The amplifier is one of the most important aspects of your sound system and the wrong one will result in poor audio quality or it not doing what you need it to do. There is a vast range of options depending on what you need.
We review the very best integrated amplifiers to help you make an informed choice. These are all highly rated top-selling models and there is sure to be one to give you many years of listening pleasure.
- Best integrated amplifier for turntable
- Best integrated amplifier with DAC
- Best premium integrated amplifier
- Best budget integrated amplifier
- Best Integrated amplifier under $1000
- Best integrated amplifier under $2000
- Best integrated amplifier NAD
- Best integrated amplifier tube
- Best integrated amplifier with Bluetooth
- Best retro integrated amplifier
What is an integrated amp?
Any Hi-Fi or sound system needs an amplifier. This increases the volume of the incoming signal so that it can be heard over speakers or headphones. A component system has a separate preamplifier and power amplifier.
An integrated amplifier has both of these built into one unit. It has inputs to connect all of your sources such as CD players, turntables, radio tuners, tape decks, and other output devices. It allows you to select the audio source, connect speakers, control the volume, tone, and other functionality.
The advantage of an integrated amplifier is that it saves space and sometimes money. It is compact and convenient as well as easy to set up and use. The advantage of having separate components is that when you want to upgrade one aspect it is less expensive.
The 10 Best Integrated Amplifiers:
1. Cambridge Audio CXA81 Stereo Two-Channel Amplifier with Bluetooth and Built-in DAC
If you are a serious audio fan you will be familiar with the Cambridge brand. They have a strong reputation for quality equipment. The CXA81 is no exception. This is backed up by the stellar reviews and feedback that happy customers give this integrated amplifier. It is one of the highest-rated options on the market.
This affordable amp has a sleek modern design that will compliment your audio system. Cambridge has built on past success to bring you this hi-performance amp with an impressive 80 watts per channel. It delivers all music styles with crisp clarity and picks up the fine detail in the music.
It also boasts a large toroidal transformer that reduces distortion and stress with the low-noise current. It can happily work with both 4-ohm and 8-ohm speakers.
It has modern technology allowing you to choose wired speakers or wireless speakers that connect via Bluetooth. You can even stream your other Bluetooth devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. It features enhanced aptX HD encoding for improved streaming and better audio quality.
The ESS Sabre SE9010K2M DAC chip allows for a range of digital source options. Other connections available include Coaxial and TOSLINK.
2. Marantz PM6007 Integrated Amplifier with Digital Connectivity
This is our choice for the best integrated amplifier under $1000 showing that you can still get quality without breaking the bank. It is a 2-channel amp that pumps out 45 watts per channel. It also sports a toroidal power transformer as well as customized block capacitors
Despite the good price, it has modern connectivity options so you can easily use digital inputs as well as the usual analog sources. It is also a great option if you are a vinyl fan and wish to connect a turntable. You have multiple options with a coaxial input, 2 digital inputs, and 5 analog inputs. This makes it versatile. Inputs a gold-plated for improved conduction and clarity.
It has a decent DAC AK4490 which also offers crisp clear audio quality.
This is a feature-rich quality amp that offers exceptional value for money as well as outstanding flexibility.
If you need decent speakers, check out The Best Tower Speakers.
3. Yamaha A-S3200BL Integrated Amplifier
Yamaha is a brand we know and trust. If you want outstanding premium quality, clarity, and power, this is one to consider. It is not a budget integrated amplifier but it certainly impresses. Despite the price, it is a popular choice for music and audio lovers and receives rave reviews.
The components used in this amplifier are top quality and it has top-end PPC capacitors. This delivers a rich authentic sound. The circuitry is fully balanced so you can expect better channel separation as well as a superior low signal-to-noise ratio. Another feature that improves sound quality is the massive toroidal transformer.
Vibrations are kept to a minimum thanks to the rigidness provided by the Mechanical Ground Concept. The Yamaha A-S3200BL looks impressive and has accurate and handy level meters to show you the pulse and dynamics at a glance. This allows you more control allowing for more accurate music and audio output. For added convenience, it comes with remote control.
4. Rega io 60-watt Stereo Integrated Amp with MM Phono Input & Remote
Another value for money option that offers many options is the io by Rega. It is user-friendly and compact. It has a remote control for ease of use. You will get a lot of bang for your buck with this model.
Raga has produced some remarkable audio equipment is this is a great option if you want quality with spending a fortune. They have used much of the same quality components and technology found on their much more expensive models such as the sought-after Rega Brio. The output transistors are Sanken and the rating is 30 watts per channel.
The MM in the name refers to the moving magnet. It has a headphone output that works exceptionally well and it is rated for 8 ohms.
The only drawback is that it lacks digital connectivity which may be a deal-breaker for some users.
5. Yamaha A-S501SL Natural Sound Integrated Stereo Amplifier
If you are looking for Yamaha quality but without spending a fortune the A-S501SL is one to consider. It delivers an impressive 85 watts over the 2 channels for a powerful sound with great clarity. The design is basic but still attractive in sleek aluminum on the front panel.
