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Power Amplifiers

Power Amplifiers  
Every audio system with speakers has a power amplifier. It’s the part of the system that “amplifies” the sound to a level where the connected speakers can reproduce the sounds you want to hear. In most systems, the power amplifier is built in and not a separate part or component of the system. But power amplifiers are also available as a separate component, which have uses that may be of interest to you. Let’s take a look at power amplifiers and what they can do.

What’s a Watt?
First, a definition. When you hear term “watts”, it refers to the power amplifier. Simply put, the more watts a power amplifier produces, the louder the system is going to play. If you are a trying to fill a large room with powerful sound that you can really feel, you need a lot of watts. And the best way to get a lot of watts is with a separate power amplifier.

Specialized Power
In any system where the power amplifier is built in, there are going to be compromises. One major compromise is heat. Power amplifiers create heat. Really powerful power amplifiers create lots of heat. When the power amplifier is built in, that heat can have an adverse effect on other delicate circuits such as digital surround sound processors and the like. So a compromise is necessary. Either the power amplifier is made less powerful to produce less heat, or expensive heat absorption materials and techniques are utilized. But with a separate power amplifier, this is not a problem. There’s plenty of room inside for large cooling fins, and since it’s a separate component, the heat is not directly transferred to the other delicate circuits. 

Stereo Power Amplifiers
A stereo amplifier provides two channels of amplification, left and right. Whenever large amounts of power are needed for basic stereo sound, we recommend a stereo power amplifier. The stereo system might be a standalone listening system, or part of a complete multi-room distributed audio system, it really doesn’t matter. 

Multi-Channel Home Theater Power Amplifiers
For home theater, most of our clients are served well by basic A/V receivers that have the power amplifier built in. But sometimes, we need to bring out the big guns, and that’s when we use a separate power amplifier. If the room is particularly large, or if the client simply wants the ultimate in cinematic sound, the advantages of a separate power amplifier allow us to design a system that perfectly fits the bill. Power amplifiers are available in different channel configurations, so no matter how many speakers are in the home theater, the power amplifier can accommodate them all. 

Multi-Channel Distributed Audio Power Amplifiers
Another common application for power amplifiers is in multi-room, distributed audio systems. These so-called “whole-house” audio/video systems provide easy to use entertainment throughout the entire home. But the built-in amplifiers of many of these systems are marginal. To fill a larger room with a lot of sound, we frequently add a power amplifier to the system just for that room. 

Should I Be Looking for a Power Amplifier?
Maybe. But the first step is to arrange for a Sound Advice Free In-Home Consultation. A system design professional will take into account all of the factors such as volume levels and room size and come up with the perfect home entertainment solution. You never know, it just might include a power amplifier.

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