If you love music more than the average person, chances are you want a stereo amplifier to boost your music experience. The best budget stereo amplifier will boost your regular speakers to live concert proportions. In this review, we will show you what to look for in the best stereo amplifier under $1,000.
What Does a Stereo Amplifier Accomplish?
Standard speaker output is mediocre at best, which is why people want to boost the sound and feel of their music. An excellent stereo amplifier will enhance the signal from an input device, such as a CD player, MP3 player, or TV, and amplify the sound into a rich, deep signal, as they’re designed to increase a weak current.
Stereo amplifiers receive the audio signal and will boost it to a higher frequency.
While this all sounds good, in practical terms, a stereo amplifier makes your music louder, more vibrant, and more profound. It is like you’re there up close to the action.
Most stereo amplifiers today are integrated, meaning that they contain two parts in one device. The first part, the preamplifier, receives the signal from a device, while the power amplifier boosts the wattage or power for the sound.
Some amplifiers come separately in a two-box system. One box is the preamplifier, while the other box is for power. The benefit of keeping this separate is to keep the delicate circuitry of the pre-amp box from the vibrations of the power box, which could destroy the circuits. So why would anyone make an integrated system? For ease of use, mostly.
Features of A Great Stereo Amplifier
Now that you’ve decided to get one, what should you look for in the best budget stereo amplifier?
If you don’t have a large budget for an amplifier, your best bet will be to look for an integrated box.
Any amplifier worth buying will have a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which converts your digital files, or music, to the amplifier and speakers so you can listen to your music through your amp. Some boxes will have an external cable, but internal hardware on stereo amplifiers are becoming more common.
You will also want to match the amplifier power to your speaker’s control, or you could run into some issues with the sound quality. The power output of the amplifier can only drive the speaker so far. If the sensitivity of the speakers is too low for the amp, you could blow up the speakers.
If you plan on putting this system in one part of your house, yet you want to have music in every room, a wireless or Bluetooth amplifier is the best option.
Connect the amplifier to the wireless connecter and pair your speakers through your wi-fi.
Should You Get Refurbished or New?
When you are looking for the best budget stereo amplifier, it may be tempting to buy used equipment. Before you buy a refurbished amp, you need to consider a few things.
A refurbished amplifier was more than likely sitting in someone’s basement for 15 years, then cleaned and put up for sale. Most amplifiers are built to last 30 or 40 years, so you will more than likely get a good deal. However, you are also buying it without a warranty, which can protect you if something goes wrong with your device.
An older amplifier will also require parts that may no longer be available so that any repairs could be costly and improbable. If you want to go this route, be prepared to learn how to complete any repairs on your own.
Buying new with a warranty protects you from defects and problems that could happen soon after the sale. There is also an abundant supply of parts for new equipment, so repairs would not be as expensive.
The advantage of buying refurbished equipment is that things haven’t changed much in 30 years, which means you can pair the old amplifier with your new stereo. You can also get equipment that is proven to last for pennies on the dollar.
The new equipment will be able to pair with your smartphone or computer a lot better because of the additional inputs and newer technology.
5 Budget Stereo Amplifiers
Check out our top five recommendations. Maybe you will find something you like.
Denon PMA 600-NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier
Marantz PM7000N Integrated Stereo Hi-Fi Amplifier
Marantz PM7025 Stereo Power Amplifier
Cambridge Audio CXA80 Stereo Two-Channel Amplifier
4 Multi-Zone Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier
If you live with other people, you will like this amplifier, as it has multiple ports for speakers in different rooms. You can also connect various devices to the same system for everyone’s content. The system allows you to listen to music in one room while your partner watches TV in another room–all from the same device.
We like the Denon PMA 600-NE Stereo Integrated amplifier, due to the ability to switch between a Bluetooth connection and an analog connection. The music quality was a more in-depth and more vibrant experience than other systems we tried. If you want an affordable stereo amplifier that sounds just as good as the more expensive systems, look no further than the Denon amplifier.