Integrated Amplifier : Working, Diagram, Types,Vs Power Amplifier, How to Choose & Its Applications

Integrated amplifiers play a key role in the audio world and are available in different shapes and sizes. This amplifier combines both the preamplifier & a power amplifier into a single device to provide the path ultimately to your audio equipment. These amplifiers are very common in A/V receivers, stereo (or) home theater components, and & other audio equipment. These amplifiers may sound similar to a specialized part of the equipment as compared to regular amplifiers. This article discusses an overview of an integrated amplifier, its working, and its applications.

What is an Integrated Amplifier?

An integrated amplifier is an electronic device in a Hi-Fi audio system that integrates an audio preamplifier & power amplifier within a single unit. Both the Preamplifier & power amplifiers are combined with AM/FM radio, phono stage, tone controls & attenuation. This allows simply for simplified system arrangement, decreased component count & better audio performance because both the preamplifier & power amplifier can be designed & optimized to work as one. Most current audio amplifiers are incorporated with several inputs for audio devices like; DVD players, auxiliary sources & CD players.

Integrated Amplifier
                         Integrated Amplifier

Integrated Amplifier Working

The integrated amplifier has two sections the preamplifier & the power amplifier. First, the preamp accepts a weak audio signal from an audio device like an AM/FM receiver, or turntable (or) DAC, after that it improves the signal into line level. After that, this signal is transmitted to the power amplifier component.

Further, the power amplifier component amplifies the signal to generate a very powerful audio signal called the speaker-level signal which is given to drive the speakers. So this is how an integrated amplifier exactly works to strengthen the signals. At present, most modern integrated amplifiers have some extra capabilities as part of their basic functioning and also an in-built DAC & numerous input possibilities including an input selector, Wi-Fi functionality, Bluetooth, and many more.

Integrated Amplifier in HiFi Audio Systems

An integrated amplifier is a significant component in Hi-Fi audio systems that unites both a preamplifier & a power amplifier within a single unit. The integrated amplifier in the HiFi audio system diagram is shown below.

Integrated Amplifier in HiFi Audio Systems
                                         Integrated Amplifier in HiFi Audio Systems

In the above diagram, all the inputs are given to the amplifier and a selector will decide which one to utilize. The pre-amplifier & amplifier are combined into a single amplifier block and different speakers & their cross-over are combined into a speaker block.


The HiFi audio system components mainly include inputs, processes, and outputs which are discussed below.

Inputs: In the HiFi audio system, the inputs are; microphones, MP3 player, CD player, cassette player, DVD player, radio tuner, turntable, minidisk player, etc. The music on some media is encoded & changed into electrical signals by the different players.

Process: The electrical signals can be processed by different amplifiers from different sources. So pre-amplifier adapts the signal by changing the tonal equalization, choosing which input to utilize, providing volume & balance controls, and frequently powering a headphone socket. Here, the amplifier enhances the output power like both the voltage & current.

The preamplifier in an integrated amplifier is liable to process & control the audio signal before the power amplifier strengthens it. So the main features of this mainly include; tone control, volume control & input selection. A high-class preamplifier significantly improves the audio performance of the system, decreasing noise & distortion while providing superior control above the audio output.

The power amplifier in an integrated amplifier is accountable for amplifying the audio signal to a level that can be played throughout speakers. The quality & performance of a power amplifier is critical to the system’s audio performance because a power amplifier provides accurate and very clean amplification with the least distortion. In addition, some integrated amplifiers comprise various power amplifier stages with better flexibility & control above the audio output.

Outputs: In the outputs, the speakers convert the electrical signals into sound signals from the amplifier. In this section, the bigger speaker is a bass speaker which handles low frequencies whereas the smaller speaker handles the higher frequencies. The passive crossover divides the signal into its different frequencies so that the right signals will be transmitted to the suitable speaker.

The integrated amplifier can differ significantly in performance & quality from high-end models with superior features like; several power amplifier stages, specific power supplies & high-quality components. Moreover, some integrated amplifiers contain support for extra features like; Bluetooth connectivity, streaming capabilities, and digital inputs by providing added flexibility & convenience within system design.

Types of Integrated Amplifiers

Integrated amplifiers are available in different types and each type has its unique features & capabilities. Some of the most frequently used integrated amplifiers are discussed below.

Stereo Integrated Amplifiers

These types of integrated amplifiers are the most frequently used type which includes a combined preamplifier & a power amplifier in a single device. These amplifiers are mainly designed for powering two speakers where one speaker is for the right channel & another one is for the right channel. Stereo-type integrated amplifiers are mainly used in stereo to listen to music.

Stereo Integrated Amplifiers
Stereo Integrated Amplifiers

Home Theater Integrated Amplifiers

These integrated amplifiers are also called A/V receivers which are used to power various speakers & provide surround sound for TV shows & movies. These amplifiers comprise a power amplifier, preamplifier & different inputs & outputs to connect to other devices like a Blu-ray player, game console, or TV.

