Buying an Integrated Amplifier on eBay

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Buying an Integrated Amplifier on eBay

Audiophiles use an integrated amplifier to greatly enhance sounds. Even regular music lovers see the need for an integrated amplifier to make the sounds coming from devices, such as a CD or a DVD player, have more strength and clarity. An integrated amplifier can be the difference between a dull and exciting time when listening to music or while watching a movie at home. It is a versatile creation that combines the capabilities of both a preamplifier and amplifier, so users need not set up two devices separately for their home entertainment system.

The device increases the strength of a signal to produce a magnified but same output. For this reason, it is important to know the different parts of an integrated amplifier and how each of the parts function in the overall audio playback process to produce an output that is pleasing to people’s ears. Knowledge of the parts, different types, as well as basic troubleshooting of the device takes the guesswork out of purchasing one.

Parts of an Integrated Amplifier

A useful item like an integrated amplifier has several parts that make it versatile and multifunctional. The basic parts of an integrated amplifier are an audio preamplifier and a power amplifier. The device also has several inputs for source devices, such as DVD players, CD players, and other auxiliary sources. Early models of integrated amplifiers had inbuilt AM and FM tuners, but modern ones have separate ones that come in a set.

Audio Preamplifier

An input signal, whether coming from a CD player, a bass guitar, or just about anything plugged into the integrated amplifier, always goes through an audio preamplifier. It processes the signal to match the voltage to line level before sending it to the amplifier. Users can vary tone or equalisation using a preamplifier control, which adjusts the different high and low frequencies of the signal.

Also, users who need to record raw sounds from an instrument need the capability of a preamplifier because although it increases a weak signal to line level to make it recordable, the signal in the preamplifier stage is more transparent as opposed to a sound that is already in the amplifier stage. A preamplifier resides close to the sensor of an integrated amplifier to minimise the effects of noise and interference of a signal. Since modern digital devices already produce a signal at a line level, the use of a preamplifier these days is limited to source selection and volume control.

Power Amplifier

After a preamplifier enhances a signal, it directs it to an amplifier. Then, an amplifier, which uses energy from a power supply, boosts the power of the signal. In that process, the amplifier transforms a signal with a frequency between 20 and 20,000 Hz, the human range of hearing, into a level that is suitable for loudspeakers.

People have been using amplifiers since Lee De Forest invented the first amplifier called triode vacuum tube in the 1900s. A modern amplifier can be based on a solid state device, such as a BJT or FET transistor; however, there are audiophiles who prefer the traditional vacuum-tube type of amplifier because they believe that it provides a more remarkable audio quality than a solid state amplifier does. A power amplifier controls the frequency response, noise, gain, and distortion of a signal.

Control Knobs

There are five common control knobs in an integrated amplifier: the volume, mute, input selector, tape monitor, and balance control knob. The volume and muting control knobs are self-explanatory. An input selector knob allows a user to choose what input to record, and a tape monitor allows him or her to hear a recording of that input at its natural level. A balance control knob is effectively used in distributing sound evenly in a room, even a room with an imperfect set-up like one with a door ajar or a wall interfering with the sound waves.

Summary of Components

It is important to be familiar with the usual parts of an integrated amplifier: preamplifier, amplifier, control knobs, and channel inputs. The table below is a quick reference detailing the different components of an integrated amplifier as well as the general function of each component.

Parts

Function

Preamplifier

Increases an input signal at a line level

Amplifier

Processes an input signal to produce a magnified output

Volume and Balance Control knob

Vary the sound coming out of the speaker(s)

Input Selector Knob and tape monitor knob

Provides a choice in what input to record

Tape Monitor Knob

Allows playback of a recording of the input

The preamplifier and amplifier are the most important parts of an integrated amplifier. Essentially, a signal entering an integrated amplifier goes through the preamplifier first before becoming a magnified output through an amplifier.

Types of Integrated Amplifiers

Knowing the basic parts of an integrated amplifier is the first step in making an informed decision when buying this device. To further the knowledge of buyers, integrated amplifiers out on the market now are categorised into three types: voltage, current, and power.

A voltage integrated amplifier processes an input voltage, and then produces an amplified and accurate version of this signal as an output voltage. For instance, an input signal with 0.02 V becomes an output signal with 2 V.

Another type is a current integrated amplifier, which processes a signal the same way as a voltage type of integrated amplifier does. But as its name suggests, a current integrated amplifier processes the current of a signal; so an input signal with 0.02 A becomes an output signal with 2 A through a current integrated amplifier. Lastly, there is a power integrated amplifier, which operates the same way as the two integrated amplifiers.

Troubleshooting Integrated Amplifiers

Although an integrated amplifier is built to last it is not a perfect device. Problems may arise from repeated usage for a length of time, and the device can malfunction quite unexpectedly. Minor problems; such as having no power, no sound, and unbalanced sounds, are easily remedied if users know simple troubleshooting steps.

No Power

When the light of an integrated amplifier does not come on, the simplest solution is to check if it is plugged properly. If there is still no power after doing a check, it could be due to a blown fuse. Power surges cause fuse burn-up, and if it happens to an integrated amplifier, replace the fuse immediately. Users can prevent fuse burn-up from happening by connecting the device to a protected power outlet.

If the device does not function because of a wire problem inside the power cord, first, check if it is really a wire problem by using an ohmmeter. Let each of the two wires of the ohmmeter touch each end of the power cord. If the reading is zero, it means everything is fine with the power cord, but if the reading is infinite, it means the wire is broken and needs replacement.

Sound Problems

If there is no sound, check first if the mute function is on or if the volume control is at an inaudible level; if not, check if the cords of an external device is plugged into the correct input port. Maybe the device is plugged to the right input port, but the connection is loose. Make sure to connect them properly by driving the cable to the port firmly.

Another common problem that users encounter is unbalanced sounds. Incorrect connections in the device may result in sound distortion. To correct this error, users should check which cord goes to which port by reading the manual. Also, in the manual users can find troubleshooting tips, such as connecting the wires of the speakers properly when hearing weak treble or bass and reconnecting or repairing the interconnections when hearing a buzzing or humming sound. In addition, if a one channel has a weak sound compared with other channels, a simple solution is to adjust the balance control.

Buying an Integrated Amplifier on eBay

Buying an integrated amplifier on eBay is an easy process. You only need to type the keywords "integrated amplifie r " to see a list of products of different brands and models. eBay is also a one-stop-shop for all your audio and video needs, and with eBay offering different devices to build your home TV system, there is no need to go through the trouble of looking on other websites for other devices.

When buying an integrated amplifier, set a price range that you are willing to spend, and know which features you need and which features you can do without to help with the decision. It is wise to choose three of the best integrated amplifiers on eBay according to your standards and take the time to compare them based on the seller’s descriptions before making a final decision. Finally, make sure that you are buying from a seller that has a great reputation based on customer positive.

Conclusion

An integrated amplifie r is a great addition to your home entertainment system. Equipped with both a preamplifier and a powerful amplifier, an integrated amplifier can boost any signal coming from any input. Because it is a two-in-one device, it is very useful. Its preamplifier corrects the level of a sound before sending it to the amplifier, which then produces a magnified and more appealing sound.

Users experiencing problems with an integrated amplifier should make sure that all wires are securely connected to the proper sockets. It is also helpful to consult the manual that comes with the device if experiencing any problem that common sense alone cannot solve. An integrated amplifier enriches not only the listening but also the viewing experience, so it is an integral part of a home entertainment system. People who enjoy listening to music and watch TV or movies with enhanced sounds can easily benefit from buying an integrated amplifier on eBay.

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