Updated November 26, 2020 by Christopher Thomas

The 10 Best Multi Zone Amplifiers

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This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in December of 2017. A whole-home audio system is great for playing music throughout your entire house from one centralized location. But there are plenty of situations where you may want the volume to vary from room to room. With these multi-zone amplifiers, you can adjust the sound in different areas or control a theater setup all from one device. They're also useful for public and commercial spaces. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Dayton Audio MA1240A

2. Denon X3600H

3. OSD Audio PAM245

Editor's Notes

November 24, 2020:

There are two prominent types of amplifiers that offer multi-zone configurations. Some, like the Denon X3600H, are full-on high-end AV receivers, and in the case of the Denon as well as the Marantz SR7013, you can be sure you're getting a very high-quality piece of equipment. The same can be said for the Yamaha RX-V685, although it doesn't quite have all the same bells and whistles as the other two.

Very commonly, though, multi-zone amplifiers are sought out by custom installers, and that type doesn't involve video connections at all, but only audio. Most home users will be satisfied by the Dayton Audio MA1240a due to its impressive price-to-performance ratio, although if you don't need a ton of channels, you might get by with the highly affordable Sherwood RX5502. If you don't need super-high volume, or if you're okay with getting extra units to power a larger number of speakers, the Axium Mini4 is a very interesting choice, and in fact there aren't many like it on the market. If money is no issue, the VSSL A.3 is hard to beat, and it's both reliable and especially easy to use, even if the rest of the family isn't very technologically inclined.

If you're looking into something other than a home installation, there are some worthwhile models you should consider. The OSD Audio PAM245 is impressively well-priced for what's essentially a commercial unit, while the Pyle PT8050CH would be good for a party or karaoke setup, for example. Then there's the Niles SI-1230, which is actually a reasonably famous amplifier, and while it seems basic, there are good reasons why it has the reputation it does, among them its high reliability and essentially nonexistent noise floor.

May 16, 2019:

Noticed that the Emotiva A-800 was not currently available, so we had to take it off the list. Upon review, we decided to remove a few additional items from the list, including the Russound P75 (several instances of units dying within a few months) and the Pyle 6-Channel (users noted its low quality, with multiple reports of overheating and even one detailing significant smoking, creating a fire hazard).

To replace the eliminated items, we added some high-quality options. For a whole-house system with 12 channels and six zones, the Dayton Audio MA1260 seems to be an excellent value. It produces crisp sound and plenty of volume, and users appreciate that it doesn’t generate much heat.

The Sonos Connect is a nice, modern addition that allows you to wirelessly stream from audio platforms like Pandora, Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music to rooms all over your house. Its ease of use is a huge selling point — you can control the zone, source, volume, and even per-room settings from your smartphone. We also added the OSD Audio PAM245 — a versatile choice, as it allows you to choose from three different versions and comes with a remote control. Users find its simple setup process helpful as well.

Special Honors

HTD Whole-House Audio If you ask custom installation enthusiasts, they might just recommend this company before many of the better-known big-name brands. Their devices are known for reliability, long lifespans, ease of use, and premium construction, and they're actually not all that expensive. htd.com

Audio Control Archiect Series Both the standard and Architect P Series consist of a range of quality choices, and the most powerful go as high as 16 channels with a built-in equalizer. You'll pay a slight premium, even for the base models, but you can be certain that any of these rack-mountable models is a good investment. audiocontrol.com

4. Sherwood RX5502

5. Niles SI-1230

6. Axium Mini4

7. Marantz SR7013

8. Yamaha RX-V685

9. VSSL A.3

10. Pyle PT8050CH


Christopher Thomas
Last updated on November 26, 2020 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.


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