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#402226 - 03/27/14 04:34 PM Purchasing and using used amps
BobG Offline
old hand

Registered: 10/02/04
Posts: 82
Loc: Rock Springs, WI
I am looking at setting up a "third" system for my computer room where I actually spend most of my time. But because this is my third system, I am on a strict budget. I plan to spend more for speakers, but that is leaving me looking at used amps in the $300 range. That means old amps. Right now I am considering some older Rotels and Adcoms, etc. in the $300 range. Of course that means I am looking at amps that were built in the early 90's.

What kind of concerns should I have using an amp that old? I have read that older amps should be checked over carefully and have the "caps" (?) replaced or risk blowing a driver. That would seem to make these older amps unfeasible from an econmic standpoint.

How long can you expect an amp to last? What concerns should I have?
M60's Rotel Nad Music Hall MMF-5
M80's VP150 QS8's Sherwood Newcastle Panasonic Plasma

#402233 - 03/27/14 05:16 PM Re: Purchasing and using used amps [Re: BobG]
J. B. Offline

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 1290
Loc: Quebec, Canada
the last time i sold an amp it was running in perfect order after 28 years of use, on an average of 3 hours a day.
the only part that needed changing after about 15 years was the relay in the amp.

the amp was a Hafler 500.

their mileage will vary.

Edited by J. B. (03/27/14 05:19 PM)
or: Axiom Gallery

#402236 - 03/27/14 05:53 PM Re: Purchasing and using used amps [Re: BobG]
exlabdriver Online   content

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1392
If you can use a Receiver, I have a low end Sony driving an audio system with M3s & a Kenwood in my computer room (both 100 W/Ch).

New they are about half of your $300 budget. They both have worked just fine for ~5 years with no problems...


#402281 - 03/29/14 04:34 PM Re: Purchasing and using used amps [Re: BobG]
Serenity_Now Offline

Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 989
Loc: PEI, Canada
If you can demo an amp in person, play the amp with the vol full blast, and preamp input paused/unplugged. On someone elses speakers of course.... wink

Noise floor = bad. Leaky caps will be noticable. If not I would't sweat it.

FWIW, I just maxed out my line of credit to buy some used amps in the 12 year old range. Saved tons of cash. Would do it again in a heartbeat. grin Usually, you can tell what you are buying and how it was cared for once you see the state of affairs in someones place. Know what I mean?

My dads mitsubishi amp from 1979 still bottoms out drivers if I ask it too, and still sounds great. smile

Edited by Serenity_Now (03/29/14 04:47 PM)

#402287 - 03/30/14 11:14 PM Re: Purchasing and using used amps [Re: BobG]
dakkon Offline

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 1850
if your getting a pre-owned piece from a quality company, i wouldn't worry about it. I've got some amps at the house that were made back in the 90's. Still going strong. I havent done anything to them put plug them in..

yes, after tim the Capacitors may need to be replaced. However, this should not be too expensive. Not necessarily something that would need to be done immediately.

I've bought amps off of both Ebay and Audiogon. Personally, i've had good experiences with sellers selling high end equipment.

On a side note, I've got a Marantz amp in my bedroom. That is another brand you may want to consider. You should be able to pre-owned 2 channel within your budget.

Good luck!

#403924 - 05/06/14 08:42 PM Re: Purchasing and using used amps [Re: dakkon]
huskydave Offline

Registered: 12/16/12
Posts: 29
I bought a lot of amps from pawn shops, most of the time they really don't know what they have. I have found some amps have problems with the caps but it effects the quality of sound so much they stand out right away. I always bought Sansui amps why? they had some good specs and they are very overbuilt. If you found a Sansui amp rated at 50 watts per channel it will trounce on a 150 watt per channel amp from today. If the amp has scratchy controls only which most do, you can buy some contact cleaner in a can and concentrate that into the pots and you have an awesome amp for cheap. I have used Sansui amps, bought them cheap, enjoyed them fixed them up am sold them for big profits. I have found 25-30 year old amps that still sound as good as day one. If you ever find a Sansui AU-517/717, AU-719/819/919 those were some of the greatest. the older series way very good as well.


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