Review: Pyle Pro Blue Rock 2000 Amplifier

Category: Amplifiers

Pyle is a Brooklyn based company that has been in the audio business for well over four decades. In the early days they supplied some very reasonably priced raw loudspeakers to Lafayette Electronics. These high performing low cost transducers were known as Pyle drivers and definitely not to be confused with the wrestling move. Still…the bass that an eight inch Pyle driver was capable of reproducing was phenomenal for ten bucks each back in those days. Also…At that price…and at that time…nothing else could touch it and my first real home grown car system consisted of a pair of these black duo-coned blue foamed beauties mounted in the rather large rear deck of a 1966 Dodge Coronet. Man…that pounding bass was cool!

Over time Pyle branched out into electronics. Although they…as did other American manufacturers ceased building their products in the good ole U.S.A….the co. developed various lines of electronics including car radios, amplifiers, tuners preamps and dee jay mixers along with public address components. Although subject to much skepticism by most {including yours truly} first time buyers glancing at the low "Made In China" price tags…the Pyle Pro line is the benevolent manufacturer’s premier series of professional equipment designed to please both the disc jockey and audiophile alike without causing one to break the bank. They seem to take the classic Dynaco and AR approach which enabled even the proverbial “starving musician” to afford the equipment. You just gotta have a soft spot in your heart for a company with this intent. A great example of this affordable quality approach is the co.’s own Pyle Pro PYP-1x stereo preamp w/moving magnet phono stage which I own and gave a five star rating to…$73 internet street price.

The Blue Rock Series is an incredible throwback to the 70’s style of professional power amplifiers that feature that classic warm tube/solid state sound that audiophiles and music lovers dream of…and feel that they cannot afford. Too bad…because these monster hefty amps by Pyle are outstanding performers that look and sound great despite their suspiciously low prices and the inflated power figures boasted by the manufacturer‘s attractive colorful packaging. Do not be afraid…test the waters and like one buyer noted…why not give it a shot? You’re only gonna be out a couple hundred bucks if it doesn’t work out. But it’s worth a go if your classic Carver or S.A.E. amplifier has given up the ghost. Honestly…if you use good speaker wire and follow directions well while embracing common sense…you will wind up with a superior product that should prove most reliable for years to come. Pyle Pro’s slogan is “High End Performance At An Affordable Price.” This is so very evident in their “Blue Rock” series of power amplifiers and most definitely applies to the product up for review here.

The Blue Rock line consists of three models…the PDG2000 PDG4000 & PDG5000. These model numbers represent the peak power the individual amplifiers are capable of producing into a 2 ohm load both channels combined…or bridged Now…despite the hype here…I am going to tell you that indeed the beasts are quite powerful and all models are capable of very clean high Sound Pressure Levels that can satisfy stadium crowds and annoy the local neighbors for blocks! Despite the rather high figures…I know what you’re thinking…but please understand that the models are still capable of delivering 250 watts, 500 watts and 625 watts per channel minimum respectively both channels driven into 8 ohm loads from 20Hz to 20KHz with less than 0.1% Harmonic Distortion!

When reading the hype on the outside of the inner box {yes…Pyle thankfully double boxes these titans}…it’s like going from the sublime to the ridiculous. It states that the 2000 is capable of 2000 watts total into 2 ohms but with a minimum of 200 watts continuous total into 8 ohms. These are incorrect and the real world figures are stated above. I have caveats with Pyle here. Firstly…although the amplifier can handle a 2 ohm load…it is not designed for continuous use at this impedance. The amplifiers in the Blue Rock line are designed to work wonderfully and safely into 4 to 16 ohm loads as indicated in large print on the rear panel. Secondly…the Owner’s Manual is poorly written unlike the Pyle Pro PYP-1X’s. Go figure! You’ve got a great product here, Pyle…treat it with respect by writing the minimalist booklet in decent English and with detailed explanation of features without the hyped power ratings in both directions! OK…end of complaints and whining from me.

