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Home Theater Review's Best of 2016 Awards
'Tis the season for Home Theater Review's annual best-of list, where we select the best products we've reviewed in the past 12 months. Read More
Monoprice Monolith 7 Seven-Channel Amplifier Reviewed
Dennis Burger reviews Monoprice's new $1,499 Monolith 7 seven-channel amplifier, a Class AB design with a power rating of 200 watts per channel. Read More
Outlaw Audio Model 5000 Amplifier Reviewed
Myron Ho reviews Outlaw Audio's Model 5000 amplifier, a five-channel, Class AB design rated at 120 watts per channel that's priced at just $599. Read More
Home Theater Review's Best of 2015 Awards
It's that time of year again--time for the HomeTheaterReview.com staff to pick the products that we feel represent the best of the best from all of our 2015 reviews. We've covered a variety of categories and price points. See if your faves made the list. Read More
Classe Sigma AMP5 Five-Channel Digital Amplifier Reviewed
Jerry Del Colliano reviews the new five-channel AMP5 amplifier from Classe's Sigma Series. The AMP5 is a 200-watt-per-channel Class D amplifier that carries an asking price of $5,000. Read More
NAD M27 Seven-Channel Amplifier Reviewed
As a follow-up to his review of the Master Series M17 AV preamp, Greg Handy auditions NAD's accompanying M27 seven-channel amplifier, which carries an MSRP of $3,999. Read More
Home Theater Review's Best of 2014 Awards
Home Theater Review presents its Best of 2014 Awards. We've surveyed all the products reviewed over the past year and selected the ones we think are the most compelling. Check out our list and see if your 2014 favorites made the grade. Read More
Marantz MM8077 Multi-channel Amplifier
The MM8077 is Marantz's biggest multi-channel amplifier, with 150 watts of power in each of its seven channels. The MM8077 ($2,399) is designed to complement the new Marantz AV processors, such as the AV8801 that we recently reviewed. The design... Read More
Home Theater Review's Best of 2013 Awards
It's that time of year again. The HomeTheaterReview.com staff has discussed all the products reviewed over the year and decided which ones rated the best. Check out our list of the best of 2013. Read More
Emotiva UPA-700 Seven Channel Amplifier Reviewed
Included in Emotiva's offerings it the UPA-700 multi-channel amplifier. Andrew Robinson takes this seven-channel amplifier and puts it to the test, seeing what level of performance can be achieved. Read More
Parasound A31 Three Channel Power Amplifier
Parasound has a longstanding history when it comes to amplifiers. One of the newer entrants to that legacy is the Parasound A31 three channel power amplifier. Andrew Robinson evaluates the A31 to see if it carries on the Parasound name. Read More
Everything You Need To Know About Multi-channel Amplifiers1.0 What is a Multi-channel Amp?
2.0 Types of Multi-channel Amps
2.1 Three Channel Amps
2.2 Five Channel Amps
2.3 Seven Channel Amps
2.4 Amps For Distributed Audio Systems
1.0 What is a Multi-Channel Amp?
A multi-channel power amplifier is an amp that has more than one channel of power amplification in the same chassis. Some amps on the high end have dedicated power supplies for each channel. Others share the same power supply, thereby lowering the overall cost of the amplifier.
Multi-channel amplifiers are popular in high-end home theater systems, as well as audiophile-grade music systems playing back audio in 5.1 surround.
2.0 Types of Multi-Channel Amps
There are numerous types of multi-channel amps, including solid state and tube-oriented designs. Increasingly, class D digital amps are made into multi-channel products that are very quiet, run cool and have lots of power compared to more traditional amplifiers.
2.1 Three-Channel Amps
Three-channel amps tend to be more audiophile-oriented, with price tags that are in line with what you would expect to see from an audiophile monoblock or stereo power amplifier. It is not uncommon to see three-channel amplifiers come with separate power supplies to retain the audiophile performance while still keeping all three channels inside of one chassis. Three-channel amps are often used for applications needing power for the three front channels (front left, front right and center), but are by no means limited to those roles.
2.2 Five-Channel Amps
The five-channel amplifier configuration is the most popular for multi-channel amplifiers, as they can accept a five-channel output from an AV preamp and supply power to everything but the often separately-powered "point 1" LFE or subwoofer channel.
2.3 Seven-Channel Amps
Seven-channel amplifiers are increasingly popular for systems that use the latest in surround sound technology, such as Dolby True HD and or DTS Master audio. Not only do the amps provide the dynamic range needed to make a better-than-theater audio experience, the seven channels allow for both side and rear speakers of a 7.1 surround speaker system. The "point 1" speaker goes normally to a powered or active subwoofer.
2.4 Amps For Distributed Audio Systems
Distributed audio systems that pipe music throughout an entire home use multi-channel amps that can have upwards of 24 to 26 channels of amplification. It is also not uncommon to see these amps be card-based, which means they are configurable as needed for each installation.
Heat is a big issue for these distributed audio system amplification systems, so digital amplifier (class D) technology is increasingly used in these amps.