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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What is the difference between Amplifiers and Receivers?

Have you ever gone looking for an amplifier for your home theater system, only to find receivers at your local electronics store? Consumers often get confused between the two because some companies call it one thing, and some call it the other when they actually are two different, but similar things.

Basically, an a receiver is an amplifier, with added features.

An amplifier is simply a box that takes a signal in, amplifies it and sends the signal out. There is no option to change the source, volume, equalizer or anything else. A receiver, however, does all that an amplifier does, but it can have multiple inputs and outputs and an interface to manage it all. Many receivers also have radio tuners built into them.

You may be wondering, how do you input all of your hi-fi components into an amplifier? Well, to do this, you will need a pre-amplifier. This does all that a receiver does, but instead of amplifying the signal for the speakers, it simply forwards the signal on to the amplifier. Most people purchase a receiver over and amp/pre-amp because it is much cheaper to buy one unit than two. It also seems much simpler to do it this way to your average consumer. Basically, people view having one box, alot simpler than having 2 boxes. Asside from the price, the amp/pre-amp configuration usually is ideal if you are after the best sound, and are willing to fork out the price.

The general name for a receiver is an amplifier. Often when receivers are on display in shops and online stores, they are called amplifiers. Do not get confused when a receiver is being sold as an amplifier. You can always tell which one is which because a receiver has an interface (‘buttons and knobs’) and an amplifier doesn’t. Also, a the back of a receiver is usually full of input and output connections. Hope this helps you sort out this grey area.

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  • Exactly what i was looking for, you covered everything i was going to ask about.
    Thanks a lot!

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  • Great summary - well written.

    Thanks

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:43 AM  

  • Ok I need to buy one. but I dont know which one to go for. my friend who owns both tells me that a receiver cannot compare with the quality of an amp. its like comparing a smart phone camera to a DSLR camera. Smartphone has everything and can click pics too. while a DSLR can click only pics. secondly an amp is also 4 - 5 times higher the cost as compared to a receiver.

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  • Thanks a lot Buddy for the valuable information. Since I am brand conscious, can you suggest any good mini 2 channel amplifier with around 15 to 25 watts rms per channel, with usb port, volume, bass and treble controls, available in Mumbai, in India. I have searched the web, but only could find an amplifier fitting my needs available in china.
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