Audio Separates Buying Tips

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Daniel Kumin  |  Dec 22, 2016  |  3 comments
From time to time, in these pages—err, screens—and elsewhere, you’ll see references to amplifier “class”: Class A, Class D, and so on. What’s it mean?
Mark Fleischmann  |  Apr 11, 2013  |  2 comments
Bigger is better. That’s probably the dominant argument in favor of buying a separate multichannel amplifier and surround processor instead of an A/V receiver. It’s also the wrong argument. There are three good reasons for you to choose separates: to scale up your system to a larger room, to power more-demanding speakers, or to achieve higher performance than you can get with an average AVR.
Rob Sabin  |  Mar 27, 2013  |  5 comments
Putting together a home theater can seem like a daunting task. So many pieces to think through and connect up! But if you care enough to do your homework and educate yourself, you’ll find it’s not as complicated as it looks. Here’s what goes into your typical viewing room.

Kim Wilson, Scott Wilkinson  |  Jul 06, 2012  |  6 comments
So you've taken the leap and opted for separates, and now you're wondering how to set up the power amp properly with you're A/V preamp/processor. Relax, it's not difficult at all.
Kim Wilson  |  Oct 20, 2011  |  3 comments
When it comes to the nerve center of a home theater, most consumers opt for an A/V receiver, which combines a preamp/processor (pre/pro) and multichannel power amp into one chassis. However, some enthusiasts choose to buy a separate pre/pro and power amp, believing that this results in superior sound quality, though it's generally a more-expensive way to go. If you want the best possible sound—and you have the budget—you're probably shopping for separates.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Aug 25, 2011  |  8 comments
Selecting audio components is one of the more daunting tasks that any serious home theater enthusiast faces. On the surface, it seems evident that if you just go out and buy the best components you can afford, they’ll sound great with both movies and music. And that’s generally true: A better system will more accurately reproduce the waveforms you feed it, irrespective of whether they come from a movie or music. But it’s often not that simple. While assembling a home theater system that’s equally spectacular with movies and music may be a laudable goal, unless you have unlimited funds, you’ll probably have compromises to make. At that point, you might want to steer the system’s performance strengths one way or the other with the right mix of speakers and electronics. But how do you go about matching these up?
Mark Fleischmann  |  Jul 18, 2011  |  3 comments
Are You Ready for the Heavy Artillery?

A friend who went to college in the late 1960s told me that everyone in his dorm fell into one of two absolutely opposing groups: those who blasted the Who’s Tommy and those who were mesmerized by the Beatles’ White Album. Or for the sticklers among you, the album nicknamed the White Album but officially known as The Beatles. I could entertain you with a few more sentences’ worth of metaphor, but you get the idea. You say tomato, I say tomahto.

Thomas J. Norton  |  May 25, 2007  |  0 comments
You're a newbie to this audio game, and are just putting together your first home theater. Or perhaps you're making your first major upgrade. You're pouring over the spec sheets, looking for the best AV receiver for the cheapest price.
Wes Phillips  |  Apr 24, 2005  |  First Published: Apr 25, 2005  |  0 comments
Ask the average guy in the street what makes a home theater a home theater and you're likely to hear one of two answers: "A honkin' big screen" or "Five (or six or seven) speakers." It would be hard to argue with either answer, because a great picture and sound coming from all around you are essential elements of the home theater experience.
Mike Wood  |  Apr 09, 2002  |  First Published: Apr 10, 2002  |  0 comments
Determining amplifier-power requirements for your home theater system.

Power output is often the biggest selling point for receivers and standalone amplifiers. Bells and whistles aside, you can often spend a lot less money for an amplifier or receiver that has a lot less power. While there are several factors that influence an amplifier's sound quality, we're not going to go into many of them in this article. We're going to focus on power. Ideally, an amplifier should be rated with low distortion, measured over the entire audible frequency range and with all channels driven. You should always listen to an amplifier before you purchase it. Whether you should test the 60-watt model or the 150-watt version depends on many factors, including your listening environment, the speakers you'll be using with it, and your listening habits.

Chris Lewis  |  Sep 04, 2001  |  First Published: Sep 05, 2001  |  1 comments
Pondering an age-old home theater question.

Simplicity, where have you gone? Let's be realistic for a moment: This little home theater hobby of ours, circa 2001, is usually confusing, occasionally mind-boggling, and flat-out intimidating to the uninitiated. Do we love it any less as a result? We certainly shouldn't. While we should always expect the equipment manufacturers and software providers to make things as simple as they can, the bottom line is that, in the A/V realm, confusion is often only a temporary state, brought about by increased opportunity, quality, and flexibility. These are confusing days because they are evolutionary (and occasionally revolutionary) ones. Granted, it may not be easy to get a grasp on several new soundtrack-processing formats, two entirely new audio formats, new video formats and technologies, and a radical overhaul of our television system—all at the same time. However, if you can't see some good in all of this (and if you don't find it all to be at least as exciting as it is perplexing), maybe you'd better find a new hobby.