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Recent 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

Rotel RA-1570 Integrated Amplifier Preview

Rotel RA-1570 Integrated Amplifier Preview

The Rotel RA-1570 integrated amplifier is a complete "rewrite" of the company's RA-1520 integrated amp. This is no small model bump, but a total makeover—extreme style. Let's start with the input section of the RA-1570. It's substantially more flexible than what you find in most integrated amplifiers—there's even a rare (for these types of products) front panel USB input. That means Rotel is ready to go with iPods, iPhones, and iPads—not to mention all of the available Android devices.

The Rotel RA-1570 integrated amplifier is a complete "rewrite" of the company's RA-1520 integrated amp. This is no small model bump, but a total makeover—extreme style.

— April 30, 2013 05:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Rotel RMB-1585 and RMB-1555 Power Amplifiers Preview

Rotel RMB-1585 and RMB-1555 Power Amplifiers Preview

This time, Rotel has got something for your home theater. The RMB-1555 is a five channel, 120 watts per channel, offering that should please all but the most demanding of users. For them, there is the 200 watt RMB-1585. The biggest change from the last generation of home theater amps from Rotel? The switch back from Class D to Class A/B. In our opinion this was a good move as linear amps tend still provide the most reliable amplification for the widest range of loudspeakers. Even if you don't have the money for these babies, you probably want to see what they came out with. Check them out at your local Rotel dealer if you can and have a listen.

Two new Rotel power amplifiers: RMB-1555 is a 120 watts x five channels and the Rotel RMB-1585 200 watts x 5. These new Rotel amplifiers are Class A/B replacing previous Class D models.

— April 24, 2013 18:30 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Emotiva Audio XPA-1L Class A and AB Mono Amplifier Preview

Emotiva Audio XPA-1L Class A and AB Mono Amplifier Preview

If you've wanted to experiment with a Class A amplifier but didn't have the thousands it normally takes to step up to that level, the Emotiva XPA-1L is for you. With selectable Class A and A/B operation, it has something for everyone. Putting out 35 watts in Class A mode and 500 watts (4 ohms) in Class A/B mode, it should pair well with nearly any speaker you may own. We are also wondering if Emotiva is planning on implementing this Class A switch to their entire line of Class A/B amps. It would certainly help differentiate their offerings from all the other Class A/B amps out there. We are definitely looking forward to getting the Emotiva XPA-1L on our test bench.

The 250wpc Emotiva XPA-1L switchable Class A and AB mono amplifier is meant for the audiophile that also wants to conserve on energy for non critical listening.

— March 13, 2013 05:20 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Emotiva XPR-1 Mono-block Reference Power Amplifier Preview

Emotiva XPR-1 Mono-block Reference Power Amplifier Preview

The latest in a series of reference quality amplifiers, the Emotiva XPR-1, while hardly inexpensive in an absolute sense, comes in at a price just north of a four-figures. This is substantially less than most other amplifiers that boast similar specifications, which often approach, and some cross, the five-figure mark. Clocking in at 99 pounds per channel, and it is only a single channel, the XPR-1 is a monster of an amplifier. Basically, it appears that the XPR-1 is an XPR-2 with one less amplifier channel, sporting the same 30 pound, 2.5 kVA transformer and 240,000 uF capacitor bank, but just with one less output module and providing nearly twice the power output per channel.

The latest in a series of reference quality amplifiers, the Emotiva XPR-1, while hardly inexpensive in an absolute sense, comes in at a price just north of a four-figures.

— January 02, 2013 19:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Emotiva XPR-2 Stereo Reference Power Amplifier Preview

Emotiva XPR-2 Stereo Reference Power Amplifier Preview

For $1450, and however much it will cost to get a 20 Amp circuit run to your home theater, the Emotiva XPR-2 will deliver impressive performance for a fraction of the cost of other offerings. How much power? How about 600 watts into 8 ohms or 1000 watts into 4 ohms with both channels driven! With the ability to independently select balanced or unbalanced input on each channel, 115 or 230 VAC, and adjust the illumination on the front, there is very little more you could want out of an amplifier.

The Emotiva XPR-2 will deliver impressive performance for a fraction of the cost of other offerings. How much power? How about 600 watts into 8 ohms or 1000 watts into 4 ohms both channels driven!

— December 18, 2012 06:15 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Pass Labs X350.5 Stereo Power Amplifier Review

Pass Labs X350.5 Stereo Power Amplifier Review

The Pass Labs X350.5 350 watt/ch stereo amplifier has the appearance like it was sculpted by Cybertronians. It portrays a commanding presence that just draws your attention. The X350.5 is built like a tank, pegging the scale in the pride of ownership department and weight (132 lbs). Its pristine sonic virtues and ability to drive even the most challenging of speaker loads beyond reference levels is even more impressive than its overall excellent bench test results. But, its power hungry demeanor and luxurious pricing isn't for the faint of wallet. However, I'm confident if Optimus Prime were an audiophile, it's a sure bet the X350.5 would be his amplifier of choice. Audiophile & Audioholics recommended!

