Price Paid: $1000.00 from private party and my Marantz SR-14EX receiver in trade.
There was no listing, because this is a discontinued item. The 501 later became the ADA MPA-502 power amp, which is ADA's current flagship power amp. I posted my review here, as the 501 is sort of like the current 6150.
This unit is massive and comes in two pieces, the power supply and the power amp. The supply comes with a non-removable power cord and the amp is powered via a cable, which is about 30" long and 1" thick from the power supply.
Both units are about W 17" x D 17 x H 5" and each weighs over 50 lbs! They have internal fans built into them, though mine have yet to come on. I was reading the fans are variable by the amount of heat, but I will be checking with ADA to see if they should be on all the time when the unit is on?
These units come with handles on the front for rack mounting or without handle, as mine did.
I had previously used a Marantz SR-14EX receiver, but switched to the ADA power amp and an Anthem D2 audio/video processor in one day, so it is a bit hard to determine how much of each of these two components contributed to the betterment of the overall sound of my home theatre system, but let's just say it was significant!
On the audio front my sound stage increased both in height, depth and width. It was as if a bunch more layers were unveiled to the true sound of the actual recordings. Music was clearer, detailed and even more natural sounding and I could tell there was much more authority to the sound.
For movie soundtracks it was much easier to distinguish what people were saying, even in passages where people were whispering. Voices were clearer and I could even hear the room ambiance as well. It also felt that I was actually in the recording studio, as I could feel the thumb of the bass drums, something I didn't experience with my Marantz SR-14 before.
Strengths: Natural sounding detail and clarity with tons of power. THX certified
Weaknesses: Did not come wit XLR inputs like the current 502 model, power cord was not removable and it runs hot, because the fan hasn't come on.
Similar Products Used: Marantz SR-14EX & SR-18 receivers.
I have owned both the 6150 and the 8150 and they sound the same. Very detailed and powerful. I used them with M&K s100b's and proved to be a wonderful match. This amp would be rated much higher if some people did not give it a 1 because they dont like NY attitudes. I know some did not work but that is not how the unit works or sounds. I have owned a cinepro 3k6 also and they are very close but the cinepro is a little more detailed only due to the fact that it has double the power. I would love to hear the ada 450 watt amp. I have heard many different amps and ada is there right near the top.
Hard to believe an amp can generate so many differing opinions! Let me lend my viewpoint to the reviews.
a) The FAN: ADA makes equipment for rich people who can afford racks of equipment in closets/rooms adjoining their media centers. They don't care how noisy the fan is, because they can't hear them. See any amps sitting out in those photos in Audio Video Interiors magazine? Don't think so. This equipment is fan cooled and rack mounted by design. The fan cools the hardware. Why does it run hot? Because the design provides the best audio possible in a small form factor. Why don't other manufacturers have hot amps? Because people who can't afford racks, place them in the listening room and hate the noise so they develop a different design that produces less heat. The fan allows this amp to run continuously for years. ADA equipment is typically racked and left on. And this fan is no cheap Chinese stuff. I cleaned mine recently, and this fan is solid metal... made in germany, will probably outlast me.
Recommendation: If you don't rack mount your gear, keep it in a closet, or keep it behind glass then the fan may bother you. If you can afford a home theater, with a rack room then definitely look at this amp.
b) Build Quality: This amp is built like a tank. Drop this amp at over 60lbs, and it will most likely be unaffected. Is the case pretty? No. Did they add decorative binding posts. No. Is this going to match the beauty of a Theta or Krell? No. This is a no nonsense design with steel, screws and bolts holding it together. It is a great design for maintenance and cleaning. This amp was not built for a museum, it was built for a rack. It is built to stay on. The front plate has screen printed lettering. Nothing fancy. I personally find the appearance to be very cool and minimalist.
Recommendation: If you want pretty amps go elsewhere. If you want a rugged amp that will last years then definitely look at this amp.
c) Binding Posts: The typical owners of this amp will never see the rear. The installer follows the one connection provided by the manufacturer, bananas. I imagine that since they've been in business for over 25 years, they might know if a different connector provided a better, more durable and maintainable connection.
Recommendation: If you think that somehow spades or pins or some other connection provides some sort of magical audio enhancement, then spend your money elsewhere.
D) Service: I have had interactions with ADA directly with none of the issues that the other reviewer had. I found them quick, professional and totally concerned about their equipment. In fact, once I moved the amp, reconnected it, and got no audio. The ADA tech helped me realize the directional cables were installed backwards.