Trust me here…these stereo amplifiers are capable of incredibly high current so please….please…please use at least 12 gauge oxygen free copper loudspeaker interconnects with them. There is a rather large push button “Power On” switch between the two level controls on the attractive front panel. It lights up red similar to the AudioSource Amp 102 as opposed to the poorly written owner’s manual’s description of the control being a “rocker” type. It is not! And I must caution you upon initial startup to set the two large channel level controls marked 1 & 2 {Left & Right respectively} to the 12 o’clock position while setting your preamp’s volume control to a relatively low one. The amp is extremely well built with excellent thermal overload protection circuitry that effectively shuts down the unit when it senses a speaker system being driven too hard or a sudden unusual burst like the sound of a P.A. mic being dropped or when incorrect hookup is detected. It will then diagnose the problem and go into “protect” mode for at least eight to ten seconds. Also…upon startup it will delay for this period of time before clicking into “Ready” mode.

This amp when compared to the minimalist styled AudioSource sports a few bells and whistles that are actually quite pleasurable to view and useful to boot making it an attractive more powerful alternative. I absolutely LUV the blue lighting of the two large florescent-needled analog power meters and the blue lit Pyle Pro logo along with the equally large-sized attractive blue Input Sensitivity Digital meter in the middle that sports unusually bright and large digits {supposedly representing millivolts I presume}…Yippee!! Alas my aging eyes need not suffer. Next to the large chrome-like left and right channel level controls are two LED meters for further relative display of input level with the top most red LEDs lit only when signal clipping occurs. Under normal in home listening conditions both power meters and LEDs barely flicker if at all. At stadium or club party levels they will definitely put on a light show…all very cool looking…especially when the room’s lights are turned low…ahhh….sexy and romantic too!

The rather bohemoth - looking amp sports two large attractive chromed handles and is rack mountable via the pre-drilled slots on each side of the black brushed aluminum faceplate. The chassis is the same for all three models and stands 14.7” high by 19” wide by 7” deep weighing in at 44 lbs., 50 lbs., and 55 lbs. respectively. Only the power supplies differ from one model to the next increasing in size and weight as you move up the line. I chose the PDG-2000 entry level model for my purposes and purchased the first of two back in the Fall of 2010 for the local Football team’s small stadium. I was so impressed with the price/performance of this Blue Rock stereo amplifier that I was compelled to purchase another more recently as a reference amplifier for my personal use in my tweaked listening room. The first unit cost me $189 w/s+h while the second more recent purchase was for $230 total. The two units were purchased from separate Ebay vendors. Retail price is $429 for the 2000 model.

The rear panel of the Blue Rock amps sports a two-speed cooling fan that is absolutely necessary for an amp of this design and power capability. Above it are two XLR, RCA and ¼ “ input jacks for mic or line use although I suggest you use a preamplifier control center for this power amp rendering best results. You will yield better signal processing with this arrangement as opposed to the AudioSources that benefit from the “Direct” approach. To the right of the cooling fan are three sets of speaker terminals. The first two sets are typical 5-way heavy duty red/black banana binding posts while the remaining set is the “Speakon” type if you prefer that type of interconnect for a dee jay setup but beware as there are two and four conductor “Speakon” patches out there and I am not sure which of the two is compatible as one user complained about this situation. Personally, I use 12 gauge Calibre Xtreme OFC speaker interconnects and have no need of these ¼” Speakon terminals. But who knows…you may very well have different ideas on this. Just be sure to get the correct Speakon wire.

Two sets of stereo speakers are permitted as long as the combined impedance doesn’t drop considerably below 4 ohms. No A/B speaker switching is available and you would have to physically disconnect one pair in order to “switch” them out. You may want to use banana plugs here in order to accomplish this more easily when need be. To the lower right of these terminals is a most heavy duty three-pronged AC Mains Power Chord above which is a voltage/cycle selector for U.S.A. or overseas operation. . Make sure before firing up the amp for first time use that it is set correctly. Both amplifiers were set precisely for the U.S.A. by the factory in my situation.

