When you want to listen to different audio sources (tuner, CD, MP3, …) in different rooms at the same time, you will need a power amplifier for every room (or better: 'audio zone'). This is called a 'multi source – multi room' system. If you always have the same source in the different rooms at the same time, this is called a 'multi room' system. The difference between these two kinds of audio installations is shown in figure below.
Today there are several power amplifiers with built-in audio sources. In small tower systems you have all common sources built-in, but even some higher range power amplifiers may have a built in radio tuner or hard disk. The most important and typical feature of such systems, is that the built-in sources are not to be shared with other power amplifiers. You can find a comparing illustration in figure 5.
Depending on the requirements of the user and the available budget, there is to be chosen for internal, external or a mix of internal/external audio sources.