what sub 500 pound amp blew you away?


Novice Member
As the title suggests..

Ive heard the arcam a70, audiolab 8000s and rotel ra04, all sounded good, thought that the audiolab was the most neutral of them secondly the rotel and lastly the arcam.

I felt that the arcam was the least neutral but also my favourite out the lot, I didnt think it sounded coloured until hearing the audiolab and rotel and someone pointed it out to me.

Also I like the monitor audio sound over the b&w sound even tho the sound from the B&W is more neutral.

Im guessing therefor the neutral sound is not for me and the arcams warmer sound is.

Is there anything else I should be looking at in this pricerange?




Active Member
rega brio
cambridge 740
creek evo

the cambridge is probably more hi-fi, the Brio sins are mainly of ommision, but it gets right into the music, and if you have not bought your speakers yet, try and hear it with some Rega R3's. The apollo, brio and R3 system makes you wounder if you need spend more to get a really musical system.


Active Member
I've had a Chinese friend send me his class D amp,it totally destroys any commercial amp under £500,and is easily in the £1000 bracket.No £500 amp has blown me away,but their are some good amps,Rotel 04,Creek Evo I'd agree with though.


Distinguished Member
A used Naim Nait 5i.... or a Nait 3R and a fair chunk of change.


Distinguished Member
Generally speaking I have not been "blown away" by anything under £3000 amplification-wise. However, I would say that the Arcam A70 does perform very well given its budget price point. Thumbs up for the A70 from me if your budget is tight. :thumbsup:


Distinguished Member
my 12 year old Aiwa integrated for £120 is the best amp i've heard under £500.......not much use as you cant get it anymore...lol.....

amazing bit of kit tbh for its price, no frills, just good quality amplification....

if you dont mind going second hand consider Musical Fidelity gear......very well built generally so lasts a long time and the sounds just brilliant.......if you want brand new....hmm....depends on speakers, but Arcam or Roksan are good bets....


Active Member
Could try a Nad C372. Otherwise second hand a Densen Beat 100 may suit you.


Well-known Member
My old Audiolab 8000a set me back only £350 back in '89 and was / is still sweet sounding and going strong :thumbsup:


Active Member
I had a Pioneer A400 which I thought very highly of but replaced it with a Sony FA3-ES amp which sounded substantially better. Think I paid £80 for the Pioneer and £150 for the Sony both bought second hand a couple of years ago.

For £500 you could also try something like a used Denon A1SE although its an AV amp it is pretty good in stereo and cost £2500 new (hifi amps tend not to depricate at that rate). A Denon A1SR would be evne better as the power amps can be reassigned so you could biamp your speakers.


Well-known Member
Some excellent advice from some wise old heads on the forum, the consensus being that go for a used classic for £100-200 will blow away many current £500 new amps.

I'll add 2 amps into the fray :

Sony TAF-30ES & my current amp (sourced off german ebay) a Harman Kardon HK6550 - so good in fact it is relegating a Primare A30.1 (I30 these days) to little use in the main room.


This will very much depend on the amp and speaker pairing as a whole. You could hear the same amp with two different sets of speakers and have two totally differring views.

Not much recently has grabbed my attention, so delving back a little further, the Audiolab 8000a was usually a fairly consistent performer with varying speakers, although it needed a good warm up. Rega amps like the Brio, which have now been going for about 12/13 years, were to me not particularly accurate sounding amps, but always seemed to produce a very enjoyable, musical presentation.

But probably my favourite amp over the past 20 years has to be the Naim Nait (probably the original or Mark 2). Fantastic sounding little amp which walked all over the competition. They were a little fussy though, so you couldn't use anything that sounded too bright.

You may be able to pick up the Sugden A21 in some guise or another, which is another thoroughly engaging amplifier.


Active Member
Over the last year I've gone from a Naim NAP 90 to Lin 280, both of which are fairly old, but still rather nice particularly with ProAc Tablette Signatures and now B&W 805N's. I have now got a Lyngdorf 2175 semi digital amp and think this, with its power of 220W and a very smooth top end is really quite remarkable. It is very consistent across the frequency range and the bass is now significantly improved compared to the other amp. Sometimes more power really is what is required, but clearly not all.

Anyway, the point of this post is that the amp, on ebay was £495, so comes in on your budget.

I'm not sure that the amp has blown me away, only because I have always found that different speakers always sound significantly more different to different amps, but this amp is certainly one of the best I have heard. Some say the 2175 sounds very similar to valve amps and some to the Sugden A21 which is WAY more expensive!

Hope all that helps!

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