As a professional reviewer I have the great pleasure to audition many fine sounding pieces of equipment on an ongoing basis. These days I rarely get profoundly surprised when a new piece comes in for review. However, this is exactly what happened when the Audreal PA-20 Pure Class A Amplifier, which retails for less than $2K, took its place in my reference system for the reviewing process.
The first striking aspect of the Audreal PA-20 Amp is the quality of its build construction and physical appearance. The casework/heat sinks, along with the blue light front power meters look like amps that cost easily triple the price of PA-20. As we know looks are not everything, it’s the sonic performance that’s the most important. This is where the real profound surprise came when listening to the PA-20. The Audreal PA-20 offered the following sonic qualities:
1) The overall tone/timbres were silky and sweet which leads to a liquidity that allows you to relax and connect with the music in an emotional way.
2) This is one quiet amp that has a very low noise floor which leads to great transparency and micro-details delivered in a natural way, not in an analytical or hyper-detailed way.
3) The high frequencies of this amp are very airy, open & extended with just the right amount of body and decay.
4) The PA-20 produces a large layered sound stage with excellent location of individual players with excellent image density and air around them.
5) From the lower mid’s down to the lowest frequencies this amp delivered taut/accurate bass that controlled the two eight inch woofers of my Lawrence Audio Cello speakers with precision.
My system, when I’m not using tube amps, is powered by a pair of very highly regarded Pass Labs XA-60.5 class A Mono Blocks that retail for over 12K. The sonic performance of the Audreal PA-20 Amplifier was on par with the much more expensive pair of Pass Lab’s Mono Blocks! If you told me that the PA-20 retailed for five to seven thousand dollars based on physical appearance and most importantly it’s sonic performance I would still think you were getting a superlative sounding amp for that much larger sum of the money.
The Audreal PA-20 Amplifier is one very natural musical sounding solid state amplifier. When you figure in its build quality & performance and what this amp is sold for I believe it’s one of the greatest bargains on the market today. Highly recommended.
Terry London, Staff Reviewer: hometheaterreview.com