Hafler DH-500 Amplifiers

Hafler DH-500 Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

255 Watts - Fan Cooled/Self Protective Capable (1980-1989)

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 37  
[Apr 01, 2015]
Steven Level
AudioPhile

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

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 17, 2009]
mohan
Audio Enthusiast

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

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 12, 2009]
J Hasty
Audio Enthusiast

I have a DH-500 powering a pair of SpeakerLab 30's downstairs and I have a P-500 powering a pair of A/D/S 1290's in the front room. I also have a DH-200 powering a pair of Sonab 14's in my bedroom.

They are great amplifiers that have a really nice clean sound with lots of power. There are fans in the 500's, so if you don't need/want a lot of power go with a 200 or 220 instead - you do not want a 500 in your bedroom, trust me.

THe pro models have xlr and 1/4 inch inputs, whereas the DH-500 has RCA's.

These amplifiers are the best value for the money I know of. I used to use receivers, but I only have one left now a Sansui 9090.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 12, 2008]
odraude
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Quiet, Non-fatigue listening, solid bass, outstanding highs, super sweet even in low volumes even driving hard to drive speakers.

Weakness:

none after the upgrade

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.

Similar Products Used:

Acurus, Onkyo, Bryston, Adcom, Outlaw, Yamaha MX-1 and CX-2, Numerous Haflers, PSE, Aragon, Nakamichi, Phase Linear, Apt Holman, Polk SDAs and LSi Series

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 12, 2008]
ed
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Outstanding highs and lows, dead quiet, and non-fatigueing. Sonically better sounding in low volumes even with speakers that are hard to drive.

Weakness:

Nothing after the upgrade

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" (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.

Similar Products Used:

Bryston, Adcom, Outlaw, Numerous Haflers, Acurus, Yamaha MX-1, Yamaha CX-2, Professional Systems Engineering Studio One/Two, Aragon, Nakamichi, Onkyo, Polk Audio SDAs and LSi Series, Velodyne and Klipsch subs.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 10, 2008]
Hal2000
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Clean power and reliability.
Used Price
Quiet fan

Weakness:

Heavy
Ugly
Fan (gets dust inside)

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 11, 2008]
userme
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

power.
headroom.
dead quiet.
very musical, live-sounding. hard to explain.....it has character, evokes emotion, gives you goosebumps, makes your hair stand on end. IMO rotel sounds sterile in comparison, no emotion.
low end that punches you in the chest even when pre/pro bass is set to FLAT!!!
warm sound that is all there even at low volume levels.
no listeners fatigue at any volume!

Weakness:

challenge of finding room for 2 dh-500s and a third center channel amp for home theatre setup.
it sounds soooooo good that you're at insane volumes without even realizing it.

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!!!!!!!

Customer Service

N/A

Similar Products Used:

rotel

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 06, 2004]
BoogWar
AudioPhile

Strength:

Transparent, excellent sound staging, REALLY POWERFUL, good dampening factor, truly a classic amp.

Weakness:

Weight

I was once a P.A. system owner/operator in Kingston, Jamaica. We do P.A. a little differently down here. Systems (we call them "machines" or "sounds") with 100 KW capability are not unheard of, with driver elements numbering in the 100's. I ran my DH-500 on six bass bins loaded with (if I remember correctly) 15" 2245 JBL Woofers. The power of this amp left nothing to the imagination. Superb. Rocked my clients for three years without a hiccup. Supremely musical, transparent amp. There is a sound locally called "Crystal" that uses nothing but these amps. I think he has about 20 of them. Real class act, this amp.

Similar Products Used:

BGW 500 Classic, Crown Microtech, Sansui BA 5000

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jan 04, 2004]
macinjeep
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Excellent power.Rugged MOSFET output stage. Extremely high quality sound rivaling the best available today. Affordable and available in the used marketplace.Can be modified to perform at levels competing with the best amps on the market today.

Weakness:

Its dated looks may not suit those with the highest tastes concerned with outward appearance.(But then those types aren't really concerned with the way things sound and thats what matters.)

