An amp should be the center of your hi-fi world. It should be the focus point for all your efforts, the piece of equipment that can make or break your sound. Everything flows into it, and everything flows out of it. There’s a lot of mystique that has sprung up around amps, and a lot of related jargon that has been created over the years, but the good news is that you don’t need to know all the ins and outs of amplifiers to pick a great one - you just need to follow our handy guide at the bottom of this page. Below, we’ve highlighted this year’s top models, and no matter what budget you’re on, there’s a model here that’ll supercharge your sound system.

How We Choose:

Our amp experience runs deep, and we know what makes a good one. The first thing we had to decide was whether to have separate roundups for power amplifiers and integrated amplifiers, or whether to combine them. In the end, we – somewhat reluctantly – decided to make a single roundup of both types, reasoning that the end function was the same, although we reserve the right to split this roundup up in the future if we get proved wrong! (If none of what we just said makes sense to you, check this section in our buying advice) 

Beyond that, we looked at quite a few factors. Sound quality is at the forefront, obviously, but so is usability. We spend a lot of time looking at how much bang you get for your buck, and whether a particular model is overpriced or underpriced. One of the things we discovered is that not every manufacturer lists the Dynamic (Peak) Power for each model; we’re not quite sure why this is, but it shouldn't factor too heavily into your buying decision - in many cases, knowing the RMS/Continuous Power is sufficient to match an amp with a pair of speakers. We’re confident that we’ve found the top picks, and although the highest spots are dominated by expensive models, there’s one for everyone, no matter the budget. And remember: if your favorite model isn’t on this list, make your case in the comments!
 

Our Stereo Amp Picks:

1. Peachtree Audio nova300 ($2850)

Nova330Weight: 17 lbs
Dimensions: 14" x 13.25" x 4.4”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 300W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: 400W/8Ω
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Huge sound.
What We Don’t: Pretty expensive - and you have to order direct.

We have one word for the Peachtree Audio nova300: thunderous. It boasts roaring bass, crisp highs and an outstanding richness that most amps can only hint at. An ESS Sabre digital-to-analog converter and a clean digital circuit that creates some fantastic sound, particularly when it comes to shaving down the edges on harsh recordings. This is a true audiophile amp, and it’s spot-on for anyone wanting crisp fidelity at top volumes. 

This is an updated version of an already popular amp that topped this list last year, the nova220. If you do decide to buy, remember that this is quite a pricey amp, even for what you get, and it’s not widely available yet. All the same, we’d be crazy not to put it in the top spot – even if it does lose the visible tube from the 220SE, which we were quite taken with. Don’t expect this one to be unseated for a long time to come, and hopefully, the folks at Peachtree Audio will stick it up on Amazon soon. If you do want some of this goodness, but aren't willing to shell out for the newest model, you can find plenty of their amps available for very decent prices. You can also read our full review for a much deeper breakdown.
See the Peachtree Audio nova300


2. Niles SI1650 ($2500)

Niles SI-1650

Weight: 30.8lbs
Dimensions: 18" x 16" x 10"
Continuous (RMS) Power: 50W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Power
What We Like: Massive sound, lots of channels.
What We Don’t: Huge price tag for what you get.

At almost the very top end of the budget, there’s the Niles SI1650. It’s a 16-channel amplifier, with 50 watts of continuous power per channel. It’s most useful for multi-room setups or home theatres: Niles even provides an annotated ‘Application Sheet’ to help you along. Heads up: this is a power amplifier, so you’ll need to supply an additional preamp yourself. This kind of custom setup isn’t ideal for most people, who want an integrated amplifier that incorporates both power and preamp, but for this quality of sound, we think it deserves to be high up on this list.

The amp packs massive heat sinks and high-quality resistors into it, meaning it can take any audio you throw at it. The sound is, predictably, amazing - Niles uses a web-based configuration to help you select the channels, and you can also use it to tweak the EQ and optimize the system acoustically. Annoyingly, we can’t supply you with a peak power rating – it’s not available at the time of writing. But with 50W into 8Ω (and 100W into 4)Ω, you should be able to effectively match this up with a speaker system. If none of that means anything to you? Check our guide to the whole thing.
See the Niles SI1650
 

3. Emotiva Audio XPA3 ($1599)

Emotiva Audio XPA3Weight: 39lbs
Dimensions: 19” x 17” x 8”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 300W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Power
What We Like: Technically brilliant.
What We Don’t: Not for everyone.

