The word amplifier usually refers to an electronic amplifier. Electronic amplifiers make a signal from a radio or electric musical instrument (such as an electric guitar or an electric bass guitar) louder and stronger. Amplifiers are also hidden in any electronic thing that makes sound with loudspeakers. This includes televisions, radios, computers, and mp3 players, to name a few.
Devices similar to the electronic amplifier are made in mechanical engineering. The power assisted steering and braking on a motor car utilise mechanical amplifiers to multiply the amount of force applied by the driver.
How it works [change]
Electronic amplifiers make a signal from the radio or electric instrument louder and stronger by using transistors or vacuum tubes. Electronic amplifiers have to be connected to electrical current or a battery to work. Once the signal from the radio or electric instrument has been made louder and stronger, the signal needs to be connected to a loudspeaker so that people can hear it.
When an amplifier tries to make the sound louder than it can, it adds distortion to the sound. Some amplifiers are made to add controlled distortion. Distortion from transistors sounds different than distortion from tubes. Distortion from tubes is often said to be more musical. Because of all this, more expensive amplifiers often add controlled distortion with tubes. Many of these amplifiers use transistors for a "clean" sound (without distortion).