Whether you are looking to improve your hi-fi stereo system, build one from scratch or increase your existing high fidelity, the best budget stereo amplifier is what you will need to achieve the best audio experience. While the most popular amplifiers are expensive, you can also get a cheap stereo amplifier with an excellent, reliable and powerful audio quality. Read on to understand some of the best budget stereo amplifiers better.

What is a Stereo Amplifier?

A stereo amplifier, also known as an integrated amp or receiver, works as the engine of your hi-fi setup. It is used to connect your array of sources like a TV, smartphone, record player or cassette deck to your speakers. Most budget stereo amplifiers usually pack a preamplifier. A power amplifier in one and the preamplifier is meant to bring your sources, whether a smartphone or CD player, to line level and the power amplifier drives your speakers.

Stereo amplifiers are meant to receive an audio signal from the preamp or from a source device that amplifies a signal and sends the amplified signal to the speakers. However, getting the best budget stereo amplifier can be daunting, and therefore we have listed the best budget stereo amplifiers with their pros and cons.

What is the best budget stereo amplifier?

1. Fosi Audio BT20A Bluetooth 5.0 Stereo Audio 2 Channel Amplifier

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Fosi Audio BT20A Bluetooth 5.0 Stereo Audio 2 Channel Amplifier...
  • Small simple compact design but practical and powerful, little Hi-Fi Bluetooth wireless...
  • Bluetooth 5.0 core, up to 50ft connection range guarantees low signal delay. No pop, no...
  • 100W RMS X 2(4 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.04% THD), comes with 24V power supply, can drive...
  • Advanced circuitry design, built-in speakers protection circuit, best for...
  • Home integrated digital amplifier, 18-month warranty, you can return the item if you have...

Fosi Audio BT20A is among the best budget stereo amplifiers in the market, and it is a perfect choice for small living rooms, a pair of small desktops, or passive bookshelf speakers. It is very compact. It packs clean and pleasant audio and features a strong aluminum chassis, a detachable power cable, and a user manual. The unit has a front panel with three dials (bass, treble and volume) and a power switch with a small power source indicator.

Fosi Audio BT20A budget stereo amplifier supports Bluetooth 5.0 with a detachable Bluetooth antenna, 3.5mm audio input, DC input and two pairs of 5-way binding posts in the rear panel. The audio equipment is compatible with 2-8Ω speakers, and it claims to have a 50WX2 power output, and the Bluetooth featured has a range of up to 50ft range. However, the unit has only one AUX connection and lacks RCA outputs or audio input and the aptX/aptX HD support.

PROS

  • Small footprint as its super compact and lightweight
  • Bluetooth 5.0 support
  • It has a clear sound even though its a budget option
  • Great design with a sleek appearance and curved edges
  • The enclosure is made with premium materials

CONS

  • Limited inputs as it has one AUX connection
  • Lacks aptX/aptX HD support
  • Slight distortion at high volumes

2. Cambridge Audio AXA35 35 Watt 2-Channel Integrated Stereo Amplifier

Cambridge Audio AXA35 35 Watt 2-Channel Integrated Stereo Amplifier |...
  • SIMPLE DESIGN, AMAZING SOUND – Cambridge Audio designed the AXA35 to be a perfect entry...
  • QUALITY ENGINEERING – Inside the AXA35 you’ll find high quality components: featuring...
  • EASILY CONNECT ALL OF YOUR EQUIPMENT - The AXA35 has four analogue inputs so you can...
  • CONNECT BLUETOOTH OR AUDIO STREAMER – The AXA35 features a USB port so you can connect...
  • TECH SPECS - POWER OUTPUT 35 watts (into 8 Ohms), FREQUENCY RESPONSE (-3dB) 5Hz - 50kHz,...

Cambridge Audio AXA35 is an entry-level stereo amp that delivers high audio quality and a clean signal making it a perfect choice for small yet high-end desktop speakers. It is a slim, compact unit with an attractive silver finish and the front panel houses all the buttons, one headphone amp output, one aux input, a volume dial, a simple display, and remote control.

Cambridge AXA35 stereo amplifier in the rear panel houses four RCA inputs, a USB power-out port and one MM phone input with an RMS power output of 35W per channel and a 5Hz-50kHz (-3dB) frequency response. The power amps produce an accurate, balanced, punchy and clear yet detailed midrange sound quality.

