Denon PMA-1600NE

Denon-PMA-1600NE test and review

Denon turns on the nostalgic strings with a solid stereo amplifier, built as before the world went off the shaft.

Sound & Image mean

  • Nice craftsmanship from the inside to the outside. Can drive even loud speakers. Very dynamic sound.
  • Not so high rated effect. No built-in flow. You can get more detailed sound for the price.

The Denon PMA-1600NE looks like a classic amplifier from the time the Japanese were the rulers of the hi-fi world, and you could really make silver-plated stereo amplifiers. The front panel is dominated by a giant volume button, and everything seems so recognizable that you can not help it. In addition to the volume button, there are bass and treble controls, balance buttons and front selector buttons. Two small buttons can turn off the digital section, and skip the tone controls respectively. The input selection is displayed in a clear and readable display.

At the back you will find two sets of solid, gold-plated speaker terminals, as well as a full set of analog and digital inputs. And then record player input with MC amplifier and a USB B port, so the amplifier can use a computer as the signal source. In this way, you can listen to Tidal and Spotify streaming in the highest quality. All digital signal processing also occurs in 32-bit resolution. There is no subwoofer output; Those nuns were not in the 70’s. There is something that I have not seen for a long time: a set of Rec Out terminals for tape recorder! Note that the two pairs of speaker terminals are always connected at the same time. Convenient for biwiring, but not if you want to choose between two pairs of speakers.

Denon-PMA-1600NE test and review

When Denon has chosen to make a reboot of the classic stereo amplifier in the late 70’s, it can hardly be surprising that one is without any kind of wireless features. If you want Bluetooth, Spotify Connect or Web radio, you need to purchase a receiver and connect it to the amplifier. That’s how Denon also sells, and if you choose one of the same brand, the remote control can also control it.

As in its classic models, it is not spared the goodies inside the PMA-1600NE. Denon PMA-1600 is a class AB amplifier, a principle that has been used for decades. And the power supply is built up like you did in the stereo’s great time: with a solid transformer and equally solid charging capacitors. No switched-mode duty here!

You must therefore take good care of when they scrape the 20 kilos out of the packaging and put in place. It is one of the heaviest 70 watters we have had available for a long time. It promises good for power capacity, and thus the bottom line. That there is power in it also shows the given power at 4 ohm load, which is just twice as high as 8 ohm – ie 140 W. This is how it should be done!

Denon PMA-1600N: sound

An increasing proportion of the amplifiers that pass the test room are of Class D type, which provide amounts of watt to relatively few pounds, along with high efficiency. And while each of the Class D amplifiers is unique, they are generally characterized by a predominantly neutral or slightly cool sound image.

The Class AB Amplifier Denon PMA-1600NE is a completely different thing. From the first stroke you are presented for a warm and comfortable sound image. Not so understanding that the sound is dark. But voices get just a bit deeper and warmer glow, and the rhythm group takes a little more up when listening through the PMA-1600NE.

The amplifier is generally in his ace of rhythmic music. Ginger Baker and Jonas Hellborg’s Time Be Time from the Middle Passage album provide automatic tramping to the rhythms. Also more electronic rhythms benefit from the solid solid bottom. Abney Park’s edition of I am Stretched on Your Grave is filled with strange synthetic sounds. But still: it’s really moving!

The Denon PMA-16100NE generally has a very engaging game style. When the singer or the musicians are close, the listener is also very close and the sound comes right in front of the speakers. That’s the big difference from the NAD C388, which is also a classic-looking stereo amplifier. The two amplifiers cost exactly the same, but each have their own sound philosophy. Where Denon is engaged and hot, NAD is analytical and neutral. And where Denon is forward, NAD has its strength in giving an illusion of depth in the stage room.


If you prefer to rock, and both want it served clean and high, the Denon PMA-1600NE is one of the best options in this price range right now. Good enough, too, in front of the NAD C388, as we tested in the previous issue. NAD amplifiers were otherwise almost obligatory in the teenage room in the 80’s, usually paired with a couple of Cerwin Vega speakers.


Today, the roles are apparently replaced, and the NAD comes first in classical music and accurate reproduction of concert sales. However, if you want to enjoy yourself in a warm and friendly company, and have the music served alive, intimate and close in the living room, choose Denon. It also counts on the positive side that it incorporates both an excellent DAC and an equally nice RIAA amplifier for the wine cultures. In addition, also with amplifier for moving coil pickups. You might find similar properties in Hegel and Rotel amplifiers, but then you have to add a few more thousand pieces to the disk.

Denon PMA-1600NE – Specs

  • Output power: 2 x 70 W in 8 ohms / 2 x 140 W in 4 ohms
  • Inputs: Platen player (MM / MC, stereo RCA), 3x analog input (stereo RCA), 2x digital (optical), 1x digital (coaxial), USB-B
  • Outputs: 2 pairs of speakers (track / screw terminals), Rec out (stereo RCA).
  • Resolution: 24-bit / 192kHz (optical / coaxial), 32-bit / 384kHz (USB-B). DSD (11.2 MHz)
  • Dimensions: 43.4 x 13.5 x 41.0 cm (WxHxD)
  • Weight: 17.6 kg


Denon PMA-1600NE w/ HECO Victa500 – Soundtests

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