While we are in the Digital Age now, this age was preceded by the Electronic Age. The list of discrete Electronic Devices since the beginning is so vast, so ingenious, and so still on a growth curve, that even normal-sized digital libraries fail to store all the data about them. Power Amplifiers have played a large part in this growth, and have been used with all sorts of equipment. A/V Receivers also often work in conjunction with Power Amplifiers. When to Add a Power Amplifier to an A/V Receiver is the question that is at the heart of this review.
What is Power Amp?
The Amplifier (or, Amp) is an electronic device or system that is used to increase the amplitude of any electronic signal, whether it is Voltage, Current, Frequency or Power. The Power Amplifier takes a weak electrical/electronic signal or waveform at the input gate and reproduces the waveform with a strong, high-power output with all the original characteristics, but with augmented or strengthened power. This augmented signal can then be used to drive loads of output devices like headphones, speakers, RF (Radio Frequency) Transmitters and so on. The Power Amplifier is the final block in an amplifier chain and drives external loads directly. Usually, the Power Amplifier is preceded by Pre-Amplifiers which use Current and Voltage Amplification to ease the burden of the Power Amplifier by achieving certain threshold levels before passing on the processed signal to the final stage, while reducing attenuation of the original raw signal to a minimum.
Known also as an AVR (Audio/Video Reciever or A/V Receiver), this is a standard and essential consumer electronics device used by owners of Home Theatres. The main function is to receive multiple audio and video signals from several sources, and redirect them to drive a number of loudspeakers and “surround sound” units for sound control and also direct the processed video signals to display units such as the Video Projector, large-screen Television or Monitor. The AVR is quite distinct from the Power Amplifier. It has a number of channels, each of which is a dedicated circuitry for one audio/video source at a time. The AVR then outputs through separate audio and video channels to drive output loads to provide sound (stereo and mono) and video for a display to the target audience. The Power Amp is added to the AVR whenever the signal levels of the original sources are low, or lower than the minimum threshold level, and need power amplification before delivering to the AVR, in order to drive the loads (for example, loudspeakers for audio and projectors for video display).
The Best Power Amplifiers and AVRs
Some of the most reputable brands in the industry are:
- Power Amplifiers: The Power Amps most valued are:
- 4 Onkyo A-9150 Refined Power Stereo Integrated Amplifier: This is the best, and gives a clear and refined audio image, with comfortable listening, as well as the distinctive video resolution. All this at a very reasonable price.
- Marantz HD-AMP1 Digital Integrated Amplifier: This is a stunning model, with impressive hardware inside. At 70W per channel into 40ohms, and 35W into 9ohms, and using HDAM technology, this is a champion.
- Cambridge Audio CXA60 Integrated Amplifier: This classy-looking model is simple, yet sturdy, and remote-controlled. The DAC support gives high-resolution playback. It has deep bass and great connectivity.
- Pro-Ject MaiA My Audio Integrated Amplifier: Extremely compact, it still has a great punch.
A/V Receivers: The top AVR models are:
- Denon AVR-7200W: Headquartered in Kawasaki, Japan, Denon produces world-class AVRs, and this is a 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD model with Dolby Amos, Bluetooth and WiFi.
- Onkyo TX-RZ1100: This is a certified 9.2 Channel 4K Network AVR that has complete connectivity and is from the famous Onkyo brand. It is pricey, but worth the price.
- Marantz SR7011: Realistic reproduction is the hallmark of this brand, with audio that is next to none.
- Yamaha AVENTAGE CX-A5200: Yamaha is the most popular brand in the world, and the quality of this model keeps to their high standards.
This concludes our review of When to Add a Power Amplifier to an A/V Receiver.