If you’re piecing together your first hi-fi stack, you’re probably well aware by now that you’re going to need an amplifier in your system. It’s an essential unit that acts as the ‘muscle’ of your system. Whatever you’re using to listen to your music, it’s connected to the amplifier which then powers the speakers and controls the volume. But don’t just go out there and buy the first amp you see! There are a few different types of amplifiers you need to know about first and we’re going to outline what they do in very basic terms:
The preamps job is to take the low-level audio signal from your music source and prepare it for the next stage of amplification. Some units like network players have a preamp built in so there’s no need for adding one to your setup.
The power amp takes the weak signal from the pre-amp and gives it that extra drive required for it to be heard through the speakers.
The integrated amplifier does the job of both the pre-amp and power amp in one box. It’s ideal if you’re working to a budget or don’t have the space for two separate units. The general rule in hi-fi is that splitting each stage of the music reproduction journey into its own single unit will give you a better overall sound.
Once you’ve decided on your amplifier situation, there are a few other things to think about before you decide on one. Make sure you look into the units inputs and outputs, as this will determine what you can connect to it.
Also think about the power output of the amp and how you’re going to be listening to your system. There’s no need to invest in an amplifier with a huge power output for standard volume listening session. This is especially true if you pick a huge amp and use it in a small room.
Whether you’re a hi-fi aficionado or a complete beginner, we’re always at hand to answer any questions and give you our advice. Leave a message in the comments section below!