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What's your amp history?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Strat-Mangler, Aug 2, 2021.

  1. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    • Marantz 2325 for roughly 30 years or so
    • Adcom GFA-545 and GFP-565 for a couple of years
    • Audio Research CA50 for roughly 10 years to now
    • Rega Elicit as a solid state alternative for a few years to now
    • Decware Torii currently in the wife’s system
    mreeter and jonwoody like this.
  2. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    San Diego
    70's- Sanyo receiver
    80's- Yamaha CR640 receiver followed by a 1990 cheap POS Pioneer receiver.
    90's- Adcom GFA-535L (still own sounds great)
    90's/2000's- NAD 216 THX (DOA after multiple repairs)
    2010's- Back to the Adcom 535L!
    2018- Parasound New Classic 275v2
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
    mreeter and jonwoody like this.
  3. Big T

    Big T Forum Resident

    Always have a few amp/speaker setups around the house since I was a kid (early '60's) Here's my "main" amps over the years..

    in the 1960's, it was a 1940's Zenith console tube "all-in-one" with FM/AM, idler-wheel turntable, tube integrated amp and 12" speaker. Ruined it by using it as a guitar amp in the late '60's. (sorry 'bout that)

    Sherwood S-7200, king of the hill in the 1970's

    Sony STR-V55, from 1980 - 2017, bulletproof, versatile wonder driving JBL 4311b

    Primaluna Dialogue Premium Integrated (EL34), with the Focal 936 it might be end-game for me.

    Rock on.

    Big T
    mreeter, Boltman92124 and jonwoody like this.
  4. Bobocryce

    Bobocryce Active Member

    NAD C320BEE

    That's it. I don't plan on changing it any time soon.
  5. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Grand Rapids, MI
    Since 1989 - and I'll probably miss a few transient amps here, some used across two systems.

    Dynaco 70 tube stereo
    Scott LK48 integrated
    Dynaco Mark IV tube monoblocks
    Harmon-Kardon Citation V
    Eico something-or-another 6BQ5 integrated
    DIY push-pull 6B4G triode amplifier
    DIY SE 2A3 amplifier
    Heathkit 6BQ5 integrated amplifier
    Dynaco 70 - again! - completely rebuilt
    McIntosh 250 solid-state amplifier
    Heathkit UA-2 6BQ5 monoblocks
    Audio Alchemy (model??) integrated
    DIY single-ended ultralinear EL156 monoblocks
    Eico HF-60 monoblocks (rebuilt and modified)
    DIY 1625 stereo tube amplifier
    Threshold S/500
    B&K ST-140
    DIY "universal" stereo amplifier with Philips EL34s
    Heathkit W-2 monoblocks - rebuilt
    McIntosh 2100
    Adcom 545
    DIY First Watt Aleph J
    and my current Eico ST-70 "Frankenstein" modified power amp with 6AR6s
    Melody50, mreeter and jonwoody like this.
  6. After my last big receiver the Kenwood Kr 9600 I went to separates.

    McIntosh C27, MC250 + MC 2205

    Bryston 1b + 4B

    KR all tube integrated
    Also checked out a SS pre they had


    Adcom 5802

    SAE total system

    Nirvana Electronic Works SS A60 amp massively upgraded twice.
    Their P3 tube preamp. Had that preamplifier 3 different times then went to an SS Accustic Arts preamp.

    My recent acquisition:

    ModWright LS100 preamplifier
    Alluxity Power One Stereo Amplifier

    There’s quite a bit of other stuff. I just can’t remember all of it.
    mreeter, Ingenieur, jonwoody and 2 others like this.
  7. mds

    mds Forum Resident

    50 plus years of history here -

    Radio Shack Integrated (SS) Junior High School through High School
    Sony Integrated (SS) College through to my first apartment
    Carver MXR2000 Receiver (SS) my first home and the rest have been upgrades
    B&K EX4420 Amplifier (SS)
    Onix SR1 Integrated (Tube)
    Opera-Consonance Cyber 800SE Mono Blocks (Tube)
    mreeter and jonwoody like this.
  8. goldwax

    goldwax Forum Resident

    Didn't have a true stereo till after college. My first system, for about six months was my dad's old Japanese component system from the very early '80s.

    Then I moved to Japan, and used a large CD/cassette boombox with an external TT plugged in for four years.

