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Recent Audio Amplifier Reviews

Bob Carver Cherry 180 and Black Beauty Tube Amplifiers Preview

Bob Carver Cherry 180 and Black Beauty Tube Amplifiers Preview

Bob Carver has just partnered up with home automation pioneer Bob Farinelli to form Bob Carver LLC this year. Apparently, both men got bored and, after having worked closely together for over 5 years at Sunfire, they came out of retirement to join forces and start this new business. They may have just redefined the term "ambitious", because their first two products are both beautiful and frighteningly expensive. Bob Carver describes the amplifiers as "stand[ing] with a small handful of the world’s great vacuum tube amplifiers." 'Nuff said, if you're a fan of Bob Carver and have the money. We were hoping the two would have a booth at CEDIA but they are walking around instead this year checking out the competition and serving as audiophile "booth babes" for their partners (hey, those were Farinelli's words, not mine! lol).

Bob Carver has just partnered up with home automation pioneer Bob Farinelli to form Bob Carver LLC this year. Their first two products, the Cherry 180 and Black Beauty Tube Amplifiers look awesome.

— September 10, 2011 11:20 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Bryston BHA-1 Headphone Amplifier Preview

Bryston BHA-1 Headphone Amplifier Preview

Bryston showed off its new BHA-1 headphone amplifier which is slated to hit dealers in time for Christmas orders in Q4. The BHA-1's claim to fame is its fully discreet dual mono design which uses proprietary Class A circuitry. The amplifier is specifically engineered as an audiophile solution for those who take their headphone listening very seriously. The Bryston BHA-1 is going to be available in two versions. The standard model will be equipped with an on-board ultra high quality Bryston power supply. If you really want to go all out, however, you can opt for the BHA-1 with an external power supply.

Bryston showed off its new BHA-1 headphone amplifier which is slated to hit dealers in time for Christmas orders in Q4. The BHA-1's claim to fame is its fully discreet dual mono Class-A design.

— September 08, 2011 06:45 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Anthem Statement M1 1000W Mono Amplifier Preview

Anthem Statement M1 1000W Mono Amplifier Preview

I don't typically use mono amps all that much in my systems, but after seeing Anthem's new Statement M1 1000W behemoth I may just change my behavior. The Statement M1 is engineered to produce a ridiculous amount of RMS and peak power - even from a 15A/120V line. With advanced load monitoring and power factor correction technology it can actually produce peak output of up to 2400 watts - supposedly without generating ridiculous amounts of heat or tripping the breaker (internal or external). Anthem is clearly attempting to directly tackle the notion that Class D amplifiers aren’t suited for truly audiophile hi-fi sound systems.

After seeing Anthem's new Statement M1 1000W behemoth I may just may start using mono amps again. The M1 is engineered to produce a ridiculous amount of RMS and peak power - even from a 15A/120V line.

— September 08, 2011 06:10 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Crestron PROAMP-7X400 "PROCISE" Amplifier First Look

Crestron PROAMP-7X400 "PROCISE" Amplifier First Look

The Crestron PROAMP-7X400 "PROCISE" amplifier is an 108lbs behemoth that is designed to work perfectly with your Crestron PSPHD "PROCISE" surround processor. We don't know the price but it is sure to be expensive. But for that you get a ton of management and control ability that will work not only with the Crestron processor but also can be accessed from a Crestron touchpanel, computer or mobile device though Cresnet (talk to your local installer). There are some curious omissions on the back panel but Crestron seems to have given consumers a real reason to pair their amp with their processor. Most just hope matching faceplates will do that for you.

The Crestron PROAMP-7X400 "PROCISE" amplifier is an 108lbs behemoth that is designed to work perfectly with your Crestron PSPHD "PROCISE" surround processor.

— March 22, 2011 03:30 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

McIntosh Labs MC601 Monoblock Amplifier Preview

McIntosh Labs MC601 Monoblock Amplifier Preview

McIntosh Laboratory, a global manufacturer of home entertainment and ultimate-quality audio for over 60 years, announced the debut of a new amplifier that brings legendary McIntosh performance capabilities and style together with a host of leading-edge features and extended functionality for today's digital age. The new MC601 Monoblock Amplifier, which replaces McIntosh's hugely popular MC501 amplifier, will ship in January of 2011. It joins the company's new Models MC302 and MC452 in the McIntosh amplifier lineup, all with new engineering advances and extended functionality.

