How to Replace Amplifiers

by Matt Gerrard

An audio amplifier, to function at its best, needs to be compatible with other components in your system. Playback units, equalizers and speakers must all conform to the same electrical specifications as the amplifier. If your amplifier is faulty, or you choose to upgrade it, you must check all the relevant ratings and connect it properly.

Step 1

Turn off the amplifier and all the separate components connected to it. Disconnect everything from the power supply and gain access to the amplifier's rear panel. Disconnect each of the audio devices and lift the old amplifier out of its space.

Step 2

Check the rear of the amplifier for its specifications. You are looking for the RMS, or "Root-Mean-Square" power rating, measured in watts. Also take note of the impedance, rated in ohms, which refers to the electrical resistance rating. Write down these numbers.

Step 3

Check the format of all the connections. You want all your new amplifier's connections to match the old ones. Most amplifiers will accept RCA connectors, and most devices will include an RCA output. Connectors only become an issue with unique styles such as SPDIF digital optical connectors or HDMI sockets.

Step 4

Choose your new amplifier, preferably with an impedance rating in ohms that matches the old one. The wattage of your new amplifier can be more or less than the old one without any issues. If you're unsure, check the compatibility specifications of the new amplifier. It should have a chart listing compatible equipment configurations. Check on the connections the new amplifier offers. You may want to upgrade your cables, too, perhaps adding an HDMI cable for your HDTV's digital sound.

Step 5

Place the new amplifier into the same space or a new space that your components' cables can reach. Reattach all of the connections to the rear panel and power on all of the audio devices. Finally, power on the amplifier and test your devices.

About the Author

Matt Gerrard began writing in 2002, initially contributing articles about college student culture to "The Gateway" magazine, many of which were republished on the now-defunct Plinth blog. Since then, Gerrard has worked as a technician for musicians, educators, chemists and engineers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in music technology from DeMontfort University.

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