Top Picks Amplifiers

Streaming Amplifiers
Sonos Amp Streaming Amplifier: $599
The Sonos Amp is a marvel of simplicity and versatility that will enhance and expand any Sonos multiroom music system. In addition to delivering a beefy 2 x 125 watts (into 8 ohms), it supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 wireless platform, enables audio from any source — even a turntable — to be streamed wirelessly throughout the house, and can be pressed into action to power front or rear speakers in a wireless home theater. (April/May 2019, Read Full Review)
Technics SA-C600 Streaming CD Receiver: $999
The Technics SA-C600 stands apart in the ever-expanding world of streaming devices as an elegant one-box solution for the music lover who wants easy access to a variety of music sources. This impressively multi-talented device mates a CD player, hi-res streamer, and integrated amp into one surprisingly compact component. It even has an FM tuner! But most important, the C600 delivers impressive sound at a fraction of what you would expect to pay for this level of technology and functionality. (December 2022/January 2023, Read Full Review)
Marantz Model 40n Streaming Integrated Amplifier: $2,499
Apart from being a gorgeous and thoroughly modern music streaming machine, the Marantz Model 40n is built like a tank, sounds great, and provides a robust set of sound quality and streaming features — all without losing sight of the brand’s storied past. It’s Roon Tested and provides native support for AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and a number of streaming services, including Amazon Music, Pandora, and Tidal. Saul Marantz would be impressed. (August/September 2022, Read Full Review)
NAD C 399 Streaming Integrated Amplifier: $2,548 (as tested with optional MDC2 BluOS-D module; base configuration is $1,999)
The C 399 might look ordinary but it’s anything but with its wealth of connections, class-D HybridDigital nCore power section (ready to deliver 180 watts per channel into 8 or 4 ohms), and convenient modular design. Case in point: For this review we stepped beyond the amp’s $1,999 base configuration and added in the $549 MDC2 module to take advantage of Dirac Live room correction and NAD’s excellent BluOS streaming platform, which supports streaming via aptX HD Bluetooth with access to Amazon Music, Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, and other services through the outstanding BluOS app. Features and functionality aside, reviewer Howard Kneller was particularly struck by its ability to render detail with finesse and clarity, traits he credited to the nCore amplification technology. (June/July 2022, Read Full Review)
Cambridge Audio Evo 150 Streaming Integrated Amplifier: $3,000
England’s Cambridge Audio has developed a number of advanced audio technologies in its 50-plus years and shows no signs of letting up. The new Evo 150 streaming amplifier is a feature-packed, all-in-one music system that combines a robust 2 x 150 watt amplifier with a very capable wired/wireless music streamer, headphone amp, and moving-magnet phono stage in a compact chassis with distinctive side wood panels. All you have to do is add speakers and set off on your musical journey. Reviewer Howard Kneller vouched for the 150’s audio prowess: “It sounded fantastic with every speaker I paired it with” and supported a wide, deep soundstage. December/January 2022, Read Full Review)
Linn Majik DSM Streaming Integrated Amplifier: $3,835
The Majik DSM combines a 24-192/DSD-capable wireless streaming device with a preamp and 2 x 50-watt power amp in a component you can control using a standard remote or an app with a convenient universal search tool. In addition to supporting Tidal, Qobuz, and AirPlay, the Majik DSM is Roon Tested and boasts five HDMI 2.0 ports with 4K/HDR10 video pass-through plus optical, coaxial, and USB digital inputs. One of its top features is a DSP-based room-correction system that uses acoustic modeling to compensate for room anomalies below 80 Hz. It works like a charm and is even user adjustable. In the end, though, the Majik’s most distinguishing characteristic is brilliant sound (April/May 2021, Read Full Review)
NAD Masters M33 Streaming Integrated Amplifier: $4,999
NAD’s eagerly anticipated Master Series M33 is a stereo tour de force combining state-of-the-art power and 32-bit digital-to-audio conversion with an impressive array of connectors and multiroom streaming via NAD’s BluOs platform or AirPlay 2 in an elegant chassis. The M33 delivers 200 watts a side (or a menacing 700 watts bridged!) and counts balanced XLR and moving magnet/coil phono inputs among its many connections. In addition to providing access to top music streaming services — including Tidal, Spotify, and Qobuz — BluOS is MQA-compliant and supports aptX HD-enabled Bluetooth. The icing on this hi-res audio cake is a futureproof modular design with two expansion slots, cutting-edge Dirac Live room correction, and sonic perfection from a “just add speakers” control center built for enthusiasts. (December/January 2021, Read Full Review)
