Best stereo amplifiers 2020: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best stereo amplifiers you can purchase in 2020.
An excellent stereo amplifier is the engine of any great hi-fi machine. All you want to do is find the suitable one for your explicit set-up, and we hope this in moderation curated checklist can help. Whether you are construction a house stereo from scratch or want to splash out on a gadget improve, you'll in finding our pick of the best stereo amps to be had in the States beneath.
There are a lot of different types of amplifiers to choose from – and all have their strengths and weaknesses. To make life easy, all the models on this page are integrated stereo amps. That means they characteristic two components in one (an influence amp to drive the audio system and a preamp to regulate the amount and your resources).
But as the way in which we eat song has evolved, you'll additionally find that many amps boast virtual and wi-fi connections alongside traditional analogue inputs and outputs. Whether it's Bluetooth, optical or wi-fi networking, these features will make it simple to flow fine quality tune from your cell gadgets or laptop to your hi-fi.
Convenience is, of course, nice, however it's sound quality that units the best stereo amplifiers with the exception of the crowd. Each of the integrated amps on this web page has been thoroughly tested through our devoted workforce of in-house professionals, so you'll be expecting spellbinding sonics no matter your determination.
This What Fi-Fi Award-winner is our MVP, and one of the best stereo amps you'll purchase for round $1000. Its chic Lunar Grey chassis would possibly endure a passing resemblance to its predecessor, the CXA80, but like a thanksgiving turkey, the CX81 is full of fresh internals.
The signal path has been improved, there is a superior DAC and the USB port now helps hi-res audio up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256 quality. You even get an aptX HD Bluetooth receiver that delivers better-than-CD-quality wireless playback.
The results of those upgrades? Sound this is rich, assured, full-bodied and bursting with element. Whether it's a hammering out a frenetic mid-range melody or a staccato bass line, the CX81 has the agility and energy to take care of no matter comes its approach.
Clarity is shocking given the (very reasonable) sticky label worth. Those candy sonics, plus the excessive feature-count, mean the CX81 units a new benchmark at this worth.
Put simply, that is one awesome amp.
Read the full overview: Cambridge Audio CXA81
The CX61 has large boots to fill. It's predecessor, the CX60, scored five-stars in our assessments and picked up a coveted What Hi-Fi Product of the Year Award. Thankfully, the CX61 builds on that heritage with a stylish design, spectacular connections, high-resolution audio toughen and find out about far off.
The lower-specced sibling of the CX81 (above), the CX61 makes do with a marginally much less energy (60W vs 80W). But at beneath $1000, it delivers remarkable sound-per-pound.
Audio is fluid, entertaining and lively but that's not to say this integrated amp is constantly in celebration mode. It's excited about element, dynamics and rhythmic precision, and is aware of simply when to tone down the keenness.
It does lack a USB port – you can want to splash out on CX81 if that is a deal-breaker – however the CX61 is a tremendous bit of equipment that pairs properly with virtually any musical genre.
Read the overall evaluate: Cambridge Audio CXA61
British outfit Rega has been designing high-end audio components because the early Seventies. The corporate introduced the original Brio amp in back in 1991 however this sixth-generation fashion continues to pay homage to its illustrious forebears.
Those unfashionable seems may divide opinion but few would dispute that the Rega Brio takes sound to new heights at this price level. This is an analogue-only amplifier, so there is no integrated DAC, nevertheless it sounds terrific. From the implausible sense of scale to the punchy dynamics, that is indubitably Rega's best-ever Brio.
Build-quality is customarily solid and the hefty 5kg aluminium case has a reassuring, tank-like high quality to it. In phrases of features, Rega hasn't added a lot since 1991. You do get a phono degree but disregard about Bluetooth streaming or digital inputs.
If you'll overlook the lack of wireless connections, the back-to-basics Brio delivers stellar sound-per-pound and is worth each and every penny.
Read the total assessment: Rega Brio
So if you're searching for the best stereo amplifier at the cheapest value, this Cambridge fashion's a really perfect choice.
At round $350, it's large on value, giant on sound and constructed to closing. The graceful, 8cm-high case is provided with a built-in shifting magnet picture stage (value using when you have a budget turntable), a 6.35mm headphone output and three.5mm auxiliary input. The lack of Bluetooth and USB port is completely forgivable give the bargain sticky label price.
