It’s time to build your very own, home theater or stereo system, but in order to do it properly, you’ll need to purchase only the best components. These components can include anything from several loudspeakers, a sub woofer, TV’s, game consoles, computers, DVD and CD players. However, in order to lay the perfect foundation for your system, you’ll need an integrated amplifier.
Integrated amplifiers are actually 2 home theater components in one package, a power amplifier and a pre-amplifier. The power amp section is the one with all the watts, and makes certain that your speakers have the punch they need to sound their best. The pre-amp part is what accepts the signals from your various sources, like your TV, CD player, or computer.
The benefit of purchasing a good integrated amplifier is that you’ll save on both money and space, as you’ll only be required to add one component to your home theater or stereo system, instead of 2. If you are new to setting up a home or office audio system, it’s understandable if you feel a bit put off by the complexity of these units. As a result, we’ve compiled a nice, concise review and buyers guide of the best integrated amplifiers under $1000.
What is the best integrated amplifier less than $1000?
How do I choose a good integrated amplifier?
What is an Integrated Amplifier?: When you purchase an ‘integrated amplifier‘, you’re actually getting a 2 in 1 deal: A power amp and a pre-amp. The first component, the power amp, concerns the wattage, while the pre-amp works to accept signals from various sources such as CD player, DVD, turntable, etc. A good home theater system will have both a pre-amp and power amp, so it makes sense to save money and space by purchasing an integrated amplifier.
Inputs: The first thing you should consider is what devices you’ll be using. Keep in mind that an integrated amplifier is an expensive bit of stereo equipment, so make sure to look for one that has a build which contains inputs that will grow with your hobby.
In short, inputs are where you’ll plug your source signals into, whether its a turntable, Blu-ray player or CD player. Inputs to look for include: RCA audio input, RCA phono input, Balanced XLR audio inputs, and digital audio inputs. Digital audio inputs may include optical, coaxial, USB and Ethernet.
Outputs: Next, consider how many speakers you intend on using, always keeping in mind that you want your integrated amp to be able to accept additional options in the future. Outputs to look out for include a headphone jack, subwoofer output, pre-amp out and main in connections. Most integrated amplifiers usually come with the ability to connect a pair of speakers, while there are those that have dual A + B connectors so you can connect 2 pairs of speakers.
Gold-Plated Connectors: Although it may seem like a little thing, gold-plated connectors not only extend the life of your amplifier, but offer you many other benefits. For example, gold-plated connectors are resistant to oxidation, which means you don’t have to worry about your connectors rusting away. They also increase electrical conductivity, heat protection, durability, and prevent fretting degradation, so your contact surface won’t wear away over time.
Brand Name: No matter what you see on the spec sheets, it won’t make much difference if the internal components are of low quality or assembled poorly. This is the problem with cheap amps or knockoffs. They can have all of the right numbers in all of the right places, but when all is said and done, if the wiring is badly done, your in for a heartbreak down the road.
It’s best to stick with established brands who have a good solid footing in the industry. Yes, their integrated amplifiers will cost more, but you’ll also be confident that they are been assembled well, and with the best components. Choose manufacturers that stand behind their products, and offer good customer service.
Size: Size is an important consideration as it must fit in your chosen listening area comfortably with enough space left around each component for proper air circulation. Keep in mind the larger the unit, the more connectivity options you may have. However, if you are in a small apartment or live in a dorm room, you’ll be better off getting a smaller amplifier.
Power: This is entirely personal and depends on the size of your listening area as well as the kind of speakers you have. For instance, if you are comfortable with just enough sound to surf the internet by, or perhaps having ambient background music, then no more that 20 watts per channel will probably be necessary.
However, if you’re going full throttle with your home theater system, and plan on having surround sound quality audio for movie viewing, then look for 200 watts per channel plus.
5 Best integrated amplifiers under $1000 reviewed
1. Marantz PM6006
Upgraded Successor to the Populor PM6005: The Marantz Hi-Fi Integrated Amplifier, model PM6006 takes over where the much loved PM6005 left off, adding upgrades designed to improve your overall listening experience.
For instance, they’ve made it more digital friendly, by the addition of a second optical input, giving you a total of 2 optical and 1 coaxial inputs. This easy to use 45 watt amp comes with a Cirrus Logic CS4398 192kHz 24 bit DAC, Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module (HDAM), Source Direct Mode, and an integrated headphone amp.
High Quality Components and Design: Features include a frequency response of 10Hz to 70kHz, damping factor of 100, 2 pairs of corrosion resistant gold plated speaker connections, and the powerful Toroidal Transformer gives you nice, easy and clear playback.
