Prior to starting the guide on how to compare integrated amplifiers, let’s first see what the device called “an integrated amplifier” is. An integrated amplifier is an amplifier, all the functional blocks of which are located in one housing, including all controls, the preamplifier part, and the power amplifier.
Depending on the used amplifying elements, transistor, tube, and hybrid integrated amplifiers are distinguished, which include both transistors and lamps. Integrated amplifiers come with a built-in power supply unit and, with a remote, are divided into classes “A” “B” “AB” “D”, can be analog and digital. Integrated amplifiers are the most affordable and easy to connect.
So you have a home theater, receiver, and your room is full of surround speakers. This is dynamite for watching movies. But if you are creating a system primarily for listening to music, an integrated amplifier is the best choice. Since integrated amplifiers focus only on the components that calculate the most to produce first-class sound, you do not invest in additional circuitry and processing unnecessary for two-channel audio.
Even without surround sound, though, an integrated amplifier and stereo speakers can significantly improve the sound of the TV. Many models have digital audio inputs for connecting a TV or Blu-ray player. This is a cost-effective, compact way to build an excellent two-channel system for music, movies, and TV. Many integrated amplifiers also offer an output for an active subwoofer - ideal for enhancing bookshelf speakers with lots of bass or explosive movie sound effects.
The integrated amplifier is actually two components in one - a power amplifier that generates the power you need to drive speakers, and a preamp that receives input from all your music sources, such as your CD player, turntables, AM / FM tuner or network music player.
The preamplifier also allows you to switch between sources and adjust the volume of the music. The preamplifier may also include balance and tone control.
The stereo receiver is mainly integrated into amplifiers with a built-in radio receiver. If you are not planning on listening to the radio, an integrated amplifier can make the best choice.
While amplifiers and preamps are located inside each music reproduction system, combining a preamp and a power amplifier in one common package saves space and costs (compared to individual stereo amplifiers and preamps).
It depends on the sensitivity of your speakers (the ability to convert power to sound), the size of the listening room, and the volume level that you probably want.
For example, you may need 15 to 20 watts per channel for a system with small speakers on the bookshelf, especially if you only need to play music at a moderate volume level. On the other hand, you may need 200W or more for a system with large floor speakers in a large listening room with a lot of sound-absorbing surfaces.
Our experience shows that most speakers work best when they are powered by an amplifier close to the maximum rated power. But you don’t need so much to enjoy a good sound.
This integrated amplifier buying guide wouldn’t be comprehensive if we didn’t mention the next information concerning how to choose an integrated amplifier.
RCA audio inputs are standard for connecting audio components. Almost every component source has RCA outputs.
The main types of digital audio inputs for searching are listed below.
A number of integrated amplifiers now offer this feature in several different ways.
Almost all amplifier manufacturers indicate the minimum recommended speaker impedance, such as 8 ohms or 4 ohms. To be safe, it is best always to follow these guidelines.
Remember that using two pairs of speakers simultaneously with an amplifier that has speaker outputs A and B changes the impedance. Always check the user manual carefully to make sure that you are operating within the safe limits of the amplifier.
The answer to this question can be given only after an experiment itself. We did this, and the sound integrated amp with the preamp made was nice. The preamp has its own volume control. But we had to turn the integrated amp's volume down almost all the way. The preamp adds so much gain that if we turn the integrated amp's volume up even a hair. It is too loud!
It would seem, why buy and install a preamplifier as a separate device when its integrated brothers already exist in modern audio equipment (in particular, in some models of mixing consoles)? The point is that the microphone preamps, made in the form of a separate unit, provide better sound transmission than the built-in preamps of the mixers and, as they say, have their own “sound character”. So it’s up to you whether to buy it or not. And never forget to read as many integrated amplifier comparisons as you can to come up with the right decision.