As for sound, the AXA35 puts on a killer performance for the money. It throws quite a few power and weight in the back of each observe, providing a spacious and spirited sound with none harshness. If you're satisfied to are living with the moderately simple specs, this great budget amp serves up very good sonics.
Read the total assessment: Cambridge AXA35
You may well be struck by way of this budget amp's quirky design, however issues get a whole lot more attention-grabbing below the hood. The D 3020 V2 is full of high-tech features including, Class D amplification, Bluetooth for track streaming and a transferring magnet phono stage for connecting a turntable.
Assuming you respect the curvature of its neat, upright case, this completed NAD amp is easy to love. It combines an impeccable sense of timing with very good dynamics to great effect, making it an relaxing and engaging pay attention. Presentation is tonally-even however there's the choice of a tasteful 'bass boost' by way of a button at the far flung regulate.
Detail levels are very good for the cash, even supposing the Marantz PM6006 near the top of this checklist offers a little bit extra performance for the money. Still, if you want a fully-featured digital amp, the NAD 3020 V2 is a brilliant shout. Be positive to upload it to your shortlist.
Read the full review: NAD D 3020 V2
If you might be no longer bought on the Rega Brio's retro looks, or simply need achieved alternative for a similar cash, take a look at the five-star Audiolab 6000A. A aggressive mid-range amp, the 6000A stocks a DAC chip with the Award-winning Audiolab M-DAC, giving it quick enchantment.
The strong, high quality case and volume dial are well-crafted, whilst connections are considerable. You get 4 digital inputs, 3 analogue inputs, and a pair of moving magnet phono inputs. And not like the Rega Brio, this amp additionally has Bluetooth for music streaming.
Sound is wonderfully-crisp, with considerable detail and a number of readability. Vocals are reduce with emotion and subtlety. We to find that the best amplifiers breathe new lifestyles into well-worn tracks, and this model does just that.
While the Rega Brio provides more texture, the nimble Audiolab 6000A gives a extra spacious and subtle sound that's onerous to beat at this value. A fantastic sub-$1000 amp.
Read the whole review: Audiolab 6000A
Here's a perfect choice for many who call for the taste of champagne on a lager budget. It's priced at round $1700, but the Award-winning Rega Elex-R performs more like a $3400 amp.
It produces the kind of sound that transports out of your living room to a live recording consultation. Timing is spectacular and it fills the room with an addictive sense of power that turns out to soak into the partitions. In terms of authenticity and scale, few amps can beat the Elex-R – especially at such an appealing value.
As you could have guessed from the typically-solid case, this is very a lot a standard amp. It no longer sumptuous however it's well-engineered and dependable – our test unit has been operating for over 3 years without any issues.
There's no digital inputs, no Bluetooth and no headphone output. But if you're all in regards to the song, you'll be able to virtually definitely be wowed through the Elex-R's sonics.
Read the entire assessment: Rega Elex-R
The Rega Aethos delivers an improbable mixture of perception, dynamics and rhythmic precision to produce a class-leading sound. It's not probably the most highly-specced stereo amp we've noticed, even though. There are not any digital inputs, nor is there a phono degree for a turntable, which is sudden at this level. You do get five line-level inputs and a 6.3mm headphone socket, though.
IF you'll live with that, the Rega will praise you with an enchanting sound, that majors in clarity and dynamic fluidity. Its sense of timing is 2d to none at that level, which is part of the explanation it's a What Hi-Fi? Awards 2020 winner.
Read the full review: Rega Aethos
Just like a Cadillac, the Moon 240i provides power and performance in a stylish, understated case. Sound is smooth and defined, layered with texture and refreshingly transparent. The 240i companions nicely with almost any speakers but to show off its true capabilities, you'll be able to want to hook it up to some serious package.
The excellent sonics are matched by way of impressive specs. You get an asynchronous DAC supporting playback of hi-res files up to 32-bit/384kHz, a USB input and four digital inputs. So, whether you want attach a CD participant, computer, TV or media streamer, the 240i will oblige.
