What are all-in-one connected receivers really worth compared to traditional hi-fi amplifiers? Can they drive all types of loudspeaker, most notably floorstanders? Is their compact format synonymous with limited power? Here are a few elements which may help answer this question.
Compact stereo amplifiers half as large as standard models are now in some ways a novelty. Major players in the audio industry have been designing compact devices to listen to radios and Audio CDs for decades. The main asset of these devices is obviously their compact design, but all-in-one compact devices also benefit from technical advantages.
Connected amplifiers: the audio signal travels through shorter paths
All-in-one stereo amplifiers are a great solution to deal with a very few cables (especially RCA cables), unlike a full stereo system comprised of separated components. No need to connect the CD player to the amplifier with an RCA cable, or to use a digital cable to connect the network player. In addition to the undisputable financial advantage, using an all-in-one device ensures better preservation of the audio signal due to the sorter signal path, which results in improved sound quality.
Connected receivers: powerful devices
With the soaring popularity of switched-mode power supplies (extremely compact models), it is now possible to design very compact amplifiers with the ability to deliver dozens of Watts per channel, which was unthinkable 10 years ago.
Connected receivers: digital technology
Moreover, some all-in-one receivers work as a power DAC. Rather than amplifying analog audio signals, which damages the signal and creates distortion, digital amplifiers convert sounds into digital data which are then modulated. The signal is fundamentally left intact. At the end of the signal path, the digital audio signal is filtered in order to transmit audible sounds to the loudspeakers.
The result is outstanding, the sound is extremely smooth and the soundstage is spacious. The sound of digital amplifiers is sometimes compared to the sound signature of tube amplifiers, an old technology which is still considered as the pinnacle of musical restitution.
Connected receivers: Bluetooth aptX
The vast majority of all-in-one receivers released in 2018 are fitted with a Bluetooth receiver to allow users to stream music from a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, and even a Bluetooth enabled TV. These Bluetooth enabled receivers, such as the Elipson Music Center Mini BT and Tangent Ampster II BT, are now compatible with the Qualcomm aptX high-quality wireless transmission.
Connected receivers: Wake On Bluetooth
Certain connected receivers automatically start upon detecting an incoming Bluetooth audio signal transmitted by a previously paired smartphone. This function is offered by the Elipson Media Center Mini BT et Tangent Ampster II connected receivers.
Often WiFi compatible and now multiroom ready
These compact receivers feature multiple wireless features, which means they can be used to access audio files shared via a local network (DLNA protocol) and the Internet. It is also possible to listen to Internet radios as well as online music streaming services. While certain models only feature Spotify Connect, other receivers, such as the Denon Ceol RCD-N10, offer more options.
The Denon RCD-N10 connected receiver is also Denon HEOS compatible and may be added to a multiroom installation. This allows the user to use the Denon HEOS app to control the Ceol N10 receiver as well as all home theater receivers and loudspeakers compatible with Denon HEOS. You can then stream music throughout your entire home.