This amplifier is designed by Pyle here in the U.S.A. and further engineered in Japan using updated components. The Blue Rock amplifiers are built overseas in China. I don’t know who exactly is responsible for the design personally but can tell you that it is based on tried and true classics from the 70’s & 80’s by Phase Linear, Dynaco, S.A.E., Hafler, Technics, Pioneer, JVC and Crown. Hey, that’s pretty darn good company that you keep there…Blue Rock!

Whoever is responsible for the design…Kudos…BIG TIME to you! If one were to walk into a high end establishment and mention “Pyle Pro” as your amp for when considering high end loudspeakers…one would likely receive a “Huh?!!” reaction. Don’t be put off by the low price or ashamed of this amp…It can rock! I’ve used the 2000 with various well respected hi-fi classic loudspeakers with outstanding results but before I touch upon that further…I would like to share with you my experience in setting up the first Blue Rock in a small stadium atmosphere.

Hurrel Field in Glen Ridge, New Jersey is one of those unique small “old school“ stadiums that used the standard fifty watt mono tinny sounding horn-loaded systems that dated back to the 50’s and we felt that our guys deserved a much warmer cleaner sounding sound system that would not cause ears to bleed mercilessly when cranked with their pre-game music. We setup the Blue Rock with 14 ga. CL-2 wire and an inexpensive all-weather pair of dual speaker systems. When initially testing the system…there was a noticeable improvement and lack of distortion when using a Shure SM-58 knockoff microphone. The sound was described by all as sexy and pleasant…although very powerful. However…the system did not quite fair as well on music sources.

The mids and highs were vastly improved but there seemed to be evidence of bass distortion on some recordings below 100 Hz. This proved to be the fault of the loudspeakers I chose for the Pyle rather than the amp itself. We only spent about $180 on a pair of no-name dual 8” woofered/Piezo Horn-loaded Mid/High tweetered speakers that featured two sets of drivers in each enclosure from The Deep Discount who sells primarily on Ebay and also was the dealer responsible for this particular Pyle PDG2000 amp purchase.

The problem was that each $80 enclosure not only featured two sets of drivers…but also two sets of speaker terminals and each side had to be jumped to the other bringing the overall impedance closer to the two ohm mark…not desirable and definitely introduced woofer distortion on deep bass. Still…the sound was generally outstanding and a marked improvement over the former bullhorn arrangement. Had we spent four times the price and purchased a JBL PA speaker system rated at 100 db sensitivity as opposed to our little system’s 92 db which was only slightly more sensitive than the best high end home loudspeakers…we would have eliminated the problem. Still…the end result was very good and a marked improvement over what used to be but just in case you think the Blue Rock was faulty…think again for I tested the amp with Polk R 30 towers, Bose 301-Vs, Boston A-70s and finally my beloved reference DLK 1 ½s along with my most treasured Allison Fours and the sound was absolutely sparkling clean at all frequencies at all SPLs. Bass was outstanding on all which are capable of reproducing tones below 50Hz.

I also pitted the Blue Rock against typical run-in-the-mill ho-hum stereo receivers rated from forty to one-hundred-ten watts per channel and in each case the Pyle Pro easily performed seriously louder and cleaner than the competition. The JVC Digital Hybrid came the closest but ran extremely hot before reaching anywhere near the SPL of the Pyle. Incidentally…under most conditions…the Blue Rock stays cool and quiet with an outstanding 80 db Signal-To-Noise Ratio. This figure betters or equals the classics.

