View Full Version : Reccomendation for a good value second hand power amplifier.

15-01-12, 02:10 AM
Hi - I've been experimenting with my Sonos ZP90 - RDac - Nad326bee and found that the improvement in sound quality when taking the output of the rdac directly to the power amp of the Nad amplifier is pretty dramatic - the sound is very much more open and less bass heavy. This has led me to think that I could sell the NAD and just buy a power amp as the sonos is the only source that I use.

I had a bit of a look around and have seen a few amps that seem to be at a sensible price point. (Up to ~350) I have seen various Cyrus amps (6 and smartpower), Exposure viii, NVA A30, Rega Maia 3, a few arcam and some very old Quad's etc.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

As I would like to keep the amplifier switched on I would like pretty low idle power consumption or ideally some sort of music sensing to switch on and off.

I listen to all sorts. Speakers are Quad 21l2.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

Many thanks


Mick P
15-01-12, 02:15 AM

If you like the sound - second hand Naim is the bargain of the century.

You can buy and quite often can sell it on a few years later at a profit. It effectively becomes hifi for nothing

Just make sure it is pure and unsullied from bodgers mods because that can kill the resale value.



15-01-12, 02:15 AM
Hi Matt,

I would suggest the original Linn Majik-I with the phono stage. These can be had on eBay for 250 - 350.

The benefits are you have multiple inputs including phono stage if you ever want that and a not too bad headphone output. You can also separate the pre amp section from the power amp and use a different power amp later with it. I have one and it is a great little amp.



15-01-12, 02:25 AM
Cambridge Audio P500? Can be had really cheap, and the buyer of my old one just sold a reasonably expensive Linn power amp after he tried them together.

15-01-12, 02:36 AM
Another way to go would be a studio amp, like Samson, Alesis or perhaps Rotel is it. Quite minimal and neutral, more watts per £ there. You could also get a new one for the budget.


15-01-12, 02:44 AM
From your list -

I'd go with A Cyrus 8vs, or some NVA.

If you go NVA, you've got to be careful regarding the cables.

15-01-12, 02:50 AM
From your list -

I'd go with A Cyrus 8vs, or some NVA.

If you go NVA, you've got to be careful regarding the cables.

The *vs is integrated. The power amp is the 8 power. The second hand stuff is here


15-01-12, 03:00 AM
From your list -

I'd go with A Cyrus 8vs, or some NVA.

If you go NVA, you've got to be careful regarding the cables.

But in terms of sound, these two are like chalk and cheese!

15-01-12, 03:04 AM
If you're generally liking the NAD sound then an NAD or perhaps Rotel power amp would be a good choice.

15-01-12, 03:07 AM
If you like what the power amp section of your NAD does, how about a NAD C270 or C272 power amp? Either would be in your budget s/hand and they have both fixed and variable inputs, as well as a 12v trigger for turn on.

15-01-12, 03:11 AM
Quad - 99 stereo or 306. You could also get a 606 for around your budget but you won't need it.

Mike g
15-01-12, 03:13 AM
I presume you plan to use the variable output on the Sonos to feed the rdac digitally. I've user both the fixed and the variable outputs of my zap90 to feed my dac and then pre-amp I think it sounds between using the preamp for volume control. You might want to experiment by setting your preamp volume then using the Sonos variable control before you go down the route of a power amp only.

15-01-12, 03:29 AM
Quad 306.

Low cost, and easily serviced and repaired by the original manufacturers.

15-01-12, 04:34 AM
I think any second-hand Naim amp or similar may be wasted on the Quad 21Ls. They are the complete opposite of the kind of fast, punchy and rhythmic speakers that thrive on this kind of amp. I reckon either a second-hand older Quad would be ideal. Otherwise, there's that other stalwart of cheap and bullet-proof amps, the Rotel RB-850. Plenty of power, dual mono, and bridgeable. Works with a simple volume controlled source and really flies with a decent pre-amp up front. A cosmetically challenged unit shouldn't cost much more than 50-60, with nice clean straight units coming in around 100. Always been one of Hifi's bargains.

Arkless Repairs
15-01-12, 05:23 AM
I second the Quad idea...

15-01-12, 07:22 AM
A Linn lk140 can be had for your budget and is an exellent power amp,powerfull musical and detailed, it has a signal sensing standby feature and only consumes 5w in standby.

If you don't like it you can get your money back easily as the value is very stable, I doubt you would be dissapointed though.

The lk85 is very good too and can be had for as little as 200 if you wanted something a little cheaper!

23-01-12, 12:52 PM
Thanks very much for your suggestions. I've actually ended up stretching the bugdet by 50 (as usual) and bought a second hand Roksan K2 Power Amp. Very pleased so far, the auto sensing seems to work well meaning it switches itself into low power mode after a period of (nearish) silence, the trimmable inputs mean I've been able to set the maximum volume to a sensible level (the output of the rDac is 2.1v against 0.9v input for maximum power on the Power amp), and the sound seems very good so far - a step up from the NAD.

Thanks again


23-01-12, 04:21 PM
Quad 306 again.

150 gets you a clean one and a set of new PSU caps will cost you around 40 tops.
There is nothing else to replace, and nothing inside to drift or adjust.

30w at idle though due to them containing a small class A section.

<edit - I see you bought a Roksan. Just as good sound wise but remember the 306 should you ever need a small reliable power amp>