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Kenwood Basic M2

Stereo Power Amplifier (1983-84)

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Kenwood Basic M2


Power output: 220 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 1Hz to 200kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.004%

Damping factor: 1000

Input sensitivity: 1V

Signal to noise ratio: 120dB

Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω

Dimensions: 440 x 158 x 373mm

Weight: 15.5kg


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Reviewed Feb 03rd, 2017 by Nite

Bought some glorious Kef 105.4's when they were being closed out back in the early '80s.
My poor old Kenwood 501's and 701 could not drive them reasonably, so I replaced the amps and preamp, which was a QED, with the Basic C2 and two M2's. They run my Stereo/quadraphonic system to this day.
Wish Kenwood would bring back audio equipment like that again.

Reviewed Dec 19th, 2015 by brocke11

I purchased a used M2 off Kijiji recently. It's in excellent shape both physically and internally. All controls and meters work flawlessly.

I bought the amp to drive my home theater's Polk RTi12 mains. I had just recently read that these speakers operate at 4 ohms. Polk sells them as 8 ohms and capable of taking up to 500 watts rms. They're also very inefficient at 89db 1w@1m. I found it hard to believe, but a quick check with a voltage meter confirmed what I had read… 3.7 ohms!

My poor, under-powered Denon 3805 AVR had been driving these power hungry speakers all alone for quite a few years. I'm surprised it didn't die! A big hurrah for the Denon, it's served me well.

I read many reviews of the RTI12's. Almost everyone said they needed big, clean power to come alive. After reading reviews here about the quality of old school amps and the ability to repair them when they break, I decided to keep an eye out for something in the over 200 watts rms range. A few Adcom's came around, but they were ridiculously expensive. I grabbed the M2 for $350 CAN.

So, I connected the M2 to my Denon's L/R pre-outs and set it's gain controls to 12 o'clock and connected the Polk's. Well I'll tell you…. Holy frig, this system came to life like never before. I played some Dream Theater tunes that I know to be very dynamic. Wow, strong tight base to kick you silly in the chest. Mids and highs crisp and clear! I was literally in shock, except for the giant smile on my face!! At 4 ohms, this rig was now pushing close to 400 watts rms per channel!!!

For a few hundred bucks, I have an amazing new/old system. I can't believe how the Kenwood brought tremendous new life to an already ok sounding rig. I highly recommend enhancing any AVR with a dedicated amp for 2 channel music listening. It makes movie soundtracks all that much better too!!

Oh, by the way, I connected cables for the sigma drive feature. I really like the sound. It definitely added more punch to the lows. This amp has total control over these speakers. It's amazing how it can keep up with double kick drums and warm, punchy bass lines. All I can say is wow! I'm blown away!

Reviewed Oct 15th, 2015 by franckthome

I have had the Kenwood M2 for one year now.
It is connected to a pair or JMLAB 913.1.
And it is simply awesome.
For hifi listening or for home cinema, it does its job.
When i got it, the thermistor controlling the fan had been removed and the fan was always on. I had to install a switch at the back, which is now always off, in order to keep the disturbing fan silent. This fan is indeed useful only in case of use at full power, which is not really possible in my room.
I was thinking of replacing it by a luxman m03, but can't really make up my mind. The front LEDs.are really nice, and, as already said, the M2 does the job beautifully.

Reviewed Apr 10th, 2015 by moejr

My favorite Kenwood Power Amp next to the 700M

Reviewed Mar 27th, 2015 by Cebigbos

I bought a M1 with C1 a while ago and it sounded better than my beloved Luxman R1500, a few weeks ago I could score the M2 and again it is better than the M1 and in my opinion it can compete with very expensive newer equipment



re: Basic M2

I have an M1 I picked up at the local goodwill and using my sx-980 as a control amp for it. I'm using Chrysler living audio Ce-509 speakers that are rated 50 watts at 16 ohms. The M1 is 110 wpc at 8 ohms,what is it at 16 ohms. After finding,researching,buying and then hearing these speakers,I'll never look for another brand. So I would like find a good matching amplifier that can give me 100 wpc at 16 ohms. I only run the M1 for more watts,I also don't want to really replace the 980,but figure its underpowered to be running the 50 watts at 16 ohms. I know the 980 can handle the 16 ohms,just dont want it killing itself trying to give the speakers 50 watts,cause I figure its only hitting around 40 wpc at 16 ohms.

re: Basic M2

Easier to drive the 16 ohm loads than 8 or 4 ohm loads.

You should not have any problems at all driving them with the 980.

If they were big Infinity speakers rated at 4 ohms (and dropping to less than 2 ohms), then worry ;-)

Any good power amp should work for you.

re: Basic M2

I've had the M2 amp since 1985 paired with the C1 pre-amp and they've both performed flawlessly ever since with no issues.

re: Basic M2


Do you have the Sigma Drive portion hooked up? I just picked up an M2 yesterday and I am not sure if Sigma is needed. Thanks.

re: Basic M2

I'd definitely wire it up. There is a notable difference in the dynamics of warm, punchy rock music (my music of choice). I think the 1000 damping spec on this amp may only be achieved when in Sigma configuration. My 2 cents worth after lots of comparative listening with Sigma wires connected vs not connected.

I've been a sound tech for many years and mixed all sorts of different bands. I feel my ears can still hear even slight differences in eq and room acoustics and there's significantly stronger dynamics with the Sigma drive cables connected.

The Japanese engineers back then weren't making up fluff. Sigma does work. It's still incorporated into Kenwood's car stereo amps today and they're no slouch!

re: Basic M2

I have the M1 which has sigma drive. You don't need it but might as well hook it up if you aren't swapping equipment and if it isn't at risk of the wires coming loose. Its not a huge difference either way.

re: Basic M2

Thank you!

re: Basic M2

I just want to run two speakers off my M1,which two outputs do I want to run from? 50 wpc at 16 ohms.

re: Basic M2

Run them on Speaker Terminal A. Terminal B is suppose to be used for 8 ohm loads only. Make sure you don't inadvertently connect anything to the "Sensor" outputs unless you intend to use the Sigma Drive feature.

If you do go with the Sigma Drive, use a slightly smaller gauge wire than what your using for your mains for the sensor connections and make sure they're really solidly connected in the twist connectors. Pull taught to make sure they don't come out. Those connectors will take as large as a 10 AWG wire. I folded the exposed wire over to double the thickness and that made them really tight in the twist connector. I used a 16 AWG wire for the sensors and I have a 12 AWG set on my mains. Also, I used my second set of connectors on my speakers, that are used for bi-amping, to connect the sensor lines. Made it much easier. Just make sure the connector strap stays in place when you tighten everything down.

WARNING: Follow Kenwood's directions to the letter. Messing up the Sigma Drive wires will definitely fry your amp! I've read more than a few reports online where this has happened.

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Kenwood. To purchase Basic M2 spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.