Power Amp Advantages
A big reason audiophiles love working with power amps is their ability to build from scratch.
You can build a whole system using a power amp.
But before we explain, just know there's a difference between preamps and power amps. Both names are synonymous with each other but shouldn't be.
For example, if you wanted additional subwoofers to your sound system, all you'd have to do is place a crossover and install a subwoofer.
The nature of a power amp is to boost the sound of your system. Even if you're not in the mood for adding accessories, adding a power amp is an upgrade to any sound system.
Having a power amp is like having a compounding effect similar to having more money.
When you have more money, you're able to take more risks and obtain more money.
Purchasing a power amp not only makes your system sound better by itself, it also allows you to add more amplifiers.
Imagine adding a power amp and then adding another one and another one....
You might literally blow your speakers off.
Not only is your sound system louder, but you can also change the tones of your sound.
You could build a system built for outdoor dimensions or your home theater.
Power Amp Disadvantages
Minor disadvantages is you have more equipment which means more room for error.
The other 2 disadvantages is it's hard to get a bass tube power amp, and using a class d amp results in a compact system leaving much room for tinkering.
Integrated Amp Advantages
The biggest advantage of an integrated amp is its affordability. Compared to a power amp, integrated amps are cheaper.
Besides that, you'll save money not having to build out your system. The integrated amp is a one and done purchase.
Before we mention the other advantage, do you know why integrated amp are called "integrated?"
It's because an integrated amp is combined with a preamp, switchers, tuners, and more. In essence, its true form is the advantage.
Besides this, you don't have to worry about extra baggage. You can plug and play. Most amps in the marketplace are integrated amps.
Think car stereos or mainstream stereos.
Integrated Amp Disadvantages
The most obvious disadvantage is you can't customize it. You get what you pay for.
The other disadvantage people don't realize is integrated amps have a limit on wattage power.
Most of them don't go over 500 watts. Granted, you won't need that much firepower, but it's also nice to know there's a limit.
If you use an integrated amp as a power amp you'll have more problems.
First off, an integrated amp is not as strong as a power amp. Using an integrated amp as a power amp will compromise sound.
If you're trying to insert via line level input, you're going to have impedance mismatches.
Most of the disadvantages of integrated amps are because it's the default. Defaults aren't made to break the mold, they're meant to do their job and that's it.
Which Amp Fits You?
If you're a casual listener then an integrated amp is for you.
There's less thought that goes into it and you don't have to worry about extra baggage. The settings on a regular receiver are usually good enough.
Audiophiles will appreciate a power amplifier more. The customization allows for experimentation.
All audiophiles aren't the same - making tweaks here and there will allow them to adjust to their specific liking.
Picking the right amp depends on the consumer.
For most people, it's worth it to just get the integrated amp.