Educate me about Adcom amps

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by jdwk, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. jdwk

    jdwk AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I remember as a kid seeing the GFA 555 line. There was one higher than that if I remember. I talked to a guy who swears Adcom amps will make the kappa 9's I have sound better. I love Mcintosh and have a MC 2500 which I also love. BUT I have never owned or heard an adcom. I'm curious, and ya never know maybe the Adcom MIGHT sound better or different. Not sure Id sell the mac, but I MIGHT be interested in mono blocking some adcoms, just to hear them so I can know what I like better by of course hearing both. I know like many audio compnies Adcom got sold at some point, when was that? whats the last genuine adcom? what is their best pre amp as well? thanks in advance for anyone who imparts their knowledge.
     

     

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  2. Frank Sol

    Frank Sol Addicted Member

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    Older ones... Many were Big Bang for the $$$

    I have had 555 , 555II , 5500 & 535 in my systems before. Never had one to 'blow-up' my speakers (anticipating future posts)
     
  3. motorstereo

    motorstereo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Probably the best thing would be to get one and try it out as they're fairly common. And should you not like them it shouldn't be hard to pass them on as there seems to be plenty of love out there for them. I had a couple of 555's and I ran em bridged and in stereo mode. I presently own a Mac mc2500 and there's really no comparison here; the adcoms are out of their league compared to that monster.
     
  4. qdrone

    qdrone Music is my mistress

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    I disagree

    Your Kappa Nines have the emit tweeter i believe,those speakers were built for tube equipment. For the emit you want something that has rolled off highs like a Carver or a tube amp.
     
  5. jdwk

    jdwk AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'd love a tube amp. I have heard them and like them, I just can't afford them. I always heard nothing beats a McIntosh tube amp, but those are 4k for one, I guess I should look into tubes and see what options I have.
     
  6. Schurkey

    Schurkey Well-Known Member

    Adcom has been sold multiple times. Currently owned by:

    Everest World Co.,Ltd.
    18/8 Fico Place Building, 2nd Fl.,
    Sukhumvit 21 Rd., Wattana,
    Bangkok 10110, Thailand.
    Mob.+66 8 70035217
    ' +66 2 204 2255 | F +66 2 204 2259

    Beware the monoblock GFA565 and stereo '585; they were built at a time when one of their suppliers was having troubles. The capacitors are a known problem area. Replacement caps--if the circuit boards aren't damaged--makes them "right" again.

    I've never owned an Adcom power amp, but I had a GFP-565 preamp which I liked very much. I sold it when I went to an Aragon 7.1 processor/preamp. I currently own four GCD-600 5-disc carousel CD players--two work, two are wounded. I like them very much as well. The GCD-700 is typically made in Communist China, where the older '600 was Japanese.
     

     

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  7. 1tumbleweed

    1tumbleweed Kozmik Kowboy Subscriber

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    Back in the day, Anthony Cordesman did a pretty thorough writeup on the GFA-555:

    http://www.stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/678/

    And, for the younger folks who may not know (or care) - "GFA" stands for "Great F**king Amplifier". Truth.

    Happy trails,
    Larry B.
     
  8. rogerfederer

    rogerfederer AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    "I'd love a tube amp. I have heard them and like them, I just can't afford them."

    maybe try a tube pre to get a bit of tube voicing...
     
  9. qdrone

    qdrone Music is my mistress

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    Back in the day

    The budget match up was an Adcom 555 and The vandersteen 2ci speaker. It got you close to nirvana without breaking the bank. My current system is a musical concepts modified 555(dual mono,teflon caps throughout,black diamond resisters) and a pair of Vandersteen Signature 3's. I use a VTL Ultimate Pre one of the first 1000 built and the system sounds very tubey. The reason why I mentioned carver was I owned a pair of RS3b's with the emit tweeter and a Carver receiver and it sounded very nice. You will find carver amps in abundance on ebay but be carefull,older amps have a tendency to have to have the caps replaced.
     
  10. motorstereo

    motorstereo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If you've got money for a pair of 555's then you've got enough for some capable tube gear that will do justice to your kappas.
     
