[ad_1]

If you have ever tried to connect serious wired acoustics to portable equipment, then you know that this does not lead to anything good. What can I say, such electronics may not “pump” even some overhead headphones! To solve this problem, you will need an amplifier. It may also be required, if necessary, to organize a home theater. In this article, we will get acquainted with the best models. We will talk about both stationary devices and those designed to connect the aforementioned headphones.

How to choose an amplifier?

In order not to make a mistake with the purchase, you need to consider a number of important factors. However, first of all, you have to focus on the budget. The fact is that ideally the amplifier should be tube. It is he who will give out a soft and pleasant sound to the ear. However, such a device will cost an astronomical amount. That is why many have to limit themselves to a model made on transistors or semiconductors. But don’t be afraid. Usually such devices also produce a very good sound. And if you are not a music lover with many years of experience, then you will not notice the difference at all.

OBe sure to pay attention to the number of channels. If the amplifier will be used only for listening to music, then a model with two channels will suit you. A stereo amplifier is not suitable only when used in a home theater – a larger number of channels is required here. It should be noted that the most expensive models use channel-by-channel amplification, when each channel is processed by its own monoblock.

Of course, when choosing such a device, you need to think about output power. It depends on how large the speaker system will be “pumped” by the purchased amplifier. At the same time, remember that the figure declared by the manufacturer is usually only partially true, since when it is reached, certain distortions most often appear in the sound.

An important function of a modern amplifier is a crossoverR. When activated, the user has the opportunity to cut certain frequencies. Even smooth adjustment of the cutoff frequency is possible! All this allows you to adjust the purchased device specifically for your speaker system. Of course, the adventure of a person who needs to choose an amplifier does not end there. In fact, this is a much more serious topic, requiring a huge number of pages of text. But if several bears ran over your ears, then you don’t have much sense in reading such material. Instead, it’s much easier to browse our selection of the best amps. Which, by the way, even included portable models, the existence of which was impossible to imagine just ten years ago.

Rating of the best amplifiers

Nomination Place Name Price

Best preamps

one

Rotel RC-1572

81 890 ₽

2

YAMAHA WXC-50

29 140 ₽

The best headphone amplifiers

one

Sennheiser GSX 1200 PRO

23 990 ₽

2

Fiio Q3

12 990 ₽

3

SteelSeries GameDAC

14 990 ₽

The best power amplifiers

one

Audiolab 8300XP

143 082 ₽

2

Rotel RB-1552 MkII

72 900 ₽

3

Parasound 275 v.2

68 990 ₽

Best preamps

Rotel RC-1572

Rating: 4.9

Rotel RC-1572

A good option for those people who need not only a full-fledged power amplifier, but also a preamplifier. The device is painted in silver or black, and it is capable of processing sounds in the frequency range from 10 Hz to 100 kHz. This is what the AKM AK4452 digital-to-analog converter does here. According to buyers, this model adds depth to the sound. In this case, it is not necessary to use a balanced connection and look for expensive wires.

The device comes with a remote control. It can really come in handy, because the preamplifier is ready to work with numerous equipment almost simultaneously. In particular, there are two coaxial and optical audio connectors. This model also received an XLR connector and a LAN port. Not forgotten by the manufacturer and a pair of USB-connectors. Finally, someone will use the usual RCA jacks, which are also not lacking here. And there is also a built-in Bluetooth module, supplemented by support for the aptX codec.

Since this is by no means the cheapest model, it should not be surprising that all components were created from high-quality materials. As a result, the manufacturer managed to achieve an almost perfect signal-to-noise ratio. This suggests that the preamp will allow you to enjoy hi-res music (up to 32bit/384kHz if you don’t use the aforementioned coaxial and optical inputs).

Advantages

  • Built-in Bluetooth;

  • The insides are made from the finest materials;

  • Wide frequency range;

  • A huge number of connectors;

  • There is a remote control;

  • Convenient control using the front panel;

  • The minimum level of distortion.

Flaws

  • Rarely found on sale;

  • High price.

