Threshold s500 Amp

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by jeffry G, Apr 24, 2002.

  1. jeffry G

    jeffry G Auditioning

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    Does anyone have experience with or know anything about this amplifier? What I've found is very limited info. It's a 250 wpc amp built in the late 80's mostly. It's built like a tank and I have an opportunity to buy one, but feel like I'm going in blind.
     
  2. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Jeffry

    What are you trying to find out? Threshold made good stuff. Does it have a 12 V trigger? If not will you leave it on all the time or get up every time to turn it on or off. Or buy some kind of heavy duty switch. Do you think you will keep it for a long time? If not probably should pass on it.

    Threshold made a lot of very fine amps. About the only thing that can go wrong with an amp is dried up power caps. If this amp was allowed to get real hot and stay that way for long periods of time, new power caps might be in order. However, it would be unusual for someone who would buy such an amp to mistreat it that way.

    The other thing is price. A piece this old would bring little according to the blue book. If you need a stereo amp and can get this for a good price it should be fine.

    In my experience you can't tell the sound of an amp without listening to it in your own system. It also helps having others to compare it to.

    My brother in law used Thresholds to drive his Martin Logan stats. But upgraditis set in and he bought Pass amps.

    Big ass amps have a special appeal just because they are such monsters. Big and heavy is cool, but no fun to move.

    Artie
     
  3. Chris Zell

    Chris Zell Stunt Coordinator

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    I owned a Threshold S500 for a number of years. Listed for $3750 new in 1988 if memory serves. I sold it for $1500 on ebay about a year ago, so they hold their value better than most amps of that era. I did get a good price, since I've seen 'em go for less, but I think it'd be tough to find for under $1000.

    It was and still is an excellent, bulletproof amp - no complaints or problems at all. Still sounded great when I got rid of it. I used it to power Martin-Logan CLS's, which are very inefficient beasts that dip way down in impedance. When I sold the CLS's, I did not need the power (this baby could probably arc-weld!). Financially and space-wise, I could not justify keeping it as I set up an HT system in a small room.

    This was the best amp I have ever owned. Wish I coulda kept it, but the opportunity cost was too high. If you want a powerhouse, and the price is right, go for it. They do look cool also. I still miss mine.

    Cheers,

    Chris
     
  4. Harold_C

    Harold_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Threshold built outstanding amplifiers. Designed by Nelson Paas, they were generally considered to be among the best (and most expensive) amplifiers available -- the others being Audio Research, Mark Levinson, and the less expensive G.A.S. amplifiers from James Bongiorno.

    That 200 watt per channel Threshold would be as good as any amplifier you could buy today at any price. Truly beautiful product.

    If you are worried about reliability: I'm using a solid state Audio Research amplfier in my system today that I purchased new in 1980. (Ah, those were the days: the Audio Research replaced a bicentennial edition red, white, and blue Great American Sound Ampzilla!)
     
  5. jeffry G

    jeffry G Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info so far. I should have mentioned that I would be using this to power NHT 3.3's, a rather inefficient speaker that does require a lot of power.

    I am aware of the Threshold name and their reputation, but I have never owned or knew anyone who owned their products. I can get a very good price, but it has to be sent 1000 miles and I will not get to listen to it until then. I don't normally do that, but something about this amp really intrigues me. Also, I am not really afraid of age as I still have an old Hafler DH500 going strong.

    Thanks for the help and keep it coming.
     

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