AV Receiver vs Amplifier – How to Choose The Best One

AV Receiver vs Amplifier

av receiver vs amplifier

Which one should you choose – AV receiver or amplifier? Many people do not have a clear idea about the difference between these two products. Let us discuss the topic AV Receiver vs Amplifier in detail to help you make the best decision that safeguards your interests.

What is the difference between AV Receiver and an Amplifier? As the name suggests, an amplifier amplifies sounds. It improves the received sound in many different ways. As the name indicates, An AV receiver accepts audio and video signals from an extensive range of sources. The bottom line is that amplifiers receive only sound while AV receivers receive both sound and video.

Amplifier – Overview

An amplifier is an electronic device that enhances the power or amplitude of an audio signal. This device uses electric power from a source to boost or step up the audio signal. The signals from an audio source like a CD player or a musical instrument are fed through a cable.

An amplifier boosts the sound in many different ways. The final output is generated using external or built-in speakers. If you want louder sounds with better clarity, you should opt for an amplifier with a higher power. Watt is the unit used for measuring the power of an amplifier. You may experience sound distortion when using low-powered amplifiers.

You can come across many different forms of amplifiers nowadays. These devices can be designed within a wide range of audio equipment such as microphones, loudspeakers, and hardware processors like compressors and equalizers.

AV Receiver – An Overview

A/V represents audio and video. As mentioned above, an A/V receiver accepts audio and visual signals from various sources, including DVD players, radios, video game consoles, and CD players. These signals are outputted to numerous recording devices, speakers, or displays, such as CD/DVD players and television sets.

You can find different sound and volume controls in an AV receiver. It can also be used to switch between different inputs for a single output.

AV Receiver vs Amplifier – Fundamental Difference

Amplifying audio for a better output is the fundamental function of an amplifier. You can find similar amplifier functions in an A/V receiver. One good example is the ability to enhance the volume of an audio source and optimize sound effects.

The added advantage of an A/V receiver is its ability to receive video signals. These signals can be outputted to a video display. An AV receiver is the best option available when utilizing various sources and feeding them into a single monitor or television with limited input ports. So, the fundamental difference between an amplifier and an AV receiver is the ability of the latter to accept video signals.

Music Quality of an Amplifier and an AV receiver

Let us check the music quality of these amplifiers and AV receivers. The basic function of a stereo amplifier is to play music. So the music quality and output of an amplifier will be reasonably better than the output of an A/V receiver.

It is hard to find a better choice than a stereo amplifier when you look for an audio-only listening experience. This device works as a regulator and connection hub. What does it suggest? If your primary focus is on the audio quality of your music, you can opt for a stereo amplifier.

AV Receiver Accepts HDMI Connections

You can find HDMI connectivity features on all modern AV receivers. This feature lets audio and video transmission travel through the receiver for resolutions up to 1080p. The advanced versions available today also have 4K and HDR video compatibility.

Further, the HDMI connectivity feature equips AV receivers to travel through a wide range of surround sound formats. These features and benefits cannot be associated with a stereo amplifier.

A Comparison of Analog and Digital Audio connections

DTS and Dolby Digital surround audio formats are an integral part of internet streaming sites, Blu-ray discs, and DVDs. An AV receiver offers an integrated surround audio decoding feature for these surround formats. What does this aspect indicate? AV receivers are compatible with analog and digital sounds.

Leading stereo amplifier manufacturers have included digital optical and coaxial audio systems to make their products compatible with internet streaming, Disc, CD, and DVD players. However, these features cannot pass through or provide access to DTS or Dolby Digital surround audio formats.

The maximum capability of a stereo amplifier is that it offers access to a two-channel PCM sound signal. That is to say, amplifiers are pretty good at dealing with analog audio connections. However, they come with limited digital connections. Another feature an amplifier misses out on is a built-in radio tuner. You can find this feature on most AV receivers.

Which is the Best Choice for Your System?

Which option should you select for your sound system? The first thing is to assess your unique needs before making a decision. If you look for a single unit for video and audio signals or radio capabilities, you must choose an AV receiver.

Do you want to add more power to your sound system affordably? You can buy a stereo amplifier to meet your needs efficiently. Amplifiers help you enhance the amplifier’s performance-to-price ratio without any extra circuitry for the video hardware and radio unit. You can also reduce the physical space of the unit when choosing an amplifier.

If you are a fresher without any technical knowledge, you can buy an AV receiver. It offers more convenience to users than an amplifier. Further, AV receivers are compatible with the most advanced audio and video technologies to deliver a completely immersive user experience. You cannot associate these benefits with amplifiers.


AV Receiver vs Amplifier – Which one must you opt for? When you analyze all aspects in detail, you can find that all receivers are technically amplifiers. However, all amplifiers are not AV receivers. If you want a more functional device with enhanced audio and video signal processing capabilities, you can choose an AV receiver. It can also be used as a 2-channel stereo system to listen to music conventionally.

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