Power Amplifiers
AudioControl Avalon G4 Four-Channel Amplifier: $2,200
The Avalon G4 makes it easy to expand the power capabilities of an existing system to meet Dolby Atmos or DTS:X immersive surround requirements by adding four 230-watt channels so you don’t have to junk any gear. But it’s flexible enough to satisfy other applications as well. Use its four channels to power speakers in a second zone or bridge it to create a 2 x 800-watt stereo powerhouse that can be pressed into action with balanced or unbalanced speaker connections. Regardless of how it’s deployed, the G4 is a superb performer that will not disappoint. It’s even backed by a generous five-year warranty. (March/April 2020, Read Full Review)
NAD Masters M28 Seven-Channel Power Amplifier: $4,999
The latest entry in NAD’s prestigious Masters Series, the impeccably built M28 is one of the first power amplifiers to employ the super-efficient and highly regarded Eigentakt Class D modules from Denmark’s Purifi, a distinction shared by the M33 streaming integrated amp. Designed to compete with some of the best amplifiers in the world, the M29 delivers 7 x 200 watts into 8 ohms or a foreboding 7 x 340 watts into 4 ohms and offers the choice of balanced or unbalanced inputs. The NAD powerhouse was adept at handling the subtle and no-so-subtle intricacies of two-channel music — including the aggressive bottom end on the organ transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition — and had no trouble driving seven speakers in a 5.2.4 movie setup. (February/March 2021, Read Full Review)
Primare A35.8 Eight-Channel Power Amplifier: $5995
The A35.8 from Sweden’s Primare provides eight channels of unimpeachable class-D power in a fairly compact and very flexible package. Unimpeachable because power is delivered via proven Hypex Ncore (NC500) modules, each rated to supply 150 watts/channel into 8 ohms or 400 watts/channel into 2 ohms. Bridging provides the flexibility to accommodate a number of different system layouts, including a 5.1.2 (Atmos) or 7.1 setup. Ultimately, in the words of reviewer Dan Kumin, “Primare's A35.8 is a fully transparent, totally competent, and, depending on the load and configuration, immensely powerful amplifier. (August/September 2022, Read Full Review)
Hegel Music Systems H390 Integrated Amplifier: $6,000
Hegel’s H390 is guaranteed to capture the attention of inveterate audiophiles with its robust build quality, flexible and future-proof feature set — including a serious selection of inputs and outputs — balls-to-the-walls 2 x 250-watt amplifier, and outstanding sound quality. And we haven’t even mentioned its proprietary SoundEngine technology. Reviewer Al Griffin was captivated by the H390’s “clean, highly transparent rendering of recordings and effortlessly dynamic presentation.” This could well be the last integrated amp you’ll ever need. (December/January 2020, Read Full Review)
Legacy Audio i·V 7 Seven-Channel Amplifier: $7,950
While Legacy Audio is best known for its beautifully crafted speakers, the company has introduced several power amplifiers in recent years. The i·V 7 is built around class-D technology from Denmark's ICEpower a/s and is formidable in its ability to produce seven channels of seemingly unlimited power from a surprisingly compact chassis. To put a number on it, this amp is rated to deliver 7 x 610 watts into 8 ohms with all channels driven, which begs a question: Do you actually need that much power? Legacy responds with an emphatic “yes” and describes in great detail how you need increased power to convey the full resolution of today's 24-bit audio formats. Tangible benefits, confirmed by reviewer Al Griffin in his listening tests, include a whisper-quiet noise floor and enough headroom to deliver frightening real sound, whether transients in high-res music or ricocheting gunshots in an Atmos soundtrack. (October/November 2020, Read Full Review)
Trinnov Amplitude16 16-Channel Power Amplifier: $12,500
Designed in partnership with Denmark's ICEpower, Trinnov’s Amplitude16 manages to squeeze two custom power supplies and 16 class-D power modules in a rack-mountable chassis about 5 inches tall, meaning it’s possible to power an entire surround speaker system with one amp. Power output into 8 ohms is 200 watts per channel and jumps to 800 watts when two channels are bridged. And we’re talking clean power. Drop to 4 ohms, and power increases to 400 and 1,000 watts, respectively. The amp is a veritable beast and about the only negative we could find is that it runs hot. (August/September 2022, Read Full Review)
