Denon is one of the most reputable electronics companies in Japan, with decades worth of innovative and premium products. One of the many notable products made by Denon will be Japan’s very first professional disc recorder that is used to record Emperor Hirohito’s voice. To have done this, it must be a prestigious honor for any company in Japan.
They did merge with other companies over the years, especially the one merger which audiophiles are most interested in, will be the merging with Marantz in the year 2002. This is also the year where they developed the Denon link technology to further improve digital connectivity. Denon has made HiFi speakers, headphones, home theater receivers, and more, but today we will be reviewing their integrated amplifier which is PMA 2020AE.
Overview of Denon PMA 2020AE
For over 100 years, Denon has never stopped innovating, and they always push themselves to make better and better HiFi audio components. After all these decades of hard work and dedication, their engineers have created the top-of-the-line integrated amplifier, PMA-2020AE, an amp that is made to satisfy even the most discerning audiophiles.
One of the main focuses is to reproduce sound from a wide range of music sources, that are commonly used by consumers, from analog record players to personal computers. Denon knows that more people are playing music directly from their personal computers these days, this shows that they have never lost their touch and are always working towards fulfilling their customers’ demands.
It is built with various advanced circuits to make sure that a consistent stable supply of power are been provided and can handle the music peaks with ease. Denon PMA-2020AE uses an advanced ultra-high current (UHC)-MOS single push-pull circuit that comes with the new Schottky barrier diodes. Denon’s ultra-high current MOS FET also provides the integrated amplifier a greater current capacity. It has 2 x 160 Watts (4 ohms) output as well, no wonder this amp can handle music peaks easily.
The chassis construction of PMA 2020AE doesn’t just make it look good, it has six independent blocks to eliminate noises thus improving the sound quality. Furthermore, the direct mechanical ground construction will minimize unwanted vibration which also will remove unwanted noises. This Denon integrated amp is really made to reproduce high sound quality, as it also comes with a Microprocessor stop mode that does just that.
Denon PMA 2020AE Specification
80 Watt + 80 Watt (8 Ohms, 20 Hz – 20 kHz, Total Harmonic Distortion 0.07%)
160 Watt + 160 Watt (4 Ohms, 1 kHz, Total Harmonic Distortion 0.7%)
Total Harmonic Distortion:
0.01% (rated output -3 dB, 8 Ohms, 1 kHz)
Phono equalizer rated output:
150 mV (REC out terminal)
Phono – 20 Hz – 20 kHz, ±0.5 dB
– 1x Phono (MM/MC)
– 1x CD
– 1x Tuner
– 1x AUX
– 1x NETWORK
– 1x Recorder-1 (Playback)
– 1x Recorder-2 (Playback)
– 1x Power amp direct
– 1x Recorder-1 (REC)
– 1x Recorder-2 (REC)
– 1x Preout
Dimensions (W x H x D):
434.0mm x 181.5mm x 434.2mm
You can pair Denon PMA 2020AE with their CD/SACD Player DCD-2020AE which should be the most compatible since they are literally made for each other as they are from the same series. Another feature will be the remote controller which comes with the Denon PMA-2020AE, it can operate the main functions of a Denon CD player.
Denon PMA 2020AE Review – UPDATED 2021
As expected from Denon, the sound quality reproduced from Denon PMA 2020AE is absolutely stunning. I am very fortunate to get this opportunity to listen to them at my friend’s place and also a bit jealous too. The sound stage and the imaging are accurate, full of details, and faithful to the music sources. We may not be using a Denon CD player or an SACD player, but we can imagine that it will sound even better.
The music is rhythmic and makes you want to dance to the rhythm. This makes me wonder could it be the doing of PMA 2020AE or was it the room modes that make it very fun to listen to. But one thing for sure, I absolutely adore the sound stage and imaging, this is very important for me as it could help me escape reality and immerse myself in the music. Give it a dedicated and acoustically treated room, it should really bring out the full potential of the amplifier. It is a pity, nowadays is difficult to find Denon PMA 2020AE for a proper audition in a properly treated room (at least for me).
Still, we are enjoying how musical this amp can get, I really had fun with it and wouldn’t mind if I swap my old amplifiers out for this. This is when I start getting some ideas to push it hard.
Denon PMA 2020AE Test
My friend wasn’t too keen on this when I propose this to him, to play more heavy bass soundtracks from my Spotify playlist as all the previous test soundtracks were either instrumental or strong female vocals. I explained to him that PMA 2020AE is supposed to cater to all users including people who use their PCs for music playback. And also this is supposed to be a powerful integrated amplifier. With these in mind, we should really test them out with bass-intensive soundtracks via a popular music streaming platform. He finally agrees but tells me to be careful as he doesn’t want the amplifier to clip.
