Guide to Buying the Best Audio Amplifier

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Guide to Buying the Best Audio Amplifier

Musicians record their music in a sound studio or play in front of a large crowd at a stadium. They share their musical abilities and creativity with others in these settings through the use of sound equipment that either reproduces the recorded sound or amplifies the natural sound. Without the use of audio amplifiers, none of this would be possible. Music is everywhere. It is found on radio stations, MP3 players, CD players, televisions, and in movies. An audio amplifier boosts the power of the signal to the speakers. The quality of the sound is closely related to the quality of the audio amplifier. Whether shopping for an audio amplifier in an electronics store, music shop, or online, it is important to know the difference between the types of amplifiers, and the technology used in the different types of amplifiers. When looking for an audio amplifier, the shopper needs to consider the amplifier’s compatibility with existing speakers, as well as the size and location of the audio amplifier. eBay offers a wide selection of quality audio amplifiers to fit any budget.

Types of Amplifiers

There are two basic types of amplifiers. Each type requires electricity to function. The first type of amplifier, invented in the early 1900s, is the vacuum tube amplifier. Its popularity continued throughout much of the 20th century until the advent of transistors in the 1960s. Transistors or solid state technology has largely gone on to replace vacuum tube amplifiers.

Vacuum Tube Amplifiers

Vacuum tube amplifiers are larger in size than solid state amplifiers. They are also more expensive to manufacture, buy, and repair. There is more sound distortion with vacuum tube amplifiers. The distortion can account for almost 10 per cent of the total audio output. Many musicians and guitar players prefer the sound that vacuum tube amplifiers produce, because it reproduces sounds from specific time periods such as the golden eras of early hard rock, jazz, and blues music. They ascertain that vacuum tube amplifiers when meshed with analogue technology produces a better, warmer sound when compared with the sounds produced by solid state amplifiers.

Solid State Amplifiers

Solid state amplifiers, using transistors, replaced vacuum tube amplifiers in the 1960s. Solid state amplifiers are smaller, easier to produce and repair, and cheaper to buy. Depending on the technology, they produce less sound distortion thereby a clearer sound. They also produce less heat, making them more energy efficient than vacuum tube amplifiers. Because of their lower cost in comparison to the more expensive vacuum tube amplifiers, many first-time musicians opt for the cheaper solid state amplifiers.

The following table provides a brief overview of the two main types of amplifiers. It lists the differences between the two types.




Energy Efficiency

Sound Quality

Vacuum Tube




More Sound Distortion

Solid State




Less Sound Distortion

The table above illustrates the differences in size, cost, energy efficiency, and sound quality between vacuum tube and solid state amplifiers. The choice of an amplifier is a personal one for a musician, and this choice dependent upon style of music and overall quality of equipment and sound. These factors must be considered when selecting an audio amplifier.

Different Classes of Amplifier

There are two main classes of technology that amplifiers use in reproducing sound. They are Class-A or Class-AB, and Class-D. These classes are used in reference to either analogue amplifiers or digital amplifiers. The two main factors to consider with these technology classes are sound distortion and power efficiency.

Class-A or Class-AB

Class-A or Class-AB technology, used with analogue amplifiers, uses a small amount of its power capacity for audio output. Most of the power output, almost 70 per cent, is lost as heat. Although this type of technology is not energy efficient, it still produces low sound distortion. Many guitar players choose this type of analogue technology. They prefer the quality of sound produced by these amplifiers.


Class-D technology, used with digital amplifiers, uses almost 90 per cent of its power capacity for audio output. Because of its superior energy efficiency in comparison to Class-A or Class-AB technology, these amplifiers are smaller and generate less heat. Although Class-D technology outranks Class-A or Class-AB technology in terms of power efficiency, it still produces more sound distortion. Newer, digital amplifiers have improved their audio output, decreasing sound distortion.

Amplifier Channels

With a mono or one-channel sound, the sound appears to come from one direction, because the audio is fed to the amplifier using just one microphone, while with a stereo or two-channel sound, the audio is fed using a few microphones. This sound appears to come from two directions and the sound is more complex and realistic. Quadraphonic or four-channel sound is used in today’s surround sound audio systems. The listener is literally ‘surrounded’ by the sound.

Speaker Compatibility

The buyer should make sure that any existing speakers are compatible with the amplifier they wish to buy. The amplifier should produce sufficient power to drive the speakers. There are two power values to consider. The first value determines the total amount of power that the speaker can incur within a small amount of time. This is called peak power. The second value determines the total amount of power that the speaker can incur overall without damaging the speaker’s components. This is called average power. It is important to determine the peak and average power values of the speaker before selecting an audio amplifier. Some 100 watt speakers, used in smaller, enclosed areas, may not use the entire range of their power values. A lower power amplifier would be sufficient. Larger areas such as stadiums or concert halls would need a higher watt amplifier to supply enough power to drive the higher powered speakers. For the novice musician, a 10 to 20 watt amplifier is a good place to start.

Size and Location

The size and location of an amplifier are important factors to consider when selecting an audio amplifier. The size of the amplifier can vary depending on the size of the room. Larger rooms or areas such as stadiums can house larger amplifiers that are half the size of an average room. Smaller locations may choose smaller, card-sized amplifiers to save space. In an average room, most basic amplifiers fit appropriately on top of or beside of other audio equipment.

Buying the Best Audio Amplifier on eBay

eBay offers a diverse selection of quality audio amplifiers to appeal to any buyer and budget. Their selection includes popular brands and hard-to-find audio amplifiers like vintage tube amps. It is easy and convenient to shop on eBay. First, the buyer need to visit the eBay homepage,, and type ‘audio amplifiers&’ into the search bar. The site’s local search engine populates the results page with the current listings for audio amplifiers. If the buyer knows what type of audio amplifier they want, they should include specifics in the search query. The more details included in the search query, the more targeted the search is.

Many buyers choose to specify that only listings posted by ‘eBay Top-Rated Sellers’ show on the results page. To do this, the buyer selects ‘eBay Top-Rated Sellers’ under the heading ‘Seller’. These listings are by sellers who have achieved top rankings in the areas of quality service and delivery. The buyer finds the seller’s feedback rating in the item description, next to the buyer’s username. By clicking on the seller’s username, the buyer can go into the seller’s profile and read feedback left by previous buyers.

Larger amplifiers incur more postage costs than smaller amplifiers. To save on postage, the buyer can sort the listings to only show those listings for amps posted by sellers in a designated area. This way the seller may have the opportunity to pick up the amp themselves, and examine the amp firsthand before handing over the money. All the buyer has to do is type in their postcode on the results page and enter a search radius in miles.


When choosing quality audio equipment to reproduce the best overall sound, a buyer needs to remember several important factors. If the buyer already owns speakers, it is important to check the speaker’s specifications as they relate to power. A powerful set of speakers needs a powerful audio amplifier, and visa versa. The buyer should remember that the larger the amplifier, the larger the area or room needed to house it. Next, the buyer should examine the different types and brands of audio amplifiers, paying careful attention to the class of technology. Cost is also an important considered, because more popular brands of amplifiers are usually more expensive. These more expensive brands usually produce a higher quality of sound. When listening to music, an individual needs to consider that quality speakers need a quality amplifier to output the sound. This is an important choice for any audio system. eBay offers quality audio amplifiers to fit any audio system, ranging from vacuum tube, solid state, analogue, to digital amplifiers. Their selection includes various size amplifiers at affordable prices.

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