This big black block doesn’t look like much, but it’s one of the best choices on this list, especially in the $1500-$2000 range. The XPA range has been around for a while – we featured the XPA5 on this list last year – but we think this version is superior. What's more, the design is modular, allowing you to order as many channels as you want (this particular version has three). We particularly like the terrific power supply and output stages, and we love the low noise floor and the crisp detail.

It's a power amp, with a rather unusual power design (in terms of the current coming to it). As Emotiva say: “The power ratings for the XPA Gen3 modular power amplifier are the same with both channels driven continuously in the two-channel version of the amplifier, and for ANY TWO CHANNELS DRIVEN CONTINUOUSLY in the versions of the XPA Gen3 configured with three, four, five, six, or even seven output channels.” This is an amplifier that is going to be on this list for a while, and it’s one that is seriously pushing the boundaries of what amps can do.
See the Emotiva Audio XPA3
 

4. Marantz MM7055 ($1199)

Marantz MM7055

Weight: 37.8lbs
Dimensions: 17.3" x 15.2" x 7.3"
Continuous (RMS) Power: 170W/6Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: 210W/6Ω
Type: Power
What We Like: Looks amazing, killer sound.
What We Don’t: Not ideal for bookshelf speakers.

If you’re fashion-conscious, then the Marantz MM7055 should be your first stop. It’s not often we single out looks, but the MM7055 is just gorgeous. It’s a blend of brushed metal and soft blue light that is immediately eye-catching, and one which will be at home in any setup. Like many of the amps in this price range, this is a power amplifier, rather than an integrated one, and so it might not be suitable for many setups. All the same, we absolutely adore the audio that comes out of this thing. It's as gorgeous as the looks, with a fantastic level of warmth and some wonderful detail, not to mention a level of precision that puts many others to shame

Marantz also make a big deal out of the temperature-control features, which means that you can drive this one long and hard. The circuit components come from Marantz’s reference series, and they understandably work extremely well. This is the kind of amp that is right at home in a big 5.1 or 7.1 surround system, although it’s reasonably adaptable.
See the Marantz MM7055
 

5. Rega Elex-R ($1100)

Rega Elex-R

Weight: 28.7lbs
Dimensions: 17” x 13.4” x 3.2”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 75.2W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Great sound, solid internal circuitry.
What We Don’t: Iffy remote, not super-loud.

Rega is overdue for inclusion on this list. The Elex-R is a hybrid of their Brio-R and Elicit-R models, and it’s superb. It’s an integrated amp, which offers a good level of power, and which should slide nicely into most setups.

The phono stage is what really sets it apart, eliciting some beautiful articulation, but as a general rule you can expect this one to perform brilliantly. A low impedance, Class A driver stage matched with some very solid Sanken Darlington output transistors produce some very effective sonics – ones which easily slide the Elex-R into our top five. It’s not quite as loud as we’d like, making it unsuitable for big rooms, and we are less enthusiastic about the remote, which looks like something Bill Nye might use to control an oscilloscope, but it’s a minor black mark on an almost faultless piece of equipment. All the same, it deserves to be here – and we had to argue with ourselves quite a bit not to flood the list with other Rega amps, like the Brio. If you buy one Rega, make it this one.
See the Rega Elex-R
 

6. Yamaha S801BL ($900)

Yamaha A-S801BL

Weight: 26.7lbs
Dimensions: 17.1" x 15.2" x 6"
Continuous (RMS) Power: 100W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: 140W/8Ω
Type: Integrated
What We Like: High-power for the money.
What We Don’t: Not a lot!

Yamaha make some fantastic mid-range gear, and while its A-S500BL has done extremely well, it’s the AS801BL that has proved to be more popular. For the price, it’s a reasonably high-powered (100 watts per channel, RMS into 8Ω) unit with a fantastic digital-to-analog converter inside it that really helps maintain the quality at high volumes. This converter alone makes it more than worth the extra hundred bucks, up from the S500BL.