Home Theater IAs
Home Theater IAs

Tube Integrated Amplifiers

Tube-integrated amplifiers are designed to amplify the signal by utilizing vacuum tubes. They provide a more natural and warmer sound as compared to solid-state amplifiers. These amplifiers are frequently chosen by audiophiles who charge sound quality above convenience.

Tube IAs
Tube IAs

Digital Integrated Amplifiers

Digital integrated amplifiers utilize digital signal processing to amplify the signal. These are more compact & energy-efficient as compared to analog amplifiers because they provide different features like; network connectivity & room correction.

Integrated Amplifier Vs Power Amplifier

The difference between the integrated amplifier and power amplifier includes the following.

Integrated Amplifier

Power Amplifier

An electrical device that incorporates a preamplifier & a power amplifier is known as an integrated amplifier. An impressive electronic marvel that is designed to amplify the signal’s strength with sheer power to single (or) more speakers is known as a power amplifier.
It is not a separate audio system but it integrates two audio devices into one unit. The power amplifier is a stand-alone audio device with a single audio component within its enclosure.
This amplifier merges both preamp & power amplifier functions to increase the audio signal. The power amplifier function is to amplify an audio signal for driving speakers.
Integrated amplifiers are less powerful, so they cannot drive big speakers & subwoofers powerfully as compared to power amplifiers. Power amplifiers are very powerful, and drive large speakers and subwoofers very efficiently compared to integrated amplifiers.
The amplified audio signals in this amplifier are not stronger as compared to those increased by power amplifiers. Amplified audio signals in power amplifiers are stronger as compared to those improved by integrated amplifiers.
The integrated amplifier uses less space & is suitable for compact configurations. Power amplifier consumes more space & is suitable for custom configurations.
Audio and bass control are possible. Audio and bass control is not possible.
Power output ranges from moderate to high Power output is high for driving demanding setups.
It is integrated with different audio sources. This amplifier is specialized for mainly raw audio amplification.
Its sound quality is balanced. This amplifier’s sound quality is raw and uncolored o/p.
Perfect for small size to medium-sized rooms. Appropriate for larger & open spaces.
Integrated amplifier expandability is limited. Power amplifier expandability is flexible.
It has a simple setup and also an easy-to-use interface. This amplifier needs very advanced knowledge for arrangement.
The integrated amplifier is affordable. Power amplifiers is expensive.
Its maintenance & troubleshooting is simple. It needs more maintenance due to its complexity.

How to Select Integrated Amplifier?

  • While choosing an integrated amplifier, it is significant to consider various factors like; compatibility with other components within the system, the preamplifier quality, size, power amplifier stages budget & the overall construction & design of the device.
  • In addition, some integrated amplifiers are designed with precise performance characteristics like; high power output or a focus on low noise.
  • When choosing an integrated amplifier, first you need to consider the output power because this determines how much power it can deliver to a speaker.
  • The number of inputs and outputs & their types need to be considered.
  • An integrated amplifier mainly your home audio system can be chosen by considering your requirements & budget. Some factors need to be considered while selecting mainly including connectivity options, build quality & power output.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of an integrated amplifier include the following.

  • The integrated amplifier is compatible with a broad range of speakers.
  • They are very convenient and flexible.
  • Integrated amplifiers deliver an attractive auditory experience for the majority of listeners.
  • These are mainly designed for tiny to medium-sized settings
  • They provide a streamlined setup process with incorporated controls & functions.
  • These have elegant & compact designs
  • These amplifiers’ maintenance is incredibly simple because of their fewer components to manage as well as troubleshoot.
  • They have fewer interconnects and they need fewer cables.
  • It occupies less space
  • It is flexible & compatible widely with passive speakers.
  • This amplifier is cost-effective.

The disadvantages of integrated amplifiers include the following.

  • Integrated amplifiers do not provide as much flexibility as separate components.
  • These may also be imperfect in terms of power output.
  • They have low upgrade potential.
  • The power supply can be shared between the channels.
  • It has limited inputs & power rating.
  • Its price varies based on different design and features.
  • This amplifier may enhance the load of a single loudspeaker.


The applications of integrated amplifiers include the following.

  • Integrated amplifiers are significant parts of any home audio system.
  • This amplifier can be utilized to power the right & front left speakers for home theater systems
  • These are used in hi-fi systems to provide the power required to drive high-quality speakers.
  • These amplifiers are a great choice mainly for music systems to power floor-standing speakers or bookshelfs for providing a complete & rich sound.
  • The integrated amplifier is used in commercial sound applications which allow you to plug a microphone into the input & connect a speaker to the output for a whole package.
  • These are very popular for home audio systems due to their compact, convenient & very simple to use.
  • These amplifiers are used to listen to music through audiophiles.

Thus, this is an overview of integrated amplifiers, working, and their applications. These are significant components in Hi-Fi audio systems that provide both pre-amplification as well as power amplification within a single unit. The performance & quality of both the preamplifier as well as power amplifier stages are critical to the overall system’s audio performance with higher-quality components & higher features like flexibility & greater control. Many factors need to be considered when choosing this amplifier like; audio quality, compatibility, and extra features to attain the best feasible audio performance. Here is a question for you, what is a preamplifier?