Best stereo amplifiers

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They're not as simple as they used to be, after all. The days of analogue inputs and outputs plus speaker terminals (and that's your lot) are long gone.

With laptops, smartphones and streaming services becoming ever-more popular music sources, the stereo amp has moved with the times. Many now contain built-in digital-to-analogue converters, USB connections and wireless streaming skills as standard.

Here are the best you can buy, whatever your budget.

MORE: Best amplifier deals

Under £250

Onkyo A-9010

This is your best bet for a tight budget. It boasts agility and an impeccable sense of rhythm, making it arguably the most entertaining affordable amp around.

SPECIFICATIONS

Remote control | Phono stage | Headphone output

Reasons to Buy
Entertaining and energetic presentation
Fine rhythmic drive and well-developed dynamics
Articulate and expressive midrange
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this price

Under £500

Marantz PM6006

Latest in a long line of outstanding affordable Marantz amps, and getting more affordable by the day. 

SPECIFICATIONS

24-bit/192kHz support | 6.3mm headphone output | MM phono stage

Reasons to Buy
Smooth, balanced and insightful delivery
Dynamically expressive
Phono stage
Decent set of digital connections
Reasons to Avoid
No USB input

Under £750

Rega Brio

The revamped Brio is an eminently talented amplifier, with bags of detail, precision and dynamics.

SPECIFICATIONS

50W per channel | moving-magnet phono stage | 6.3mm headphone jack

Reasons to Buy
Detail, precision and dynamics in spades
Agile and rhythmic presentation
Excellent build
Good headphone output
Reasons to Avoid
No digital inputs

Under £1000

Rega Elex-R

At double the price, the Rega Elex-R would still impress, thanks to its level of insight, precision and agility. At this price, it's an absolute bargain.

SPECIFICATIONS

Remote control | Phono stage | Pre-amp output

Reasons to Buy
An agile and articulate performer that gets straight to the heart of the music
Fine rhythmic ability
Good phono stage
Solid build and good finish
Reasons to Avoid
Remote handset could be classier

Under £2000

Moon 240i

Meaty, beaty, big and bouncy - as a famous man once sang.

SPECIFICATIONS

Class A/B amplifier | 50W per channel | High-res asynchronous DAC (32-bit/384kHz) | USB type B input | MM phono input

Reasons to Buy
Smooth, subtle and dynamic
Rhythmically cohesive
Agile, precise timing
Excellent build and design
Looks and sounds like a much pricier product
Reasons to Avoid
Some might prefer a more forward presentation

Under £3000

Roksan Blak integrated amplifier

Compatible with all sorts of systems and capable of improving all kinds of musical genres, the Roksan is a true all-rounder. A worthy investment.

SPECIFICATIONS

150W per channel | Built-in DAC | aptX Bluetooth

Reasons to Buy
Big, powerful and enjoyable sound
Insight and refinement
Feature list
Solid build
Reasons to Avoid
Some eccentricities in use
No coax or optical inputs

Money-no-object

Luxman L-509X

It's got the build. Better, it's got the VU meters. Best, it sounds superb.

SPECIFICATIONS

MM/MC phono stage | 2 x 120W per channel | Tone controls

Reasons to Buy
Detailed, cohesive and powerful performance lacking nothing in subtlety
Plenty of power
Control and composure
Excellent build and finish
Generous range of features
Reasons to Avoid
Headphone output could be better