Looking for an Amp Replacement

I am in need of advice and direction on replacing my ML 23.5 amp. While replacing the power caps a cap on the output board was damaged and is no longer available. The most viable right now option is to start looking for a replacement amp and to complete repair down the road or scrap it... (was purchased used maybe 10 years ago)

It is for a second system that is mainly used for background and light listening to streamed/internet radio and the occasional CD and playback from NAS storage using JRiver.

Currently have pulled my Perreaux 3150 out of retirement and have been using that with acceptable results. Looking at a used amp for better bang for the buck return in the 150-200wpc and a budget of 2-3k+/-

Rest of system comprises of

ARC ls28, PSA DSD, Magnum Dynalab 801, Shahinian Acoustics Obelisk, Sony XA5400es CD  

I liked the sound I was able to get from this set up with the ML, but have a bad experience with a 333 in main system a while back and as such I do not have a lot of faith in their newer gear.

While not expecting someone to have identical components, would like to hear from tube/ss combos people as I am using this in three systems and really like the overall sound.


The amplifier will work perfectly well with another brand of capacitor that has the same voltage rating and capacitance. I assume the cap you damaged is one of the Sprague silver cans. If the damaged cap is on the raised daughter board, it is close enough to the edge where you can get a soldering iron onto the leads from below and remove the cap. You can solder a new capacitor from the top to secure it and then heat from underneath to move it down to seat on the board, and then snip the leads. If the cap is the large 330uF silver can on the lower board and you can’t get to the pads from the top, the only way to get that replaced is by removing the board from the heat sink which means de-soldering all the output and driver transistors (that’s why it’s a $2,000 repair).

You will be hard pressed to find an equivalent amplifier because the 23,5 has excellent low impedance load driving. I would spend the budget in repairing the amplifier, but keep in mind it’s a 30 year-old beast that can have other issues (just like an old car with new tires). The biggest issue with this amp (and all other 30 year old high power amps) are the Rifa 4700pF EMF suppression capacitors -- which fail short when they age creating a fire hazard. Those are more critical to replace than power filter caps.


It is the Wima MKS4

0,47 160-16kHz, A


It is located on the board with the output terminals for the speakers.

My EE guy said I could replace with equivilent (not sure if I buy that completely) but thought it would be better to do same on both channels. Have hunted for an exact match but no luck.

Audio Research https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649991404-audio-research-d300-stereo-amplifier/

Should pair well with your LS28 and not too expensive. 

From fresher and more expensive but easy to resell…

Parasound, McIntosh, Simaudio Moon 330A

I have ML 23.5 in my main system. This was services by George Meyers AV, Los Angeles. They replaced the capacitors and some resistors (unmarked). I cannot say enough good things about this amp which is driving a pair of Thiel 3.6 speakers. My recommendation is that you contact George Meyers and find out if they can fix your ML 23.5.

Either way IMO you should get the ML fixed either for selling or for keeping. Doesn’t sound like it would take that much to get it in acceptable condition. Exact match or not. 

I had Shahinian Obelisk speakers driven by an ME850 250wpc amp and the sound was thin and generally awful. I blamed the speakers and sold them. Later I heard the same speakers demonstrated with a 100wpc McCormack amp I think and the sound was sensational. The point I am making and the same point made by the salesman who demo'd the speakers is that the Shahinians are very sensitive to amplifier match and wpc can be meaningless. So I strongly recommend that you hear the Obelisks with an amplifier before buying. In hindsight I regret selling the Shahinians and should have sold the amp.

What a nice thread. Person has an issue and an experienced person answered.


No debating, crying, insulting or mean mouthing.


Great job! What a breath of fresh air!

If you use the amp for second system and casual listeing.


I recommend Starkrimson monoblocks with opttional Gan supply.


Although I am tube guy, I enjoy its clarity and no heat during summer.





If you can’t fix your current amp I’d listen to @mazian above who had your speakers and had good results with a 100Wpc McCormack amp.  Here’s a nice DNA225 that’s 225Wpc and 400 into 4 Ohms.  I’ve got a completely modified DNA 0.5 amp and its got guts and soul, which is probably why mazian liked it with your speakers.

But I’d try to fix your amp first if you like its sound.  You could also contact @bigkidz here as he seems to be able to fix anything and may even improve your sound a bit.  Best of luck in whatever you choose to do.

I am a Pass fanboy so...I have seen 2 Pass Labs 150.5s for ~$3K. THIS one was refurbished by PL before the pandemic. $2900 but offer less and see if seller bites.

The only powerful amp I owned was a McIntosh MC2250.

