Power Amplifier Reviews

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Al Griffin  |  Apr 12, 2018  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Ample power for all channels
Dynamic sound
Affordable
Minus
Signal-sensing power-on mode can be fussy

THE VERDICT
Parasound’s new five-channel amplifier is a versatile performer, delivering clean power with ample headroom for both movies and music.

While attending the 2017 CEDIA Expo in San Diego, I happened upon a small European audio electronics manufacturer that was showing a prototype five-channel amplifier. When I asked why the company was planning to release a multichannel amp after many years of making stereo-only gear, I was told matter-of-factly that home theater was “making a comeback.” A comeback? To me, home theater had never gone anywhere, so I found the response surprising.

Barry Willis  |  Nov 30, 2003  |  0 comments

In my student days, I coped with perpetual financial shortfalls in part by moving furniture. After a weekend of toting hide-a-beds and refrigerators to fifth-floor walkups, I would imagine a perfect world in which everything was designed to work with everything else. Not a world of bureaucratic regimentation, but one in which, by common agreement, every sofa would fit into every elevator and every table would slip through every open door.

Kris Deering  |  May 31, 2012  |  4 comments

Halo P 7 Multichannel Preamplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
A 51 Multichannel Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
 
JC 1 Single-Channel Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: P 7: $2,000, A 51: $4,500, JC 1: $4,500 At A Glance: Analog-audio-only preamp supports up to seven channels • Flexible hookup options • Halo amps deliver staggering performance

One of the few lessons that was ingrained into me during my time in the Navy was, “Keep it simple.” I admit it wasn’t phrased quite so politically correctly, but the point is still the same. It’s a motto I apply to just about everything I do in my daily life, and when I received the Parasound Halo P 7 multichannel preamplifier ($2,000) for review, it appeared that Parasound sticks to the same philosophy. The strictly analog preamp shrugs off digitaldecoding duties to your source components, shunning any dirty digital processing while providing a high-end, multichannel, analog preamp stage to feed into your amps. With the right front-end source components, this makes for a spectacular two-channel and multichannel listening experience.

Chris Lewis  |  Aug 30, 2005  |  First Published: Aug 31, 2005  |  0 comments
Performance and value never go out of style.

My curiosity was naturally piqued a few years ago when I heard that Parasound was going upscale with their look. This was a company that had become virtually synonymous with performance plus value, facilitated somewhat by forgoing aesthetic flair, and I wondered where the decision to go uptown with the finish in the Halo line would lead. The first good sign was the Halos' higher price tags. It costs a lot more to make boxes look that good, and this told me that they weren't taking resources away from performance to do so. What ultimately satisfied my curiosity, though, was how good the Halo models sounded. Yet, there are still those who want Parasound performance, have less to spend, and don't mind—or maybe even appreciate—Parasound's rugged, utilitarian old style. The New Classic line is exactly what they're looking for.

Ultimate AV Staff  |  Jul 10, 2006  |  0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Price: $2,500</LI>
<LI>Channels/Power: Five channels; 250-Watts into 8 ohms/385-Watts into 4 ohms </LI>
<LI>Inputs: Single-ended</LI>
</UL>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706parasound5250.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=245 BORDER=0>

Mark Fleischmann  |  Mar 22, 2007  |  First Published: Feb 22, 2007  |  0 comments
Multinational speakers meet American amps.

On the battlefield of speaker design, I am the triage nurse. I walk into speaker demo rooms at trade shows, my badge sometimes inadvertently turned inward, listen for a moment, and quietly mutter to myself, "This one's a keeper," or, "He's dead, Jim." Or occasionally just, "Hmmm," because good speakers may sound iffy under bad conditions, and I respect the potential buried within an ambiguous first take. But, if my instincts tell me to pursue a review, I whip out a business card and start making arrangements on the spot.

Daniel Kumin  |  Jun 30, 2022  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $5,995

AT A GLANCE
Plus
ault-free sound quality
Flexible, with bridged-mode, balanced options
As much as 740 watts on tap in bridged mode
High quality fit and finish, quiet Scandinavian looks
Minus
8 channels (as opposed to 7 or 9) not ideal for some home-theater systems
Expensive

THE VERDICT
Eight channels of unimpeachable Class D power in a fairly compact and very flexible package.

Let's face it, amplifiers are a necessary evil. Unless you're listening to a crystal radio through a flesh-colored earphone, you're not going to hear much of anything without at least one amplifier between the music and your ears.

Robert Deutsch  |  Mar 21, 2004  |  0 comments

For a country with a population of fewer than 6 million, Denmark has an amazingly high profile when it comes to manufacturers of audio and home theater products. Bang & Olufsen, Dynaudio, Vifa, Peerless, Jamo, Gryphon, Ortofon, Thule, Dali, TacT&mdash;the list goes on and on. According to the folks at US importer Sumiko, Primare (pronounced "prime-AIR") has been around since the 1980s, and their products combine outstanding industrial design with an emphasis on sound quality. In the late '90s, the Primare team was joined by Michael Bladelius, well-known for his analog and digital design work for Threshold, Class&#233;, and Pass Labs. Primare products are now manufactured in Sweden, while the head office and design center remain in Denmark.

Steven Stone  |  Apr 02, 2006  |  0 comments

The concept of "investing" in a rapidly depreciating commodity strikes me as patently stupid. Just look at EBay and Audiomart. They are chockablock full of yesterday's stratospherically priced audio components now available for ten cents on the dollar. I believe the best values in audio or video components come from companies that refine bleeding-edge, hyper-expensive technology into attractively priced products.

Daniel Kumin  |  Mar 25, 2013  |  0 comments

Emotiva. The name sounds like the latest cure-all marketed by Big Pharma on the evening news programs. (Remember “restless leg?”) It is, in fact the consumer-audio brand of Tennessee’s Jade Designs. And Jade Designs, in turn, is the direct-to-consumer brand founded by a longtime veteran of the rough-and-tumble electronics OEM (original equipment manufacturing) world.

Brent Butterworth  |  Aug 05, 2013  |  0 comments

"You test … amplifiers?" the lovely brunette MBA said to me from across the couch in the lobby of a hipster L.A. hotel. Sadly, my reply - "There are people who care about this stuff!" - didn't convince her of the value of my work. On some level, though, I'm in sympathy with her sentiment. While I do, on occasion, test amplifiers, I'm really a speaker and headphone reviewer.

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?

Daniel Kumin  |  Apr 10, 2012  |  0 comments

I am of the school that believes that more power is always better than less power. That school also professes that amplifiers, while operating within their linear abilities (a big “if”), are not generally distinct in their sonics.

John J. Gannon  |  Dec 24, 2001  |  0 comments

We at <I>SGHT</I> are no strangers to Rotel products. In the October 2000 issue, Michael Fremer reviewed Rotel's RTC-965 surround processor/tuner with the RB-985 Mk.II power amplifier, and in February 2001, Robert Deutsch waxed enthusiastic about the RMB-1095 power amp. Both writers lauded these products' value, and RD spoke of Rotel's consistency in product and circuit design, something he'd noticed through the years. He declared the RMB-1095 "one of the best buys in a multichannel amplifier."

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 07, 2006  |  0 comments

When we think of a power amp today, we think of that large, heavy, hot-running, often ugly block of metal we hide away so we don't have to look at it. Or, if it's impressively large or expensive we proudly display it on the floor&mdash;an amp that's large, impressive, and expensive enough to show off is too heavy to put anywhere else! There, we willingly subject our ankles and shins to its sharp heat sinks on the sacrificial altar of great sound.

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