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  3. Back to Basics: Amplifier Connections

Amplifier Connections

So you've just bought a new amplifier and you're wondering how to connect it? This article will show you everything you could possibly want to know about the connections in the back of your amplifier. There will be two articles: One for stereo amplifiers and one for home theater receivers. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.


Stereo Integrated Amplifiers

Stereo amplifiers are the most common type of stereo amplifiers. One of the simplest ways to create high quality sound. These are connected to your source components and to your speakers.


We will start with the NAD C356, which is a popular model of stereo amplifier, which looks like this from the back.



Let's zoom in on the RCA connections (the red and white ones) these are the most common way for connecting analogue audio components like CD players, tuners, turntables etc.



Green: Analogue Audio Inputs (RCA)

This is where you plug in all of your source components in like a CD player, Sonos Connect, Media Player, Digital to Analogue converter, tuner, etc.


Orange: Pre-Amp Outputs

The integrated amplifier is made up of two parts: The Pre-Amplifier which switches between sources and changes volume and the Power amplifier, which powers the speaker. On the NAD C356, Pre OUT 1 allows you to connect an external power amplifier, and Pre OUT2 which connects to the internal power amplifier


Red: Line Level Outputs

These are designed to send the source at it's original volume through to a recording or monitoring device, like a tape recorder or computer audio interface.


Other Connectors:

  • Main In: Designed so that you can use the amplifier as just a "power amplifier" Useful when connecting to a home theater amplifier.
  • RS-232: For connecting to external control systems like Bitwise and Elan G!. Generally only used by professional custom installers
  • 12V Trigger Out: Used for turning on external power amplifiers when the amplifier is turned on. This uses a "3.5mm" mono cable.
  • IR IN:Allows you to use a IR repeating system with the amplifier. Useful when  you want to hide away your equipment and still control it.
  • IR OUT: Allows you to "daisy chain" IR connections


Note: Sometimes there are small plastic caps in these plugs. These should be removed.


Green: Speaker A

Used for connecting your main speakers. Each speaker has a single positive and negative cable. If your cable isnt marked red and black, often one side will have a small ridge. Remember "ridge is red". The left and right speakers are defined from your listening position looking towards the speakers.


Yellow: Speaker B

Many stereo amplifiers will have a second set of speaker outputs for connecting speakers in  another room. In stereo amplifiers this is generally only at the same volume using the same source as the "A speakers" 


 THAT'S IT! That's all you need for a basic stereo set up. If you have a surround sound system , stay tuned for our next article describing how to do a basic home theater set up.


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