The tight, clean and controlled sound you hear is due to Marantz’s nice sized power circuit, discrete current feedback amp, minimized signal path, and use of high performance components. If you have a turntable, you’re in luck, just hook it into the phono input connectors located in that back.
Convenient Remote Control and Easy to Use Front Panel Design: This unit is designed for ease of use and comfort, so sit back and relax on your couch as you use the handy remote which lets you control source of your audio as well as its the sound quality.
The front panel provides you with easy access via its power button, input selector, volume controls, headphone jack, remote control sensor, plus treble, base and balance knobs. The rear panel contains phono connection, digital audio inputs, speaker terminals, flasher in jack, remote control connectors, analog audio inputs, and an audio out connector.
- Upgrades include 2 Optical and 1 coaxial input
- 45 watts of power, frequency range of 10Hz to 70kHz
- Phono input for turntable use
- Superb quality audio
- Easy to use remote control
- No subwoofer connectivity
- No Network/streaming ability
Summary: The powerful 45 watt, Marantz PM6006 Integrated Amplifier is an asset to your home theater system with its CS4398 192kHz 24 bit DAC, Marantz HDAM, and Toroidal Transformer components, producing incredible, clean, high quality audio.
You’ll find the front panel layout and the easy to use remote control ensures ease of listening and operation, while the rear panel is infused with ample connectivity options, including a phono connection for a turntable. Durability is assured due to the well made housing and corrosion resistant, gold-plated connectors.
2. Yamaha A-S801BL
User Friendly Operation: Audiophiles who enjoy music while surfing will absolutely love this Yamaha A-S801BL Natural Sound Integrated Stereo Integrated Amplifier.
If you’re new to the idea of an audio system, you’ll be happy to know that operating this unit is simple, just take advantage of the built-in USB port, connect to your computer, and enjoy the high quality, low distortion sound only Yamaha can provide. It not only has inputs for your computer, but ports are up and ready for any other devices you may have, such as disc players, TV, turntable or Blu-ray device.
Superior Internal Components: This amp makes great use of the ESS SABRE DAC, or ‘digital-to-analog-converter’, which works to take any music digital files yo have and convert those digital files to analog signals, creating crisp, clean sound as a result.
If you are of a mind to connect your TV or Blu-ray, simply use the integrated optical and coaxial inputs. This 100 watt, 2 channel amplifier also features an anti-resonance chassis, direct symmetrical design, gold plated terminals, auto power standby, rotary encoder input selector, and a phono MM terminal.
Multiple Input and Outputs: If all that isn’t enough, features of this high performance amp also include Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology, Pure Direct Mode, remote control, detachable power cord, 0.25 inch headphone jack, and CD Direct Amplification Mode. Ports include 6 RCA audio inputs, coaxial, optical, 4 RCA recording outputs, and 1 subwoofer output. You also are given the option to purchase a YBA-11 Bluetooth Wireless Adapter separately so you can stream from your Bluetooth device.
- RCA and speaker terminals are gold plated
- Connect to Blu-ray or TV with digital audio inputs
- USB DAC ability
- Outstanding fidelity no matter the mode or device
- Optional YBA-11 Bluetooth wireless adapter available
- Has no preamp output
- The sound is a little harsh for some
Summary: The Yamaha A-S801BL Integrated Amplifier is an excellent choice for those of you who are searching for an amp which is powerful at 100 watts per channel, has extreme connectivity, as well as the option to purchase a YBA-11 Bluetooth adapter.
The ESS SABRE Digital Analog Converter easily takes any digital audio files turns them into analog signals, while the inputs/outputs allow you to enjoy Blu-ray, DVD’s, CD’s or internet entertainment. It’s good to know that Yamaha is a well-respected brand that stands behind its products, offering you excellent fidelity no matter the device or mode.
3. Dayton Audio MA1240A
Multi-Zone Amplifier for Home or Office: If you’re in the market for a versatile amplifier to integrate into your home theater sound system, this is 40 watt, attractive, brushed aluminum, multi-zone unit from Dayton is the one to look at. A multi-zone amp is one that takes your home theater to a new level, as you are able send various source signals to audio locations throughout your home or office. That’s just what the Dayton MA1240a lets you do: Watch your movie on DVD in the living area, while someone else listens to CD’s in their bedroom.
