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Preamps & Power Amps

Looking for exceptional, immersive sound for movies and music? Maybe it's time to step up to 'separates' — stand-alone preamps and power amplifiers.
Preamps & Power Amps
Stereo Preamps
Stereo preamps

Use a stereo preamplifier with a separate amp for high-performance sound. The preamp handles source switching and signal processing, and allows you to make tonal adjustments. Go to products
Multi-zone Amplifiers
Multi-zone amplifiers

These amplifiers have special features to help you install speakers in multiple rooms of your home.Go to products
Power Amplifiers
Power amplifiers

Power amps have a simple job — to deliver clean power to your speakers. Our selection includes 2-channel amps for stereo and multi-room amps that power several pairs of speakers.Go to products
Surround Sound Preamp/Processors
Surround sound preamp/processors

These preamps are specifically designed for audiophile-quality surround sound. Use a "pre/pro" with one or more amplifiers for killer home theater performance.Go to products
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Shopping for Preamps & Power Amps

Why would you want a separate amp and preamp when you can get a receiver that includes both functions? The short answer is that you can get better sound and more system-building flexibility.

Below you find some tips on how to choose. For more info, read our guide to separate amps and preamps.

Stereo preamps

A stereo preamp includes connections for your source components, as well as tone, balance, and volume controls. There's a switch to select the component you want to play.

Surround sound preamp/processors

Think of a surround sound preamp/processor as a home theater receiver without the built-in amplifier. It does the video processing, surround sound decoding, input switching, and audio signal processing.

Power amplifiers

Hi-fi stereo amps are for high-performance stereo music systems. They can be used in surround sound systems, though multi-channel amps might make more sense for that purpose.

Monoblock amps have just one channel. Some models are designed to drive a passive subwoofer. Others are meant for audiophiles who like to use a separate amp for each channel of their system.

Multi-channel home theater amps are the companions for surround sound preamp/processors. You'll need at least five channels for a surround system. You can choose a powerful 3-channel amp to drive the front left, right, and center channels. Your surround speakers, which may require less power, can have their own 2-channel amp. If you want to keep things simple, get one amp with enough channels to drive all your speakers.

Multi-zone amplifiers

Multi-zone amps are building blocks for a multi-room system. You get at least two channels of power. Some models include as many as 16 channels. Many models include connectors for remote control, power triggers, and infrared signal transmission.

Power

How many watts do you need? Wattage ratings and maximum volume are only loosely connected. For example, a 200-watt amplifier will only play a mere 3 dB louder than a 100-watt amplifier &mdash a barely noticeable difference. To play twice as loud as that 100-watt amp, you would need one with 1,000 watts, a ten-fold increase in power. Look at the recommended power range for your speakers and choose your amp power accordingly.

Built-in room correction software

Most preamp-processors and a few stereo preamps include a microphone and a built-in app that automatically fine-tunes the sound to suit your listening room.

Built-in network music player

Many preamps have network connections that let you play streaming music services or music stored on a computer or hard drive.

You'll need speakers, of course. You may also need power protection, speaker wire, audio cables, HDMI cables, and A/V furniture. You can find them all here.