Newbie question

I understand that my receiver puts out X amount of watts per channel.. let’s say 50 watts..
Do these 50 watts come from an integrated amp built inside of the receiver?
here’s my question..
if I am going to add a power amp to my receiver does it really matter whether my receiver puts of 50 watts or 150watts per channel if I’m adding a power amp that is let’s say 2500watts per channel..
im looking at buying a vintage receiver but if I’m going to add a power amp of 2500 watts and the receivers wattage is really of no matter then I will buy a 35 w per channel vintage receiver instead of a very costly 180w per channel receiver. Thank you for all your help 
A receiver is a tuner, pre-amp and amp built into one chassis.

An integrated amp is a pre-amp and amp built into one chassis.

If you are going to buy a vintage receiver and want to add an amp to it, essentially bypassing the built-in amp, you will need to buy a receiver that has L&R line-level pre-outs. Many receivers do have this feature, however many inexpensive units, i.e. low-power units, did not have this feature.

High quality vintage receivers are cool. I've owned a couple. However, they are old and may require refurbishment and/or repairs to get them into proper working order. Additionally, they often require periodic cleaning of the volume/balance/tone controls, etc. They also will not have remote control.

Unless you really enjoy the nostalgia of a vintage receiver, I wouldn't recommend one, just to use it as a pre-amp/tuner. And unless you listen to over-the-air radio, I wouldn't recommend a receiver at all.

There are lots of really good integrated amps on the new and used market. I would get the best quality integrated amp I could afford and not have the need to add an external power amp and hopefully it would also have remote control.

That's one man's opinion and YMMV. Good luck in your search.
Keep reading....

It appears you're caught up in the "I need more watts" mindset.
2500 watts isn't nearly enough. My wife's hair dryer has 3000 and she's always complaining it's not enough. One sure way to know you have enough watts is when you turn the amp on the breaker blows. Preferably the main breaker. When you have to add a whole new 200A panel just to serve your amp then you know, is time to add another amp. When you get to 2500 kW then we can talk.
Yeah, 2,500 watts with the right speakers will make your ears bleed and you’ll be half-deaf in no time. That said, @reubent is 100% correct. An out of date receiver is not the best way to go. If you are trying to add to power your current receiver, you can only add more power to one if it has the pre-outs as stated above.  If you are worried about not enough power, I’d suggest you start with an inexpensive pre-amp and buy an amp with say 200-300 watts, if you find you really want/need then you can swamp it out for a bigger amp. Or even bi-amp. If you like really like retro looking (I do)  buy some used Mcintosh stuff. 
It's always good to have more than you need, but you got the cart before the horse.. The type of watts you're seeing are typically for BASS work.
500-XXXX watt not uncommon. The issue is "GREAT watts", you have on hand.. 

Say WHAT? 20-100 watts per channel of HIGH quality watts is the place to start. The XXXX will be for the Subs and bass duty.. 

Do a little checking and understand Vintage is wonderful, IF that is how you started.. I started there 50 years ago, I'm still collecting.
For convenience and the sake of MONEY, steer clear of the older stuff for now..

A good integrated amp
A GREAT receiver (there are some)
Separates like Parasound for less money but great reliability..
Zpre3 and Zamps or an A21 or 23. You will be very happy..

Parasound is entry level to some.. It is top of the line to others.
I see it as good reliable HiFi equipment, not mid fi by any means.

So we are clear, I have  25+ pieces of Mac gear, not to mention another 25 of mixed varieties.. Marantz, HK, VTL, Cary. 

They need proper storage and to be fired up, at least 1/2 dozen times a year to keep things pretty fresh..

Be noisy for a couple weeks, collect some information.. Come up with a budget. AND STAY THERE.. 

Happy hunting, enjoy.  It is a lot of fun..

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@millercarbon 2500kw!! To paraphrase an old trope,  “it’s the first (couple of thousand) watts that are most important....
A cheap old receiver and 2500 watts of probably cheap pro-amp power. I could not think of a worse marriage of components.

Think about starting with a quality 50 watt integrated amp and then tell us the rest of the story. 
deadhead1000, You must be thinking of the great Robert Harley who famously said, "If the first thousand watts aren’t any good just get ten thousand more."

At some point it might even become obvious watts and receivers are not the way to go. The way they push receivers on budding young audiophiles on a budget, deluding them with the lie that a receiver can ever sound good (let alone great) borders on the criminal.

What you need to know roycerichards, and this is for real now, wire quality matters and separates require more wire and all this quality costs money. Big time money. That you don’t have.

What you want is a good quality integrated amp. Tube or ss, that is up to you. With or without a phono stage that is also up to you. Personally I would go tubes and outboard phono but that is just me and you are not me. No matter what though you want an integrated and NOT a receiver.

Also you do not need hardly any watts. No matter what anyone tells you, 20 is fine, 50 is plenty, and anything more is overkill. That is because being on a budget you are going to have to be smart with your money and the smartest thing you can do is avoid any and all speakers with less than 92dB sensitivity, or even better consider only 95 dB and up.

