Stereo Receivers offer important features that enhance sound quality and make the component easier to use . Consider these features when purchasing a stereo receiver, integrated amplifier or separate components.
Speaker A & B Outputs
Speaker A & B outputs allow connection of two pair of speakers to the receiver, one pair in the main room, one pair in another room. This is considered a basic multiroom sound system that provides music in two rooms using one receiver. In some cases you can play Speaker A & B simultaneously, others allow only Speaker A or B.
Loudness Control or Loudness Contour Switch
A Loudness Control or Contour switch is used to compensate for the characteristics of human hearing. The human ear is most sensitive to midrange sounds or frequencies (between 1kHz
and 5kHz) and less sensitive to low and high frequencies. As a result, bass and treble sounds are more difficult to hear at low playback volumes. Some stereo receivers have a Loudness Switch that raises the volume of the bass and treble frequencies at low volume to compensate for this effect. As the volume is raised the effect of the Loudness Control is reduced.
Source Direct Features
Some receivers have a Source Direct feature or switch, also known as Pure Direct, CD Direct or other similar names. This feature bypasses some of the internal circuitry in the receiver, such as tone controls, balance controls and other circuits to provide the shortest signal path and the best or purest sound quality. In some cases, the Direct feature also turns-off the receiver's front panel display to reduce potential interference with the audio signal. Direct features can be used with the analog or digital inputs on the receiver. The effect, often subtle, increases the clarity of the sound.
In order to play a phonograph record, a receiver must have a 'Phono' input. There are two types of phono inputs, moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC), which depends on the type of phono cartridge used on the player. If you plan on playing vinyl records on your stereo system, be sure it has a phono input. If it doesn't, an external phono preamp can be purchased at many electronics stores or online-click links below. Read my reviews here
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Smaller stereo speakers usually require a subwoofer
to reproduce low bass. A subwoofer enhances music programs and adds impact to movie soundtracks. Subwoofers don't have to be large and many can be concealed behind furniture or in a corner.
Most all receivers come with a remote control. In some cases the remote control is single function, which means it can only operate the receiver. Other types of
remote controls include learning or universal remote controls. A learning remote control can 'learn' commands from other component remote control or are universal, which have pre-programmed codes from other components built-in and can be activated by entering a numeric code.
Multiroom Audio Outputs
Multiroom audio allows you to play music in two or more rooms using the same receiver. A multiroom audio feature should be multi-source, so you can listen to one source in the main room and another in the second room. For example, listen to CD in the main room and FM radio in the second room at the same using the same receiver.
iPod Docking Stations for Receivers
An iPod docking station connects to the receiver and allows iPod music to be played on a stereo system. It's a great way to enjoy your iPod music collection. In some cases the iPod can be operated using the receiver remote control. Most manufacturers offer an iPod dock as an accessory item.