Llano Design Group A-200 Amplifiers

4.73/5 (11 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (11 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by <none> a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 7, 1999

Bottom Line:   
Incredible 3 dimensional soundstage.Resolution is superb.
Very dynamic sound.
Built to survive a nuclear explosion.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Steve Haynes a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: June 28, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I wont get too carried away but I am going to tell you that LLano makes the best amps on the planet! I am the very proud owner of an A200. It makes other amps that I have had in my system sound like a clock radio. My last amp was a Parasound HCA 1200II that didnt like my Unity Audio speakers at all. You could have made pancakes and eggs on that bad boy it got so hot! The A200 laughs at my Unitys and plays them beautifully! Dont waste your money elsewhere, buy a Llano and be done with it! Heck If you dont like it send it back then call yourself a doctor cause you need heavy medication and therapy!This deserves 10 stars.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Richard Henderson a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: January 8, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I wanted an extremely clean amp with guts. It needed to handle extreme high frequencies without shimmer, graininess or image smearing. A bonus would be good midrange and bass, though mids are rarely a problem with amp's and I use a Titan for my bass these days. The A200 does all this beautifully. I put it on par with the big Krell's for transparency and slightly better phase coherency, but a lot cheaper, and it heats the room nicely too :). I preferred it to the Pass and Mark Levinson alternatives which were artificially bright and too tubey respectively.
The amp is very quiet, to the extent you can attach headphones to the main out's (without an input signal)and hear nothing (don't do this at home kids!); not bad for a Class A solid-state. That means at least 110 dB of S/N.

The only difficulties I had were finding cables good enough to connect this thing. Get very good balanced cables (I use JPS Superconductors 3' balanced) and ensure that your pre-amp has a stable output impedance. I was fortunate in that the Muse preamp I use is very good at this. Tube preamps, particularly OTL designs may have a problem here. I look forward to removing the preamp completely.

This amp forgives nothing, it is entirely naked in presentation, it is better than any source components I have ever found and drives speakers well due to it's vanishingly small output impedance and unmatched transient performance giving tremendous attack on pianos and drums. If you're looking for a pure beast of an amp then this is the one for you!

My rig: Muse transport -> I2S -> Muse HDCD DAC (+1 bit internal setting) -> DHLabs balanced -> Muse preamp with "TDS audiophile passive" (rewired with silver) in tape loop -> JPS Superconductor balanced -> "Tammy" A200 -> ACI Jaguar (port blocked) / ACI Titan subwoofer .

Everything else will change soon (96kHz/24bit), only the TDS and the A200 will stay.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by John a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: September 15, 1998

Bottom Line:   
I’ve been listening to my Llano A200 for a couple of months now and thought I’d share my experience with this wonderful amplifier with other audiophiles and music lovers. My system consists of the following:
Preamp Convergent Audio Technologies SL1 MKII
Turntable VPI HW19 MKIV with TNT upgrade, ETII arm, Benz M0.9 cartridge and XLO reference interconnects
CD Player Panasonic DVD with 96/24 DAC
Speakers Martin Logan CLSIIz
Subwoofer VR TOP
PLC Chang Lightspeed CLS9600
Interconnects Synergistic Research Looking Glass
Speaker Cables Monster 2.2
Various Tip-Toes, Pucks, Bricks, Air Platforms, Power Cords

My initial impression of this amplifier was very positive. I noticed an immediate improvement in my systems ability to resolve detail. This added resolution manifested itself primarily as an enhanced soundstage presentation. Instruments of all types from bells and cymbals to bass and kettle drums were placed precisely and solidly in a very wide and deep soundstage. The attack and decay of instruments is as good as I have heard, very natural. The amplifier has an athletic quality that is just killer. It can be at once powerful and graceful. Still, one aspect of the amps performance was perplexing. The midrange, while very good, didn’t measure up to the amps performance in other regards. There was a certain harmonic rightness missing, as if somehow something was being choked off. As I listened to the amp I was having a hard time believing it could get so many things just right yet fail to develop the midrange sufficiently to suspend disbelief.


As time passed I became convinced something was amiss in my setup. I decided to have a go at a few tried and true tweaks to see if something simple could make a significant improvement in the midrange. The first thing I did was to lose the power cord that came with the amp. Llano Designs should look into supplying a better cable as standard equipment with this amp. The transformation wrought by this simple change was a real eye opener. After hearing the significant improvement replacing the power cord made I was eager to experiment with other tweaks to see if any additional improvements could be realized. In a word, YES.

Every tweak I have tried on this amp (or my system) has made a significant difference in it’s sound. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. One thing I know for certain; this amp has the ability to communicate every nuance of your system. Be forewarned; if you want to get the best from this amp you may have to rethink choices you made regarding interconnects, speaker cables, PLCs, etc. when using a less revealing amplifier. On the other hand, to expect the level of performance I now have in my listening room by simply tossing a new amp in your system is foolhardy. The synergy required to attain the highest level of musical reproduction requires more than luck. Be prepared to have your eyes opened to weakness in your system should you decide to purchase an A200. The silver lining is the amps uncanny ability to tell you when you have made the right choice; there is little room for doubt with this super transparent amplifier.


My time experimenting has been rewarded with what I can confidently say is the best sound I’ve ever heard in my listening room, with realism that equals any playback system I have heard in my music loving life. The A200 never fails to please and amaze me.


Believe me when I say there is magic in this box. I encourage anyone who owns one of these amps or is contemplating a purchase to take the time to let that magic out. Your time will be richly rewarded.

Am I a happy camper? You bet!



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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile



Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Keith Louie a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 7, 1998

Bottom Line:   
Wonderful amp! I had been searching for a solid state amp that doesn't have the "electronic" signature common to most. Am very picky and tried a number of amps ($2,000 to $5,800), including BAT, Threshold, Aragon, Pass, but the Llano was the overall winner in my system. The Pass was the most "natural" sounding, but it couldn't come close to driving the bass section of my Apogee Stages. The Llano preserves most of the Pass' three-dimensionality and "realness", but has the ability to drive tough (low-impedance, current hungry) loads like the Stages.
The Llano simply sounds realistic, in large part owed to its two-gain stage Class A push-pull design (similar to the new Pass X-series). Can't say enough good things about the amp - everything else (except the Pass) sounded like a pieces of electronic equipment. The midrange has that magical fullness and realism, the treble has the air that it should, and the bass is deep and tight. Given the price, it is an absolute steal. Don't be put off by the lack of name brand or dealer, as the excellent sound will more than make up for these issues.

Also, Randy White (owner) is a very nice, knowledgeable guy.

However, the Website leaves more than a bit to be desired, though (I'd give it one star at most).

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast




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