This is a review of the Pass Labs X350.5 350wpc stereo amplifier. Excellent bench tests and pristine sonic virtues would please even the most discriminating audiophile.

— October 23, 2012 21:35 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

digiZoid ZO2 Personal (not a) Subwoofer Review

digiZoid ZO2 Personal (not a) Subwoofer Review

The digiZoid Z02 Personal Subwoofer is not a subwoofer at all. Instead it is an "analog sound enhancement device" which will boost the volume of your 3.5mm source and provides bass boost. The amplification means that your source (usually a portable player or phone) will save battery and the bass boost can correct the typical failing of most headphones. At $120, the digiZoid ZO2 isn't cheap, and it isn't without its flaws, but we're betting most audioholics wouldn't mind getting one for Christmas.

The digiZoid Z02 Personal Subwoofer is not a subwoofer at all. Instead it is an "analog sound enhancement device" which will boost the volume of your 3.5mm source and provides bass boost.

— September 25, 2012 22:35 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Niles Audio Introduces Five New Amplifiers

Niles Audio Introduces Five New Amplifiers

Niles Audio recently announced the launch of five new integration amplifiers that they claim provide the “ideal solution for every application.” While that may be going a bit too far, the SI-1230 Series 2 and SI-1650 multi-room amplifiers and the SI-250, SI-200, and SI-2150 2-channel amplifiers are sure to fit the bill for many installations.

The Niles Audio SI-1230 Series 2 and SI-1650 multi-room amplifiers and the SI-250, SI-200, and SI-2150 2-channel amplifiers are sure to fit the bill for many installations.

— September 25, 2012 06:05 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Classe CT-2300 Stereo Power Amplifier Review

Classe CT-2300 Stereo Power Amplifier Review

The Classe CT-2300 300wpc/600wpc (8/4 ohms, respectively) two-channel power amplifier is well engineered from inside and out. Classe’s unique ICTunnel keeps the amplifier running cool under all operating conditions making it an ideal option for rack mounting. Feed this baby the very best speakers you can afford and it will rewarded you with a sonic landscape not achievable by lesser designed amplifiers. From its benchmark test results to its pristine sonic virtues, I found my time with this amplifier to be a pure delight. After two months of dining on the CT-2300, I can say with total confidence that my appetite is fully satisfied. Highly recommended!

Review: Classe CT-2300 is a 300wpc/600wpc (8/4 ohms, respectively) two-channel power amplifier. It's great bench tests,sonic virtues and cool operation makes it a wonderful rack mountable solution.

— September 16, 2012 20:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Sherbourn PT-7030 Preamp and Multichannel Amplifiers Video

Sherbourn PT-7030 Preamp and Multichannel Amplifiers Video

Sherbourn, to the uninitiated, may sound like the name of a high end hotel chain, but in reality it's a company continuing to bring high end audio to home theater and custom installation. This all becomes clear when you realize the company includes a 10-year warranty on all its products. To do that you have to either be crazy - or have a tremendous amount of faith in the quality of your products. Sherbourn Technology, a company that has been around for a long time, claims the latter. When we came to the booth we wanted to know what was new. The trouble was, everything is new. We took our cheat sheet and attempted to give you a tour of the booth.

The Sherbourn PT-7030 Preamp and Multichannel Amplifiers (PA-7/350, a 7-channel x 350W amp; PA-7/150 7x220w, PA-5/200 5x200w, and PA-2/50 2x50watts) are overviewed.

— September 14, 2012 08:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Yamaha A-S300 Integrated Amp and CD-S300 CD Player Preview

Yamaha A-S300 Integrated Amp and CD-S300 CD Player Preview

There are two ways to think about the new S300 offerings from Yamaha - either a stepping stone into a high-end two-channel system or a second system for discerning consumers. The price is where Yamaha sold us on the new S300 offerings. At $379.95 for the A-S300 Integrated Amplifier and $349.95 for the CD-S300 CD player, we think a lot of people are going to be interested in at least one of these duo. These may be the go-to purchases for those looking for a second system or just want an new toy to play with but don't want to break the bank.

The price is where Yamaha sold us on the new S300 offerings. At $379.95 for the A-S300 Integrated Amplifier and $349.95 for the CD-S300 CD player, we think a lot of people are going to be interested.

— August 23, 2012 14:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews