The 10 Best Class D Amplifiers
This wiki has been updated 10 times since it was first published in November of 2018. Unlike the linear and hybrid topologies of their relatives, class D amplifiers deliver punchy sound and plenty of wattage, without the significant heat dissipation and power draw. Aside from being light on energy use, they're generally quite easy on the wallet, and tend to be among the most compact available. We've ranked the best around for home entertainment and car stereo setups. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 13, 2020:
Even many highly demanding audiophiles are finally warming up to the idea of using class D amplifiers to power their home stereos, and in the case of car audio, the more efficient the topology, the better. For that reason, there are more worthwhile class D options available now than ever before.
If you are looking to outfit a vehicle, the Power Acoustik RZ1 is an impressively powerful and cost-effective choice that's relatively compact but doesn't skimp in terms of quality hardware. The Alpine MRV-M500 is another that has very few drawbacks, doesn't cost a fortune, and can drive reasonably large subwoofers without difficulty. If you want something that really bumps, though, the Rockford Fosgate R1200 might be what you're looking for, but don't use it with cheap subs, because it could very easily destroy them.
In-home audio is one category where class D technology is especially popular right now. The S.M.S.L. SA300 is an all-around high performer that will satisfy a huge majority of users, but those with higher demands should also consider the NAD D 3020 v2 and high-end NAD D 3045. The 3045, in particular, is impressively full-featured and can serve as the lynchpin for a multipurpose audio setup. The Sonos Amp is another premium choice, and despite its minimalist construction, boasts a range of features geared toward home theater.
November 29, 2018:
Class D amplification is one of the 21st century's less-heralded advancements; the technology's been refined over the last fifteen or so years to the point where many users are more than satisfied with the class's output quality. Plus, they're pretty small, extremely lightweight, and (generally) don't get very hot. For two-channel use at home, it's hard to beat the Dayton in terms of price and simplicity (note: "Class T" is simply a partially refined version of class D topology). We particularly like the SMSL for powering a Windows- or Android-based setup, as it's versatile, powerful, and easy to control from across the room. There's no shortage of impressive car audio options, either, and the Power Acoustik has about as good of a price-to-performance ratio as you'll find. Finally, the Skar is a fantastic choice if you have massive (and highly durable) subs that call for exceptional power levels.
NuPrime Evolution One One of the rare audiophile-grade units built around high-efficiency class D circuitry, this should cover the needs of all but the absolute pickiest of listeners. It boasts specifications like a 700-kilhertz switching module that most other amplifiers can only dream of. nuprimeaudio.com
Hypex Electronics The truth is that if you have a little bit of electronics engineering know-how, you can put together an efficient, powerful, cost-effective amplifier all by yourself without much difficulty. Hypex components are widely recognized as some of the best, and you really can't go wrong with choosing most of your setup from their catalog. hypex.nl