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HT Q regarding "line level" signals (1 Viewer)

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
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Aug 3, 2000
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5,726
OK, stupid question time:
There are "line level" signals going from my pre amp to my amp. With RCA cables.
But I also have "line level" signals going from my tuner to my pre amp (but can't be the same level).
If for an experiment, I hooked my tuner directly up to my amp, what would the volume be?
In other words, does the volume control on a pre amp *amplify* or *attenuate* the signals coming out of an analog source component.
I tend to think that it attenuates them, for noise reasons, and that a pre amp is a pre amp and not an *amplifier*. But I always wondered...
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Bob McElfresh

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Joined
May 22, 1999
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5,182
I think in classic terms, your pre-amp should only attenuate the input signal and give you volume control.
But many modern pre-amps do more than this. It might digitize every input so it can do things like bass management, pro-logic decoding, DSP modes, time delays, etc.
By converting all the analog inputs to digital, all the pre-amp features are available for all possible inputs.
If the bulk of the pre-amp deals with a digital signal, it makes it easy to do a final digital-analog conversion to go to your amp and maintain the volume no matter which input provided the signal (or what that devices output voltage may be.)
My guess is that your tuner WOULD correctly drive the input of your amp. But the output of your tuner would likely approach the max possible input voltage for your amp and produce a very-loud sound.
 

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2000
Messages
5,726
Yeah, *digital* pre amps are a different game.
But my presumption is the same as yours. Just wondering if anyone actually knew.
(I think I remember that in the old days, that there were CD players with volume knobs themselves, so that you could run direct to a power amp without a pre amp.)
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