It comes with a decent remote, which is a good thing when even having a remote for a stereo amplifier isn’t always a guarantee. It’s also integrated, so there’s no need to buy separate components. And if you’re prepared to spring for the YBA-11, available direct through Yamaha themselves, you can add Bluetooth into the system, allowing you to stream your music. All in all, this is a very solid mid-range amplifier that will be perfectly acceptable for most people. It’s not quite the best on this list, but it’s very much a top ten pick.
See the Yamaha S801BL
 

7. Cambridge Audio CXA60 ($799)

Cambridge Audio CXA60Weight: 18.3lbs
Dimensions: 16.9” x 13.4" x 4.5”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 60W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Terrific design and sound from a trusted brand.
What We Don’t: Not super-loud. 

Cambridge Audio make some genuinely fantastic stuff, and this sixty-watt amplifier is no exception. What it lacks in loudness, it makes up for in sound quality and design, plus a wealth of features that set it apart from the crowd.

One of the things we really like about this amp is how it treats the individual channels, minimising the crosstalk so that the information on each one is clear and distinct - a feat it pulls off thanks to the use of Class AB amplification, which we explain in our buying advice section below. It’s also got a very high quality 24-bit Wolfson WM8740 digital-to-analogue converter, minimising the need to buy additional gear (although there’s nothing wrong with investing in dedicated DACs!) The sound is fun and bouncy, and it all comes wrapped in an absolutely gleaming exterior. Alongside that, you get optional Bluetooth inputs. Really, outside of the fact that it’s not going to be suited to big setups, there’s very little to dislike here. Cambridge Audio scores again.
See the Cambridge Audio CXA60


8. PS Audio Sprout ($499)

PS Audio SPROUT USWeight: 2.9lbs
Dimensions: 8" x 6" x 1.8"
Continuous (RMS) Power: 32W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Wonderful looks, great circuitry.
What We Don’t: A little underpowered for the money you pay.

Yamaha is the behemoth, but that doesn’t mean there aren't any worthy competitors. Take PS Audio, for example, an American company producing some beautiful amps. Its integrated Sprout model not only has a funky name, but also kicks the Yamahas to the curb in terms of look. 

Its walnut finish and machined front end mean it’s not an amp you’ll want to hide. While it’s a little underpowered for what you pay for it (32 watts per channel into 8Ω), it packs Bluetooth streaming, a solid converter and a phono preamplifier designed specifically for vinyl. Its gain stages are high-speed, and the precision preamplification means this is an absolutely ideal amp to go for if you have a vinyl collection and a turntable. It’s also got a superb 24bit/192kHz DAC, making it an excellent in-the-box solution. We also love the stepped volume control, which actually feels like a human designed it. If you’re tired of the utilitarian looks that many amps have, and don’t mind the slight lack of power, consider the Sprout.
See the PS Audio Sprout
 

9. Teac AX-501-B ($718)

Teac AX-501-BWeight: 8.8lbs
Dimensions: 11.5" x 10.5” x 3.25”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 65W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: 70W/8Ω
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Analogue design and circuits.
What We Don’t: Maybe overkill for some people.

We criminally left Teac off the list last time, so let’s rectify that, by talking about the AX-501-B. It’s not the most well-known of amps, but perhaps it should be – it’s certainly rare to see an amplifier with analog metres in the home space. Usually, they are found in pro studios, and the rackmount handles on each side of the amp give a clue to its origin.

Still, it’s certainly suited for home use, and the analogue circuitry gives it some genuinely brilliant hi-fi sound. It’s got a fully balanced preamp to go with the power, making it an excellent integrated solution. They’ve also worked extremely hard to eliminate the noise that can come from analogue gear, and this amp works perfectly well as a headphone amplifier as well, although it’s far from the best on the market in that particular category. While its design and price might make it unsuitable for many basic hi-fi setups, it’s still a superb mid range option that offers some great features for the price. And if you still want a Teac amp, but this one doesn’t take your fancy, there are plenty of others available.
See the Teac AX-501-B

 

10. Pro-Ject MaiA ($499)

Pro-JectWeight: 4lbs
Dimensions: 13" x 9.2" x 4.3"
Continuous (RMS) Power: 25W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Great sound.
What We Don’t: Slightly underpowered, Bluetooth is finicky.

This one surprised us. Slowly, Pro-Ject has proven that it can more than take on the big boys, and despite the fact that its low wattage per channel means it won't be able to take speakers over 12.5 watts (18.5 at 4Ω, although Pro-Ject does say it's 2Ω capable), it's still an excellent model. 

