We get the call every week. Or more! “I have a Hafler 200 power amp that’s failed. Can you fix it?”
You can substitute almost any name in there for Hafler (but not BRYSTON!) If the amp is over about 7 years old, the answer is almost always NO.
First of all, while we’ve all heard the case of the fellow who got 30+ years out of his old amp, a Hafler in this case, the typical lifespan is more like 10-12. It’s true. We know. We sold piles of them in the 80s. Almost all have bitten the dust by now. People bring in old amps regularly for us to check out.
Now that your old Hafler has croaked, should you fix it? NO.
Any repair at this stage of the game is money poorly spent. It will run a minimum bench fee, hourly rate plus parts. You would be LUCKY to get any amp repaired for under $300. Further, even if you get it fixed, that repair is by parts that won’t match what’s in there- which erases the engineering design of the product. You’ll be out $300 plus/minus. In 91 days you’re back where you began.
Are we mean for pointing this out? Are we out to gouge you? Absolutely not!
Our addition of Emotiva Audio has been a game changer. For just $400 you can buy a power amp, 150×2, built like a brick- with a 5 year warranty. You’d have to be nuts to spend $300 to fix an old dog and get a 90 day warranty.
The Emo A-300 is $400. 150×2 into 8 ohms. 360VA transformer, 90,000uF filter capacitance, and four output transistors per channel. It runs class A-B for solid sound and weighs 31 pounds- it’s no toy! It features current semi-conductors which smoke what we had 30 years ago. Or 20 years ago. Or ten years ago. Given the quality of A-300 alone, spending any money to fix an old amp, just doesn’t make sense. A-300 is a better amp today than almost any amp of yesterday that is down and out. WITH FIVE YEAR WARRANTY!
But what if you have a beast of an amp? You have a 200×2 or 250×2= Dyna, GAS or Adcom. Does the math change? No. Definitely not.
Emotiva makes its XPA2G3, $1000. 300×2. New SMPS power supply. Massive transformer. Matched output devices. Made in the US. Comes with 5 year warranty. It’s definitely a better amp than your old warrior. It would make zero sense to invest real money into fixing your old amp. You can easily spend $500 trying to save a behemoth from ash heap. Please don’t.
Emotiva isn’t the only good replacement product these days. We have other options too. But Emo is conspicuously good for the money- which is why I went straight to it for comparison. Emo alone makes fixing your old Adcom/Arcam/NAD/Rotel silly. With any of those repairs, in 91 days, you’re vulnerable again. With Emo, you get a much better sounding, more beefy amp, and a 5 year warranty!
What about preamps? It’s the same story. Emotiva makes XSP-1, $1200. It is a dual rail, fully balanced preamp that will sound much better than your old whatever. It has MM/MC. It supports two
XLR ins and one set of XLR outs, in addition to RCAs. It even has a crossover on board to help
dial in a subwoofer.
What if you don’t want to spend a grand? Emotiva makes the PT-100. It runs $300! It isn’t balanced, odds are your old preamp isn’t either. While I would like you to get the XSP-1 above, PT-100 will likely be an upgrade from what you have now! It has modern semi conductors and the Emo
5 year warranty. It supports MM/MC phono AND has an on board DAC- Opt/Coax/USB-B. It has two aux ins, labeled CD and Aux. It has two pre outs which can support a power amp AND subwoofer. Oh, and it has an FM tuner on board to boot! I can’t feel sorry for a guy who needs to replace his old Hafler or Dynaco preamp. For three bills you get a nice upgrade in performance with a long warranty!