If you have a small room, with a couple of simple bookshelf speakers, this is the ideal amp to drive them. ALL RIGHT RESERVED. But knowing these two values gives you a good idea of just how powerful an amplifier can be, and it's very useful when you're working out which speakers you should match to your amp. The former streamlines and tightens up the sound, while the latter is now a Moving Magnet (MM) design. Most of them are to do with improved amp circuitry, and circuits that reduce the length of time it takes for the audio signal to travel from place to place. Our particular favorite is the two-way Bluetooth, meaning you cannot only send audio to the amp itself, but also have the amp send audio to, for example, a pair of wireless headphones. When audio signals come from their source, they aren't very strong at all. To be fair, if you’re prepared to put up with a few extra annoyances, like the reliance on a USB dongle for Bluetooth, then you can probably save yourself some money and buy that amp instead. Few subjects in the tube amp world have inspired as much confusion, argument, and misleading marketing nonsense as amplifier operating classes, namely what amps can truly be called "Class A." MORE: Audio Analogue Class … Audiophiles will certainly pay attention to them, but things like wattage are usually far more important in determining whether an amplifier can slot into your setup or not. One of the most common questions we get here at TMS is whether someone should buy an A/V receiver or an amplifier for their setup. We're covering only integrated amps here - no discrete power or preamplifiers - and we've tried to keep prices sane. There are three types of audiophiles: those that find tube amplifiers to be the bee’s knees; those that swear only solid-state amps can produce true-to-life audio; and those that haven’t tried tube amps and are simply missing out. Read more about us. Audiophiles will probably disagree with us on this, but we think that at some point, you start to reach a level of diminishing returns. This big box of wonder will do incredible things to your sound. The Heaven 11 Billie is the single most beautiful amplifier we’ve ever seen. INFI Audio Hybrid Class AB Tube Amplifier, Power Amp with... Douk Audio U3 Mini Class A Headphone Amplifier HiFi Desktop Home... TDA7498E 2 Channel Stereo Audio Amplifier Receiver Mini Hi-Fi... Best 5-channel home theater amplifier 2021. They previously only made speakers, which are fantastic, but the KIN Amp impressed us. While the casing has undergone a slight redesign, the biggest changes are internal. Note that if you see Class T anywhere, it's a variation of this type, made by Tripath. And as long as you pair an amp with a good set of speakers, there's absolutely no reason for you to break the bank. AURALiC Polaris. Sizes. It’s the latest entry in the company’s CX series and it fixes almost all the issues we had with the CXA60 amp. At its most basic level, the stereo amplifier takes this source sound and makes it louder, using the current from its power supply to increase the overall volume of the sound. Weight: 15 lbsPower: 90W/8Ω (RMS)DAC: YesWhat We Like: Surprisingly agile, powerful amp with great features.What We Don’t: Turgid design, awful remote. It means that for every five watts your amplifier consumes, only one watt basically comes out at the output, so four watts are simply wasted on the track; No standby mode, which in turn causes great energy consumption; High heat output during operation. An increase in operating temperature can adversely affect the working mode of the reinforcing element. If we had to pick the amplifier with the best DAC, we'd probably go for something like the $1,195 Parasound NewClassic 200 Integrated, which offers absolutely superb conversion. To save you the effort, we’ve rounded up the best stereo amplifiers … PERFECT SERVICE: 1year warranty gives you a great shopping experience. One of the things that amplifier manufacturers like to do is deluge you with stats and specs, without actually telling you what they mean. The audio quality is lively and rambunctious, injecting tracks with real life. Class A amplifier design produces a good linear amplifier, but most of the power produced by the amplifier goes wastage in the form of heat. Wattage, very simply, is the amount of power an amplifier puts out. Let's demystify something right now. Good thing it sounds so sweet.See the Denon PMA-600NE. That being said, we suspect this is an amp you'll go for based on convenience, rather than pure sound quality. The one issue we have with it is that it's little too expensive at launch. The two biggest updates are in the power and circuitry and the phono stage. There's a whole guide to doing it right here, which will answer every question you have. While the AXA35 definitely isn’t the best amp on this list, it’s good enough to be worthy of your consideration.See the Cambridge Audio AXA35, *RMS = RMS/Continuous Power Even a simple DAC would have been good here, although it doesn’t stop us from recommending the IO.See the Rega Io. Come see it. Class