The hi-fi amplifier is really the heart or hub of your hi-fi separates system, as it accepts inputs from all of your audio sources, and then selects them according to your wishes, allowing you the ability to control volume, bass, treble and balance and several other functions we will look at in more detail later.
Audio amplifiers are the key to getting the sound from your Hi-Fi components to your loudspeakers. As Phil has already pointed out in a recent blog post, it is the hub of the entire system. This article is continuing on from the facts that he has already contributed.
An amplifier is a very important piece of equipment within a hi-fi separates system. It has total control over the sound that is produced. It allows adjustment of tone, volume and leaves its own unique mark upon the sound produced. Basically, it is essential to get this bit right by matching it to a good pair of speakers that are of similar power to the amplifier’s output. In some cases, it is quite nice to get a pair of speakers that have a little bit more power handling than that amplifier’s output; this then helps to ensure that the speakers are never put to their absolute limits. Also, it is worth noting that impedance (normally to to 8 ohms) matching is crucial. Many amplifiers are able to run your chosen speakers, but it is definitely worth checking in order to avoid expensive or irreparable damage.
Now that we have the principals sorted, it is best to consider what you want your amplifier to do. Is it going to be used for just amplifying stereo components’ signals, or are you also going to be using it for movies and television programmes? If so, it might be worth looking into Home Cinema – an article on this is soon to follow on Hifi Gear’s blog.
For stereo reproduction in high fidelity, a good quality amplifier will provide the essentials of building a great sounding system. For those whom wish to have a sound at a cost that isn’t too demanding, NAD audio has many amplifiers which are strongly built for a life where a lot of demand is placed on them. Also, for a similar price to the NAD C326BEE integrated amplifier, Denon, Marantz and Rotel offer great equivalents that rival the NAD’s C326BEE. However, you may have noticed that the listed amplifiers above are all of an integrated nature. Integrated amplifiers mean that they are all as one and do have separate pre-amplifier or power amplifiers as they’re all contained in one box. Integrated amplifiers are great pieces of equipment for those either on a budget or on a premium of having space to keep the Hi-Fi situated within the home.
Pre-amplifiers are purely dedicated to influencing the sound via tone controls, such as bass, treble and balance. The output signals are then sent to the corresponding power amplifier, a device that will amplify the existing signals to audible levels. For those choosing this route it is very much essential to remain within brands and related models in order to maintain full compatibility and fluidity in sound and reproduction abilities. For example, a Musical Fidelity M6 Pre-amplifier is designated to work ideally with its compatible sibling: the Musical Fidelity M6-PRX dual mono power amplifier.
This style of amplification is very popular for those whom wish to harness a great deal of amplifying power and have no worries in regards to space for keeping both pre and power amplifiers. However, with all of this extra power available from the power amplifier, it is worth spending time in researching speakers that aren’t going to be underpowered when working in co-operation with the amplifiers. Underpowered speakers will result in them working far too hard out of their comfort zone.
Integrated amplifiers are often very good at what they do. They’re common, much easier to get set correctly and can really make a system come to life when they are used with the correct components, like CD and tuners, etc. Again, careful consideration and exploration of speakers is strongly advised. We are able to help very much in this area by offering you’re the service of our extensive knowledge and experience, largely available demonstration stock models and finally, our fully equipped demonstration rooms (booking prior testing is recommended) please contact us for help with concerns as to amplifier and speaker combinations.
Finally, it is essential to consider how audio signals are going to travel from component to amplifier through the system. It is wise to buy uprated audio cable from brands, such as QED and Chord in order to restore integrity and safeguard the audio signals’ journey from output to input. Connecting a CD player is often a straight forward process, however, many modern amplifiers offer wither analogue or digital connections. If connecting via analogue interconnects, a good set of quality shielded connectors will allow for signals to travel fast and safely without being harmed by harsh interference from sources like radio waves or Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals. Further still, if connecting via a digital optical input, ensure a good quality digital lead is used in order to make sure no data loss occurs – this can be an annoying problem when it happens. Connecting the speakers should be taken seriously too. Good quality speaker cable can benefit sound quality and shield audio signals on their journey from amplifier to speaker. To ensure amplifier safety, terminate banana plugs to both amplifier end and speaker end of the speaker cables to make sure that no short circuiting occurs – causing damage can be devastating and very expensive to replace or repair. Banana plugs are a very good precaution which will safeguard against this problem. Our Milty banana plugs start at £4.01 per pair. For further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Hifi Gear.
For those interested in surround amplification, a related article will appear very soon in regard to this topic.
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