Stereo amplifiers are some of the most popular pieces of audio equipment around the world mainly because of their ability to reproduce and deliver high quality sound via two primary channels.
They are versatile, easy to use and can be connected to a wide array of sources through different inputs. Since there are hundreds, probably thousands of stereo amplifiers in the market, choosing the right one may prove to be a daunting task.
That’s why, we thought we’d help you out by highlighting the best budget stereo amplifiers that you can buy. These devices won’t break your bank and are some of the best audiophile-grade amps in the world.
Here are the top 6 best budget stereo amplifiers.
- Sony STR-DH190 2-Ch Amplifier
- Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Amplifier
- Marantz PM606 Integrated Amplifier
- Fosi Audio TPA3116 Stereo Audio Amplifier
- Audioengine N22 Mini Desktop Stereo Amp
Recommended Read: Best Chinese Headphone Amp
Best Budget Stereo Amplifier – Buyer’s Guide
When searching for a budget stereo amplifier, there are some important factors to consider to make sure that you have the best. Before you go out and buy yourself one, make sure you have a checklist ready of the key features you need in your stereo amplifier.
These points will surely help you choose the right budget stereo amplifier for your personal entertainment needs.
Build & Style – The first thing to have on your check list is the build and style of the stereo amplifier and whether it’ll fit in the designated spot at home. You will need an amplifier that’s easy to carry in case you want to clean or readily change positions of items in your home. The amplifier should also be made of a high quality material that does not get damaged easily, is scratch-resistant and lightweight.
Connectivity – This is by far one of the most important factors to consider when buying a stereo amplifier on a budget. It’s good to remember that not all stereo amplifiers offer the same modes of connectivity and some would come with Bluetooth built-in whereas others may not. You need to figure out what you’re connecting the stereo amplifier to and then search for one that offers the same functionality.
Output Power – You can choose the output power of the amplifier based on the size of the room it’s going to be placed in. For most home based stereo amplifiers, a good power delivery of 50-100W per channel is ideal. Anything higher than that may end up sounding bad and lower than 50W per channel might not be the right amount of power you’re looking to experience.
Price – Finally, most budget stereo amplifiers cost under $500. You can get some for below $199 and few brands even offer great quality devices for under $100. It all depends on what your budget is and though you can easily spend more on a great stereo amp, the products listed below are some of the best sounding stereo amplifiers for those on a tight budget.
Additional Features – There are a bunch of budget amplifiers available which offer bonus features that are normally found on some high-end stereo amplifiers. This could range from remote control access to a headphone port and more. Check the features of the amplifier to see if it has what you’re looking for/
Top 6 Best Budget Stereo Amplifiers
Sony STR-DH190 2-Ch Amplifier
Sony is one of the most popular audio equipment manufacturers in the world with a wide range of products to choose from spanning over different categories. Their STR-DH190 2 channel amplifier is a budget friendly Hi-Fi amp that’s built to last and is one of the coolest looking stereo amplifiers on this list.
This amp features multiple input modes including Bluetooth making it a convenient and versatile device to own. It’s designed with a low profile that can easily be stored in any traditional AV cabinet and while it is a 2 channel amplifier, the STR-DH190 is built to support up to 4 speakers allowing you to either play all 4 at once or individually depending on the arrangement.
- 100W x 2 channel
- Phono input, 4 stereo RCA inputs, 3.5mm input
- Stereo RCA output
- Built-in Bluetooth 5.0
- Built-in FM Radio
Yamaha R-S202BL Stereo Amplifier
One of the finest stereo amplifiers under $200 is the R-S202BL from Yamaha. This stereo amplifier is quite similar to the Sony mentioned above in terms of connectivity and power output. The only difference between the two is that the Yamaha stereo amplifier comes with a built-in AM tuner whereas the Sony has a phono input mode that Yamaha lacks.
This is a very elegant looking amplifier that comes with a brushed aluminum housing and is slim so you can position it pretty much anywhere. At the front of the amp there’s a slim profile LCD display which shows the various modes and settings. Quite like the Sony stereo amplifier, you get 4 pairs of RCA inputs, a pair of RCA outputs and the ability to connect up to 4 speakers in tandem to the amp.
