Best Audiophile Power Amplifiers Under $3,000

The heart and soul of any serious audiophile’s music or multichannel music/movie setup lies in the amplification.  The heavy lifting that an amp can or cannot do will make or break a system.  Today, there are many amplifiers out there that pretend to do the heavy lifting, but when they are connected to revealing and hard to drive speaker loads, they simply cry and give up.

Getting a great amp doesn’t need to cost $10,000 or more. Instead, there are a number of truly great amps that are reasonably affordable, especially if you can find them on the used market and save another 50%-70-% off.  

The Absolute Sound has compiled a list of their editor’s choice awards for power amps between the $1,000-$3,000 price range.  You can view the list here.  The list includes both solid state and Tube amps.

There are, however, two amplifiers that I’d add to the list and it’s the Emotiva XPR-2 (600 wpc stereo amp) and/or the XPR-1 (1,000 watt mono amp).  Both amplifiers have been getting absolutely rave reviews.  You can see the amps here.  I’m keeping an eye out on the Emotiva XPA-1L as well.  It’s a Class A amp that will run in Class A/B when more power demands.  There appear to have been some production issues that have now apparently been resolved.  I’m looking forward to seeing some reviews to see if this monoblock amp is really worth the $700 price tag ($1,400/pair).


  1. The Desktop Maraschino is pretty new, and definitely worth checking out! It's on Reviewed by Stereo Times, 6Moons, HiFiZine, and TONE Audio. Also on Audio Circle. Up to 800W/ch, near 120dB SNR, <0.002% THD+N. Black background, DC coupled (response down to 0 Hz), >100kHz bandwidth, on anti-vibration natural stone or aluminum base, Sorbothane(TM) feet, available DC_SNAKE, upgradeable external power supplies, monoblocks sold in pairs. That's compelling enough, right? How about "best sounding amp in the world?" according to customers?

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