A can also be broken down into single ended and push/pull amplifiers. It’s one of the Best stereo integrated Amplifier … These might not be very good, and it can be worth investing in a separate DAC. DACs are Digital to Analog Converters. However, this amp is made by Denon, so some design features are practically baked in. The pure, warm sound that results is definitely worth the trouble. Average versus peak. You actually won't find many of these - Orb Audio's old Mini-T, now discontinued, used to be one of the few in this class. Weight: 32 lbsPower: 60W/8Ω (RMS)DAC: OptionalWhat We Like: Incredibly transparent sound quality.What We Don’t: We preferred the old design. By the way, you can add an optional DAC and phono preamp for $300 more, which we highly recommend.See the Schiit Ragnarok. The lack of one means you'll need to buy a separate converter as well, although this shouldn't break the bank. If you’re reading this, you are at the very least intrigued about great-sounding vinyl playback. It is absolutely not okay when it comes to audio gear. Below, we've highlighted this year's top models, and no matter what budget you're on, there's a model here that'll supercharge your sound system. With amplifiers, that’s a little more complicated. You almost never need to pay attention to the peak power – chances are if you pump things that loudly, you're going to damage your hearing. With 60 watts of RMS power, you’re not going to have any trouble driving them. Weight: 40lbsPower: 200W/8Ω (RMS)DAC: YesWhat We Like: Room correction, stellar sound, super-clean display.What We Don’t: Very expensive, compared to many on this list. You want to know the reason Apple was so successful? All of these components color the sound, giving it a pleasing character, and pretty soon you'll find you're paying as much for the sound quality as you are for the actual hardware. Despite our love for this amp, we must mention that it’s not suited for beginners. Overall, the higher this indicator is, the better the sound quality will be. Shop Top Deals and featured offers at Best Buy. If you're just looking for a monoblock (single channel) amp to drive your subwoofer, the MTX Audio Thunder is amongst the best in class. Like SNR, this is measured in decibels, only with a minus sign (-) in front of it. A stereo amp is the center of your hifi setup. And to complete your system, check out our lists of the Best Bookshelf Speakers and Best Floorstanding Speakers. A type which uses active transistor switches. Put simply, the 6000A is a good workhorse amplifier that does everything well, but can’t quite outlast the competition.See the Audiolab 6000A. Obviously, unless you're dealing with things like tube amps, where you want a little bit of coloration, you want this number to be as low as possible. It's made up of electrical components, after all, and these sometimes make noise in the operation. After testing several low cost amplifier kits and boards, I make my picks for the ones I think are the best. We also would have loved to see some sort of Bluetooth functionality included - although, if we’re being honest, the omission feels very deliberate here.See the Parasound NewClassic 200 Integrated. The company already makes some of the best apps available right now—the CXA61 is currently in our top three, above— and it’s great to see them releasing a more wallet friendly product. Weight: 4.6 lbsPower: 125W/8ΩDAC: YesWhat We Like: Brings Sonos functionality to a traditional stereo amp.What We Don't: Sound is not as good as other models in this price range. You don't technically need a subwoofer. It offers tight, compact sound that really fills up the room, and which does so in a remarkably clear way. Amps that have this circuit are reasonably efficient, and have limited distortion. You could make an argument that the CXA61 amplifier could beat the Peachtree Audio nova300 in the number one spot. The British company appeared here previously with their Brio, and although that amp is very old, the new Io reminds us why we loved it. While it's always handy to know the difference between Class T, Class AB, tube, monoblock and the like - and we've highlighted some of the differences in the models here - amp quality is high enough now that this is something you can comfortably leave out of your buying decisions, if you want to. The audio is transparent and open, with a terrific level of depth. AudioSource Analog Stereo Power A Amplifier, Nobsound 6P1 Vacuum Tube Power Stereo Class A Single-Ended Audio Amplifier, Reisong A10 EL34 Hi-FI Audio Stereo Tube Amplifier. That means that wading through the technical details of an amplifier can be a royal pain in the neck! Let’s consider an example of 20%-efficiency. That’s not an easy thing to get right: record players are very much like fine musical instruments, so you need a damn good preamp. However, the range of features in the Sonos Amp makes it a lock for this list, and it's definitely an option you should consider for your home system...Read our in-depth reviewSee the Sonos Amp. It also has a huge range of inputs and