If you’re looking to add some power to your home stereo system, then it’s time to start shopping for a stereo amplifier. Stereo amplifiers, otherwise known as receivers, are a great way to give your home speakers that extra kick. But with so many options to choose from, it’s hard to know which stereo amplifier to buy. That comes especially true when it comes to finding budget options, so we’ve created a list of the best stereo amplifiers under $200.
The Five Best Stereo Amplifiers Under $200
When looking for the five best stereo amplifiers under $200, we found the following options:
Sony STRDH190 2-CH Home Stereo Receiver – The Best Overall
- Amplify and enjoy your home audio experience in the comfort of your home.Frequency band : 2,400 MHz – 2,483.5 MHz, Maximum output power : ≤ 5.0 dBm..Connector Type: Bluetooth
- 100 watts x 2 (8 ohms, 1 Kilo Hertz). Speaker impedance – 6–16 ohms
- Phono input, 4 stereo RCA audio inputs, 3.5 millimeter input, stereo RCA output
- Built in Bluetooth lets you wirelessly stream your favorite music service, podcasts, and more from other Bluetooth devices.
- Connect up to 4 speakers; A/B switching to play all at once, or in separate zones
|Integrates well with old stereo systems||This unit isn’t for bass fiends|
|Has Bluetooth for people who love wireless||It doesn’t accommodate for amplified FM antennas|
|It has a built-in FM Radio||A two-channel system is somewhat dated|
|Great high-quality sound with a trusted brand|
As one of the few devices that still support old-fashioned FM and phonos connections, it is the best of both worlds. That means you can feasibly listen to retro cassettes and switch to listening to podcasts on your phone through Bluetooth.
The various input features support a wide range of modern to classic devices. The result is a thoughtful design that comes from Sony, one of the kings of audio. The two-channel stereo amplifier option is old by today’s standards.
Bluetooth functionality brings this one over the top, the result being the ability to connect wireless headphones. The upfront controls allow you to switch between different volumes easily. While 100 watts won’t cause this to rock your floorboards, the low-profile design and volume make this a solid overall budget option.
Fosi Audio DA2120C Bluetooth Amplifier – Flexibility in Many Audio Types
- 2.1 CH Wireless DAC Hifi Amplifier with EQ Control. MAX Power Output up to 120Watts x2@4ohm. DA2120C can drive most home bookshelf/desktop/outdoor(passive) speakers and powered subwoofer, offering low distortion and acoustically accurate audio reproduction. The bright digital LED display lets you see the settings you change easily and remote control for hassle-free adjust the inputs mode/volume/bass/treble.
- DA2120C high-performance integrated stereo digital amplifier adopts Texas Instruments TAS5352A chip, designed to drive a 4-Ω bridge-tied load (BTL) at up to 125 W per channel with low harmonic distortion, low integrated noise, and low idle current. The TAS5352A has a complete protection system integrated into the chip, safeguarding the device against a wide range of fault conditions that could damage the system.
- 2-in-1 High-Performance DAC Power Amplifier with Multiple Input Modes. DA2120C installed in a quality aluminum enclosure support Bluetooth/RCA/PC-USB/Coaxial/Optical Input, easy installation to build a stereo sound system.
- DA2120C Bluetooth 5.0 amplifier delivers sound in sync, so you can enjoy the freedom of wireless and high-fidelity streaming music. It reduces delay and improves the end-to-end speed of the audio transmission, resulting in high-quality, synchronized sound, so you never miss a beat. With a 6dBi high gain antenna for long-range streaming up to 65 ft(20m).
- What You Get: DA2120C stereo amplifier x1, Bluetooth antenna x1, 32V/5A power supply x1, remote control x1, PC-USB Cable x1, Optical Cable x1, user manual x1, our worry-free 24-month warranty, and friendly customer service.
|Bluetooth 5.0 amplifier makes for a powerful connection||The remote control feels pretty low quality|
|Incredibly small and easy to fit anywhere||The Bluetooth connection has lower sound quality|
|It has a pretty powerful base given the price point||The display is a bit too small for some eyes|
|It has PC-USB to enhance computer audio||It has no speaker wire connections (has banana plugs)|
The Fosi Audio DA2120C Bluetooth Amplifier is excellent for those who seek flexibility. At about the size of a meaty hardcover book, this takes a small amount of space and supports a wide range of options. Take a return to your classic phono input while also setting support for PC-USB.
It includes output to subwoofers and speakers but does not and has support for classic speaker wire setups. It has excellent flexibility, but the small display can make it hard to read current settings. The IR codes may not make this compatible with some home theater systems.
