20 Of the Most Expensive Amplifiers In the World

There are audiophiles and then there are audiophiles. In the realm of extreme luxury, yachts, private jets and cars tend occupy the attention and shopping habits of the mega-wealthy. But the audiophile industry offers no shortage of ridiculously expensive gear to satisfy the most discerning of auditory palettes. Most of the amps listed here are a dual monoblock configuration, with a price tag well in excess of six-figures and sure to offer a unique sonic experience. So if you’re bored with cruising the streets in a new Lambo and admiring your Rolex collection, you can check some options below for an amp that will extravagantly power your speakers for only hundreds or thousands of times more cash than a typical amplifier.
20 reference-2

#20

$140,800 – Edge NL Reference

Are those a couple of Daleks ready to strike? Nope – just a pair of monoblock amplifiers worthy of Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu’s approval. Each one – standing almost 3 feet tall and weighing 220 lbs – can push 1600 watts into 4 ohms and uses a proprietary Laser Optical Bias Circuitry that regulates the flow of electrons through its transistor network. These will improve your sound as well as your décor…….maybe.

#19

$150,000 – Krell Audio MRA Master Reference At 683 pounds each, make sure you clear some space in your sound room if you decide to run with these guys. The Master Reference from Krell utilizes a unique technology to regulate its power output. A modular “software key” is able to match the impedance of any speaker through an on-board microprocessor. The output on this behemoth exceeds 1000W at 8 ohms and the production run was limited to 50.

19 Krell home-entertainment-audio-referenze
18 the-sovereign-ultra-high-end-twin-tower-monaural-amplifiers--350x661

#18

$155,000 – Sovereign Audio The Sovereign Simply known as The Sovereign, these nearly 5-foot tall amps are the result of a “no limits” design philosophy to achieve the best possible amplifier. Don’t even think of plugging these into a standard outlet, as that is not sufficient to provide enough juice for the power supply to produce its necessary output of 10,000 watts at 1 ohm. You’ll need a specially configured three-phase AC current to support the ginormous appetite for power The Sovereign requires.

#17

$175,000 – Audio Power Labs 833TNT The 833TNT is an all tube class-A power amp that pumps out 200W at 8 or 4 ohms, which is a lot for a tube amp. Its Art-Deco enclosure houses two gigantic 833C output tubes operated in push-pull and driven by a 6550 pentode. If this thing looks like it gets hot, you’re right. It uses a computer controlled liquid-cooling system to keep the tubes operating at a safe temperature.

17 833TNT
16 apolo1-big

#16

$184,000 – Analogue Domain Apollo If your speakers require 8000W into 4 ohms, then you might want to consider the Apollo by Analogue Domain. Each chassis is machined from a solid block of aluminum and is virtually airtight when assembled. The output stage features 100 high-performance audio-grade power transistors with a peak output current capacity of 720 amperes.

#15

$190,000 – Audio Note Kagura The Kagura uses parallel 211 triodes in each of its monoblocks delivering a deceptively low 50W per channel. Three transformers are employed in its power supply section that requires two power cables for each side since the main power supply and heater power supply are separated from the AC inlet.

15 Audio Note Kagura
14 Boulder 01v2-1117-650x356

#14

$195,000 – Boulder 3050 Boulder’s declaration – “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts perfectly” – is a fitting expression for the pinnacle of their amplifier design, the 3050. These are built to order in Colorado and sport a modern angular chassis built upon a granite and stainless steel base. The 1500W output into any load will satisfy even the most power hungry speakers you can find. Couple that with the 120 output transistors, four-transformer-per-amp layout & industrial grade power connectors and you’ll have yourself an audiophile’s wet dream.

#13

$200,000 – Naim Statement The Statement consists of dual monoblock amps with a class-A preamp. All three feature a vertical layout where the power supply is isolated from the rest of the components by locating it at the base of the unit. Each amplifier uses a huge 4000VA transformer to power the speakers with a precise 746W @ 8 ohms. A distinctive “wave” heatsink flanks each monoblock that features fins carved using a five-axis, temperature controlled CNC machine.

13 Statement_Top_glow-9
12 Dynaudio Arbiter

#12

$240,000 – Dynaudio Arbiter The Denmark based Dynaudio is well known for their speakers, but more than 20 years ago they shook the audiophile world with the colossal Arbiter dual-monoblock amplifiers. With over 1000W per channel, it guaranteed to either blow up your speakers or have your face exfoliated with sound waves. It also has a battery backup that can continue to run your speakers for 12 hours in the event of a power outage – which is helpful if you’re finishing up Das Rheingold when the unthinkable happens. You’ll barely be inconvenienced as you finish out the full Ring Cycle.

#11

$245,000 – FM Acoustics 2011

FM Acoustics of Switzerland offer an assortment of high-end products that exude the quality you would expect from the European watch-making capitol. Their crown jewel? The FM Acoustics 2011. The unassuming look of these amps might make you think they were designed by IBM in the 1960’s, but don’t underestimate the force these can put out.

