The integrated amplifiers are what have redefined the efficiency in terms of the best audio experience. While the traditional amplifiers have a separate power amp and speakers, the integrated amplifiers combine the two aspects in one single unit. That way, you will end up using less power, and they tend to produce less heat. The integrated amplifiers are also known to offer an excellent sound quality.
What is Integrated Amplifier?
The integrated amplifier is an amp that houses different components within one enclosure. The term integrated is in reference to the fact that more elements are integrated into one enclosure, making it a truly integrated option.
These integrated amplifiers combine the traditional amplifiers with a host of other components such as a power amp, a preamp, and often an equalizer and tone controls. They can be considered to be one of the best options for the all in one amplifier. The best advantage that you stand to gain with the integrated amplifiers is that all the components are in one single unit. This would make power distribution quite effective and efficient.
What Factors Should You Look for in Integrated Amplifiers – The Integrated Amplifier Buying Guide
Before we can check out the list of best-integrated amplifiers, let us check out the basic features and factors that you need to look for in your choice of amplifiers. That should serve you effectively in finding the right amplifier that meets your individual needs.
Amplifiers generally come with multiple inputs. It is advisable to check the inputs that you are looking ahead to. Based on your current and future connection requirements, you can choose an amplifier that has an adequate set of input options. Most of the amplifiers offer analog connections such as a stereo RCA or a 3.5mm aux, and the modern range of amplifiers comes with the digital inputs in the form of Bluetooth and USB.
The outputs, too, should assume a lot of essence and importance. Ensure that your amplifier does offer you enough power to feed your speakers. The right connections should be something that you need to pay special attention to. Some of you may also need to have an amplifier with an additional subwoofer support. The availability of headphone support should be yet another factor that one needs to pay enough attention to.
Type of amplifier
The amplifiers can be of two broader types – Discrete and Tube. The Tube amps are of old style and are not found quite frequently these days. They can be an excellent option for the analog sound. The Discrete amps, on the other hand, come with a smaller form factor. They also offer you a few features that a Tube amplifier will not be able to provide you with.
The controls offered on the amplifier should assume a lot of essence and importance. You would expect to have enough number of controls for a proper degree of functionality. It may also be a good idea to check out the availability of a wireless functionality. A remote can definitely be an added advantage in more ways than one.
Bonus Feature Table
The bonus or additional features should be something that you would ideally be looking ahead to in your integrated amplifier. The equalizer that comes built-in should be one of the prime factors that you would want to have on your new amp. The availability of bass and treble control can perhaps be yet another most essential factor that needs to be taken care of.
|Cambridge Audio AXA35||35 W||83 x 430 x 335mm (3.3 x 16.9 x 13.2”)||5Hz – 50kHz||4x RCA, 1x Phono, 1 x 3.5mm Aux input (front panel)||Speakers, Rec Out, USB 5V power|
|NAD C 316BEE||NA||11.25 x 17.13 x 3.56 inches||20 Hz – 20kHz||5 x RCA (CD, Video, Aux, Radio), front aux||Stereo Speaker Terminals, Headphone ¼”|
|Onkyo A-9110||50 W + 50 W||5.1 x 13 x 17.1 inches||20 Hz–20 kHz||4 analog RCA inputs, 1 phono input with discrete MM phono equalizer, analog RCA line-level output Subwoofer, Non-magnetic speaker posts with clear knobs, 6.35 mm headphone jack, RI (Remote Interactive) input.||1 analog RCA line-level output Subwoofer|
|Fosi Audio BT20A||100 W||11.02 x 7.28 x 2.44 inches||20 Hz – 20 kHz||Bluetooth + RCA||Passive Speakers|
|Yamaha A-S301BL||60 W x 2||17.13 x 15.25 x 6 inches||20 Hz – 20 kHz||5 x Stereo RCA 1 x Stereo RCA (Phono) with Ground Screw 1 x Optical TOSLINK 1 x Digital Coaxial||2 x Stereo RCA 1 x RCA Subwoofer, 1 x 1/4″ / 6.35 mm Headphone Output,|
|Pioneer Elite A-20||50 W x 2||14.17 x 17.12 x 5.03 inches||20 Hz – 20 kHz||1 x Phono MM Stereo RCA
5 x Stereo RCA
1 x Control
|1 x Stereo RCA
1 x Headphone (front)
1 x Control
|Denon PMA-600NE||70 W x 2||17.1 x 12.1 x 4.76 inches||20Hz-192 Khz||5 x RCA Pairs (CD, Net, Aux, Recorder) Digital (Coaxial, 2 x optical) Bluetooth||2 x Stereo Speaker Terminals, Subwoofer, RCA Record Out,|
|NAD – D 3020 v2||30 W x 2||8.6 x 7.4 x 2.3 inches||20 Hz – 20 kHz||1 x optical, 1 x coaxial digital, 1 x stereo analogue, 1 x phono and Bluetooth||NA|
|AIYIMA A07 TPA3255 Power Amplifier||300 W x 2||6.02 x 3.94 x 1.57 inches||NA||3.5mm AUX Audio input/ RCA Audio input||3.5mm AUX Audio Output(Connect active equipment) / RCA (Passive Speaker)|
|Reisong A10 EL34 Hi-Fi Audio Stereo Tube Amplifier||6 W x 2||12.2 x 10.55 x 6.5 inches||20Hz – 28KHz.||2 x RCA (CD, AUX)||3 X Stereo speaker terminals (0/4/8 ohm)|
Best Integrated Amplifier under $500
Having understood the integrated amplifiers and what purpose do they serve, let us now check the best integrated amplifiers under $500.
