NuForce Reference 18 Mono Amplifiers

NuForce Reference 18Price: $7600 per pair


Tim said: To be sure, the Reference 18 has some worthy competitors at its not-insubstantial price level of $7600/pair, but they had better bring along their “A” game in any shoot-out with this outstanding class-D amp. Biases be damned.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Reference amps at a real-world price.

Coda Technologies 15.0 Stereo Amplifier

Coda Technologies 15.0Price: $10,000


Jeff said: The Coda Technologies 15.0 is one heckuva piece of US-made hardware. I would confidently put the 15.0 in any system at any price and feel certain that it would hold its own. It’s that good. It has plenty of brute-force drive, as well as that golden tone that only class-A amps seem to deliver. It is ultra-resolving of fine detail, yet can handle huge dynamic swings without breaking a sweat. And it’s evenhanded across the audioband, but can also sound magical in specific areas, based on the recording.

Select Component

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: The Coda 15.0 is a great amp. Period.

Simaudio Moon 400M Mono Amplifiers

Simaudio Moon 400MPrice: $6500 per pair


Doug said: $6500 isn’t cheap, and the 400M’s looks aren’t exceptional -- but lurking beneath their plain surfaces is an outstanding-sounding, high-powered amplifier whose performance is something special. If you dream of owning Simaudio Moon Evolution components but, like most of us, can’t afford them, look to the Moon 400M -- it delivers Evolution-like sound at a reasonable price.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Nondescript but great-sounding mono amps.

Marantz Reference Series MA-9S2 Mono Amplifiers

Marantz Reference MA-9S2Price: $11,999.98 per pair


Howard said: Being the offspring of Marantz’s classic Model 7 preamplifier and Model 9 amplifier, the Reference SC-7S2 and Reference MA-9S2 have some rather large shoes to fill. By my account they do just that, and the folks at Marantz appear to be worthy stewards of the historic company name. If you’re looking for a pair of amps and/or a preamp anywhere near or even above these models’ asking prices, you’ll want to head to your local Marantz Reference dealer to give them a listen.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: The Model 9 improved.

Bel Canto e.One REF150S Stereo Amplifier

Bel Canto e.One REF150SPrice: $1595


Aron said: The Bel Canto e.One REF150S is the most musical amplifier I have heard south of $5000, with the exceptions of its bigger brothers, the REF500S and REF500M. If you’re in the market for a wonderfully musical two-channel amplifier that offers tremendous value and performance, rock-solid build quality, and uses a minimal amount of power, you owe it to yourself to audition Bel Canto’s e.One REF150S.

Great Buy

Read the GoodSound! review.

The gist: Clean, small, efficient -- should be a good fit for a compact system.


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