Despite this, the digital input allowed provides an ample amount of power output for bass systems. The support is also granted to everything from AV receivers to coaxial options, making it solid for those looking for an amplifier that you will move around a lot.
If you have as many audio devices in your house as I do, this is an excellent option for you.
AudioSource Digital Amplifier – Great Sound Quality
- POWER YOUR SOUND SYSTEM: 2 channels rated at 50 watts into 8 ohms. 75 watts per channel into 4 ohms. 160 watts bridged mono at 8 ohms.
- HIGHLIGHTS: Rear mounted treble and bass controls. High efficiency class D topologies. Black anodized brushed aluminum faceplate. Bridgeable outputs. OTP Protection. OCP Protection. LED status indicator lights. Manual, auto, or triggered on/off. Rack mountable (Rack ears included). Stereo line outputs.
- AUTOMATICALLY STARTS AND STOPS: Program your amplifier any way you prefer with our auto on/off function. You can turn it off and on manually, set it to do so automatically, or create a trigger.
- PERFECT FOR ANY HOME AUDIO SYSTEM: Our stereo amplifiers are great for home theaters and outdoor systems. Enjoy professional quality audio in the comfort of your own home.
- SPECIALLY DESIGNED FOR MULTIPLE ROOMS: Our amplifiers allow you to deliver high quality sound and power to multiple rooms for the ultimate surround sound experience.
|It has a balance adjustment for control of various volume levels||The power button is small and easy to miss.|
|This option is excellent for people who have a thin amount of vertical space.||It doesn’t have any Bluetooth features, making it unsuitable for mobile devices.|
|LED lights indicate the display of active speakers|
|An excellent build for people looking for surround sound|
For the music lover seeking a powerful sound, AudioSource knows what it is doing. With a variety of analog inputs and outputs, it has a high allowance for surround sound capability. It’s one of those “you want your room to feel like a movie theater” sort of devices.
What it has in sound quality, it loses in additional features. It does not support Bluetooth, which is a surprising oversight when it comes to digital connections. Given that Bluetooth is a standard among audio control, this decision is a significant oversight.
For those who prefer the classics, this is a great overall option. The audio control allows for qualities ranging from 4-ohm to 8-ohm speakers. The device also has an auto-off function just in case you are forgetful. There’s a lot of conveniences here, provided you are willing to sacrifice Bluetooth.
Lavaudio HiFi Bluetooth 5.0 Music Receiver – For Long-Range Bluetooth Needs
- 【Rebirth Your Home Stereo】DS200 Pro is a Bluetooth HiFi receiver supports LDAC, which can streams high quality music from cellphone, pc or any other music player with Bluetooth to any of your home stereo systems. Plug and play, super easy.
- 【 The Latest Bluetooth Tech】DS200 Pro Bluetooth Receiver for Home Stereo is featuring Bluetooth 5.1 chip which is a premium solution delivering high quality wireless audio performance and supporting for aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, AAC decoding.
- 【Audiophile Grade DAC】Featuring with ES9018K2M SABRE32 Reference DAC which is a high-performance 32-bit, 384kHz PCM data, 2-channel audio D/A converter targeted for audiophile-grade portable applications, delivers a DNR of up to 127dB and THD+N of –120dB, a performance level that will satisfy the most demanding audio enthusiasts. 2.0Vrms maximum RCA output level.
- 【Extended Long Range】Utilizing Class 1 Bluetooth technology and designed with external gain antenna. DS200Pro Bluetooth receiver can achieve a range of up to 100ft. Kindly be noted that Operation range can be affected by many factors such as Wi-Fi routers, physical obstructions like walls, metal obstacles etc. and also depended on receiving device.
- 【Flexible Connectivity】Supports both analog (RCA / 3.5mm AUX audio) and digital (optical) outputs, provides ultimate compatibility with your existing stereo equipment.
|Sleek and straightforward design only has an on-button on the front||Limited audio options for wireless needs.|
|Considered to be a HiFi Bluetooth Receiver for wireless needs||Minimal wired options|
|Up to 127 dB, giving this impressive audio output|
|It has excellent quality of audio for a wireless system.|
If you are looking for something that reminds you of your wireless router, Lavaudio has something for you. The modern, sleek design is something to behold, but the large antenna upfront somewhat dwarfs it. Design is not where this device shines overall.
Among wireless options, this has the greatest long-range available. With the most advanced (at the time of this writing) Bluetooth settings, it can reach far at high quality. It is genuinely wireless audio for audiophiles.