Power Amplifiers Archive
Marantz MM7055: $1,200
Tested as the mate for the Marantz AV7005 surround processor, reviewer Michael Fremer found the MM7005 a competent performer that lived up to its modest price tag. Rated at 140 watts per channel into 8 ohms with two channels driven, it achieved 108 watts with all 5 channels driven at our low .1% distortion figure. While it made some surgical compromises compared with Fremer’s much more expensive reference amp, “its musical heart was in the right place and at a price that can’t be beat.” (April 2011, Read Full Review)
Outlaw Audio Model 7500: $1,599
Internet-only Outlaw Audio is a favorite among our staffers for its high value quotient, and the 5-channel Model 7500 is a perfect example. Reviewer Gary Altunian cited its “excellent dynamics and headroom” and “multidimensional soundstage reproduction.” It’s rated 200 watts rms per channel with all channels driven into 8 ohms with low .03% distortion but easily exceeded this number in our bench tests. Throw in audiophile features like balanced audio inputs and a remote trigger input and you’ve got a big brute that sounds great at a ridiculously low price. (September 2008, Read Full Review)
Legacy Audio Powerbloc2 and Powerbloc4: $1,800, $2,950
Yet another example of audiophile-quality Class D amplification has arrived, this time in the form of two amplifiers from Legacy Audio—the two-channel Powerbloc2 and four-channel Powerbloc4. Both are conservatively rated to deliver 325 watts per channel into 8 ohms (or 650 watts into 4 ohms) and impressed veteran audio reviewer Dan Kumin with their ability to deliver “pristine, crystal-clear” sound at cinema levels. If you’re looking for serious power at a fair price, make this your first stop. (July/August 2017, Read Full Review)
$2,500 >
Parasound Halo A 52+: $2,995
Parasound engaged noted designer John Curl to create the Halo A 52+ amplifier, a less expensive follow-up to the company’s popular but expensive A 51. And it shows. The five-channel amplifier is an all-around versatile performer with input and driver stages that operate in pure Class A mode and a Class A/AB output stage capable of delivering clean power with ample headroom for movies and music alike. “Parasound’s new five-channel amp delivers clear, dynamic sound and has plenty of headroom to handle the explosive effects in movie soundtracks,” concluded reviewer Al Griffin. (May 2018, Read Full Review)
Cary Audio Design Model 7.125: $3,995
We’ve actually tested this 7-channel behemoth twice with different Cary prepros and were equally impressed both times. It’s rated for 125 watts per channel with all channels driven into 8 ohms with .1% distortion, and nicely achieved those numbers. Reviewer Fred Manteghian found that “the Model 7.125 has the ability to re-create music with the startling dynamics of a live event. Yes, goose-bumping good. The folks at Cary are blessed with good ears and great taste.” (March 2012, Read Full Review)
Parasound Halo A 51: $4,500
The 5-channel Halo A 51, the work of respected designer John Curl, is not only gorgeous to look at, but delivers the goods with aplomb. Reviewer Kris Deering found it bettered his excellent reference amp, an Outlaw Audio Model 7900, saying “the A51 definitely had a more musical nature with it’s detailed top end,” a John Mayer track “was less fatiguing than with the Model 7900, and the instruments had a richer sound with better definition.” It’s THX Ultra2-certified, and rated at 250 watts per channel into 8 ohms with all channels driven—a spec it handily reached in our bench tests. (June 2012, Read Full Review)
Parasound Halo JC 1: $4,500
With a price tag that’s not for the weak of heart, this $4,500 monoblock amp rated at 400 watts into an 8 ohm load, will likely be used only for the front two channels in any theater set up. In that configuration, mated with the 5-channel A-51 to fill out seven channels, it took reviewer Kris Deering’s system to such new heights that he cashed in his retirement fund and bought his review samples, noting simply that “The JC 1s left my jaw on the floor.” (June 2012, Read Full Review)
$5,000 >
Cambridge Audio Edge A Integrated Amplifier: $5,000
Rather than throwing a big party, Cambridge Audio opted to celebrate its 50th anniversary with the Edge Series of meticulously designed stereo components. At its heart is the Edge A integrated amp, ready to deliver all the power you will need to drive any speaker and equipped with a versatile assortment of connections. Reviewer Dan Kumin ran the Edge A “all the way up to live, front-row levels with not one iota of sacrifice in transient edge and lower-octaves definition — not to mention depth, width, and image definition.” What more can you ask for? (December 2018/January 2019, Read Full Review)
