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Home Audio Amplifiers: Integrated and Power Amplifiers

A home stereo amplifier collects an audio signal from your media source then boosts the signal's gain before sending it to your speakers. The speaker wire that transmits the audio signal also carries enough electricity to power the speaker. That's why most stereo speakers don't require a power cord.

Audio receivers and home theater receivers feature a built-in amplifier (and preamp), allowing them to perform the same basic function. But receivers also include a built-in radio tuner, so that they can play music without pulling it from an external device. So, receivers are all amplifiers, but amplifiers are not receivers because they lack a tuner.

Integrated amplifiers combine the functionality of a power amp and a preamp. Preamplifiers work to boost the audio signal from analog sources before it reaches the power amp. In a home audio environment, a turntable is one of the only devices that requires a preamp. Other analog audio sources include microphones and musical instruments. But those of us who aren't recording music will probably only need a preamp for our turntables.

Regardless of the source of your audio, systems with separate stereo amps and preamps provide higher sound quality. However, the difference is much less noticeable with digital music. If you only play digital media, an integrated amp is a good way to simplify your system and save money without losing much in the way of quality.

If you still have questions about the complex world of amplified sound, our Custom Audio and Video Department can help. You can reach them at 847.544.2307 or [email protected]. They're more than happy to steer you in the right direction and help you design the audio system of your dreams. We even have a team of in-house installation professionals who can come to your home and set up your new audio gear.

But for the music fans who know what they need, browse our extensive collection of amplifiers above. Then order your new amplifier to take turn your sound system up another notch.

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