Stereo amplifiers power your speakers, and allow you to select the sound source and adjust the level. A stereo amp, in its most basic form, controls two channels, the left and right, which make up the sound you hear.
One thing to keep in mind is that amps are designed to power passive speakers, which are speakers that get their power from the amp and are not linked to any direct power supply. You do not need to connect your amplifier to active speakers.
A stereo amp is appropriate if you only want to build a hi-fi setup with two speakers or even a subwoofer.
If you've purchased a high-end record player and paired it with high-end speakers, don't make the mistake of connecting the system with a poor amplifier, the sound quality of the complete system will be decreased to its level. Always remember, the hi-fi amplifier is the core of your Hi-Fi set-up, it's worth investing a little more in a higher quality amplifier.
The Revolver Club Stereo Amplifier Recommendations and Comparsion Table:
Inputs & Outputs
5 In/1 Out
Best Budget Stereo Amplifier
6 In/1 Out
Best Value Stereo Amplifier
5 In/1 Out
Best Feature Set Integrated Stereo Amplifier
5 In/1 Out
Best Wattage Value Stereo Amplifier
5 In/1 Out
Best Value Stereo Amplifier with HDMI
Features of a Stereo Amplifier:
Output Power: The power output indicates how loud the audio output can be. Watts per channel are listed by manufacturers and refer to the amount of power transmitted to the speakers. This can help you choose the right speakers to pair it with. Speakers, too, have power requirements that might range from 15 to 400 watts or so. Some high-end speakers have power ranges of up to 1000 watts. Always choose a receiver with sufficient power output to properly use the speaker.
Impedance: Impedance refers to the opposition a circuit presents to electrical current. A speaker will “impede” the flow of electricity being created by the amplifier. The nominal impedance of most speakers is 4, 8, or 16 ohms. An ideal amp would double its output as impedance halves; so, though most won’t achieve it, the closer it gets the better. Though you may be tempted to go for the most powerful amp you can afford, you’ll usually do better by buying a more sensitive speaker. That’s because an amplifier’s output has to double to match a 3dB increase in speaker sensitivity.
Inputs & Outputs: There are different types of connections, like 3.5mm for headphones, Phono for turntables, USB. You want to make sure you can link all your devices.
Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N): THD+N measures how much effect the amplifier has on the sound output. Lower THD+N indicates that the output of the amplifier will sound more similar to the original recording.
Signal To Noise Ratio (SNR): Because of the electrons inside, amplifiers have static background noise. A signal-to-noise ratio compares the power of a signal to the power of noise. Higher numbers indicate a higher specification because they let you enjoy more of the music and less of the noise.
Crosstalk: Crosstalk measures how much unwanted left signal mixes with right signal and vice versa. More crosstalk means the stereo sound is affected even worse.
Inputs & Outputs:
If you are into vinyl, then it’s important for the stereo amplifier to have an integrated phono input for your turntable. Additional RCA inputs come in handy for adding a standalone DAC (Digital Audio Converter), a cassette deck, or the analog output of a CD player.
Digital Audio Amplifiers include a built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that turns digital signals into analog sound your speakers can reproduce.
A number of integrated amplifiers support wireless music streaming — you can’t beat it for convenience. And some let you add compatible speakers and components to create an expandable wireless whole-home audio system.
A headphone jack
Subwoofer Out, so you can add a subwoofer to your system
Stereo Amplifier Setup:
The rack in which you store your amplifier should not be chosen only on the basis of appearance. different materials have different acoustic properties.
It's also vital to provide an amp a few inches of breathing room from a wall or rack to avoid overheating.
Understanding the rear back panel for connections:
Tuner Input Jacks: These are designed to connect an external FM/AM antenna or tuner module
Ground Terminal: These provide a path to the ground for the receiver. The purpose of this is to reduce electrical noise.
Phono Input Jacks: This input is for connecting a turntable or record player.
CD Input Jack: This is for connecting a CD player or other audio source with line-level output.
Line 1 In: These receive audio signals from devices that produce a line-level output, such as CD players, DVD players, Smartphones, and MP3 players.
Line 2 jack: This allows you to connect multiple other audio sources easily.
Pre-Out Jacks: These provide a fixed-level audio signal that is used to connect amplifiers, subwoofers, and other audio devices.
Speaker CH in: This is where you connect your speakers. These terminals are used to link the receiver/amplifier and the speakers.
Stereo receivers combine an amplifier and a tuner, a stereo amplifier focuses on amplifying audio signals. They don’t have a built-in tuner.
Many stereo receivers include audio connections for TVs. This improves the audio quality of your television by using the receiver's amplifier and speakers.
A stereo receiver is designed to play back audio with two-channel (stereo) sound. An AV receiver is intended for home theatre setups and includes features such as surround sound, HDMI in/out, and video switching.