Cambridge Audio AXA35
The Cambridge Audio AXA35 is what would provide you access to one of the excellent options for the best amplifier with 35 watts of power per channel. It works best with the small speakers. The compact and minimalist design of the amplifier can prove to be much enchanting. It can also double up as a great choice for a home theatre setup.
One of the finest HiFi integrated speakers, and it provides you with one of the most unique options ever. The simple design coupled with a fantastic sound should provide you with an enhanced performance. The ease of connecting is what can provide you with one of the most unique options. The Bluetooth connectivity is what would help you get access to one of the high-end options.
- Number of Channels: 2
- Voltage: 5 V
- Wattage: 35 Watts
- Inputs: 4x RCA, 1x Phono, 1 x 3.5mm Aux input (front panel)
- An accurate audio production.
- The dynamic mids.
- Aesthetic looks and appearance.
- Remote not up to the mark.
NAD C 316BEE
The MM phono stage on the amplifier is what would make the NAD amplifier one of the prominent options in the long run. The wide range of compatibility with other gears should make it stand apart from the rest. It has been regarded as one of the excellent options for an audiophile setup. If you are using multiple audio sources, this should be the right choice that you would want to go with.
The compact package should be yet another prime option in the longer run. You would get access to 5 line-level RCA inputs and one RCA in/out loop. You can be assured of a great degree of performance with multiple input choices such as a digital input, USB, or Bluetooth. The lack of clear dynamics and the broad soundstage can be a little annoying, but still, you would find it offering you a very decent performance.
- Number of Channels: 2
- Wattage: 10 Watts
- Inputs: 5 x RCA (CD, Video, Aux, Radio), front aux
- Controls: Channel select, Bass, Treble, Stereo Balance, Volume.
- The great degree of presentation
- Compact design and details
- Dynamic and precise sound performance
- A lively efficiency
- No built-in DAC.
Onkyo A-9110 Home Audio Integrated Stereo Amplifier
The Onkyo A-9110 Home Audio Integrated Stereo Amplifier is one of the excellent options for the best entry-level integrated amplifier. The cleaner and sleeker experience that you tend to get with the amplifier would further make it one of the most unique choices on multiple counts. You can consider it to be the best budget stereo amp under $500.
The phase-matching bass control can bring it to be one of the most unique options in the long run. If you are an audiophile, you would indeed appreciate the features and benefits offered by the integrated amplifier. The immersive sound quality should provide you with a highly powerful audio efficiency. The thick brushed aluminium feel can provide you with one of the excellent options in letting you enjoy an enhanced front panel.
- Number of Channels: 2
- Bass Boost performance
- Dedicated MM/MC Phono Circuit Board
- Wide range amplifier
- You can get an accurate and dynamic feed
- An elegant design
- Simple remote control option
- Crisper streaming
- No DAC and Fixed power cord
Fosi Audio BT20A
With a small form factor and a compact design, the Fosi integrated amplifier has been regarded as one of the best discreet amplifiers that you can use. Despite having a small form factor, the amplifier comes with plenty of advanced features and offers you a huge punch.