PROS

  • USB port for Bluetooth receiver or Chromecast connection
  • Includes a remote control
  • Attractive yet a low-profile
  • Accurate and balanced sound reproduction with a transparent and detailed mids
  • Number of analog connections

CONS

  • The 35W per channel is not sufficient enough for the large speakers
  • Lacks a Bluetooth input; hence no Bluetooth connectivity

3. Denon PMA-600NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier

Denon PMA-600NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier | Bluetooth Connectivity |...
  • ENJOY MASTERFUL AUDIO PERFORMANCE EVEN AT THIS PRICE POINT – Divided circuitry allows...
  • SLIM DESIGN, INTEGRATED AMP – Enclosed in a vibration resistant design, the PMA-600NE...
  • BLUETOOTH SUPPORT AND DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY – Extend your audio experience with nearly...
  • LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE SONGS WITH IMPECCABLE PRECISION – Powered by the Denon Advanced...
  • HIGH-GRADE AUDIO COMPONENTS – With more than a 100-year legacy of designing premium...

Denon PMA-600NE is a good stereo amplifier and could be one of the most versatile options, and it features a black housing with an automatic control scheme on its front and several connections on the back. The integrated stereo amps feature one MM phono input, recording RCA input and output, three RCA inputs, and two TOSLINK inputs and coaxial input.

Denon PMA-600NE integrated amps use a 5-way binding post and are compatible with banana plugs and spade lugs, and in case you want to add a powered subwoofer, you already have a subwoofer output. It features Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in DAC that supports 24bit/192kHz D-A conversion, and the amp includes two unique modes, Analog and Source Direct. The Analog mode is responsible for turning the amp into a fully analog amp. It turns all digital inputs and Bluetooth off when listening to analog audio sources. The Source Direct is great for bypassing volume and tone controls for a louder sound and higher fidelity.

PROS

  • It includes a remote control
  • Slim and stylish design
  • Includes a good number of analog and digital inputs
  • Two unique modes Analog and Source Direct
  • Built-in DAC
  • The peak power output of 45W RMS per channel

CONS

  • Lacks AM or FM tuners
  • It is not wi-fi enabled.

4. Sony STRDH190 2-ch Home Stereo Receiver

Sony STRDH190 2-ch Home Stereo Receiver with Phono Inputs & Bluetooth...
  • Amplify and enjoy your home audio experience in the comfort of your home
  • 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...
  • Connect up to 4 speakers; A/B switching to play all at once, or in separate zones

Sony STRDH190 Home Stereo Receiver is a powerful and versatile stereo amp with phono inputs and features Bluetooth connectivity with remote control and an FM antenna. The amp can be controlled using the buttons on the remote's front panel, which is responsive and easy and also includes two sets of spring clip terminals that can allow the connection of two speaker sets.

Sony STRDH190 houses an MM phono input, one RCA output, four pairs of RCA inputs, a headphone jack on the front panel, and a USB port which can only be used for firmware updates and not music playback. It has a 90W per channel RMS power output, and it's also Bluetooth enabled with a flawless performance and a good range and includes a built-in FM tuner for the radio fans.

PROS

  • Two control options: a control panel and a remote control
  • Attractive yet low profile design
  • 90W RMS per channel
  • Multiple analog connections
  • Built-in FM tuner
  • Bluetooth enabled amp

CONS

  • Lacks digital inputs
  • No AM tuner
  • The spring-clip speaker terminals could easily break.

5. YAMAHA R-N303BL Stereo Receiver

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YAMAHA R-N303BL Stereo Receiver is among the most popular amplifiers today as it's a well-rounded unit thanks to excellent sound quality, appealing price tag and Bluetooth support. The excellent combination appeals to a lot of users. Also, it packs plenty of modern features that other units don't focus on, such as Amazon Alexa, Bluetooth, wi-fi, works with streaming services directly and many more.

YAMAHA R-N303BL Stereo Receiver produces clean, balanced and pleasant audio, and at a price, it guarantees you the absolute value for your money. In addition, it has an impressive build quality, and it also includes a phono preamp and optical inputs. However, this unit can be challenging to set up, and you will also need to download the MusicCast app to benefit from the streaming features.