YAMAHA WXC-50

Rating: 4.8

YAMAHA WXC-50

Yamaha knows a lot about music. It’s no surprise that the Japanese have many fans who regularly buy its products – speakers, soundbars and, of course, power amplifiers. A model called YAMAHA WXC-50 is a preamplifier. It is usually purchased in order to complement the receiver, acoustics and any sound source – for example, a Blu-ray player. If you look at the case, the presence of an external antenna immediately catches your eye. This alone indicates that the preamplifier supports network services. Indeed, the aforementioned design element is designed to make the Wi-Fi module more stable, so that you can, for example, listen to Internet radio or start streaming via DLNA technology. It will also contribute to high-quality signal reception via Bluetooth.

The main advantage of this model is the very low harmonic content. This parameter here does not exceed 0.003%! Also, the device is ready to please with an optimal signal-to-noise ratio (112 dB). Everything is in order with the two-channel preamplifier and with the rest of the technical characteristics. For example, the reproducible frequency range should suit not only a person, but also some kind of supernatural mind, because it starts at 10 Hz and ends at 80 kHz. The music lover will also be pleased with the output impedance equal to 1 kOhm.

You can control the device using the supplied remote control. To make it work, an external IR sensor is connected to the preamplifier. Then it remains only to place it anywhere in your room.

As for the connectors present here, the Japanese manufacturer tried to squeeze the maximum out of the relatively compact size. If Wi-Fi does not suit you for some reason, the Ethernet port will come to the rescue. Also, the device received a full-size USB-connector. The inputs also include a trigger and a line jack. But most of all, of course, there are outputs: this is optical, and coaxial, and a trigger, and PreAmp, and even a separate subwoofer connector.

Advantages

  • Supplied with remote control;

  • Built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modules;

  • There is an external antenna;

  • Supports some network services;

  • A large number of different connectors;

  • Low harmonics;

  • Wide range of reproducible frequencies.

Flaws

  • High price;

  • No balanced output;

  • The setup is by no means easy.

The best headphone amplifiers

Sennheiser GSX 1200 PRO

Rating: 4.9

Sennheiser GSX 1200 PRO

One of the most stylish amplifiers among those designed to connect headphones. Such a device is often bought by owners of computers that do not include a good sound card. And certainly this is the best option for the owner of a laptop. With such a small device, you can finally find out exactly what your full-size headphones are capable of. In this case, you do not need a separate outlet, as the amplifier is powered by a USB interface. Therefore, he will have enough energy provided by the same laptop.

Sennheiser GSX 1200 PRO helps not only when listening to music, but also in games. The fact is that they use the 7.1 virtual surround sound algorithm. If you have at your disposal not the cheapest headphones, then you will definitely hear where exactly the enemy is coming from. I am glad that the manufacturer offers many adjustments. In particular, sounds from the game and voice chat are separately configured here. And in an esports tournament, you can combine up to eight amplifiers into one network so that all settings are synchronized. By the way, among the adjustments is the volume balance of the rear and front speakers, which is also important.

The corresponding software was created for both Windows and MacOS. This means that the Sennheiser GSX 1200 PRO can be bought even by the owner of a MacBook. If we talk about the connectors present here, then there is no need to wait for some kind of revelation from the amplifier. Since this model is not the first freshness, it uses a miniUSB port, which will cause some inconvenience. Also among the outputs there are 3.5 mm “jacks” needed to connect headphones, a microphone and speakers. There are also separate 2.5mm connectors for chat cables (one of them is included).

Advantages

  • Several devices can be combined into a chat system;

  • Supports virtual surround sound;

  • Various sound adjustments are available;

  • Stylish design;

  • There is a display

  • A very large number of 3.5 mm connectors;

  • Works great with any headphones.

Flaws

  • Uses obsolete mini-USB;

  • The cost will not suit everyone.

Fiio Q3

Rating: 4.8

FIIO Q3

An excellent headphone amplifier based on the AK4462 digital-to-analogue converter. The device has a compact size and the presence of a low-pass filter. It is also one of the few amplifiers of this kind, the manufacturer of which remembered that modern smartphones are less and less equipped with the usual 3.5 mm audio jack. The buyer is waiting for a very rich equipment. In particular, he will receive a number of adapters, thanks to which the amplifier can be connected to an iPhone, USB Type-C, and a standard mini-jack. And there is also a cable for the charger, a pair of rubber rings (allow you to attach the device to your smartphone) and a modest drawstring pouch, necessary for the safe storage of the amplifier.