The Bluetooth input offered by the amplifier should further make it one of the best choices ever for almost all the needs that you may have. The RCA connectivity for wired connectivity is one of the unique features that you would find quite innovative. The sound quality offered by the integrated amplifier is quite unique in its own right. Since the amplifier comes with a small and simple design, it may not provide you support for a wide range of audio sources.
- Bluetooth 5.0 support for 50 feet connection range
- Advanced circuitry design that is designed to protect the speakers.
- Home integrated digital amplifier.
- A simple and compact design
- The affordable design
- Built-in equalizer options
- Both Bluetooth and analog inputs
- No headphone output
- Limited power outage
Yamaha A-S301BL Natural Sound Integrated Stereo Amplifier
This one is one of the prominent and prime choices for the best possible experience in terms of the best integrated amplifiers under $500. The Yamaha A-S301BL Natural Sound Integrated Stereo Amplifier has received several rare reviews and has been considered to be one of the most unique ones, with a huge number of satisfied customers.
The amplifier delivers 60 watts per channel and offers several benefits when compared to the contemporary speakers. The proprietary design coupled with Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology makes it a clear leader in terms of the best audio reproduction. You can also be assured of a high-end workmanship that further enhances your experience. The amplifier comes with multiple audio input options, including the phono option as well. The availability of a subwoofer output, digital coax options, and a TOSLINK optical out can further enhance your need for expanding the audio performance.
- Proprietary Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology
- Phono input support
- A/B or A + B speaker switching
- Pure Direct Mode
- A decent and exciting audio output
- Multiple analog and digital input and output options
- Anti resonance base
- Auto power standby
- No display option
- No Bluetooth integration
- Basic remote quality
Pioneer Elite A-20 2-Channel
Pioneer is a trusted brand, and it has been around since 1938. The reliable and high-quality construction offered by the integrated amplifier can prove to be quite effective in more ways than one. The amplifier can deliver 50 watts of power on each of the channels. It should be the right choice for most of home users. The solid construction should be able to provide you with years of unparalleled service quality.
The aesthetics are great for those among you who tend to look for flashing lights and other controls. You would find dials for adjusting several parameters that include volume, balance, tone, and sound. There is also a jack for headphones. The amplifier should ideally provide you a high-end versatile functionality. It can be an excellent choice for both indoor or outdoor usage.
- A/B speaker switching
- The phono input
- The IR remote control
- Six analog inputs
- High-quality construction with the best materials and workmanship
- A decent volume
- A high quality sound performance
- Phono input available
- No Bluetooth integration
- Heat buildup reported by some users
If you are looking for a high-end digital integrated amplifier, the Denon PMA-600NE should fit the bill in every sense of the word. Coming from one of the most popular brands in the audio industry, the amplifier provides you with everything that you may have been looking ahead to. The huge number of connections that can move to up to 7 in number is one of the prime aspects that makes it stand apart from the rest. The availability of a Bluetooth connection is an added benefit.
The amplifier offers almost every sort of connectivity option that includes RCA, coaxial, optical, and wireless source inputs. The sound quality is quite a top end, and the built-in Equaliser further enhances your audio experience. The amplifier also provides you access to treble and bass controls. You can also get access to stereo speaker outputs along with an option for an additional subwoofer connection.
- Inputs – 5 x RCA Pairs (CD, Net, Aux, Recorder) Digital (Coaxial, 2 x optical) Bluetooth
- Controls – Input Selector, Volume, Bass, Treble, Balance
- 92 kHz/24 Bit D/A Converter
- Digital/Analog Hybrid
- High-quality audio performance
- A wide range of connection options
- Bluetooth connectivity available
- Expensive price tag.
NAD – D 3020 v2 Hybrid Digital Integrated Amplifier
The compact vertical design offered by the integrated amplifier can make it a formidable choice by several counts. If you are looking for a traditional design, this may not appeal to you much. The compact design may make the ports stand quite close together. However, the compact design should suit specific scenarios. Both the performance and features make it quite impressive.
The amplifier delivers up to 40 watts per channel. The best performance across a wide range of frequencies should be yet another unique option that you would find quite impressive. One of the features that appealed the most to us is aptX Bluetooth streaming. In terms of connectivity, you would find it appealing if you are using a lot of digital sources. In case you are into analog, you may find a few features quite limited in nature.
- 24-bit/96kHz DAC
- Options for both optical and coaxial digital inputs
- Bluetooth and aptX wireless connectivity
- Auto sense technology can detect the signal automatically.
