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High-End Audio, Part 3: Amplifiers To Make Your Speakers Sing

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Bring Out All the Emotion and Nuance in Music with McIntosh Amplifiers

This is the third of a series of blogs on one of our favorite solutionshigh-end audio. In the first two, we’ve gone from discussing the endpoint – the speakers that create the sound – to the sources, like streaming, vinyl, and CDs. In this final installment, we’re going to go into the middle – the amplifier, the piece of equipment that creates the current to drive the speaker.

Power amplifiers are what make speakers come alive. Speakers are not all the same, and some amplifiers make far better partners for some speakers than others. Some speakers are relatively efficient, requiring smaller amounts of current to achieve high sound levels and clarity, and some only sound their best with copious quantities of undistorted power. 

One of our favorite amplifier brands is McIntosh. The company’s amplifiers are legendary, having powered the famous Woodstock concert of the late 1960s. Their build quality and longevity let them be passed down from one generation to the next, like a classic vintage automobile. Let’s dive a little deeper into McIntosh amplifiers and how they can amp up the sound system in your listening room.

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Freestanding vs. Architectural Surround Sound Speakers

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When You Might Choose Freestanding Speakers

You’re Adding Speakers to an Existing Room

One of the key differences between freestanding and architectural speakers is installation. Freestanding speakers, whether bookshelf or tower, don’t require opening walls. If you’re upgrading an existing room and don’t want to tear into walls for built-in speakers, then choose freestanding instead.

You Prefer to Showcase Your Audio Gear

Whether you’re upgrading an existing room or building from scratch, you might still choose freestanding speakers if you love the aesthetic appeal that they add to your home theater. After all, many high-end tower and bookshelf speakers today are works of art! Still, keep in mind that large speakers—especially those placed on either side of your display—could distract viewers from the screen.

SEE ALSO: Home Theater FAQ: What to Know About Screens and Projectors

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