  11. tomlinmgt

    tomlinmgt Addicted Member

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    Um.....that speaker will show less than a 2 ohm load and is notoriously difficult to drive. Anyone who thinks a run-of-the-mill tube amp (i.e. not stooopid expensive) is a good choice for big Kappas needs to go back and review the course material.

    Adcom is a safe choice for the hard to drive Infinity models, but not what I consider outstanding in terms of sonics. I've powered my QLS-1's (not Kappa 9's but they share many attributes) with a number of powerhouse amps including Soundcraftsmen, Hafler 500, Adcom 5500, Emotiva XPA-2, Aragon 8008 and Threshold S/300. The Aragon and Threshold designs are in a different class than the aforementioned....and it's not subtle. The Soundcraftsmen (MA5002) actually comes closer in sonic performance to the Threshold and Aragon than the others. Though I've only heard tube Mac gear, I'd be inclined to think your SS Mac is in a similar class as the Threshold and Aragon and would look beyond Adcom for something that can compare or best it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014

     

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  12. krowmagnum

    krowmagnum Compulsive speaker freak

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    I have a 555 and it's a damn good amp for the cost. I don't know that it would sound better than your MC2500 but it will sound different, and you might like it better. Chances are you won't like it better, but it won't cost much to find out and "better" is a relative term.
     
  13. Rob-F

    Rob-F Likes Vintage Gear and DIY

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    I have a GFA555. Compared to my Sumo Andromeda, the Adcom sounds dark, so I seldom use it in the main channels. I use it to drive my subwoofer, where it does a great job. Fast, tight, and extended bass. I have had to tear into it twice: once for a bad transistor in the protection circuitry, and once for a blown output transistor. I replaced it with a good Toshiba transistor, and it's been fine ever since.
     
  14. reggaenaut

    reggaenaut Addicted Member

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    The 535 is the sweet point.
     
  15. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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  16. Frank Sol

    Frank Sol Addicted Member

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    Of the Adcoms I mentioned in post #2 the 535 is the only ones I still own. Have 2 of them , both recapped and slightly modded
     

     

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  17. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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    IMHO that certainly applies to the 1st gen GFA-535.
     
  18. Pio1980

    Pio1980 AK Member Subscriber

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    Opinions can be all over the place on the Adcom amps, particularly the earlier ones (except it seems the first-gen '535). Seems to depend on mainly the HF acuity of the auditioner vs the associated gear and speakers as much as anything. The lack of an offset protection relay is frequently cited as a shortcoming but one easily comp'ed with an appropriately sized speaker line fuse. The relay wasn't included for both economic (better sonic value) and sonic (signal path hardware clutter insertion loss) reasons.
    Adcom started as a value-driven power amp company with Nelson Pass doing the original contract design, their existence forced others to re-examine their product's relative performance and up their standards.
     
  19. GregDA

    GregDA Member

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    In the late 80s and into the first 3 to 4 years of the 90s Adcom was a solid bang for buck in audio separates. Several items made the class B or C rating by one of the big stereo mags.

    That said, a completely refurbished Adcom 555 is quite a nice piece of gear but I doubt few will be able to experience one as most 555s are not in prime shape anymore.

    Further, the 565s and 585s both exceed the performance of the 555 by quite a large margin. I have all of the above and would recommend the 565s to one who can afford a properly refurbished pair. I recall one of the high end audio stores in my college town and the owner described them as an iron fist in a velvet glove. That place sold tons of them paired up with either Vandy 3s or Thiel 3.6s.

    Honestly, my main rig has Vandy 2 Sigs driven by 565s and I would only consider a move from them if I could score a pair of Threshold monoblocks or a Krell FPB 300 or 600 and any of those options would probably be a $5k increase in cost.
     
  20. moejr

    moejr Super Member

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    Adcom is not even in the same zip code as your Mac. My friend has a GFA-585 and it sounds grainy to me compared to my Kenwood Basic M2 which has more open and airy delivery. Keep the MC2500.
     

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