Easy Installation and Advanced Audio Features: This class AB designed Dayton Audio MA1240a multi-zone amp comes with 12 channels/6 stereo zones, has a 5Hz to 72kHz frequency response, Multi-Stage Protection circuitry, cooling fans, independent gain controls and channel inputs, and BUS 1 and 2, all in one attractive, easy to set up and use system. Installation for this 20.2 x 18.2 x 9 inch, 34 pound amp is quite simple, as this unit can be used on tabletop or rack-mount installation. Features include bridgeable channel outputs, and toggle between 115V and 230V input voltage, all enclosed in a tough, durable steel chassis.
Excellent Input/Output Options: The front panel sports a modern design and holds the power switch, along with 6 zone status LED indicator lights which give you a heads up on trouble shooting and operational status. The rear panel has BUS line I/O, trigger I/O, gain control, bridging switch, input selector, speaker output terminals, individual channel input, and remote switch. A nice feature is the “auto” function, which is designed to sense any incoming signal from the RCA inputs, which then puts the MZ1240a in “ready mode”.
- Superb Versatile multi-zone performance
- 12 channels/6 stereo zones
- Excellent connectivity
- Can be installed on a desktop or rack-mount
- Excellent audio quality for your home theater
- Can get hot during use
- The cooling fan can make noise for some customers
Summary: The 12 channel/6 zone, class AB Dayton Audio MA1240a is just built for those of you who are hungry for a versatile, high quality audio to service different areas of your home or office.
The efficient design of the rear panel’s input and outputs mean less guesswork for those of you who are new to hooking up a home theater system, so you can connect the 12 channels to 12 speakers with ease, flooding your home with superior audio from a variety of sources including CD players, TV’s, Bose, or your laptop. This is a flexible, easy to set up, dependable and reliable integrated amplifier which can be installed in a rack mount or on a desktop, and will definitely be able to handle audio from your various individual devices.
4. YAQIN MC-13S
Old School Design Meets High Tech Dependability: Our next amp offering is a bit old-school in design, but has been lauded by audiophiles as creating magnificent sound, not to mention it’s very cool to look at. The Yaqin MC-13S EL34 (6CA7) Amplifier is the high performance, 40 watt per channel, successor to the MC-10L, and serves to give you the best sound quality available. This unit gets its drive from Yaqin 6CA7T vacuum tubes, four EL34B tubes, two 12AX7 and two 12AU7 tubes, and features 4 corrosion resistant, gold plated RCA Jacks which allow you to hook up your CD, Tape player, Tuner and DVD player, along with 2 gold plated out put jacks.
Efficient Push-Pull Amplifier Design: This integrated amplifier is manufactured with an efficient, Class A ‘Push-Pull’ amplifier design,where the current can go in either direction. The advantage of a push pull amplifier design is that it makes the amplifier more efficient, increases AC output, lessens distortion, and heightens overall performance. You’ll be surprised at what this ‘tube’ amp can do, as it amps up your favorite tunes to crystal clarity while giving you superb soundstaging and imaging.
Don’t Forget the Pipe Fuses: The analog VU meter located on the front of the amp may look a bit old school, but works extremely well to give you a visual on output levels. As this is a vacuum tube amp, remember to get yourself a pack of pipe fuses, as vacuum tube amps need these tubes to function, and they do blow out from time to time so they’ll need replacing. Don’t be put off because this is not a traditional, solid state integrated amp, as this Yaqin takes tube technology and proceeds to fill your room with robust, clear and crisp sound.
- Attractive addition to your stereo system
- Excellent sound quality
- Little or no distortion due to Push/Pull amp design
- Vacuum Tube Technology for excellent sound
- Impressive 40 watts per channel
- Some users report that the manual is in Chinese
- If you forget to replace the pipe fuse, your unit will cease to function until you do.
Summary: Charming and attractive, the Yaqin MC-13S gives an old-school tech look to your home theater system, while providing you with the superb unique sound only vacuum tube driven integrated amps can provide. This affordable, 40 watt per channel, push-pull amp will give you little or no distortion, so you’ll be able to enjoy a clean, uncluttered sound. The Corrosion resistant, gold plated I/O jacks connect to various signal sources such as CD, DVD or tape players, make this amp a great choice for those of you looking to add a bit of dependable, high performance old-school technology to your stereo system.
5. Onkyo A-9070
High Quality Sound with Little or No Distortion: The Onkyo A-9070 Reference Stereo Integrated Amplifier is geared to give you high quality performance known from Onkyo. If your speakers love to eat up power, then this 140 watt amp will churn out your tunes to new levels as its Dynamic Intermodulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry works to reduce unpleasant distortion, while delivering high quality sound. The A-9070 measures 17 x 17 x 6.9 inches, and comes with the powerful Advanced Wide Range Amplifier Technology (AWRAT) amplification sector and Wolfson 192kHz/24 bit internal digital processing.