The type of audiophile this appeals to doesn’t come from the past decades. With its purely wireless connections, it only has a single set of two-channel audio connectors in the back. While that allows this to keep a small footprint, the speaker selection is minimal.
Don’t expect this to be the center of your home entertainment system. Instead, expect this to be the center of your wireless audio setup.
Dual Electronics DBTMA100 – The Best Budget Option
- BLUETOOTH 4.2 CONNECTIVITY – this portable Bluetooth micro amplifier will connect effortlessly to your smart device, will remember past paired devices for instant connectivity and maintain a strong wireless connection for up to 100 feet
- DUAL CHANNEL CLASS D BLUETOOTH AMPLIFIER – this portable Bluetooth Dual micro amplifier enables you to have 100 Watts of Peak Power, 25W x 2 RMS, 4 – 8 Ohm impedance and a frequency response of 20Hz-22kHz for unrivaled sound quality
- TURN WIRED SPEAKERS INTO BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS – with this micro Bluetooth amplifier there is no need to replace your wired speakers, just insert the speaker wires into the quick release terminals and you instantly have Bluetooth speakers for your enjoyment
- ILLUMINATED HEAT SINK & FRONT PANEL – with its illuminated heat sink and front panel that includes the volume, bass and treble rotary knobs this will be a statement piece like no other
- DUAL 3-WAY HIGH PERFORMANCE OUTDOOR/INDOOR SPEAKERS – don’t forget to add the top selling Dual LU43PB or LU43PW 3-Way High Performance Outdoor/Indoor Speakers with this DBTMA100 Bluetooth Amplifier for the best outdoor/indoor acoustic experience (sold separately)
|The least expensive option.||It announces when it’s disconnecting and connecting very loudly|
|Incredibly sleek looking with blue and red lights||Require skinny wire to connect|
|Bluetooth functionality works at a decent range||The auto-shutoff feature is inconvenient for people who like background audio.|
If your budget for a new speaker is minimal, Dual electronics has something that works for you. The DBTMA100 has 100 watts of power with 100 feet of wireless Bluetooth range. The rear panel has support for two different classic wired speaker outputs.
The design is also enhanced (depending on your opinion) with LEDs along the top. The plastic on top doesn’t appear to serve many other purposes, meaning that this potentially could have been a smaller unit. The smaller plug-in speaker wire sections in the back will also require incredibly fragile bitts of speaker wire.
It also doesn’t use the most advanced Bluetooth tech (4.2), which you expect with a lower price. Despite that, Dual Electronics appears to have some confidence in this unit, as they have a one-year warranty. The design makes it suitable for use in both indoor and outdoor environments.
The Five Best Stereo Amplifiers Under $200: What You Need To Know Before Buying A Stereo Amplifier
If you still aren’t specific with the terminology used above, we plan on explaining it with the section below. By the end of this section, you will know what to look for in a good stereo amplifier.
What Wattage Should I Look for in an Amplifier?
When looking for a good amplifier or AV receiver, you need to have an amplifier rated to handle the speakers you connect to. For example, a 100-watt receiver will only take a pair of speakers that matches (or is under) that number.
Your owner’s manual will detail the watts per channel. Otherwise, you can assume to split the total wattage between all available speaker terminals. If you can only find voltage and amps on your speaker’s owner’s manual, remember the following:
This logic only applies to speakers who you will plug directly into the unit. If you want to avoid this issue, you can purchase wireless speakers like the LU43PB from Dual Electronics. If you do that, you are underutilizing your speaker’s wired capabilities.
What Frequency Should I Look for in A Stereo Amplifier?
Frequency dictates audio quality through the allowance of a more dynamic range of tones. People who have audio equipment with a substantial-frequency response have multiple speakers who provide a drastic frequency.
Simply put, you are looking for something that can give a consistent frequency response that is unchanged from the other side, HiFi (High Fidelity) audio is an excellent example of this in action. High fidelity audio has almost no frequency change from the source to the receiver, and eventually, the speakers.
Ideally speaking, you should be looking for a good frequency response around 20-20 kHz (kilohertz). You will see this measured alongside +/- around 2 or 3 dB (decibels), which indicates its frequency range.
What Bluetooth Version Should I Look for in Stereo Amplifiers?
At the time of this writing, the current version of Bluetooth is 5.0. This version is part of sets of speakers, power amplifiers, and AV receivers. You see it most often as part of wireless headphone technology; you can also use it to tell your smart toaster to start toasting the bread you put into it the previous night.
