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Amplifier upgrade advice


wuzzzer
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I've been thinking of upgrading my system to have a separate power amp. I talked to a friend of mine who had a giant Onkyo amp years ago. I've found a few on eBay, I think the M504 is the one I've seen on there a few times. Huge power meters, giant size.

Ideally I'm looking to spend something around $500 for an amp upgrade.

I've also looked at Rotel amps, specifically the RB-980BX. Those seem to go for $200-$300 on the Bay.

Can I realistically get into a tube amp that's going to be decent in that price range? The previous owner of my Fortes had used tube amps exclusively with them and he said the sound was beautiful.

Would using my harman/kardon receiver as a pre-amp be a weak link in my system if I were to get a power amp?

I loved the sound of the Sonic Impact t-amp that I used to have but it just didn't have the guts to let me really crank it up like I very often do.

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The problem with buying vintage solid state is the same as buying vintage tube gear -- they need some work. In something like that Onkyo for example, most of the electrolytics are just about shot by now. Adding a bigger/higher quality amp will give you more headroom, but you'll lose some of the quality by using your H/K receiver as a preamp. Also, if that receiver is close to the 25 year mark, it needs the same kind of help a vintage amp does. Your best bet is to wait on one of Craig's Scotts to show up in the Garage sale section of the forum. You could also go through the AudiogoN ads -- some of the newer SS integrateds in that price range probably sound pretty good -- certainly better than a receiver preamp section and worn out amp combo.

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Wuzzer, you've done the SS thing, now be bold, try Tubes .......... A Scott, Fisher, Dynaco, Heathkit, Eico, many good choices in your price range, or a couple of bucks more .............. Walk on the Wildside, Bud .... forget 25 year old Oinkyo SS ... dive into Tubes ... better yet, own 'em both ..

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You can do a bottlehead Parmour and FP III for a bit more and rest assured that you are getting some high quality amps with some upgrade possibilities for later. Have to be a kit builder though. Or, if you have one source and don't need a preamp for switching, you could try two watts with their single ended experimenters kit for well under $500. Just some thoughts. Post on their forum and see if anyone is nearby so you can try them out and see what you think first.

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"Can I realistically get into a tube amp that's going to be decent in
that price range? The previous owner of my Fortes had used tube amps
exclusively with them and he said the sound was beautiful."

Not impossible...but rare.

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