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POWER AMPLIFIERS - UNDER £800
PRICES SHOWN ARE THOSE AT THE TIME OF REVIEW
Power Amplifiers
£
Year
Verdict
AMC 2200  £150 Mar 99 Super value separate with first-rate sound staging. Midrange subtleties sometimes suffer but at this price  .!
Arcam 9P  £400 Dec 96 A detailed and open sound gives great atmosphere to all types of music.
Arcam Alpha 10P  £600 Jul 98 This power amp lags behind the best of the competition, and the build is flimsy.
Audio Analogue Donizetti  £575 Apr 98 As smart as an Armani suit, they sound powerful in a natural, organic manner 
Aura PA100 £749 Mar 97 A smooth, sweet powerful sound free from the rough brightness that afflicts many solid-states.
Creek A43 £399 Mar 99 Shows what a skilled designer can do, even when hooked up with a passive pre. A very realistic approach.
Cyrus Power £449 Feb 96 The Cyrus Power is simply impressive in all respects.
Cyrus SmartPower £600 Jan 01 Confident, musical and a joy to use. The competition is tough but they stand their ground admirably. Great upgradability.
Exposure 2010 Power £599 Jan 02 A fine sounding, powerful and musical combination, but faces stiff competition.
Linn LK100 £650 Apr 98 Well built, but judged purely on a musical basis they fall short.
Linn LK240 £750 Aug 97 The LK240 plays tunes exceptionally well, tonal colour and image precision are not its forte though.
Meridian 505 £795 Aug 97 Crisp, clear images are set in a broad spread between the 'speakers but the 505 lacks stage depth and grunt.
Monarchy SM-70 £595 Jan 99 The Monarchy is a smooth, warm amp most at home with 'speakers that are easily driveable.
Moth 30 Power £249 Mar 99 Refined approach with the lighter acoustic music but lacking a little in overall clout.
Moth Stereo 60 £549 Dec 95 This power amp unfortunately suffers from sharp sounding treble and poor depth.
Munrio MP1 monobloc £600 Jun 00 Solid and dependable way to monobloc a system. Fast and powerful solid state sound. Slightly metallic with small scale works.
Musical Fidelity X-A50 £500 Jan 98 Very smooth, sweet and musical performers, not over-analytical but very involving.
Naim NAC 122 Pre &
Naim NAP 150 Pwr
£625
£750
Jun 01 A more gripping and thrilling sound at this price you will not get, but this combo won't be to everyone's taste.
Quad 77/67 £600 Jul 96 With good punch, speed and attack its not bad at all but can be a little uninspiring.
Rotel RB-971 £225 Mar 99 70 Watts a channel helps give lucid presentation with deep sound staging. Perhaps on the bright side.
Shearne Phase 3 £689 Apr 97 The Phase 3 possesses impressive clarity, detail and dynamics.
Sony TA-FB904R UK Special Edition £280 Oct 00 Strong forward sound with plenty of clout which could ultimately be a tad tiring.
Talk Tornado 1 £500 Jun 97 A flexible power amp with a strong, controlled sound, but won't suit all tastes.
Technics SE-A1000 £400 Feb 97 Smooth, warm sound has plenty of grunt when needed and is very enjoyable to listen to.
Thorens TTP 2000 £500 Jul 95 Its best feature is the key on/off switch, otherwise its a case of poor sound quality and engineering.
POWER AMPLIFIERS - £800 - £1499
Chameleon Ruby £995 Jan 96 Well specified and powerful, but dry and short of life. Suits Rock on bass-heavy 'speakers. 
Chord SPM 400 £1325 Mar 98 This amp has it all - detail, transparency, slam and rhythm. In a word, excellent.
Crimson CS630C £800 Nov 98 These monoblocs have a tonal richness and bass speed rare amongst powerful amps.
Croft Series V £800 Jun 96 Fast, clear and detailed sound will win friends in both the transistor and valve camps.
Delph Da Capo £1469 May 95 Quality bass and a clear midband but the treble can be harsh at high volume.
DPA 200S £1245 Jul 93 Serious audiophile product at an affordable price. Well constructed, pleasant to use and fine sounding.
Galactron Power £1200 Nov 95 Smooth sound but dull balance make the Galactron suitable for bright systems.
HD Audio Duo £1185 May 95 Not dissimilar to the Audiolab monoblocs, the sound has a sweet top and amazing clarity.
Heybrook Signature II £1051 May 97 Not quite as transparent as it could be but impresses with its smoothness and tonal colour.
Meridian 556 £950 Nov 99 Impressive with high octane music, but lacks that bit of warmth to bring out the best in laid-back material.
Meridian 557 £1400 Dec 96 Great control and dynamics allied to seductive smoothness. A rare combination of power and delicacy.
Musical Fidelity A3cr Pre & Power £999
each
Apr 00 A corking duo that set a new sonic standard at the price. Listen and weep!
Musical Fidelity X-A200 £1000 Aug 98 Hugely powerful and controlled, the X-A200s are still superbly musical.
Musical Fidelity A300cr £999 Oct 01 Power dynamics and transparency by the bucketload, although treble can be a little bright at times.
MVL Integral A2 £895 May 99 An excellent performer with any music. It is hard to imagine the A2 being beaten at the price.
