The Complete Guide to Buying Amplifiers for Small Spaces

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The Complete Guide to Buying Amplifiers for Small Spaces

A beautiful sound really means nothing if no one can hear it, because then no one can enjoy it. Even worse, a great sound cannot be reached when quality is jeopardised. All of this can be solved with the use of an amplifier. The amplifier is used to energise and increase the power of a signal without altering it in any way. With many different classifications, the amplifier uses an external energy source to output electrical signals which are boosted and are mostly used in a variety of audio equipment and broadcasting. There are some things to consider when an amplifier is needed in a smaller space such as a home office, home theatre, car, practice space, or basement. The type of amplifier which best fits the need of the consumer and the physical size of the amplifier are some things to think about when deciding which amplifier is best for the buyer's space.

History of Amplifiers

in 1906, Lee De Forest patented the Audion. The Audion is an electronic amplifying vacuum tube which preceded the triode. The Audion does not provide amplification, but in the process of trying to improve it, created a third element (the grid), which allowed currents to pass through the filament and plate (the two elements of the Audion). When adding a small amount of power, the grid allowed for control of a larger current from the filament to the plate. The Audion could then detect radio signals, make them audible, and provide amplification.

Design Features

Most amplifiers have similar features and there are not too many extra features. Though, there are some things are helpful in deciding to purchase an amplifier. Since this may be used in a smaller space, one thing to consider is the size and shape of the amplifier. Whether or not it can be tucked away in an inconspicuous place, is important in this decision. Some amplifiers also have headphone jacks, allowing for a more personal experience while not disturbing anyone else.

Types of Amplifiers

There are many different details which make amplifiers distinct from one another, but mainly, amplifiers can be specified by their input and output properties. These properties are distinguished by the gain, the measure of the ability of a circuit (amplifier) to increase the power or amplitude of a signal from the input to the output, and by adding energy to the signal converted from source power supply. The gain can be specified as the ratio of output voltage to input voltage, output power to output power to input power, or some combination of current voltage and power.

Electronic Amplifiers

Electronic amplifiers are the most identifiable amplifiers, as they are used in radio and televisions transmitters and receivers. This type of amplifier matches the input signal shape with the output, but with a larger amplitude, increasing the power of the signal. There are a number of different types of electronic amplifiers that are specialised for different uses.

Power Amplifiers

The power amplifier is used in the output stage, which usually needs the most attention, as this is the stage where the amplification takes place. It more specifically relates to the amount of power which is sourced by the supply circuit.

The power amplifier is used for low-power audio signals, most commonly used in record players, CD players, and cassette players.

Video Amplifiers

Video production relies heavily on v ideo amplifiers to help boost the images which are presented on TV. There are certain requirements and specifications as to how images are presented, depending on what kind of video signal the output is for. Whether the video signal is SDTV (Standard Definition Television), EDTV (Enhanced Definition Television), or HDTV (High Definition Television) at 720p or 1080p, the output is different.

Distributed Amplifiers

Distributed amplifiers use transmission lines, which carry alternating current of radio frequency and splits the signal to take each portion of the sound and amplify it in separate parts. Each transmission line is combined with each stage of output and helps to create a higher bandwidth.

Musical Instrument Amplifiers

The most commonly recognised type of amplifier is a musical instrument amplifier, which can be used to amplify music or speech signals. There is a lot to consider when purchasing this type of amplifier. It may be used to amplify the sound of one instrument or many instruments, which impacts the quality of the sound.

Magnetic Amplifiers

A non-electronic, electrical amplifier, this transformer-like device has no moving parts and uses the saturation of magnetic materials to produce amplification. In the early years of amplifiers, the magnetic amplifier was the best option for power control and low-frequency signal applications. Once the transistor was invented, the magnetic amplifier was used far less.

Rotating Electrical Machinery Amplifiers

Also known as the Ward Leonard control, this is a rotating machine that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. This device helps to provide smooth control of large motors, like in an elevator. It is made up of a motor and a generator, which has shafts coupled together. Large changes in the output occur even with small changes to the current are applied.

Mechanical Amplifiers

Mechanical amplifiers were used early on, before many electronics were designed. This type of amplifier uses belts wrapped around rotating drums. By increasing the tension of the belt, the drum begins to rotate and move the belt. When paired with an opposing set of drums, this makes up a single amplifier. The signals acquired can be large enough to move aircraft control surfaces.

Pneumatic Amplifiers

In a pneumatic amplifier, there are two combs overlapping one another. Using a sensitive valve, the compressed air passes through the combs and the sound vibration applied to one comb, moving laterally in relation to the other comb. In changing the amount that the two combs overlap and shifting the flow of the compressed air, the sound vibrations are altered. This allows the pneumatic amplifier to reach high volumes and therefore be used in public music performances.

Popular Brands

There are many different brands of amplifiers available, but there are more things to consider than just popular brand names. There are several details which buyers should consider when making an amplifier purchase. The chart below compares several popular brands of amplifiers by outlining their size, features, class and affordability.

Model

Size

Features

Class

Affordability

Topping TP30

20.57 cm deep 10.41 cm wide 4.57 cm high

Built-in headphone amplifier

Blue LED volume knob

Analogue input

USB-audio input

10 watts/channel

Class T

$$

NuForce ICon2

11.43 cm deep

2.54 cm wide

15.24 cm tall

Built-in headphone amplifier

Three audio inputs (two analogue and one digital)           

Stands vertically

18 watt/channel

Class D

$$$

microFidelity Audio Amplifier, Model 200

8.6 cm deep

9.1 cm wide

1.9 cm tall

Mini amplifier

Stereo or monoblock (one speaker)

Cooling aluminum outer shell           

80 watts RMS   

Class D

$

Neuhaus Laboratories T-1 Amplifier

22.09 cm deep

26.92 cm wide

14.9 tall

Tube Amplifier

Built-in headphone amplifier

Blue LED power indicator

USB

Two RCA analogue inputs

Bluetooth

18 watts/channel

Class AB

$$$$

The above chart only describes a few models of amplifiers. It should be noted that there are many other models, and there are endless brands available with different features.

How to Buy Amplifiers for Small Spaces on eBay

Though amplifiers provide power to a signal, that does not mean that the space needed is not small. Amplifiers can be used in smaller spaces whether they are for personal entertainment or band practise, but there are practical choices for these varying uses. eBay is a great resource in finding the perfect choice amplifiers for your space. If you are looking for a specific brand or item, you may type that into the keyword search within the eBay website, and a list of items which match your description will populate. You will find product descriptions, the condition of each item, and even pictures.

One thing to consider is whether or not the seller of the item is reputable. Seller feedback is provided to help ease your mind of whether or not the seller is a trusted person to purchase from. It is also helpful for other purchasers, if you provide feedback on every seller you encounter.

Conclusion

Whether you want to enhance your home theatre, make a practice space for your band, or boost the quality of the electronics in your home office, an amplifier can make any, everyday experience more enjoyable. There are many ways of qualifying your purchase and making the best decision possible. Keeping in mind the different types of amplifiers, the size of the unit, the cost, the variety of features, and their uses is helpful in making your purchase. If buying for a home office space, you want your amplifier to be smaller in size.

For the ultimate home theatre experience, the right amplifier will make you feel as if you had purchased a ticket to the grand theatre. If you are buying for your practice space, you want to make sure you are getting great quality in your output, so your band is always at its best without disturbing neighbours or housemates.

 

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