- Excellent audio fidelity, Innovative and useful feature-set
- Very expensive, Lacks versatility
If you're looking for an analogue, two-channel amplifier, it's hard to go past the Pioneer A9. However, the high price and the lack of versatility of this product may discourage some users.
Price$ 1,499.00 (AUD)
Pioneer's recent release of several higher end audio products, geared specifically towards two-channel audio, may seem a little surprising in this current age of 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. Nevertheless, there is a certain appeal in the simplicity of stereo audio, especially for music, which often doesn't benefit a lot from surround sound setups. The A9 amplifier is an analogue, two-channel unit, made to high specifications and focused on high-quality audio performance above all else. It's an expensive product, probably out of the reach of non-enthusiasts, but its performance and technical specifications are at a level that justifies the high asking price.
This amplifier is designed with one task in mind - to produce high quality, lossless audio. It does it well. Everything about the amp is geared towards the best audio quality possible. Its connections, the power supply and the front panel display are all minimal, helping to keep the focus on the audio and prevent unnecessary degradation. While using the amplifier in conjunction with Pioneer's PD-D6 CD player, another in the range of two-channel audio products, we did notice exceptional audio quality, with an incredibly clear and realistic sound, especially throughout the treble range. It should be noted, however, that the difference between a unit like this and a mid-range receiver is still minimal; something that many potential users won't be able to pick up on.
In terms of design, Pioneer has kept things simple. The largish, silver box sports a small LED screen on the front panel, along with a power switch, indicator lights, a headphone jack, and volume and input knobs. The back panel is a simple array of two-channel analogue RCA audio ports: six inputs and one output, a "control" connection that allows the A9 to be controlled by other Pioneer remotes, a USB port for connecting MP3 players, and connections for left and right speakers. This simplicity helps to remove unnecessary components and lets the amplifier focus on audio performance.
The A9 continues this trend of simplicity in its features, the most prominent of which is Direct listening. It switches off the front panel screen, balance and tone controls, and the Sound Retriever feature, to let the amplifier focus on producing the clearest audio signal possible. When using this feature, we did notice a distinct improvement in the sound, which became sharper and better defined. The Sound Retriever feature (which is disabled when Direct listening mode is set) works to restore the effects of audio compression on compressed files, adding in extra information that was removed during compression and helping to eliminate minor distortion and to create a more natural sound. While both of these features do improve sound quality, again the extent to which they do so is not likely to be noticeable by non-discerning ears.
The unit's controls, again, are quite simple. Bass and treble can each be adjusted to either plus or minus ten decibels, in increments of two, and tone balance can be adjusted to favour either the left or right speaker.
Overall, Pioneer's A9 amplifier is a very advanced audio device, geared specifically towards a small audience of analogue audio lovers. Its feature-set and highly specific focus, combined with its relatively high price, make it a product best suited to enthusiasts, however its quality is such that anyone looking for a high-end, analogue, two-channel amplifier will be more than satisfied.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
- Here's what's coming next from Sling TV
- The guts of Onkyo's SBT-A500 sound bar come in an external box to give the speaker an ultra-low profile
- Plex embraces Kodi as Plex Media Player becomes available to all
- 'Google Cast' is being phased out in favor of Chromecast for connected TVs and speakers
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCSenior Full-stack .Net DeveloperNSW
- CCIT Risk Specialist (Assurance) - TelcoVIC
- FTEnterprise Account ManagerACT
- FTProject SchedulerSA
- TPSenior Test Analyst - DETEQLD
- PTVBA Analyst Programmer - Permanent / Part Time (3 days per week)QLD
- CCSenior Applications Project Manager - Office 365QLD
- CCChange Manager - O365 Upgrade ProjectQLD
- FTTechnology Testing Services ManagerVIC
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantNSW
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- FTTechnical Account ManagerNSW
- TPLearning/Instructional DesignerQLD
- CCTechnical lead (Informatica MDM)Other
- FTOffice365 Solution SpecialistSA
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- CCSenior IT Digital BA/Project ManagerVIC
- TPSQL Server DeveloperNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- CCJava Developer/ Guidewire Developers - Brisbane basedNSW
- CCDigital Business Analyst - Apps DevelopmentNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantQLD
- FTSenior AEM Consultant - Public SectorACT