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Audioholics peels back the lids on the current crop of ICEpower-based amplifiers

Steven Kim

Typically devoid of fancy lights, knobs, and switches, amplifiers typically don't get a lot of marketing hype; heck, most people who own a receiver aren't even aware of the amplifier section. Bang & Olfusen's Class D ICEpower switching amplifiers wrinkle that a bit -- the compact footprint, light weight, energy efficiency and impressive specs are enough to make the newer technology marketable as, well, new. Sadly, from Audioholics' examination of many samples, it also looks like the newness stopped there and several manufacturers have slapped crazy price tags on an essentially "reference design" implementation. There's plenty of good technical info about the test bench performance of these amps in the link, but with several happy ICEpower users it's hard to say that the subjective performance is unsatisfactory; the wide price range for essentially the same amp is what's troubling. If nothing else, let it serve as a cautionary tale of not falling for the latest thing just because it's the latest thing -- when you're shopping for an amp, take your ears along with your wallet.

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