Stereo amps are an essential addition to any music lover or entertainer’s place, just alongside their soundbar, floor-standing, and tower speakers. They go a long way in amplifying the audio quality of your music player or whatever device you’re playing audio from, thus making for a comprehensive musical experience. That’s why getting the best stereo amplifier is becoming more of a necessity rather than a luxury.
Choosing the best stereo amp is imperative to enjoying stunning sound quality consistently but there are quite a few variables to consider when picking one. Considerations can include the size of the space, the sound quality you’re after, your budget, and, of course, all the other technical aspects that go into making a quality amplifier.
Worry not, as in this article, we’ll go over the best stereo amps available today. That way, you’ll be able to pick the best stereo amplifier easily!
Top 8 Stereo Amplifiers – Our Picks
Right off the bat in our best stereo amplifier list is the Niles SI-1650.
This sought-after multi-channel amplifier is super easy to set up and boasts a beautiful sleek design and convenient functionality. Its features include powerful sound output capability, with a whopping but balanced 50W to 100W RMS per channel.
It has been tested to meet the quality standards of some of the top manufacturing countries in the world, from Australia to the EU and the USA. You can even use subwoofers with this, thanks to a low THD+N. Definitely a must-have for professional musos, or anyone wanting to entertain with exceptional quality sound. This is hands-down our pick for the title of the overall best stereo amplifier.
The runner up in our best audio amplifier list is the Yamaha MX-A5000BL amp. This powerful amp comes with all the features you need to enjoy great sound in your home theatre system. Experience less sound impedance with low TDH+N and circuitry with first-rate phase properties. Its control plates are made with 13-inch black steel. And with 11 channels for sound output, you’ll always have a connection point for your audio device.
Other notable features include a sturdy chassis with impressive mechanical capabilities and heavy insulators to block outer noise vibrations. Then there’s the Anti-Resonance Technology aka A.R.T, which is a wedge that protects all the delicate parts and circuits inside the amp. You can now achieve bi-amping in addition to the 11 channel outputs, which makes for enhanced cinema execution, bringing the best out of your speakers.
With this amp, you get great value for money with inputs for TV and Blu-ray Disc player and a superb A.R.T. Base. It also comes with speaker terminals for A, B, A+B. The design is modern and elegant with sleek gold-plated details outlining the input channels.
Also featured, is an Auto Standby function that will switch the amp off after 8 hours if left unattended. You can even connect your turntables and play vinyl records in either digital or analog form, with an MM Phono cartridge.
With this stereo amp, you get analog inputs, as well as inputs for A and B speakers, subwoofer Phono, digital Coax and Optical output with an MM Phono cartridge for vinyl records. While a 60W x 60W power output makes for balanced sound between the bass, middle and evens out those often-problematic high pitches.
You also get 8-hour Auto standby which makes for great power efficiency. The design is a bit more traditional with clearly marked controls and inputs. But don’t let the plain and simple designing fool you, this one’s got a silver hairline finish and super high-end knobs that make for smooth handling.
This amp comes with Darlington circuits, digital inputs with 96kHz/ 24-Bit capabilities and five analog inputs with one output. Expect mind-blowing sound quality with 75W capacity and super low (0. 08%) THD and 8 Ohms.
It has a smooth design with gold plated inputs so you can clearly see where your CD player, tuner, and loudspeakers go. With the combined power of DIDRC and the Darlington Circuitry, noise distortion is eliminated, leaving only a clean and powerful sound output
Another great bargain, this Onkyo amp has a slick futuristic design that’ll fit in perfectly with your modern home theatre system or turntable setup. Included in the features are 75W Channels with low TDH, an Impedance Switch through which you can regulate the Ohmic resistance, and 3 Stage Inverted Darlington Circuits to help reduce the noise distortion throughout.
This elegantly designed Sherwood amp comes with digital tuning cognition which makes for seamless preset and auto-scanning. The vintage solid block design of this amp adds to the reliability of its sound channeling abilities. You can connect to various sources with 3 audio inputs, 2 outputs and a Phono Input, and a 100W power output for unparalleled sound power.
This amp also has an AM-FM tuner as well as Bluetooth. Other features include a headphone output jack, a sleep timer, a fluorescent display and you can control the lighting through System Illumination Control.
