What to Consider When Buying an Amplifier Kit

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What to Consider When Buying an Amplifier Kit

With so many amplifier kits for sale on the internet, finding the right one can be tricky, especially for those who just graduated from using a practice kit. An amplifier is an integral device in a music set-up, and doing without the device can lead to weak and mediocre audio output, which is a sin that any audiophile or musician dare not commit. Almost any kind of video and audio set-up requires an amplifier, from big concerts to home entertainment systems, from band performances to karaoke entertainment.

People searching for amplifier kits must take into consideration different elements of the device; such as gain, bandwidth, efficiency, linearity, noise, output dynamic range, slew, and so on. For those who use their computers and smart phones, along with other hardware, there are amplifier kit software products that serve as the digital counterpart of a traditional amplifier kit. Knowing how this product works and how it can be utilised to the user's advantage is as important as knowing the desired features of a traditional amplifier kit.

Features to Look for in an Amplifier Kit

When searching online for an amplifier kit, buyers should scrutinise its features and capacities. It might be satisfying to buy a cheap amplifier kit because of the value of saving money, but if it does not possess the features that the buyer is looking for, he or she could end up having to buy another one, which is really a waste of money, although it goes without saying that the price of an amplifier kit does not guarantee optimal performance. Below are important features to consider.

Gain

Amplifier kits convert an input signal to a magnified output signal, and the technical term "gain" is basically the amount of an amplifier's capacity to amplify or magnify signals. Gain is measured in an output/input ratio. The ratio of equal units is symbolised by the capital letter A and usually measured in decibels. When comparing two amplifier kits, choose the one with higher gain settings because it has a better capacity to strengthen even a weak signal.

Bandwidth

The bandwidth of an amplifier kit is the rate at which the amplifier produces a "satisfactory signal", and assessing if an amplifier kit is giving a satisfactory performance depends on its application. In other words, an amplifier kit must have a bandwidth suited to the range of frequencies it is intended to amplify. Too narrow a bandwidth results in the loss of some signal frequencies, too wide a bandwidth allows the entry of unwanted signals, which leads to hum, noise, or hiss.

Efficiency

Efficiency, on the other hand, is a measurement of the amount of power the amplifier uses. Amplifiers come in Class A, B, AB, C, D, E, or F. Class A is the less efficient type because it is just in the range of 10 to 20 percent efficiency rate and only has a 25 percent maximum efficiency for direct coupling of the output and 50 percent for inductive coupling. Class B amplifiers have a very high efficiency rate but are impractical for audio work because of high levels of distortion. Class AB has a 30 to 55 percent peak efficiency rate in audio systems. Class C to F are known to run at a very high efficiency rate, with class D reported to run at 90 percent.

Linearization

Although ideally an amplifier is completely linear, real amplifiers are only linear up to a certain amount of signal entering it. When a signal input entering an amplifier increases, the output also increases, and there are cases in which the signal rises to a point where parts of the amplifier becomes saturated, leading to distortion. This distortion is often called clipping. There are also cases where an amplifier reduces its gain before hard clipping takes place, and this process results in a compression effect that is not pleasant to the ear. The aforementioned cases are called non-linearity issues, and these issues can be corrected with different techniques, including predistortion, postdistortion, and feed forward.

Noise

Electronic devices and components always introduce noise in the amplification process. Unfortunately, noise in electronic gadgets results from intentional economies during their production and design. Buyers should determine the amplifier's noise factor or noise figure, which is the metric used to determine the noise level in an amplifier.

Slew Rate

Slew rate is the capacity of an amplifier to track its input, and the quicker the amplifier tracks its input the better it is rated in the industry. A slew rate or the change of the output is measured in microsecond or volts per second. A higher slew rate means that the amplifier performs better, reproducing the dynamics and subtle nuances associated with music production.

Summary of Features

The table below shows the different features to factor when buying an amplifier kit. It also includes the ideal things to look for with each feature.

Feature

What to Look for?

