ANSWERS: 4
  • A preamplifier (preamp) is generally used to provide high-quality signal amplification. A preamp will usually give better signal amplification than the receiver/amplifiers you can buy from the home audio stores. The preamp also lets you switch between various input signals and adjust treble and bass. A further advantage is that it gives the proper load impedance for the inputs and a low source impedance for the outputs (to the speakers.) A pre-amp can also amplify phono inputs, which are at a much lower level than other components. Some preamps may include a microphone input. As for being worth the money, it's your call. : )
  • First you have to find out if you even need a preamp. If you are using a receiver you don’t need a pre-amp as essentially a receiver is a pre-amplifier, an amplifier and a tuner all wrapped into one unit. If you have separates which includes an amplifier then you almost always need the use of a preamp. Unless your source such as a cd player has volume control or your amplifier has gain controls you will have no way of controlling your input signal to the amplifier. The preamp is your source selector/volume control. It is also the front end of the system and will influence greatly how your system sounds. Many believe you can make a bigger change sonically by changing your pre-amp then you can by changing your amp.
  • This very much depends on what you want out of your audio reproduction system. It was once considered essential to use a separate preamplifier and power amplifier to get the best sound quality. Integrated amplifiers or receivers were considered to be aimed at the lower end of the market. There is some justification in this argument, particularly with respect to receivers. However, there are a number of integrated amplifiers on the market today that provide exceptional audio quality. As with any quality audio product, few of these are made by mass-market companies. Addendum: Preamplifiers come in two flavours: active and passive. An active preamp contains circuitry to electrically amplify the signal if it is too low to drive the amplifier stage. A passive preamp contains no active components and is used to adjust the signal volume without any amplification. Some purists prefer passive preamps as they are designed to avoid adding audible artifacts to the signal.
  • if you have lots of speakers for one. or if you have big speakers for another.

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