What is an amplifier and why do you need one for your turntable?
An amplifier is basically a device that supplies increased strength to a signal. It helps boost the level of signals, current, and voltage. It is a part of most audio devices that use wireless communication and broadcasting.
To help you understand the need for an amplifier for your turntable, it is critical that we discuss the types and roles of an amplifier.
There are two types of amplifiers for a turntable – the ones with a built-in pre-amp, called integrated amplifiers, and the ones without it, also known as power amplifiers or stereo receivers.
A preamplifier alters a relatively weak electric signal into a stronger, noise-resistant output for additional processing. A power amplifier converts low-power radio and guitar signals into strong enough signals to activate loudspeaker devices. A main (integrated) amplifier is a combined product of a power amplifier and preamplifier.
Luckily, most modern turntables come equipped with a pre-amplifier. These work with the turntable’s cartridge signal, amplifying and equalizing it.
For turntables without a built-in preamplifier, there are plenty of options featured in this article to choose from.
What makes the best turntable amplifier?
Choosing the right amplifier for your turntable is no joke. Having sad that, there are some essential details such as the power output, the number of channels, the impedance, frequency response and total harmonic distortion, and the auto standby options in an amplifier that you should pay attention to when looking to purchase an amplifier that will deliver the most bang for your buck.
Below is everything that makes a turntable amplifier stand out.
Power output and number of channels
The power output that an amplifier can produce is the most accurate representation of how well an amplifier can perform. The United States Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has designed a uniform system for grading power rating for amplifiers and other stereo components. The system introduces root mean square (RMS), the average power an amplifier can give out without any damage.
We recommend that you carefully consider the RMS before purchasing an amplifier and choose an amplifier that would overpower your system rather than underpower.
Having talked out the importance of power output to when investing in the right amplifier, the number of channels is also a critical factor. Simply put, channels in an amplifier represent the number of speakers the amplifier is compatible. For example, a 4-channel amplifier is able to support 4-speaker systems. A 5-channel amplifier on the other hand, is capable of power four speakers and a subwoofer.
Impedance, frequency response, THD
Most amplifiers work with loudspeakers of 4, 8, and 16 ohms of resistance. However, for best performance and results, it is recommended that you choose an amplifier that is a correct match for your loud speakers.
Matching an amplifier with the right impedance of your system can be a complete game changer. Wondering why we say that? Consider this. If the total impedance of your loud speaker is low, the power delivered to the loudspeaker will be higher and it can possibly overload the system and damage your amplifier. Whereas, if the impedance is too high, the power being delivered to the speakers will be too low.
Furthermore, we suggest that you pay close attention to the frequency response of all the devices as they vary. The 20 Hz to 40 kHz range of the Pyle Home Audio Power Amplifier System delivers vastly different results than the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range of the Kinter K2020A+.
In today’s day and age, we’re all prone to a hands-free approach when it comes to our technology. The auto standby option is super convenient for people who aren’t bothered to keep tabs on their amplifiers activity. The Yamaha R-S202, Yamaha A-S501BL, or the Grace Digital GDI-BTAR512N would all be a suitable pick here.
Individual features are also important. Not all amplifiers possess an ideal infinite bandwidth or a zero common-mode gain. Always make sure to ask for feedback on the devices you intend to buy.
How to connect an amplifier to a turntable and to headphones?
Connecting an amplifier to a turntable is a fairly simple process.
There are two methods involved, each for the option of the preamplifier installation. If there is the need for an external preamplifier, then a set of cables (most probably RCA ones) will have to be linked to your audio system. If the preamplifier is built in, proceed by attaching the turntable’s ground wire (if needed) to the grounding post on the phono preamplifier.
Connecting your amplifier to your headphones entails connecting the power supply of your device by plugging it in with an EP stereo plug (for example, the MXP-38 (Jack) to EP Converter) and then just simply connecting your headphones to the headphone amplifier.