- 100W x 2 channels
- 4 RCA inputs, Bluetooth
- Stereo RCA output
- Built-in FM/AM receiver
- Equipped with remote control
Marantz PM606 Integrated Amplifier
The Marantz PM606 is one of the best budget stereo amplifiers in the market that comes equipped with multiple input sources, dynamic sound production and features one of the best designed chassis around. It does deliver a reasonable 45W per channel unlike Sony or Yamaha and while the overall power output may be low, the sound quality is unmatched and quite detailed.
This budget friendly stereo amplifier has the ability to power and drive high-end speakers with ease and it uses hyper-dynamic amplifier modules to reproduce rich sounding clear sound. It’s easy to use and can handle high levels of current which enhance the sound quality and your overall listening experience.
- 45W x 2 channels
- 1 digital coaxial input, 5-line audio input, phono input
- RCA output
- Built-in hyper-dynamic amplifier modules
Fosi Audio TPA3116 Stereo Audio Amplifier
We’ve covered Fosi Audio devices over a number of articles and they are by far some of the best high-quality affordable amplifiers around. If you’re looking to buy a great stereo amplifier for well under $100, then the TPA3116 from Fosi should do the trick for you.
It’s an extremely compact stereo amplifier that comes equipped with the latest circuit protection technology to protect your speakers and the amplifier protected from a sudden surge of current. This amplifier lets you connect to different devices via either the 3.5mm input or through Bluetooth. The Fosi audio TPA3116 also comes with a treble, bass and master volume knob at the front which you can use to adjust your sound settings.
- 50W x 2 channels
- Adopt TI TPA3116D2 chipset
- 3.5mm aux input, Bluetooth input
- RCA output
- Durable aluminum shell
Audioengine N22 Mini Desktop Stereo Amp
If you’re in the market for a high-performance desktop stereo amplifier, the Audioengine N22 is a must have. This amplifier has a unique design and is ideal for slim and smaller spaces.It’s equipped with two audio inputs, a subwoofer output and two high-quality speaker terminals that you can use to connect a pair of passive speakers.
Considering the size and intended usage, this amplifier delivers a maximum of 40W RMS per channel while is pretty impressive. It can also be connected to a pair of headphones in case you’re looking for a more personal entertainment experience. The setup takes not more than 5 minutes and it’s a pretty great choice for those on a budget.
- 40W x 2 channels
- 3.5mm audio input, RCA input
- RCA line out, dedicated speaker terminals, subwoofer output, headphone jack
- USB powered
Do amplifiers improve sound quality?
In short the answer is yes. Amplifiers are designed to heighten and improve the overall sound quality when audio is relayed through a pair of speakers. A good stereo amplifier will deliver high quality sounding audio regardless of the number of channels running through the system. Amplifiers that let you listen to music at high volumes without any distortion are considered to be some of the best amplifiers around.
What is the best budget stereo amplifier?
This answer varies from person to person and would depend on a number of factors such as price, compatibility, specs, features and more. Based on a number of reviews conducted, we found that the Sony STR-DH190 is the best high-powered budget amplifier that you can find. If you’re on a tight budget, then we recommend giving the Fosi audio amplifier a go as it packs quite a punch, all things considered.
Are tube amplifiers better than solid state amplifiers?
Tube amplifiers are built differently and produce a different kind of sound as compared to solid state amplifiers. They sound warmer than traditional amplifiers and again, this depends on the buyer and what they would prefer. Both are great amplifiers in the respective classes and though tube amplifiers do look fancy, there’s always the issue of replacing the tubes when they’re burnt out.
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I've been specializing in audio equipment and accessories for a while and have a little something in store for every kind of hi-fi enthusiast.
Based in California, I keep attending special launch events across the globe. This has helped me understand the products better, and with a unique hands-on experience I'm able to provide you with easy to understand reviews about the best in audio tech from around the world.