Integrated Amp Reviews

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
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  |  Mar 15, 2017  |  1 comments

Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $899

AT A GLANCE
Plus
USB inputs for PC and iOS
Premium Wolfson DAC
Bluetooth aptX
Minus
No DSD decoding
No Wi-Fi, AirPlay, or Ethernet
No streaming services

THE VERDICT
The Rotel A12 accepts direct wired input from PCs and iOS devices and gets the best out of both digital and analog sources with its great-sounding DAC and amp.

Connecting a computer to an audio system with a USB cable seems a perfectly logical idea. It’s simple, it’s direct, and it enables the computer to feed bits to the system and rely on the system’s digital-to-analog conversion. Yet this desirable feature is tantalizingly rare. AVRs and streaming amps tend to rely on wired and wireless network connections rather than on a USB port and asynchronous digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that can take over the clocking functions of the digital bit transfer and reduce the effects of jitter.

Al Griffin  |  Mar 20, 2018  |  2 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,000

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Clear, crisp sound
Cool, retro design
Can drive efficient speakers to reasonably loud levels
Minus
Hi-res Bluetooth requires LDAC source
Pricey

THE VERDICT
TEAC’s stylish, computer-friendly integrated amp is a great option for both desktop and living-room listening.

Integrated amplifiers designed for use both on the desktop and in the listening room are a niche category that we’ve looked at before, most recently in reviews of Elac’s $699 Element EA101EQ-G and Cary Audio’s AiOS. But of all the hi-fi manufacturers working this space, TEAC is the one that embraces it most enthusiastically.

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. 

Daniel Kumin  |  Jan 02, 2014  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $7,500

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Superb sonics from high-resolution digital sources
Substantial amplifier power
Unusual looks; fine finish quality
Minus
No headphone or other additional outputs
Un-ergonomic remote controller

THE VERDICT
Reference-quality sound from hi-rez music files made simple—at a reference-grade price.

What form will the Audiophile System of the Future take? It’s an open question, though it’s a pretty fair bet that the pallet-loads of tube power amps and skyscraper speakers of the high end’s golden age will not return any time soon. One proposed answer, from Wadia Digital, is the Intuition 01 power DAC, a swoopily formed oblong that incorporates very substantial two-channel amplification (190 watts x 2 into 8 ohms, rated), highly sophisticated digital-to-analog conversion facilities, and basic input-selection and volume controls.

Mark Fleischmann  |  May 31, 2017  |  1 comments

MusicCast WX-010 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value

MusicCast WXA-50 Amplifier
Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $500 (amp); $200 (speaker)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Streams to MusicCast devices
Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth
55 watts per channel, Class D
Minus
No headphone jack on amp
No analog input on speaker
Loaded PC may freeze app

THE VERDICT
The Yamaha WXA-50 has a clean and lively sound, a space-saving form factor, and the ability to stream to devices using the company’s MusicCast system—including the reasonable-sounding WX-010 wireless speaker.

If you are the intended audience for the Yamaha MusicCast WXA-50 amplifier, you find A/V receivers too big, black, and boxy. You are happy with two-channel sound but turned off by doghouse-sized stereo amps sitting on the floor. Soundbars may give you Bluetooth, but that isn’t enough. You’re willing to accept the architecture of a conventional home audio system—amp, speakers, sources—but on a more modest scale. And because you live in more than one room, you want a system with multiroom smarts. That’s the WXA-50 stereo integrated amp and MusicCast multiroom system in a nutshell. To make things interesting for this review, we threw in a couple of Yamaha’s latest WX-010 wireless speakers in additional zones.

Pages

X