If you're listening to audio from loudspeakers, it's practically guaranteed that there is a power amplifier in the audio signal chain. If you can't see the amplifier unit, it's probably built into the active speaker. If the speaker is passive, it will require a power amplifier. This article is about the latter of the two cases.
The power amplifier(s) of an audio setup is essential in getting the best results. Choosing the right amplifier for your loudspeakers and overall sound system is a big decision. There are so many options out there when it comes to choosing a power amplifier. In this article, we'll talk about the best and most prominent brands/manufacturers to look out for when choosing the best power amp for your setup.
The Top 11 Best Power Amplifier Brands Are:
- Crown Audio
- NAD Electronics
- Cambridge Audio
- Rega Research
- Pass Labs
- Linear Tube Audio
In this article, we'll discuss each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 11 best power amp brands. For each brand, I'll share the country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a best-selling or flagship model, and a link to the official website.
Related My New Microphone articles:
• Full List: Audio Amplifier Brands/Manufacturers (+ Examples)
• Receiver Or Amplifier: Which One Should I Buy?
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Crown Audio is an industry-leading amplifier manufacturer. The company designs and produces amps for cinema venues, installed sites, touring rigs, portable PA and commercial audio.
With a passion for innovation and decades of experience, Crown Audio has made a name for itself as a go-to brand for power amplifiers in home, commercial and large PA applications.
Crown's philosophy is to design, build and service each of its products as if they were the customer. This additional care and attention to detail have been paramount in Crown's longevity as one of the best power amplifier manufacturers on the global market.
Noteworthy amplifier: Crown Audio XLi 3500
Niles Audio has been at the forefront of audio equipment innovation since its early days in the late 1970s. The company made a near-immediate impact on the industry with its development of the home audio speaker selection control systems.
Since then, Niles has become somewhat synonymous with high-end home audio solutions. This is apparent in their incredible home entertainment power amplifiers, many of which integrate with lighting and climate control.
So, if you're looking for a power amplifier that will fit your new home theatre or entertainment room, Niles will more than likely have what you're after (and probably more)!
Noteworthy amplifier: Niles SI-2150
McIntosh is one of if not the top manufacturers of tube amplifiers and is certainly deserving of a spot on this list. The company also designs excellent solid-state models that maintain the high level of quality expected from McIntosh products.
With well over half a century of experience, McIntosh has made a name for itself as a manufacturer of some of the finest quality home audio products in the world. The company has set the standard very high for performance, reliability and service.
Related article: Do Amplifiers Improve Sound Quality?
McIntosh spends extensive time conceptualizing and designing their power amplifiers to be the best they can be with the customer in mind. They constantly push the envelope to exceed their own standards, and this dedication can be heard for itself by simply listening to one of their many power amplifiers.
Noteworthy amplifier: McIntosh MC152
NAD Electronics is a well-respected manufacturer of amplifiers, turntables, DACs, headphones, and more. The company's affordable, high-quality amplifiers have made them a favourite of many Hi-Fi fanatics, and their power amplifiers have put them on this list!
In fact, the NAD 3020, produced in the 1970s, is one of the best-selling hi-fi amplifiers ever to hit the shelves. This blockbuster of a power amplifier gave NAD its name as a high-end manufacturer with affordably priced products.
Since then, the company has continued on its path of excellence, producing many more amplifiers for the audiophile's home sound systems.
Noteworthy amplifier: NAD D 3020 V2
Anthem designs its products to give users the most advanced tools available to easily connect, control, optimize and power all of their entertainment systems. The power amplifier is at the heart of many systems, and Anthem has a fantastic selection of high-quality amps to choose from.
Anthem's expertise in the field has allowed them to constantly innovate their designs to keep up with the times with plenty of proprietary technology to include in their amplifiers. Their power amplifiers are top-level in terms of reliability, functionality and performance-to-price.
All Anthem amplifiers are engineered and built in-house with hand-selected components and incredible attention to detail.
