Amplifier or AV receiver: what's the difference and what to choose?

Anyone, even an inexperienced music lover knows thatA conventional multimedia speaker system with a built-in amplifier is not capable of producing a high-quality sound. You must buy an amplifier or AV receiver. But which is better? Over this issue, millions of newcomers fight in the world of music. Before making a decision, you need to understand the difference between the two. And in this material, we will try to understand this complex issue. Let's start with amplifiers.

amplifier or av receiver

What is the amplifier used for?

First of all, the amplifier is used forplay music in stereo. That is, it provides amplification of only two channels. And for music more and not necessary. In addition, good amplifiers can "shake" any acoustic system (acceptable level). And this is their other advantage. Good sound amplifiers (stereo) cost as much as a high-quality receiver. Therefore, there is not much difference in price. All the difference lies in the technical characteristics. And they need to be disassembled in more detail.

The amplifier has only two amplification channels.And this is its main difference from the receiver. In addition, usually such a device does not spoil the user with the ability to connect various sound sources. Next, sound amplifiers (stereo) are designed exclusively for listening to music. That is, you can also watch movies, but the sound will not be the same. Also amplifiers are usually equipped with loudness compensation, and receivers (budget) are deprived of this very useful option.

connecting the AV receiver to the TV

What is the receiver used for?

Now let's move on to AV receivers.What is this beast? In principle, it is the same amplifier, but with some additional options. Usually a good receiver is much more expensive than an amplifier of the same level. This is due to the fact that this device is technically more advanced. Especially if you compare modern receivers and amplifiers of Soviet production. Although the latter are not so bad. So, let's proceed to the list of capabilities of the receiver. What can he do?

The receiver provides amplification of several channels.They can be five or seven. This makes this device an ideal device for creating a home theater. With the receiver, you can be sure that the sound will be properly distributed across the channels. Also receivers can play video and sound from various sources, including smartphones. Earlier receivers were supplied with analog outputs, but now the advantage is given to the HDMI connectors. The AV receiver is connected to the TV via the HDMI connector. Thus, the receiver is great for watching movies. Although with music, he will cope with a bang.

What to choose?

Amplifier or AV receiver? That's the question.To answer it, you need to disassemble at least a couple of models of a device. Then you can understand what is best, and make an informed choice. Let's start with the receivers. We will consider a block from Harmann Kardon.

av receiver or amplifier what to choose

Harman Kardon AVR 260

This device is in the price category "from1000 dollars. "The uniqueness of the device is that it is an amplifier and a receiver" in one bottle. "That is, it can perfectly handle both music and movies.The nominal power of the front channel is 65 W. The center is 65 watts, the rear - exactly the same thing.The receiver is equipped with a huge number of interfaces for connecting various sources of sound.There is also a huge number of outputs for connecting different speakers (coaxial, optical, standard "clips", etc.) It should be noted that AV receivers, reviews and the tests we perform relate to the middle price segment, so they have many additional options.

stereo amplifier

The DAC of this receiver is capable of issuing multi-channelThe sound quality is 192,000 hertz and with a bit capacity of 24 bits. This is a very good result. Also, the receiver is equipped with a technology of loudness and phonocorrection, which is the prerogative of amplifiers. Therefore, through Harmann Kardon, you can even skip audio from a vinyl player. The DAC of the receiver will perfectly cope with this task. The AV receiver is connected to the TV via the HDMI connector. But you can also use "optics" if the TV has such a connector.

Yamaha RX-V767. Part 1

This semiconductor AV receiver for 7 channelsalso refers to the price category "up to 1000 US dollars." But it has such functions that are suitable for top-end devices. But do not forget that this is Yamaha, and this company has a corresponding status in the world of audio devices. This receiver is perfect for both music lovers and movie lovers. Among other things, it has the option to increase the resolution of the picture when playing video, up to the standard Full HD (1080p). But this is not the main thing. The main thing is that he perfectly copes with music of various genres and is able to reproduce sound from any source.

av receiver and amplifier difference

Yamaha RX-V767. Part 2

The DAC of the receiver outputs 192 kHz and 24 bits. This is the standard figure for receivers of the middle price segment. But also the device is capable to correct a sound from vinyl "turntables". There is also a built-in FM tuner and many other "goodies". So that? Amplifier or AV receiver? It is clear that the functionality of even the most budgetary receiver easily leaves behind a classic stereo top-level amplifier. That's why many make quite a conscious choice and prefer AV-receivers. Amplifiers are now buying only audiophiles. And they lie mostly on "warm tube" Soviet devices, which have long been outdated.

av receivers reviews and tests

Which amplifier to choose?

Now let's move on to classic stereo amplifiers,For between devices such as AV receiver and amplifier the difference is significant. The choice of this device should be based on general impressions about the sound quality. Also it is necessary to pay special attention to technical characteristics. If you take an apparatus of insufficient power, it will not be able to "shake" your powerful columns. Consider some of the most popular models from the best manufacturers.


This is an integrated semiconductor stereoamplifier with good technical characteristics. It has a nominal power of 100 watts per channel. This is sufficient for almost any room and for any speaker system. If you choose an amplifier or AV receiver, it is better to stay on this model.

The "ARKAM" amplifier is completed with screwsockets for connection of acoustic systems. This is a very good solution, since it allows you to secure the wires more securely. The amplifier easily reproduces sound with a frequency range of 20-192000 hertz. These are pretty good results. Such a high-quality sound is a sign of a good amplifier. Of course, such results are achieved only under the condition that the source of this sound itself has the corresponding characteristics.

amplifiers of Soviet manufacture

The amplifier looks dignified. It is enclosed in an elongated metal case of silvery color. The device is equipped with several "sliders" that control the built-in equalizer. In general, the appearance of the device is such that it easily fits into any interior. Stereo stereo amplifiers from "ARKAM" have always been famous for their design. And this one is no exception. But what is most valuable - in this amplifier there is a phono stage. It allows you to correctly play music from vinyl "turntables". An invaluable option for fans of "warm tube" sound.

Exposure 3010 S2

Another integrated semiconductor amplifierwith a power of 110 watts per channel. It has a sensitivity of 250 mV. The frequency range starts at 20 Hz and ends at 20,000 hertz. Quite good results for the apparatus of the middle price segment. The amplifier works only with two channels. But this is the main difference from the receiver.

The appearance of the amplifier allows you to comfortablymark it in a diverse interior. The silver parallelepiped will not stand out and make your eyes look faint. The device can also be used as a preamplifier in tandem with the receiver. That is, it can be used to create a home theater sound system. And this is very interesting. A standard screw connector is used as the clamps for connecting the speaker system. The wires are securely fixed. The power supply unit is located in the housing itself, which somewhat negatively affects the temperature regime of the device, but overall the performance is normal.


So, the amplifier or AV receiver? What to choose? The answer to this question depends on what you love more: movies or music. If you're a music lover, it's best to choose a conventional stereo amplifier. He is much better at coping with musical compositions of any genre. Receivers are more suitable for film fans. They can distribute sound over several channels. Multichannel sound is good for home theater. And there are receivers and amplifiers about the same. So in terms of money there is no difference at all. But the receiver is better after all - it has more options.

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