After reading so many positive reviews about this amp I had very high hopes. While the build quality is generally good (except the cheap binding posts and AC cord) I found the sound to be very thin and tinny, even with the analog and source direct modes enabled. The latter actually made the unit sound bassless and hollow, and the midrange sounded noticeably veiled and distant no matter what the settings were at. Unfortunately, the tone controls are very sensitive and did little to help improve the overall sound. Crutchfield's customer service is excellent so I decided to send the unit back for a refund after a couple nights of letting the unit settle in. There is definitely something to be said about the sound and build quality of 1970's era solid state amps compared to today's mid-fi offerings.
Pros: Good build quality
Cons: Extremely veiled midrange; cheap binding posts and AC cordt
5 of 5 found this helpful
Great sounding integrated amplifier, especially with cds. Was building a bedroom stereo setup that I wanted music to be a focus but also needed to be able to pull av service. Opted out of stereo receivers because most are physically bigger than I wanted and don't carry any particular advantage over an integrated IMHO. I hooked it up to a pair of Klipsch RP-150M's with a turntable, blu-ray and a tv. Streaming spotify through the tv connected roku over optical and blu-rays sounded clear but it stood out playing cds. Vinyl also sounded good but I'm not super picky with vinyl. I just don't play cd's as much as I used to and went with another integrated that handled the streaming options slightly better, while also having BT and hdmi arc for av sources.
Pros: Great with CD's The knobs and dials are delightful, almost kept it just because of this Compact enough for most setups No obnoxious lights
Cons: Not as impressive with other digital formats Feels stuck between generations No front face display indicating volume level
1 of 2 found this helpful
The Denon PMA coupled with KEF LS50's prove, "You don't need no million-dollar hifi's, just get a little integrated and some good British two-way speakers." Its 50 watts are better than the 80 of my old Denon DRA-395 receiver: the bass is solid and well defined, voices have more body and presence, the treble is detailed without any cringing sizzle. The tonality is spot on and natural: I attend the Toledo, Detroit and Cleveland Orchestras and hear no unpleasant surprises from the PMA. (Greta van Fleet benefits from this excellence as well.) The headphone stage lets my low-impedance but efficient HiFiMan 400S sound as enjoyable as the KEFs. Its DAC is an improvement over my 2013 CD/DVD/Netflix box. The MM phono stage has no trouble driving my 2.1 mV Soundsmith Carmen cartridge, and it is good enough to detail the sonic differences between the Carmen and my Grado Reference Master. I look forward to trying the MC stage with a Denon true-mono cartridge. The Analog Mode and Source Direct (i.e, tone defeat) further demonstrate that Denon has used their technical skills to craft a special component with musical sensitivities.
Cons: The remote doesn't have enough PMA-specific buttons.
5 of 5 found this helpful
I conducted considerable research before making this purchase, and I could not be happier with the decision I made. The build quality of the Denon is excellent, the front and back panel layout and connections are logical and accessible, and the sound quality from the integrated amplifier is most impressive. I'd also like to address two concerns that were particular to me but that others may share. The first has to do with whether 50 watts at 8 ohms (it delivers 80 watts at 4 ohms) is underpowered to drive tower speakers. I also purchased Polk RtiA7 speakers, and the Denon drives them easily. The second concern I had revolved around the lack of a subwoofer out. After reading about my options, I decided simply to connect speaker terminal B on the back of the Denon to the speaker ins on a Polk PSW110 powered subwoofer (also purchased from Crutchfield). I then activated both speakers A and B on the front panel of the Denon and, once again, the sound proved to be excellent. The bottom line is that if you seek a mid-priced 2.1 system for music, the Denon PMA-800NE should be among the integrated amplifiers you give serious consideration. I have been happy with the way the Denon handles my turntable (it has the option of selecting MM or MC cartridges, and the Analog and Direct source options give you the ability to bypass all of the digital circuitry). The latter can also be implemented when using a cd player. The optical in works great, too, and is perfect for Airplay. Thumbs up!
Pros: Front and back panel layout and connections; ease of use; audio quality; ability to choose MM or MC phono cartridges; Analog and Direct modes
4 of 4 found this helpful
Denon has always been one of my favorite audio manufacturers since the 80s (I still have - and use - one of their terrific cassette decks) but of late, I had begun to wonder why they'd abandoned the American market when it came to stereo components that didn't involve video playback (they make integrated amps for the Japanese market but the voltage isn't compatible for the US and they live a short life). My NAD 7155 receiver had seen its day (a story that only angers me so we won't go there) and I began the process of looking for a replacement. Almost pulled the trigger on the Marantz 5005 but low and behold, this magnificent beast showed up on the Crutchfield site and it took about 5 minutes of research and conversation with Doc before I made the purchase. I can't imagine how much better this unit will sound after the "burn in" period, but it sparkles with detail and clarity already. It drives a pair of vintage ADS L520s and they sound more spacial than ever. Attention to detail has always been one of Denon's strong suits and being able to turn off all digital functions in favor of going all analog coupled with the source direct feature, brings out nuances in the music that previously were hidden. Mind you, the NAD was by no means a sonic slouch, but this Denon is flat out fantastic.
Pros: Source direct feature makes cds sound as they were intended.
Cons: Wished it had come out prior to being hosed by an awful stereo repairman.
16 of 16 found this helpful