The result is a boutique-like performance at a large-scale manufacturer's price.
Noteworthy amplifier: Anthem STR
Cambridge Audio is another excellent power amp manufacturer that prides itself on giving listeners the best possible sound at the fairest possible price. This mission is apparent in all of Cambridge Audio's equipment, including, of course, its power amplifiers.
This award-winning company is dedicated to providing powerful amplifiers with incredible detail. Amps that can be turned way up without losing any balance in the sound.
You can be sure that a Cambridge Audio power amplifier will provide an unadulterated and true representation of what the artists intended, only louder! This puts them in the top 11 best power amplifier brands on the market.
Noteworthy amplifier: Cambridge Audio Azur 851W
Rega Research is probably best known for its turntables. However, this company is also a manufacturer of fantastic Hi-Fi audio equipment, including power amplifiers.
Rega has built up a respectable range of power amplifiers designed to integrate perfectly into any Hi-Fi audio system.
Their power amps are designed and built with practicality and sonic perfection in mind and tend to punch well above their price class.
Noteworthy amplifier: Rega Osiris
Parasound is a top choice for consumers looking for professional sound in power amplifiers. The company is absolutely devoted to producing equipment with top-tier sound at affordable price points.
Parasound puts each of its power amplifiers through extensive testing to ensure only the best of the best make it to market. Not only do we get a power amp at an incredible deal, but we also get a piece of equipment that will last a long time in our sound setup.
Uncompromised quality and customer service (even post-sale) are at the heart of the Parasound philosophy, giving them a spot on the list of the top power amplifier brands in the world.
Noteworthy amplifier: Parasound New Classic 275 V2
Schiit is a well-respected American-made audio equipment manufacturer that has impressive power amplifiers in its product selection.
Every Schiit product is carefully designed and manufactured in California, and all outsourced parts are produced to the highest standards in the United States.
All Schiit power amplifiers are designed for longevity and ruggedness which is rarely seen in the life of a power amplifier. This over-designing, if you will, has made Schiit amplifiers some of the longest-lasting on the market.
Each power amplifier is built by hand and required to pass intense testing before ever being put on the market. The customer service and support are also top-notch to ensure the best ongoing results possible with the purchase of a Schiit amplifier.
Noteworthy amplifier: Schiit Ragnarok
Pass Laboratories is one of the best in the business when it comes to designing and manufacturing solid-state amplifiers.
Their Class-A and Class-AB power amps are among the best in the world and have placed Pass on this list!
A great deal of effort, skill and innovation go into each Pass power amplifier. These attributes are shown in the wonderful-sounding units with the Pass logo. The same amps that are enjoyed by audiophiles around the world.
This brand is committed to improving each and every day, innovating its amplifier technology in doing so. The results are incredible-sounding amps and, more importantly, happy customers.
Noteworthy amplifier: Pass Labs X350.8
Linear Tube Audio
Linear Tube Audio is a high-fidelity audio manufacturer with the mission of bringing life back to music with affordable products. Their esteemed power amplifiers suggest this mission is continually accomplished.
Each and every LTA amplifier is designed with ZOTL technology. ZOTL is a David Berning patent with a complex design that effectively combines “tube tone” with “solid-state detail”. Since the debut of ZOTL technology, LTA has been the only company able to manufacture the Berning patent at a commercial scale successfully.
This unique technology doesn't only make LTA power amplifiers unique, but it also produces incredible sonic performance in every one of LTA's power amps.
The completely American-made power amps of LTA are among the best in the world, delivering tube-like character with the precision of solid-state electronics with the help of the amazing ZOTL technology.
Noteworthy amplifier: Linear Tube Audio ZOTL40 Reference
- Polk Audio
- Zanden Audio Systems
- Zesto Audio
- Triode Corporation
- PS Audio
- Gamut Audio
Choosing the best power amplifier for your car, home sound system, or pro audio application can be a complicated assignment. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Power Amplifier Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help choosing the best power amp for your applications.