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Recent Audio Amplifier Reviews

Denon PMA-50 Lifestyle Stereo Amplifier Preview

Denon PMA-50 Lifestyle Stereo Amplifier Preview

The Denon PMA-50 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. This could be the perfect cornerstone for a high-end headphone setup or computer-based HD-Audio setup. If you're rocking too-small, plasticy speakers and long for a compact system that can rival a full-sized setup, your search may end here.

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.

— January 14, 2015 05:30 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Parasound ZoneMaster Model 1250 Distribution Amp Preview

Parasound ZoneMaster Model 1250 Distribution Amp Preview

If you are thinking of installing a whole-home audio system, you're going to need a distribution amp. Distribution amps generally have lower power (but more channels) than dedicated home theater amplifiers. These are used to send audio all over you home in order to get the same content in multiple rooms. The problem with some distribution amplifiers is that they usually can only be used for distribution purposes. The new Parasound offering looks to buck that trend by being as versatile a distribution amp as we've ever seen.

Preview: If you are looking for a distribution amplifier, the Parasound ZoneMaster Model 1250 is an intriguing choice. It can accept up to 24 speakers, has 12 amp channels, and is stable into 2 ohms.

— September 22, 2014 05:10 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Marantz PM5005 Integrated Amp & CD5005 CD Player Preview

Marantz PM5005 Integrated Amp & CD5005 CD Player Preview

Marantz's new PM5005 integrated amplifier ($499) and CD5005 CD player ($399) aren't what you'd qualify as revolutionary products. However, while they're similar in most respects to their predecessors, there are a few improvements under the hood worth talking about. Among other things, the PM5005 boasts a modest power increase while the CD5005 receives an upgraded DAC and improved transport mechanism. Want to know more? Click to read the full story.

Preview: Marantz's new PM5005 integrated amplifier and CD5005 CD player feature modest improvements over their predecessors including more power, an upgraded DAC, and improved aesthetics.

— July 01, 2014 08:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Yamaha A-S2100 Integrated Amplifier & CD-S2100 CD/SACD Player Preview

Yamaha A-S2100 Integrated Amplifier & CD-S2100 CD/SACD Player Preview

Yamaha's new A-S2100 integrated amplifier and CD-S2100 CD/SACD player are a big departure from the old 2000 line...in a good way. Taking their styling cues from Yamaha's flagship A-S3000 and CD-S3000, the new 2100 series makes a bold aesthetic statement. Moreover, performance looks to be top notch thanks to a floating, balanced amplifier topology on the A-S2100 and the use of an ESS SABRE DAC on the CD-S2100. As you might guess, these new components aren't cheap, but at half the cost of the 3000 line, they can give a taste of Yamaha's flagship performance for a lot less.

Preview: Yamaha's new A-S2100 amplifier and CD-S2100 CD/SACD player get big styling changes over their 2000 series predecessors, sharing aesthetics with the more outgoing 3000 series flagships. More..

— June 19, 2014 07:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

D-Sonic M2 & M3 Class D Amplifiers Preview

D-Sonic M2 & M3 Class D Amplifiers Preview

D-Sonic might be a company Audioholics' readers are unfamiliar with. Founded in 2006, D-Sonic specializes in Class D amplification, using both ICE modules as well as more advanced designs. We check out their new M2 and M3 Amplifiers. So what you say? How does a super efficiency Class D design with up to 1,500W of power into 8 ohms and 2,400W of power into 4 ohms sound? What if I told you that same amplifier was stable down to 2 ohms and below? Intrigued? Click to keep reading.

Preview: D-Sonic Class D amplifiers, the M2 and M3 boast some serious power. With some models rated up to 1,500W per channel (M3-300S) and stability down to two ohms, you might say we're intrigued.