The body of the device is made of metal. The side faces turned out to be rounded, so you won’t find any controls or interfaces on them – the whole thing is placed on the lower and upper ends. To charge this model, USB Type-C is used, which indicates its modernity. Next to this port are a gain button and a bass boost control. There is also a lever, thanks to which you can activate charging from your smartphone. On the upper side, there are many musical elements. These are balanced connectors 2.5 and 4.4 mm, 3.5 mm input and output, as well as a volume control. The last structural element simultaneously acts as a switch.

It is almost impossible to find fault with such an amplifier. From him you get exactly what you expect, buying a device for a lot of money. One can only complain that there is no separate line input. Since its role is played by a 3.5 mm jack, when using the DAC in amplifier mode, you will not be able to use a device with unbalanced headphones.

If we talk about sound, the low frequencies are natural, but with a slightly increased weight. In the middle frequencies, the increase is almost not felt, and even an experienced audiophile will not be able to find fault with high frequencies at all. In a word, the Fiio Q3 amplifier will definitely allow expensive headphones to reveal themselves in all their glory.

Advantages

  • Compact dimensions;

  • Complete with everything you need;

  • A very large number of connectors;

  • Works from the built-in accumulator;

  • Huge number of certifications;

  • Convenient volume control.

Flaws

  • Lacks a separate line input;

  • Not many settings;

  • Short cables for connecting to a smartphone.

SteelSeries GameDAC

Rating: 4.6

SteelSeries GameDAC

This is perhaps the smallest headphone amplifier. At least among those that are capable of producing high-quality sound. The device does not take up much space on the table. But what can I say, for someone it may even get lost from this. However, in such a miniature size lies a drawback. This model does not have its own battery. For it to work, you need to connect to a USB port on your computer. This is probably the main method of using such an amplifier – the device is designed to make game battles a little more interesting. It is not surprising that most often SteelSeries GameDAC is sold not separately, but together with full-size headphones from the same company.

The ESS Saber 9018 is used here as a DAC. Nothing particularly impressive should be expected from it. This chip has a sampling frequency of 96 kHz, and its bit depth is 24 bits. The electronics used here is enough to connect headphones with a resistance of 16 to 80 ohms. This means that the product allows you to play comfortably even in overhead models that completely cover your ears. Buyers have no complaints about the frequency range either. One gets the impression that the numbers declared by the manufacturer (5 Hz – 40 kHz) are correct. And this suggests that everything depends solely on the quality of the implementation of the speakers in your headphones.

Volume control here is carried out with a wheel. It has a ribbed surface, so there will be no problems even if your fingers sweat in the heat of the game. As for the interfaces, such a compact device could not fit a lot of them. The required minimum is declared – this is a line-out, a smartphone connector, USB Type B and an optical audio input. You can also find a 3.5mm headphone jack on the plastic case. For many of our readers, this will be enough. Only the price will upset them. If you buy a device along with headphones, then the purchase may seem profitable. But if you take it separately, then the cost begins to scare.

Advantages

  • Modest size and weight;

  • Can be connected to a computer or smartphone;

  • Convenient volume control;

  • There is an optical audio input.

Flaws

  • Few settings;

  • I would like more connectors;

  • Not the most popular type of USB interface;

  • Requires power supply;

  • High price.

The best power amplifiers

Audiolab 8300XP

Rating: 4.9

AUDIOLAB 8300XP

Great two channel power amplifier. There is nothing superfluous on its front panel. Here you will not find any display or controls – even the power button is almost invisible. This allows you to hide the device in any interior. But in no case do not put something else on it – the top panel has a lot of ventilation holes, and they must receive a fresh flow of air. Another thing to note is the existence of two color variants of the Audiolab 8300XP: white and black.

This amplifier has a semiconductor circuitry. Since it belongs to the highest price segment, it is unlikely that the buyer will be able to find fault with the lack of power. The manufacturer claims 230 W with a resistance of 4 ohms. And 140 watts at twice the resistance. This is more than enough to “pump” the most serious acoustics. Even more gratifying is that the amplifier introduces virtually no distortion. This is evidenced by at least the declared harmonic coefficient – it is 0.003%. Tests by experts who ate a dog during tests of Hi-Fi technology show that the numbers are indeed true.

