AV amplifiers and HIFI amplifiers are the two most common devices in the speaker equipment market. For many entry users, he may not yet know “what is AV amplifier, what is HIFI amplifier.” So what is the difference between AV receiver vs amplifier, and how do you choose the amplifier you need?

What is an AV amplifier? The AV amplifier’s A(audio) means audio and sound, and V(video) means audio and image. Therefore, the AV amplifier is an audio-visual amplifier that integrates audio and video signal processing. It emphasizes the atmosphere of the sound field and is specially used for home theaters.

cambridge amplifier
*Cambridge Audio HiFi Amplifier

What is a HIFI amplifier? HiFi is an abbreviation of Hight-Fidelity. It requires the audio equipment to amplify and process the various indicators of the sound signal without distortion during the playback process to restore the original appearance of the sound source. The emphasis is on authentic reproduction, which is specifically used to enjoy music, such as classical music.

The Difference Between AV Receiver vs Amplifier

In the above, we briefly understood “what is AV receiver and what is HIFI amplifier,” and realized the difference between the AV receiver and HIFI amplifier. The former is mainly used in the field of home theater and requires audio + video equipment. The latter only needs to provide audio equipment, focusing on listening to music. In addition to this, what other differences are there between the AV receiver and the HIFI amplifier?

1. The number of channels is different

AV receivers have 4-9, or even 11 channels, pushing multiple speakers to form a surround sound field. For example, Dolby AC-3 requires 5.1 channels. The Hi-Fi amplifier is generally two channels when playing. That is, amplify the left and right channels’ signals and push the left and right speakers, forming a stereo sound field.

onkyo TX-NR797 back panel
* Onkyo AV receiver’s back panel

2. Different parameters

The AV-receiver parameters mainly include output power, harmonic distortion, signal-to-noise ratio, frequency range, and rated impedance and damping coefficient. In particular, the index parameters such as channel isolation, delay time range, and various sound field modes are emphasized, and there are more indexes related to the video part. Although the Hi-Fi amplifier also has these parameters, it emphasizes harmonic distortion and signal-to-noise ratio.

3. Different sound atmosphere

The primary design purpose of the AV receiver is to create a sound field. Emphasize the sense of orientation of the sound and simulate the atmosphere of the listening environment. The Hi-Fi amplifier is designed for high-fidelity, and it focuses on amplifying the signal emitted by the signal source. Mainly used to enjoy music, vocals, etc., and pursue the real effect of sound.

Can AV Receiver be used as HIFI Amplifier?

AV receiver integrates audio and video signal processing amplifiers. The HIFI amplifier only has an audio amplifier. So can we use the AV power amplifier instead of the HIFI power amplifier? The answer is no. There are three reasons.

1. The AV receiver has insufficient power when playing music with an extensive dynamic rangeIn the two-channel mode of the AV receiver, if you use music with a broad dynamic range for an audition, you can feel powerless. The Hi-Fi amplifier seems to have enough power.

2. AV receiver wiring affects sound qualityThe AV receiver is equipped with a variety of video and audio ports, which are connected to multiple sets of audio and video signal sources, resulting in many signal traces. It is effortless to cause the signals’ mutual interference so that the original rich high-frequency components of the excellent signal source are attenuated or interfered so that the listener cannot appreciate the high-fidelity effect.

Onkyo receiver
*Onkyo AV Receiver

3. The fluorescent screen of the AV receiver will interfere with the sound qualityThe AV power amplifier panel is equipped with a giant fluorescent display. The character display is driven by the pulse signal, which will emit a lot of electromagnetic interference to the surroundings, which affects the sound quality.

It is said that the AV receiver can not replace the HIFI amplifier, but it does not have to be so true. If your requirements for sound quality are not too high, the AV receiver can also be used as a HIFI amplifier. For example, Onkyo’s AV receiver is an industry-recognized amplifier device that can be used not only in home theaters but also in music appreciation. Of course, the final effect is not so ideal compared to professional HIFI amplifiers.