Integrated Amp Reviews

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Daniel Kumin  |  Feb 13, 2013  |  0 comments

Remember integrated amps? I do — my first two real audio systems were assembled around examples of the one-component, preamp/poweramp combination form.

So does Pioneer. The firm’s new Elite A-20 is an unabashed throwback: two channels, no radio, a few analog inputs (no digital), a few knobs. 

Michael Trei  |  Feb 22, 2012  |  0 comments

Few audio companies are as closely associated with a single individual as Pass Laboratories is with its founder Nelson Pass, a man who has always blazed his own path when it comes to designing audio gear. Pass founded Threshold Electronics back in the early 1970s, but when he wanted to explore new, simpler circuit topologies in the early 1990s, he created Pass Labs as a way to market his latest creations.

The two integrated amps in the Pass Labs line, the INT-150 and INT-30A, are a good example of his less-than-conventional approach, seeing as both appear to be  identical except for the critical question of output power. Physically the two amps are indistinguishable, with exactly the same functions, weight, dimensions, and even price tag. It’s only when you take a peek at the spec sheet that the differences become apparent, with the INT-150 delivering a healthy 150 watts per-channel, while the INT-30A tops out at just one-fifth that amount.

So what gives? Why would anyone buy an inline four when they’re offering you the V-12 for the same money?

Brent Butterworth  |  Sep 18, 2011  |  0 comments

Maybe back in the 1920s, when Sound + Vision was called Superheterodyne Journal, we might have reviewed some giant tube amplifier that put out 2 watts at full blast. But other than perhaps some forgotten device from audio’s days of yore, this storied publication has never tested an amplifier so small, so weak, so limited in utility as the Qinpu Q-2.

Brent Butterworth  |  Sep 18, 2011  |  0 comments

Maybe back in the 1920s, when Sound + Vision was called Superheterodyne Journal, we might have reviewed some giant tube amplifier that put out 2 watts at full blast. But other than perhaps some forgotten device from audio’s days of yore, this storied publication has never tested an amplifier so small, so weak, so limited in utility as the Qinpu Q-2.

Brent Butterworth  |  Sep 18, 2011  |  0 comments

Maybe back in the 1920s, when Sound + Vision was called Superheterodyne Journal, we might have reviewed some giant tube amplifier that put out 2 watts at full blast. But other than perhaps some forgotten device from audio’s days of yore, this storied publication has never tested an amplifier so small, so weak, so limited in utility as the Qinpu Q-2.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Oct 04, 2010  |  0 comments
Price: $999 At A Glance: Desktop stereo integrated amp, including tube preamp and DAC • Apple-approved digital iPod connection • Jitter reduction

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Like many surround-sound audiophiles, I listen to a lot of twochannel material as well. It’s part retro sacrament, part necessary evil. Although I haven’t turned on my ancient stereo amp and preamp in months—their presence in the rack is mainly symbolic—I regularly run my 5.1-channel system in stereo mode when the nature of the content demands it. I also get a lot of use out of the cheap speakers and chip-amp in my kitchen, not to mention the powered iPod speakers in my bedroom. I use my 2.1-channel desktop rig throughout the day—not only when I’m at my desk, with the inevitable YouTube distractions, but also during the evening, when I curl up with a book. My armchair happens to sit across the room from my desktop system. Because the distance from the speakers is greater than the distance between the speakers—about a 3:1 ratio—this isn’t an ideal setup for stereo imaging. But it’s great for casual listening. I’ve spent some of the happiest hours of my life sitting in that chair, listening to that system.

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