Hence…jump forward two years and once again I purchased the PDG2000 in favor of the AudioSource AMP 110 that was similarly priced but not quite as powerful. I wanted to review the 110 but felt that the Blue Rock would be a better reference amplifier for my purposes as it can drive any loudspeaker regardless of efficiency rating out there. There is more than enough heft in this amp to drive the inefficient well respected Maggies to sufficiently high levels without breakup or audible distortion. Distortion levels are outstandingly low and TIM distortion is totally inaudible. Transients are clean and sport great attack. The amplifier is well damped. I have yet to hear another amplifier…Tube or Solid State…at any price point including those five times the price or higher offered by the High End that could better the Blue Rock on any genre of music be it vinyl or Digital source.

I love Jazz Rock & Classical music. Cymbals are cleanly reproduced and are especially non-smearing sounding with the amp hitched to the Allisons. And oh that classic warmth…it is so very welcome…and non-fatiguing as well as intoxicating! Unlike the AudioSource AMP 102...which sports a slight sugary sound quality in the treble range that ultimately drops off at the upper extreme…the Pyle Pro Blue Rock 2000 is utterly neutral with no errors of omission at any frequency. The rated Power Bandwidth of 5Hz to 50KHz is remarkable as evidenced by the sound quality within the audible range of 20z to 20KHz. It will provide great impact to your music! It definitely has emotion. It can bring a tear to your cheek. Actually...It can just bring it!

Pipe Organ music is gloriously hair raising through this amplifier as are sudden dynamic tympani gut punchers but beware if using a microphone that is suddenly dropped to the floor while being “Live”. The sudden impact sound will shut down the amplifier while engaging the advanced protective circuitry. The same can be said for abnormal loud audio tones so please leave the power off while connecting equipment {especially RCA phono -patched game systems} to the amplifier. Otherwise you will be interrupted for possibly a half minute before the amp automatically turns back on. Yes…this exact situation happened to our P.A. announcer when dropping his “Live” Mic during an announcement at Half-Time.

I do not know how it exactly came to be…but I or someone else must have dropped the amp during movement upon initial field setup while holding the unit by its front handles as this circumstance was somewhat stressful as we were “under the gun” to complete the mission before game time. The unit was either dropped or slammed down hard on its rear. The chassis rear is extended forming two fins that protect the rear connections and cooling fan from abuse. However…the left rear fin did its intended job but had to be straightened out a little as it was somewhat bent inward because of the unforeseen mishap. Performance was not affected and the fan itself is relatively silent under normal operating conditions although is somewhat audible when the amp is first turned on as you stand in front of the unit. Once you are in your seat and play begins…it becomes inaudible to even the most trained ear…even in a quiet 3 A.M. home environment.

Still…if you are a high end purist…this indeed may well be a turnoff to you. However…I don’t think it will bother most and should not prove to be a distraction even when extremely quiet environmental conditions apply at low listening levels. If you are a party DJ or field P.A. announcer…you won’t even be aware of it. The fan is as quiet as any that were incorporated into the classics. I certainly have no problem with the cooling fan and welcome its inclusion for this type of design. All ventilation is through the rear as no slots exist on top or along the sides…Goody! Who needs a favorite cup of brew accidentally spilling into the circuitry underneath??? The multi layered dimensional purity detailed sound quality of the amp is certainly not jeopardized by the cooling fan either.

Pyle…obviously concerned with your hearing possibly being damaged or impaired during use of this powerful amp states in the owner’s manual how different Sound Pressure Levels and their duration can unfortunately render hearing loss. Trouble is…they have the darn SPL and Duration columns confused. You’ll figure it out and the situation is corrected on the rear of the Warranty Card where the various levels and their duration are properly stated. The product itself is warranted for a one year period. I like the way the card expresses the Blue Rock to be a “Fun “product. It certainly is…but please do use safe listening levels. This amp’s real forte’ is that it has enough reserve power to overcome even the most demanding situation such as the early 901’s e.q. that made that system to be power hungry. The amp can easily drive any Bose 901 or Magnepan without clipping, strain or audible distortion/garbling in the lower registers.

