Product Review

AudioSource AMP-100 Stereo Amplifier Ideal for Use in Zone 2

July, 2004

John E. Johnson, Jr.



● Power Output: 50 Watts per Channel
    RMS into 8 Ohms; 134 Watts

● Sensitivity for 40 Watt Output: 672

● THD: 0.02%

● S/N: 103 dB A Weighted

● THD: 0.02%

● Features: Auto-On, Auto-Switching
    for Two Inputs

● Dimensions: 2.26" H x 16" W x 11.5"

● Weight: 16 Pounds

● MSRP: $152 USA



Over the years, we have received numerous questions about setting up the Zone 2 functions on receivers. Zone 2 refers to a stereo line-level output on the back of the receiver that can be used to drive a power amplifier in a second room so you can have background music at a party, for example.

Since Zone 2 is most often line-level (about 1 Volt or so), you need to have an additional power amplifier either right next to the receiver, or in the next room where you have the Zone 2 speakers.

For Zone 2 operation, the main receiver acts as a volume control and source selector. Therefore, it is not necessary to waste money on an integrated amplifier that has a lot of features you would never use.

We looked around for basic two-channel amplifiers that might be used in Zone 2 situations. The AudioSource AMP-100 is our first selection for this purpose. In fact, the AMP-100 is designed specifically for custom install projects, and has the basic things you would need for use in Zone 2, namely, auto-on, auto-switching for two inputs, and two sets of speaker outputs (Speaker Set A and Speaker Set B).

The Design

The AMP-100 outputs 50 watts per channel into 8 Ohms. This is perfect for Zone 2 and background music at parties, or for just having dinner by yourselves.

The front panel of the amplifier has an on/off switch, buttons for selecting Speaker Set A or B, and a volume control for each channel.

The rear panel has RCA jacks for two sets of stereo inputs, as well as a line-out for Input Set 2. This lets you forward the signal for Input 2 to another room (Zone 3) if you like. In other words, you could then have the receiver send CD music to the den or bedroom, through the Input 2 line-out on the AMP-100. Of course, you would need an additional power amplifier in Zone 3.

The back panel also has a slider switch for bridging the AMP-100, but I don't think that is of real use in a Zone 2 situation. There is a slider for setting the AMP-100 to Manual-On or Auto-On. For Zone 2, you would probably want to set it to Auto-On so that it turns on when you activate the Zone 2 operation from the main receiver.

There are two sets of speaker binding posts for each channel, one set for Speaker Set A and one set for Speaker Set B. Thus, you can activate either set. For example, you could have one set in the dining room and another in the kitchen. Both sets of speakers can be active at the same time.

The AMP-100 AC power cord is two-conductor, so it is unlikely that you will encounter ground loops with typical two-conductor power cord receivers.

The on-board volume controls make it easy to fine tune the volume in Zone 2 rather than having to go back to the main receiver.

Auto switching for two inputs means you can use the AMP-100 to drive a second source that is not part of the receiver. For example, the second input could be used with the line-out from a TV in the dining room, when you want to have more volume. The auto-switching gives Input 1 priority, so when it is turned off, and Input 2 is active, the amplifier switches over to Input 2.

In Use

I tested the AMP-100 using stereo outputs from several of my sources as well as just connecting them to a CD player directly.

The AMP-100 is not designed to compete with high powered, expensive two-channel amplifiers. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it does sound. Part of this is due to the fact that the AMP-100 is made overseas at manufacturing facilities that produce thousands of amplifiers for various OEM contracts all over the world. So, you are getting a lot for your money.

With only 50 watts per channel, the AMP-100 runs out of steam as the volume is cranked, but that is not its purpose. At modest volume, actually a little higher than one might set it for background music, the AudioSource performed well, giving plenty of detail, tight bass, and no background hum or noise. If you want to play "Jurassic Lunch" with the 8 Hz footsteps, into low impedance, low sensitivity speakers, forget it. But for Beethoven, at coffee and dessert SPLs, it's very nice. If you want more power in Zone 2, say for dancing, you might go with the AudioSource AMP-3.

The built-in volume controls are handy for situations where one speaker might be farther away from the dinner table than the other, so you can turn up the volume on the farther distance speaker.


The AudioSource AMP-100 is a nicely featured, good performing, two-channel amplifier that is perfect for Zone 2 operation. At its price (I saw it for $103 at an Internet store), you simply cannot go wrong.


- John E. Johnson, Jr. -


� Copyright 2004 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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