— May 06, 2014 22:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

IQ Audio M300 MonoBlock Amplifier Review

IQ Audio M300 MonoBlock Amplifier Review

When I was presented with the pint sized IQ Audio M300 MonoBlock amplifier for review, I wanted to pick it apart as nothing more than a gimmick. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. The M300 is the first Class D amplifier that I’d seriously consider for my own use. It offers better measurable performance than I’ve seen from any other Class D designs, generates little to no heat making it ideal for stacking multiple units or cramming into tight spaces. Most importantly, the M300 sounds fabulous, never misbehaving or losing composure. Deceptively good is how I’d best describe this amplifier. What’s next for IQ Audio?

Review: The IQ Audio M300 MonoBlock amplifier is deceivingly good, delivering rated power with pristine fidelity and finesse in an efficient, cool running pint sized package. Class D at its best.

— January 30, 2014 09:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Red Dragon M500MKII & M1000MKII MonoBlock Amplifier Review

Red Dragon M500MKII & M1000MKII MonoBlock Amplifier Review

If you’ve ever been to a high-end audio show, one of the first things you’ll notice is the wide variety of manufacturers you’ve never heard of. Red Dragon Audio is one such boutique company that promises to deliver big sound with it's 500w (4 ohms) M500MKII and 1100w (4 ohms) MK1000MKII MonoBlock Class D amplifiers. Do the Red Dragon amps deliver the goods or do they fall short of their promise? Read the full review to find out.

Review: The Red Dragon M500/M1000 Class D Amplifiers are 500 and 1100 watt powerhouses in a small, lightweight, and cool-running footprint that promise to deliver tremendous bang for the buck.

— January 27, 2014 20:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Marantz PM-11S3 Integrated Amplifier Review

Marantz PM-11S3 Integrated Amplifier Review

The Marantz PM-11S3 100 watt/channel integrated amplifier is designed for the audiophile that values performance, and aesthetics equally without worrying about if he/she is getting the most watts per dollar they can afford. If you’re looking to assemble a great performing two-channel system with the possibility of expanding it to multi-channel someday, then this may just be your ticket. The PM-11S3 exceeds its published specifications. It will bring out all of the fidelity of the source material you throw at it while driving your speaker system with the quality power they yearn for. The PM-11S3 isn’t for the budget minded audio enthusiast but few if any audiophile products are especially ones that look as stunning as this baby.

Review: The Marantz PM-11S3 Integrated Amplifier is rated at 100 watts/channel. It exceeds its specifications and sounds and looks great doing it. A true audiophile product with prideful ownership.

— October 22, 2013 09:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Marantz PM6005 Integrated Amplifier Review

Marantz PM6005 Integrated Amplifier Review

I love the simplicity of integrated amps. In all of the complexity of receivers, the integrated amp is a reminder of what this hobby is all about—music. Marantz just put out its latest amp, the PM6005, which looks almost identical to the PM6004. In fact, the only real difference is that the new PM6005 adds digital audio decoding. There are now two digital inputs—one optical and one coaxial. All of the digital to analogue conversion is handled by a reference-quality Cirrus Logic CS4398. That's a 24 bit/192 kHz high current D/A converter.

Review: The two-channel Marantz PM6005 Integrated Amplifier is a reminder of what this hobby is all about – music. Great sound, simple to use and plenty of power to drive your speakers.

— October 08, 2013 10:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Yamaha A-S3000 Integrated Amplifier Preview

Yamaha A-S3000 Integrated Amplifier Preview

When I think about the Yamaha brand, my mind immediately jumps to their value oriented line of receivers. Boasting attractive, powerful, and reasonably priced products, Yamaha is a strong competitor in that market. However, with the A-S3000 integrated amplifier, Yamaha isn't looking to offer the most watts for the dollar; they're making a statement that they still have the capability and the desire to make electronics that are second to none, even compared with names like McIntosh, Mark Levinson, Classe, etc. Viewed in that light, the $7,999.95 price tag for the A-S3000 isn't totally out of place, even if it isn't exactly an impulse buy for most. So what does a nickel short of $8,000 get you? Keep reading to find out.