This is a very clean one:




Published Specs say 250 wpc, mine tested at one of Harvey’s ’McIntosh ’Lab Day’ at 305 wpc within specs. Lab tech told me that was typical for this model.

’Lab Day’.: You scheduled an appointment with a McIntosh tech at Harvey’s on 45th Street, they re-certified your used piece, gave you documentation ....

Lugging that 80 lb beast is an unforgettable experience. It was a gift from a friend in NYC. I pre-scheduled the appt, picked up the amp at 55th and Madison, straight to Harvey’s.

I had a compact rolling cart, like airline people use, amp in a protective bag, strapped to the cart. Couldn’t tell what it was, a big rock perhaps.

Got a cab, little Japanese driver, we got the beast in the trunk together. He looks at me, no words, but a WTF expression. Down 5th Ave, right on 45th Street. Big Sign ’McIntosh’ hanging across the width of the store.

Cab driver sees sign, points at the trunk, says ’McIntosh?'. I say YES, he smiles big time, opens trunk, refuses my help, pulls the monster out by himself, and bows like I was the Emperor.


Have to agree with some comments above. 

I have built, repaired and recapped a bunch of gear myself. 

firm believer that everything is repairable. And depending on where the cap sits in the signal path, it’s an opportunity to put a higher quality cap in its place. 

I would tend to trust your service person and ask what can be done to put a higher quality cap in its place - again depending on where it is in the signal path. 

Parts Connexion has a large inventory of higher end capacitors to choose from. 

From your description, this should be a simple fix. 

I just picked up a Krell KSA 200 that was DOA that I got for a good price. Have no idea what is wrong with it, but suspect it’s a minor thing. Again, I’m a firm believer in the idea that things can be fixed. Especially gear that was properly built to begin with. 

I would imagine this would not be a costly repair for you, and would be well worth the expenditure. 

And I’m curious how you would compare the ML with the 3150? A friend recently picked up a 3150 for a decent price ( it was in rough physical condition, but was working properly). It actually died on him and he freaked out, but after some trouble shooting, it was a simple replacement of one of the rail protection fuses. 

Somtimes, it’s just not a big deal to remedy. Fuse or capacitor, it’s just a simple part. 

Good luck!

In your budget, I would consider what I own and love.  Arion Audio makes the S-500 in your price range.  It is a switching amp, but I have yet to find any fault with it.  It is powerful, at 500 watts/channel, sounds clean, cool running, and has been trouble free since purchased in 2019.  It's compact and easy to lift, too!  Mike Kallelis, who designed and builds these amps, is a great guy, and very capable.

First, I want to thank everyone responding as this is all good advice and had given me additional thoughts to consider.

As my speakers are somewhat peculiar when it comes to mating a power amp to the (I have three of the speakers in lineup) the suggestions made to audition a replacement amp with the speakers is a sound one. Fortunately, the manufacturer's shop is 10 minutes from my work location, so even stopping by to see Vasken is not a problem. The used to recommend Bedini's with their equipment, but alas, they are no longer around except the second hand marker. I currently run a 100/100 in my work location system with a pair of Arcs.

Gs5556 - Sent the link over to my EE guy to see if it will work. As they use a number of them in the unit I will probably get a handful of them to have on hand for any future mishaps.

Audiophile1 - Actually I saw one here as well as some of their other ss models. While I have never heard one, a class D was already in my thought process. Will run it by Vasken as I would hope they have run their speakers through a lot of amps.

Pwerahera - Unfortunately, I already have it half disassembled as I was going to replace the power caps as I bought a kit containing all 8 of the caps as well as another 8 that would require them to be soldered in. I was planning on just changing the easy ones when this happened.

Mofojo - If a really good replacement part was located, I was going to repair it (as it mated pretty nicely in the system) but something that was probably not going to be addressed immediately.

Uncledemp - Agreed

Riie - As I have dealers nearby, it is a thought, have not heard their gear in a long time

Shkong78 - I enjoy the sound I get from each system by mixing a tube pre with ss power amp (all three have this mix, ARC’s into various manufacturers amps, Bedini, Pass & was the ML, now Perreaux)

Soix - Will take a look

Re-lar-kvothe - If the ML is unfixable I might be willing to go for that as it is in the upper range. As I have 260.8’s in my main system I do like the sound and its presentation. (there I have their Hawks)

Elliottbnewcombjr- I will, but auditioning with my speakers could be an issue. NYC is 40 miles so running it into Havery’s is no big deal. But great story 😊

Perkri - I bought the Perreaux new back when I was just getting back into hi-fi as the shop was on my way home from work. It was originally mated with a Classes DR-7 pre also new (could not swing the price of the DR-9 at the time). Was a staple for a long time, until I bough Klipsch Heresy II’s, as they were a very fatiguing combo. Managed to get the ML used at the time (not in the best of exterior condition) as it was on the bottom shelf of the rack cosmetics were not a big issue as it sounded completely different. Reinserting the Perreaux after all this time has brought a new appreciation for the amp (except the power switch)

Bondmanp - Will do some research

  Again, thank you all for some great advice and insights



Sadly Harvey's is long gone. Wayne, my buddy there would call me when he knew a used/refurbished piece was coming out of their shop, to Harvey's used shelf. I bought a lot of great used pieces that way.

