I know this is a sourcing-question and these are frowned upon, but I've been searching for a while now, and can't seem to be able to find a compact, light-weight 1-or-2 channel amplifier with balanced input. I would need it for a 50W RMS speaker.

  • Mono or Stereo amplifier (1-or-2 Channel)
  • balanced input (connector: XLR, TRS, Phoenix .. doesn't matter, as long as its balanced)
  • at least ~50W RMS (~100W peak) for 4 Ohm speaker
  • light-weight and compact (Class D could help here)
  • waterproofing would be a bonus (like marine amplifiers)

A marine amplifier would be interesting, because they are usually smaller-sized, but they don't take balanced inputs.

The only interesing options I found so far is the Oxford Audio CMA220, but it only gives 20W / ch, is quite pricey ~$300 and hard to get outside of the UK it seems.

Oxford Audio CMA220

I am wondering if my required specs are really that special that they would be worth that price.

And I guess there could always be the option to build the amp from scratch, but I rather not, unless I absolutely have to.

  • 1
    IMHO, a question about what gear to use for a task is valid. Where to acquire it and the value is probably what to steer clear of. Mar 14, 2015 at 23:19
  • Unless you have problems with a lot of electrical disturbance, you can use an unbalanced amplifier. If, common today, the sender has no transformer, simply use hot and ground at the unbalanced input. If the sender has a transformer use hot + cold as input. Alternatively you can use a transformer on the input.
    – ghellquist
    Apr 11, 2020 at 17:45
  • Continued: musicians use a box called DI to translate between unbalanced/ balanced. Example: thomann.de/se/millenium_die_dibox_passiv.htm A passive DI with a transformer can be run backwards, from the balanced side to the unbalanced.
    – ghellquist
    Apr 11, 2020 at 17:52

3 Answers 3


The Pear Drop amps are supposed to be pretty good:


Compact Class D too.

  • Seems to be a bit harder to get outside the UK though. Jun 10, 2015 at 11:32

XLR connections are typically on professional equipment so I would look there. Here is an amp that satisfies basically everything you need except for waterproofing.


If you are willing to go the DIY route, Hypex has amp modules that go from 180 watts and up and accept a balanced input as standard.

  • It's also not that compact. 15 lbs is light for a power amp, but might not be in the wieght range the OP is looking for. Jun 10, 2015 at 13:23

You might want to look at a Furman SP-20AB... I have the older version (no "B" on the end) and it's been a workhorse. Not sure what they're going for these days, though.

EDIT: Just noticed they're recommending not lower than 16 ohms in bridge mode, so... maybe not actually as suitable as I thought.

  • yes, it might not be powerful enough for our needs. but thank you for suggesting!
    – evsc
    Mar 12, 2015 at 14:37

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