From 1906 the development of Audio amplifiers has evolved from Triode Vacuum Tube all the way to MOSFETS and many other electrical components used to augment, improve and manage an audio signal to the listeners ears. The early 60’s to 70’s saw a big change in how many companies produced and manufactured these evolving amplifiers.
The switch from components to an individual system providing the same outcome as the components became more popular and common. The introduction of the integrated amplifier really took off on a commercial level in the 70s and remains today a staple in the Audio community.
So what is this integrated amplifier?
An integrated amplifier is an amplifier, most commonly with 2 channels. They provide the functions of components systems in a single unit. Preamp and power amp combined with phono stage, AM/FM radio, tone controls, attenuation and these days an extensive list of functions varying for the audio community.
These days, Integrated amplifiers come in an almost endless variety, shapes, sizes and power. What is best to the ear and environment is determined by the structure and function of the unit. It will ultimately provide the path to your audio nirvana and journey. The journey is the important part with audio equipment and it would be considered very lucky to find the perfect match first time round. With the aid of specialist help this can be mitigated and results improved.
Key points to consider with any integrated amplifier
- Speaker match
- Sources required
- Wireless/Ethernet capable (Control via apps including sources and streaming services)
- Headphone Jack
- Streaming supported services
- Subwoofer Out (Mono-LFE)
Rotel S14 Integrated Streaming Amplifier
Yamaha WXA-50 MusicCast 2.1 channel Amplifier with WiFi and Bluetooth
Yamaha R-S202B Natural Sound Stereo Receiver - Black
Pioneer SX-10AE Stereo Receiver 100W / ch Bluetooth Streaming Amplifier
Who are integrated amplifiers most suited for?
Integrated amplifiers definitively have a place in the world of Audio. Are they always the perfect solution? No.
Do they provide all functions required for every individual? No. But they provide a consistent and efficient method of getting quality sound no matter the source with the correct help. They regularly provide more functions than that of a component separates complete range and have an ability to be updated to maintain a certain level of consistency with current technology.
Finding the right product should not be rushed. Technology changes quickly as well as supported apps, services and quality. With a fixed idea on what exactly is desired for the use of the integrated amplifier, it is less likely to bite you down the track if something updates or a new service comes along. Thankfully most of these issues can be mitigated by adding additional equipment to the integrated amplifier. If it's perfect to the ear why change it when the wide variety of inputs on most will be enough to connect most needs of the evolving audio world.
So what is an integrated amplifier? It is an excellent choice to begin a system and audio journey. It provides the flexibility to cover the majority of audio needs and requirements with the ability to be updated or augmented, remaining with a low footprint in its location. Simplicity, reliability, ease of use and the reduction in variables that have the potential to affect sound (Earth loops, excess cables, power) when compared to more complex component systems.
Do I recommend them? Yes I do! I own two - one from the 1970s and a Yamaha network Integrated amplifier which is excellent for one who has a huge digital collection of music and a family who like the simplicity of using it over my complicated main system. Personally prefer it that way - children touching my turntables….a no no!
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Need help in selecting the perfect integrated amplifier for you needs? Reach out and we'll be happy to assist. If you're in Sydney we also have a range of them available to demo.