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How Do I Choose the Best Stereo Amplifier Receiver?

By M. Kayo
Updated May 17, 2024
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Choosing the best stereo amplifier receiver is important, as this single component is the heart of the entire audio system. Any additional audio, video, or gaming components are going to be controlled through the stereo amplifier receiver unit. The main parts of the unit include a receiver, a pre-amplifier, and an amplifier to provide enough power to boost the output of the signal. Before you buy a stereo amplifier receiver that is on sale, do a bit of research. Do some homework or talk to some experienced people, and make sure you get the right equipment for your particular needs and situation both now and in the future.

Start by getting online and looking at some of the largest, best-known electronics web sites to see what is available. Take a look at what some of the big consumer reporting companies, electronic buyer's guides, and blogs say about specific models and manufacturers. There is no better information than an honest appraisal from a person who has not been paid to say good things about a stereo amplifier receiver. This type of equipment is likely to be very expensive, so make sure you know what you are getting before making a decision to buy.

Overall compatibility with all types of data is perhaps one of the most important factors to consider before purchasing a stereo amplifier receiver unit. Determine what types of audio tracks a receiver can decode before you buy. Most receivers are able to decode the standard Dolby® Digital 5.1 audio tracks found on most DVDs, but there are many other kinds of audio tracks. There are Dolby® TruHD, DTS 5.1, DTS 7.1 and many other formats on the market in 2011. If you buy a stereo amplifier receiver that is not able to handle these, your sound system will soon become obsolete.

Look for the total number of device input and output connections on a stereo amplifier receiver before deciding to purchase it. Some receivers, with just a few connectors, may not cost as much but may leave you wishing you had spent more when it comes time to expand the sound system and add more components. The best units will have an array of audio/video input and output jacks for any number of possible devices that you may wish to add at some point. When considering speaker connections, remember that only five speakers can be connected and used with a 5.1 stereo amplifier receiver, while a 7.1 unit can handle seven. As a general rule, look for a stereo amplifier receiver that has as many input connections as possible.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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