Myryad MA120 £1000 Apr 96 The sound is a somewhat acquired taste and a little rough in places.
Omak Jewel One £899 Jul 95 A lot of amplifier for the money. Big, warm, sweet sound places it ahead of most.
Quad 707 £800 Jul 97 The 707 embodies a rare blend of grace and power in its sleek grey casework.
Rothwell Rubicon £949 May 99 Low on power at 8 watts but fairly musical for all that. Good resolution of detail and texture.
Sumo Polaris III £898 May 96 More valve-like than transistor in sound; highly competent if not spectacular.
TAG McLaren 60P £850 Nov 98 Fully justifies the cost with a very musical and revealing performance.
VRR Adur £1495 Jun 95 Lovers of light piano-based fare and Baroque music will appreciate this ampís delicacy.
POWER AMPLIFIERS - £1500+
Audiovalve Avalon £2195 Aug 02 Good power, rthymic muscle and bass extension for a valve amp, but not the last word in warmth or transparency
Audiovalve LC8 £1995 Mar 95 Eschews the traditional lavish tube sound for a brighter and leaner approach.
Canary 301 £3055 Nov 98 The 301 puts the 300B's traditional virtues to good use in a push-pull design that will drive most loudspeakers.
Cary 300B SE £3975 Feb 95 Cary have a winning amplifier that is a prime example of how a 300B can sound.
Cyrus aPA7 £2000 Jul 99 There's no shortage of clarity and control here, but the aPA7s don't come cheap.
Etalon Ampli £2925 Feb 98 Very natural, substantial presentation with lots of power on tap
Final Music 6 £1500 Feb 99 Battery powered amp puts convincing scale and three-dimensionality into suitably sensitive loudspeakers.
Focusrite Red 5 £2057 Feb 96 Powerful, smooth and detailed sound. Not as clinical as some professional amplifiers can be.
Gamma Aeons  £4999 Apr 97 Sound quality of these monoblocs is impressive but marred by a rather obvious hum. Build could be better.
Linn Klimax Twin £5000 May 02 One of the finest examples of a solid state power amp around. Clean sounding and very powerful, it's also super sleek and physically discrete. Get a listen!!
Marantz 9 £8000 Mar 97 These monoblocs are superb, producing a beguiling performance of great control and verve.
Michell Alecto £1989 Oct 98 The new Alecto is crisper, cleaner and more controlled than earlier incarnations.
Musical Fidelity NuVista 300 £3300 Dec 99 Simply beautiful sound and inexhaustible power. Higher price than usual for MF gear - limited edition product.
Musical Fidelity HT600 &
Musical Fidelity HTP
£1999
£1999
May 01 Great sounding and looking A/V combination that's ideal for music and movies alike. Lacks a little bass grip and a tad expensive though.
Orchid RC750 £6600 Aug 96 A powerful grip on music, but articulate and detailed too. A rare combination.
Quad QC 24 pre & Quad II 40 power £3999 Jan 01 A classic combination of the old and the new. A big modern valve sound with space and depth matched with styling that harkens back to the golden age of the vacuum tube.
Renaissance Audio
RA-01
£6000
pair
Dec 01 Expensive but of exceptional quality. Sweet, timbrally excellent and sophisticated, a treat for classical listeners.
Rogue Audio M120
monoblock
£2695
pair
Mar 02 Dark and powerful, the Rogues have plenty of bass and drive if not always tip top control. Work best when cranked up!
Samuel Johnson PPA 100 £2585 Jul 00 Very creditable solid-state amplifier with well-maintained power. Clean and full musical sound. Slightly expensive but stylish.
Sharp SM-SX1 1-bit amp £3300 Apr 01 Suffers from lack of power and coldness, especially at high volumes, but still manages low level detail.
Shearne Phase 1 £1999 Oct 94 Good sound quality and an impressive tonal balance. 
Sugden Masterclass Pre
Sugden Masterclass Pwr
£2100
£3150
Nov 01 These are serious amps albeit at a serious price. Beautifully built with a smooth sweet valve-like quality but with plenty of power.
Sugden Masterclass Monoblocs £5995 Jul 02 Expensive, make no doubt, but at the very top of the pile when it comes to mucial enjoyment. One of the best sounds to be found in solid state audio
Sugden Symetra £1550 Oct 96 The Symetra monoblocs impress with their grip. They run hot and sound warm.
Tube Technology Genesis £2599 Jun 94 Valve monoblocs that produce explosive bass, midrange as clear as a bell and shimmering treble.
Unison Research Smart 300B £4250 May 98 Powerful, neutral sounding amps thanks to their modified 300B valves, but a little expensive for the same reason.
Unison Research Power 35 £1525 Aug 98 A great compromise between delicacy, power and practicality. Very musically satisfying, too.
Unison Research P30K Power & C5P Pre £1750
£1195
Jun 02 Fine sounding and classy looking valve combination with both refinement and power. Unusually deep bass for a parallel single ended.
Vadis S15 £2350 Jul 98 The S15's purity and clarity are impossible to beat for the money. Bass is not brilliant, but still better than most.
XTC POW-1 £2000 Nov 96 This power amplifier is smooth and seductive, although a little pricey.
 

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