Watts RMS Per Channel @8ohms: 70w Digital Music Features: Bluetooth -No, WiFi – No Hi-Res: No Inputs: 5x Line level RCA, 1x Phono line-level RCA, Outputs: 2x L/R Speaker terminal sets, 1x L/R Pre-out, 1x Line level RCA
What we like: Powerful, Clean and spacious sound, Great sonic accuracy
Not so much: No digital inputs
The Marantz PM8006 is a high-quality analog amplifier that has features such as a direct through mode and a record through RCA input/output. You may need to have a separate network DAC for streaming capabilities and to compensate for the lack of digital inputs.
Being powered by a 70w power stage at 8ohms means that the PM8006 is powerful enough for most home theatre and hi-fi applications but this amp can still provide refined dynamics at low volumes making this a perfect amplifier for small rooms or large spaces.
The sound from this amplifier is detailed and spacious with fantastic attack and decay creating an atmospheric yet clean sonic signature. You can also find tone controls on the unit or remote to fine-tune your desired sound settings.
Watts RMS Per Channel @8ohms: 80w Digital Music Features: Bluetooth – Yes, WiFi – Yes, Hi-Res: Yes – DSD256 Inputs: 4x Line level RCA, 1x Balanced XLR, 1x Coaxial, 2x Optical, 1x USB, Bluetooth Outputs: 2x L/R Speaker terminal sets, 1x 3.5mm Headphone, 1x Preamp out, 1x Sub out
What we like: Confident presentation, Lively dynamics, Many connections
Not so much: No tone control knobs, No screen,
The CXA81 is equipped with a DAC and USB input that is capable of streaming at a sampling rate of 32bit/384kHz and DSD256 with aptX HD Bluetooth meaning it is a great choice for streaming hi-res music. This amp is also rigged with a huge range of inputs and outputs for both analog and digital sources with inclusions such as a balanced XLR and two preamp outs.
The presentation of the music is powerful, punchy, and detailed. The expression is perhaps a little too confident during heavy listening for some listeners but will blow others away with its agility and weighty low end. With that in mind, when given light and soft music the CXA81 still performs well with a more caring sound coupled with a warm tone.
Watts RMS Per Channel @8ohms: 120w Digital Music Features: Bluetooth – No, WiFi – No Hi-Res: No Inputs: 8x Line level RCA, 2x Balanced XLR Outputs: 2x L/R speaker terminal sets, 1x Preamp out, 1x Record out line level RCA
What we like: Solid Build, Large clear display, Powerful sound
Not so much: Detail slips when driven hard, No digital inputs
Although lacking in digital features the Azur 851A comes with a whopping 8 RCA and 2 XLR inputs so it would pretty hard to run out of inputs for your analog hi-fi system.
The build of this integrated amplifier is incredibly tough and looks great to boot with a large and easy to read LCD screen. With a 120w power stage, it is a very powerful amp and perfect for if you need to fill out a large space.
The sound of this amplifier leans towards a bassy presentation with a huge scale thanks to its power output. There is no issue with dynamics through any volume level but at higher volumes, the detail becomes a little groggy.
Watts RMS Per Channel @8ohms: 80w Digital Music Features: Bluetooth – Yes, WiFi – Yes Inputs: 3x Line level RCA, 1x MM Phono RCA, 2x Coaxial, 2x Line level, 1x RS322, 1x USB A, Bluetooth Outputs: 2x L/R speaker terminal sets, 1x Sub out, ¼” Headphone
What we like: Spacious sound, Bold and refined, Looks great
Not so much: Lacks vigor
The NAD C 368 is comfortable being the centerpiece of any hi-fi set up with a range of inputs and outputs that make it compatible with pretty much any piece of gear. The power stage produces 80w at 8ohms as well as 4ohms so you know what you get no matter what speakers you plan to pair with it.
The case is a simple sleek design that would suit a room with modern decor. The sound from this amplifier is bold and solid through all its capable frequencies. The tone is warm and accurate with a wide-open soundstage. The dynamics of this amplifier are also punchy and capable but can lack a little vigor by sounding restrained with more upbeat music.
Watts RMS Per Channel @8ohms: 70w Digital Music Features: Bluetooth – No, WiFi – No Inputs: 3x Line level RCA, 1x MM/MC Phono stage RCA, 2x Optical, 1x Coaxial, 1x USB B Outputs: 2x L/R Speaker terminal sets, 1x Line level RCA out, 1x ¼” Headphone out
What we like: High spec DAC, Smooth controls, Solid build
Not so much: Laidback sound
To follow up on the success of the PMA-2500NE Denon released the 1600NE which looks similar but has a few different specs such as a single board to power the second speaker channel and an FL display instead of OLED.
These touches are nice on the PMA-2500NE but are hardly noticeable to the average consumer and make the 1600NE an awesome buy as it retains much of what makes its big brother great such as tank-like build quality and a high-quality DAC at almost half the price.
The PMA 1600NE is powered at 70w and is compatible with 4ohm speakers meaning that it can power a wide range of speakers comfortably. The sound has excellent dynamics but with a laid back presentation that makes for easy listening but less suitable for home theatre use.
Schitt Ragnarok 1
Watts RMS Per Channel @8ohms: 60w Digital Music Features: Bluetooth -No, WiFi -No Inputs: 3x Line level RCA, 2x Balanced XLR Outputs: 1x L/R Speaker terminal set, 1x Balanced XLR, 1x Line level RCA, 1x ¼” Headphone jack, 1x XLR headphone out
What we like: Transparent sound, XLR headphone out, Solid build
Not so much: Annoying attenuation sound when adjusting the volume
When paired with some high-end gear such as Schiit’s top-shelf standalone DAC the Yggdrasil you can get one of the best listening experiences available for under $2000, however, given that this amp is lacking its own built-in DAC or digital inputs means that it is lacking some of the features of the competition.
The sound from this amplifier is transparent and balanced with swift timing and a spacious soundscape. It’s also equipped with several balanced XLR outputs which many others in our top picks are missing making this amplifier a great choice if you’re after an analog amplifier with great sound that is compatible with your XLR devices.
Watts RMS Per Channel @8ohms: 90w Digital Music Features: Bluetooth -No, WiFi – No Inputs: 3x Line level RCA, 1x MM Phono stage RCA, 1x 3.5mm AUX Outputs: 1x L/R Speaker terminal set, 1x Preamp out, 1x RS232, 1x RJ45 network port 1x 3.5mm Headphone
What we like: Great timing, Brit-fi appearance, Warm tone
Not so much: Much: Can sometimes sound overly processed
With great sound and a decent build, it is hard to go past the SA20, although, it is lacking WiFi and Bluetooth which seems a little strange considering it is a network-capable amplifier. This amplifier is precise and agile with great timing.
The tone is warm with a slight lean towards mid presence and the lowest compatible frequencies can sound ever so slightly over-processed this is to prevent any natural muddiness from the recordings when using the built-in DAC. With 90w of power, this amplifier is powerful enough for most applications you could throw at it.
Last update on 2021-10-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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