E) Form Factor: When comparing this amp, consider size, watts and ohms. ADA packs alot of power into a small form factor that is stable to 2 ohms. Sure there are amps that produce similar power, but they are typically larger due to the heat sinks. And try to find one stable to 2 ohms. Comparable amps for this 3 rack unit size are the Lexicon LX and the Krell Showcase. Both cost much more, and interally look pretty wimpy compared to the ADA. The ADA has 10+ huge capacitors inside... the Krell... 4. This amp is made to be rack mounted. You need no clearance above or below the unit. All other air cooled amps will require the addition of... surpise...a fan.. when rack mounted.
f) Reviews: I don't subscribe to conspiracy theories. Sure it's possible that all audio magazines pick winners and promote brands... and it's possible that your $50 APEX Circuit City DVD player plays video like a Lexicon RT-10. Both are highly doubtful. Facts are that ADA equipment gets great reviews and they typically are on the leading edge of what can be done with custom installed equipment.
A little more balanced perspective is due here. My experience was quite negative with this component and even worse with the support from the manufacturer. Purchased new at retail cost, the amp worked fine for only three days. Then 2 separate channels started exhibiting an audible hiss that was irritating. I isolated this problem to the amplifier. Contacting the authorized dealer, they promptly refused to replace the amp and referred me to the manufacturer! The ADA sales manager called me and insisted the amp should be sent in for repair which would take a minimum of 3 weeks, and of which I would be charged for all shipping costs!
WAIT! That's $1550.00 for a so called quality amp, $37.19 shipping times two and no home theater for at least three weeks????? I promptly returned this piece of junk to the dealer and paid a 20% restocking charge for this 'BROKEN' amplifier. After all this I wrote the president of the company and expressed my dismay. I requested an explanation of these terrible practices and NEVER received a response!
Think about it, would any reputable manufacturer treat its customers in this fashion? Maybe, but most likely not.
Sound quality was good while it worked, but easily topped with a set of used Crowns. The fan NOISE from the ADA was terrible. Parasound comes very close and has better service and quality. B&K blows ADA away in all respects. Ever had a problem with a Crown, Parasound or B&K? Their customer service is awesome. The point is, many manufacturers offer superior products and much better service. ADA is one of the absolute WORST choices one could make.
I had purchased this amp in mid 1999 when I was just getting into audio. At that time the objective was to own a good quality amp that could function for home theatre and 2-channel audio. I bought this amp without ever listening to it (mistake #1) based primarily on the glowing reviews from Home Theatre Magazine (which at that time I thought was an honest magazine). Was I naive and mistaken. In the last three years I have advanced at a lightening speed, much to my wife's dismay, in the understanding of audio, the audio industry and "good sound". During this evolutionary and costly process I have gone through the ADA PTM 6150, the Bel Canto Evo 200.2, the CLasse CAV 150, the Classe CAV 180, the Chiro amps, and other demos such as as Sime Audio, Adcom, etc. I have ended up with SET tube amps now, so you can see that I have taken quite a journey. I have also learned to make my own DIY speaker cables, power cords and ICs ( not bad for a guy who bought the Proceed AVP and the ADA amp based on the Audio press reviews only? Don't you think?..Enough about my evolutionary learning process, which has also been revolutionary. If I knew then what I know now.....Ummm...only if! Well, as it turns out, fellow audiophiles and music enthusiasts, magazines like Home Theatre, Stereophile, Absolute Sound, etc, lie, perid! They are scum bags like politicians and as far as the ADA PTM 6150 is concerned, at first I thought this was an incredible amp...wow, those 6 moving green LED lights were hypnotic...what an amp, I thought , for the first 6 months or so. As my understanding of amps and "good sound" improved, I slowly but surely realized what a peace of utter crap this amp really was. I mean for a retail price of $2200 there are lots of better amps out there. This company makes interesting looking products, but they are overpriced,cloaked in red, white and blue at the cost of quality and they are built like a cheap Mustang (and i don't mean a 67' Mustang!) The amp is a cheap thrill like a dumb blond on a cheap date. Why so negitive you ask? Well, the amp is noisy; I can not believe that the designers of this thing actually put in fans to cool the amp instead of some quality heat sinks (that would have been too expensive). It's built cheap with cheap material that looks it. The binding post are crap....once again cheap parts and thoroughly compromised. They are RCA jacks, no