11 FM Acoustics

 The Top Ten

10 200711_audionote_mono

#10

$265,000 – Audio Note GAKU-ON Japanese amp maker Audio Note produces several amplifiers that are out of reach for most. Their flagship GAKU-ON sports 45 watts of class-A power through a no feedback parallel single-ended triode design that features their own pure silver wound input, driver and output transformers.

#9

$302,500 – Goldmund Telos 3500+ Born from the technology they developed with their Telos 5000+, the smaller 3500+ still provides a breathtaking 3500 Watts RMS with the “lowest distortion ever measured.” Each power supply uses 12 separate transformers with hyper-velocity rectifiers and a large batch of 12 ultra-low impedance capacitors to increase speed. Luckily, each of these monoblocks only weigh 400 lbs.

9 Telos 3500+
8 wavac-tubes

#8

$350,000 – Wavac SH-833 Even if you had an extra $350K to blow on your sick-ridiculous audio rig, with only six of these ever being produced, you might have a difficult time getting your hands on some. The full setup consists of 8 hulking boxes (4 per channel) consisting of a gigantic isolation transformer, equally large power transformer, remaining power supply components and the amplifier itself. Point-to-point silver wire line the circuit pathways that feed the impressive 833 triode. 150W per channel may not seem like much, but rest assured its performance will leave you captivated.

#7

$378,000 – Goldmund Telos 5000+ The limited edition Telos 5000+ boasts 5000 watts of class-A power. Its mind-bending specs allege a THD of 0.0005% and a frequency response of 0 Hz to 300,000 Hz, which is perfect for your extraterrestrial friends who might be able to actually hear in that range. Perhaps the clean Swiss air allows their makers to more sufficiently perceive the frequencies beyond what most mortals can enjoy.

7 goldmundtelos
6 abbssolute_intuition_by_etheraudio_1d-675x1024

#6

$380,000 – Etheraudio Abbssolute Intuition The Abbssolute Intuition is hand made in Bulgaria where their excessive consonant usage in the name parallels their excessive component usage in their amplifiers. These nearly 900 lb and 4 ½ foot tall dual monoblock amplifiers may only output 30W per channel (BTW that’s $6,333 per watt!), but they use Russian GM100 tubes with pure tungsten cathodes that happen to be the largest vacuum tubes ever made for audio.

#5

$400,000 – Ultrasound Parsec Italians love their ultra-high performance automobiles and apparently the same goes for their amplifiers. The Parsec, at $400K, is not even Ultrasound’s highest-end amplifier, but this solid-state/tube hybrid utilizes an ideal current generator to handle 30 amperes on every load. The signal crosses only 3 components and its wiring is entirely made of copper bars.

5 parsec
4 edzard

#4

$450,000Rike Audio Edzard

Known for making the world’s best audiophile capacitors, the German Rike Audio also produced the super high-end Edzard monoblock amplifier. Each one uses a massive external power supply weighing 440 lbs and incorporate secret materials throughout the chassis developed by the Fraunhofer Institute to attenuate parasitic mechanical vibrations. 50W per channel with silver output and interchange transformers.

#3

$600,000 – Ultrasound Otello The Otello is Ultrasound’s most prestigious amplifier and sports six transformers with adjustable polarization resulting in zero feedback. This is a valve amp with zero damping factor. Pretty impressive, even if it does cost more than half-a-million dollars, and certainly a worthy addition for any audiophile that also bathes in money.

3 otello
2 operaone

#2

$650,000 – Pivetta Opera One Hand made in Italy, the Opera One first debuted in 1998 as the brain child of Andrea Pivetta. Weighing in at half a ton, it eclipsed all other amplifiers at the time in both size and power (and still does for most). This thing opens like a flower when activated showing off its beautifully engineered entrails and 12 channels driving 1600W at 8 ohms. This class-AB amplifier has an output is close to 20,000 watts at 8 ohms which should be more than enough to power your Bose 901’s right?

#1

$2,200,000 – Pivetta Opera Only Sitting atop all others is the Bugatti of amplifiers, the Pivetta “Opera Only.” This beast of an amp pumps out an outrageous 120,000 watts of power broken out into six 20,000 watt class-A amplifier channels. It’s looming height of more than 8 feet, 3307 lb weight and impressive design looks more like some kind of futuristic teleportation device than a power amplifier. Its beauty is matched only by the specs. Here is a description from their site:

“This unquestionably gorgeous state of the Art Amp features six 30 kW triple-insulated toroidal transformers, 16 ceramic diodes 1600V/400A (tot 6400 Amp), 216 Kendeil aluminum electrolytic capacitors 6800uf 160 Volt, 2,112 high current bipolar transistors, 12 analog (RCA/XLR) inputs and six digital, 12 output channels, and 192 speakON connections. It’s capable of producing an awe-inspiring 120,000 watt rms at 8 ohm class-A max 160kW (the specs show output configurations of 6 x 20,000W rms or 12 x 10,000W rms). “

It sounds like you might need to have your own power grid to run this bad boy, but if you’re spending $2.2 million on an amplifier you can probably afford the electric bill.

 

1 operaonly



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