Contrary to popular belief, to enjoy high quality sound, you’ll need more than just powerful speakers. In order to achieve full, powerful surround sound, it’s necessary to have a good amplifier device. Until recently, access to this type of equipment was only available to the fortunate few who could afford to pay for it. Luckily, these days, there are manufacturers who offer high quality equipment at very reasonable prices.

HiFi has become more and more accessible to the general public. Because of this, the diverse range of models and different levels of quality amplifiers has also increased immensely. With all these new options and advanced features, choosing the right amplifier is not always easy. To help you out and help make your research also a bit easier, we have prepared a complete guide, breaking down everything you need to know about amplifiers and how you can choose the perfect one for your needs.

Key Facts

  • Amplifiers have two main functions: to expand and correct audio ​signal. With a good amplifier, you can enjoy a more powerful audio signal, which means much better sound quality.
  • The difference in performance between various amplifiers depends on a number of factors beyond just their technical ​specifications. It is for this reason that small variances in the sound quality amplifiers provide, can be minute with certain speakers, and very large with others. Similarly, the same equipment can offer a better sound quality from one specific source over another.
  • When it comes to choosing an amplifier, you shouldn’t be guided only by the power the manufacturers say it can deliver. There are many other technical ​issues you’ll want to take into consideration. Additionally, it’s important to bare in mind that the power in watts will always refer to the value of load or electrical resistance, the latter measured specifically in ohms.

Ranking: The best amplifiers on the Canadian market

Below, we’ve made a list of the top five amplifier devices available to Canadians. In this list we have included for each one product details and reviews. We’ve done our best to select the equipment that offers greatest sound quality at the best value.

No. 1: Tsumbay — 2.1 Channel HiFi Audio (bluetooth with remote control)

The Tsumbay Hifi Audio Amplifier has built-in bluetooth for quality, wireless audio streaming. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android and all other bluetooth enabled devices, allowing you to stream sound even from your laptop or PC. This amplifier has powerful Hifi sound with 45W + 65W output power and 2.1 channel sound output. It generates a powerful super bass with minimum distortion.

This amplifier is sturdy and lightweight, making it perfect item for having on cars, boats or even just using it around the home. It has controls for easily adjustable treble and bass volume. This device also comes with a remote control. If you’d like to connect it to your TV, all you’ll need is 2 RCA cables of appropriate length. One red and one blue to attach to the respective plugs. The manufacturer suggests connecting to a speaker with an impedance value of less than 4 Ω.

No. 2: Sony — STR-DH190 Amplifier

This product is an amazing amplifier with a virtually unbeatable price/performance ratio and the quality guarantee of a Sony product. It offers very good sound quality and is compatible with both analogue and digital record players. It has four two-channel A and B inputs for an effortless and more flexible installation.

It’s built-in bluetooth settings makes it possible to connect to virtually any device. In standby mode, it will turn on automatically when it receives audio from any computer, phone or other device it is paired to. It has a power of 100 watts + 100 watts with a load of 8 ohms. All these great features offered in a compact and elegant design.

No. 3: Yamaha — A-S201 Amplifier

As a result of many decades of experience making highly rated products, Yamaha’s devices offer you the highest levels sound quality; making them undoubtedly one of the best manufacturers of audio equipment. The A-S201 amplifier offers an output power of 100 watts over 8 ohms, and 140 watts over 4 ohms with a circuit design that guarantees high quality sound.

It has a Phono MM jack for vinyl records, screw speaker terminals and 40 FM/AM presets. Furthermore, it comes with a feature that allows for speaker selection with a two-pair socket, a remote control and a headphone socket. And it has a Pure Direct mode, which enables you to enjoy the purest sound possible.

No. 4: SIDS — AD18 Amplifier

The AD18 SMSL amplifier belongs to the new ‘Class D’ amplifiers, all which offer superb sound quality while saving a significant amount of energy. This device offers a power of 80 watts per channel for a load of 4 ohms. This amplifier by SIDS allows you to connect to almost any device via Bluetooth 4.2 or a USB port.

DSP (Digital Signal Processing), allows for precise bass and treble control settings as well as providing sound equalizing functions. The elegant design of this amplifier is pleasing to the eye and includes an easy-to-read digital display. It comes with a handy remote control that allows you to control the speaker from a distance, however it doesn’t include advanced control options. All around, its price is quite spectacular for the features it offers.

No. 5: Lepy — LP-2020A Class-D Hi-Fi Audio

This compact size amplifier is great for both the home and for any mobile audio needs, whether that be in the car or during outdoor events. The 3.5 mm jack allows for easy connection to iPods, cell phones and all kinds of mp3 players. The amplifier’s TA2020 amp chip is a 20W/ch continuous average two-channel Class-T Digital Audio Power Amplifier IC that incorporates Tripath’s proprietary Digital Power Processing technology.