If all that hasn't won you over, take a more in-depth look at the Moon 240i's classy steel casing and crisp OLED show. Although this amp isn't reasonable, its build high quality is reminiscent of the type of hi-fi elements that cost a lot more than $2500.
If you're operating with a healthy budget and need a versatile virtual amp, take a go back and forth to the Moon.
Read the entire review: Moon 240i
This stripped-back amp is pitched on the hifi purist. With no digital connections, no wi-fi connectivity, no headphone socket and no phono stage, the M2si is all about going again to fundamentals and focusing on what truly issues – sound.
In the M2si, Musical Fidelity has created an sensible performer capable of turning in large-scale sound with out breaking a sweat. Complex rhythms are treated easily; particular person tools are rendered precisely and tonal steadiness is such that this amplifier is so much much less fussy about partnering with apparatus than many of its rivals.
Of path, less expensive choices such as the Audiolab 6000A come up with far more features for the money. But if a faraway keep an eye on, six line point inputs and a smattering of solid steel controls are in reality all you need from a stereo amplifier, this easy, clean-cut affair is excellent bang in your dollar. And at around $1500, it's a worthy choice to the Rega Elex-R (above).
Read the full assessment: Musical Fidelity M2si
Copland does not introduce new products all that ceaselessly, so the CSA A hundred is a welcome boost to its line-up and a great addition to our checklist of the best stereo amplifiers you can purchase.
The CSA A hundred boasts a clutter-free and elegant design, with digital module, headphone output and a phono degree all to be found inside of that well-constructed chassis. At its core is a hybrid electronic design that produces a solid 100W in keeping with channel (8ohm).
Connectivity features a phono (moving magnet/moving coil) plus single-ended (three) and balanced XLR (one) line-level inputs. As for virtual, there’s the standard trio of USB, coaxial and two optical sockets. The Copland's ESS Sabre ES9018 Reference DAC is suitable with up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM information and DSD128.
Sonically, the amp produces a properly layered image with instruments sharply focused – its sonic precision and a sense of fluidity are massively appealing. It’s an impressively detailed performer that allows you to just take a seat back and revel in your tune collection.
Read the whole evaluation: Copland CSA 100
The D 3045 appears to be like a whole lot like its less expensive sibling, the D 3020 V2, and is jam-packed with features. You get Bluetooth aptX for 24-bit hi-res song streaming, two optical connections, a hi-res DAC and an asynchronous USB enter for optimised USB audio playback.
But then, you get all that if you are going to buy the less expensive variant – so why pay extra for the D 3045? Well, the principle reason why is that the 3045 supplies more energy than the D 3020 V2 (80W vs 60W). It additionally sports activities a more luxurious design and comes in a case that includes some extra premium touches.
The added energy makes for a beefier presentation but that isn't to say this amp punches like Tyson. It serves up a smooth, balanced performance that is controlled and detailed around the frequency vary. On the downside, it lacks the similar level of enthusiasm as it is lower-priced sibling.
This amp's technological firepower make it a great purchase for the cash. But if you do not deal with the extra 20W of energy, the D 3020 V2 may well be the better choice.
Read the whole assessment: NAD D 3045
What we have here's a slightly straight-laced, all-analogue integrated that’s been designed with substantial care. It has a wise options list and, most significantly, a performance that justifies its hefty price tag.
The A-S3200 is a beautifully constructed product, as expected at this point – an impressively strong beast thank you to its chunky casework and back-straining 25kg weight. Alongside line point and XLR sockets, there is a switchable shifting magnet/shifting coil phono stage (regardless that it’s a disgrace there’s no electrical loading adjustability to optimise the results for any explicit cartridge).
This is a surprisingly clean and transparent performer that renders the main edges of notes with crispness with out ever veering against sounding laborious or edgy. That’s a troublesome balancing act that somewhat a few possible choices fall foul of. Tonally, it stands on the lean facet of neutral, specifically during the midrange, affecting the A-S3200’s talent to put across solidity and punch through those frequencies and giving it a extra analytical presentation than maximum.
There are definitely extra tough sounding choices, but make no mistake, the A-S3200 is a trendy performer.
Read the total Yamaha A-S3200 review
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