When purchasing amplifiers, the goal should be to achieve a balance of sound integrity and power. You can’t pick and choose which specifications to consider; you must consider all of them.
A good amplifier is one that generates high-quality sound. This should be your primary deciding factor, suggesting that you will need to listen carefully before selecting an amplifier.
The unfortunate reality is that few people have the time or opportunity to test extensively. For the informed, though, an amplifier’s specifications sheet can reveal a lot about its quality and capacity to deliver good sound.
Did you know the global amplifiers and mixers market is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9% from $0.77 billion in 2020 to $0.9 billion in 2021?
The audio amplifier is the hub of your audio system, and everything revolves around it. Because everything passes through it, it has the power to make or break your sound. This involves being selective when purchasing an amplifier.
So, here are a few things you must be mindful of before making a purchase.
1. Power Output
The amount of power generated is generally similar to the volume at which you can play music. The bigger the speakers or the room, the more electricity you’ll need.
However, you may not require as much power as you think. In general, 10W is enough to blast the roof off most parties, and 100W is enough to blow the roof off most parties!
The power output (watts) of your amplifier indicates how loud it can play music. A larger space necessitates a higher wattage. However, you do not require as much power as you believe. Anything between 20W and 50W will suffice if you’re listening to music at home.
2. Signal to noise ratio (SNR)
You might detect noises you’ve never noticed before if you stand in a quiet room, in the countryside, away from the rush and bustle. When the kids are at home and the TV is on, none of this is noticeable, but the background noise is still present.
An amplifier is the same way; the electrons flying about within produce a small amount of noise. The idea is to silence the background noise, allowing you to hear more of the music and less of the background noise. The signal-to-noise ratio is a metric for this.
A small buzzing noise is always present inside an amplifier. The goal of a good amplifier is to reduce noise. The better the sound, the higher the numerical value of the S/N ratio.
The amount of unwanted left signal mingling with the right signal, and vice versa, is referred to as crosstalk. The more crosstalk there is, the poorer the stereo sound will be. When it comes to crosstalk, a value of 100dB is better than a value of 60dB.
Amplifiers, all being in one box, try to be distinct boxes for each channel, dividing up the signals so that when they reach the speakers, you can tell the singer is somewhat to the left of the stage and the violins are slight to the right.
As stereo separation is compromised by crosstalk, it becomes more difficult to pick out the places of the instruments.
4. Connections and Inputs
Make sure you have enough inputs to accommodate everything you’ll be plugging in. What you use to connect them is also important.
Stereo audio (RCA), HDMI Optical, or digital coax are among the many alternatives available. Stereo audio is made up of two channels of sound; 5.1 surround sound or digital audio are not supported.
To transmit 5.1 surround sound, digital coax employs an RCA cable. A 5.1 signal is transmitted across optical connections using light. In comparison to the TRS and XLR, which are relatively balanced, RCA cables are an “unbalanced” connector.
Keep in mind the various connection types, such as 3.5mm for iPods, Phono for turntables, and USB for laptops and home theatre PCs. They all have advantages, and if you have a few choices, go with the one that offers the finest sound quality.
Over to you…
To get the most out of your amplifier, make the appropriate decisions on everything, from the brand to the rack where you want to put it to the equipment you want to pair it with. Before making any purchase, speak to an expert and seek some tips for a wise pick.