How to buy a class A power amplifier inexpensively
How to buy a class A power amplifier inexpensively
How to buy a class A power amplifier inexpensively

The Best and Most affordable power amplifiers of 2023

Today we will talk about the highest class of quality equipment to come out this year. Until recently, this list of components included only equipment costing many tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The best power amplifiers with a price tag up to $5,000
The best power amplifiers with a price tag up to $5,000

But progress does not stand still – and today prominent experts recommend much more affordable power amplifiers that provide stunning sound quality.

1.NAD C 298

1. NAD C 298

Price: $2,399

Pros: relatively affordable price, excellent dynamics

Cons: nothing significant

Verdict – a great amplifier for the money

An example of a “bang for the buck” power amplifier, the NAD C 298 is quite inexpensive (by modern standards), and its power of 185 W per channel into 8 ohms (growing up to 340 W at 4 ohms) is enough even for demanding speaker systems. The model uses Purifi-Eigentakt modules, which are installed in the more expensive NAD M33 and M28 models, and its sound simultaneously provides explosive dynamics (no wonder, peak dynamic short-term power reaches almost a kilowatt according to measurements, and distortion is negligible) and the necessary delicacy. Whatever one may say, we have before us a new standard in this segment.

2. Schiit Audio Tyr

2. Schiit Audio Tyr

Price: $3,198

Pros: ideal HF, transparent feed

Cons: I would like a little more weight

Verdict: a step forward for Schiit

Instead of using capacitors, the Schiit Audio Tyr uses a choke circuit, which provides incredible efficiency of the 24 bipolar transistors of the output stages (exceeding the sound quality of a Class A circuit, according to the company). The model demonstrates clear and open sound, easily competing in these indicators with devices ten times more expensive. And the measured output power of 252 W at a load of 8 ohms and as much as 360 W at a load of 4 ohms will not leave anyone indifferent.

3. LKV Research PWR-3

3. LKV Research PWR-3

Price: $3,350

Pros: combined amplification circuit, decent sound

Cons: sometimes it sounds too nice

Verdict: LKV Research continues its victorious march through the market

LKV Research PWR-3 develops 175 W per channel into a load of 8 ohms and 360 W per channel into a load of 4 ohms, which is a guarantee of driving almost any speakers. The sound of the model, with a standard “black background”, a deep and wide stage and dense low frequencies, is an example for its price group. Well, the device’s proprietary design, which combines zero-feedback voltage amplification, current operation based on the Purifi Audio 1ET400A Class D, and a heavy-duty switching power supply, has paid off.

4. Benchmark AHB2

4. Benchmark AHB2

Price: $3,499

Pros: innovative design, textured bass

Cons: none

Verdict: the balanced sound of this device will surprise even seasoned audiophiles

Benchmark AHB2 also has an original circuit under the hood – the so-called achromatic audio amplifier is used, in which a low-power amplifier controls the AB-class assembly. The device has a record signal-to-noise ratio and guarantees hyper-realistic performance of any genre. By modern standards, Benchmark AHB2 is simply the pearl of its group; it easily competes with recognized standards created using a cost-no-object approach.

5. Primare A35.2

5. Primare A35.2

Price: $3,900

Pros: controls even complex speakers with ease

Cons: the price for this type of amplification is still a bit high

Verdict: rhythmic and attention-grabbing device

Again, the Primare A35.2 uses a digital gain stage, but with its own analog UFPD2 technology (essentially, the system filters out low-frequency noise and makes feedback control faster and more precise). The power amplifier develops 200 W per 8 Ohm load, drives the most complex planar speakers without any voltage and combines in its presentation the advantages of our much-loved tube circuits with transistor precision.

6. Parasound A 21+

6. Parasound A 21+

Price: $3,999

Pros: American sound school at its best

Cons: not found

Verdict: steel fist in a velvet glove

The updated Parasound A 21+ power amplifier boasts as much as 400 W (measured) of power into an 8 ohm load, and if bridged it can output 1 kW. The device uses giant transformers and significantly increased capacitor capacities – there is, as they say, in abundance. The sound does not falter even in the most difficult moments with BSO – even five years ago it was impossible to believe that for the indicated amount it would be possible to buy such a quality of amplification.

7.Pass Laboratories XA25

7. Pass Laboratories XA25

Price: $5,150

Pros: sounds like an open window

Cons: only 25 W of power

Verdict: the most transparent amplifier in our opinion

The most affordable power amplifier from Pass Laboratories XA25 uses a minimalist design with one pair of transistors per channel in push-pull class A. Only 25 W at 8 ohms of resistance, but what kind! The Pass Laboratories XA25 even drives Quad ESL electrostats and delivers incredible density of sound imaging. The clarity of the sound is amazing, as is the depth of the bass.