- A very compact vertical design
- Bluetooth streaming capability
- Asynchronous DAC
- Multiple connectivity options
- IR based remote
- Hard to place in certain locations
- The ports are quite close together, making them a little difficult to access
AIYIMA A07 TPA3255
If you are checking a very minimalistic option for the best-integrated amplifier, this one should be your prime choice. The amplifier does not look fancy but does what it has been designed to. The extremely affordable integrated amplifier should practically meet almost all your expectations at the most affordable choices.
The amplifier assures you a cleaner and more reliable tone. The powerful output can deliver an excellent sound to the speakers with up to 300-watt ratings. In terms of connections, the amplifier comes with a single set of stereo RCA and a 3.5mm aux. Given the price of the amplifier, that should be something amply justified. It should be a good choice for powering a small HiFi setup or a set of turntable speakers.
- Ease of setting up
- HiFi integrated class D amplifier
- High efficient max power output up to 300 Watt
- Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility
- Extremely affordable
- Simple construction
- Extremely basic and should be a good choice for outdoor events
- Limited connections.
Reisong A10 EL34
In case you are checking out the tube amplifiers, this one can prove to be a great option in the genre. Along with the features and functions, you would also appreciate the unique design offered by the amplifier. The retro design and look can be what makes it quite interesting. In terms of connections, you have two separate RCA terminals so that they can be connected to two sources simultaneously.
The sound quality is quite nice and provides a full range. However, you would not find many features on the amplifier. It can best be used with a turntable or record player. You can be assured of a clear and authentic analog tone that you would find quite unique in its own right.
- The imported mirror stainless steel chassis.
- A high-grade aluminum CNC machining
- Point to Point hand welding
- The potting type output transformer.
- High-quality tube amplification.
- Multiple choices for impedance outputs.
- It May take a while to power up.
- Limited power.
Should You Go With Analog Amplifiers or Digital Amplifiers?
One of the prime differences that you would come across when choosing the best-integrated amplifiers is to find whether to choose an analog or digital amplifier. You can pick any one among them based on your individual preferences.
The Digital amplifiers are designed to receive the signals from the digital devices. You would want to use a digital amplifier when you are looking to get the audio sourced from devices such as phones and laptops. They are usually connected through Bluetooth and USB connections.
The analog connections have been considered to be more common and universal in nature. They can include anything between an RCA connection or a 3.5 mm auxiliary connection. The right type of amplifier would be based on the type of use that you would want to use the amplifier in.
It should be noticed that digital amplifiers offer you a cleaner and better resolution. However, the digital connections may not provide you the same warmness as in the case of analog connections.
What Kind of Inputs Should You Choose?
The inputs would play a significant role in deciding the right options for a good integrated amplifier. You would want to choose the best connection options based on your individual preferences.
The most essential input options would include
- RCA audio inputs: Normally used with most of the audio components
- RCA phono input: It can be an excellent option to use a turntable without a phono preamp
- Balanced XLR audio inputs: These are used in the case of high-end audio components
Digital Audio Inputs
- Optical (Toslink)
- USB Type B – For connecting to a PC
- USB Type A – For connecting to a USB storage device
- Ethernet – for all network connections
They can be a great option to help you in a convenient wireless connection.
A few wireless connections can include
- Bluetooth: It can be your best option to wireless connectivity to headphones, speakers, and other devices
- WiFi: This should be a great option to connect to a local wireless connection.
The Concluding Thoughts
Choosing an integrated amplifier may not be an easy task. Especially when you are looking for an amplifier under $500. We would assume the list of the best options that we have outlined above should help you pick the right ones based on your individual requirements and expectations. Do check them out and get access to the best one and share your inputs with us.
A Few FAQs
What is the difference between a Power Amplifier and Integrated Amplifier?
The power amps are used for powering the speakers. An integrated amplifier consists of a pre-amp and a power amplifier. It would also have a host of extra controls such as tone adjustments, balance, and speaker switching.
Is an integrated amplifier better than separate components?
Both integrated amplifiers and separate components come with their own advantages and disadvantages. The integrated amplifiers come with affordable pricing and a very compact design. However, the separate components can provide you with a better degree of flexibility.
How long would an amplifier last?
An amplifier – whether integrated or otherwise, would last around 15 to 20 years. Of course, you need to take complete care of the device to get that sort of a lifetime. In essence, the amplifiers are known to provide you with a life that lasts several years.