This amp can perform miracles with less frenetic genres, but isn't built for anger
Bass lacks presence and some definition
'Japan's oldest hi-fi company' is how Denon likes to style itself, even though it's probably better-known for its home cinema products nowadays.
Like the brand's multichannel amps, the PMA-SA1 is built like the proverbial outhouse. In fact, one gets the impression from the satisfying heft of the casing that no expense has been spared in its construction.
Impressive looking innards
Removing the lid reveals top-quality components. The volume pot is particularly impressive, being the sort of thing you'd typically see in kit costing 10k or more. As is common in high-end amps, there's no remote.
Power is a fairly conservative 50w per channel, which might go to explain the lack of a room-engulfing sound. If you play Foo Fighters' In Your Honour, you'll be impressed with the tight timing and stunning detail. Matched carefully say, with £2200 Wilson Benesch Square Two speakers, the amp sings.
The problem is lower down: a lack of definition and punch in the bass makes the Fighters' rock outings sound a little lightweight. However, the band's acoustic stuff shows just how sweet and sensitive the PM1-SA1 can be.