Gain

Choose an amp kit with higher gain settings because it has better capacity to strengthen even a weak signal

Bandwidth

Must have a bandwidth suited to the range of frequencies it is intended to amplify

Efficiency

High efficiency rate; not lower than 20 percent

Linearization

Has corrective measures such as predistortion, postdistortion, and feed forward

Noise

Lowest noise figure possible

Slew Rate

Highest slew rate possible

Users should do a thorough research of the amplifier kit brand they like before purchasing one. Product reviews are a good source of information and provide details buyers cannot get otherwise.

Basic Sound Problem Troubleshooting

Amplifier kits, even the high-end varieties, inevitably fail, and in such a case, users would need to take it to a technician. But for basic sound problems, there are troubleshooting tips that save users the trip to the repair shop.

Check the Cables and Connections

Users should make sure that all cables are properly connected, specifically the input and output cables. If the input and output cables are already not functioning, use spare RCA cables, which come with any audio device, instead of buying HDMI cables. If the cables are working properly but there is still no sound, make sure that the amplifier is on the right audio input select. Also, make sure that the source device where the sound is expected to come from is properly connected to the amplifier, and its corresponding input selector is switched on. Sound problem could also lie in badly wired speakers, so do not forget to check if the connections of the speakers to the amplifier are secure.

Amplifier Kit Software

Musicians can now rely on their laptop, tablet PC, and smartphone, along with other hardware, to boost their sounds. Instead of using physical stomp boxes and amplifier kits, users can easily install software that act as an amplifier kit in their gadget. Software like AmpKit+ have four amplifiers, seven channels, and ten pedals. Its amplifiers consist of Peavey ValveKing, Colonel Vintage Brit, eight microphones, and matching cabinets. Such software can include pedals like distortion, overdrive, compressor, fuzz, phaser, flanger, noise gate, reverb, and 10-band EQ. Users can also buy gears to make their kit complete, with 28 cabinets, eight microphones, 28 pedals, 22 separate amplifiers, and 28 channels.

Setting Up

As mentioned, users can buy additional pedals from virtual pedal stores through the software application. There are more than 100 presets in the software that users can utilise. Like any other bunch of presets, there are sounds that users may find useless, but there is also a large selection of sounds that are useful.

Using the Software

When using the software for guitar playing, users should tweak the settings according to preference instead of just enjoying the sound coming from the device. They should make use of the presets. Check if the software produces enough depth in distortion because this feature is not always the strength of most software products available on the market. It is also important to check if the pedals have optimal sounds on the bass. Although the AmpKit+ brand reaches out to the market of bassists and guitarists, the software do not have the ideal bass-specific pedals and a bass section. The product, on the other hand, delivers the same bass sound just like a traditional amplifier does.

Buying an Amplifier Kit on eBay

Choosing to buy online not only saves you time, but also opens you to a great variety of products with just a few clicks. On eBay you can choose from different amplifier kit brands, and you can even search for new or refurbished products. Amplifier kit software products are also available on eBay, and just like traditional amplifier kits, they come in different brands and conditions.

When buying an amplifier kit on eBay, make sure that you are dealing with a credible seller. The best scenario is purchasing from a Top-Rated Seller because you are more likely to make a successful and satisfying purchase based on the people who have had positive experience with the seller. Always read the product description carefully to gauge if an amplifier kit is worth buying. You may need to scan the internet for reviews of the amplifier you like before buying it on eBay to gain in-depth knowledge about its specifications.

Conclusion

An amplifier kit is a very essential item in an audio setup. Musicians and audio technicians know how valuable an amplifier kit is in making quality sound for the audience or for recording. Choosing the right kind of amplifier kit can be difficult for first-timers, but getting to know the desirable features to look for in an amplifier kit is the first step to making a wise decision. An amplifier kit with higher gain settings and the right amount of bandwidth is a good buy. Other factors to consider are the slew rate, linearization, efficiency, and noise.

Since a great deal of things can be done on a computer, amplifier kit software products are becoming necessary installation in computers and smart phones of musicians who prefer digital audio enhancements. Whether traditional or software-based, amplifier kits are a great device to enhance the sounds of any audio-producing device, and without it sounds become weak and dull to the ears. Indeed, buying an amplifier kit is a good investment decision, whether for musicians or for regular music lovers.

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