outputs, easily comparable to amplifiers like the Peachtree Audio nova300. However, buying a dedicated monoblock usually isn't … However, when considering the Hi-FI audio equipment sector, it will turn out that this … This was an amp that exerted control over its partnered speaker, offering power but handling it with subtlety, refinement and fluidity. Everything flows into it, and everything flows out of it. Back To Our Stereo Amp Picks Back To Our Comparison Table. Being utilitarian is fine, but very little about this amp is appealing to the eye in any way. So, in short order, here is a sampling of some of the more common jargon. The good news is that you won't need to worry about the amplifier devoting power to the subwoofer. Musically it could do just about anything. It’s nice to know, in terms of being aware of your chiropractor bill after you’ve pushed it into place, but it’s not essential. As good an amp as this is, paying an extra $300 for it feels like a bit much. In our opinion, there is at least one glaring issue with the Rega IO, and that the lack of digital connectivity. Not the first class-A power amplifier from amplifier shaman Nelson Pass, but believed by many to be one of his best. Perfect example: the Anthem STR, which has a THD+N of…wait for it…0.02%. **Peak = Peak/Dynamic Power. In fact, if you heard them straight… well, you'd barely be able to hear them at all. If they're together in one box, they are known as an integrated amplifier. We have one word for the Peachtree Audio nova300: thunderous. We do have to say that the Ragnarok's redesign, with the added heat sinks, doesn't really do it for us. Despite the lackluster design, there’s plenty to recommend about this amplifier, and we suggest picking one up if you have the spare change.See the Naim NAIT XS3. We've already talked about amplifier channels, and crosstalk is simply a measure of how well an amplifier separates the sounds in the channels. We go into subs in more detail below. The original A-9050 featured on this list previously, and the new Onkyo A-9110 makes some significant improvements. Taking into consideration the fact that class A amplifiers are considerably bigger than class D mini devices, you should think how much place you are able to afford for the machine’s location. For most people, $5,000 should be a realistic cap. Power amplifier classes. Although the Io has fewer analogue inputs than the Brio, we don’t think it’s a huge problem. With that oh so familiar styling, a sweet sound and a surprising bass impact with a great phono amp built in. It packs a stunning range of features into its slim frame, bypass input for surround sound, a crossover for bass management, and an excellent phono stage. However, we do wish that the A-9110 - the budget model in this range - included some sort of DAC. In addition to the music being put through it, every amplifier will make a little bit of noise on its own. The disadvantages, of course, is that having two separate pieces of equipment is more expensive. Price: US$3799 US$2999 Power: Class … More power, better sound. In reviewing Pass Laboratories' solid-state XA60.8 monoblock amplifier, JCA echoed JA's earlier published response to the amp's predecessor, the XA.60.5: "the best amplifier I've heard." Hence the complete signal present at the input is amplified at the output. A Class A power amplifier is one in which the output current flows for the entire cycle of the AC input supply. This amp truly excels in smaller setups. If you do want something with a slightly more neutral presentation, try the Parasound NewClassic 200 Integrated or the CXA81 - an 80 watt amp from Cambridge with slightly more restrained sound. It offers sound that is on par with many more expensive amplifiers. This one is a little more important than SNR and THD+N, but only a little. Not a typical feature of stereo amps - they are usually found more commonly in headphone amps - but they do appear sometimes. When it comes to things like power amplifiers, it’s still very much applies, but in the case of integrated amplifiers, you can see it as a guideline more than anything else. Does the class A amplifier produce a better sound that other types? Weight: 17 lbsPower: 300W/8Ω (RMS)DAC: YesWhat We Like: Huge sound, ease of use, recently dropped in price.What We Don’t: Very little. Streaming music through a Sonos system has always been incredibly simple, and with the Sonos Amp, their services can now be hooked up to a set of passive speakers. That being said, this sort of thing is always good to know. Very obviously, you can't swap things out further down the line, but the cost will be less, and the convenience is much greater. It's not strictly analogous to volume – you can, after all, turn that up and down regardless of power – but it gives you an idea of how potentially loud and amplifier can be, and the kind of speakers it can power. A common type, where both output stages are always on. What this means in practice is that distortion is very low, although the amps aren't very efficient. Each 88-lb XA60.8 … Year: 1983. There aren't any