With the release of its next-generation Sprout100, PS Audio has
succeeded in making the tired terms “new and improved” actually mean something by addressing many real-world
audio needs. There are upgraded features outside and updated technologies inside. Sonically, you get more
headroom, heft, and body, plus greater substance and resolution. Revisiting my review of the original
Sprout, I can say that my conclusion still rings true: “The Sprout offers plenty of quality without
complication. Just connect the little guy and use the knobs on the front. For simplicity, versatility,
portability, and affordability, it's tough to beat. You get a helluva lot for your money. It's hard to
imagine a more fun, cool component.” With the Sprout100, expect big sound and even bigger bang for the buck.
The Absolute Sound
It could welcome new folks to hi-fi and greet them with enough quality
to keep them in the freakin' game. The Sprout100 is certainly hi-fi, and as far as New Record Day is
concerned, it's one of the most thorough examples of what hi-fi should and can be. It's a no-brainer. It's a
New Record Day
The Sprout100 is quite a few steps beyond what you'd get with a $1,000
AVR. It's just better…. You're going to be …experiencing sound in a way that's just going to blow you away.
You're going to be absolutely stunned by how good this thing sounds.
So, there you have it. Whereas I found the original Sprout to be
important, but not necessarily a complete success, I think PS Audio got things very right with the updated
Sprout100. Great sound, great ergonomics, a well thought out feature set that does everything that is
important in this price range and does it quite well. And it does it all at a lower price than the original.
There's a reason I gave it a Writer's Choice award. Very highly recommended.
It's obvious a lot of thought, passion, and heart went into the design
of the Sprout100. It has been beautifully voiced by some hardcore music lovers. At only $599 (which is
cheaper than my USB cable) I consider the Sprout100 to be one of the best-kept secrets in audio. One of
those rare times you could steal your cake and eat it too. The goal of the Sprout100 was to provide quality
sound without the hassle. They've not only succeeded but also went above and beyond. Instead of being a
stepping stone into great sound, I think the PS Audio Sprout100 could be your long-term cornerstone as you
scale up. It has the power. It has the flexibility. And it definitely has the sound.
The Sprout100 seems born to stream music and play vinyl via a low-cost
MM cartridge. Its best trait was that it made recordings sound tuneful and attractive. Its worst trait was
that it made recordings sound tuneful and attractive. It did not do such audiophile tricks as strong, tight
bass, precise imaging, transparency, or airy highs. It just played music enjoyably.
The detail and depth are just striking. It's still the channel
separation and imaging that is grabbing me hardest...I've never had this disc startle me. I turned around
because one of the voices came from behind me. This is two channel that I'm listening to. The Sprout has
opened up the soundstage so wide that it played a ventriloquist act. I've never had a piece of gear do that
in this room. The second track sounds like a drum circle in the room. This isn't about specs and numbers,
this purely about the presentation of music, and this is happening in front of me in breathtaking fashion…
I've had some pieces of gear come through my home that I've wanted. Some I've plain lusted after. This is
one I know I'm going to own. I can't possibly recommend this little beautiful piece of audio glory any
The Shoestring Audiophile
I had some reservations about the original Sprout due to its always-on
loudness curve and lower-than-I-usually-need power output capabilities. The new Sprout100 eliminates both of
those concerns. Not only does it sound amazingly good, but it has enough of the right inputs and outputs to
put together a first-rate, borderline drop-dead kick-ass desktop or even room-based audio system. The
bottom-line question, of course, is whether or not the PS Audio Sprout100 is a good value. In that regard, I
say yes. Hell, yes.
Home Theater Review
A Sprout, you say? Indeed, I'm speaking of PS Audio's gateway drug
into high-end audio, the venerable Sprout integrated amplifier/DAC/phono preamp. It seems that receipt of a
Sprout has become something of a coming of age moment in my family. My daughter got the first generation
sample I reviewed when she was a junior in college, having moved out of the dorms and into a place of her
own with a bunch of other collegiate ladies. …Ultimately, as with the original Sprout, I had to conclude
that one of the best attributes of the Sprout 100 is that it serves to bring generations of people together,
which is something that seems to rarely happen today. I invited my son to come up to listen and experiment
with it to see if he would be interested in having one in his apartment. What began as a simple demo session
evolved into a deep discussion of music between father and son; one of those rare moments when two
generations find themselves on the same wavelength. All I can say is that PS Audio has only improved upon
what I consider to be its best product ever, and that's great news indeed for listeners both new and old.
Part Time Audiophile
I began this review by stating that PS Audio was once considered the
poor man's budget audiophile gear, and the PS Audio Sprout100 continues that tradition without reservation.
Providing a large soundstage with excellent dynamics, a great tonal balance and musicality sufficient to
tame the occasionally edgy SABRE DAC chip, while able to drive anything from the most sensitive of IEMs to
reference quality planar magnetics, the Sprout100 has earned a place as one of my three favorite
DAC/Headphone Amplifiers under $1,000, and is only bested by the Modwright/Oppo DAC, as an ESS based DAC.
The addition of a phono stage and the ICEpower amplifier make it an unparalleled value. In fact, if someone
were to come to me and say they had a $5,000 budget to put together a home audio system, I would tell them
to spend $1,500 on headphones, $1,500 on speakers, $1,000 on a turntable, then buy the Sprout100 to run it
and spend the rest on cables (though it might be a challenge to find $1,500 speakers to match the
performance of the PS Audio).
Gary Allen Barker
I watched a few episodes of Handmaid's Tale Season 2 on Hulu with the
Sprout 100 and the LS50s, and the sound was so good I didn't miss a center channel speaker (in part because
I was sitting equidistant from the left and right speakers). Stereo imaging was broad and sharply focused in
ways you'll never hear from a sound bar. So yes, the PS Audio Sprout 100 is an overachiever, just pair it
with a good set of speakers and you'll be good to go.
The Sprout 100 is a musical integrated amp that gives you so much for
your money. The Headphone Amp/DAC alone is worth what they charge for this thing, but then when you factor
in the power amp that drives speakers down to 4 ohms, the Bluetooth streaming, phono pre-amp, etc. you can
see this product is an excellent value. This integrated would be a perfect product for young guys putting
together their first hi-fi setup, or someone who wants a quality amp and doesn't have a lot of room to
spare. It would also make a great anchor for an excellent desktop setup. All in all, though the Sprout was
very engaging, and song after song, I found myself just enjoying the music, which at the end of the day is
what this hobby is all about.
...the Sprout100 / ELAC Debut 2.0 system is in every respect a winner.
While you won't get everything, where would you put it (thanks, Steven Wright), what you will get is a hifi
capable of mating you to your music in meaningful ways. I also find the Sprout to be one heck of a nice
looking piece of kit, better looking in fact than the endless parade of black metal box w/silver faceplate
clones. Sprout has character, and wood! What more can you ask? Based on my experience, if you decide to buy
the PS Audio Sprout100 and the ELAC Debut 2.0 speakers, I can safely extrapolate from that experience and
say with confidence you are getting one helluva Adrenalin-indusing hifi. Unless you are A) dead, or B) a
jaded audiophile. The PS Audio Sprout100 and the ELAC Debut 2.0 speakers earn our TM Select: Recommended
System award with aplomb.