• These three terms are often used interchangably, but they mean different things. A tuner is a device that simply receives radio signals (AM and/or FM). An amplifier just amplifies an input signal before sending the signals to your speakers. They require an input device, such as a CD player, turntable, or tuner. A reciever will incorporate both of these into one unit. A receiver not only receives radio signals, but it also amplifies them so they can be sent to your speakers. Receivers also perform switching between inputs, which is sometimes considered the job of a "preamplifier." High-end audio setups usually break these functions down into separate components, but for consumer-grade usage, a good receiver with all these functions built into one unit will do a perfectly good job.
  • A reciever is actually made up of three seperate devices. They are a tuner, a preamp and an amplifier. Now since they are all combined into one unit you don't actually see them seperated. As Gameboy42 said already the tuner recieves the AM/FM radio signals. The next section would be the preamp. The preamp let's you select which source you want to listen to and do any modifications to the sound. Some of these things include equalizition (usually in the form of bass and treble controls) and surround sound decoders. After any modifications to to the sound take place the preamp sends the signal to the amplifier. The final section would be the amplifier. It recieves the signal from the preamp and then amplifies it and sends it on it's merry way out the speaker output jacks and on to your speakers. There is another device that can be used in place of the pre-amp/amplifier. That would be an Integrated Amplifier. An integrated amp just combines the functions on the pre-amp and amplifer into one conveniant device.
  • But just one second...all that you guys said is great and is true. But what about the Yamaha DSP line of amplifiers (as they call them) that do the same job as their RX line of receivers?

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