    Moved back to the States and bought my first proper system. I told the neighborhood stereo shop that I had $1,000 to spend, and they set me up with a set of Sony components. Perfectly fine, but nothing special.

    In 2007, I started getting into vintage audio, and my first receiver was a Kenwood KR-7600. Had that for some years, and then moved on to a Yamaha C-45 preamp paired with either a Arcam SA200 (100 wpc) or Kenwood Basic M2A (220 wpc) power amp.

    I briefly (six months?) used a Fisher 500-C receiver, but blew something playing it too loud and too long at a party, and have yet to get it repaired, so I soon went back to the Yamaha and Arcam/Kenwood setup.

    For the past five or six years I've been using a Bel Canto eVo 2i Gen II and its been great.
  9. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident

    Very simple:
    Technics something or other for about 35 years
    Outlaw Audio rr2160 for about two years now
    mreeter likes this.
  10. AndyCC72

    AndyCC72 Well-Known Member

    Over the last 30 years

    Yamaha integrated - entry level can’t remember model
    Cambridge audio integrated - as above
    Marantz PM6005
    Cyrus One
    Lyngdorf TDAI 1120

    would like to try the Sugden A21 SE next but love the Lyngdorf so won’t be upgrading for a few years yet.
    mreeter likes this.
  11. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    My original "stereo" was some sort of all in one receiver/turntable/tuner box with a separate pair of speakers connected by lamp cord type of wiring. No idea what brand.

    My first official "cool" system had a Luxman 1040 receiver.

    Then moved up to a Sugden A48 III integrated.

    Upgraded to a YBA Integre, which I later updated to the DT version.

    Very briefly tried a set of YBA 2 separates, but they seemed a bit too bright in my set up.

    Settled for a used Bryston 3B ST which I've kept in my system for quite a while, but it finally started to show its age. (Combined with a Copland CTA 301 II)

    Recently picked up a Moon 330A.

    Also, have a Unison Research Unico integrated for a second system.
    mreeter, jonwoody and Glmoneydawg like this.
  12. Davey

    Davey NP: Kikagaku Moyo ~ Masana Temples

    SF Bay Area, USA
    I've had way too many to chronicle in detail, mostly different versions of my own designs, but some highlights ...

    Hitachi receiver was my first "real" stereo of my own, though I had something like an inexpensive Emerson before that.

    Kenwood integrated amp was next, something in the 7xxx series, very nice looking and well built, had the amp and tuner pair, sound was OK but not really what I was aspiring to at the time, it was during the Japanese distortion wars and so used tons of negative feedback and didn't convey much emotion, it was kind of a low time for sound quality from the big manufacturers, but some of the most amazing audio design art of all time in the 70s.

    Started experimenting with my own amp based on the Marshall Leach low TIM distortion articles, amazing sound, first real taste of what audiophile amps could do, not very reliable though, at least my versions weren't. Also had a PS Audio amp around during a lot of that time too.

    Moved to a custom tri-amped system using my own updated version of the Leach design and electronic crossover, that system served me for a few years, in retrospect it was a pretty amazing system, electronics and speakers.

    Mid 90s became involved in solid-state audio amplifier design venture and went through a series of many designs, initially based on past projects, but quickly moving to a unique design of my own that could be manufactured, built a few prototypes (see pictures below) but didn't take the next step, the design was still in flux, always finding improvements that could be made ... learned a lot about a lot of things during that period, and gained a lot of respect for those that can make a successful audio business, I wasn't one of them.

    Picked up a Hafler Trans-Nova 9500 at some point to use as a benchmark for comparisons. Nice amp, but was pretty easily outclassed.

    Continued the amp development project culminating in late 90s design with no feedback, no electrolytic capacitors, choke input power supply, shunt regulators with lithium reference voltage, all MOSFET, precision wirewound resistors, special capacitors, etc. Great sounding amplifier, really amazing and unlike anything else in the market, but a little too radical at that point for a commercial product.

    Got tired of the always in progress and never finished aspects of my system, so moved to a tube system from Conrad-Johnson with similar design principles ...

    Conrad Johnson Premier 11A using either 6550 or KT-120 output tubes

    Then later picked up a Conrad Johnson Premier 11-XS, which is my current amp, it's the alternate version of the 11A wired for triode output stage using EL34 tubes, and also has the Teflon capacitor upgrade, only about 35W per channel but sounds really nice

    The rest is a CJ Premier 15 phono stage on the analog side, to a Premier 17LS2 preamp.

