A Pro level power amplifier brings you two main things over it's cheaper starter variants, which are power output and connection diversity.
The use of much heavier duty transformers and better heat sinking, often with fan cooling means a pro amp will often be rated at more than double that of a budget unit, with channel levels nominally in the 1000w and above range.
Some of the larger amps will offer up a good 2500 - 3500w per channel at 4ohm, or can be run as bridged mono power units by allowing those channels to be summed together.
Most pro amps feature ground lift switching for when using more than one amplifier linked together ( bridged ), and stereo to mono selection allow you to use the amp in several different configurations.
Features such as thermal overload protection and gain clipping protection with visual signal level displays ensure that the amp can be set to run smoothly and efficiently without damage to its components should a problem occur.
The standard audio input capability of RCA phono jacks will usually be complemented by XLR inputs to accept balanced line level signals from suitable source equipment, offering far superior noise reduction to the system.
These higher spec amps can also feature adjustable input frequency crossovers, which are especially useful in multi - amp passive speaker set ups where you can dial in the cut offs pre rather than post amplification which is far more efficient for the entire system.
Higher power amplifiers use the industry standard Speakon connection for their speaker terminals, so you will find a pair, and sometimes quad of these alongside 6.35mm (¼”) jack sockets and 4mm binding posts. Higher power amplifiers should always be connected with the heaviest duty cable and connections available to you, preventing overheating and ensuring against accidental disconnection at volume which will seriously damage both amp and speaker.
For the most part, performance level amplifiers are still the classic large transformer and mosfet transistor based design, as it's a tried and tested format and offers huge power reserves and reliability. These have however been joined recently by high rated digital amps, using class D technology which brings about a new era of lightweight and cooler running unit. Physically half the size of a traditional amp, the technology has reached a point now where 600w RMS per channel is available at an affordable price point, making them a serious contender for many applications.
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