Home stereo amplifiers have a simple job: they take incoming audio signals and boost them before sending the signals on to the speakers. By boosting the signals, the amp is able to improve overall sound quality and allow for a greater range in volume. However, home stereo amps have to work with at least two speakers and often multiple sources of signals, which can create some problems in signal transition and amplifier operation.
With so many connections in home stereo and theatre systems, it's highly common to find loose, wrong or faulty connections with amps. Loose connections simply distort the sound or cause it to fade in and out. This can be repaired by reattaching the cables. Cables plugged into the wrong ports on the amp or speaker wires set up on the wrong terminals produce poor sound quality or no sound to at least one speaker. Faulty connections are caused by problems with the cables themselves, which need to be replaced.
As amps work, they generate a lot of heat. This heat is blown out of the amp with a fan system that circulates the air into surrounding areas. Unfortunately, amps are often located in the back of stereo shelves or home theatre compartments where there is no place for that air to go. As a result, the amp overheats, causing damage to its systems and any nearby devices, drastically shortening its lifespan.
Some homeowners believe that an amp corrects any signal distortion that occurs before the signal reaches the amp. This is not true. The amp only amplifies the distortion itself, making a humming sound that occurs on 50 or 60 hertz wavelengths even more noticeable. To solve this problem, owners must place an isolator somewhere before the signal reaches the amp.
At times, amps can suddenly die, refusing to work and sometimes not even turning on. This often means that a fuse inside the amp has blown. These small fuses do not blow as often as fuses in other systems, but unsteady electrical currents and overuse can still cause fuse failure. In most cases homeowners should be able to replace the fuse and continue using the amp.