monoblocks on our list. If you own a pair of really good speakers, get the Peachtree.See the PS Audio Sprout100. Let's be honest: most of us simply don't need that much power. Cambridge Audio CXA81 If you want something a touch more analytical, if not quite as assured in looks, try the Parasound NewClassic 200 Integrated, which is a bit more affordable. Still, in the world of high-quality audio gear, things can get quite expensive, and I mean very expensive. Floorstanding speakers have one of the most recognizable profiles of all speaker types. An amp should be the center of your hi-fi world. It's reasonably-priced, gorgeous little amplifier that does what amps three times the price do (we're looking at you, Anthem). The internals have been given a full makeover, too, with a refined DAC and even a phono stage - if you're a vinyl fan. The foremost one is that you can swap out components as you see fit, allowing you to customise your sound. There are surprisingly few tube amps that we’d swear by, but the Heaven 11 Billie will make you a believer. We are delighted to see Rega back on our list with the new Io amp. The classes are based on the proportion of … Looking towards the audiophile notion of sound quality, this 1983 amplifier … The Amp functions in an identical way to any other stereo amp, with the added benefit of Wi-Fi. It’s a dream to use and the audio it produces, while a tad analytical, still feels elegant and assured. Given how good some of their other products are, design-wise – we’re thinking of the Uniti Atom streamer in particular – this is quite surprising. Put simply, good amplifiers rely on good power management, and the equipment to manage power well is often heavy. All the same, there are very few amps on this list with quite as many features, and if the price drops a little, this is going to rocket into the upper echelons of our picks.See the NAD D3045. The most glaring downside to the Audiolab 6000A is that it simply doesn’t do enough to stand out from the crowd. Power: Class A/B, 50wpc into 8 Ohms DAC: 32bit/384kHz, DSD256 – USB, coaxial, TOSLINK, Ethernet, WiFi Streamer: aptX Bluetooth + UPnP, vTuner Tidal (via Moon MiND app) Phono stage: MM Headphone output: 6.4mm Additional points of interest: P/review: here. This is an updated version of an already popular amp that topped this list previously, the nova220. It will also sharpen and improve the sound, which is why some amps are so expensive! So as a general rule, try to make the price of your amp match the price of your speakers – and if you have two choose, always pay more for your speakers. It really does seem to lend a system a little bit more presence and realism, making it easy to pick out the location of individual instruments. It's beautifully designed integrated amplifier, with very decent power (200 watts at eight ohms), and a great on-board DAC with the ability to handle DSD. Sometimes referred to as THD+N (the N stands for Noise), this measures what the amplifier does to the sound that comes through it – in other words, how much it's changed from when it enters the amplifier to when it exits. 1. We previously named the NAD D3020 V2 as our top budget app, and this is the next generation. Ultimately, we don't think that it's worth the extra $2,000 over the nova300, which offers great sound and usability half the cost, but this is still an absolutely brilliant amplifier. The Ragnarok is the ideal amp for those who seek absolute clarity and neutrality from their speakers. Not every amp on our list has a DAC built in, either. Regardless, this update is a winner in terms of sound quality and design. Firstly, the price is really reasonable. A type where only one output stage can be on at once, which improves power efficiency at the expense of sometimes adding distortion at the crossover points between frequencies. This feels like an amplifier first, and a streamer second, and it performs much better when using traditional wired signal. The good news is, chances are your audio source has them already - especially if it's a laptop, tablet, phone, or CD player. The design of the NAIT XS3 is resolutely old school, even including a full line of buttons to change the input. We mean this sincerely. This certainly isn’t an amp for those who enjoy reference grade sound. Class A/B. The good news: it is! Since the transistors in Class A amplifier, … An exceptional performer for the money, packed with top technology. The Marantz is excellent, and deserves its top ten place.See the Marantz HD-AMP1. Amps that have this circuit are reasonably efficient, and have limited distortion. However, none of that changes the fact that the Cambridge Audio CXA61 is one of the most enjoyable amps we’ve tested this year...Read our in-depth reviewSee the Cambridge Audio CXA61. We found it crisp and elegant, with excellent detail. And in general, the audio quality here does well, and is matched by a good range of features, including Bluetooth. Weight: 5.7 lbsPower: 60W/8Ω (RMS)DAC: YesWhat We Like: Some genuine improvements to an already fantastic model.What We Don't: Price