Amplifiers, Preamplifiers and Integrated Amps
We now have on display:
*Asterisk means that this product has been favorably reviewed by STEREOPHILE, ABSOLUTE SOUND, etc. Reviews are further down on this page.
STEREO INTEGRATED AMPS
TRIODE RXP6L Tube Power Amp
TRV35SE Tube Integrated Amp
VINCENT SV236mkII Hybrid Amp*
STEREO PRE & POWER AMPS
CAMBRIDGE 551P Phono preamp
651P Phono Preamp
A23* & A21* stereo power amps
JC1 Mono-block power amps*
A3* & JC3* Stereo preamps
2100 Stereo preamp
PARASOUND Z - Only 9.5" wide!
Z Amp Stereo power amp
Z Speaker selector switch
Z Phono preamp*
VINCENT SA31 tube hybrid preamp*
VINCENT PH8 phono preamp*
PHO111 Phono Preamp
How to Improve your Home Theater System
Most home theater receivers have power ratings that melt away like a snow man in the hot sun. HOME THEATER, 12/12, tested a $600 Denon receiver rated at 125W/ch. With all channels running, the tested power is under 53 watts/ch. However, you can easily fix this problem.
If your receiver has preamp outputs, hooking up a good separate power amp makes your system come alive. Beyond getting a larger quantity of watts, you'll get far better quality watts. Power amps have more robust power supplies, which enable them to have richer & deeper bass, plus imaging that you can touch & feel.
HOME THEATER 10/08 compared a $5200 Denon & $7000 Lexicon receiver with a $2000 Marantz power amp. The amp "easily won in every department, especially treble transient clarity, transparency & resolution, with an airy, open & extended yet sweet top end; far superior to Denon, which was closed in & opaque. The amp produced complete sonic satisfaction at any volume; combined delicacy, detail, transparency & a velvety overall sheen. Bass more supple, subtle, better textured & less mechanical than the Denon. I doubt any receiver at any price can match the amp's sonic performance."
Virtually every receiver is only rated at 8 ohms, yet many speakers are not 8 ohms, including B&W, Focal, Infinity & many more. The Parasound A21 stereo amp, 125W/8 ohm, 200W/4 ohm for $949, improves most receivers. The A21, 250W/8 ohm 400W/4 ohm for $2299 has far more wattage & better quality watts than any receiver. Parasound's new A31, $2999, has the same power as the A21, but has three channels, for the front left, right & center.
Parasound makes several fine five channel power amps. We have a special on the Parasound 5250vII five channel power amp, 250-385W/ch. The list is $2850, but we have only one left, reduced to $2299. This amp is new, in a sealed box, with a 3 year warranty.
MARANTZ AV PREAMP
AV7005, $1499, "Least expensive preamp-processor I've used or reviewed. Looks & feels like a winner. It did everything with great distinction & sounded clean & balanced in ways I hadn't heard from a pre/pro or AV receiver for under $2000. It's hard to fault the AV7005 for sound, appearance or ergonomics." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 10/11
MARANTZ AV POWER AMP
MM8003, 8 channel power amp, $2399 "Tested power, one channel, 192W, 8 ohm; 289W, 4 ohm." BOTH RECOMMENDED, HOME THEATER 10/08
"Its network player easily shared music, photo & video files with Windows XP, a really worthwhile feature. Marantz had far superior spatial presentation & microdynamics, plus sounded more powerful, dynamic & definitely more supple & nuanced than $5200 Denon & $7000 Lexicon receivers. Marantz easily won in every department, especially treble transient clarity, transparency & resolution, with an airy, open & extended yet sweet top end; far superior to Denon, which was closed in & opaque. Marantz produced complete sonic satisfaction at any volume; combined delicacy, detail, transparency & a velvety overall sheen. Bass more supple, subtle, better textured & less mechanical than Denon. Marantz high-frequency air, transparency, delicacy & transient clarity rival high-end stereo amps. I doubt any receiver at any price can match its sonic performance." HOME THEATER 10/08
MARANTZ Stereo Integrated
PM5004, $449, "Silky midrange; enjoyed the rhythmic pacing; natural & clean transients. Sonic improvement over the PM5003 with even greater dynamic contrasts, more delicacy & an overall sound a touch more rich & involving." STEREOPHILE 3/11; exceptional value, 4/11
Z AMP, v.3 stereo power amp, $399, 45W/ch,
8 ohm; 60W/ch, 4 ohm, 90W/ch, 8 ohm, 20-20k
"One helluva 45 watt amp, regardless of price tag & chassis size," THE AUDIO CRITIC
"The smoothness & naturalness of the Zamp's midrange was exceptional: clean, sweet, realistic & musical. If you're in the market for an inexpensive amp, run - do not walk- to check out this amp. It's a fabulous value for the money." audioXpress
PARASOUND Classic Amps
2100, $649, Stereo Preamp, "I don't know of another preamp with all these features - Subwoofer output with variable crossover; Phono input, switchable to moving magnet, coil or line; Remote control; Tone controls & Front panel MP3 input. Sound is clean, transparent, airy highs, tight & controlled bass. Distortion is so low we couldn't measured it." 11/07 ENJOY THE MUSIC.COM
"High-end stereo preamp with unique capabilities for integration into home theater systems & custom installs."
