Radio Shack MPA-250 Stereo Power Amplifier (Realistic)

I was having a party and wanted to show off my
system which consist of a Rotel RCD-1072 CD Player,
NAD C162 Stereo Preamplifier, Carver M500t Power
amplifier and Paradigm MONITOR 9 speakers. It's a
very nice sounding system but the same day I
was having the party my Carver lost one channel.
I knew I could not get it fixed by that night.

I'm not a big Radio Shack fan and most products
they carry are junk (IMO) but they are just
around the corner and did sell a PRO series
amplifier model MPA250 (2 X 125 watts per channel).
I almost never bought it but the sales guy said
this amplifier is a real sleeper. He also said
that most people he sold them too really liked
the amplifier but didn't brag about it because
they know most people don't take Radio Shack
stereo equipment seriously. He also reminded
me that in the late 70's and early 80's Radio
Shack sold some very high quality stereo equipment
like the STA-2000 and STA-2100 that looked like
Vintage Pioneer equipment of that time. He also
said this amplifier was a copy of an older high
end amplifier.

I first noticed the very high build quality
and that it did have some weight to it (not a
feather lite amp like some). The front panel
looked very nice with 2 large lighted VU power
meters, meter -20dB setting, left/right input
gain controls, AB speaker switches, clipping
LED, headphone jack and power switch. The back
had tip sleeve & RCA inputs, Bridgeable switch,
large binding post for speakers, AC outlet,
fuse holder, ground connector and a large FAN.
It has protective rails on the back to protect
the connectors, etc. It kind of reminded me of a
CROWN amplifier but with meters.

The amplifier is FAN Cooled and desgned for 10Hz
to 50Khz Freq Response and is bridgeable to 250
Watts @ 8 ohms. I've heard this amplifier can
produce up to 1000 Watts but must be at a very
brief peak signal (1 or 2 ohm load). Radio Shack
did not publish the 1000 Watt rating in the owners
manual but I heard this from 3 different people.

My first impression of the sound of this
amplifier was unbelievable. The amplifier
had power to burn and sounded more detailed
than my Carver. I tried several top CD's
I had including Classical and Folk music. While
some CD's sounded no better, others sounded
cleaner and clearer. The FAN I thought would
be a noise problem similar to a computer fan
but it was whisper quite. I really didn't
have anything bad to say about the amplifier.

I used the amplifier for the party which was
great, I later got my Carver fixed but retired
it after doing an A/B comparison. That's when
I got the idea to get several friends with a
good ear for music to come over with there
own amplifiers (I've ask friends with power
amps in the same power range). ROTEL RB 1070
2 X 130 watts per channel, kENWOOD BASIC M1D
2 x 125 watts per channel, NAD C272 Stereo
Power Amplifier 2 x 150 Watts channel and my
old Carver M500t 2 X 251 watts per channel.
We would all do a blind AB test with a third
party changing the equipment.

The speakers are in one room while the
equipment was in another room. I know
the way we did the test was not 100%
accurate with leveling matching equipment
that magazine testers use but it would give
us a very good idea of what the amplifiers
sounded like. We did make sure that the
amplifiers played the same loudness (tested
with a loudness meter first to give us a
setting) and switched very quickly to the
next amplifier so not a lot of time went by
between tests. The people were asked to
write down in order the best sounding
amplifier and work down. Know one said
any opinions until after the test was over.
This took an entire evening.

The results were:

1st) NAD C272 Stereo Power Amplifier 2 x 150 Watts channel
2nd) ROTEL RB 1070 2 X 130 watts per channel
3rd) Radio Shack MPA-250 2 X 125 watts per channel
4th) Carver M500t 2 X 251 watts per channel
5th) kENWOOD BASIC M1D 2 x 125 watts per channel

All were impressed with the sound of the
MPA-250 and surprised it beat out the Carver
& Kenwood power amplifiers. They were even
more surprised it came close to the Rotel.

The test equipment used was:

Rotel RCD-1072 CD Player
NAD C162 Stereo Preamplifier
Paradigm MONITOR 9 speakers

In conclusion, I had other people agree that
this is one great sounding amplifier and the
least expensive of the bunch. I will not buy my next
equipment by BRAND Name but by a serious listing
test first and drop any preconceived ideas of
what brand names are good. Most companies make both
good and bad products. This was one gem of a find.