This amplifier is simple, straightforward, and easy to use. Just plug in your power supply, connect your speakers to your device of choice whether you’ll be using either the 3.5 mm AUX input or stereo RCA jacks. The Lepy mini amplifier has an aluminum enclosure that is lightweight, yet sturdy, and acts as a heat draining sink to keep the amp running cool. This amplifier offers amazing performance at an affordable price.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about amplifiers

When buying an amplifier, it’s crucial that you consider a number of factors. Keep in mind that there are a multitude of different models, and each one is designed for a specific kind of use. With this in mind, in this section we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions that most buyers have. Read on as we provide you with everyone you need to know in order to buy the best amplifier for your needs.

The digital signals sent by music players must be decoded and transformed into acoustic signals so that the loudspeakers can interpret them.
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What is an amplifier exactly?

An amplifier is an electronic device whose function is to centralize all inputs and outputs, both audio and video, to offer better performance than the conventional sound systems of home theatres for example.

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Amplifiers allow you to enjoy more powerful and higher quality sound.

What is the function of an amplifier?

Amplifiers have two basic functions: expanding and correcting the sound signal. Their job is to act as intermediaries between the sound player and the speakers. In doing this, they allow you to enjoy a more powerful signal, as well as eliminate possible distortions. In addition, amplifiers allow you to control volume more precisely.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using amplifiers?

In addition to all the benefits we have already mentioned, having an amplifier offers many other significant advantages. With the help of amplifiers, you’ll be able to utilize those long forgotten speakers in the storage closet with the semi-broken down sound system for example. They also allow you to centralize audio inputs and outputs into a single computer.

Advantages Disadvantages
With them you can enjoy a much better quality sound The more advanced models are often considerably more expensive.
Amplifies audio signal, so your loudspeakers have a much more powerful sound Their use means adding one more device to a small room or an already congested houses.
You’ll have all your audio inputs and outputs centralized into a single computer
Provides surround sound
Allows you to utilize old, out of use speakers due who’s original stereo broke down

Is it necessary to buy an amplifier?

Most equipment has its own internal amplifier. However, these are usually quite basic, so buying a separate, external amplifier is a good option to improve the sound in your home or business. If you can afford it, the improvements you’ll notice will be quite remarkable.

It’s important to bear in mind that the power in watts will always refer to the value of the load or electrical resistance.
(Source: Viktor Gmyria: 13027160/ 123rf.com)

Who would benefit from the use of an amplifier?

Purchasing an amplifier is recommended for anyone who needs or wants to enjoy more powerful and improved sound quality. There are many possible reasons for wanting this. From setting up a home theatre system in your living room, to performing as a DJ, to installing a powerful sound system in your business, the uses for amplifiers are quite vast.

What types of amplifiers are there?

Currently, there are two categories of amplifiers: tube amplifiers and transistor amplifiers. In general, most of those sold today in large stores are of the transistor category. Some tube devices are still on the market, albeit mainly aimed at music fanatics who want the most complete and purest sound experience.

Transistor Tube
Price They are much cheaper. They are more expensive and require a greater economic investment.
Weight They are lighter and much more resistant. They are heavier and at the same time more delicate.
Performance They work at full capacity once turned on. They need to be warmed up to work at full capacity.
Maintenance They require little maintenance. They require maintenance due to valve wear and tear.
Sound quality They offer good, but inferior sound quality. It is not necessary for the volume to be high in order to enjoy the good sound quality they offer. However, to show their true potential it is necessary to hear the sound at a high volume.

How to maintain an amplifier?

Like any electronic device, amplifiers require some upkeep. For starters, of all the devices in your stereo system, the amplifier should be the last one you turn on and the last one you turn off – always. If you detect any distortion in the signal, you should reduce the gain levels of the amplifier.

How to get the most out of an amplifier?

Reading the manufacturer’s instruction manual carefully is always the first step. If possible, connect the amplifier directly to a power outlet; avoid connecting it to an electrical strip whenever possible. The shorter the power cord that connects the amp to a power source, the better the quality sound you’ll get.

If possible, it’s best that the cables from all speakers come from the same extension or power source, even if one of the speakers is closer to the amplifier.

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As with any of your other electronics, it’s essential to pay attention to the proper maintenance of the device it self, and of all other devices in your sound system for that matter.

Purchase Criteria

When it’s time to purchase an amplifier, it’s important to consider a few important things. In this last section we have included all the relevant aspects involved in helping you make the best purchase decision. It is our hope they will serve as a guide throughout your scouting process all the way to purchase time. We are certain these criteria will help you find the ideal device.

