How to Buy Integrated Amplifiers on eBay

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How to Buy Integrated Amplifiers on eBay

Integrated amplifiers are the foundation of a home audio setup, and route audio from external devices like Blu-ray players and video game systems to the speakers. There are several things to keep in mind while shopping for integrated amplifiers, and buyers should begin by deciding on the technology used to power the unit. The two options available are solid-state and tubes, and these affect the price, weight, and performance of an amplifier. It is also worth considering the number and type of input ports a unit contains, as well as how many channels it offers.

A high number of integrated amplifiers are available for purchase on eBay. These products can be purchased from both private and commercial sellers, and are available in used and new condition. Searches for these items can be conducted using keywords, or by using eBay’s category links. Review the different types of integrated amplifiers, and learn about navigating the website to find the best products available.

About Integrated Amplifiers

Integrated amplifiers manage audio for multiple devices within an entertainment system, and are designed with separate channels to accommodate each one. Audio signals from the connected devices route through an amplifier to the speakers, while any necessary video signals are connected to a television. It is also possible to route the audio from a television through the amplifier.

Integrated amplifiers combine pre-amplifiers and power amplifiers into a single unit, providing a convenient and complete way for users to experience their home audio. These products perform many of the same functions as receivers, though they do not have a radio tuner, and are generally limited to only two channels.

Shopping on eBay

There are two easy ways to shop for integrated amplifiers on eBay. Each of these allows buyers to browse general products, or refine searches to highly specific items. In many cases, a combination of the two methods is the best choice for locating an ideal amplifier.

Keywords

Keywords can be entered from any shopping page on eBay, and are an easy way to begin general searches. For example, enter "integrated amplifier" on the homepage to see listings for all items tagged with those keywords. Buyers who would like to see more specific products, such as those that use transistor technology, can continue adding keywords to existing terms. 

Categories

Categories are used to search for increasingly specific amplifier listings through the use of page links. Buyers can begin with item types to find amplifiers, and eventually see choices for brands, number of channels, input types, and more. These options can be accessed from the homepage and any search results page, and work well in conjunction with keywords. For example, a keyword search for "integrated amplifier" can be refined with category links to find products made by Technics. The number beside the header of each category indicates the number of relevant listings it contains.

Choosing Integrated Amplifiers

Buyers have several options available to them while they shop for integrated amplifiers. One of the most important decisions to make is between solid-state and tube technology. Once the technology has been chosen, buyers should consider the type and number of input ports on a unit, as well as the number of channels it supports.

Technology

Arguably the biggest change in amplifier design since the 1950s is the technology used to power the signal. Originally, amplifiers used valves, or tubes, while modern amplifiers primarily rely on solid-state technology, called transistors. The two technologies result in products that vary in durability, price, weight, and performance. Learn about each type to choose the best amplifier unit.

Tubes

Tube technology was used in home stereo equipment and guitar amplifiers until the ’60s and ’70s, at which point it was almost entirely replaced by solid-state electronics. However, tubes later regained popularity, and remain on the market due to their high audio quality. Many buyers feel tubes provide a warmer, fuller tone that is more pleasing to the ear than all-digital technology. However, these amplifiers are much heavier than transistors, and the tubes in them must be regularly replaced. They can also be fragile, and any hard bumps against a unit may causing damage to the tubes, requiring an early replacement. In addition, tube amps tend to be more expensive than solid-state ones.

Solid-State

Solid-state technology is preferred by many buyers because of its lower price, comparatively low weight, and easy maintenance compared with tube amps. Also, many buyers find they cannot tell the difference in audio quality between tube and solid-state amplifiers. Ultimately, the choice between the two technologies is a personal one. When possible, try listening to integrated amplifiers in person before committing to a purchase.

Types of Ports

There are four primary types of input and output jacks used on integrated amplifiers, including RCA, phono, speaker, and headphones. Consider each of these to find the right units.

RCA

The standard input type on an amplifier is RCA, or composite ports. RCA cables can be used with nearly all vintage and modern electronics, including video players, audio players, and video games. RCA cables have three plugs, and are colour-coded red, white, and yellow. The yellow plug is for video, while the white and red connect to the amplifier. Component cables also use the same audio ports.

Speaker Terminals

Speaker terminals are primarily designed as either spring clips or binding posts. Binding posts can be used with all types of wire connections, including bare wires, pins, banana plugs, and spades. Spring clips are only compatible with bare wire connections and pins.

Phono

Record players make use of a special audio cable, called phono. Like RCA audio ports, phono jacks and cables are colour-coded red and white, though they are used only for audio signals from turntables.

Headphone Jack

Headphone jacks are standard on most amplifiers, though they may be worth checking for, especially for buyers with roommates.

Be sure to determine the number of RCA inputs included on an amplifier, as this determines how many devices can be connected. To avoid the need to swap out cables each time a different device is used, be sure to purchase an amplifier with two or three extra ports. This allows the unit to accommodate new additions to a home entertainment setup.

In the event that more inputs are needed, it is not necessary to purchase an entirely new amplifier. Instead, purchase an RCA switch selector. These products are similar to power strips, and allow multiple devices to plug into a single port on the amplifier.

Channels

Integrated amplifiers are produced with a range of channels, and some can be used with a home theatre system, such as a 5.1 system. Most integrated amplifiers are built with only two channels, however, so buyers looking for a unit to base their home entertainment system around may wish to shop from home cinema suppliers to find a broader range of products.

Review Items and Sellers on eBay

Before committing to a purchase on eBay, take the time to read item listings and research sellers. Begin by clicking on either the name or image of an integrated amplifier in search results to see its full listing. Look for the full price of the amplifier, as well as any associated shipping charges. It is also worth noting the payment methods accepted by the seller. Read the full description of the item, and compare it with available photos, especially if purchasing a used item.

Once you find an item you like, look for information about the seller. Positive feedback ratings reflect the number of customers within the past 12 months who were satisfied with their purchases. Consider this information in relation to the number of transactions a seller has completed to find reliable and experienced users. You may also click on the name of a seller in an item listing to see additional details, including comments left by previous buyers.

Conclusion

Integrated amplifiers are the centrepiece of a home audio system. They contain a pre-amplifier and a power amplifier, and are a complete unit for handling all the devices in a home entertainment setup. Buyers have several option available to them, including the technology used to power the amplifier. Solid state amplifiers are lighter, less expensive, and require less maintenance than tube amps, though many people feel they have poorer sound quality. It is also worth considering the number of input ports and audio channels an amp is designed for. Be sure to purchase a product with a sufficient number of RCA inputs to hook up all owned devices at once, without the need to disconnect and reconnect each time. If shopping for a home theatre amp, look for the appropriate number of channels, such as 5.1 or 7.1.

Navigate the eBay website by using a combination of keywords and category options. These can be used from the homepage and subsequent search results pages. Once desirable items have been located, take a moment to review details of the product and the history of its seller. With a little research, buyers can obtain high-quality integrated amplifiers on eBay.

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