We celebrate two integrated amplifiers under £500 for the first time in years as Rega, Marantz, Naim and Cambridge Audio all pick up What Hi-Fi? Awards in 2020.
This year’s What Hi-Fi? Awards, in association with Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, is the 38th incarnation, and it is proof the audiophile industry is still going strong as we hand trophies to six stereo amplifiers – one more than we did last year.
There are two new entries in our most affordable categories, with the Rega io named best stereo amp under £400, and the Marantz PM6007 (above) taking over from its predecessor and picking up the Award for best amp priced between £400 and £600.
The former is a 30W-per-channel, entry-level amp that borrows the power amplifier and phono stage from the Brio – its elder, more expensive sibling that itself has a mantelpiece full of Awards – and cans that signature Rega sound into a mightily affordable all-analogue unit.
Marantz tweaks its multi-Award-winning line, meanwhile, making the PM6007 an even clearer and punchier performer than ever before.
There’s a brand new champion right at the top end, too. The Rega Aethos, which fittingly we reviewed and fell in love with on Valentine’s Day, is 2020’s best value amplifier costing more than £2500.
The Aethos (as seen at the top of this page) retains all the verve of the company’s established affordable integrated amplifiers, but adds a huge dose of extra clarity, precision and muscle to the recipe.
And complementing these three new faces are some familiar ones that fit in the price categories in between. That includes another double header from Cambridge Audio, which picks up the Awards for best stereo amp between £600 and £800 with its CXA61 model, and for the best between £800 and £1500 with the CXA81 (above).
Above those is the Naim Nait XS 3, our champion costing between £1500 and £2500, whose dynamic, insightful performance and potential for future upgrade makes it a superlative option to last a lifetime.
Even after all that, there is of course the small matter of which of these six amplifiers will pick up the prestigious Product of the Year Award. The Cambridge Audio CXA81 took the title last year, but you will have to wait until we announce this year’s winners on Thursday 5th November to find out whether it has been beaten this time around.
The special What Hi-Fi? Awards issue of the magazine will also go on sale as normal, in print and digital editions, on Friday 6th November.