Of course, all the most important connectors here are gold-plated. And there are a lot of nests here. Perhaps most often Audiolab 8300XP buyers use the balanced input. However, someone connects a sound source using a more familiar line input. There are also triggers and PreAmp. The acoustics are connected using the screw method – the most reliable, and in which the chances of losing part of the signal are reduced to zero.

The device uses a built-in power supply. However, you should not be afraid of this, since it is separated from the semiconductors responsible for sound by a huge amount of materials. In a word, any interference is excluded.

Advantages

  • High power;

  • Weight does not exceed 9.5 kg;

  • There is nothing superfluous on the front panel;

  • There is a balanced input;

  • Superbly implemented circuitry;

  • There are two color options.

Flaws

  • Very high cost.

Rotel RB-1552 MkII

Rating: 4.8

Rotel RB-1552 MkII

This stereo power amplifier should please any music lover. The total power of both its channels reaches 260 watts. This means that even very large front speakers can be connected to it. It is also difficult to find fault with the appearance of the device. The case is made of metal, which pleasantly cools the hand when feeling. There is traditionally nothing superfluous on the front panel here – the buyer will find only the power button and the ventilation grill. And the manufacturer’s logo, of course.

This model is designed to output sound to Hi-Fi equipment. Ideally, the load should be 8 ohms, it is for this parameter that the declared power is indicated. On the rear panel of the device, you can find a pair of screw connectors. This means that acoustics can be connected to the amplifier according to the Bi-wiring scheme. And the Rotel RB-1552 MkII will please you with balanced inputs. There are, of course, the usual RCA connectors. This means that you will definitely not have any problems connecting any Blu-ray player to organize a home theater.

The gain of this model reaches 26.5 dB. To achieve this figure, the device consumes approximately 400 watts of electricity. The frequency range of the Rotel RB-1552 MkII goes into space – it starts at 4 Hz and ends at 100 kHz. Therefore, the sound quality will depend solely on the capabilities of the acoustics you purchased. This is also evidenced by the harmonic coefficient, which here does not even reach 0.03%.

If you remove the metal case from the device, you can see the high quality of the printed circuit boards. Also, expensive bipolar transistors are used here. All of them are connected in parallel to each other. Finally, everything is in order with the connectors – they are securely soldered and gilded.

Advantages

  • There is no forced cooling;

  • There are balanced inputs;

  • The front panel has no extra elements;

  • You can connect speakers according to the Bi-Wiring scheme;

  • The amplifier turned out to be durable;

  • Built-in toroidal transformer.

Flaws

  • The cost will not suit everyone;

  • Weight reaches a decent 14.3 kg.

Parasound 275 v.2

Rating: 4.7

PARASOUND 275 V.2

A rather unusual power amplifier, which turned out to be wide, but very low. Despite its belonging to the High End class, it is able to boast by no means an exorbitant price tag. Mostly people buy it to create a home theater. The device copes with this task without any difficulties. The good news is that it practically does not heat up, and its design allows you to place the amplifier next to a nice Blu-ray player. The device is powered by a toroidal transformer.

Ideally, such an amplifier should be in a small room. This is evidenced by its power, which is 75 watts per channel with a resistance of 8 ohms. If the load is half as much, then the power will already reach 125 watts. Since a high-quality discrete circuit is used here, you can count on a minimum admixture of noise. At the same time, the amplifier turned out to be durable, since a DC servo circuit and a relay protection circuit are used inside.

On the rear panel of the device there is a very large number of connectors, which are coated with 24 carat gold. Among the inputs are RCA and trigger. As for the outputs, here you can find four acoustic pairs, RCA and, again, a trigger. Only XLR connectors may not be enough for someone. It is possible that they simply did not have enough space – the amplifier turned out to be painfully low.

Advantages

  • High level of reliability;

  • Stylish design;

  • A large number of connectors;

  • Optimal signal-to-noise ratio;

  • Connectors have high-quality gilding;

  • Built-in toroidal transformer.

Flaws

  • The harmonic coefficient is still not prohibitively low;

  • The cost was still high.