PS Audio Sprout integrated amplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Pioneer PLX-1000, Thorens TD-124, VPI Traveler turntables; SME 3009 II tonearm; Grado Mono, Ortofon 2M Black, Soundsmith Carmen, Zu Audio DL-103 cartridges.
Digital Sources: Puresound A-8000 CD player; Halide HD, Line Magnetic LM 502 CA DACs.
Preamplification: Blue Horizon BN:09-11-009, Schiit Mani, Soundsmith MMP3 phono stages.
Integrated Amplifiers: Line Magnetic LM518 IA, Rogue Audio Sphinx, Simaudio Moon Neo 340i.
Loudspeakers: KEF LS50, Tekton Enzo XL, Totem Model 1 Signature.
Headphone amplifier: Schiit Asgard.
Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
Cables: Interconnect: AudioQuest Big Sur & Cinnamon & Golden Gate, Kimber Kable Silver Streak. Speaker: Auditorium 23, Kimber Kable 8TC.
Accessories: Sound Anchor stands.—Herb Reichert

PS Audio
4826 Sterling Drive
Boulder, CO 80301
(720) 406-8946

AllanMarcus's picture

Would be nice to read about a direct listening comparison between the D3020 and the Sprout. Feature wise, the Sprout has a phono (er, vinyl), input, but the D3020 has a remote (albeit a horrible one). The Sprout has real knobs, which sounds insignificant, but if you really want to see how bad a digital interface can be, try the D3020. Both seem to have power switches in inconvenient locations.

There seems to be a nice selection if high quality desktop amps out now. D3020, Sprout, Teac's AI series, CEntrace DAC Mini PX, Sony UDA-1, possibly the Cambridge Audio Minx Xi, and the Denon PMA-50. Anymore? Time for a shootout?

jmsent's picture

There will be a huge audible difference. Just look at the frequency response of this amp, and see the bumped up peak at 60 Hz and then a cliff like drop all the way down to 20 Hz. The NAD has an eq switch that gives you a similar curve, but in that case it's defeatable, and you can set it for nice, classic, flat frequency response. This amp looks to be designed for a particular speaker type, one with severely limited bass, like a desktop 2 way with a small woofer. Hook this to a speaker with true bass extension and flat response, and the results will be boomy upper bass and no lower bass. That's a deal breaker for me, but YMMV.

fetuso's picture

I've owned the D3020 for almost two months now and I am particularly sensitive to criticism of its remote and interface. The reason? Because such criticism actually kept me from buying this wonderful little amplifier for months, until I finally bought it because it was exactly what I was looking for. I've commented previously on his site and others about how these criticisms are overblown, but here I go gain. The remote is black on black, and yes it it hard to see the buttons. But the buttons are few and nicely spaced out. You'll have their locations memorized in no time and you'll have no need to even look at the remote. It also fits very nicely in the hand. Could NAD have added some white? Of course. But please don't let it stop you from buying this great amp. Same goes for the interface, which is really just the power button and input switch on the unit itself. I've never had an issue with these. In fairness, sometimes I have to press the power button a second time, but so what? We're talking maybe half a second to press it again. It is a bit quirky until you learn where it wants to be touched. My main point is that the D3020 is very user friendly and easy to live with. It also sounds great. Don't let these petty criticisms stop you from buying it if the features fit your needs.

AllanMarcus's picture

I like the d3020 too, but the UI is aweful. The remote is horrible. The touch sensitive buttons on the top are not intuitive. Long hold was a kludge to resolve the issue of accidental presses. The bass boost button hidden in the back is just a crazy place for it. It looses points for UI, but it has many redeeming features. Right now I don't think there is a better option out there, but many other models that compete at that size are coming on the market. I won't stop complaining, but I will disclaim the complait. There are two ways one interacts with an amp, the UI and the listening. How you weight the importance is personal, and clearly the listening is a much higher weight, but the UI is still important.

fetuso's picture

Sorry readers that a review about the Sprout has spawned comments about the D3020. I tried the bass button, didn't like it, so I don't care that it's on the back. The UI and remote are a bit quirky, yes, but not awful and horrible. To each his own I suppose. I Spend so little time with the interface that's it's not an issue. I turn it on and enjoy. What else is there to do with it? It's not like we're speaking to Martians with it.

I've said my piece.

AegisAvantGarde's picture

I own the D3020 and despite the bad remote it sounds incredible for $400. That said, the Sprout is now available for $500 in Amazon but I have not heard it. I want to buy the sprout for my office just because I do need the extra watts it offers for my office speakers, Martin Logan Motion LX16. Ill post here when I get it and can compare them head on. In principle, the Sprout is another price point (originally $800 while the D3020 was originally $500) Now both costing almost the same D3020 $400 and the Sprout $500 they are almost at the same price point and according to Amazon both are selling really well and both represent great examples of budget HiFi. In the end just get whatever sounds better for you. Auditioning is a must in all HiFi purchases, sound is also about taste, never forget that.