Receiver or Amplifier for Turntable? Choose Wisely!

You’ve recently bought a turntable and want to use it without any restrictions. However, you are confused between the receiver and amplifier for your turntable. 

So, which one should you get? receiver or amplifier for turntable?

If you want a good performance within budget, you can opt for the receiver. Receivers don’t require pre-amp or amps. However, if you want the best possible sound quality, you’ll need an amplifier. In that case, you’ll need a preamp if your amplifier isn’t powered. The whole amp setup will cost you a bit more.

That’s just the summary. We’ve made a comprehensive article on the topic. Hopefully, it’ll help you with decision-making.

Spare us a few minutes and your confusion will be cleared in no time. 

Let’s begin.

A Quick Comparison

So, the question arises,” When do I need a receiver or amplifier?”. To make things easy for you we have made a quick comparison between the two.

Aspects Receiver Amplifier
WattageMore Relatively less 
Sound Quality & Control Vintage grungy Crispy clean 
Surround Sound Available Not Available 
Upgradability More Less
Pre Amp Available Not Available

Now let’s move on to the detailed comparison.

Detailed Comparison

So, what is the difference between a receiver and an amplifier?

The answer lies in your usage and purpose. If you want clean power at a high volume, you’ll need more wattage. Vintage receivers are a good way to get lots of clean wattage at a cheap price.

However, If you are an audiophile and want superior control and quality, you need an amplifier. Also, you might add a preamplifier for better control over the sound.

receiver and an amplifier

The best amplifier performance is achieved by using it for a singular task. This means building them as amplifiers rather than receivers. 

They can be laid out internally for optimal performance without adding radio circuitry.

Listeners looking for the best audio performance at a given price choose amplifiers.

However, you can use your home receiver as a power amplifier. But, keep in mind that the sound quality will not be better than a traditional amplifier.

Receivers On Turntable: 

Receivers are very popular among stereo listeners. Receivers are designed for audio and video. 

Although receivers are optimized for surround sound, you can use them in stereo mode too.

Receivers On Turntable

Also, receiver output does not depend on the input power. So there will be no loss on the output side. You need not worry about the power wattage.

Another advantage of receivers is upgradability. It’s more cost-effective to upgrade a receiver. With powered speakers there is limited option and prices may increase with time.

If you buy a decent receiver, you have a limitless variety of passive speakers. This adds to the versatility of the receivers.

Speaking of buying one, why don’t you check out some of the best receivers now? Don’t worry, there’s a receiver from each price segment. So, feast your eyes on these receivers-

Let’s start with the budget one. Sony STR DH 190 2-ch Home Stereo Receiver is perfect if you’re looking for something affordable. It has phono output and Bluetooth built-in.

For amateur users, YAMAHA R-N303BL Stereo Receiver can be the go-to receiver. It even has Wi-Fi and Alexa support. So, you get the best of both worlds.

Now arrives the premium one. Marantz NR1200 AV Receiver has everything you need from a modern turntable receiver. You pay the heavy bucks and get the best possible thing out there.


Now, the thing about receivers is that they also require preamps. But what if your receiver has a phono input? Do you need a preamp if your receiver has a phono input?

No, you don’t need a preamp if your receiver has a phono input. You also don’t need a preamp if your receiver has an integrated one.

It is just a convenient way to get everything in one place. You need all of these components regardless. Thus receivers are economical too.

Amplifiers On Turntable

On the other side of the table, there are the amplifiers. An amplifier amplifies the input voltage and adds gain.

The turntable pre amplifier adds gain to the recorder output. Then it is received by the amplifier. The amplifier further amplifies the voltage and sound. 

The amount of gain added by the amp and preamp is tremendous.

turntable pre amplifier

A turntable also needs an amplifier to play vinyl records. The output signal of a turntable is weak. It is not strong enough to drive a speaker. However, be sure not to use too much-warped vinyl for playback.

An amplifier boosts the signal and enables the turntable to play records.

Another big advantage of the amplifier is the power and voltage gain. An amplifier can make sounds way louder than the original one. 

If you want more power and loud sound, you can opt-out of an amplifier. A high-power amplifier produces clear and better sound than normal ones. On top of that, your whole sound system will look complete.

Keep in mind that you will need a preamp at times. This will increase the cost. However, that won’t be needed if you go for an integrated build! Here are some great amplifiers with integrated amp-

Looking for something under $500? Cambridge Audio AXA35 is the one for you. It’ll take just a few minutes to connect all your equipment.

Second on the list is Denon PMA-600NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier. You can enjoy the masterful sound from this awesome amp.

Lastly, the king of amplifiers, the Yamaha A-S701BL Natural Sound Integrated Stereo Amplifier. You’ll be unable to move back to other amps once you’ve experienced this.

So, check them out and choose whichever seems the right fit!

Advantages & Disadvantages of Receivers and Amplifiers

Let’s take a peek at the pros and cons of having a receiver-

Advantages of Receivers

  • Costs less and requires fewer components
  • Only a receiver can provide a surround sound experience
  • It offers more options for inputs and outputs
  • Does not require pre amps or phono amps

Disadvantages of Receivers

  • Does not have power and voltage control 
  • Less loud sound than amplifiers
  • Sound Clarity and quality are a concern

Well, the same pros and cons thing can be said for amplifiers as well. Have a look-

Advantages of Amplifiers

  • Better sound quality and clarity 
  • Highly stabilized gain and fidelity 
  • Input and output impedances are upgradable
  • Provides louder sound than the receivers

Disadvantages of Amplifiers

  • Requires additional components 
  • Price is higher than receivers 
  • Sometimes amplifiers can be a bit noisy and distorted.
  • No support for surround sound or DTS (Digital Theater System)

Receiver or Amplifier: Which One is Better?

You probably already know when to use receivers and amplifiers.

If you only want to set up a stereo system with two speakers, get an amplifier. You can add subwoofers to the system too.

On the other hand, if you want to set up home entertainment with surround sound, a receiver would be a better choice.

For this setup, you’ll need more speakers. So, you’ll need more channels to power them. In this case, you wouldn’t want an amplifier.

Also, price is a factor in the decision. If you want a less expensive and compact build, choose a receiver. It offers a preamp and phono amp in some cases. On the other hand, if you want good sound quality with good gain, choose an amplifier.

Choosing the best option can be tedious like choosing between MK2 and MK5 variants of techniques.

It depends on your demand and usage. An amplifier amplifies the voltage signal from the input and adds gain to it. Thus the signal can be used by the speaker to create sound. 

On the other hand, a receiver is also an amplifier. But it has a radio segment built in. The radio is used like any other normal amplifier. 

In short, all receivers are amplifiers. But not all amplifiers are receivers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a preamp and an amplifier?

Yes, you will need both for operation. Preamps don’t have the power to drive the speakers. You will need a power amp for that purpose. Power amps take signals at a line level. Preamps do this job. You can theoretically go from preamps to speakers, but that is not feasible.

Does a turntable require speakers?

Yes, turntables need speakers. Turntables do not have any built-in speakers. You can use powered or unpowered speakers with a turntable. Powered speakers have a built-in amp or pre-amp. However, nonpowered speakers will require additional amplifiers for operation.

Why are amplifiers more expensive than receivers?

Amplifiers are expensive because they use pre and power tubes as primary amplification. Each tube costs around 50$ which adds to the price. Also, amplifiers have more expensive components than receivers. Adding up to that, amplifiers require more housing space for wirings. This makes them expensive.


That’ll be all regarding receiver or amplifier for turntable. Hopefully, you know now which one is suitable for your purpose. 

We hope that you’ll have the best compatible build for your turntable. 

See you soon.

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