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Amplifier Reviews

NAD M3 Integrated Stereo Amplifier

If you look at the specs of most stereo integrated amplifiers, the rated RMS power output is between 60 watts and 120 watts per channel. This is lower than the power output of outboard power amplifiers, which typically are about 125 watts to 300 watts per channel. Monoblocks go all the way up to 2,000 watts output. One of the main reasons for this is that in an integrated power amplifier, the preamplifier circuit is situated very close to the power amplifier. Keeping the high voltage, high current power amplifier signal from inducting noise into the preamplifier circuit is difficult. NAD apparently has solved this problem with the introduction of their M3 Integrated Amplifier, which has a rated output of 180 watts per channel, at 0.004% THD+N, and clipping (1% THD+N) at 220 watts.

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Anthem P2 Two-Channel Power Amplifier

Anthem P2 Two-Channel Power Amplifier

Anthem's statement multi-channel power amplifiers are called the P series. They come in two versions, a five-channel (P5) and a two-channel (P2). My home theater test lab has a 200 watt x 5 amplifier which works great for the majority of applications, but it is driving electrostatic speakers (ESLs), and for a handful of Blu-ray movies, the amplifier will go into protect mode when at high volume, because ESLs typically have a very low impedance (1 ohm) in the high frequency range.

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Ming Da MD-75 Integrated Stereo Tube Amplifier

Ming Da MD-75 Integrated Stereo Tube Amplifier

Ming Da is company based in China that exports tube preamplifiers, power amplifiers, and integrated amplifiers in various price ranges, including some very high end models. They sell direct, through Pacific Valve, rather than through dealers, so you really get a good bang for the buck. In this review, my first of a Pacific Valve product, is on the MD-75, which is a stereo integrated amplifier. It has a detached power supply for low noise and interference, a remote for the motorized volume control, and you can switch between triode mode (40 watts/channel output) and ultra-linear mode (75 watts/channel output). You can "tube roll" if you wish, and the review unit came with optional Black Treasure CV-181 driver tubes and Black Treasure KT88 output tubes.

One very nice feature of this product is that, when you turn it on, the volume control rotates to the lowest volume setting, so you don't accidentally start playing music at a volume that might startle you.

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Marantz PM6004 Integrated Amplifier and CD6004 CD Player

Marantz PM6004 Integrated Amplifier and CD6004 CD Player

Marantz has a long history in Audio, dating back to the 1950's with Saul Marantz in New York, then with Phillips in the 80's and 90's and now under D&M Holdings along with Denon and McIntosh.

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Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part III

Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part III

Circuit design and the tape recorder section are the focus of the final section of my HK 990 review. The topics are addressed to different groups. Those interested in the tape recorder section will find information on Page 9. The tape recorder interface section outlines matters of connectivity and usage.

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Classe CP-800 Stereo Preamplifier

Classe CP-800 Stereo Preamplifier

Classé's new CP-800 is a high performance ("High-End") stereo preamplifier, but it is not just yet another preamp with minor changes from previous models. This one has the option of switching in some DSP that adds several EQ bands and dedicated stereo subwoofer outputs. If you don't use the DSP, it's not in the signal path, and you can still call yourself a "purist" audiophile. Have no doubts; this is a very unique product, and the performance is stellar.

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Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part II

Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part II

This second part of the HK 990 review examines the signal flows in the HK 990 dual-domain integrated amplifier. This analysis is relevant to all units, including modem AVRs, with a DSP signal processing unit in the main signal path. The signal flow is more transparent in this stereo unit than a 7.1 multichannel unit; so, if you are interested in AVR, please stay tuned in to Part II.

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Pass Labs X1000.5 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Pass Labs X1000.5 Monoblock Power Amplifier

We have reviewed several Pass Labs products in the past, and I finally decided to get a pair of what they call "Room Heaters", i.e., the X1000.5. These monoblock power amplifiers are rated at 1,000 watts rms into 8 ohms. They are similar in physical design to the XA200.5, but the XA200.5's are biased into Pure Class A, while the X1000.5's are biased about 80 watts into Class A, with the rest as AB.

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Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part I

Harman Kardon HK 990 Stereo Integrated Amplifier with Digital Room Correction and Dual Subwoofer Bass Management – Part I

The HK 990 is a truly unique stereo component. It is a dual domain device capable of accepting analog or digital inputs, converting domains as required, and sending the results to the speaker.

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Pass Labs XP-30 Stereo Preamplifier

Pass Labs XP-30 Stereo Preamplifier

Recently, we reviewed the Pass Labs XP-20 stereo preamplifier, and it was marvelous. Hot on its heels is the new XP-30...

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Jones Audio PA-M300 Series 2 Monoblock Power Amplifier

Jones Audio PA-M300 Series 2 Monoblock Amplifier

Imagine my surprise when Secrets' Editor-in-Chief, John Johnson, asked me if I would review a pair of Jones Audio's 300W solid-state monoblock power amplifiers. "Now that would be quite a switch," was the first thought that popped into my head.

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