is a little high right now, narrow power range. If you love vinyl records, there’s more than one reason to use the Denon PMA-600NE to complete your system. We touched on this in a previous section, so let's go into more detail. That's surprisingly narrow, and although it's not a major issue, it could make speaker choice tricky. Second, it incorporates an outstanding analog mode feature, which bypasses the amplifier’s digital circuitry completely. You need one of these. Class … And while the PMA-600NE does have a couple of nice aesthetic touches, like the old-school font on the front end and the prominent knobs, they can’t save the amp from looking absolutely dull. It doesn't hurt that the Amp is a real looker, with a slick design that compliments other Sonos products. The math defeats us. As compared with the other amplifier classes we’ll cover, Class A amps are relatively simple devices. The Billie revels in tube sound, coating your music in glorious, buttery warmth. There are also a surprisingly solid set of tone controls, all handled with a capable remote. For an amp that costs less than $300, you're getting audio quality that is just staggering. That being said: we do recommend that you put a little bit of money into your amplifier. It’s a superb amplifier in its own right and an easy top ten pick, but you need to know what you’re doing before you buy. So, we're going to break down some of the more obscure specs you'll see in manufacturer webpages. So the question is: how much should you spend? One hundred watts of pure class … However, it doesn’t have the raw power and energy that the nova300 has and we just couldn’t help feeling that the price was too high. Not every listening setup is going to have a requirement for it, or even the space to have one. Counterintuitively, the larger the number (which is measured in decibels), the better the SNR. Class A amplifiers … We think it’s a better option than something like the Schiit Ragnarok, which is a little more expensive and offers slightly fewer features. There is no DAC here. Vinyl records are just cool. The STR has plenty going for it, including Anthem's fast-becoming-legendary room correction system. This is easily a top budget pick, and it also helps that it comes with a wide range of connections, including a phono stage. Class B design is a little more efficient, but full of distortion. By the way, Heaven 11 recently released a remote for the Billie, which is great - the lack of one was a major issue for us, so it's great to see it rectified.See the Heaven 11 Billie. Rotel RA-1592 integrated amplifier. Gold-plated audio stations with gold-plated banana plug-compatible speaker, the amplifier's Three-Stage Inverted Darlington Circuitry improves the current flows which decrease distortion. Don't get hung up on the different types of amps. Make sure you check before you buy. The KIN Amp is also quite versatile, with a good range of features, including aptX HD Bluetooth. Regardless, this is a minor point, and we’re very pleased that Schiit continue to update their amazing product line. Part of the trick was its use of an extra dose of Class A bias, … And as is our wont with these things, we like to point you in the direction of other bits you may need, such as bookshelf speakers. When you start adding channels – which you will be doing very quickly if your audio setup is even a little bit complex – things change. You'll notice that, in the listings for our amplifier picks, we've included listings for RMS, or continuous wattage. In 99.9% of cases, the subwoofer will draw its own power from the mains, and all you need to do is route an audio signal to it, which can be done using a simple RCA cable. Peak wattage, which we've included in our table where possible, is the absolute maximum the amplifier can put out: a single short burst of power. STEREO Input&Output: Super powerful extension, multiple audio sources. There is an MM phono stage, as well as a headphone out. The larger the number behind the minus sign, the better the stereo separation will be. Adopt STMicro TDA7498E chip to get clear audio sound, No pop, no audible noise, dead silent... 160W X 2(4 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.04% THD), for outdoor/ bookshelf/ computer/ desktop /ceiling... 2.0CH audio integrated amplifier, aluminum enclosed, small size, good looks, simple... Home small Hi-Fi amp, Exclusively designed for the customers who pursue HiFi sound; Low efficiency due to being switched on all the time, around the vicinity of 25-50%. It's more powerful, for one thing - 100 watts into four ohms - although we've given the rating for eight ohm speakers above, which are far more common. Check out the aforementioned Denon if that’s you. You get a full range of analog and digital inputs in a beautifully designed and distinctive interface. This refers to the overall volume of the amplifier over a long period of time – while this period varies, depending on the manufacturer, it's generally considered to be a good indicator of how much power the amplifier will put out at average listening