User Friendly, Front Panel Design: The Onkyo is designed for ease of use, as the front panel gives you easy access to controlling the audio, such as a rotary volume control, balance, base and treble, along with a setup button, and headphone jack. Turning the amp around, you’ll see a turn table connection, accept digital signals via 2 digital and 1 optical input, along with gold plated brass RCA inputs. Speaker connections are high quality, gold plated binding posts.
Excellent Connectivity Plus a Convenient Remote Control: The pre-out L/R jacks work to hook up a power amp when the A-9070 is being used as a pre-amp, and main L/R jacks which hook up a pre-amp, when the A-9070 is to be used as the power amp, which is the Main Mode. You also get line in L/R jacks to hook up your playback devices, and line out L/R jacks to hook up analog. As a result you get an integrated amp unit which can easily handle your digital, analog devices as well as your turntable, along with a remote control that allows you to control input source, volume, setup, and control the tone.
- AWRAT amplification sector
- 4 analog stereo inputs
- 1 MM phono input for turntables
- Accepts digital signals via 2 digital and 1 optical input
- Easy to use remote control
- Lacks extensive digital connectivity of many competitors
- No network/streaming connectivity
Summary: If you are searching for versatility in an amp, then the 140 watt , Onkyo A-9070 is designed to you a versatile integrated amplifier, offering you 4 discrete modes: poweramp, pre-amp, integrated amp, and split power, plus a powerful Advanced Wide Range Amplifier Technology (AWRAT) amplification sector with Wolfson 192kHz/24 bit internal digital processing. This amps beautiful, contemporary design blends well with its incredible, loud powerful sound, making your home theater system come alive!
How to connect integrated amplifier to AV receiver?
Before you go any further, make certain that you have unplugged all components before you begin to work on connecting anything. Unplug not only the amp and receiver, but your entire stereo system, just to be sure. It’s also a good idea to get the user manuals for both your amplifier and AV receiver, as no two systems are designed completely alike.
Step 1. Do You Really Need the AV Receiver?
As previously stated, an integrated amplifier is a blending of 2 components: Pre-amp and power amp, all in one chassis. When you make an integrated amp part of your home theater system, you can simply route your various source signals through the integrated amp, and never need to purchase or use an AV receiver.
Purchasing an integrated amplifier will actually eliminate the need to purchase an AV receiver in most cases. However, if for some reason you want to connect an AV receiver to your amplifier, such as utilizing it’s HDMI connections or for its AM/FM tuner, we’ve included a basic guide for you below.
Step 2. Location, Location
Your home theater components are large and heavy pieces of equipment, so it makes sense to choose a space they will occupy for a while. Before placement, make certain that all of the components can be comfortably connected to one another. Your Receiver and other components can get hot, so should have plenty of space to ‘breathe’.
Step 3. Cables
Once you get an idea of where you want everything, it’s time to talk cables. Basically, to hook your amp up to your AV receiver, all you’ll be needing is RCA stereo audio cables. If you are concerned about good sound quality, then only purchase the best name brand cables, as they’ll produce as little noise interference as possible.
Step 3. Locate the Pre-Out
The first step is to look at the rear panel of your receiver and look for a ‘pre-out’. Pre-outs are white and red RCA jacks, and are located in different areas on different models, so if you have trouble finding yours, check with your user manual. If your AV receiver does not have a pre-out, you cannot connect it to an amplifier.
Step 4. Connect the RCA Cables
Plug your RCA audio cables in to the appropriate pre-outs. This depends on the channels you’ll be using, such as Left and Right only, or Left, Right and Center. At this point, please pay close attention to your products user manuals, and follow their diagrams exactly when connecting your RCA cables to your AV receiver and amplifier.
Step 5. Connect to Your Amplifier
Next, look at the back panel of your amplifier. Hook the other end of the RCA cables to a ‘line-level’ input. If you have trouble locating them, check your users manual, but usually they will have ‘auxiliary’ or ‘aux’ printed near them.
The Final Words (Summary)
After reading out review of the best integrated amplifier under $1000, choosing the right amp for your needs is not that difficult or complex after all. Simply begin by considering just what devices you plan on hooking up, from sources devices such as Blu-ray and DVD players, to the type and number of outputs such as sub woofer, headphone and loudspeakers.
It’s always a good idea to purchase an integrated amplifier that has enough connectivity options so it will grow with you over time. Whether you are planning on using it for ambient music for your office, video gaming, streaming music or for your home theater system, an integrated amplifier will save you money and space, while offering you excellent audio for many years to come.
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