Bluetooth 5.0 is an upgrade over 4.0 primarily in its low energy usage. All updates between the platform allow for more significant energy savings, which is excellent if you want to keep your footprint low. Bluetooth 4.2 is just as good for wireless tech with a direct power connection.
What Audio Channels Should I Look for in Good Stereo Amplifiers?
Potential audio channels can fall into many different categories. If you are uncertain about your options, check out the below options:
- Bluetooth: Wireless connection through the patented Bluetooth system. It works with a vast range of compatible devices, including your smartphone and various wireless speaker.
- Speaker Wire: It is excellent for maintaining some of the highest-quality sounds but reliant on electronic limitations of audio inputs and outputs. Banana plugs act as an adapter for these.
- Phono Input. The input signal from phono plugs is some of the most classic. They are often used to maintain the audio quality on vinyl records. They are also known to have a weaker signal.
- Optical Input: Optical input uses laser light to transmit audio signals between connected devices. Toshiba initially made it back in the 90s, where it has undergone multiple upgrades.
- Coaxial Input: People initially used it to send and receive signals in old TV sets. Today, it works with phono inputs and HDMI cables for audio.
For anything we missed, we recommend checking the owner’s manual of your receiver.
What Ohms Should I Look for in A Good Stereo Amplifier?
Stereo amplifiers generally are built to work with speakers at four or eight ohms of resistance. Some work with up to 16 ohms, but four or eight is just as good for our needs.
There aren’t any “good” ohms to look for; you need to be sure that your amplifier can handle these. A good stereo amplifier typically holds both four and eight, so try and stick with those. If you have a more demanding system, expect your price range requirement to go higher.
What is the Best Amplifier Class?
There are many different classes of amplifiers available. The most common is class A, but we took a review of primarily Class D amplifiers. Here are types you should be aware of with your audio receiver:
- Class A: Class A amplifiers use a linear power model that is “on” continuously. More amplifier classes have been developed since the release of these, given how inefficient they are
- Class B: A class defined to solve the inefficiency and overheating problems of class B. They have an “on”, and an “off” function but have distortions for noise falling within a 0.7-volt window.
- Class AB: A compromise between Class A and B amplifiers.
- Class D: They supposedly can reach 100% efficiency, as the design makes it so waveforms and voltage overlap. That’s because this single unit has a single transistor to draw everything through.
There are many more we didn’t discuss here. But for our purposes (and most over-the-counter services), these work just fine. Check this video for more information on amplifier classes:
The Five Best Stereo Amplifiers Under $200: Stereo Amplifier FAQs
If you are new to amplifiers (or don’t know what they d0) we have some FAQs. When looking for the five best stereo amplifiers under $200, these can help you out with the details.
What do you use a Stereo Amplifier for?
A stereo amplifier takes low voltage from your source equipment and amplifies that signal to use speaker power levels effectively. An amplifier ensures that your sound output levels are to your liking. Without an amplifier, you won’t receive some of the sound level and quality you might expect.
Can I Have a Speaker System Without an Amplifier?
Typically speaking, the answer is no. Most speakers do not have enough internal power to get the hi-res audio we’ve come to expect. An amp provides plenty of power needed to ensure you get the excellent stereo sound you are looking for.
Some speakers have internal power (an integrated amplifier). For example, the Edifier R1280T does not require an external amplifier to work.
Why are Old Amplifiers Better?
If you ask old-fashioned audiophiles, you may find that they universally say that manufacturers did it better in the past. You get the whole “back in my day” regarding their stereo input speakers of higher quality. The disturbing answer? They are mostly correct.
Going back to our earlier example, Class A amplifiers used direct transistors, which means that these speakers have full access to the power behind the amp. More power results in more overall sound quality. Even AB-style amplifiers have higher sound fidelity than D.
Class D amplifiers are newer, so they are high-efficiency. For a home theater or sound system, Class D speakers are better overall because of their low energy footprint. If you are seeking more sound or higher quality, look elsewhere.
Higher-efficiency models are more cost-effective, explaining why they are on the budget list.
The Five Best Stereo Amplifiers Under $200: Final Thoughts
As a reminder, the Sony amp we selected for this comparison provides the best combination of stellar sound in affordable stereo receivers. On a list of the five best stereo amplifiers under $200, you can’t go wrong with Sony. For the best combination of classic sound quality with modern speaker control, stick with the Sony STRDH190 2-CH Home Stereo Receiver.
If you are looking for a smaller model, stick with the AudioSource model of the Lavaudio model. You can also choose the Dual Electronics option for your limited budget needs.
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If you want to check out some other content, we have an interesting article on relating music and math.