|Overall||Amplifier||Audio features||Control||Extensive connection|
|Marantz PM8006||8||9||7||10||6||See price||21|
|Yamaha A-S1100||8||9||7||10||6||See price||4|
|Cambridge Audio Azur 851A||8||9||8||8||7||See price||8|
|Peachtree Audio nova150||6.6||10||6||0||8||See price||32|
|Peachtree Audio nova300||5.9||9||6||3||8||See price||2|
Stereo amplifiers nowadays are not as simple as before. The days when they were equipped only with analog inputs and a pair of speaker outputs have long passed.
It is the amplifier that allows the acoustics to give out the required watts and decibels, and if it is not originally built in somewhere (for example, if you already bought an AV receiver), then it would be wise to think about buying an integrated amplifier as a separate device, choosing it in terms of power, a set inputs and outputs, quality and, of course, budget.
The time has come to tell you about the best integrated amplifier under 3000. Amplifiers for real music lovers, without compromise, “the price/quality” but only quality. So which ones deserve the title of the best?
The amplifier with 105W (8 ohms) power output per channel has a basic solution to the amplifier circuit, unique technology of symmetrical power amplification with "floating" power sources developed by Yamaha specialists.
The use of output links with the same polarity on the positive and negative sides of the output stage, combined with a complete separation of the negative feedback circuit and the power supply into a total of four positive and negative sides of the left and right channels, provides a fully symmetrical push-pull operation mode of the output stage, and a completely "floating" power amplification circuit with respect to grounding eliminates any negative effect of small voltage fluctuations.
In addition, the output links consist of MOSFETs, providing a warm and natural sound. The use of such transistors having the same polarity on the positive and negative sides makes the completely symmetrical design even more perfect, eliminating deviations in sound quality due to different polarities. This is one of the main distinguishing features of a symmetrical power amplifier with “floating” power supplies, providing an excellent signal-to-noise ratio and sound field with extremely accurate localization of components.
This integrated amplifier under $3000, which is a one-stroke amplifier of a special design, provides excellent amplification of both half-waves of an analog audio signal from sources of all types (CD players, digital-to-analog converters, etc.) due to careful fine-tuning for optimal sound quality. Fully realizing the possibilities of single-cycle amplification, the A-S1100 clearly reveals the internal potential of the used audio components, including those made by other manufacturers.
This amplifier uses a fully discrete configuration of all stages of sound reinforcement using only carefully selected high-precision components from input to output. The slew rate of the audio signal is increased to provide a faster and more powerful response to high musical notes. In addition, tone control circuits can be turned off to activate a fully discrete configuration that bypasses the integrated circuit of an operational amplifier by simply setting the bass and treble tone controls to their center positions.
Due to the increased throughput of the high-current line (the cross-section of the cable core is increased to about 60% of the corresponding area of the A-S1000) and the use of 100% low-impedance circuits, including wire connections of the main ground points with screw terminals, the A-S1100 extremely efficiently drives loudspeakers speaker systems - the damping coefficient exceeds 250 (8 Ohms). In combination with a powerful power supply transformer equipped with an EI core, this design provides energetic and exciting bass reproduction.
The amplification scheme for a turntable consists of an MC preamplifier and a frequency corrector amplifier, each of which has a discrete configuration, which ensures rich sound with pronounced musicality when playing vinyl records with turntables with pickup heads of both types - MC (with a moving coil) and MM (with a movable magnet).
This integrated stereo amplifier under 3000 has accumulated many awards and industry honors along the way.
Previous Peachtree integrated amplifiers used a tube buffer, which has since been removed in the Nova flagship series to reduce distortion and signal to noise ratio. Another new update is the switch to their next-generation ICEpower Class D Amplifier Modules, which Peachtree (in my humble opinion) outperformed many Class A / B amplifiers in sound character and overall neutrality. The innovative and patented Hybrid Controlled Vibration Modulator (HCOM) is used to provide high performance, wide bandwidth, low noise, high stability, and simplified design.
The predominant sound quality of Class D amplifiers was completely successful and was undoubtedly recognized by Chooserator as an opportunity to compete with the best Class A / B amplifiers.
The current version of the Nova 300 includes compatibility with the ESS Reference 9018K2M Saber DAC 32-bit / 384 kHz PCM and 5.6 MHz DSD (Dual DSD). It is equipped with asynchronous USB, coaxial, and (2) optical inputs, and the iOS asynchronous input is designed for direct digital input from Apple Lightning devices - with exclusive Peachtree DyNEC technology (dynamic noise elimination circuit).
The board also has a phono input with a moving magnet and a discrete headphone amplifier with a high output. An optional Wi-Fi module is currently under development and does not ship with our sample. This should be a must for most enthusiasts, so if you already have this amplifier, get an update!
After the first installation of the Nova 300, the amplifier did something with my reference speakers, which was immediately noticeable, quickly identified, and extremely useful in some specific areas. Nova 300 very effectively controls the movement of the driver without sacrificing musicality. It is also very quiet, so the music sounds much higher than the noise level. In my first auditions, I was really amazed. I expected it to sound good, but I did not expect it to extract every ounce of good from these speakers.
As you can see, Nova 300 is pretty equipment. The sample I examined was fitted with a glossy dark finish in black mocha and a polished silver faceplate. The amplifier provides an incredible continuous power of 300W per channel under a load of 8 ohms and reaches a peak power of 450W at 4 ohms - this small “monster” will tame almost any speaker to which it is connected. Listening to this amplifier with three pairs of speakers clearly confirmed this!
However, it is more than just the power that puts this built-in amplifier far above everything else. This led to the fact that each speaker system seamlessly and surprisingly integrated with each test speaker and allowed it to demonstrate everything possible in its own reproduction of sound with natural beauty, which is quite rare for any amplifier, not to mention a device on such a price category.
To add, the Nova 300 includes a remote that is gratifyingly well thought out and an intuitive extra. It is a pure pleasure to use.