What is the "ADCOM sound"?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Ray_C, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Just curious. Considering the price of these units (specifically the power amps), I was wondering how these amps sound in comparison to similarly-priced Parasound/B&K/Outlaw/etc. amps.
     
  2. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    This is tough Ray. When you ask a question like this you'll hear some people say that a certain amp has this sound character or that character but their are too many variables to give you a short answer and to describe to you how the amp would sound in your rack, with your matching components, speakers and most importantly your room and it's acoustics.

    The thing you should be looking for in an amp if you haven't heard it for your self is build quality, power ratings, bridgability (if you need too), load capacity and warranty. Taking into account the type speakers (load) you'll be using, the rooms size, the type of source material and how loud you intend to play it will take you far in your quest for a new amplifier.

    As far as the sound goes, your amp sounds as good as your CD player, your room, the quality of your speakers and how they are placed in the room etc...

    If you must have answers on the amp's sound, why not require all who respond to your thread to list their associated components and source material so that you can at least have a better idea of what to consider when getting feedback.
     
  3. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    I used one(5400--125x2)for my front channels for a little while until I moved it over to power my sub. It is well built and performs solidly. I used it to power B&W CDM 9NTs and felt it was neutral, not imparting any sonic character of its own which differs from my current, warmer amp(Sunfire Cinema Grand).

    DJ
     
  4. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    I currently have an Adcom 5-channel amp that I would describe as neutral to bright. Very solid and well built amp, and a sound that I love.
     
  5. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Very good points, Martice, and thanks to all for the responses. Yes, I realize that the tonal quality of one's system is very dependent upon a certain synergy betwen the various components, and especially the speakers (Klipsch Reference 25's all around, in my case). But at the same time, it seems that many agree upon the differences in receivers from 'warm' to 'bright' (e.g. HK to Denon to Yamaha), and since Adcom seems to be a pretty widely distributed brand, I figured there were enough users out there with a familiarity as to how they sound when compared to other brands. I'm looking to pair a five- or seven-channel amp with my Denon 2803, so I don't want to go too bright, since I'm using Klipsch speakers, but I don't want to go too warm and loose the upper detail I like so much with the Denon/Klipsch combo. The Denon sounds great to me, but it's still missing a bit of midrange punch, more apparently for music, but I love the processing, definition, and features of the Denon.
     
  6. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Well enough Ray. Good Luck with your research and new power amp. However, I would suggest that you at least try to have a listen to an amp or two in your system before you make a choice.
     
  7. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Absolutely....that's why it's so important to research dealers and their return policies. There's no way I'll be stuck with a 45+ lb. component that I don't want to keep! Thanx.
     
  8. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    The great thing about adcoms is that if you go on the used market that it should only cost you shipping for trying it out (I bought my 535 about two years ago and it still commands the same price).
     
  9. RobCar

    RobCar Stunt Coordinator

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    I lived with a friend a few years ago who had an adcom amp and preamp with definitive tower-like mains (don't know the specifics), and the house was big and open with hardwood floors and plaster walls, and I swear I to date haven't heard anything better. Although I'd never tell her that. But dang, that system sounded incredible, particuarly in the low end and especially in the mids. Very full.
     
  10. JohnSer

    JohnSer Stunt Coordinator

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    The older Adcoms, 535, 545, 555, 585, all used bi-polar output devices. I believe all their newer amps use FET output devices, which are suppose to be more "tube like". I looked through some reviews of the newer Adcoms, a while ago. There seemed to be a number of people who prefered the older to the newer. But, could be what they were use to. Bottomline, try amps with your system, if possible, before buying or have a good return policy, if not happy.

    I have two 545IIs which I am happy with, but don't have experience with other power amps to compare. They do seem to match my HK520 well. Speakers are custom Peerless HDS439/SeasT25, which are a soft domes, and are not bright sounding, on their own.

    JohnS
     
  11. Alex F.

    Alex F. Second Unit

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    Adcom uses MOSFETS (technically, they're HEXFETS) in the output sections of their 5000-series amplifiers only (the two-channel GFA-5802, 5800 [discontinued], 5500, 5400, 5300, and 5200 amps, and the three-channel 5503). These amps are derived from Nelson Pass' design efforts for Adcom. Pass prefers to use these devices in his designs, as he does in his own Pass Labs products.

    This series of amps, in my opinion, is Adcom's most musical ever. These amplifiers were developed to provide high-end sound at moderate prices. They succeeded admirably.
     
  12. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Behold, the power of suggestion.
     
  13. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    Terms like "warm" and "cold" or "bright" and "laid back" can be interperted a million ways. Also, the suggestion that a piece of gear is supposed to sound a certain way may already put into the head of a listener the belief that they are in fact hearing the same thing that others are hearing despite having different room dimensions and acoustics, speakers, source material, source players etc..

    Any amp that affects the sound enough to over shadow the influence of the other more obvious aspects of one's audio system is one that I'll pass on.

    Give me headroom, stability, quality parts and good power and that's all I need.
     
  14. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Again, very good points. I've found a couple of dealers that I've spoken to, and they have good return policies, so I'll probably be auditioning a few over the nex couple'a weeks. Within my budget, I'll probably be trying some Adcoms, NADs, and a Marantz. Seems like a pretty good place to start, in terms of hearing the differences. Thanks, all.
     
  15. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    Ron
    I'm currently running 4 Adcom GFA-535's in my HT rig. I added these about a year ago and could not be happier. These replaced a Marantz SR5000 receiver. I don't have any experience with other amps, but these little Adcoms seem very well built, they have plenty of headroom and power for only being rated at 60wpc. I read on another forum that these amps were bench tested and came in near 80wpc. Not sure how true that is though.

    Have fun Ray and keep us posted on your findings.


    Peace Out~[​IMG]
     
  16. Alex Prosak

    Alex Prosak Supporting Actor

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    I have an older Adcom 545. All in all, I think it's a solid, good performing amp. I do think when improperly matched with speakers, it is definitely bright. When properly matched, I have no issues with it. I think my Outlaw sounds very similar to it. I haven't heard the newer gear so I can't say how they sound but of their original amplifiers, I think the 535 sounds the best but lacks the extra oomph needed for more inefficient speakers.
     

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