  • Intended use
  • Power
  • Number of channels of the A/V receiver
  • Audio zones
  • Sound processing
  • Compatibility with surround sound standards
  • Connectivity

Intended use

Why are you looking for an amplifier? — This is, without a doubt, is the main question you should ask yourself as you being to search for an amplifier. You may need it to process audio or to perform audio streaming for example. Or maybe it’s because you want surround sound; producing sound from multiple points in the room. The use you’re going to make of it is going to determine what kind of equipment and features you’ll need.

The best option is to connect your amplifier directly to your streaming source.
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Power

One of the first things people tend to think about when buying an amplifier is power. You should know that the power in watts will always refer to the load or electrical resistance your amplifier can provide. Electrical resistance conveys a component’s resistance to both direct current and alternating current. It is measured in ohms, and in the tech and science world it is known as impedance (Z).

Many manufacturers will only indicate the amplifier’s power in watts per channel, with no indication of what the impedance value is. This can be a problem if the equipment is then connected to loudspeakers with a higher impedance value. However, no matter the case, 100 watts per channel is standard for a medium sized amplifier.

Number of channels of the A/V receiver

Depending on the number of channels in the amplifier, you are able to enjoy a more or less immersive sound experience. When it comes to this criteria, it’s important that you have a clear idea of how many and what kind of speakers you’re going to connect to the amplifier. In most cases, you should opt for at least a 5.1compatible sound amplifier.

Audio zones

One option you may be considering is establishing different audio sources around the house. Usually, you’d need advanced electric work and equipment for creating cinematic sound. Nonetheless, with this kind of setup, the amplifier channels can be distributed separately to meet the different needs of each space in the home, office or business.

When this is the case, you should choose an amplifier with as many channels as possible. A 9.1 receiver will offer you the most possibilities with greater flexibility. Modern equipment and advanced settings let you control how sound is played in each room.

What you wish to use your amplifier for will determine the equipment that you will need to support it.
(Fuente: Сергей Сергеев: 100368964/123rf.com)

Sound processing

The digital signals sent by music players must be decoded and transformed into acoustic signals so that the loudspeakers can interpret them. It’s important that you check which digital-to-acoustic (DAC) signal converter the amplifier integrates to in order to ensure optimum sound quality. In most cases 384 kHz/32 bits are recommended.

The most up to date equipment frequently incorporates an acoustic correction system that is capable of modifying the output signal of the sound, depending on the characteristics of the room. In doing this, they eliminate most distortions. For this purpose, companies have incorporated a series of microphones into the amp design, in order capture how the sound is being reproduced in the room.

Aldous HuxleyBritish writer and philosopher

“After silence, the closest thing to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

Compatibility with surround sound standards

An important question to consider before purchasing an amplifier is whether it is compatible with the main surround sound systems available on the market. To this day, some of the most popular models will include the following: Dolby True HD, DTS-Master audio, Ultra HD, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The last two from the previous paragraph allow you to mix channels 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1 with dynamic objects. These dynamic objects can be placed anywhere in the room and considerably improve the sensation of sound immersion. Of course, enjoying these high-level effects will come at a bit of a higher cost.

Connectivity

It’s critical that you check which connection settings the amplifier you’re buying provides. If you’re interested in having wireless connectivity, especially via Bluetooth and WiFi, you’ll want to double-check if your amplifier of interest includes these features. With these wireless features, you can play content from mobile phones or tablets without having to connect them through a jack input.

If you choose an amplifier that is compatible with 3D signals and 4K images, it will require at least one HDMI 1.4 input. However, it’s much better if you have HDMI 2.0 or higher ports, so the equipment doesn’t become outdated within a few years. This will ensure you’ll be able to get as much use out of it as possible.

It’s always very important to read through the users manual thoroughly and carefully.
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Summary

If you’re looking to enjoy high quality sound — at home or at your business — good surround sound speakers will not be enough. You will the to use an amplifies to enhance the signal and eliminate any possibilities for distorted sounds. Fortunately today, there are teams of engineers and scientists who are dedicated to offer high quality equipment at very reasonable prices.

Overall, if you’re looking to buy a sound system, the best thing will be to consider your needs and for you to determine which one is best for yourself. However this is not always possible or advisable, sometimes you’ll need to rely solely on product reviews, consumer advice and in store product descriptions. With so many amplifiers now available to Canadians with the click of a button, you’ll want to make sure you have all the proper information in order to buy the perfect amplifier for your home or business needs.

If you feel this guide has been useful to you in your selection process, we would be very grateful if you left us a comment with your thoughts, or if would share it with your friends and family on social media.

(Featured image source: Chattrawutt Hanjukkam: 58036711/ 123rf.com)

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