Best stereo amplifiers 2019: budget and premium

Dadas

Active member
Jan 10, 2020
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Massive lack of Hegel amps (particularly as one reviewer rated the H390 above two more expensive amps on that list), as well as YBA and Norma Audio which would easily compete with most on that list.
Davidf,

I wanted to thank you very much for your post. Thanks to it, I did some research on Hegel and now I am a very happy owner of Hegel H390 to match with my B&W 804 D3s. That is a match made in heaven and it would not have happened hadn't I read your post. :)

Having done all my research and demo sessions, I am indeed surprised this amp is not on What HiFi list.

Adam
 
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Davidf,

I wanted to thank you very much for your post. Thanks to it, I did some research on Hegel and now I am a very happy owner of Hegel H390 to match with my B&W 804 D3s. That is a match made in heaven and it would not have happened if I didn't read your post. :)

Having done all my research and demo sessions, I am indeed surprised this amp is not on What HiFi list.

Adam
No problem Adam. One of my regulars is about to add one to his LS50s.

I don’t know if Hegel have been supplying to WHF for reviews, but they certainly should be on everyone’s shortlist, even if the onboard DAC isn’t going to get any use! The new H120 (replaced the Rost) is a corker for the money.
 

Dadas

Active member
Jan 10, 2020
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The DACs in both H590 and H390 get a lot of praise in reviews. I tried it with Qobuz and Tidal. It is a bit of a hassle to get it connected to get the full resolution, one needs to use USB connection, but once you do, it works really well. I also have a Chromecast Audio and this supports MQA and FLAC up to 96kHz, which is fine for some convenient music consumption when I do not want to get my laptop connected.
Not only this Hegel sounds good, it is also compact and elegant. I really recommend it.
 

Kestutis

Member
Jan 22, 2020
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To correct a mistake (I was very disappointed to find out it is a mistake): the NAD D3020 V2 should not be described as "USB: Yes", as it is not an USB input, just a service port to update the firmware. I would go for it in a heartbeat should it have an USB input, and the NAD D 3045 is not as recommended. Sad.

[And yes, I did register just to point this out.]
 
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-pekr-

Well-known member
Apr 1, 2020
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1,520
If you want great sound from a separates hi-fi system, you need to choose a top quality stereo amplifier.

Best stereo amplifiers 2019: budget and premium : Read more
Denon fan here :) On one of the local top audio sites in CZ, Denon pma-800ne won its category. I would say, that something like Denon pma-600be ticks many boxes - gets great reviews, has digital inputs, phono stage, sub-out, bluetooth streaming support ...

Cheers,
/Petr
 

Riri

Active member
Feb 16, 2020
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What Hi-Fi? Am really surprised you don’t mention the Rega Aethos here, given you give it best in group test against the Roksan and Naim Supernait3... ? Also isn’t included in your best buys?.....
 

Musicmann067

Well-known member
Feb 28, 2020
4
1
520
To Peter227 - I have seen rave reviews of the Yamaha As801 for $900. Unit weighs about 27 lbs and is well constructed. One of the British magazines called the unit a "flaming bargain". Users seem to like the amp via ratings of Stereo shops in USA. About 95% of verified buyers gave it a rating of five stars - out of five possible stars. More than enough clean power for their speakers.
 

Redbone

Member
Oct 16, 2021
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Massive lack of Hegel amps (particularly as one reviewer rated the H390 above two more expensive amps on that list), as well as YBA and Norma Audio which would easily compete with most on that list.
Yup, it’s about time What hiFi started considering Hegel. It seems to favour British electronics over foreign alternatives.
 

Glorp

Member
Dec 28, 2021
2
0
20
I think it's a good list overall. The Brio is good, I own it. I demo'd Marantz, and the last gen is so smooth I couldn't consider it. I think it would probably be a good point to review the biggest amp release of the year, the Rotel A11 Tribute (Ken Ishiwata's last design). I imagine it would fit around 1-3 on the list above the IO and behind the 81.

I demo'd the Hegel at their lowest range and it is quite good. Superior black background and neutrality, without the prat of Rega. I don't think you'll be able to ignore them forever. Rega Elex-R vs Hegel H95 would be quite a showdown.

If the Marantz had a USB-B DAC input it would be in the running. The Yamaha-s801 is a bit old and doesn't really compete in dynamic performance or sparkle with a lot of these other amps (also a real life demo on my part).

I wonder where the Schiit Vidar/Saga or Ragnarok would fit?

I am, overall, partial to Rega's all-analogue PRAT design. But on demo I thought the Cambridge 81 was a masterpiece for its features and complete package. And I'm sure mixed with the CXC and CXN (considering chromecast for Amazon and youtube) you have a pretty complete system. Of course you can get that for lesser money.

An Echo Link + R2R DAC + all-analogue is a treat, but a full-system (one box) implementation would have good teamwork.

The Hegel also has digital features, it seems to be the choice of the younger audiophile with serious money.

It would also be good to review the Modi, doesn't Schiit have a European side?
 

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