if you want to be sure that you will not destroy the speakers. And it is a good amplifier that saw a lot of professional use in its glory days. But make sure it has been refurbished, preferably with upgraded caps. Modern caps are more compact so you can have a bigger power reserve inside the same case.
 
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#23
Duly noted Willem. This time the enquiry is of a general nature, not with a specific speaker in mind.

Adcom amps look interesting, but here in Europe they are difficult to find on the used market.
 

Willem

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#24
If you are in Europe, my suggestion would be the Yamaha AS501. See here for a test of the roughly 2x100 watt rms at 8 Ohm AS500, its predecessor without digital inputs but otherwise identical: https://www.avhub.com.au/product-reviews/hi-fi/yamaha-a-s500-amplifier-review-test-395710 The newer AS501 sells for just over 300 euro, but you save on a separate DAC. I honestly do not know of anything better in the budget category, and I fear that anything cheaper will be a lot worse.
 
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#25
I'd like to chime in with one comment. I guess that's better to have a new amp discounted for various reasons like the Powergate and the PW-AMP (and even the Nuforce STA-120) than an A/B amp from the 90s, just for the fact that you never know how the previous owners treated them. Buying new and discounted is the more conscious option.
 
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#27
It really depends on personal tolerance to risk. Higher risk can mean higher gains, lower risk always means mediocrity for the same money. Pick your poison.
I chose higher risk. It’s worked out well for several years.
 

Xulonn

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#28
I am currently using the Daphile headless player/library manager on an Intel NUC > SMSL Sanskrit 6th DAC via optical > Topping PA3 integrated amp (two-source switch + volume control) via mid-priced RCA cables. The PA3 drives a pair of Paradigm Atom v6 monitors via generic 16ga speaker wire. I just checked for noise with the volume control at max with no input, and then with the SMSL connected but switched to an unused input. Dead silent both ways.

I've seen some complaints about noise and lack of power with the Topping PA3, but I am very impressed with mine. I bought it about the same time that Amir bought a Topping TP60 to test, which is a bigger, amp with dual linear power supplies based on a pair of heavy toroidal power transformers driving an old Tripath "Class-T" amp module. The TP60 has a power rating similar to the PA3, which uses a switching mode power supply (SMPS) "brick". Unfortunately, although Amir seemed to be impressed with the power supply, the amp turned out to be a pile of distorted crap. LINK

Anyway, I could easily live with the SMSL DAC/Topping amp combo, which I consider a terrific bargain that cost me $175 (the PA3 was a "used, like new" $65 Amazon deal).

However, this is a hobby, and audio components are my toys. I've been searching recently for a basic 2-channel power amplifier with balanced (XLR) inputs for less than $400 and settled on an Icepower 200ASC + 200AS case/kit from Ghent/Parts Express. This will give me an amp rated at 100wpc, 10Hz-29kHz, 0.2% THD. I've also ordered a Topping DX7s DAC/HA via MassDrop. This will give me a bit larger and heavier pair of components with the volume control on the DAC rather than the power amp. Although I'm not into headphones, I consider this pairing to be an ideal budget solution (less than $600) for a high fidelity, digital sources only, audio system. And of course, I realize that my new DAC/Amp combo costs more than three times the price of my SMSL Sanskrit DAC / Topping PA3 amp combo.

Since this thread is about a search for an amp for under $200, the best solution I see between the $65 PA3 and and a $320 Ghent/Icepower unit is, as others here have recommended, a used traditional big old 20lb class AB power amp such as the Onkyo M-282, of which several are currently for sale on eBay for well under $200.
 
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#29
It really depends on personal tolerance to risk. Higher risk can mean higher gains, lower risk always means mediocrity for the same money. Pick your poison.
I've bought a few used well known amps (parasound, B&K, Adcom) knowing of the risks of buying used. But all these amps had problems with dead channels, burn capacitors and hum. That's why I decided to buy the Powergate and the PW-AMP. I was going to buy the Nuforce STA120 but thanks to this site I didn't.

But for me, buying used has been a problem. I hope that buying new at discount prices will be better.
 

gvl

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#30
New gear can break too, when it happens it typically does on the day the warranty expires. Good vintage gear holds the value pretty well, even broken units can sell pretty high . Try to sell that Powergate after it cooks.
 

bunkbail

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#31
I have a Loxjie A10 and it sounds very good on my KEF Q350. Zeos on Youtube seemed to love it too.
 
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#32
New gear can break too, when it happens it typically does on the day the warranty expires. Good vintage gear holds the value pretty well, even broken units can sell pretty high . Try to sell that Powergate after it cooks.
That's right, but you still have warranty.

But let me tell you, if I'd known a good technician, I'd still be using my old amps. Unfortunately I don't know any :(
 

gvl

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#35
But let me tell you, if I'd known a good technician, I'd still be using my old amps. Unfortunately I don't know any :(
It's relatively easy to change electrolytic caps, and you gain some soldering skills in the process, can come handy :)
 
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#37
It's relatively easy to change electrolytic caps, and you gain some soldering skills in the process, can come handy :)
I really wish I have some ability to do soldering, but after several tries and burning boards and fuses, I decided to give it a rest. :p
 

Willem

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#39
Fortunately wages are high these days, but that means that refurbishing, even of only the electrolytic caps, is quickly uneconomical if the unit is a budget one. Refurbishing at the upper end of the market is a different story.
 
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#40
It sounds like you are in Europe. Not sure if there is a parallel, but in the US Craigslist is an audio bargain hunters dream. Many people are dumping old audio gear, and decent stereo receivers and AVRs can be had for “pennies on the dollar”.

I’ve picked up a number of perfectly functional used receivers for under $50, and a handful of those were $0-10!

Until proven otherwise, all compently designed amps, in functional condition, operated under clipping, are indistinguishable. (This is not how it seems to me, but the results of careful ABX testing have not been refuted AFAIN)

The downside of used is reliability. I like finding “good deals” on people unloading old audio gear. What can often be the case though is that gear has been sitting unused. The last time the seller listened it was working, but that might be years ago. So you if you don’t want a dead unit, you have to check that it’s working.

Another downside is size and aesthetics.

But I listen to an old Yamaha AVR I got for free everyday and it sounds just fine. It also has a built in DAC, multiple inputs, surround sound capabilities, and six analog inputs to its six amps, which is interesting for experimenting.

I mean it has a remote, it has A and B speaker outputs, and I think each amp is rated to 80w.

It’s crazy.

Stereo amps from the 90s are a good bet, Sony, Denon, Yamaha. These have no cache with vintage fanatics, so around here you can barely give them away.
 
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