The Yamaha A-S3000 is a "statement" integrated amplifier from a company largely known for high value electronics. How does their $8,000 amp hold up to a first look at Audioholics? Read on to find out.

— August 21, 2013 11:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Emotiva XPA-2 and XPA-5 Gen2 Amplifier Preview

Emotiva XPA-2 and XPA-5 Gen2 Amplifier Preview

Emotiva has certainly had a busy summer in their amplifier department. They have quietly updated their XPA-2 stereo and XPA-5 multichannel amplifiers with new models. The XPA-1 monoblock and XPA-3 three-channel amps will have their updates formally released in the next few weeks as well. According to Emotiva, the new Gen 2 amplifiers feature a refined differential input and short signal path Class A/B topology that Emotiva says lowers the noise floor when compared to the previous versions. There will be a special feature added to the new XPA-1 Gen2 that you're gonna have to read this preview article to learn about. Audiophiles rejoice!

Emotiva has updated their XPA-2 and XPA-5 amplifiers to Gen2. The XPA-3 and XPA-1 Gen2 amplifiers will be out in a few weeks with a big audiophile surprise for the XPA-1 you can read about here.

— August 18, 2013 22:55 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Pioneer Elite A-20 Integrated Amplifier Preview

Pioneer Elite A-20 Integrated Amplifier Preview

For some audiophiles, the term "receiver" is synonymous with low quality sound. The logic goes that the more stuff you pack into a single chassis (video circuitry, tuner, etc.), the more gunk you introduce into the system. While we don't necessarily agree with that line of reasoning, there's no denying that for some folks, a simple integrated amplifier would do the job nicely. Enter the Pioneer Elite A-20; priced at a very reasonable $299, there's no dirty "r" word here, just a pre-amplifier plus two channels of amplification. So how does the A-20 stack up to a bit of scrutiny from Audioholics? Read on to find out.

Are you building a 2 channel system and but sick of looking at receivers with 500 features you don't need? Pioneer Elite A-20 integrated amplifier may be your ticket to audiophile nirvana.

— July 24, 2013 10:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Onkyo M-5010 Stereo Amplifier Preview

Onkyo M-5010 Stereo Amplifier Preview

Onkyo is a company known for delivering feature packed receivers at relatively low prices; they aren't necessarily a company most think of when looking at external amplifiers. Enter the M-5010. Priced at an affordable $349 and rated to deliver 75wpc @ 8 ohms, it looks like a decent budget amp. We think its best application is pulling multi-zone duty. Considering that the M-5010 has a street price of only $249, can be daisy chained to other amps, is 4ohm stable, and has a volume control and 12v trigger, we think it would be a great companion to an AVR lacking amplified zone 2 outputs. In the past, for $250 a consumer could just buy a stereo receiver if their main AVR didn't support zone 2, but with the advanced network features built into modern AVRs, an external amp makes more sense.

Onkyo's stereo amplifier, the M-5010 is priced at $349 and rated to deliver 75W into an 8 ohm load. Is the M-5010 big power in an affordable package or a big dud? Read on to see our thoughts.

— July 12, 2013 08:45 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Core Audio Kratos MKII Fully Digital Amplifier Preview

Core Audio Kratos MKII Fully Digital Amplifier Preview

The Kratos MKII fully digital (A.K.A direct digital) amplifier breaks the mold from the typical amps we see in the high end audio marketplace. It's designed to have no “digital to analog conversion, no analog to digital conversion, no analog to triangle wave conversion, no analog to PWM conversion, no DSP, no sample rate conversion, and no switching power supplies.” At 100wpc it should have enough power to drive most any speaker, and with an MSRP of $2,250, most audiophiles would consider it more than affordable. The Kratos can be customized for optimal performance with your speakers. Read on for a full analysis.

The Core Audio Technology Kratos MKII offers a true high-end direct digital amplifier solution for those audiophiles rooted firmly in the digital domain. Read on for a full run down.

— July 01, 2013 16:05 in Audio Amplifier Reviews