The sound is crisp and clear, with fantastic dynamics and great range. Partnering it with a good set of speakers will improve things even more, and it’s not as if you’re lacking options for connectivity. You can connect directly to your PC or Mac with a USB, and you even get two Toslink inputs, for optical use. Right now, we think it’s a little overpriced for what you get, particularly in the power department, but if the price drops, you can bet that this amp will be climbing up the list quickly. If you can get past that, along with the low power and the slightly fiddly Bluetooth setup, you got a real winner with this one.
See the Pro-Ject MaiA
 

11. Onkyo A-9050 ($347)

Onkyo A-9050Weight: 23.15lbs
Dimensions: 17.1” x 13” x 5”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 75W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Sound is excellent for the price.
What We Don’t: Boring looks.

Onkyo is known for producing workmanlike, unshowy audio kit. And while the A-9050 is no looker, it's quite a shock to get such a musical, wonderfully-balanced amp at such a reasonable price. For just under $350, you get an amp that does some truly magical things to your music. 

The key is in the mid-range, which has enough oomph and power to leave other amps struggling to keep up. If you can forgive those trademark can't-be-bothered Onkyo looks, you'll find an amp packed with a wealth of features (great remote, excellent tone controls) that is absolutely ideal for music, whatever the genre. It’s got a design that minimises negative feedback and enhances clarity, coupled with a seriously good DAC capable of processing up to 24bit/192kHz audio. While we don’t think Onkyo’s much-mooted WRAT (Wide Range Amplifier Technology) is all that groundbreaking, it can certainly have an effect on recordings that need a little bit of extra life. All in all, this is an amp that isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but which will give you great sound at a great price point.
See the Onkyo A-9050


12. Orb Audio Mini-T ($79)

Orb Audio Mini T Weight: 1lb
Dimensions: 4" x 4" x 1"
Continuous (RMS) Power: 20W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Tiny footprint.
What We Don’t: Hiss at high volumes.

If space is an issue, and you’re looking for an amp that is unobtrusive but still packs a punch, check out the Orb Audio Mini-T. While Orb is a relatively new company in a crowded marketplace, its little unit still packs a punch, and has won over plenty of fans. Partly this is due to its tiny footprint (just over 4” wide) but it’s also because of its excellent engineering, which puts out enough power to happily handle a stereo speaker setup. 

There is a slight hiss at higher volumes, but it’s still an excellent alternative to other budget amps - and there’s nothing out there that can match it for size. It's also frequently on sale – we’ve seen it go as low as $59 on Amazon – so if you’re prepared to wait around for a bit, you could pick yourself up a serious bargain. The amp uses a Tripath 7092, and as a general rule, is more than powerful enough to handle most bookshelf speakers, save for the ones that demand excessive power. 
See the Orb Audio Mini-T
 

13. Topping TP23 ($90)

Topping TP23Weight: 0.9lbs
Dimensions: 6.5” x 4.1” x 1.5”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 12W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Integrated
What We Like: Good, clear sound.
What We Don’t: Only suitable for small setups.

If you're just looking for a quick and simple piece of equipment to boost your sound, check out the Topping TP23. It’s a tiny amp, with a big knob and a machined aluminum chassis - an upgrade on the already pretty good TP22 amp. There’s also a Tripath-made Class T circuit inside it, which means that it’s good at putting out very decent sound - although you should be aware that it’s definitely not suitable for big speakers.

There are no controls beyond the volume, and in this case, that’s just fine. If you don’t possess a high-end set of speakers, and simply want to increase your sound levels, this sub-$100 model could be the perfect buy. If you’ve got a basic setup on your desk, or just want something to give your small speakers a little bit of a kick up the backside, this could work very nicely. It’s light, cheap, and effective.
See the Topping TP23
 

And For When You've Sold The Rights To Your Life Story:

14. D’Agostino Momentum ($54,000)

D’Agostino MomentumWeight: 95lbs
Dimensions: 21” x 12.5” x 5”
Continuous (RMS) Power: 250W/8Ω
Dynamic (Peak) Power: Unknown
Type: Power
What We Like: Incredible sound.
What We Don’t: Incredible price.

