Denon PMA-50 Amplifier with DAC and Bluetooth
Denon is expanding into a new Hi-Fi series, and they’re starting with the PMA-50 Stereo Amplifier. This new Denon amp has been designed to satisfy serious Hi-Fi listeners who want a compact amplifier that still pays attention to quality—both in terms of build quality and sound reproduction. Make no mistake, the Denon PMA-50 amplifier is a “lifestyle” product—but at $599 and with 50 Watts per channel (into 4-ohms)—it’s no slouch. The Denon PMA-50 includes two optical and one coaxial digital input to legacy audio sources at respectable resolutions, but a USB-B input is where things get interesting. With that you can stream some serious high-resolution audio. If that weren’t enough, Denon also threw in a headphone amp and wireless Bluetooth connectivity—with aptX!
Denon is calling this a “full digital” stereo amplifier. The PMA-50 stereo amplifier includes the company’s Advanced AL32 Processing and DAC Master Clock design, which they also include in their premium Hi-Fi components. The amplifier section also incorporates Direct Digital Feedback Amplifier technology (DDFA) from CSR. The output stage circuit is made with a discrete construction. That gives you a higher signal-to-noise-ratio and lower distortion compared to conventional class D amplifiers. Fidelity, high efficiency, and 50 Watts of power (into 4-ohms) meet in this little box that measures less than 12″ in width. Denon even includes a subwoofer pre-amp output so you can add a powered sub for more bass.
Denon PMA-50 Amplifier Connectivity
You get two optical and a coaxial digital S/PDIF input for compatibility with digital audio sources, but there’s also an analog stereo input for legacy analogue sources. Of course, it’s the USB-B connection to a PC or Mac to which lets you use the Denon PMA-50 amplifier as a DAC to play back high-res PCM and DSD audio tracks at up to 24-bits/192-kHz (2.8MHz and 5.6MHz for DSD tracks). The PMA-50 uses a dedicated noise isolation block prior to the digital amplifier to eliminate PC-induced digital noise via the USB input.
Portable devices aren’t excluded either, as the Denon PMA-50 amplifier gives you Bluetooth connectivity (v3.0 with A2DP), with quick and easy pairing via the Bluetooth button on the front panel. Or, for faster pairing, the PMA-50 includes NFC (Near Field Communication) where you just tap to pair a smartphone or tablet by placing it next to the “N” on the side panel of the amplifier. There’s no manual passcode entry required. The Bluetooth connectivity on the Denon PMA-50 also features the latest generation CSR aptX Low Latency decoding for near-lossless, CD-quality audio playback.
All This and an Integrated Headphone Amplifier
Perhaps one of the coolest aspects of the new Denon PMA-50 is that it’s equipped with a dedicated headphone amplifier circuit. It features a high speed, low distortion, wideband op amp that’s paired with a fully discrete final output stage. Add to that the fact that it has an adjustable headphone impedance control to help it be compatible with almost any headphone type, and the PMA-50 does triple duty for low, medium, and high impedance phones.
The compact chassis of the PMA-50 includes a soft aluminum matte with bright silver accents alongside glossy and matte black surfaces. It’s really beautiful and can be positioned horizontally or vertically to fit just about anywhere. The feet and screw caps are even removable so you get a completely customizable configuration that works in any home or office location. The included remote control has a nice, ergonomic layout with a cursor keypad, source select and volume controls, setup menu and back buttons. There’s even a Bluetooth button and a button to dim the front accent lights.
The PMA-50 will sell for $599 and will be available in black or silver starting in January 2014.
Denon PMA-50 Stereo Amplifier Features
- 50W x 2 (4-ohms) digital power amplifier
- Advanced AL32 processing and DAC
- Inputs: 2 x optical TOSlink, coaxial S/PDIF, USB type B
- Support for 192kHz/24bit and DSD 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz high resolution audio
- Computer noise isolation block
- Bluetooth built in, with aptX, low latency, and NFC
- High quality headphone output with gain control
- Subwoofer pre-out
- Analogue Aux input
- 5-way binding posts
- Horizontal or vertical placement
- Clear view OLED display
- Available in black/silver