I am using Spotify premium, it may not be as good as a lossless audio format but it is certainly better and higher resolution than most compressed audio. Once set-up with my laptop, without using any external DAC as we will be using my laptop’s onboard audio card. We started blasting, and immediately we notice the slight difference in sound quality. This is good, as this shows how important the music sources are. As expected, the clarity and details of the bass can be easily distinguished. The main surprise to this test is how much we really enjoy listening to the music been played from a lower quality source. I’ve played it loud or at least as loud as my friend would allow, the amp could really handle the peaks and bass which also makes me think that PMA 2020AE could go higher than the rated power output.
It may not be as clinical as some other amps but it is definitely fun to listen to which is important as most of us just want to have an enjoyable evening listening to our favorite songs.
Denon PMA 2020AE Price
Oh, this is what stops me to purchase it right off the bat. I really enjoy listening to them but the price tag is roughly between £1,600 – £1,800. This made me really consider my options. With this price, I could get another amplifier from a company that solely focuses on building amps with high-quality music reproduction. It may be suitable for almost all genres of music but it doesn’t have an integrated DAC and because of this you’ll need to spend even more money to get one.
Denon PMA 2020AE Vs 2500NE – How They Differ?
After reviewing Denon PMA 2020AE, it got me curious about how it will fare against another newer and more powerful Denon model. And why not go all the way up the ladder. Thus Denon PMA 2500NE is been chosen for the comparison.
Overview of Denon PMA 2500NE
Denon’s PMA 2500NE is developed by their talented team of veteran and young engineers, made for today’s age, and inherited decades of Denon technologies and expertise. It is integrated with a USB-B input that plays high-resolution audio files of up to 384 kHz / 32 bit and a DSD of up to 11.2 MHz, which greatly improves the sound quality from your computer.
If you are only interested in analog, then you’ll be glad to know that there is an Analog Mode that allows you to switch off all unused sections such as the digital input circuitry or the low noise display for unaltered music reproduction. It has a high power amplifier, 2x 160 Watt (4 ohms) output, which is powerful enough to drive most modern speakers.
It has the same chassis construction build, like the 6 independent blocks to eliminate noises. The volume control is specially designed for precise adjustment. How it is able to do so, is because aluminum was used for the volume control knob, it is two and half times thicker than the ones on conventional knobs, thus increasing mass and bestow a greater ability to suppress mechanical vibrations.
The internal construction of Denon PMA 2500NE is also top grade, for instance, the active servo circuitry and the coupling capacitors have been completely eliminated from input to output thus creating a clean-cut design for the circuits. To achieve amp circuitry with highly stable direct current (DC), a simple passive circuit with capacitors and resistors has been used in the DC servo circuit. Also, all of the devices related to idling current have been thermally bound, which is make them more stable, thus giving a higher clarity and greater stability of the sound.
Even in the looks department, the Denon PMA 2500NE is better, with the premium silver, it will make this amp look elegant and classy.
Based on the DAC that the PMA 2500NE has, would’ve made it the winner, as now more and more people are listening to music via audio streaming platforms or stored digital music files on their computers. With how the DAC Master Clock Design is developed and positioned inside Denon PMA 2500NE, it will accurately synchronize digital circuits and will suppress jitter so as to ensure optimum precision in digital to analog conversion.
The analog mode is a useful feature if you are only using analog sources, so this makes PMA 2500NE more flexible than PMA 2020AE. In terms of sound quality, PMA 2500NE gives a sharper soundstage, more clarity, and punch in the bass region, it is more analytical but not too clinical that will ruin the music experience. In terms of power and current, it is more able to handle the peaks than PMA 2020AE.
In short, PMA 2500NE outclass the PMA 2020AE, but it is more expensive. Since it is a newer and better model, I find the additional investment worthwhile, unless you don’t use digital sources, then you should just stick with PMA 2020AE.
To sum it up
The glory days of PMA 2020AE are long gone due to the fact that even cheaper amps have high-quality DAC. Even purely for CD/SACD use, it is a tad too expensive for the features and power it has. Since that price range opens up to a lot of other options. You may want to check PM 2020AE out yourself but it is also quite difficult to find a decent audition place. Still, if you are a person who leaves no stone unturned, you should just get right to it, heck, you won’t know Denon PMA 2020AE may be the integrated amplifier of your dreams.