Question on Hafler DH 220 price

I have an opportunity to buy a Hafler DH 220 with a Musical Concepts PA3E upgrade that was done in 2008. The ask is $400. Other than the gray housing (not my first choice in color) that gives me pause, I’d seriously like to give this amp a go with my Magnepan MMGs - it’s clearly a very well-regarded amp and I think it would match well with the MMGs and Rhythmik FG12 I bought here on Audiogon. I’m currently running the MMGs and an MMG-C off an Adcom GFA6000 with the surround channels unused to give it some breathing room, but while the sound is not necessarily unpleasant (it’s detailed, open, and revealing of source limitations) I can’t help but think I can get more out of the MMGs than what I’m getting. The other amp under consideration is a B&K ST 30303 with 300 wpc into 4 ohms. I do not have the ability to A/B these or even hear them.

Any thoughts on the two amps side-by-side? My sense is that the Hafler will win out over the B&K with quality watts over the B&K’s quantity. Is the price of the Hafler at $400 too much?


I can't comment on whether the price is right or not, but I'd advise checking the Hafler for physical transformer noise before buying if you go that way.  Put it on a wooden table or board or the like and turn it on (without anything else attached) and see if it emits a low-level acoustic hum, even a weak one.  Some of the Haflers' power transformers emit a low but audible hum which can drive you nuts after a while if you're amp is unlucky enough to have it..  A few years back I gave a DH220 away because the hum couldn't be fixed without replacing the transformer (too expensive for what it was worth).  Otherwise, not a bad amp.
Was that transformer hum an issue with the stock transformers, or are you aware of hum issues with the upgraded TP-200 toroidal transformer as well?
Disregard.  I pulled the trigger and bought the Hafler.  If for some reason I don't like it, I expect I'll make near my money back. 

Good enough for me, just to hear the modified Hafler sound.  It's gotta be a step or two up from the Adcom.
Well, my primary rationale was that the Hafler was upgraded with new components in 2008 - I shouldn't need to touch it, and it will have plenty of power to run the MMGs.  The B&K is rough looking, just as old, and I can only assume would need some service before long.  The musicality of the two sounds similar based on available information, so I opted for the amp with the new guts.
Don't have it yet.  I'll report in when I get it.  I'm actually quite excited to hear what my 2-channel listening turns into.
Well, it’s only been a couple of hours, but the difference was readily apparent straight away with audible improvements evident before the Hafler even had time to get nice and warm.
Where the Adcom was okay in detail and bass presentation, it was rather two-dimensional, somewhat sterile, and fatiguing after a couple hours’ listening. To me, the subtleties of different pieces of music were largely lost, leaving everything sounding kind of.....the same. In a single word, I guess "clinical" is the word that comes to my mind that I would use to describe the Adcom.
The Hafler, on the other hand.....
The soundstage is more everything: deeper, wider, higher.
The bass is definitely more controlled, cleaner and faster.
Detail, definition, imaging............all superior.
The Hafler is warmer yet cleaner AND faster throughout the spectrum. It is really presenting Monty Alexander’s grand piano in a 4-man quartet setting exceptionally, exceptionally well. The sonic dynamics are pure pleasure right now. A fine single malt never hurts when tossed into the mix, either.
I dare say that I’m actually getting a level of that magical "liquidity" that has thus far eluded me to any satisfying degree.
From a pimped out, 1980s vintage piece of metal, a pair of $500 planar magnetic panels, a good, musical subwoofer, and a mid-fi Denon A/V receiver.
Life is good.