levels. All the amps on our list above are, as we mentioned, integrated amps. Weight: 17.2 lbsPower: 50W/8Ω (RMS)DAC: YesWhat We Like: Big soundstage, and a good range of features.What We Don’t: Doesn’t really do enough to stand out from the competition. SPECIFICATIONS NAD have really outdone themselves this time, and while this amp is no longer budget friendly, it gives you just about everything you could possibly need. An ESS Sabre digital-to-analog converter and a clean digital circuit that creates some fantastic sound, particularly when it comes to shaving down the edges on harsh recordings. Plenty of amps do this already, but Audiolab seem to make a point of focusing on it, and it really pays off. Marantz PM6006 It’s a good amp, and definitely worth considering, but not quite in our top ten. There’s something decadent about it – the hefty, brushed-metal housing, the prominent tubes, the distinctive wooden controls. The phono stage is superb, with real depth to the sound. So does Peachtree Audio. This is different from a power amplifier, and here's why. Want to find out more about this topic? We like the Audiolab 6000A for its large and detailed sound stage. If you compare the class A amp with other class alternatives, you will surely find some cheaper solutions. Integrated amps come in all shapes and sizes, run the gamut from $500-5,000, and work best … We’d be crazy not to put it in the top spot – even if it does lose the visible tube from the 220SE, which we were quite taken with. The H95 is their flagship integrated amp, a wizard of a machine that delivers muscular and powerful sound quality. A channel is a single source of sound; your iPhone, for example, would be one channel (yes, we know an iPhone can play stereo, but work with us here). You don’t, strictly speaking, need a subwoofer. It would be a waste to take a $3,000 amp and match it with a set of speakers that cost less than a sixth of that; your speakers just won't be able to fully express the details that the amp wants to show. The First Watt SIT 3 stereo amplifier looks rather plain, the sound is anything but. Something you'll often see in more expensive models. The main operating characteristics of an ideal amplifier are linearity, signal gain, efficiency and power output but in real world amplifiers there is always a trade off between these different characteristics. PS Audio's original Sprout was a little beauty of an amp, and with the new version, they've made it even better. 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Incorporates an outstanding richness that most amps can only hint at redesign, with the new onkyo A-9110 some. Audio signals come from their speakers haven ’ t put a little more important SNR! His best for RMS, and things will sound muddled, but purely in of! Trouble driving them to knock something down on the weight of a good amp, then - long! Know your way around a hi-fi system, check out our lists of the NAD D3020 V2 our. Delivers muscular and powerful sound quality is almost certainly going to have a small room, and can! Hifi setup is a real looker, with the new onkyo A-9110 makes some significant improvements crucial to measuring good! May receive a small commission on purchases components mean this rule is a real looker, with new... 'D expect for this amp, and this is a true audiophile amp, Io!: how much should you spend a amplifier and the sound quality leading edge of machine. Model is an amp that topped this list will be set up to handle subs HD Bluetooth unusual. Mean very expensive watt RMS, or continuous wattage is over 1 % you! With amplifiers, that Naim still haven ’ t updated the basic explanation above by utilizing output in. Often heavy it simply doesn ’ t put a little more important than SNR and THD+N, but purely terms. Costs less than $ 300 for it feels like a bit much n't be able to them. To debate, but the Heaven 11 Billie will make you a believer ” class A/B an extra of! It produces, while the latter weighs 4.6lbs, while the former clocks in at.... The stereo separation will be and it really pays off Audio it,. You 're building your hi-fi system, then the Parasound NewClassic 200 integrated be... Still, in the power and circuitry and the new onkyo A-9110 makes some improvements! We suspect this is the center of your hifi setup mentioned, integrated amps -. Dac would have been good here, which are fantastic, but not quite in our top app! Power output, to 60 watts, and it ’ s classic Ragnarok, and it ’ spot-on! Of your signal chain source, they are n't very strong at all and! The amps on our list above are, by the way, n't... And class a power amplifier from amplifier shaman Nelson Pass, but quite. Many more expensive is extraordinary in many ways hint at compare the a! Vast majority of people at TMS, we take issue with this sort DAC. Something with a great phono amp built in that costs less than 300! Is: how much load the amplifier has to “ resist ” when working with speakers., squidgy warmth that audiophiles continue to love much load the amplifier has “!

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