The analog and digital coaxial and TOSLINK inputs are gold plated. This improves the quality of the sound. It also features Continuously Variable Loudness Control. There are 6 RCA audio inputs and it also features a phono input with a moving magnet.
Additional features include Total Purity Audio Reproduction Technology or ToP-ART as well as Pure Direct mode. These features improve audio quality, effectiveness, and efficiency.
While it is Bluetooth ready the Yamaha YBA-11 adapter needs to be purchased separately. It has a handy subwoofer output, a 1/4″ headphone jack, and remote control.
6. Emotiva BasX TA-100 Stereo Preamp/DAC/Tuner with Integrated Amplifier
This is our top pick for the best integrated amplifier under $2000. The main reason for this is that it has much to offer. This versatile amp has a built-in tuner as well as DAC. It has multiple digital and analog inputs. These include optical, Coaxial, TOSLINK, and USB. Bluetooth connectivity can be added but will need to be purchased separately.
The amp delivers a decent 50 watts per channel up to 90 watts. It has a great frequency response range which is always important. The build is robust and the materials and components are of good quality. The amp is user-friendly with a VFD display and easy-to-operate controls. It also has a remote control for all functions.
7. NAD C 316BEE Integrated Amplifier with Phono
NAD Electronics has been around for more than 4 decades and produces some remarkable audio equipment. The C 316BEE is a top seller and firm favorite with consumers. Apart from being an exceptional integrated amplifier, it comes in at a fantastic price.
This award-winning amp has many features and benefits. Distortion and noise are eliminated thanks to the high-performance circuit that provides high overload margins as well as low noise. It has RIAA equalization for great audio accuracy. Added to this the infrasonic filter reduces vibrations and feedback.
It is an intelligent integrated amplifier to ensure power without distortion and the PowerDrive optimizes output. It also has an all-important toroidal transformer with low ESR capacitors.
Connectivity is great with a MM Phono Input as well as 5 line-level inputs. It also features an IR remote control for greater convenience. It delivers 40 watts of power with an impressive peak output of 100 watts.
8. Willsenton R8 KT88/EL34 x4 Tube Integrated AMP Power Amplifier Headphone
Many music aficionados still appreciate the quality, clarity, and power of old-school tube amps. Although transistors and other electronics have largely taken over, the historical tube or valve amplifiers remain popular with some. The Willsenton R8 KT88/EL34 is a good example.
This versatile amp can be upgraded according to your needs and requirements. It is hand-made with care and precision. What is great is that it combines the best of the old design and materials with modern technology. This means that you have the best of both worlds.
It has a remote control and great protection to ensure it lasts for a long time. It is solidly built for added durability. The integrated amp delivers from 25 watts to 40 watts over the two channels according to how it is set up.
If you are looking for retro quality this is the amp for you. Despite the older technology it is tough, has detect power, modern convenience, and performs well.
9. Audiolab 6000A 2-Channel Integrated Amplifier
This is a great integrated amplifier for those wanting to use digital formats and Bluetooth technology. Audiolab is a popular brand and this is a versatile model with lots to offer. Wireless technology is fast becoming the norm so this will work well for you now and into the future.
Despite the model technology it still works perfectly well with traditional inputs including tape decks and turntables. It is great with your speakers or quality headphones. Although this is an advanced amp it is affordable and brilliant value for money.
It is user-friendly and has a handy and easy-to-view OLED display. What makes it ideal for digital inputs is the quality D/A converter. This includes leading technology such as a Time Domain Jitter Eliminator and ESS Technology 32-bit HyperStream features. No DAC is needed.
You get 3 line-level analog inputs as well as an impressive 4 digital inputs. This is more than most people will need. While this is an advanced integrated amp with cutting-edge technology it is still reasonably priced.
Take a look here for The 10 Best Bluetooth Party Speakers.
10. Peachtree Audio nova300 Integrated Amplifier with DAC
Old-school is cool and many people like retro-looking products these days. While there were many great products in the past, the nova300 by Peachtree Audio gives you the best of both worlds. This model has a classical look with a Gloss Ebony Mocha finish yet all the modern features you need. It also packs plenty of power.
Let’s start with that power. It delivers a whopping 300 watts over 2 channels. It can go up to 450 watts when using 4 ohms. It is great for vinyl having a true analog phono stage. It works seamlessly with your home theater system and has multiple inputs including coaxial, 2 optical digital inputs, and a USB input.
It features DAC and you can connect a subwoofer if you wish. Another feature is the Dynamic Noise Elimination Circuit technology known as Peachtree DyNEC. The remote control is user-friendly and convenient allowing you to control most functionality. It also works well with your iPhone or iPad thanks to an iOS input.
The result is that you have a truly retro-looking integrated amplifier with excellent power that can integrate with all your audio equipment. The quality is good and this is popular among those wanting some different yet effective.
So what is the best integrated amplifier overall?