    On the digital side is a very low jitter DAC of my own design, based on similar principles to the amp design, but that's another story :)



    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
  13. John Moschella

    John Moschella Senior Member

    Christiansburg, VA
    I did that, probably in 73 or 74. It was a mid 60's Magnavox.

    Old tube amp from console
    Lafayette receiver
    Kenwood KA-405 integrated (late 70's)
    NAD (big powerful amp, early 80s)
    Kenwood Basic M2A
    Proceed AMP2 (mid 90s)
    Proceed HPA2
    Audio Research VS55
    ModWright KWA100SE
    Audio Research VSi55 (integrated)
    MasterSound Due Trenta (integrated) - current
    Unison Research S6 (integrated) - current

    Right now I'm using the 2 tube integrated amps, best imaging I've ever had. I've also modified both with capacitor and other upgrades.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
    mreeter, Ingenieur and jonwoody like this.
  14. John Moschella

    John Moschella Senior Member

    Christiansburg, VA
    That is the amp I use in my living room (with phono), nice clean sound.
    HenryH likes this.
  15. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Ontario Canada
    Your list looks like you shop in Waterloo?
  16. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident

    Damn good guess. :laugh:
    Glmoneydawg likes this.
  17. John Moschella

    John Moschella Senior Member

    Christiansburg, VA
    Nice idea for a thread!
    jonwoody and Strat-Mangler like this.
  18. Night Version

    Night Version Forum Resident

    Nad 7240pe
    Arcam a65+
    Nad 7240pe
    Rega Mira 3
    Nad 7240pe
    Rega Elex
    Nad 7240pe
    Naim 250/42.5 (in storage)
    Linn DSM

    DSM seems to be sticking
    mreeter likes this.
  19. mkane

    mkane Strictly Analog

    Cloverdale, CA
    ASL el34
    Bottlehead Stereomour
    2a3 monoblocks
    Tubelab SE45 twice
    Tubelab el84
    Harmon Kardon Citation II x 2
    Pass Lab Aleph J
    mreeter, jonwoody and Mike-48 like this.
  20. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Ontario Canada
    Gotta be a fellow Soundstage Fine Audio customer :)
    HenryH likes this.
  21. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan Senior Member

    I usually have two systems and a number of amps have come and gone over the past 42 years. For simplicity's sake I'll stick with the ones that were in my main system and stuck around long term.

    Marantz 1030 Integrated Amplifier - bought used my freshman year of college
    Scott 380R Receiver - bought the following summer when I wanted more power than the little Marantz
    NAD 3150 Integrated Amp - great value in a dual mono design
    Yamaha A-1000 - TOTL integrated amp from the mid-80s, great sound and versatile phono section, runs very hot on Class A mode
    Adcom GFA-535 - great sounding Nelson Pass design that can be had for a song
    mreeter and hi_watt like this.
  22. Mike-48

    Mike-48 A shadow of my former self

    Portland, Oregon
    Can't remember them all . . .

    I got my own first stereo in 1967, but can't remember anything but the AR-XA tt and series of Shure cartridges (ending in V-15VMR)
    • SAE integrated, mid 1970s
    • Adcom GFA-555 (original), 1980s
    • conrad-johnson MF-2300, ~1993
    • Bryston B14 ST/SST, ~2002*
    • AVA Fet Valve 400R, 2014
    • Bryston 4B3, 2017*
    • Apollon 1ET400A monoblocks, 2020-present
    • Marsh A400s in 2nd system, 2014-present*
    * = bought used or demo

    I've never owned a tube amp, partly because we spent > 25 years in the South, and partly because the upkeep put me off.
    mreeter likes this.
  23. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    nice history and knowledge Davey.
    Davey likes this.
  24. benzo

    benzo Forum Resident

    Ft. Worth, Tx, USA
    Panasonic shelf system with turntable
    early 90's Pioneer receiver
    90's model Harmon Kardon integrated
    Rotel RB-1070
    Bryston 4BST
  25. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Forum Resident

    NAD 3140
    NAD 2155/3155
    Amber Series 70
    Yamaha DSP-A3090
    Yamaha RX-V3000
    Yamaha RX-A3030
    Adcom GFA-5400
    Aragon 2004 MK ii

    I still have 'em all, except the NAD 3140, which was stolen in a move. :realmad:
    mreeter likes this.

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