Home Theatre Amplifiers

Written by Serena Berger
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Home theatre amplifiers are one of the most important links in the chain of sound reproduction. Amps are responsible for sending electrical current to the speakers, and there are two major concerns in that regard. First, you want to make sure clean power allows the speakers to replicate sound accurately. Second, you don't want to use too much power and destroy your speakers.

The Two Types of Home Theatre Amplifiers

Home theatre amplifiers have what seems like a straightforward task: taking an electrical wave (i.e. a weak audio signal) and boosting it to the level at which you want it to come out of your speakers. There are two main types of amplifiers which can achieve this end. The solid state (or transistorized) amp is by far the most common, but there are also some very high quality vacuum tube amps being produced.

Solid state home theatre amplifiers use many transistors (little integrated circuits) to amplify a signal and send it to the speakers. Generally, transistorized amps perform best at lower frequencies, and if there is an area of concern, it will be the upper registers. A good solid state amp will not have overt problems in the treble range, simply a stronger bass performance. A poorly crafted amp, however, will be grainy or harsh in the upper register, and you certainly want to avoid this.

Tube amps are much rarer and more expensive than solid state amps. Their sound is warm and mellow, and the middle range dominates what you hear. The bass is not as strong as it is with a solid state amp, but this is not actually a weakness--it reflects a more balanced sound.

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