McIntosh MC8207: $6,000
Classically beautiful, the MC8207 is a 7-channel amp based on the company’s highly regarded, $8,500 model MC207, but with the fancy analog VU meters replaced with LED meters instead, for $2,500 less. Dress it any way you want, this 200 watts per channel amplifier (with all channels driven) proved itself the real star of the $34,000 all-McIntosh system reviewed by Michael Fremer, who noted that, “it’s a rock-solid-sounding, high-power/high-performance, impeccably American-made amplifier that adds pride of ownership and bling factors that can’t be quantified.” (June 2012, Read Full Review)
ATI AT6005: $6,395
Founded in the early ’90s by Morris Kessler of SAE fame, ATI has spent much of its time working quietly behind the scenes building amplifiers for the likes of Adcom and Theta Digital. Comparing this 116-pound, 5 x 300-watt behemoth with his John Curl-designed reference amp, reviewer David Vaughn concluded, “If I were in the market for a new amp, the ATI would be at the top of my list, due to its low noise and seemingly endless power output.” Making the AT6005 even more recommendable is its confidence inspiring seven-year transferable warranty. (October 2014, Read Full Review)
Micromega M-150 Integrated Amplifier: $7,499
Orange Crush would be an appropriate nick name for the Micromega M-150 integrated amplifier/DAC, which packs 2 x 150 watts of Class AB power and a 32-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) into a chassis that’s only 2 inches tall. Its vibrant exterior screams excess but the M-150 is actually a basic component that does one job and does it well, though at a price: deliver reference-grade sound, whether you’re spinning virgin vinyl or streaming a hi-res file. For better or worse, it eschews extras such as Wi-Fi, onboard access to streaming services, and even an onscreen interface. (Posted 9/19/18, Read Full Review)
Krell Theater 7 Amplifier: $7,500
From one of America’s pioneering high-end audio companies comes the audio equivalent of a Lamborghini — in this case, one that puts you in the driver’s seat with seven channels of pristine power. Pristine because Krell’s iBias technology delivers the benefits of a pure Class A amplifier design without a tradeoff in efficiency. Putting the Theater 7 to the test with a carefully chosen selection of music and movies, reviewer Michael Trei marveled at its ability to convey not only sledgehammer dynamics but subtlety and transparency. No small feat. (February/March 2019, Read Full Review)
Denon POA-A1HDCI: $7,500
This truly massive 10-channel (!) amplifier delivers 150 watts per channel and weighs 130 pounts; it has four power transformers with individual windings associated with each amplifier channel. With 7 of 10 channels driven in our bench tests (the most we could do), it handily achieved 169 watts. Kris Deering wrote, “On the upper end, the amp had a great sense of transparency... It provided crisp, detailed highs…If you’re looking for plenty of power and great low-end performance from a full-range speaker, you should consider the POA-A1HDCI.” (September 2009, Read Full Review)
Bryston 9B SST²: $8,095
As reviewer Fred Manteghian put it, the 9B SST² is a “nothing-held-back” old-school, five-channel Class A/B amplifier that’s easy to recommend for its ability to “absolutely astound you and connect you with your music.” Backed by an incomparable 20-year transferable warranty, this war horse delivers 120 watts per channel (200 into 4 ohms), each of which has a dedicated toroidal transformer and heatsinks “large enough to cool off a Google server.” (January 2013, Read Full Review)
Classe CD-5300: $9,000
The CD-5300 was our mate for Classe’s CT-SSP surround processor, with a power rating of 300 watts per channel into 8 ohms with all channels driven. Reviewer Fred Manteghian noted that his power-hungry Revel Salon speakers were delighted by its presence, and that “the CT-5300 exhibits that jump factor that’s all too hard to come by and makes scenes come alive.” (October 2010, Read Full Review)
Krell Chorus 7200: $9,500
It’s rare when a product comes along that truly advances the state of the art. Such is the case with the Chorus 7200, a new kind of Class A amplifier that delivers clean power without paying huge penalties in heat build-up and efficiency (the traditional Achilles heel of Class A). Krell’s iBias technology allows the amps to run in full Class A mode as needed, while minimizing heat generation. If cost is little or no object, the 7200 promises audio bliss with its ability to deliver 200 watts of bold power into seven channels— or 7 x 360 into 4 ohms. (April 2015, Read Full Review)