Sometimes we just feel like doing a big, huge, grande test. It’s educational for us and for you it provides insight into what’s available and how products perform relative to each other. This time we put eight amplifiers side by side. We sampled, measured and listened to all amplifiers. You can find everything in this article.
You have a pair of beautiful speakers, a fine source and…. Oh… no matching amplifier yet. That is of course a critical link! Well… lucky you… we just tested eight integrated amplifiers for you. Price class: 1000 Euro.
Now most models we have a d / a converter or even Bluetooth, but in this test we focus on sound quality and the quality of the amplifier chain. Because at the end of the day, what matters is: how do they sound?
The test setup
We included all amplifiers in our reference system. That sounds like complete idiocy: connecting a pair of 9000 Euro Focal Sopras to an integrated amplifier that costs around 1000 Euro. However: the device under test must be the weak link. In addition to the Sopra works surprisingly well with all the test candidates, so – fortunately – there was no reason to use other loudspeakers.
As for the other components: we put in our Alpha Audio PC and Metrum Acoustics Pavane d/a converter (DAC3). This way we have a decent test system. Cabling comes from Driade (Flow speaker cable) Grimm (TPM) and Yeti (power-cables). We also used the Isotek Aquarius and Titan EVO V to keep things clean.
We not only listened, but also measured all the amplifiers. So you get insight into: distortion, power and neutrality. We are going to write another article on how to read the measurements. Let’s go and see the test candidates!