We often talk about receivers, but every now and then the term amplifier comes up. This can sometimes cause some confusion and that is why we explain in this article what exactly the difference between an amplifier and a receiver is, and which types there are.
What is a receiver?
We have already discussed the definition of a receiver in detail, but in short, a receiver is the center of your home cinema system where all incoming signals are processed and then forwarded to the speakers and display (the TV). A receiver has an integrated amplifier that controls the speakers, and receivers also have various extra functions and features, including a tuner, video editing functions, streaming options and digital connections.
What is an amplifier?
An amplifier can be described in two ways. For example, a receiver as indicated above has an integrated amplifier, which is part of the receiver. In addition, it is possible to purchase a separate (integrated) amplifier. This is a device that in most cases focuses purely on audio and therefore processes incoming audio signals and forwards them to connected speakers. An amplifier amplifies the signal so that it can be reproduced through the speakers, and has various basic options to adjust the sound reproduction to your own liking. In terms of video options and other features and functions, you don’t have to expect much from these devices.
Preamplifier and power amplifier
An amplifier as described above can also be split into a pre-amplifier and a power amplifier. The preamplifier receives all incoming signals from various sources and ensures that these signals are ‘prepared’ for the power amplifier. In addition, as a user you can use the preamplifier to adjust source playback, volume control, tone control and channel balance control. The power amplifier is purely aimed at optimally amplifying the signal so that it is perfectly reproduced through the speakers. The power is thus supplied by this device.
What is the best?
The logical question that follows the above information is of course; do you now have to buy a receiver or an amplifier and if you choose an amplifier, should this be a separate preamplifier and end amplifier? The answer to this is not that simple and depends, among other things, on the quality you expect, the budget you have and the experience you already have with the relevant equipment.
A receiver with integrated amplifier is already a big step forward for most people compared to an all-in-one home cinema system and can offer very good quality, even for the real audio fanatic. Nevertheless, a good amplifier, which you also pay for, can offer that little bit of extra audio quality because the device is purely focused on audio and the many bells and whistles that can be found on receivers do not affect the audio quality. If you want to do it perfectly, like some audio freaks, then a separate preamplifier with separate power amplifier is the ultimate solution, of course again depending on the quality of the devices you choose.