McIntosh announced the debut of a new MC601 amplifier sporting Thermal Track output transistors that allow for cooler, more efficient operation, and 600 watts per channel.

— January 07, 2011 11:45 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Pass Labs Concept Amplifiers Preview

Pass Labs Concept Amplifiers Preview

Pass Labs' new Concept Amplifiers are high-bias, Class A, monoblock models employing the company's acclaimed Ultra-Symmetry circuit. Originally designed by Nelson Pass for use at his own retreat, they were shown in "concept" form at the 2010 CES - however, demand from dealers & distributors has turned them into actual products for shipment later this year. They represent Pass Labs’ maximum design effort, and are like large versions of the company's flagship XA200.5 Amplifier, notable for its high output capacity, power and stability. Like the XA200.5, they deliver superb music without straining, and possess twice as much chassis, power supply, output stage and dissipation capacity.

Pass Labs' new Concept Amplifiers are high-bias, Class A, monoblock models employing the company's acclaimed Ultra-Symmetry circuit. The larger Concept amp has 300 watts per channel, the smaller 200.

— January 06, 2011 11:20 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Onkyo M-5000R Power Amplifier First Look

Onkyo M-5000R Power Amplifier First Look

Do we need the M-5000R amplifier? Probably not. Do we want one? Oh yeah, you bet. While $2500 a pop isn't chump change, in the world of high end amplifiers, it isn't too bad. And considering the price of the amps they are obvious borrowing a few styling cues from (cough McIntosh cough), they are a positive steal. If you are going to charge a bunch for your high end gear, you should shove them full of high end parts and technology. It seems that Onkyo has once again done that. The P-3000R Preamp has everything a budding audiophile could want except XLR outputs and the C-7000R CD player has all the bells and whistles. What's most exciting about these sorts of products is not that we ever expect to own them but how they show that Onkyo is pushing their technological know-how. And knowing Onkyo, it'll only be a few years before we start seeing all of this in their receivers. And those are something we can afford.

Do we need the Onkyo M-5000R amplifier? Probably not. Do we want one? Oh yeah, you bet. While $2500 a pop isn't chump change, in the world of high end amplifiers, it isn't too bad.

— January 06, 2011 01:40 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Emotiva PMA-7350 7-Channel Amplifier First Look

Emotiva PMA-7350 7-Channel Amplifier First Look

The PMA-7350 - a seven channel, 350 watts per channel monster of an amp is the flagship in Emotiva's new Pro line. Of course, with amplifiers it is what is on the inside that counts and the Emotiva PMA-7350 has a massive 3.3kVA toroidal transformer pushing out 350 watts into 8 ohms. The amp is stable into 4 ohms and is fully safety compliance for worldwide sale. With such a large amp pushing such power, you'd expect a lot of heat or fan noise. The PMA-7350 is completely convection cooled (no fans) thanks to it's class H design. This means silent operation without having to worry about your amp cooking the rest of your gear (let your Xbox 360 do that). While $3k may be a bit stiff for the Internet Direct crowd, it's practically a bargain for the custom install consumer.

The PMA-7350 - a seven channel, 350 watts per channel monster of an amp is the flagship in Emotiva's new Pro line. The PMA-7350 has a massive 3.3kVA toroidal transformer that is stable into 4 ohms.

— October 07, 2010 07:45 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Emotiva UPA-7 Seven Channel Power Amplifier Review

Emotiva UPA-7 Seven Channel Power Amplifier Review

The Emotiva UPA-7 Seven Channel Amplifier in my mind is an embarrassment - not to itself, mind you, but to the industry. What I mean by this bold statement is, it's built too robustly, measures too pristinely and performs too well for a seven channel amplifier selling for even twice its price. Whether you're looking for a new multi-channel amplifier to update your system or to cure the common receiver with a power boost, the UPA-7 will do so exceedingly well in all but the largest most power hungry installations. In the meantime, you can rest assured that dollar for dollar, pound for pound, a better multi-channel amplifier does NOT exist on the market. This is a safe purchase and a highly recommended one!

Dollar for dollar, pound for pound, a better seven channel amplifier than the Emotiva UPA-7 does NOT exist on the market. This is a safe purchase and a highly recommended one!