I'm 26 miles from NYC, in Plainfield, NJ. Where are you?

I’d try a Benchmark Media Systems ABH-2. They can drive anything, are made in Syracuse, NY, and have great service although their equipment has very little need for such. Please consider using their cables also. (I believe Blue Jeans Cables make a similar Quad Core cable.) Maybe you can sell off the expensive cables you have now.

For service on your Levinson amp you should contact Mark Weiss at Amplifier Experts in New Milford, CT.



The original Parasound A21 is excellent, and on balance, as good as some amps costing twice its original retail. 

For back ground music/lower volumes all of these amps will sound exactly the same.  Seriously, you will not be able to pick them apart blind with any statistically significant confidence.  The lowest cost suggestion is the one you should go with.  Personally I'd look for a Linn Classik which has a built in CD player and enough inputs to meet your needs.  The Classik goes for around $250-400 and if you sold the Sony CD player (1k) ARC Preamp (5k), PS DAC (500), and the Perreaux ($600) you'd have a net credit around $6500 give or take and a lot less clutter.

If you don't believe me pick up the Linn and do a blind A/B comparison with your current system using the Perreaux at the listening levels you intended.  Have non-audiophile frends and family weigh in if possible, as it may be difficult for you to set aside your expectation bias.  

Take a look at the McIntosh MC2255 I currently have listed. It would be a great fit for what you are looking for.

If you like the amplifier I would fix it and maybe other potential vulnerabilities while the patient is on the table.

Matching other amplifiers may not workout. And your current amplifier may even perform lot better after a makeover.

If you like looking at it get it fixed.

Otherwise increase your budget to get something to ensure happiness..

Or buy a new dog

I take pleasure in making you aware of a Amp Design called the Neurochrome 686.

I have been demo'd this design in all the available build guises prior to Covid Times and have been left thoroughly impressed.

I have also been demo'd this design in A/B comparisons to other well regarded Power Amp's.

The higher wattage (686) model was A/B compared to a variety of Amp's DIY/Commercial of which a Commercial Amp was a Soulution Power Amp'. The demo's were carried out on a £200ishK system and it was very difficult to suggest the Neurochrome was bettered by the Soulution, but definitely stood out for its qualities.

I have been demo'd the lower wattage (40W) Neurochrome in A/B comparisons against my own Amp's in my own system, as well as other Amp's in systems owned by others. The Neurochrome in this guise still stands out as a superb Amp', definitely hard to believe so much is available for the cost. In this guise it would be fair to suggest that ESL Speakers might be a bit too much for it, and are able to show a little more power would be beneficial. 


Without any hesitation look for a LSA Voyager GaN 350. Stock units can be found used under $2K, BUT, there is/was one FS in Melbourne FL that was modified by Ric Schultz at a great price.

I would try replacing the caps, even if they have to be a different brand. Then you can listen to the amp to see if it still sounds great in your system. If that doesn’t work, I agree with @thomaskong78. Try out try an Orchard Audio amp for free. @orchardaudio is running an amp tour. Sign up on their website. You get to listen a week for free then ship it to the next person on the list. I tried the amp and bought one. Can’t beat hearing the amp on your system. I’ve always been intrigued by the Obelisks. Hope to hear a set someday.

Good luck,


I’ve been to a couple shows years ago that had Shahinian speakers featured and they were always coupled with high powered Bedini amps, so I believe he voices his speakers with those amps.

I believe the large Bedini’s may be Mosfet amps so I would also consider a PS Audio 200C or 200CX, B&K EX442 Sonata, Moscode 300, VSP TransMos 150, or Tandberg amp as older amps on the more reasonable end - and yes, I am happily stuck in the 80’s when it comes to amplifiers :)

I agree that the OP should try to fix amp first. Otherwise Odyssey amps are great performers maybe a bargain at their price points:


" The biggest issue with this amp (and all other 30 year old high power amps) are the Rifa 4700pF EMF suppression capacitors -- which fail short when they age creating a fire hazard. Those are more critical to replace than power filter caps."
And what would be a good replacement? Any ceramic suppresion cap?