Legendary engineer Dan D’Agostino outdid himself this time. The Momentum is an absolute monster, a steampunk behemoth with some serious circuitry. It's got an improved driver system, and individual transistors on the circuit path, and if that’s gobbledygook, then all you need to know is that this is one of the best amplifiers on the planet, and one to buy when you strike the lotto.

It’s a stand-alone power amplifier (as far as we can tell) with the distinctive, signature power meter front and center – a holdover from D’Agostino’s legendary monoblock amplifier. Despite it’s earthshaking output of 250W into 8Ω, it puts out a mere 1W when on standby, revealing an extremely efficient power core. The output stage has seen a redesign from the previous version, as well, although if you owned the previous version, then chances are you’re scoffing at this list already. For those of us who haven’t yet tasted the joys of a Momentum Stereo Amp, enlightenment is only a simple remortgaging away.
See the D’Agostino Momentum


Specs Table:

Stereo Amp Price Weight Dimensions RMS  Peak  Type
Peachtree Audio nova300 $2850 17lbs 14.8" x 13.25" x 4.4" 300W/8Ω 400W/8Ω Integrated
Niles SI1650 $2500 30.8lbs 18" x 16" x 10" 50W/8Ω Unknown Power
Emotiva Audio XPA3 $1599 39lbs 19” x 17” x 8” 300W/8Ω Unknown Power
Marantz MM7055 $1199 37.8lbs 17.3" x 15.2" x 7.3" 170W/6Ω 210W/6Ω Power
Rega Elex-R $1100 28.7lbs 17” x 13.4” x 3.2” 75.2W/8Ω Unknown Integrated
Yamaha S801BL $900 26.7lbs 17.1" x 15.2" x 6" 100W/8Ω 140W/8Ω Integrated
Cambridge Audio CXA60 $799 18.3lbs 16.9” x 13.4" x 4.5” 60W/8Ω Unknown Integrated
PS Audio Sprout $449 2.9lbs 8" x 6" x 1.8" 32W/8Ω Unknown Integrated
Teac AX-501-B $718 8.8lbs 11.5" x 10.5” x 3.25” 65W/8Ω 70W/8Ω Integrated
Pro-Ject MaiA $449 4lbs 5.9" x 4.9" x 1.5" 25W/8Ω Unknown Integrated
Onkyo A-9050 $347 23.15lbs 17.1” x 13” x 5” 75W/8Ω Unknown Integrated
Orb Audio Mini-T $79 1lb 4" x 4" x 1" 20W/* Unknown Integrated
Topping TP23 $90 0.9lbs 6.5” x 4.1” x 1.5” 12W/8Ω Unknown Integrated
D’Agostino Momentum $54,000 95lbs 21” x 12.5” x 5” 250W/8Ω Unknown Power

*Impedance Unknown

Stereo Amp | William Hook

Buying Advice:

Which One Of These Should I Get?

Good question! A lot of it is down to the size of your room, the power of your speakers, and the type of sound you want. We've got a whole separate guide to all this here. It goes into quite a lot of detail, but if you're OK with making your own decision, the info here should give you everything you need!
 

What Exactly Is A Stereo Amplifier?

The center of your audio setup. When audio signals come from their source, they aren’t very strong at all. In fact, if you heard them straight… well, you’d barely be able to hear them at all. At its most basic level, the stereo amplifier takes this source sound and makes it louder, using the current from its power supply to increase the overall volume of the sound. Furthermore, it uses its internal circuits to convert the sound into a format that your speakers can make sense of.

This is without talking about the ways in which a stereo amplifier can control where sound is sent, as each amp will have many channels that you can push the sound to. You can find out more about the technical details here.

And as is our wont with these things, we like to point you in the direction of other bits you may need, such as bookshelf speakers.

Integrated Vs Power Amps

You may come across a puzzling little term as you peruse this particular product type: integrated amplifier. This is different from a power amplifier. Here's why.

Every amp needs two things to do its job properly: a preamp stage, and a power stage. Together, these work to amplify the signal to a level that we can actually hear. If they're together in one box, they are known as an integrated amplifier. If they're separate, they are known (obviously) as a preamplifier and an amplifier, and they will be discrete pieces of equipment - usually, if made by the same manufacturer, designed to be stacked on top of one another.

