What is the best way to power speakers?

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The best stereo amp for you depends on what type of listening you do, what type of speakers you have and if you need portability.

Speakers don't do well without an amplifier of some type. In fact, they do nothing, so let's get right too it.

3 Ways to Supply Power to Speakers
  1. Buy an traditional small stereo amplifier or receiver if you also want a tuner.
  2. Purchase self powered speakers which have their own amplifiers built into them.
  3. Get battery powered speakers
All three options work and depending on the environment each has an advantage.


The small amplifier route.
If you are a traditionalist getting an amp, whether it be high end or low, gives you the most control over any effect the amplification will have on your music. It also allows you to be a little more free on how you allocate your funds. If you want a great pair of stereo speakers but can't afford the complimentary expensive amp, you can start with something that fits your budget and move up later. We're fond of this approach.

Best use:
  • If you want to power bookshelf, tower or architectural speakers that you just have to have but may not have room for a full on receiver. 
  • Powering old bookshelf speakers you have around the house.
Self powered speakers. Taking this approach can have mixed results. There are plenty of low end self powered speakers that will deliver noise but not music. You can get low price self powers PC speakers which can sound very nice but often either look weird or have other shortcomings. On the flip side there are plenty of excellent self powered speakers on the high end that will sound fantastic. One advantage to this type of set up, on the high end at least, is that you may get separate amps for the woofer and tweeter. Most times this will yield a superior results.

Best use:
  • You don't want the extra wires running all over the place.
  • You want the extra quality sound you might get from the separate amps and don't want or have room for an amp.
  • NOTE: many self powered speakers you'll find are Studio Monitors designed for near field listening. These are designed for someone sitting 2-3 feet away from the speakers and generally don't give as good of a showing in other environments or listening situations. 
Battery powered speakers. This category is usually relegated bluetooth speakers. You can usually get some great results with small to mid-sized speakers that can deliver some real punch. Once you get into larger speakers, ones that will deliver truly satisfying bass response, battery power will fall by the wayside.

Best use:
  • You need portability
That's all we have for today. The moral here is to think about what is most important to you before deciding.

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