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I'm in the market for a receiver for a budget A/V system. I like the form factor of the slim Panasonic receivers with fully-digital amplifiers, like the SA-XR45. Are they any good, or should I stick with a conventional receiver?
 

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Digital switching amplifiers like the PS Audio HCA-2 and the Spectron Musician II have been very well recevied. You can read some comments on these pieces over on Audio Asylum . I think the general expectation is that mass-market receivers will increasing employ digital switching amplification in their designs due to their high-efficiency and low-heat properties. Reviews of the amps I mentioned above seem to indicate that the component quality of the power supply is still a key factor in overall sonic performance in digital amps, even though the power supply needn't be as brawny as in a traditional class A or AB design. A possible pitfall of digital switching amplification in receivers is that manufacturers will spend less (read: not enough) on the power supply in their designs. I can't comment specifically on the Panasonic model you mention, as I'm not familiar with it. That's my two-cents... Good luck with your choice.
 
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