Monoblocks or stereo amplifier?
Choosing between a stereo amplifier and two monoblocks is ultimately a question of budget. Although acceptable monoblocks can already be obtained for 2500 euros a pair, stereo amplifiers in this price range seem to be more advisable: as long as the manufacturer only has to calculate for one housing, one power cable and one shipping carton, they can ensure higher component quality – it’s as simple as that.
It gets interesting when around 4000 euros or more are invested, because that’s when the advantages of the monoblock principle become audible:
Firstly, the two amplifier channels are accommodated in separate housings, so no interaction can occur between them. As a result, monoblocks often produce a better soundstage and playback with fewer artifacts than stereo amplifiers.
Secondly, each monoblock has its own power line with a separate transformer or switched-mode power supply. Therefore, monoblocks can often provide electricity to loudspeakers more spontaneously and have higher power reserves. This becomes evident in the sound, due to better broad dynamics.
Last but not least, monoblocks are often equipped without compromise and made with particular care, as they usually represent the spearhead of the manufacturer’s portfolio.
Incidentally, some stereo amplifiers have a switch that allows them to be put into so-called bridge mode: this converts them into a monoblock. Of course, for correct stereo enjoyment (as you probably already feared) you have to purchase an additional identical amp. Nevertheless, this approach can be a viable alternative.