2013 TAS Editors' Choice Awards: Integrated Amplifiers Under $1000

Equipment report
Integrated amplifiers
2013 TAS Editors' Choice Awards: Integrated Amplifiers Under $1000

NAD C 316/C 326 BEE
The entry-level C 316 is still the go-to amp for audiophile newbies who crave sonic neutrality, good power output, nice tactile feel, and NAD’s characteristic quality-control. Looking for a little more oomph? The 50Wpc C 326 will make BEElievers of even the most jaded audiophiles.

NuForce DDA-100
The DDA-100 was made for audiophiles who need a moderately priced onebox solution to go from any conventional digital source directly to a pair of loudspeakers. If your speakers are at least 88dB sensitive and you can work around the DDA- 100’s ergonomic limitations, you may find that the NuForce is simply the best-integrated amplifier you’ve heard. And for those readers who still firmly believe that all digital amplifiers are for someone else’s system, listening to the DDA-100 will be, as it was for SS, a revelation.

Jolida Glass FX-10
This beautiful display-box of an amp is a great music-maker, capable of wonderfully rich yet nuanced playback of all genres. Its soundstage is deep and wide; its build-quality and ergonomics are terrific; and it sounds even better if you upgrade the tubes and wires. Although the FX-10 outputs only ten watts, those watts are mighty mighty!

The 80Wpc C 356 BEE borrows technologies from NAD’s Master Series M3 dual-mono integrated. Its tonal balance leans slightly to the darker side, bringing a bit of extra wood to strings and burnish to brass. The soundstage is large, with a good sense of air around instruments, and a nice sense of depth.

Rega Brio-R
There’s a lot to be said for an amplifier that doesn’t sound conspicuously solid-state or tube but suggests the strengths of both. The Brio-R impressed with a forthright balance of weight, tonal density, and authority. Particularly well suited for smaller floorstanders and compact speakers of medium-high sensitivity.

Marantz PM8004
With 70Wpc, the PM8004 is tonally neutral, clean, clear, transparent, and dynamic into low‑efficiency speakers. The preamp section features an excellent moving-magnet phonostage and headphone amplifier, and the circuit has an unusually high number of discrete parts (rather than ICs). High value.

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