|Adcom GFA-5802 Stereo Power Amplifier|
|Home Theater Power Amplifiers Stereo Amplifiers|
|Written by Brian Kahn|
|Saturday, 01 December 2001|
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The Movies and 5.1 Audio
I also spent some time listening to the GFA-5802 in my theater system. I used the GFA-5802 to drive my main left and right speakers and an Adcom GFA-5503 to drive my center and rear speakers. While comparing the two Adcom amplifiers in my two-channel system, I noted some differences. I was curious to see if these would be evident in a multi-channel setup.
I began with my "Gladiator" (DreamWorks) DVD. While carefully listening to the battle scene in the beginning of the movie, particularly the parts where the catapults were ratcheted back, the sound remains consistent as it moves from speaker to speaker and from amplifier to amplifier.
5.1 music is also well reproduced through the Adcom amplifiers. My 5.1 music listening consisted mainly of Toy Matinee’s self-titled DVD-Audio (DTS), Lyle Lovett’s Joshua Judges Ruth (DTS) and a couple DTS DVD-Audio discs for good measure. The pans remain smooth from speaker to speaker, despite the fact that they are driven by different amplifiers.
During a critical listening comparison between the GFA-5802 and GFA-5503, it was easy to discern the additional refinement of the GFA-5802, but their basic sonic signatures are similar enough to integrate the two amplifiers into a theater system without any detriment.
I would have liked to see some additional features on this amplifier, such as a 12v trigger input or an auto-power circuit, as I felt uncomfortable leaving this warm amplifier on all the time. Sonically, I would have liked to see the highs slightly more extended and a quicker response to the leading edge of a note. Neither of these sonic attributes will be noticeable without a direct comparison to an amplifier capable of such feats. One has to be especially careful when seeking extended highs, as they often come with a high price.
The Adcom GFA-5802 is quite a powerhouse and offers tons of audio bang for the buck. The GFA-5802’s neutral, slightly rolled-off characteristics make it a good match for most systems. The amplifier’s sonic shortcomings discussed above are minor and may not be evident in many systems. The Adcom offers a substantial taste of first class, high-power performance at a coach price.