Here’s a pint-size, but feature-packed energy amp from PS Audio

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The PS Audio Sprout 100.

PS Audio

Where to start? The PS Audio Sprout 100 is an replace of the original Sprout, which was the primary reasonably priced amp from a high-end producer. The first mannequin confirmed numerous promise, so what’s been modified?

With the brand new one, there is a doubling of the amp’s Class D energy to 100 watts per channel into hard-to-drive four ohm audio system, and with eight ohm audio system you now get 50 watts per channel. While the cosmetics have had a slight improve, with completely different knobs, the distant management is model new. The cute little all-metal unit handles quantity, energy on/off and mute. 

As a results of the enhancements, the Sprout 100’s worth is now $599, up from $499, whereas UK and Australia pricing has not but been introduced ($599 roughly converts to £440 or AU$800). The Sprout 100 is offered with a three-year guarantee, that is one or two years longer of what is usually supplied with most stereo or AV receivers.

Connectivity choices are considerably restricted by the Sprout 100’s petite dimensions, however you do get a turntable enter that works with moving-magnet cartridges, one set every of stereo RCA inputs and outputs, a mono subwoofer RCA output, a 6.3mm headphone jack, and optical and USB digital inputs. The built-in digital converter handles as much as ultra-high decision 384 kHz/24 bit PCM and double charge DSD recordsdata.

The Sprout 100’s speaker output jacks solely settle for banana plugs, so the excellent news is you will discover a set of all-metal banana plugs full of the Sprout 100. I like that there is not any wall wart — the facility provide is constructed into the Sprout 100.

I reviewed the original Sprout in 2014, however I have not heard it since so I am unable to say how the unique and new fashions examine. This a lot I do know for positive, I loved my time with the Sprout 100 paired with my KEF LS50 audio system, and I checked the amp’s compatibility with my Magnepan .7 flat panel audio system (they had been good collectively). Since the Sprout 100 is only a mere 6.2×8.2×1.9 inches (152x203x44mm) it is sufficiently small for use in desktop techniques. The aluminum chassis runs barely heat to the contact.

The PS Audio Sprout 100 proven with Hifiman HE400S headphones.

Steve Guttenberg/CNET

I subsequent in contrast the Sprout 100 with the a lot bigger Emotiva TA-100 built-in amplifier ($399) that incorporates a energy ranking of 50 watts per channel for eight ohm audio system, and 90 watts per channel with 6 ohm audio system. With David Bowie’s remaining album, Blackstar, the Sprout 100 was clearer, and the sound of every instrument was extra totally shaped inside the soundstage than what I heard from the TA-100. The Sprout has extra of an “audiophile” sound, however the TA-100 continues to be fairly first rate. 

Beck’s Morning Phase album is chock stuffed with lushly orchestrated music, however I began to notice the Sprout 100’s inside digital converters overlaid the music with a superb, cool haze, and once I bypassed these converters by hooking up my Oppo BDP 105‘s analog output to the ‘100’s analog inputs, the haze evaporated and the sound clarified. Audiophiles with out Oppo gamers may wish to contemplate including an outboard digital converter such because the Schiit Modi 2 Uber ($149) to be used with the Sprout 100. I do know I might.

As for the Sprout 100’s Bluetooth sound, it was completely serviceable for background listening, however not ok for foreground listening. I am not knocking the Sprout 100 for that, I really feel that method about all Bluetooth audio.

Popping in a set of Hifiman HE400S headphones into the Sprout 100 demonstrated its potential to drive these amazingly good, bang for the buck ‘telephones.

The PS Audio Sprout 100 rear panel.

PS Audio

I watched a number of episodes of Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 on Hulu with the Sprout 100 and the LS50s, and the sound was so good I did not miss a middle channel speaker (partially as a result of I used to be sitting equidistant from the left and proper audio system). Stereo imaging was broad and sharply targeted in methods you will by no means hear from a sound bar.

So sure, the PS Audio Sprout 100 is an overachiever, simply pair it with an excellent set of audio system and you will be good to go.

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