I previously owned a Hafler DH200 in stock form. I wanted a more powerful amp and the DH500 was a logical choice for several reasons. It's sound qualities and reliability in original form are well noted. It also makes a great foundation for modification as was my intent. I chose Musical Concepts to tweak this amp.The original circuit boards were replaced with their PA3B design and the original power supply caps were upgraded. I went on faith that these mods would perform as advertised. Simply put, this amplifier will hold its own with many of todays well respected high end 2 channel amps costing 3000.00 dollars and more, much more. In a listening comparison at a local hifi shop my modified old Hafler exibited performance characteristics that outshined in every way two new high end pieces priced at 3500.00 and 5000.00 respectively. I had great respect for my Musical Concepts modified Hafler from that day forward. I have since upgraded the power cord, installed Cardas copper binding posts and BlackGate caps on the circuit boards. Including purchase price I have about 1200.00 invested in the amp. Why by old and upgrade? Value and performance with unmatched bang for the buck. If your a hobbyist and audio enthusiast like me its always gratifying to hear your personal achievments after the soldering iron cools off. I built a tube preamp kit for this reason. There are many ways to describe the sound of this amplifier. Really though there is no specific "sound" because it is so very transparent. I hear the music and nothing but the music with no added artifacts, ie brightness, harshness, muddiness etc. The soundstage is dead silent with instrument details and subtilties clearly and effortlessly placed before me.Cymbals are crisp with resonance in the air around them. Vocals are lifelike with breathing and 3 dimensional presence that captivates. Bass is solid, tight , thick front to back.You hear and feel individual notes. When I'm in my listening room the electronics and the speakers disappear. I feel as though the live performance is right before me with each musician placed in perfect position on stage. I love listening to music and with the careful selection of quality components(without spending a fortune) it becomes absolutely pleasurable to sit down and listen to those favorite recordings over and over and over again. I urge you if considering picking up one of these or modifying the one you have to chek out www.musicalconcepts.com . Everything I hoped their modifications would do for my amp delivered. Excellent products and great service...The old fashioned kind, unlike what you get from the mass merchandisers. My system consists of: Transcendent Sound tube preamp. NAD C541i hdcd cd player Hafler 500 Musical Concepts modified Amp. THIEL 2.4 speakers(AMAZING) Straightwire interconnects Tara Labs speaker cables

Similar Products Used:

NAD,Mcintosh,Marantz,Classe

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 17, 2003]
John
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

power , upgradable , smooth sweet hi-end. Unbeatable price for this class of gear.

Weakness:

butt-ugly , loose bottom end , fan cooled

Picked this up used locally on a whim to see if it would improve on my bi-amp AR set up (early 90's ) I had lots of trouble with noise/hum at first. so changed the rca inputs , binding posts, power switch at the wimpy power cord. Still no good , turns out a driver was bad .Once that was replaced , dead quiet , except for the fan but you only hear it if you are up close changing a disc. Sound ? Well I think this amp is a real hi-fi deal . Great soundstage and smooth top end . Female vocals and sparse recordings jump out at you , jazz and audiophile type blues really shine. the bottom end goes very low and is HUGE , but I find it a bit loose .The bass seems to run on , not that tight. I tend to think it has a bit of a "tube" sound. I only use it in a home system ,driving energy E-5.1's so can't comment on it's huge power reserves but it does play clean. Make a list of amps that will drive ANYTHING ,that can give you a glimpse of hi-end sound, and that can offer you an upgrade path for under a grand (new or used ) and I think you will find it's a pretty short list .But I think I am still going back to my AR bi amp configuration that gives me only about 200wx2 on paper but seems to have a much tighter bottom with a bit less silky sound and a different soundstage . too bad I can't get the best of both . My buddy runs the same amp with a ASL tube pre and it sounds pretty sweet also .

Similar Products Used:

AR-P10 , AR-07 , numerous other, NAD's, Pioneers , Denon , Yamaha .

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 37  

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