Audio Innovations Series 500 Integrated Amplifiers

4.64/5 (22 Reviews) MSRP : $1600.00


Product Description

25 Watt Integrated Amp


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Reviews 1 - 5 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Harry a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: August 12, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Beautiful, glare free, detailed treble, detailed mid range and tight, accurate, tuneful bass.

The performance of this amp does diminish with age and it should be serviced at least every 5 years - although that mostly entails revalving, which you can do yourself.

I haven't heard a better sounding amp in this price range. The Sugden A28 comes close. Input switches and volume/balance pots are not of the highest quality and when the time comes for an extensive service it is a good idea to replace them. I don't know much about valves, but I'm told by Boarder Patrol that the standard ones can be improved on considerably.

The amp has been in daily use since 1988 and has broken down once. Fixed and serviced promptly by the makers - now sadly defunct. In the process of upgrading other components over the years, I have listened to may amps, some much more expensive and have never wanted to part with my 500. It may not have any big strengths but it does everything well and has a knack of just disappering, leaving only the music.

In its 15th year (with two services in the interim), the addition of a higher quality front end (Naim CD5 with Hi Cap) has exposed slight raggedness in the top end, some lack of bass control and a sligh L/R imbalance. As I write this, it's at Boarder Patrol being refurbished to 1996 spec, having the volume pot changed, and they'de talked me into an external power supply.

In a week's time I will likely be set for another 15 years.

Although rated at 25W, this amp has balls. And it looks beautiful. Highly recommended if in good working order. Don't be put off by the way some valve amps sound. This one is a belter.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $999.00

Purchased At:   Tonbridge Audio Cons



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by dublbutted a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 1, 2002

Bottom Line:   
this is my first valve amp and i think i hit it lucky,i have a pair of kef 105s purchased of another friend for £200 and used a pair of quad transistor mono blocks
sounded good but then purchased the ai 500
could not belive the differance in sound,extended bass and a stereo image and transparence like i had never heard,betterd when a invested in some qed silver speaker cable.love it!!!
intrested in any mods?

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   Off a friend.



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ed mulkens a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 11, 2002

Bottom Line:   
every one likes a different sound

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $1000.00

Purchased At:   de jong systems



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

Date Reviewed: August 31, 2002

Bottom Line:   
Just a followup to my review below.

I have since added a Borderpatrol power, changed the coupling caps to auricaps, and the cathode electrolytics to Blackgates. The sound is truly remarkable. I've compared it to amps in the $3-$5000 range with outstanding results.

Before the changes this amps weaknesses were its mushy bass and its inability to remain articulate during complex passages. No longer. Now the bass is tight and textured, imaging is holographic, and the amp is infinitely more musical.

My recommendation for somebody who doesn't have the cash to pay for the Borderpatrol(amazing!) is to change the cathode electrolytics to Blackgates. It's cheap, and in my case it provided the next biggest improvement.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



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

Date Reviewed: April 25, 2002

Bottom Line:   
In stock form this amp does suffer from soggy bass and mediocre dynamics as the reviewer mentioned below. However with a few modifications the difference in performance is like night and day.

Tweaks I suggest are:
---> change all linestage and phonostage tubes to quality NOS - I use Telefunken and Siemens
---> change output tubes to Svetlana or JJ Tesla el34 - I use Svetlana
---> use an aftermarket power cord - I use the asylum cord at diycable.com
---> replace the cheap pots and switches - I use a DACT CT2 attenuator and I will soon be replacing the balance pot and switches as well
---> use some kind of isolation device - I built a diy seismic sink and it looks almost exactly like the Brighstar product.

The sound I have achieved with these modifications is very gratifying. A midrange like butter with crisp and extended highs. A broad and transparent soundstage with excellent imaging. The bass does'nt have the slam of of solid state but for jazz and acoustic this amp really sings. Also, in a couple of weeks I'll be fitting a Border Patrol power supply which is supposed to ameliorate the bass issues while simultaneously improving dynamics and tonality. Can't wait - It appears I'll be the first in the US to take the Border Patrol leap. Yikes!

An attractive and musically coherent second hand purchase. Definitely five stars.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $400.00

Purchased At:   net




Reviews 1 - 5 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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