Learning About Power Amplifiers
Power amplifiers are essential for raising the magnitude of a given input signal to produce the best audio quality. These signals increase to a level that can drive a high amount of audio output to devices such as speakers, RF transmitters, and headphones.
Choosing the Right Amplifier Power
Louder speakers and larger rooms require more power. Both speakers and amps come in a range of power ratings that measure how much power they can churn out. For amps, look out for the RMS power ratings, and for your speakers, check the program power ratings. As a rule of thumb, choose a power amp that can deliver power that's twice the speaker's program power rating. For instance, a live sound guitar speaker with a program power rating of 350 watts requires guitar amplifiers that can produce up to 700 watts of power.
What to Consider in a Power Amp
For crisp and clear audio, getting the right amp for your particular speaker is imperative. Besides the power, look out for a number of other factors.
You can shop for power sound amplifiers according to the number of channels of your speaker setup. They're available from 1 to 12-channel amps. 8-channel amplifiers are popular with many consumers, as they're optimized for 4 and 8-ohm speakers and come with built-in subwoofer/satellite crossovers that help improve the audio quality.
The headroom is the difference between an amplifier's operating level and the maximum level it can pass without any distortion. Since music has wide variations of dynamic range, you'll have frequent power distortion if your amp doesn't have enough headroom. Thus, shop for amplifiers with extra headroom for clean power output. You may also want to go for audio distribution amplifiers to stabilize the signals within the sound system components.
Most stereo power amplifiers come with XLR connectors, but there are multiple connection options available, such as TRS, 1/4-inch, and RCA inputs. Balanced connectors such as XLR cables are more suitable with long cable runs. For shorter cable length applications like home audio, DJ systems, and connections to live sound mixers, RCA connectors are ideal.
Browse B&H Photo and Video's wide variety of rack mount amplifiers and related products, such as headphone amplifiers, to find the right ones for your needs. Choose from a range of amplifier brands, including Bose, QSC, Crown Audio, Pyle Pro, and Yamaha.