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
The Denon Amplifier comes with divided circuitry, which allows you to turn off the Bluetooth capability if you want to do so. However, it is fully capable of pairing with your devices with the built-in digital-to-analog converter.
This simply-designed amplifier is constructed with high-quality circuits that allow for frequency response up to 100 kHz. It has a separate wire for audio and control circuits and is outfitted with a microprocessor that has a stop mode. In order to help with mechanical sounds and vibration, the unit is crafted with a single-level divided construction chassis which makes it an excellent choice for just about anybody.
With a simple-to-use interface and tons of great features, not only is it easy to use, but it offers a heightened level of value as well.
Marantz PM7000N Integrated Stereo Hi-Fi Amplifier
This amplifier is a compact option that is designed with both a preamplifier and a power amplifier. When it comes to the power sections, the unit is designed with two switching power supplies that are independent of each other for easier use. It is all crafted with high-quality premium-grade components, and that means it offers a lot of versatility and durability.
It is outfitted to be able to utilize wireless connectivity. Along with this, it also offers several digital inputs and analog inputs when it comes to connectivity. The unit is compatible with multiple virtual voice assistants and several different audio and file formats. Overall, this unit offers a high-quality sound stage and a pretty rich bass, making it great for many individuals.
Though anyone would benefit from using this amplifier, it is those that are looking for connectivity that might get the most from the unit.
Marantz PM7025 Stereo Power Amplifier
This amplifier is crafted as a two-channel design with 140W per channel to offer the best quality performance. The unit is also outfitted with a heat dispersion system that utilizes quality components for a noiseless operation. Also built into the system is a feedback power amplifier with a proprietary HDAM circuit which helps with clean sound output.
Unfortunately, though this unit does offer a lot of excellent sound quality, it does not offer connectivity capabilities like many of its competitors. There is no Bluetooth to wifi interfaces, but it does offer a multi-room capability. This is primarily due to the ports built into the back of the unit. The simplistic and pared-down design means it is easy to use for anyone, even if they are new to using this type of equipment. It also runs cool and offers a deep and crisp sound.
The crisp, deep sound makes it a great option, especially for those that love music with a heavy bottom like metal or even rap.
Cambridge Audio CXA80 Stereo Two-Channel Amplifier
The CXA80 is crafted with high-quality features that help music enthusiasts get the most out of tunes. Designed with a centrally located toroidal transformer, the unit is made to help give multi-layered sounds just the right level of separation to enhance it. Because of this, the unit can handle both 8-ohm and 4-ohm speakers and offers high-quality digital source flexibility.
This is partly because of the high-quality DAC chipset that is compatible with a wide range of files and audio codecs. It is easy to connect these resources to the unit via coaxial or Toslink cable. The unit is also outfitted with digital audio and analog inputs so that you can ensure you can utilize it with any source you’re trying to get your music from.
For those that use their amplifier with multiple devices, the versatility of this unit makes it the smart choice.
4 Multi-Zone Bluetooth Stereo Amplifier
This amplifier is designed with a channel capability of 100W. Crafted with a 5-way speaker binding-post output as well as a pass-through output for external amplifier linking and a four-channel bridgeable switch, it has a lot of options when it comes to getting your music. The unique design optimizes the music quality and gives it a heightened level of usability.
This unit offers a high-quality LED display to allow for the monitoring of audio levels. Along with this, all of the channels included in this amplifier can support up to 1000 watts in a single rack-mountable unit. The amplifier is also designed with built-in low impedance protection. This allows the unit to shut down channels to create clearer, crisper music to get only the good channels coming through.
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.