— September 15, 2010 21:55 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Onkyo PA-MC5500 9 Channel THX Amplifier First Look

Onkyo PA-MC5500 9 Channel THX Amplifier First Look

When Onkyo released their PR-SC5508 THX Certified Processor, they didn't have to ask someone to build them an amp, they just ported over the THX Certified PA-MC5500 from the UK. The PA-MC5500 has nine channels of amplification rated at 150 watts each at 8 ohms driving a single channel into 1kHz. It may easy for some to dismiss the PA-MC5500 based on its less-than-rigorous power ratings. Don't be dissuaded. At a paltry $1699 MSRP (and a street price sure to be less), the PA-MC5500 has plenty of power for most systems. Add to that the convenience of having all nine channels in a single box, the piece of mind that THX certification brings and the matching aesthetics to the new PR-SC5508 and you've got more than one consumer interested.

The THX Certified PA-MC5500 has 9 channels of amplification rated at 150 watts at 8 ohms driving a single channel into 1kHz. At a paltry $1699 MSRP, the PA-MC5500 has plenty of power for most systems.

— September 12, 2010 20:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

AudioControl Savoy G3 Amplifier First Look

AudioControl Savoy G3 Amplifier First Look

AudioControl has recently released their Maestro M3 Pre/Pro - a well featured pre-amp aimed toward the high-end crowd and integrators. The Savoy G3 is the mate to this processor providing the power that all processors need. The Savoy G3 is a bit of a beast at 54 pounds which is even more impressive when you consider it employs a class H design. AudioControl claims over 200 Watts per channel into 8 ohms, all seven channels driven for the Savoy G3. It only needs around a half inch of space around it for normal operation (which isn't much and attests to how cool the Savoy G3 runs). In addition, the Savoy has an output RCA on each channel making it tailor-made for bi-amping.

The Savoy G3 amp is a beast at 54 pounds which is even more impressive when you consider it employs a class H design. AudioControl claims over 200 Watts per channel into 8 ohms, all 7 channels driven.

— August 19, 2010 19:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Integra DTA-70.1 THX Certified Amplifier First Look

Integra DTA-70.1 THX Certified Amplifier First Look

While speakers, receivers, and transports come and go, a good amp is virtually forever. With 150 watts of power for nine channels, and outstanding build quality, the Integra DTA-70.1 THX Certified Amplifier certainly looks good to us. When you consider that the Integra DTA-70.1 has received THX's Ultra2 rating, its a sure bet there are loyal Integra/Onkyo fans that can't wait to get their hands (and ears) on this 50 lbs beast.

When you consider that the Integra DTA-70.1 has received THX's Ultra2 rating, its a sure bet there are loyal Integra/Onkyo fans that can't wait to get their hands (and ears) on this 50 lbs beast.

— April 12, 2010 13:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

NAD M2 Direct Digital Amplifier Preview

NAD M2 Direct Digital Amplifier Preview

The NAD M2 Direct Digital Amplifier is really sort of a hybrid. It is a traditional amp with non-traditional inputs. It is an integrated amp in spirit but doesn't have all the functionality that a traditional integrated would have. In addition to balanced and RCA analogue inputs the M2 has dual coax and dual optical inputs, a single optical and coaxial output, 12 volt and IR inputs, and a 12 volt output. At $6k, you would do well to consider using the internal DACs of the M2 as you certainly are paying for them.

The NAD M2 Direct Digital Amplifier is really sort of a hybrid. It is a traditional amp with non-traditional inputs. It is an integrated amp in spirit but doesn't have all the functionality.

— May 26, 2009 10:00 in Audio Amplifier Reviews

Seymour AV Ice Block 5001 500watt Monoblock Amplifier Review

Seymour AV Ice Block 5001 500watt Monoblock Amplifier Review

It's not hard to see that I'm impressed with the Seymour AV Ice Block 5001 500watt Monoblock Amplifier. It has plenty of power, great aesthetics, and near perfect functionality. Most of all, they provide esoteric components, looks, and construction at near enthusiast prices. That alone should be a huge selling point for those with smaller wallets but refined tastes. Plus, you'll have an amp that is not only a show piece for the uninitiated but also sports all the "extras" that will impress your esoteric friends. What more could you ask for?

It's not hard to see that I'm impressed with the Seymour AV Ice Block 5001 500watt Monoblock Amplifier. It has plenty of power, great aesthetics, and near perfect functionality.

— April 23, 2009 07:15 in Audio Amplifier Reviews