Tricky question. This all depends on your needs and to some extent your budget. In our opinion, the Cambridge Audio CXA81 Stereo Two-Channel Amplifier has a lot to offer at a fair price. It is a quality amp that is highly versatile and should be able to handle all your needs.
If budget is a concern then you can’t go wrong with the brilliant Yamaha A-S501SL Natural Sound Integrated Stereo Amplifier. You get Yamaha quality, a host of features, and it will not cost a fortune.
Selecting the best integrated amplifier
When shopping around for an integrated amplifier there are several things to take note of. Here they are.
A: Depending on your needs and equipment there are several options. You might not need all of them but more will give you greater flexibility.
Here are the options:
- RCA (audio) – These are the most common and work with you CD and DVD players, tape decks, tuners, and other equipment
- RCA (phono) – This is used for turntables and other equipment that has a low signal output and possibly needs equalization
- Optical inputs – TOSLINK is used to connect many digital devices
- USB inputs – These are handy for many devices. Note that there are several types
- Ethernet – This is used to connect to the internet for streaming and other content
- Balanced XLR – High-end equipment might need this input option
While the integrated amplifier performs a range of functions the main purpose is to increase the volume of your inputs for audio enjoyment. The right or best volume depends on your needs and taste as well as where you want to use the amplifier.
For average moderate home use, most will find that 10 watts is sufficient. If you really want to rock a party, especially if you are playing in a large area, 80 to 100 watts might be preferable.
Consider all the input devices that you wish to connect to the integrated amplifier both now and in the future. Apart from the standard receivers, CD players, perhaps a tape deck you might also want to connect a phono turntable. What is becoming increasingly popular is digital connections. This could include computers, tablets, smartphones, and streaming devices.
Ensure that the equipment can handle all of your needs.
A quality integrated amplifier will last many years. There is something to cover all budgets but ensure you invest in one that gives you the features, sound quality, flexibility, power, and other functionality that you need.
While this does not impact the quality of the system you do not want something that does not look pleasant. Looks are important so go for one that fits in with your taste and the look you are going for.
The options are basic simple units to more modern options.
Depending on the space available and the other components in the system, size could be an issue. You get some remarkably compact integrated amplifiers while others can be rather bulky. Factor this in when making your decision.
This is an important feature that allows you to control most of the functionality of the amp. Take a look at what functions the remote control can work on. Some give you just the basic functions while most give you advanced control. It is also important that it is easy to use. Note that not all integrated amplifiers come with remote control.
How long does an amplifier last?
Depending on which manufacturer you buy from, an amplifier is normally built to last at least 20 years. Usually though, if you take good care of your amplifier, it can easily last for more than 30 years.
Can I connect a preamp to an integrated amplifier?
Yes, it is possible to connect most preamps to an integrated amplifier. Simply connect the preamp out to any line-in on the integrated amplifier.
Can you add a power amplifier to an integrated amplifier?
Yes, you can add a power amplifier to an integrated amplifier as long as the integrated amplifier has a preamp output.
Why are integrated amplifiers so expensive?
Integrated amplifiers are expensive because they consist of several expensive high quality components throughout.
Is an integrated amplifier better than a receiver?
It depends. A receiver is normally just an integrated amplifier with a radio section built-in, so with that in mind you would assume an integrated amplifier, of the same price as a receiver, will be marginally better audio-wise, as it’s all its components are purpose-built for quality audio.
What is a pre-out on an integrated amplifier?
You will normally use the pre-out on an integrated amplifier if you’re using the integrated amplifier as a pre-amp.
Can you use a preamplifier with an integrated amplifier?
Yes, if you want to it can be done. The point of an integrated amp is that there is no need for a preamp and a power amp but some more serious music lovers might prefer to still incorporate a separate preamp even though they have an integrated amp.
The reason for this is that there is some compromise when integrating the two. While this is minimal you might get a slightly better sound with a separate preamplifier. You might also get additional features lacking on the integrated option and possible additional connectivity.
Is digital connectivity important?
Some people might be content with a traditional connection. The truth is that the music and audio landscape is evolving rapidly and if you do not have this option you might well regret it in the future. Unless you are convinced that you will stick to your analog formats for some time it is best to ensure you have this option even if you do not use it now.
Do I need to match the power to my speakers?
Yes, this is always a good idea. It does not need to be a perfect match but you do not want a large difference between the amp power and the speaker capability.
Do I need a subwoofer output?
If you are a fan of bass or intend to listen to bass-heavy music or audio this is always a good idea. A subwoofer will add richness and depth to the sound that can’t be done as effectively without a good subwoofer. It delivers deep bass sounds.
While there are some audiophiles that will prefer a separate preamp and power amp most people find an integrated amplifier to be more convenient and useful. We have looked at the very best options available in a range of categories. There is something to suit all needs as well as all budgets.
Give some thought to what you want from an integrated amplifier and this will guide you to make the right choice. You can’t go wrong with any of the models we have highlighted.