EXCITE AWARD, CUSTOM RETAILER 10/07
5250 II, list $2850, now on sale at $2299!!!
THX Certified. 250-385W x 5 channels BEST AMP UNDER $3000 "Parasound has always offered terrific value. Packs a tremendous punch with one of the best $ to watt ratios." HOME THEATER VISION 2007 annual
A21, power amp, $2299 "Very fine amp at exceptionally fair price. Midrange & bass excellent; sounded fundamentally similar to $20-40,000 amps." ABSOLUTE SOUND
"Excellent amp, 250W/ch/8 ohm, 400W/ch/4 ohm." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
A23, power amp, $949, 125-200W/ch "Reasonably priced amp, musically quite involving." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
JC1 Power Amp $8998/pr, 400W, 8 ohm; 800W, 4 ohm; 1200W, 2 ohm, EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, A RATED; "Powerful, refined, smooth, dynamic, transparent; rated at 400W, does 586W." PRODUCT OF THE YEAR; IN SAME CLASS AS $55,000 AMPS. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 4/12
"The build & sound quality of my JC1 mono amps, my reference amps, is first rate. If they were made in America or Australia, it would cost a lot more. Thirty grand for a pair of Halcros? I'll take Parasounds. I heard both & I did." STEREOPHILE 12/05
"I [Sam Tellig] own a pair of JC1 amps. They're a steal. I've used the JC1's with 24 different speakers & never ran out of power. In a large room - especially one with cathedral ceilings & open space - you need increased power." STEREOPHILE 12/07
"A revelation; impressively coherent; transparent & detailed soundstage." STEREOPHILE 3/08
"Effortlessly powerful, silky smooth, crystal clear abundantly detailed." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
PARASOUND HALO PREAMPS
P3, preamp, $849 "Should be celebrated. Parasound has a solid reputation by offering high-value products that compete well with more expensive products." AVguide.com RECOMMENDED
A23 & P3 "A winning combination! Sexy in appearance, easy to use; sound solid & satisfying. Their sleek cases & glowing blue lights will make them showpieces in your living room & should earn them easy spousal approval." GOOD SOUND.COM 12/1/04
JC2 Preamp, $4000, PRODUCT of the YEAR; ABSOLUTE SOUND GOLDEN EAR AWARD; EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
"An extreme rarity; a near-reference-quality product that many of us can actually afford. Neutral & natural, transparent, quick & delicately detailed. Creating this little masterwork (it even comes with a serviceable remote control) at this price is another feather in Parasound's & designer John Curl's cap." ABSOLUTE SOUND 11/12
"Like the JC1, the JC2 is up there with the best of them, but down to earth in price. Competes successfully against preamps, solid-state or tubes, that sell for twice the price or more. It excels at reproduction of space;
helps the JC1 amps throw a huge soundstage." STEREOPHILE 12/07
EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, A RATED; IN SAME CLASS as $30,000 PREAMPS "Excellent reproduction of space; music emerges intact with body, bloom & dynamics, with definition & detail form an utterly silent background. Perhaps the finest solid-state line stage I've heard." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 4/12
"Remarkably detailed & shockingly realistic sound. Rock solid build quality; parts quality absolutely first rate. JC1 & 2 sound strikes a keen balance between superlative resolution & sounding beguilingly sweet & natural. I'm totally absorbed by CDs that had bored me. Experience the Parasounds first hand. Bring your favorite music & hear it like never before." HOME ENTERTAINMENT 6/08
