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Hafler DH-500
37 Reviews
rating  4.89 of 5
MSRP  750.00
Description: 255 Watts - Fan Cooled/Self Protective Capable (1980-1989)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (37 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Steven Level a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 1, 2015

Bottom Line:   
The Hafler DH-500 amp is still rated as one of the top ten amplifiers ever designed to this day.

Mine was given to me by my Father after he finished using it as a subwoofer amp. I sanded it down, painted it a nice flat black, added new handles, and added nice decals that say the amps name and model number.

The Hafler DH-500 will put out well over 255+ watts into a 8 Ohm load and can hit as much as 300 watts without breaking a sweat. This is one of the most under-rated amps ever built mainly do to it's lack of analog or light meters.

If you want a very clean amp that simply can never be under-powered the DH-500 is the amp for you!

This amp retiled for $750 back in 1981 and it was also available for $600 in a kit form that required the end user to do some basic soldering to save $150. My Dad went the kit route as he was a electrical engineer.

So if anything hi soldering was actually better than the soldering for the retail version of the amp.

What you get with this amp is a 100 DB dynamic range at full output and as mentioned a 255 + watt clean amp rated at .002% T.H.D. Now compared to other amps this T.H.D. rating is much better than the Carver magnetic field amps of the day.

This amp not only produces lots of super clean power but can get as low as 2 Ohms as well as being capable for bridging at a unreal 600+ watts per channel in mono.

It's not a flashy amp by any means but if you have one that works it can be upgraded with better speaker binding posts, gold plated RCAs, some new caps and resisters along with insulated copper wire to replace the aluminum wire.

This simple upgrade will increase the amps Dynamic range by up to 20 DB giving it a 120 DB THX rating in analog.

So if your looking for a high output class A amp that's built like a tank this is it! I have this Hafler DH-500 being run by a Carver C-1 preamp that's also in mint condition as well as being upgraded from a 96 DB S.T.N.R. to an astounding 114 DB S.T.N.R.on it line outs!

By up-grading the Op-amps in the line out and the phono stage this preamp becomes so quite that it's right up there with the top analog preamps being sold brand new!

So although this is a vintage combo of mint condition equipment it's held up over time. After all this amp and the C-1 are well over 30 years old now. It just shows you how great these components were built back in the early 80's and you simply can't do any better at anywhere near these two components price range with the added upgrades.

All I can say is my Father was very excited to see me using his old equipment and upgrading it with his help. The Hafler Dh-500 is by far the most under rated amp ever designed and if you can get past it's very simply looks that lack the fancy lighted analog meters you get nothing but ultra clean power at unreal wattage outputs!

It's impossible to do better at the price you can pick up these amps at and the Carve C-1 is still one of the best control preamps that you can get today as well. You just have to realize that the C-1 and the DH-500 are no frills components that look nice and are built even better.

I started out with the Hafler DH-500 and a mint Carver C-1 preamp and over the last year have bought a very good Pioneer PL-7 turntable in mint condition, a Onkyo 7030 CD player, and a Carver TX-2 tuner that matches the C-1 perfectly sitting on top of it.

By far the best separate equipment I could have afforded. After all I'm a true audiophile but still just don't have the extra income to buy brand new equipment.

So if your like me and want the best pure analog system you can get for the money you may want to look for vintage equipment that can easily be upgraded to perform on a level you never thought possible at a price point that's well within anyone's budget.

Simply one of the best pure Class A AMPLIFIERS on the market that can be bought for about $400 used!
Sincerely, Steven Level

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by mohan a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 17, 2009

Bottom Line:   
i just brought the hafler dh 500 power amp and hafler 110 pre amp, the sound is mind blowing,very smooth and very detailed music the bass is very tight,it has tremendous power,rated at 255 watts per channel,even on quarter volume it is very loud and clear,over all a fantastic amp which i paid around 350 dollars in mumbai,India,worth every penny i spend,it is as good as the nakamichi amp II i had 11 years back,nowadays amp has no quality i brought a nad c372 new amplifier which is 150 watts per channel but sounds rubbish in front of hafler, i just need to upgrade my speakers currently i am using wharfdale 9.1 tower speaker but i plan to buy kef 105 reference II which should be a good match for my hafler, any body getting a hafler in the second hand shop must just grab it