The advantages of separate pre and power amps are obvious. The foremost one is that you can swap out components as you see fit, allowing you to customise your sound. The disadvantages, of course, is that having two separate pieces of equipment is more expensive. For most people, it's much easier, and far more common, to buy an integrated amplifier, with both components contained in one housing. Very obviously, you can't swap things out further down the line, but the cost will be less, and the convenience is much greater.

Stereo Amp | Derrick Noh

How Do I Match Speakers And Amps? 

Excellent question! Glad you asked. It’s not a difficult subject, but it does require a little bit of reading. 

Don’t worry, we’ve made it easy. There’s a whole guide to doing it right here, which will answer every question you have. And please believe us when we say it’s not complicated. It just takes a little while to explain!

It will also explain things like wattage and impedance, which we referenced in our stats table.
 

Class D, Class AB…What?

Don’t get hung up on the different types of amps. While it’s always handy to know the difference between Class T, Class AB, tube, monoblock and the like - and we’ve highlighted some of the differences in the models here - amp quality is high enough now that this is something you can comfortably leave out of your buying decisions if you want to. Your amp choice should be guided by the number of channels you need, your existing setup, your sources and the space you have available.

That being said, this sort of thing is always good to know. So, in short order, here is a sampling of some of the more common jargon.
Class A: A common type, where both output stages are always on. What this means in practice is that distortion is very low, although the amps aren’t very efficient.

Class B: A type where only one output stage can be on at once, which improves power efficiency at the expense of sometimes adding distortion at the crossover points between frequencies.

Class A/B: As you might have guessed, this is a hybrid of the above two types that maximises the advantages while eliminating the disadvantages. Amps that have this circuit are reasonably efficient, and have limited distortion.

Class D: A type which uses active transistor switches. The electrical explanation is a bit complicated, what it comes down to is this: Class Ds are highly efficient, and are often smaller and lighter than other models. They also don’t run nearly as hot. Note that if you see Class T anywhere, it’s a variation of this type, made by Tripath.

Monoblock: something you’ll often see in more expensive models. Usually, a single amp powers both channels, but in monoblock systems, each channel has a separate mono amplifier. More power, better sound.

Tube: Sometimes known as valves, these tiny glass cylinders are responsible for the soft, squidgy warmth that some amps are known for. Not a typical feature of stereo amps (they are usually found more commonly in headphone amps) but they do appear sometimes.

Stereo Amp | FreePhotos4U

What’s A DAC?

Digital to Analog Converters. Your audio exists as ones and zeros until it passes through one of these, whereupon it is converted into electrical signals that are used to power the speakers, which then give you sound. You need one of these.

The good news is, chances are your audio source has them already, especially if it’s a laptop, tablet, phone, or CD player. The bad news? These might not always be very good, and it can be worth investing in a separate DAC.

Not every amp on our list has a DAC built in, either. Make sure you check before you buy.
 

Does Stereo Mean I Only Get Two Channels, No Matter What?

A channel is a single source of sound; your iPod, for example, would be one channel (yes, we know an iPod can play stereo, but work with us here). The actual circuitry needed to handle a single channel sound isn’t that complex, and in cheap amps (which typically have fewer channels) you won’t be paying as much for high-end components.

This is a roundup of stereo amps, and stereo, by definition, means two. You can, however, pick up models with more than two channels, which allow you to add multiple speakers as well as things like subwoofers. Obviously, we recommend doing this, as it will broaden and deepen your sound.

When start adding channels – which you will be doing very quickly if your audio setup is even a little bit complex – things change quickly. Suddenly you’re looking at things like high-end digital to analog converters, specialized tubes and valves, and even heatsinks in the case of very large amps. All of these components color the sound, giving it a pleasing character, and pretty soon you’ll find you’re paying as much for the sound quality as you are for the actual hardware. That’s without talking about the options are good amp will give you to control the sound; expect to find EQ sections and other filters to allow you to customize the sound to your particular environment.

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Sony STR-DN1070

Review: Sony STR-DN1060

There is one slightly strange thing that sets the Sony STR-DN1070 receiver apart from its competitors. It’s not the sound, which is meaty and satisfying, or the interface, which is easy to use...
Marantz MCR611

Review: Marantz M-CR611

Introducing the Marantz M-CR611, a ‘network CD receiver’ that wants to be the centre of your home music system – but in a world of wireless speakers and Spotify, can it compete?