"The BEST BARGAIN in a HIGH END PREAMP. This is the closest I've heard solid state come to a fundamentally neutral sound. It preserves fine harmonic & dynamic detail, air & bloom in the midband; [plus] the frequency extremes, which is unique in a solid state preamp. EXTREME RARITY - A REFERENCE QUALITY PRODUCT THAT MANY of us can ACTUALLY AFFORD." ABSOLUTE SOUND 7/08
JC3 Phono preamp, $2350, JC3 midbass attack is timbrally & texturally ideal; bass tight & punchy; midbass attack timbrally & texturally ideal, performing well beyond its price. Superb musical grip & control. At $2350, the JC3 is a remarkably fine phono that easily held its own against preamps from $10,600 to $26,000. The JC3 represents the best current value in a phono preamp. STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 3/11
STEREOPHILE EXCEPTIONAL VALUE, 4/12, in same class as $3900 preamps
PHONO STAGE OF THE YEAR "There's a riveting balance of extremes at play here - a kiss of romance through the mids & an ability to extract & define low-level information in acoustic space. There's a warm breadth of life in every musical image." ABSOLUTE SOUND 1/12
GOLDEN EAR AWARD "Curl's earlier efforts, the Halo JC-1 amp & JC-2 preamp, had been overwhelmingly well received & phono stages are one of Curl's passions. The JC-3 is a dual-mono design. Each channel is housed in its own extruded aluminum enclosure & further isolated from the power supply with thick, low-carbon-steel partitions. The JC-3 is fitted with top-quality parts throughout. What continues to strike me about the JC-3 is its balance of profound silence & kick-butt energy, its kiss of romance through the mids & its ability to extract low-level information & define it in acoustic space. There's a warm breath of life in every musical image."
BSOLUTE SOUND 11/12 & 9/11
Parasound Halo AV Amps
A51 Surround sound power amp, EDITOR'S CHOICE "Powerful power amp with impressive sound. Excellent value." HI-FI CHOICE, AWARDS 2008
A52, $2249 "This 5x125 watt amp has warm, natural sound." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE
"Those who prize flexibility will appreciate RCA & XLR balanced inputs & individual channel level controls. Warm, natural, never edgy sound."
PERFECT VISION winter 2005
P7 PREAMP, $2000, "Set-up as a straight-through stereo preamp was a piece of cake. Delight to use & listen to. Outstandingly transparent. A superb analog stereo preamp at a realistic price. Icing on the cake: sophisticated control functions, renamable input displays, superb remote control & valuable ability to manage bass via its stereo inputs. A category killer. Nothing else can do what it does & the few that sound marginally better cost many times more." STEREOPHILE, 1/09
STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED, exceptional value, in same class as $8,000 preamp, 4/12
"Transparent & near silent. When you consider how noisy a receiver can be with the amp & massive power supply next to sensitive audio parts, the P7 makes a lot of sense. Free the music from all that electronic noise & audiophiles can rest assured they're getting the source material, to the best ability their system can muster. Fantastically well built." HOME ENTERTAINMENT
ROKSAN REVIEWS - MADE IN ENGLAND, 5 year parts & labor warranty
KANDY K2 Integrated Amp, list $1925, now $1795 STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 4/13; in same class as $8000 amps. "The stylish, solid-state K2 rated at 125W/ch, 8 ohms [134W/ch, clipping]; 200W/ch, 4 ohms & has a front-panel headphone output, 5 line-level inputs & a phono stage. The included remote control offers pushbuttons & a touchscreen for controlling all functions. One of the most listenable entry-level components I've had in my home."