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by odraude a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 12, 2008

Bottom Line:   
Purchased the amp used and after testing I immediately have the 20,000uF Caps replaced with 2-23,000uF 100V Sprague. Replaced the fuse holder, upgraded with Hexford bridge, gold phono jacks, 4-100uf/100V blackgates, 2-2uF Solens caps, and new upgrade power cord. $267 later (includes labor cost), the results are:
- 294 watts per channel at 6ohms
- Distortion at 10watts =
-- .009% left channel
-- .007% right channel
Results:
- more quiet with the new 23,000uf Sprague caps. etc...
- sonically sounds a lot better good enough to compete with some tubes
- woke up my SDA-SRS Studio 1C like a giant that had been in a long sleep
- non-fatigue listening, I could listen to this upgraded amp for hours without
getting tired for unlimited hours.

After breaking it in with my upgraded Apt Holman preamp (see my Apt Holman review here), this Apt Holman preamp and DH-500 power amp will stay with me and will never be re-sold. IT is highly suggested that if you have vintage equipment like this, you should replace the capacitors with new and sonically better capacitors. The only reason Sprague was used for the capacitors is because during that time, my tech cannot find a matching Blackgate, V-caps, and AudioNote that I preferred. Vishay/Sprague is an excellent product because it is the choice made by the highly praised by the expert and pioneer Professional Systems Engineering "PSE" (way ahead of their time - not in production anymore). If you happen to have one of these PSEs open it up and you will see Spragues all over inside the cabinet.
I have seen a lot of vintage equipment but all they use is cheap generic capacitors (including my Acurus RL-11 which I had it upgraded with Blackgates also).

Finally, my newly upgraded DH-500 had been done with "breaking-in" (2 hours at a time, rest and another 2 hours, until it reaches at least 50 hours to hear the improvement) --and this amp will give me another 20 years of listening pleasure and until it will be upgraded again sometime in the future.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   eBay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Hal2000 a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 10, 2008

Bottom Line:   
I was driving Huge ESS AMT3 Rock Monitors With an old Marantz 2270 receiver and thought i had great sound. When a good party took out the Marantz, I went to get the Hafler 500 unheard, on reputation alone. Well, my old speakers have opened up like never before. Bass is tight and controlled at any volume. No music i can throw at it can faze this amp. not Loud Rap or my best classical SACDs at full volume. My wife almost divorced me while testing. Shows the limits of your speakers, and thankfully, mine are very high. Feeding it SACDs and Mp3s through a Lexicon preamp now. Have experimented with output fuses, and am protected to 6 amperes now. It can put out 30 amps per channel! This is loud, clear, unrestrained, and built like a tank.. the power supply is the size of a large grapefruit. Best piece of equipment I've ever bought. This piece stays. I would love to put this old relic up against any pricey boutique amp and a/b them with revealing speakers. Instant high end for me at pauper prices. Wish I had three more for my home theater.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   Ebay



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by userme a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 11, 2008

Bottom Line:   
i recently purchased a rotel rb-985 (100x5) based on positive reviews and personal experience with a rotel rb-980bx (120wx2). i was hoping to downsize my system which had consisted of 2 hafler dh-500s and a yet to be deteremined center channel amp. i hooked up the rb-985 and it sounded thin, tinny. i thought maybe my system settings had gotten messed up. maybe the dvd and/or preamp were set for small front speakers and/or applying a cutoff.

i checked settings and they were correct. listened to the rotel some more and then hooked up a one of the dh-500s. it was immediately apparent that i needed to box up the rb-985 and a rotel av receiver rsx-972 (75x5) that i had auditioned. put them on ebay and take my second dh-500, which i had listed on ebay, off. go find a center channel amp and a rack to hold my two dh-500s!!!!!!!

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $300.00

Purchased At:   eBay




Reviews 1 - 5 (37 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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