Come together: Rogue amplifier fuses the best of old and new tech

The Rogue Audio Sphinx is a cool-running vacuum tube/Class D hybrid design, but it feels and acts like a classic 1980s high-end integrated amplifier, and that's a compliment. If you need Bluetooth or digital inputs, sorry, the Sphinx won't cut it -- check out the NAD D 3020. That NAD is wonderful, but it doesn't sound like a tube amp. The Sphinx is tonally rich and warm, it's a honey.

The Sphinx is rated at 100 watts per channel for 8 ohm speakers, 200 watts per for 4 ohm speakers. There's no way you … Read more

All-American beauty: Decware Zen Torii MKIV amplifier

Audiophiles love tube amplifiers; a sizable percentage of us own tube-based systems. It's easy to see why; tube amps look a lot more interesting than solid-state amps, and second, they sound different than solid-state. There's more character to the sound, and you can change the sound of a tube amp by swapping one brand of tubes for another. Sometimes a new $5 tube can light up your Wilco records in ways you never heard before.

Some tube amplifiers sound warm and rich, and some sound a lot like solid-state amps; Decware amps are right down the middle. The … Read more

Devialet's stunningly beautiful amplifiers at CES 2014

I reviewed the first Devialet back in 2010, and that advanced tech amplifier, the D-Premier, rocked the audiophile world. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Devialet is showing its next generation amps. There's the new flagship Devialet 240, along with the more affordable Devialet 170 and Devialet 110, which can either be placed on a table or vertically mounted flat on a wall.

Catch CNET's complete coverage of CES 2014

High-resolution music streaming from computers, smart phones, or tablets using any format up to 24 bit/192 kHz digital is possible. Rear panel connectivity features … Read more

Pass Labs unveils next generation amplifiers at CES 2014

Nelson Pass is one of America's leading amplifier designers, but he doesn't change his products all that often, the last time was in 2006, so when he does it's a big deal.

I was knocked out by one of Pass' earliest designs way back in the late 1970s, and over the decades he's always made some of the best sounding high-end amplifiers on the scene. His latest series of X.8 amps come in a variety of power ratings and configurations, but all share the same refinement and purity of sound that Pass Labs amps are … Read more

Rotel's stereo integrated amp is high-end but not absurdly high-priced

If you listen to more music than watch movies at home, a top-notch integrated stereo amplifier may be a better choice than an AV receiver. I've said that for years. But a lot of the better-sounding integrated amps are feature-challenged, and some offer nothing more than an input selector for analog sources and a volume control. Some don't even have a remote control. So I was happy to spend some quality time with Rotel's sweet-sounding, fully loaded RA-1570 amplifier.

The 17x5.8x13.75-inch component weighs a hefty 28.7 pounds. That's interesting because this 2x120 watt … Read more

Review: Audio Amplifier Free quickly boosts the sound of any audio or video file

Audio Amplifier Free will boost the volume of any audio or video file you load, but not by much. The program doesn't make it anywhere near as loud as you'd expect, and doesn't do much once you've boosted the audio. However, if you want a relatively universal audio boost for your music and movies, this is still probably the easiest way to get it.

The install process for Audio Amplifier Free takes only a few seconds, and even though the program is free, it doesn't come bundled with any additional or unwanted software. Though it … Read more

The best AV receiver alternative

Integrated amplifiers have been around for decades, but they've quietly become a viable alternative to AV receivers, thanks to TVs that now offer extensive switching capabilities and more integrated amps that include an optical audio input.

That's the context in which we looked at the NAD D 3020 ($500 street), along with several other integrated amplifiers that include an optical audio input. The D 3020 is the best of the bunch, with terrific sound quality, a solid feature set (including built-in Bluetooth) and a handsome, compact design. The D 3020 also sports a dedicated subwoofer output, making it … Read more

Twitter and CBS announce major content partnership

Twitter and CBS have signed a deal that will enable the TV network to embed video clips from a wide variety of its shows in its tweets.

According to TechCrunch, the deal to add CBS as a major partner in Twitter's Amplify program was announced at Advertising Week on Monday.

Under the Amplify program, which Twitter unveiled in May, users will see video clips from the social-networking company's partners, accompanied by short advertisements. Those tweeted videos tie in with TV programs from Amplify partners, as well as commercials. The Amplify partners, like CBS, will target their videos at … Read more

Do all amplifiers sound exactly the same?

The $25 Lepai LP2020+ integrated stereo amplifier plays exactly the same notes as a $42,000 D'Agostino Momentum amplifier. Exactly. The rhythms, melodies, and harmonies are all the same. Granted, the Momentum is considerably more powerful, so it can play louder, the bass will be more potent, the treble is clearer, and the stereo sound stage takes on an almost three-dimensional quality, but the notes, they're no different.

For me, the real difference between the two amps is how they translate music into sound. The emotional connection to the music is stronger through the D'Agostino Momentum; it'… Read more

A compact stereo amp with full-range sound

Integrated amplifiers have been around for decades, but they've quietly become a viable AV receiver alternative, thanks to TVs that now offer extensive switching capabilities and more integrated amps that include an optical audio input.

That's the context in which we looked at the Teac A-H01, along with several other integrated amplifiers with an optical audio input. The smallish A-H01 is particularly well-suited for typical home theater use, offering up plenty of power with excellent sound quality. Unlike many of its competitors, it has a dedicated subwoofer output, so you can connect a sub without much fuss. It … Read more