PROS

  • Great sound quality
  • Solid build quality
  • Works well with Alexa
  • Phono input
  • Has Bluetooth and wi-fi support

CONS

  • The setup is a bit complicated

What are the Types of Stereo Amplifiers?

Depending on the duties these stereo amplifiers perform, they can be divided into two groups, including powered amplifiers and integrated amplifiers. A power amplifier (power amp) has one role: it receives the incoming audio signal from a preamp and sends the amplified signal to the speakers.

On the other hand, integrated amplifiers are pretty busy as they are an amp and a preamp in one box, where some cases have a DAC built inside. Unlike power amplifiers, they amplify the audio signal and drive the speakers while also receiving signals from all kinds of audio sources, processing all the signals and sometimes converting the digital signals to analog.

When it comes to the best stereo amps, some people will argue that having a separate amp, preamp and DAC is better as it enables better signal processing and cleaner output. While this is a valid point, a well-executed integrated amp also will give an excellent experience while costing less than purchasing three separate units. Therefore, when looking for the cheapest option, an integrated amp is your best shot.


Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Budget Stereo Amplifier

1. Connectivity

Connectivity is among the most critical factors to look for when shopping for the best budget stereo amplifiers because it should match up to how many inputs you need. When in the budget range, there isn't one player that will support all possible formats, and therefore you should pick one according to what you intend to play. For example, if you intend on playing records, you may need a phono input. If you want to connect to a smart TV, you will need a digital input (optical input/ coaxial input), and also, some units have dual recording RCA inputs.

For outputs, it's easier where you will mostly get one pair of speaker terminals where cheap amps will have plastic spring-clip speaker terminals, and these terminals will be compatible with bare wires, but they are prone to breakage. Ideally, you should opt for a stereo amplifier with 5-way binding posts compatible with banana plugs and spade lugs, as these binding posts are more versatile and durable.

2. Build and Style Quality

The build quality and style is mostly a personal preference but also depends on where your stereo amplifier will be sitting, and one that sits out on the shelf like on a shelf will need some style. Try to opt for the best stereo amplifiers that are pleasing to the eye to blend perfectly with your space.

3. Bluetooth/wi-fi Connectivity

Most stereo amplifiers in the market today, even the budget stereo amplifiers, include Bluetooth connectivity, which is a factor to check out because some don't include it. However, some include wi-fi connectivity, especially the ones about $500, and others don't. Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity are great additional features for any stereo amplifier, and it is handy in some situations. A lack of Bluetooth will mean the unit will need a separate Bluetooth receiver.

4. Power output

A stereo amp should match your speakers, and it also should have enough power to drive the speakers with ease without getting too hot even at the highest volumes. To ensure you get the best power output, you should check the speaker's impedance and the power handling ratings and check the stereo amps specification to look for the same power output for a given impedance.

Some manufacturers include power outputs for only 6Ω speakers, and others publish power ratings for four and 8Ω speakers. It's essential to check these numbers as they advertise the measured power output. When comparing two or more amps, compare the power output values for the same frequency and impedance.

5. Additional Features

Most modern budget stereo amps include bonus features that are unnecessary but just like wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The bonus features can be very useful and convenient for the best stereo amplifier. The most popular bonus features are the AM and FM tuners which may be found in cheaper amps and other features such as Airplay and Chromecast support, Multiroom capabilities, Alexa built-in, a headphone output or remote control.


Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Budget Stereo Amplifiers

1. Can amplifiers improve sound quality?

Yes, they do, and there is a massive difference between the sound quality of a good and bad stereo amp. A good stereo amp will give a clean and undistorted signal. It will not introduce any artificial noise, but a bad stereo amp will supply power while also introducing some modifications to your signal. This may result in additional noise in your audio device, which will ruin your listening experience. This shows that a perfect stereo amp will improve and give an excellent sound quality to your audio system.

2. Are tube amplifiers better than solid-state amps?

These two should not be compared as they are great, and better isn't the best way of describing tube amps. They are different, and it's not right to say that one type is better than another as it's a matter of preference. Tube amps are warm, and this kind of sound appeals to some people, but it doesn't mean that the solid-state amps lack character.

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