People hate hearing this. Usually people who screwed up and bought low sensitivity speakers then spent years and thousands trying to find the right amp to drive them. This sets up what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, the inability to accept the fact that you screwed up.

If you think really high end audio requires separates, think again.

Now you know how to avoid screwing up: speakers 92dB or greater sensitivity paired up with a good quality tube, er, integrated amp. If you really need a tuner buy a tuner. If you want a vintage look then a good tube integrated combined with a vintage tuner will be hard to beat.
roycerichards, welcome,
All of the above is good advice and food for thought.
Why buy a vintage receiver and then add a power amp while you can still get new or modern used fine integrateds or even seperates? What are your speakers that demand so much power? Start from there to see exactly what your real needs are and what do you want to achieve. 


The most important thing I think you should know is the relationship of power to decibels.

It takes about 10x the power to sound 2x louder.

There's little difference in maximum output between a 120 W and 150W amplifier.

Matching an amp to your speaker based on the speaker's minimum impedance is more important than a few watts of difference in rating.


C’mon guys. It’s a "newbie question. Cut him some slack. There was some good entertainment in the remarks though, it’s only funny to the initiated.


There is some good info. IMO, buying vintage is only for those with the technical skills to revive it and keep it going. It was mostly good in it’s day but wore out today. Don’t get caught up in watts. I’ve had 35-350 watt amplifiers. The best were the lower wattage. It comes down to design and parts. Lower watts need higher efficiency speakers than the high power ...... 90db+. This is part of what Eric means when he said, " Matching an amp to your speaker ". Don’t know what your system consists of now or what your budget is, but an integrated amp is your best bet IMO. Hope this helps. BTW, welcome aboard.

1.  Why the need for soooo much watts?

2.  Who manufacture a 2500 watt amplifier?  Bridged?  Per side! 

3.  True.  It does not matter how much power your "vintage receiver" has.  You should not be connecting it's speaker outputs to the inputs of this monster amplifier.  Use the PreOut -  Power In loop connections.  These bypasses the power amp section of the receiver.  McIntosh has tuner preamp units.

4.  Howeeeever.  I have worked on Car Amplifiers of huge wattage that had speaker INPUTS on it.  Is this is the way you're going? Ummm, 2x's.  Now the power amplifier in this receiver is Very Important.  You will be amplifying, big time, any and all distortions coming out of the receiver.  That goes for it's front end too.  So don't vintage or cheap out totally on this receiver. 
The second ummm is,  My mother told me "If I don't have something good to write, keep my fingers shut". 

I appreciate everyone’s advice and knowledge. I should have added that I have 4 cerwin Vega mtx400 15” 3-way floor speakers rated for 400W max. I personally prefer to listen to my music at very loud volume. 
of course the 2500 wpc was a theoretical exaggeration,

It is not ADDITIVE. You would skip the amplifier part of the receiver,
remove the power tubes, connect no speakers to the receiver.

Only use the preamp section (IF the receiver has a way to do that), connect the preamp part of the receiver to your separate more powerful amplifier, i.e. 250 wpc.

Therefore, the answer to your question: You are correct: the receiver’s power rating makes no difference.

HOWEVER, as someone else pointed out, you may be quite surprised by how good a 30-35 wpc tube receiver sounds and how well it drives your speakers. 400 wpc speakers: Cerwin Vega’s were engineered to not burn out until you got over 400 wpc, they in no way need 400 wpc to get loud.

There was a LOT of competition in that 30-35 wpc range, engineers of each company going for the best, similar to the end of TT era 1984 when each company’s engineers tried to out-perform the others. That is why Vintage Receivers and TT’s are so desireable.

Most Vintage receivers have a tape recorder LOOP (out to tape, back in from tape), some have specific preamp out jacks, my Fisher 500c also has an optional reverb loop (jumpers on the deck can be removed) to use a reverb unit, OR ANY outboard device, i.e. a modern remote controlled device (like my Chase RLC-1 remote line controller). ANY Tape Loop can be used for ANY signal controlling device, or Preamp Out to processor, then back in via aux, any input.

The advantage:

ASSUMING your vintage receiver is in good shape, noise free, ...

Is that you retain all the ’old school’ features: bass and treble tone controls; balance; loudness; rumble filters; phase reverse; and some have a very useful mode switch that offers: stereo reverse; mono; l+r to L only .....

And receivers had TUNERS, FM, some AM and FM, most Stereo, very old ones Mono.

Happily, most have PHONO built in, many have two phono, some, like my mx100z has 3 phono in: 1 for old ceramic high strength signals, 2 for MM signals. Built-In MC phono very rare, perhaps none?



STOP LISTENING VERY LOUD! You will definitely regret it later because you will be damaging your hearing.
Receiver Tape (and most, "processor") outs are full line-level circuits; not affected by (in circuit before) volume, balance, tone, etc controls.     Worthless, far as an output source for an amplifier, outside of the receiver’s Selector/Source switch.      That’s: unless you want to add another volume control, or- have gains on the amp with which to control it’s output levels.
Royce, you are at the quantity not quality stage of freshman hi-fi. Have your fun but shortly you will learn that if you are really listening, you can’t play your music at high listening levels. Save your hearing, you only get one chance at it.