Surround Sound Amplifiers

A surround sound system uses multiple channels and speakers. The listener hears the sound from multiple speakers that are place in front and behind them. Different sound intensities are played through one or more speakers so that the listener enjoys the sound and feel of being surrounded by sound sources all around them.

An amplifier will reproduce sound twice as loud as the volume setting if you have 10 times more wattage output. This means that an amplifier that is rated at 100 WPC can put out twice the volume of a 10 WPC amp. So an amp that is rated at 100 watts per channel will need 1,000 watts per channel to be twice as loud. However, it is the quality of the amplifier that is more important than the wattage output. Distortion level matters more than most people realize. It is better to have a modestly powered amplifier with a low distortion level than one that is rated more powerful yet with a high distortion level.

Distortion levels should be scrutinized before you buy your amplifier. The distortion level that is rated at 10% at full power will virtually be something you can not listen too because of how bad it will sound. If a surround sound amplifier has an output of .01% distortion level at full power, it will be the easiest to listen to and sound the best. Look for distortion specifications that are expressed in terms of THD or Total Harmonic Distortion.

One other factor to look for is Signal-To-Noise Ratio (S/N). This is the ratio of sound to background noise. Amplifier specifications S/N ratios are rated by decibels. A desirable S/N ratio is that of 70db. This ratio will sound a lot better than 50db. Make sure that the amplifier can output its full power continuously. You do not want one that can not sustain its power level.

Surround sound amplifier technology has improved over the past decades to point of sounding as if you are actually in a theater because of the sound output and quality. Some manufactures have merged the best vacuum tube technology with solid state audio engineering in their surround sound amplifiers. Butler Audio is one such manufacturer.

The Butler 5150 surround sound amplifier has separate power modules with line input and speaker output for each channel. It features one 6SL7GC dual triode tube for each channel within the output stage so that true analog sound is provided. There is no need for a traditional output transformer. The vacuum tube is placed in the output stage of the amplifier. It is a 5-Channel Power Amplifier that needs a multi-channel Preamplifier to make it fully functional. It comes highly recommended by current owners but the one draw back it the cost. It is a very expensive surround sound amplifier at about $3000.

Another surround sound amplifier that is extremely upscale is the Crown Audio ITech 6000 power amplifier. However, it may be a little too upscale for most home theaters and is about double the price of the Butler 5150.

The good news is that you do not have to spend so much to get a good quality amplifier for your home theater system. The Denon AVR-988P Premium Surround Sound Amplifier is one of the more reasonably priced amplifiers. It is selling for around $1300 on various sites on the internet. There are many other brands that you can find on the internet too. Just be sure to check out the THD ratio and the S/N ratio so you will be assured of getting the best quality sound for your money.

This Surround Sound Amplifiers Review is Written/Updated on Feb 27th, 2011 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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