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Denon PMA-50 Lifestyle Stereo Amplifier Preview

Denon PMA-50 Lifestyle Stereo Amplifier

Denon PMA-50 Lifestyle Stereo Amplifier


  • Product Name: PMA-50 Lifestyle Stereo Amplifier
  • Manufacturer: Denon
  • Review Date: January 14, 2015 05:30
  • MSRP: $$599
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • 50W into 4 ohms full digital power amplifier for powerful and detailed sound
  • Advanced AL32 Processing and DAC Master Clock Design
  • 1x RCA Analog input
  • 2x optical, 1x coaxial, and 1x USB type B digital inputs capable of 192kHz/24bit High Resolution Audio
  • USB-B Input also supports DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz High Resolution Audio
  • Computer noise isolation block
  • Bluetooth built in, with aptX® Low Latency and NFC
  • High quality headphone output with gain control to support a wide range of headphones
  • Subwoofer pre-out Horizontal or vertical placement
  • Clear view OLED – shows input source indication – rotates automatically with horizontal or vertical positioning of unit
  • Remote Control

The Denon PMA-50 Lifestyle Stereo Amplifier delivers 50 watts of high-quality sound and features like HD Audio and Bluetooth with aptX in a compact size that doesn't suck up the space in a room.

 Denon PMA-50

The Denon PMA-50

A total of six inputs, digital and analog, ensure that all of your devices can be connected simultaneously, and the USB input allows the PMA-50 to serve as a high-quality DAC for your computer's HD audio files up to 192kHz/24 bit resolution like those available from HDtracks.com.  The PMA-50's USB input also handles DSD HD Audio at 2.8Mhz and 5.6Mhz.  Bluetooth with aptX for cd-quality sound is included and can easily be paired with all your mobile devices via a simple front-panel button or by NFC where you simply place your NFC-capable device on the Denon's side panel, and the two are paired without the need for manual entry of a passcode.

 Denon PMA-50 Rear

The Denon PMA-250 Rear Connections

The Denon PMA-50 pump 50 watts into 4 ohms at an unspecific distortion level via a high-efficiency, low-noise, class D stereo amplifier.  High-quality, 5-way binding posts allow you to connect any passive speaker of your choice, even if you want to use silly-thick speaker cable.  A mono subwoofer pre-out allows you to augment the low-end of bass-restricted speakers, though it's presumably full-range so you'll want to choose a sub with a built-in crossover/filter.  The Denon PMA-50 is designed to drive headphones as well as traditional speakers, and offers three impedance settings for the headphone output.  

High-end finish details are evident with a matte aluminum chassis that sports a clean and simple face complete.  A single large rotary control an minimal buttons indicate easy operation.  The OLED display orients itself automatically.  If you stand the amplifier on it's end for a vertical orientation, the items on the display will automatically rotate as well, keeping input and system info right-side up without have to manually switch any settings.  No overall dimensions are currently given, but you can a sense of how compact the system is by looking at the connection on the back.  A remote control rounds out the package, and is not pictured, but promises an ergonomic design with access to advanced features like display dimming.

Denon PMA-50 Vertical

The Denon PMA-50's OLED display automatically rotates when set vertically.

The only potential omissions we see in the Denon PMA-50 are a USB host port to allow playback of files stored on portable flash and hard drives.  Certainly, there is no lack of alternative connection options.


If you're looking for a brain and engine to anchor a high-quality, compact system, the Denon PMA-50 check off almost every box.  Assuming performance meet expectations, which our experience with Denon products indicates is almost always the case, I would rock one of these in a hurry replacing my current office system.  At $599, it certainly isn't a less expensive option than a full-blown receiver like Denon's own AVR-X1100W, but the PMA-50's compact footprint and HD audio DAC capabilities would certainly fit the bill for anyone looking to build a digital-centric system that's small in size but big in features and sound. 

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Marshall is an Educator by trade, and currently lives in Oregon. He was lucky enough to grow up in a musical household, and though the AV equipment wasn't the greatest, it was always on. His dad introduced him to Queen, Paul Simon, and Sgt. Pepper's, and his mom played Lionel Richie and Disney Soundtracks. When Marshall was 14, his uncle passed down a pair of JBL towers and Marshall finally had his own system. Having enjoyed podcasting and video production over the past 10 years, Marshall is happy to be contributing at Audioholics.

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