"When most other amps, [NAD, Linn, Naim, etc.], are without phono stages, the Roksan Kandy K2's inclusion of the same may be that product's greatest technical distinction. The K2 distinguished itself as a clear, big-sounding, rhythmically accomplished amp. The K2 [is] one of the most listenable entry-level components. The phono section deserves special mention, for its freedom from hum & noise; & [its] slight & pleasant roundness. The K2 is an amp one can grow into for quite some time before wanting more; a neat balancing act, carried off with rare success. The Roksan is built like Schik Brithouse, offers very good value for the money & I enjoyed every minute spent listening to it. Highly recommended." STEREOPHILE on line 5/15/10
INTEGRATED AMPS GERMAN DESIGNED & PARTS
All integrated amps include Remote Controls
SV129, list $900, now $799, 50W/ch solid-state, "Delivers music's essence. An immediate, communicative midrange leads to burnished tone colors, explosive dynamics, tight, forceful bass, fine ambience & depth retrieval." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
SV236 mk II, list $2400, now $1995, RATED in the SAME CLASS as $6100 AMPS. 150W/ch/8 ohm; 250W/ch/4 ohm; remote control; tube / solid state hybrid "Outstanding build quality & parts. It has 3
12AX7 tubes & 6 line level inputs, treble & bass
controls & a loudness button. It produced a full-bodied, self-assured sound with good bass & a nimble rhythmic presentation. It's the kind of component that gives me hope for this great hobby." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 4/12
"This well-built amp combines the best of two worlds by using a vacuum-tube preamp to drive a solid-state power amp. Listener's will appreciate the combination of deep, powerful, authoritative solid-state bass & tube-fueled delicacy, shimmering detail & almost surround-like imaging." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
VINCENT PHONO PREAMPS
Pho8, list $400; your cost $359; moving magnet & moving coil; black or silver finish. "Well finished & appointed; sturdy construction, high quality parts, hefty 3 pound external power supply. A level of build quality unusual in this price range. Quiet; sound is liquid, soundstage vivid & dimensional; you'll need a much bigger wallet to beat it." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11; 11/12
VINCENT PREAMPS GERMAN PARTS & DESIGN
SA31, list $750, now $649, "A well-made entry-level vacuum-tube preamp with tone controls & a loudness contour switch. The preamp's sound is characterized by a rich, seductive midrange & hearty & solidly weighted bass. Terrific bang for the buck." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
SA31mk, $1399, "Staging & focus are strengths. Its nice to find ones like these that deliver so much pleasure for such a relatively modest price." ABSOLUTE SOUND 12/10; EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
T8, $2500, "This tube preamp is about bass precision, spacious soundstaging, speedy transients, pure midrange textures & rhythmic drive. Microdynamic nuances are reproduced with commendable conviction. A rare musical blossom at this price & an absolute steal considering its twin virtues of crystalline clarity & ample boogie factor." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
"An absolute steal at its price; nothing else at this
price point comes close. It made a very positive first impression." ABSOLUTE SOUND 1/09
VINCENT POWER AMPS GERMAN DESIGNED & PARTS
SP331, list $1300, now $1199, 150W/ch/8 ohm; 250W/ch/4 ohm; POWER AMP of the YEAR, 2007 "One of the best-sounding sub-$2k amps. A hybrid tube / solid-state amp combines the richness & subtlety of fine tube designs - especially through the midrange - with the sheer low frequency grunt, control & agility of a good solid-state amp. In the treble it sounds slightly softer but also more delicate than solid-state amps in its price range." ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/10
"One of the sweetest deals in high end audio today. Midrange subtlety & richness in spades; a delightful holographic 3D presentation that reveals the finely contoured edges of notes." ABSOLUTE SOUND 1/08
SP331mk, $2199, 150W/ch/8 ohm; 300W/ch/4 ohm, "Impressively spacious; convincingly lifelike & well-defined soundstage; fine feeling of lilt & pace, staging & focus are strengths. Its nice to find ones like these that deliver so much pleasure for such a relatively modest price." ABSOLUTE SOUND 12/10; EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/11
SPT800, $4799/pair, 200W/ch/8 ohm; 320W
/ch/4 ohm; POWER AMP of the YEAR, 2008 "A remarkable performer. Its tube signature shines through clearly in the midrange. Soundstage dimensionality is superior to conventional solid-state. It closely fullfills the promise of a hybrid design: Tube magic with plenty of bass crunch & drive in one nicely gift-wrapped chassis."
ABSOLUTE SOUND EDITOR'S CHOICE 3/10
"Delivers tube magic at an eminently reasonable price. The hybrid design results in a rock-solid bottom end that tube amps simply can't approach. Kudos to Vincent for shifting the economics of high-end audio within reach of the working man."
ABSOLUTE SOUND 1/09
VINCENT TUBE HEADPHONE AMP GERMAN DESIGNED & PARTS
KHV1, list $1,000, now $899, "Adept at conveying power, heft, nuance & grace. Impressed by its testicular fortitude; drove both sets of reference headphones with plenty of headroom. Excellent measured performance." STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED 4/12
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