How to Connect a Power Amp to an AV Receiver (Step by Step)

If you are new to the audio game, then it can be a bit overwhelming to look at the back of an AV receiver and wonder which plugs go where and how to connect various devices.

Fortunately, with a little direction, connecting a power amp to an AV receiver does not have to be too bad.

How to connect a power amp to an AV receiver?

First, add a trigger wire between the two devices so they turn on simultaneously. Then, use RCA cables to connect the devices from the receiver’s pre-out to the amplifier’s jack. Be sure to use an unbalanced connection. Finally, connect the speaker to the amp using a +/- connection wire.

How to Connect a Power Amp to an AV Receiver

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You will likely find that once you begin working with this type of equipment, it begins to become a bit easier as you go. You can add as many connections from the AV receiver to the power amp (and respective speakers) as the AV receiver can support.

While these descriptions are pretty standard, let’s take a closer look to help solidify the details of the steps you will need to follow.

Also read: How to Connect an Integrated Amplifier to an AV Receiver

How to Connect a Power Amp to an AV Receiver

As you sit there dumbfounded looking at the various labels, jacks, and input/output options, know that you are not alone in this feat.

While those who have been around this type of work and equipment for a while can make it look easy, we all had to start somewhere. Learning how to connect a power amp to an AV receiver is a great place to start.

This is where you will begin to understand the basic functions of a speaker system. With this knowledge, you can unlock endless potential as you begin to stream amplified audio in your home.

Whether you use this to build an in-home theater with a surround sound speaker system or another option, you are sure to be proud of the setup you create.

So, let’s take a closer look at the steps you will need to follow to begin connecting a power amp to an AV receiver.

Check out my recommended AV receivers.

1. Find the power source for all pieces of equipment

If you already have your equipment plugged in, then you obviously know where the power source is located. But, if not, then it is wise to configure how you will eventually plug in these pieces of equipment once they are ready to be used.

Along with this, as you locate the power source for the pieces of sound equipment that you are using, it is important to unplug all components from power if you are unsure of what you are doing. This can help to eliminate any technical errors from disrupting or damaging your equipment.

Once you are confident that you have plugged in the stable connections, then you can resume by turning the power on or plugging in the devices again. Just be sure to turn the volume down on the speakers when possible to avoid any damage to your equipment.

RCA cable

2. Purchase all the necessary equipment (trigger wire, RCA cable, speaker wire)

Now that your equipment has been turned off and is removed from power, you can begin to review your checklist for the equipment that you will need to connect a power amp to an AV receiver.

Fortunately, this equipment list is not incredibly extensive, but it is important to have all components on the list before you begin. Otherwise, you might have to disrupt your process to hunt down a missing piece.

For connecting a power amp to an AV receiver, you will need an RCA cable to connect these two pieces of equipment as well as an associated speaker and speaker wire to stream the audio from the amp to the speaker.

Along with this, you can add a trigger wire to the list to connect between the power amp and the AV receiver for powering them both up at the same time.

As you continue to add multiple speakers to the various channels supported by your AV receiver, you will need to purchase the same respective number of RCA cables and speaker wires to stream the connection.

3. Run a trigger wire from the Power Amp to the AV Receiver

Now that you have all of the equipment that you need to begin the connection process between your power amp and your AV receiver, you can get started with the fun stuff.

The first decision that you will want to make before doing this is if you would like to be able to turn one switch on to activate both the AV receiver and the power amp, or if you would like to turn them on separately.

Many people opt to turn them on simultaneously out of sheer ease of use as this means pushing one button or flipping one switch rather than two each time you want to turn your device(s) on and off. But, ultimately, this comes down to how you want to operate your sound system.

If you would like to be able to turn on the power amp and the AV receiver simultaneously, then you can run a trigger wire from the power amp to the AV receiver. This should be pretty clearly labeled, and it is an independent wire that will connect in one port/jack on each piece.

However, if you prefer to turn on the power amp and the AV receiver with separate buttons or switches, then you can simply skip this step and move on to the next one.

This will not affect the sound quality of your device, but it will establish an easier power connection should you so choose to go this route.

4. Use an RCA cable to connect the AV receiver’s pre-out to the power amplifier’s jack

Now that you have connected the power supports for your power amp and AV receiver, it is time to get to the heart of connecting the two devices which comes down to using an RCA cable to connect the AV receiver’s pre-out to the power amplifier’s jack in respect to the speaker you are attempting to connect.

amplifier’s jack

The more speakers you desire to connect, the more times you will repeat this step with the appropriately connected speaker channel connections.

Ultimately, it is important to note that connecting the AV receiver to the power amp does not give the AV receiver power, but it does provide a way to supply power up to the rating of the Amp.

You can choose which speaker you would eventually like to connect with the connection you are providing between the power amp and the AV receiver.

If, for example, you are beginning by connecting the Center speaker, then you would want to make sure that this is the pre-out option that you select on the AV receiver.

Using this example, you would insert the RCA cable into the pre-out Center speaker option, and then you would connect it to an unbalanced jack on the power amp.

From here, you would connect the Center speaker of your sound system to the Power amp directly underneath (or sometimes next to) this cabled connection where you will find the positive and negative speaker wire connections available.

5. Establish an unbalanced connection

As you run the RCA cable between the power amplifier and the AV receiver, it is important to ensure that you have established an unbalanced connection.

While this article is not intended to describe the difference between a balanced and an unbalanced connection, it is still important to note this part of the process.

Some power amps have the unbalanced connection simply labeled near the jack that you will be plugging the RCA cable into, but others require that you flip a small switch to establish a balanced or unbalanced connection.

For connecting the AV receiver to the power amp, just be sure that it is an unbalanced connection.

6. Use a speaker wire to make a positive/negative connection between the power amp and the speaker

Now that your power amp and AV receiver have been physically connected, it is important to complete the process by connecting the speaker that you desire to use for the production of the audio that the other two pieces of equipment are streaming.

To do this, you will need to locate the speaker wire and plug it into the speaker. Then, on the other end of the wire, take these positive and negative connections and plug them into the power amp.

You should use the plugins that are directly paired with the RCA cable that you used for this channel’s connection.

As in the example listed in the above steps, if you are using the Center speaker channel connection with your RCA cable, then it is important that you are, in fact, connecting the Center speaker to the power amp at this point.

7. Repeat these steps for additional speakers

Now that you have connected the power amp and the AV receiver as well as hooked up the associated speaker, you should be good to go for this speaker channel option.

But, if you want to continue adding additional speakers, then you will need to run an RCA cable and speaker wire in the same manner as described in the above steps.

You can repeat this connection for each speaker that you would like to add to your sound system.

Of course, your only limitation here is the number of speakers that the AV receiver can support, as this will ultimately be the final number of established connections that you will be able to create between all of the components in this sound system setup.

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