Pyle’s Customer Service is OK but only that. I don’t think that it is up to par with the High End mark. But then again…you are not paying High End prices either. The Blue Rock 2000 includes a warranty card that should be filled out within ten days of purchase or you could probably register the product on line at WWW.Pyleaudio.Com…Oh that reminds me…I gotta do mine…Geesh…I forgot! I did not pop open the cover {though tempted} to view the guts for fear of breaking the warranty seal but suspect Pyle uses quite large old-school squarish transformers.

At any rate…the Pyle Pro Blue Rock PDG-2000 Stereo Power Amplifier is an outstanding performer that is quite a refreshing throwback to stereo hi-fi’s glory days but beware as there is evidence that this product is being discontinued in favor of newer slimmer Digital designs offered by the company that in my opinion just don’t quite measure up to the Blue Rock’s warm clean performance and don’t look anywhere as near professional or sexy Also…make sure that if in the rare event you do see one available on the internet…that the dealer actually has the product on hand. Before I made my latest purchase of the product…I hit the Buy It Now tab from a DJ internet supplier who tried to bait and switch me while apologizing for the item being backordered.. No wonder his price was suspiciously lower than everyone else’s! Anyone can do that!

I kindly requested a refund and wound up making a legitimate purchase from an Ebay DJ vendor who is quite outstanding and shipped the item quickly. Though slightly higher than the initial purchase made two years ago…He had two on hand and at the time of this writing…has one left. So if you’re on the fence about this product…I strongly urge you to take the plunge and grab it while it is still available as unfortunately it seems as though these will not be out there much longer…way too bad and I am not happy with Pyle in this regard! When you’ve got something this good…and this special…why pull the plug on it? I just don’t get it. Still…Pyle is not alone in this regard. I guess many folks felt the same way when the Dynaco 400 was no longer in production. Other than this…my only regret is that the Blue Rock 2000 was not available in kit form. Then I could truly tell you that it was designed and built in the U.S.A.

The Pyle Pro Blue Rock PDG-2000 Professional Power Amplifier should prove to be a most worthy performer for both the aspiring professional and bedtime dee jay {such as myself} who is also a lover of clean pure sound reproduction and who does not mind the lack of prestige in owning such a pocket saving performer that rises to way beyond expectation…especially at its meager asking price. Happy listening indeed!…PJSII

Associated gear
Allison Four Stabilized Radiation Loading Loudspeakers
Pyle Pro PYP-1X Silver Audiophile Preamplifier
Pioneer TX-5500 AM FM Stereo Analog Tuner
SL-2500 Direct Drive Turntable w/ Clearaudio Concept MM cartridge mounted in Dual-Gimballed Low Friction S-shaped Tonearm
Sony Digital Player
Calibre Xtreme 12 Ga Speaker Interconnects
Blue Street Gold-Plated RCA Interconnects

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I apologize so much for this but I failed to mention in the review that the two large front Level Controls have one very nice feature that even the classics lack....There is a nicely lit BLUE LED dot level marker on the knobs themselves which have a great "feel" by the way. This is most welcome for anyone whose eyes are not the best...if ya know what I mean!

I can sit on my couch and actually"see" where my levels are set rather than squint at the thin black line markings on most others. least to a most welcome feature and Bravo, Pyle for having the good design sense for incorporating it into all three models. And also...Yes...With the Allisons...Bass is tight and not loosey goosey in any way. Yes...indeed this is a dying breed....PJSII
Just replaced the Blue Street RCA interconnects with KnuKonceptz.Com Kharma ones. Man...this is definitely high resolution! Blue Rock driving my First Generation Allison just don't quite get this sound outta tower systems of today....PJSII
Use Kimber Kable 4TC Blue Rock with this amp as your speaker cable and really brings out the true quality of this amp! Four Blue for positive and four Black for negative side with teflon technology. I just upgraded to this wire and it is amazing.