Pioneer A-20 Amplifier

Recall integrated amps?

Thus does Pioneer. The company's new Elite A-20 is an unabashed throwback: two stations, no radio, analog input signals that are a few (no digital), a couple of knobs.

I do not care about radio, 'cause it is all junk anyhow. And I do not care about weight, size, buttons, or readouts.

Set Up

That the A-20 originates from a company whose A/V receivers are as skillful and as feature-laden as any indicates that Pioneer recognizes there are committed 2-station-istas and phono phreaks out there, whose positions could be growing. (The A-20 additionally makes a great second-room addon to multiroom- A/V receivers that are able.)

And setting up the A-20 is a minimalist endeavor at the same time. An earth post.

Elapsed time: about a minute along with a half. Then i allowed the Pioneer several weeks to settle in by supplying background music.


I started my listening with CDs, being interested and last in the amount along with caliber of amplification of the A-20. These turned out to be astonishingly excellent and astonishing, respectively.

(I could not resist a rapid test bench visit, where just about 50 watts/8 ohms. was shown by the Pioneer) Yet I had no problem reaching lifelike playback levels with combo and chamber music jazz. For instance, the extremely dynamic and naturalistic Chesky record Dreams from trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, created an alarmingly broad, deep, enveloping soundstage, with transients that were electrifying and well defined proportioned bass underpinnings.

LPs seemed fantastic, also. For the A20 to deliver fair in-the-hall degrees enough for LP surface noise and the cassette noise to be clear though not troubling - was no trouble, but this around defined the border of its own dynamic skills. Shoved quantity clinks that were a few more, the accented tutti chords of the opening of the overture gained an added advantage of clangorousness, nearly surely clipping that was incipient. (the phono section of The Pioneer A-20 impressed me rather great: not exactly as translucent as my reference, but really close.)

But would the Pioneer additionally rock? The SACD (2-station layer, obviously) of the Stones' Beggars Banquet that was classic appeared a clever trial.


With a few buttons and only four knobs, the ergonomic issues, great or poor, of the A-20 are few. The remote, one which is obviously furnished with several other Pioneer products, contains keys unrelated to the A-20 like SACD/web-player play/pause dumpster and also a five-way cursor pad. These make finding the ones that are significant (mainly volume/mute) a bit less natural initially, but the thumb's way is shortly found by it. Nevertheless, the scores points that are distant for copying every front-panel control, and aside from its zero visibility that is in the dark, it passes muster.

Bottom Line

The A-20 does not feel like a sub-$300 piece. It does not feel like a plus-$1,000 one but the knobs, while a bit light turn easily, the buttons depress favorably, and its large 16-pound heft feels encouraging.

While today's market still contains higher- completely committed (to tempt and employed) audiophiles, there are hardly any examples that are entry level like the A-20 to provide serious audio to the acolyte. Thanks, Pioneer.

Pioneer A-20 Amplifier photo