Integrated amplifiers vs Receivers: What’s the difference?

When setting up a home theatre, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing an integrated amplifier or receiver. But what’s the difference? And which one should you choose for your system?

In this blog post, we’ll break it down for you and help you decide which option is best for your needs.

Integrated Amplifiers vs Receivers – Explained

An integrated amplifier is a single unit that combines the preamplifier and power amplifier sections into one chassis. This makes it simpler to use and often more compact than a receiver.

Integrated amplifiers typically have fewer inputs and outputs than receivers, but they can still be used to power a home theatre system. They’re also generally less expensive than receivers.

A receiver, on the other hand, is a two-unit system that separates the preamplifier and power amplifier sections. The preamplifier section sits in one unit and the power amplifier section sits in another unit.

Receivers usually have more inputs and outputs than integrated amplifiers, making them more versatile. They also tend to have more features, such as built-in Dolby Atmos and DTS:X processing.

So, which one should you choose?

The answer depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a simple solution that’s easy to set up and use, an integrated amplifier is a good option. If you need more inputs and outputs, or if you want a receiver with more features, then a receiver is the way to go.

Features of an Integrated Amp

An integrated amplifier is a type of amplifier that combines several functions into one unit. It typically contains a preamplifier, power amplifier, and a digital-to-analog converter all in one chassis.

This makes it a convenient option for those who want to save space and avoid the hassle of having multiple components cluttering up their entertainment center.

Integrated amps are popular among audiophiles because they often offer superior sound quality than receivers. They also tend to be more affordable than separates, which can be a plus for budget-minded shoppers.

However, integrated amps do have some drawbacks. One is that they usually don’t offer as many features as receivers.

For example, integrated amps typically don’t include built-in tuners, which means you’ll need to use an external tuner if you want to listen to FM radio. They also don’t usually include wireless connectivity options like Bluetooth or AirPlay.

What features should I look for in an integrated amp?

When shopping for an integrated amp, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, decide which type of input ports you need. Most integrated amps have either RCA or XLR inputs, so make sure the one you choose has the connectors you need.

Also, be sure to check and see if it has a built-in DAC. If you plan on using digital sources like a CD player or computer, then you’ll need an integrated amp with a DAC.

Finally, take a look at the power output. This is measured in watts per channel and will determine how loud your system can get.

Features of a Receiver

A receiver is a component that is found in most home theatre systems. It takes all of the incoming audio signals and distributes them to the appropriate speakers. Some of the most popular brands of receivers include Marantz, Denon, and Yamaha.

Receivers come with a variety of features, including:

  • an AM/FM tuner
  • inputs for DVD players, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and more
  • outputs for speakers
  • a display screen

Some receivers also come with built-in amplifiers, which can be used to boost the audio signal. However, not all receivers have this feature.

Receivers also include a variety of audio processing features, which can be used to improve the sound quality of your system.

These features can include:

  • Dolby Digital
  • Dolby Pro Logic
  • DTS
  • Surround sound

Receivers also come in a variety of sizes, which can be an important consideration when choosing one for your system.

What features should I look for in a Receiver?

The features that you should look for in a receiver will depend on your specific needs.

However, there are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing a receiver:

Amplifier: If you plan on using powered speakers, then you’ll need to make sure that the receiver has a built-in amplifier.

Processing: If you want to take advantage of features like Dolby Digital or DTS, then you’ll need to make sure that the receiver has the appropriate processing capabilities.

Inputs/Outputs: Make sure that the receiver has enough inputs and outputs for all of your devices.

Display: If you want a display on your receiver, then you’ll need to make sure that the model you choose has one.

Size: Make sure that the receiver is the right size for your system.

You’ll also want to pick a receiver if you plan on using 5.1 or 7.1 surround systems.

Which should I choose if I am using a turntable?

People who are looking to get a turntable often ask if they need an amplifier or a receiver.

The answer is that it depends on what you are using the turntable for. If you are only using the turntable to play records, then you don’t need an integrated amplifier or a receiver. You can just plug the turntable into your computer or stereo system and you’re good to go.

However, if you want to use the turntable to listen to music through your home theatre system, then you will need either an integrated amplifier or a receiver. An integrated amplifier is best for this purpose because it has inputs and outputs that are specifically designed for audio equipment. A receiver also has these inputs and outputs, but it isn’t typically used for turntables.

So, if you want to use a turntable with your home theatre system, we recommend getting an integrated amplifier.


So to summarize, an integrated amplifier is a great option if you need inputs for digital sources or want a DAC. It also has a higher power output than most receivers, which can be important if you plan on using powered speakers.

A receiver is a good choice if you need an amplifier, want surround sound capabilities, or are looking for more features like built-in AM/FM tuners.

We hope that this blog post has helped you understand the difference between integrated amplifiers and receivers.

About Shawn Shepherd

Hi, I'm the owner of the Hifi Guide and have been an audio lover enthusiast for over 16 years. I have a Bachelor's degree in Sound Engineering and I work on producing content for the Hifi Guide in my spare time. My love for audio stemmed from my Dad who was an audio technician, and now I share my knowledge here on this website!