The last item in our best stereo amplifier list is the Grace Digital GDI-BTAR513.
They say dynamite comes in small packages, and the same can be said about this cute but versatile stereo amp. It’s ideal for home entertainment, with Bluetooth streaming capabilities as well as 100W sound power and perfect TDH levels.
It comes with a thin, credit card shaped remote control from which you can find the settings clearly marked. These controls include the selection of your audio source, volume, standby button, and more. This is a great amp for home use.
Choosing the Best Stereo Amplifier – Buying Guide
There are so many options to choose from with just as many features to consider when looking for the best stereo amplifier. These aspects can make the task of shopping for the best stereo amplifier quite complicated.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a detailed list of the most key specifications that play a huge role in determining an amp’s performance. Here are some important specs to consider when shopping for the best stereo amplifier:
Types of Stereo Amps
These are the types of amps you’d expect to find as part of a pro music player’s arsenal, typically they’re used in nightclubs, large venues and even in stadium shows. They come with the capacity to deliver massive amounts of sound power, with a per-channel range of 250 to 3000 watts.
Standalone Stereo Amps:
These are pretty simple to understand and are typically used to connect speakers to a particular device like a laptop or tablet for example. Perfect for personal use or small spaces.
Tube Amplifiers deliver excellent sound quality, thanks to the tubular structure’s precise and detailed transportation of different sound nuances. You can use these on a single stereo amp and they’re usually found in more upscale audio set-ups.
Powered A/V Receivers:
This particular type of amplifier comes as part of a receiver with versatile channels that allow you to play both video and audio concurrently. These are ideal for large scale entertaining on the home front.
Mono and Multi-channel Amps:
As the name implies, mono amps have only one channel through which sound can travel. Multi-channel amps, on the other hand, give you more options. With the latter, you can enjoy up to 15 channels delivering high-quality sound at once. An immersive experience, by any standards.
This is a critical feature to consider when looking for the best stereo amplifier. The amount of power output you need in an amp depends on factors like the size of your speakers and the room where you’ll be playing the music from. The bigger space and speakers, the more volume capacity is needed.
To be more specific, you can get decently surround sound quality for a small gathering with 10W, whereas 100W would be more suited for larger venues with more space for the sound to travel. Also make sure that your speakers can handle the sound output capacity of your amp, meaning, your speakers shouldn’t blow up when the volume is at its highest. Your amp wattage should be similar to your amplifiers’.
Total Harmonic Distortion and Noise aka THD + N:
What this means is that you need to consider the amount of distortion, if any, that the amplifier is going to have on the sound before picking the best stereo amplifier.
Too much will disturb the integrity of the audio, whereas a lower THD+N will deliver the sound in its accurate form. It’s also important to ensure that the quality of your speakers matches your amp so that they deliver pleasurable listening.
Signal to Noise Ratio aka SNR:
The signal to noise ratio refers to the magnitude of usually undetectable sound such as the humming noise of the electronics, in comparison to the music that you’ll be playing through the amp.
Obviously, you want to hear the music coming through clearly, with little to no disturbance from any background noise. When it comes to SNR, it’s best to go with bigger numbers for clear sound delivery.
Being a single audio output, amplifiers need to integrate these two aspects of left and right while still maintaining the alteration for proper sound quality.
So, you’ll want to make sure your best stereo amplifier maintains the right-left sound dichotomy that’s achieved through the recording process, in order to seamlessly appreciate the individual instrument’s contribution to the overall composition. As a rule, the larger the crosstalk number after the crosstalk minus sign, the better.
Input signal/ Links:
The important thing to remember here is that the more inputs your amplifier has, the more devices you’ll be able to connect and plug in. Generally, your amp would need to have a USB port for PCs and laptops, a Phono port for turntables, and a standard 3.5 mm for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Each of these will deliver a unique sound from the other, but they should all be catered for through your amp.
Audiophiles rejoice, as the best stereo amplifier is one guide away!
With so many options to choose from, there’s definitely a stereo amplifier for everyone. From high-end and high-capacity ones to compact and sleek designed ones that are perfect for the modern home system setup. Whatever your preference or budget, you’re sure to find the best stereo amplifier for your sound system.
On a final thought, if you want to see our reviews on any other sound-related products check out our homepage for the list of everything we review.
- Our own experience