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Recent 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

Emotiva XPA-200 Stereo Power Amplifier Preview

Emotiva XPA-200 Stereo Power Amplifier Preview

It’s difficult being the middle child, just ask Jan Brady. Stuck between the high value UPA-200 and the monstrous XPA-2 amplifiers; the XPA-200 seems to get lost in Emotiva’s plethora of offerings. Rated to deliver 150 watts into an 8 ohm load and 240 watts into a 4 ohm load (both at <1% THD), and priced at $499, does Emotiva’s midgrade stereo amplifier deliver a compelling value, or is it worth overlooking in favor of its superlative siblings? Keep reading to see our take.

Review: The 150 watt Emotiva XPA-200 Stereo Power Amplifier is stuck between it's 2 siblings;the massive XPA-2 and high-value UPA-200. Read our XPA-200 preview to get the scoop on this new amp.

— May 13, 2013 15:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

AudioControl Rialto 400 High Power Amplifier with Digital Audio Inputs Preview

AudioControl Rialto 400 High Power Amplifier with Digital Audio Inputs Preview

While targeting custom installers and their clients, the AudioControl Rialto 400 has some real technology under the Sonos-esque enclosure. Pushing 100 watts into 8 ohms, 200 watts into 4 ohms, Wolfson DACs, multiple inputs, automatic input switching, bass boost, subwoofer pass-though, and more, it is clear that the $800 price tag isn't all profit. If you are looking for an upgrade to the sound of your second or third system, the Rialto 400 should give you what you want. Just don't look to us to explain to your wife why you "needed" a box that cost 2x's as much as the Sonos box you connected it to.

Pushing 100 W into 8 ohms, 200 W 4 ohms, Wolfson DACs, multiple inputs, automatic input switching, bass boost and subwoofer pass-though, the AudioControl Rialto 400 amplifier has more than just looks.

— May 07, 2013 05:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Emotiva XPR-1 Mono Amplifier Review

Emotiva XPR-1 Mono Amplifier Review

There is little not to like about the 1kwatt Emotiva XPR-1 Monoblock power amplifier. Although it lacks the snob appeal of some of the more expensive and prestigious brands, the Emotiva XPR-1 gives up nothing in the performance department, especially with regards to power. It's built well with all the proper engineering in place to ensure reliable, problem free performance for years to come. The XPR-1 truly lives up to the “Reference series” name that Emotiva has reserved for their very best products. This is a highly recommended purchase for the audiophile looking for an amplifier with equal doses of brawn and finesse. It is the Jedi Master of power amps that would make even an audiophile Sith Lord proud to own. Check out our comprehensive review where we attempted to smoke our power resistors by dumping over 2kwatts of power through them, which the XPR-1 happily provided. Barbecue anyone?

Our review of the 1kwatt Emotiva XPR-1 Mono amplifier proves that ultimate power and audiophile finesses can go hand in hand without breaking the bank. The XPR-1 monoblock audio amplifier rocks!

— May 05, 2013 23:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews